“Rule 4” by Cheyenne Blue from Best Lesbian Romance 2012 (Cleis Press). Edited by Radclyffe.

I accidentally skipped this story in these reviews, so I’m going back to it.

Here’s another entry for the imaginary anthology of LGBT culinary-themed stories. The main character is a chef who sizes up her potential new housemate, Joanna, by noting what she does and doesn’t consume when presented with a surprise meal. After Joanna moves in they get fully acquainted the same way, over carefully analyzed plates of food, and it turns out they have a lot of common interests. Soon they’re hanging out together all the time.

My only gripe with this story is that the main character’s name shows up very late, more than halfway through the piece. Anyway, before you know it Sam is smack dab in love, enamored with all of Joanna’s little quirks. There’s only one problem. They live together, and Sam has a rule, Rule 4, which is to never seduce a housemate. She manages to stick to her principles for months, until her best friend Jazz expresses an interest in Joanna and requests permission to ask her out.

It’s not okay with Sam, of course. It’s not okay at all. But what can she do? She gives Jazz the green light and then braces herself for the heartache of watching someone else sweep Joanna off her feet.