In the Kitchen : At the once-splendid Imperial Hotel, executive chef Gabriel Lightfoot is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of an exuberantly multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. Despite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off. Until the discovery of a porter's dead body in the kitchen appears to tip the scales. It is a small death, a lonely death - but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life. Enter Lena, an eerily attractive young woman mysteriously tied to the death of the porter. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision the consequences of which strip him bare, changing the course of the life he knows - and the future he thought he wanted.