Archive for August 27, 2012

Meant To Be is NOW AVAILABLE!

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of Meant To Be, my first full length work of women’s fiction, for two years. Well, it’s finally available! Digital copies can be purchased now and print copies will be available within 4-6 weeks.

Buy now at the following retailers:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords 

AllRomanceEbooks

TurquoiseMorningPress

 

Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movies, and Marienne’s to-die-for brownies sparks a powerful bond between them. Passion simmers, but they resist its lure, surrendering only in the seclusion of their minds. Their friendship helps them weather every hardship, from divorce to widowhood, leaving them both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.

 

Want a sneak peek at an excerpt? Here you go!

 

Chapter One

Marienne watched as Daniel grabbed a bottle of Coke out of her fridge.

He unscrewed the cap and took a drink. “It’s quite difficult to understand American slang when English isn’t your native tongue.”

He continued speaking but Marienne’s mind was caught on the words native tongue. Or, more specifically, tongue. More precisely still, Daniel’s tongue. She’d always loved the sound of his voice, the expressiveness of his choice of words, but sometimes she just enjoyed watching his mouth. This was one of those times. She studied his tongue as it moved to form his words, as it licked his lips when he paused to think, as it pressed against the Coke bottle when he drank. Heat prickled through her.

Is it hot in here or is it him? She was unable to focus on the thought as once again she was mesmerized. Now it was curved upward, pressing against the back of his top teeth as he looked at her, eyes narrowed.

“Are you all right?” he asked. The concern in his voice caught her attention as did the puzzled look on his face.

“What?” She no longer remembered what they’d been discussing.

“You’re not listening to a word I say, and that’s not like you. I’ve been speaking total gibberish and you didn’t even react. Are you okay? You’re all flushed.”

She tried to think of a way to explain to her best friend that she’d been too busy obsessing to concentrate. He’s divorced. Frank’s gone. Maybe I should. Her heart galloped.

He leaned over and felt her forehead. She held her breath, dizzy from his touch. She wanted to scoot forward and kiss him, hard, on the lips, but didn’t dare to move. Thoughts of the kiss, and his tongue, flashed through her mind.

“You’re really warm.” His hand trailed to her cheek, flipping over so he could assess her with the back of his fingers. They felt cool and silky along the contours of her face and she pressed against them.

His brow furrowed. “You’ve got a fever.”

What? Her hand flew to her forehead. “Shit,” she said, as even she could feel the burning warmth.

He grabbed a glass from her cupboard and held it beneath the ice dispenser. The crystal chunks tumbled into it. “You must have finally caught whatever Ella had last weekend.” He filled it with water and handed it to her.

“Oh, God. You’re right.” Ella had come home sick from preschool three days ago and that was the standard grace period Marienne usually got before catching things from her daughter. She rested her head on the kitchen table.

****

Daniel smiled at Marienne’s whining; she was acting like Ella.

“Drink your water.” He opened another cabinet and reached for the Tylenol. He shook out two and returned the bottle to the top shelf.

“Here.” He rubbed his knuckles against the top of her hand. “Take these.”

She groaned.

“Take them.” He nudged a second time. Heat radiated from her skin. Enticing. Alluring. He shuddered, trying to shake the thoughts from his mind. “Come on now, be a good girl.”

She sat up and scowled. He smiled and dropped the tablets into her upturned hand. The backs of his fingers grazed her palm and a tingling flush rippled through him.

She stared at him, eyes defiant, then popped the pills into her mouth and took a sip of water. She flipped her head back and swallowed hard, an action that caused Daniel to gulp as well. He wanted nothing more than to swoop down and kiss her with total abandon, to feel her overheated body, to be immersed inside her.

He said the only words he could think: “Let’s get you up to bed.”

****

Four Years Earlier

Daniel Gardner hated being late. It seemed disrespectful. Like other people’s time wasn’t as important as his. He willed the train to move faster, but to his dismay it slowed to a stop. A collective groan rose from the passengers. He peered out the window. He could see the station right up ahead. What the bloody hell….

The conductor’s voice came over the PA system. “This is New Jersey Transit. Sorry folks, there’s a problem with the tracks. We should be arriving at New Brunswick station in just a few minutes.”

Daniel raked his hand through his hair. Bugger. He was already running late because so many students had questions after class. It was to be expected as it was only the first week of NYU’s summer session. He’d stayed to answer every question and had missed the earlier train by an annoying two minutes.

Normally he wouldn’t have minded, much. He’d have sat and read while waiting for the next train. His wife, Justine, was hardly ever around these days, no matter what time he got home. The grand opening of her women’s spa was only a week away, and she spent practically every waking hour there. Tonight, however, Daniel had someplace he wanted to go.

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I’m going on a blog tour!

 

I’ll be doing a virtual book tour for Meant To Be during the first week of October. Stay tuned for a list of blogs where I’ll be guest blogging and offering prizes!

 

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Guest Post by Karen Booth – Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Biscotti

It seemed appropriate that my first guest blogger should be my lovely and talented critique partner Karen Booth. Aside from having co-written the book Long-Distance Lovers, Karen and I are solo authors in two of the same anthologies. The first anthology to contain both of our short stories is Foreign Affairs. (The other is the upcoming Felt Tips Anthology, due out 12/12/12.) In honor of the smoking hot Italian man who stars in Karen’s Foreign Affairs story she’s agreed to share with us one of her fabulous recipes—Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Biscotti.

 

Italian Treats by Karen Booth

My story for the Foreign Affairs anthology stars the sigh-worthy Antonio, a sweet and terribly romantic artist living in Florence, Italy. My heroine, Liza, is in Florence forcing herself to relax while trying to decide why her career has left her unfulfilled.

One morning, Liza sees Antonio at a café. From the word go, she can’t bear to pry her eyes off him. In fact, he’s so impossible to forget that she returns to the café the next morning to see her mystery man. She sips cappuccino and watches him, imagining all manner of steamy, sweaty liaisons.

On the third morning, Antonio sits at the table next to her. Although Liza is certain she was quite discreet while spying, he makes a quip about her being there again. This throws a nervous Liza off kilter, but it starts a conversation that ultimately changes the rest of her trip in a very satisfying way.

In honor of Liza and Antonio and Italy, I’m sharing a recipe for Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Biscotti. This one is a real crowd-pleaser in my house. My hubby isn’t a big fan of super sweet desserts, one kid always wants cinnamon, the other always wants chocolate. Whip up a batch of these and cozy up with Foreign Affairs and Antonio!

 

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Biscotti

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 C sugar

2 t baking powder

¼ t salt

1 T vegetable oil

2 t vanilla extract

4 large eggs

2 t ground cinnamon

6 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

 

topping:

2 T sugar

1 t ground cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, 1 C sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine oil, vanilla and eggs and add to flour mixture, stirring until well-blended. Dough will be dry and crumbly at first. Give it a few minutes for the flour to absorb the moisture from the eggs. Fold in chocolate chips. Knead lightly 7 to 8 times. I knead mine in the bowl.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the dough to the pan. Flatten the dough into two long rolls approximately 1” thick. Most biscotti recipes suggest doing two rolls and I usually follow the rules, but I tried doing one out of laziness and it did not work as well—still yummy, but way too big.

Sprinkle the roll with cinnamon sugar topping and gently press into dough.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet—they should have cracks on top and look cooked through. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Cut rolls diagonally into 1 inch thick slides. Place the slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet.

Bake 10 minutes at 325. Turn cookies over and bake an additional 10 minutes. The cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on wire rack.

 

About the author:

Karen Booth is a Midwestern girl transplanted in the South, raised on 80s music, Judy Blume, and the films of John Hughes. When she isn’t creating dreamy fictional men, she’s listening to music with her kids, honing her Southern cooking skills, or sweet-talking her astoundingly supportive husband into whipping up a cocktail.

For further information on Karen, visit her website or check out her Amazon author page. You can also chat with Karen at Twitter.

 

 

 

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