"As the executive culinary assistant to Chicago celebrity chef Patrick Conlon, Alana Ostermann works behind the scenes--and that's just the way she likes it. But with developing recipes for Patrick's cookbooks, training his sous chefs, picking out the perfect birthday gifts for his ex-mother-in-law, and dealing with the fallout from his romantic escapades, she barely has a personal life, much less time to spend with her combo platter of a mutt, Dumpling. Then a fluke online connection brings her RJ, a transplant from Tennessee, who adds some Southern spice to her life. Suddenly Alana's priorities shift, and Patrick--and Dumpling--find themselves facing a rival for her time and affection. With RJ in the mix, and with some serious decisions to make about her personal and professional future, Alana must discover the perfect balance of work and play, money and meaning, to bring it all to the table--one delicious dish at a time."--Provided by publisher.