Happy Monday! What do snakes, broken bones, heroes, and Valentines have in common?

What a weekend!

First mow of the season revealed this handsome fellow.

He’s a very angry racer snake. Not poisonous. Definitely not as happy to meet us and we were to meet him. I shared the teaching moment then let him return to his business.

Same day, my daughter fell and broke her right wrist in two places and sprained her left wrist while carrying the baby’s highchair back into the house.

My poor baby is the mother of three, including my youngest granddaughter who is only 1-year old.  Try explaining to a one-year-old that Mommy can’t pick her up because her arm hurts. 🙁

But on the UP side, my friend Teresa Hill has put together this fun collection of heroes from books that currently are FREE or 99¢. Take your pick from Donna, Fasano, Lisa Mondello, Patricia Keelyn, Kathryn Shay, Judith Arnold, Patricia McLinn, Teresa Hill and me. You can’t go wrong–on the hero or the books. Here’s the link: ValentinesHeroes.

In LOVE, AFTER ALL – West Coast Happily-Ever-After #5, Arley, the hero in the meme above, is a great guy with a big heart. (He’s also a trust fund baby who is a bit bored and a little lost.) His current windmill-worthy mission is helping a sweet old woman fight the Powers That Be to keep her pet pig, Cuddles. Arley’s “1%er” parents aren’t amused. And they’re even less pleased when Arley is photographed kissing his attorney, Gwyneth–the woman Arley knows is his one and only true love. But convincing Gwyneth they’re destined to be together might be the biggest challenge of his life.

I hope your VALENTINE’S DAY is delightful–or,  in my case, less eventful!

Deb

 

 

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Lemonade (AKA 7-Up) Scones + a FREE book

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Food=love in my books.

trishYou may remember my guest blogger, Trish Morey.

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

I enjoyed this book so much that when I found out it was going to be FREE  (May 20-24) I decided to reprise this blog in case you missed it! Here’s the LINK.

And check out Trish’s Lemonade (aka 7-Up) 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. 

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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?!!
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

71fSY1nOQzL._SL1173_

 

Excerpt:

“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.

“Scarlett.”

“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.”

Uh-oh.

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.

Time.

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.

“Scarlett!”

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 your FREE copy to find out.

Bon appetit! Happy reading! 

Deb

 

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Trish Morey’s Lemonade Scones

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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?!!
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

71fSY1nOQzL._SL1173_

 

Excerpt:

“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.

“Scarlett.”

“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.”

Uh-oh.

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.

Time.

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.

“Scarlett!”

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! 

Deb

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY: Rogenna Brewer’s No Bake Cookies

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Easy-peezy! Exactly what we all need when the holidays arrive: No-Bake Cookies. Thank you, Rogenna Brewer.

 

EAT=LOVE=TUESDAY Rogenna Brewer’s No Bake Cookies
Recipe Type: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Author: Rogenna Brewee
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
This is a family favorite holiday recipe. We make these to eat and share from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Enjoy!
Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups uncooked oatmeal
Instructions
  1. Melt butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and cocoa in 2 qt sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, Stir in peanut butter. Add oatmeal. Mix. Drop by spoonful to wax paper. Allow to cool. Makes 3 dozen.

Rogenna is my buddy and pal from our Superromance days. She’s also a beloved author of wonderful romances that include an authentic military voice…because Ro is a Navy veteran herself. Check out her bio on her website.

One Star-Spangled Night–Ro’s contribution to Celebrate!–ends on July 4th aboard the USS Enterprise. I once toured this fabulous boat when my nephew was stationed aboard her. I will never forget the experience. And I totally get the romance of this ship.

Celebrate_Banner

One Star Spangled Night by Rogenna Brewer

Navy Chaplain Lieutenant Lindsey Alexander is not as naive as world-weary Aircraft Carrier Captain Doug Reese believes.  When the Top Gun is ordered into counseling, the junior officer is the only thing standing between him and his losing command of his ship.



Excerpt:

           Lindsey tried not to look too surprised when thirty minutes after her phone call, Captain Doug Reese sauntered past her to the open-air vender on the pier. She was so stunned, however, she almost forgot to salute.

            “Two hot dogs and two sparkling waters,” he ordered, reaching into his back pocket for his wallet. “What do you want on yours, Chaplain?”

            “Um…mustard.”

            “One mustard dog. And one chilidog.” He paid the man and walked over to the nearest picnic table where he invited her to sit with an almost imperceptible nod.

            “Thank you.” Lindsey accepted the hotdog and peeled back the wrapper.

            “For what?”

            “For lunch. For meeting me.”

            He removed his cover and set it aside. She followed suit. The late May sun beat down on their heads.  The temperature was pleasant unlike the atmosphere. 

            Unwrapping his chilidog, he attacked it with a plastic spork. She hoped he had a cast iron stomach because what she had to say wasn’t going to sit well on top of that spicy chili con carne.  “You didn’t leave me much choice, Chaplain.”

            Lindsey surveyed the almost deserted pier, populated by the occasional passing sailor or civilian shipyard worker. The Captain couldn’t possibly have taken her seriously. “I guess not,” she agreed, taking a bite of her dog.

            “After three days of phone messages,” he said, “I thought it was time we resolved our lovers spat.”

            The way he emphasized lovers made her blush like a teenager. She dropped her gaze to the weathered wood between them.

            “That is what you have my crew believing, Chaplain. It stops right here. No more phone calls.”

            “I’m sure your crew wouldn’t dare believe anything other than what you tell them.” She reached into the pocket of her khaki skirt and handed him the folded piece of paper. “I just wanted to return this.”

            He hesitated only a moment before taking it from her. As he did, his scowl deepened.

            “I didn’t read it,” she reassured him. “Not intentionally, anyway.”

            There was skepticism in his green eyes as he unbuttoned the breast pocket of his khaki uniform, stuffed the paper inside and buttoned the shirt again in one efficient movement.

            “However,” she continued. “I think it’s only fair to tell you Admiral Dunning called after you left.”

            “I see,” he said in clipped tones. “And what did you tell the Admiral?”

            “Nothing.”

            “Good girl.” He nodded his approval.

            Lindsey bristled. “Don’t patronize me, Captain. You may out rank me, you may even think me a naive and lowly lieutenant—”

            “But?” he prompted.

            This was supposed to be the Captain’s wake up call and she was here to deliver that message. “I’m all that stands between you and losing command of your ship.”

 

Buy here:  Amazon   BN   JUST 99¢ Don’t miss out!!

Happy reading! Don’t forget to CELEBRATE! life and love, every day.

Deb

 

Why Happy Endings Matter

The news this week has been heartbreaking.

Two faces of our time.

images   cory-monteith-320

 

Too young, two dead.

Lost to gun violence and drugs. Futures ended. Families, loved ones, communities devastated.

I want to turn back the clock and do something to change this reality. Send Trayvon in a different direction. Give him a couple of buddies to walk with. Distract his killer with something positive and useful. I want Corey to wake up that morning feeling strong and empowered, in control of his addiction demons. I’d have his beautiful girlfriend show up unexpectedly, and they’d realize that “Why, yes! Today would be a great day to elope!”

And I can do that…because I’m a writer who believes in happy endings. Apparently, I crave them.

When I started writing my Screw Senility series, I had no intention of ending it with Judy Banger in a wedding dress. H.E. Double-toothpicks No! (If you’ve read any of this series, you know the language is…um…colorful.) I reveled in the fun and liberty of writing a heroine who wasn’t constantly worrying about what her hero would think. Judy was a rebel. She didn’t need no stinking hero. 😉

But as I got to know her better, I realized she might not NEED a hero–a partner, a soul-mate, but she wanted one. And when an interesting hero-type showed up–much to my surprise!–I began to believe that maybe–just maybe–she’d get her HEA (happily-ever-after). I didn’t realize until the Black Moment how strong Judy was and how much was resting on her hero (the Judge) stepping up to do the right thing. (Which thanks to Judy, he now had a clear understanding of what the Right Thing involved.)

I do realize that real life doesn’t offer a convenient editing option. I can’t undo the pain and sadness so many people–the famous or the not-so-famous–must deal with every day. But, I can make things turn out right in my books, and when you’re reading this series I hope you’ll chuckle, cringe, laugh out loud, blush and…finally, sigh contentedly. All will never be right with the world, but things in Judy Banger’s world are lookin’ pretty darn happy.

Big Bang! Theory

Here are links for KINDLE and NOOK. (iTunes will up shortly on my website).

Did the last book you read end happily? Have you ever re-written a story in your head when it ended poorly? Oh, come on, surely you didn’t let Kevin Costner get on that damn boat in Message In A Bottle, did you? Did you?

Deb