Food=love in my books.

I’m so pleased to share a recipe from one of my favorite authors, Lilian Darcy. I’m reading her newest release, The Sweetest Sound, right now. And loving it. The Sweetest Sound is part of Lilian’s “River Bend Series” for MontanaBorn Books.

To research the Montana setting, Lilian (right) and publisher/author Jane Porter explored neighboring towns close to fictional Marietta, including Livingston, below.


“I’m not going to lie to you, this isn’t low-fat or low-carb, nor does it have a Spanish theme to suit the Spanish heroine of The Sweetest Sound, but it is delicious, and if you serve it with a big colorful green salad it’s even more delicious,” Lilian says.


Spinach and Feta Quiche
Recipe Type: main dish
Cuisine: vegetarian
Author: Lilian Darcy
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Little secret in our family:- Sometimes if the weather’s cold, you don’t feel like a green salad, but we make it with a warm vinaigrette dressing and suddenly it works for winter after all. If you want to try a warm vinaigrette, just lightly fry in a big slurp of olive oil your choice of any or all of the following ingredients, finely chopped:- garlic, onion, herbs, sundried tomatoes, capers, and/or anchovies, add a bit of salt and pepper, and the vinegar of your choice. Toss well with the salad right before serving. Expect that the salad leaves will wilt a little. My kids will eat three times as much salad if it’s done this way than they’ll eat if it’s cold. And since I’m a cook who does things by eye and instinct, some of the quantities for the quiche filling fall into the “what looks right to you” category.
  • For the pastry
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 oz/85 grams butter
  • 3 oz/85 grams chilled cream cheese
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons chilled cream
  • Mix the flour and salt. Cut the butter and the cream cheese into small pieces and cut them into the flour with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers, till the mixture is crumbly. Drizzle on the cream and mix in until the dough clumps together. Press into a flat-ish circle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour. (You can keep it for a day or two, if needed.)
  • Roll out the pastry to fit your desired pie dish.
  • For the filling:
  • 1 bag washed baby spinach leaves. (These come in different sizes, so use whichever size fits the amount of spinach you’d like. Remember that it will lose a lot of volume when cooked.)
  • 4 – 8 oz/100- 200 grams feta cheese. (Again, how much you use depends on how strong you like your feta flavour.)
  • 6 – 8 eggs.
  • ½ to 1 cup cream.
  • Salt and pepper to taste. (The feta will be pretty salty, so you probably don’t need this unless you’re a salt fiend.)
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
  2. Lightly steam the spinach, just until it goes limp, then let it cool until it’s not too hot to touch. Squeeze out any liquid and chop roughly. Crumble the feta cheese.
  3. Put the spinach into your pie dish on top of the rolled out pastry, and sprinkle the feta evenly on top.
  4. Mix the eggs and cream well, adding salt and pepper if desired, and then pour in.
  5. Bake until pastry is golden at the edges and filling is set. Cooking time varies, but estimate 40-50 minutes. (If the crust is getting too brown, lower temperature until egg mixture is set.)

Now, check out The Sweetest Sound. I’ve been waiting to meet Charlie ever since I read The Sweetest Thing. I can’t wait to see what happens when…if…he goes back to Marietta.



Ramona sang with her eyes closed. Charlie had noticed this before. Oh, she opened them sometimes, but when she was in the midst of a soaring section of music, they drifted shut and she lifted her face like someone blind, or praying.

Today, though, two days after she’d turned him down for coffee, she was closing her eyes for a different reason, as he came past.

Because of me.

She wanted to pretend she hadn’t seen him, and it was a good and clever little ruse, but he wasn’t going to accept it. Deliberately, he let half a minute tick by – enough for her to presume that he would have gone by her and entered the hospital’s main building – then he dropped a noisy handful of rustling notes and clinking coins into the dark red velour hat that sat on the pavement in front of her, and waited.

Sure enough, she instinctively opened her eyes to thank whoever had been so generous. As soon as she saw him, her eyes widened in shock, then narrowed in resistance.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi, yourself,” she retorted. If she’d been a cat, her fur would be standing on end. “And thank you.”


“For your contribution.” It sounded very distancing and formal. Intentionally, he knew. She knew how to use good manners as a weapon.

Was this a game? He didn’t like it. He didn’t want her to think any of this was about games.

And yet a part of him did like it.

Liked some of it – the bite of her resistance, the strength in her. He liked what it said about her. She was clever, he could tell, and she was strong. There was something that she wanted, and it was very clear to her, and this… thing… between them would get in the way of it, so she was saying no. Apparently she knew how to stick to her goals. He wondered what the goals were.

“I can’t decide which I like best,” he said now. “The singing, the guitar or the violin.”

“And you haven’t even seen me dance.”

Okay, now that was flirting, and would have been even without the saucy, crooked little smile and the lift of her hip.

He felt a kick of satisfaction.

So, Miss Ramona with the twenty syllable name, I’m not wrong about this, despite how you’re pushing me away.

As he’d done on Monday, he found himself feverishly shifting his schedule around in his head, wrangling a way to squeeze an extra half hour out of a day that already needed twenty-five hours in it if he was going to have a hope of getting everything done.

But then, just as quickly, he re-thought. If he didn’t ask, she couldn’t say no. If he didn’t push, she had nothing to push back against. She might find that harder. He could simply stop and talk to her for a few minutes every time he saw her here, and she’d eventually have to admit that she – Eventually?

I don’t have time for “eventually.” I don’t have time for messing around.

His intentions did another screaming one-eighty degree turn, although he wasn’t normally this indecisive. “Is there a class today?” he asked. “Fencing, or voice, or modern dance?”

“No, no class.”

“Have coffee with me, then.”

But she shook her head.

“C’mon…” He growled the word, sure of his pull on her. He was not wrong about her awareness, he knew it. They’d virtually admitted to it the other day, both of them.

Now, her pupils had darkened, and she was breathing faster. Her body couldn’t decide if she was a trapped animal or a female in heat. Maybe both at once.

“I can’t,” she said. “You must know that I mean it.” She looked miserable, but he had to take her at her word. He might have quite a healthy dose of self-confidence, but he wasn’t the kind of guy to bulldoze a woman when she didn’t want it.

All he could do was to beat a strategic retreat. “Okay,” he said. “I won’t push.” He showed her his palms like a criminal wanting to prove himself weaponless, and then turned to leave.

When he reached his office, the phone was ringing on his desk and he grabbed it, already irritated before he even knew who the caller was. There’d been a couple of them this week – or maybe the same caller, more than once – who hadn’t left messages. This wasn’t a number that received a lot of junk calls. So who…?

His impatience clawed higher as he put the phone to his ear and barked out a greeting. Something else to squeeze in, when Ramona had already kept him too long out in the freezing February air?

Whatever this call was about, he’d deal with it quickly if he possibly could, because he was already running behind.

Ten minutes later, his whole world had changed.

He had changed. His plans, his intentions, his sense of himself.

Two thousand miles away in Montana, his birth mother wanted to get in touch.


Click here to buy: AMAZON. (It will be out soon at other ebook venues.)


Oh! Will he or won’t he? I have to find out.

Maybe tonight.

Bon appetit! And happy reading, my friends!



EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Deb Salonen’s Asparagus Salad with Chickpeas and Potatoes


Food=love in my books.

Since Easter arrives this Sunday, I thought I’d share a favorite recipe of mine AND a snippet from the book I just turned in: Cowgirl Come Home.

It won’t be out until August 8, but I’m really excited about writing for the upcoming MontanaBorn FAIR series because the current MontanaBorn BRIDES series is knock-your-socks-off fabulous.

Here’s a link to the website where you can buy the first three titles (Katherine’s releases right after Easter). MontanaBrides

Do yourself a favor and stock up. They’re delicious…as is my super simple asparagus salad recipe. 



Roasted Asparagus Salad with Chickpeas and Potatoes
Recipe Type: side dish
Cuisine: vegan
Author: Deb Salonen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Variations: Spice it up with any of the following optional ingredients: Red pepper flakes, fresh or dried herbs such as oregano and basil, or sliced kalamata olives
  • 2 medium gold or red potatoes, about 10 ounces
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 12 ounces), trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette (buy or make by mixing 1/4 C olive oil, 1/8 C vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, salt and pepper to taste, pinch of chili flakes optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Cook the potatoes until tender but still firm in any way you choose (boil, microwave, or bake). Allow to cool slightly and cut into 1-inch dice. Place in a large serving bowl along with the chickpeas.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, spread the asparagus on a baking sheet and sprinkle the onion over it. In a corner of the sheet, place the unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast until asparagus is tender yet still crisp, about 15 minutes, stirring once after 7 minutes. Remove from oven.
  4. Set the garlic aside to cool for a few minutes and put the asparagus into the bowl with the potatoes. When the garlic is cool, peel it and place it in a small bowl. Mash it well with a fork; then stir in the salad dressing. Pour the dressing over the asparagus and stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Note: Makes 2 large, one-pot meal servings or 4 side servings.

The coolest thing about writing a book in a multi-author series is seeing one of MY characters appear in ANOTHER author’s book. This is especially exciting when the other author is New York Times bestselling author Jane Porter.

To read Beauty’s Kiss for FREE, click HERE.

Beauty's Kiss  

In Beauty’s Kiss, you’ll meet Louise Jenkins, my heroine, Bailey’s mother. Here’s Louise in my book:

Oscar Jenkins double-fisted the thin, scratchy sheets at his side. He hated everything about this so-called hospital. The thin plastic mattress, the crappy sheets and pilled, nappy cotton blanket. But worst of all, he detested the crappy slop they tried to pass off as food.

“Honey, please. Bailey’s coming. She’ll be at the house when I bring you home…if you eat and…eliminate.”

“Shit. Say it, Luly. For once in your life, call it like it is.”

Louise Billingham Jenkins, his wife of nearly forty years, blushed like the schoolgirl she was when they first met. Sweet. Innocent. Still was. Even after all this time in constant contact with him–the lowest piece of scat that ever rolled off Copper Mountain.

“Don’t be coarse.” She advanced on him with a spoon and a palm-sized cup of something beige. “Try the pudding. You said you liked it.”

He snarled and pressed his head and shoulders into the skinny foam pillow. “Must have been the drugs.”

She held the shimmery, flesh-tone glob a few inches from his lips. The tiny quake of her hand compromised his resolve. He opened his mouth, clamped down on the spoon and wouldn’t let go. Louise frowned sternly, but he could tell she was fighting back a smile.


He covered her hand with his tenderly, before prying the handle free. The banana-flavored slop lodged in the back of his throat and nearly gagged him, but he forced it down.

“I can feed myself.”

She turned away–probably so he couldn’t see her smile of triumph. Louise wasn’t one to gloat. Not that he’d given her many opportunities for jubilation during their years together. When he looked back at his life–and he’d had plenty of time for retrospection since his body started falling apart, he couldn’t say for sure why she’d put up with all his crap for so damn long. He sure as hell wouldn’t have stuck around if the shoe had been on the other foot.

I’d have lit out just like Bailey did.

His gaze fell to the flat stretch of covers where his left foot should have rested. His appetite disappeared. His mouth turned dry.

Life as he knew it was gone. And despite his pissing and moaning about the skyrocketing costs of fishing licenses and gas and idiot clients and the government’s nose in his business, OC loved hunting and fishing and teaching even the dumbest flatlander how to catch a trout or two.

And, now, thanks to his cussed orneriness–and some poorly timed budget cuts at the library, he and Louise were looking at serious financial problems.

Louise had tried to keep the worst of it from him. But yesterday, she’d tearfully admitted her fears.

“We’re in bad shape, Oscar. The County changed insurance companies last year and our co-pay went up. Plus, they’re trying to disallow one of your surgeries. If I miss any more work, I might not even qualify for the library’s policy. And with you not being able to work, our savings is pretty much gone.”

“The company can’t be bankrupt,” he said. “Jack told me we lost a few bookings, but he’s been out with clients every day–even on Sunday.”

Jack Sawyer had worked for Jenkins’ Fish and Game off and on for sixteen years. His wife, Marla, handled the company’s bookings and website.

“Jack’s good, but he’s not you, Oscar. And even if he were as good as you, people don’t pay big bucks to go fishing with Jack Sawyer. They want the Fish Whisperer.”

OC took another bite of puke pudding to keep from sneering. The name was a joke, of course. Tossed out in Wolf’s Den one night when he’d started howling for some dumb reason. To his chagrin, the name stuck. And bookings picked up.

Apparently, the Fish Whisperer even had a blog–whatever that was.

Now, thanks to OC’s ridiculous so-called fame, Jenkins’ Fish and Game, was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. And, to make matters worse, his daughter was coming home.

As badly as he’d screwed up his health and finances, both were small potatoes compared to the mess he’d made with Bailey. “Who’d you say is picking her up at the airport?”

“I didn’t.”

Louise glanced at her watch surreptitiously. Bailey’s plane had landed thirty minutes earlier. Paul would have been there to meet her. A shock her daughter never would have seen coming, but not the worst she had in store.

“She hasn’t been cleared to drive, has she?” Oscar asked.

“I don’t know.”

She took a calming breath–to prepare for the explosion to follow. He’d find out eventually, and certain news was better coming from her. “I asked Paul Zabrinski to pick her up. He had to take Chloe and Mark to their mother’s. He said it was no problem.”

“No problem? Woman, are you out of your mind? Bailey’s probably back on the airplane by now.”

Louise pulled her smart phone out of her pocket. “The next flight to Fresno isn’t until tomorrow morning. She isn’t going anywhere.”

Oscar shook his head from side to side, slowly, as if the effort took every last ounce of his energy. No surprise since he ate barely enough to keep a fly alive. Just one of the many reasons Louise needed Bailey here.

Louise had tried everything to reignite the spark in her husband’s eyes, but nothing helped. And from their phone conversations, Louise knew Bailey was skating perilously close to the edge of her own demon-filled pit of depression. The two people she loved most were giving up, and Louise would use every resource available to spark a fire. Even asking Bailey’s oldest “frenemy,” as the kids at the library might say, to meet her plane.

“That took balls, Luly.”


Have a lovely Easter, dear friends. And if you’re enjoying a Spring Break, I hope you’ll include these wonderful stories in your reading line-up.

Bon appetit! Happy reading!



EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Trish Morey’s Lemonade Scones


Food=love in my books.

trishMy guest blogger today is a brand new friend, Trish Morey.

Trish is a USA Today Bestselling author of thirty Harlequin Presents romances, all featuring strong alpha heroes and the women who can tame them, (with some pretty hot sex along the way:-)) .

Her latest release–Second Chance Bride–is part of The Great Wedding Giveaway series from Montana Born Books/Tule Publishing.

I just started reading this book and I can’t stop grinning. 🙂 What’s not to love about a heroine named Scarlett Buck?  Grab this fun little story TODAY while it’s on SALE for just 99¢! Here’s the LINK.

And check out Trish’s Lemonade* Scones recipe below. Doesn’t this sound like the PERFECT food for a wedding breakfast or bridal luncheon? And it looks so darn easy, even I could make it. 

*To my profound surprise, “lemonade” in Australia is the equivalent of 7-Up in the US. Sorry for the confusion. I don’t get out much.

Lemonade Scones
Recipe Type: side dish
Cuisine: scones
Author: Trish Morey
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
Please note, the instructions show two versions–one for those of us in the USA and one for those of you who understand metric. AND, it appears that “Lemonade” in Australia is actually “7-UP” in the US. Who knew?!!
  • 1 cup pure cream
  • 1 cup lemonade/ or we in the US would be using 7-Up
  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F) or 180C (350F) fan forced.
  2. Grease and flour baking tray, or line tray with baking paper.
  3. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix lightly until combined. Scrape onto a floured surface, knead lightly and shape into rectangle about 3cm high. Cut scones with 5cm/2 inch scone cutter.
  4. Lightly dust with flour and bake for 15-20mins or until tops are brown.
  5. Serve with raspberry or strawberry jam and clotted cream.




“I heard there was a new girl.”

Scarlett jumped. She’d thought she was alone, but now her eyes were beginning to adjust to the low light, she could see the woman sitting on a sofa across the room, a magazine in her lap, her skin fair, her lips red and her long black hair gleaming under the lights like a silken curtain.

“It is that obvious?” Scarlett said, trying to sound light but painfully aware of the nerves in her voice. Any minute someone was going to figure her for the impostor she was and throw her out.

But then the woman smiled. “First day in a new place is always the hardest. I’m Jasmine,” she said, her name as exotic as her looks.


“You’re American?”

“Yeah. From Montana. You?”

“Thailand,” she said, shifting the magazine to smooth down the fluffy hem of the red baby doll that floated just above her slim thighs. “Bella’s is a good place to work. You’ll like it.”

Scarlett very much doubted it but she smiled and nodded her thanks anyway. There was no point explaining she’d only be here until she made enough money for her fare home.

And then Bella walked in with her grey bob and pearls and looking so much more like a school librarian than any madam she could possibly have imagined.

She clapped her hands, “Look lively girls, Rule number one, let’s not keep the customer waiting.”


Scarlett was so not ready for this.  Oh, she might be Scarlett Buck, the flaky twin, the girl with the anti-Midas touch who could turn golden opportunities into dust and managed to do so with infuriating regularity. She might have driven her sister to despair and her mother to drink on too many occasions to count, but to be forced to this?

Jasmine rose from the sofa and flicked back her hair, no trace of hesitation. Whereas she–

Barely-contained nerves got the better of her.


She needed more time – just a few more minutes to get used to the idea.  ‘I’ll sit this one out,’ she offered. Jasmine was here first, after all.”

“Nonsense!” boomed Bella as she took her hand and hauled her off the sofa in a very un-school librarian kind of way. Before Scarlett knew it she was lined up alongside the other girl and Bella was reminding them to smile. “Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end, I always say.”

Great. So much for getting used to the idea. Any moment now a middle aged man with grey hair and a paunch would come sauntering through that door and size her up to be his sexual plaything for the next however long and still she would have to smile and make him feel like she wanted nothing more than to hop into the sack with him.

Just sex?

Oh, Scarlett Buck, you have really have done it this time.

She raised her eyes to the ceiling and sent one last silent prayer to the heavens and her family and anyone else who might possibly be listening up there and could help: I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. But it won’t be for long, I promise, and after this I’ll never, ever, disappoint you, ever again.

And then she heard Jasmine’s, “Welcome to Bella’s, I’m Jasmine,” and a cold shiver of apprehension snaked down her spine as she summoned up a smile. She opened her eyes, her hundred watt smile fully charged and ready to dazzle the client despite the nerves clawing at her insides. “Welcome to B—“

She stopped and blinked, and tried again. “Welcome to…”

But there was no finishing. Because it didn’t make sense. Because he didn’t make sense. She’d been expecting middle aged and desperate whereas the man in front of her was anything but. He was nowhere near middle aged for a start, his short cropped hair dark blonde and thick, and – she flicked her eyes down his denim clad legs and up again – there wasn’t so much as a hint of a paunch in sight.

Far from it.

Instead, he was built. Six foot two of hard-packed built, if she wasn’t mistaken, with a face that looked in the glow from the red light like it had been chiseled from outback rock itself, full of rugged angles and red planes and secret, shadowed depths.

Since when did someone who looked like him have to visit a place like this?

“You must forgive Scarlett,” Bella said from what sounded like a long way away. “She’s new.”

“Excuse me,” she said, snapping to, her smile getting tangled in the confusion on her lips.  “Welcome to Bella’s.”

And with that he was gone, disappeared with Bella back into the office to make his choice.

Like he needed time for that.

She dropped back into the sofa, her face in her hands. Oh god, was there nothing she could do right? Nothing she couldn’t screw up?

Apparently not.

She might as well pack her things right now.


She looked up, resigned for the dressing down if not the sacking from Bella she knew was coming, that she knew she deserved. “Yes?”

“Congratulations.” Bella looked as surprised as Scarlett felt. “You just got your first client.”

OOOhhh…you have to be asking yourself…will she or won’t she? I can’t tell you. That wouldn’t be fair. Grab a copy to find out.

Bon appetit! Happy reading!