“Found Rhythm” features Isa Taylor, an up and coming size 7 chef who struggles balancing mainstream society’s view of her as the perfect size and shape, with her social and cultural expectations that say she’s not. Isa is working hard to ensure her new restaurant is a success. When her manager, and long term friend Justin, mentions he’s entered her into a charity dance event to promote her new cookbook release, she’s horrified. Both at the prospect of making a fool of herself, and of being seen by thousands in a skimpy dance costume. Justin assuage her fears and she agrees, primarily to raise money for a youth organization close to her heart. But when her old nemesis is announced as her partner, will Isa be pulled back into the self doubt that plagued her childhood and nearly destroyed her? Or will she finally see the real her and realize her worth lies within her to determine?
“You’re looking good Isa. That last move you pulled off was something else.”
“I sense a ‘but’ coming on,” she muttered, her smile fading.
“But you’re missing—”
“I did not miss a step. I know I didn’t. I even got that tricky step—”
“Calm down. You have the choreography, yes. But the tango is a dance of passion, of heart. It’s not one of your recipes to follow. You’ve got to feel it here.” He placed his hand over his heart. “Not just here.” He lightly tapped the side of her head with his index finger.
Insecurities and self-doubt boiled in her stomach like forgotten tomato sauce left on the stove. No matter how well she did things, tackled new obstacles or met goals, that feeling of never measuring up physically was never far below the surface.
“I can’t do this. I belong in the kitchen, not making a fool of myself on local television. I don’t do sexy, Jus. I’m just not. Men don’t look at me like that. Never have.”
“Wrong. And with that attitude, you’ve already lost the competition. Is this how you want to start the cookbook PR campaign? What about The Village? The kitchen remodel and Austin’s scholarship?”
He was right. She had to pull this off, more so for the kids than for her. The center needed that money. The cafeteria was in need of modernizing. It was Isa’s goal to not only bring them up to code, but to completely redo the kitchen with state of the art commercial facilities, which would include a small instruction room. She planned to offer a space for the kids who, like her, were only at peace in the kitchen. She wanted to give them a leg up in the pursuit of their passions. Cooking is what got her through the worst dark spot in her life, she knew it was that way for others—others like Austin.
He turned her so that she faced the mirrors. “I’m a man, and let me just say… You are indeed sexy.” He wiped the tears she didn’t even know were streaming down her cheeks. “What’s not to find sexy? You’re a successful chef with her own restaurant. You put yourself through culinary school, studied your ass off, and rose to the top of your class. You won Rising Star Chef of the Year honors from the James Beard Foundation.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know… But that’s just it, I know I’m good at what I do, but that doesn’t make me sexy. So what, I’m accomplished. The only thing that attracts is other cooks and people after my money. I’m made up like a boy, I don’t have the all the curves and junk in the trunk men like.”
“Sexy is in the eye of the beholder, Isa. There is nothing you, or anyone, can do to change that. If I say you’re sexy and all the woman any man needs, then who are you tell me I’m wrong. And until you realize that, Isa, you’ll never get beyond the doubts and insecurities that stifle you.”
He ran the back of his finger down her cheek, drawing her attention back to her reflection. “Look, a flawless complexion. You’ve got skin like silk, perfect white teeth, and a smile that can make a man feel like you’re his only reason for being… for breathing. And look at your body.”
He hands drew attention to her hips and thighs. She fidgeted, not comfortable with this self-appraisal, especially with Justin being the one leading the perusal. Fire spread from where he touched her, going straight to her groin. “You have all the curves a man will ever need. And if anyone says otherwise, they’re crazy and not worth your time.”
His last words were whispered in her ear. She turned, searched his eyes for the truth. It wasn’t long before his full, soft lips claimed hers, silencing all thoughts but those of the carnal nature. When he released her, they both pulled in a lungful of much needed air.
“Damn,” she whispered.
“Damn is right,” he agreed.
As a consultant, marketing analyst, and marketing manager with a BA and MBA in marketing, she’s become well versed in both conventional marketing/PR methods and the ever changing online marketing, SEO/SEM, and social networking avenues. She’s called upon to teach workshops on social networking, blogging, and author branding from time to time for writing groups, business owners, and online writing communities.