Saturday, April 20, 2013

SHELLY LAURENSTON'S "PRIDE STORIES" SERIES--Sexy Shifters--Fabulous, Furry, Fun--Romance That Roars!

Wolf with Benefits (Pride, #8)

WOLF WITH BENEFITS  by Shelly Laurenston

Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

Bear Meets Girl (Pride, #7)

BEAR MEETS GIRL by Shelly Laurenston

Lou Crushek is a reasonable, mellow, easygoing kind of guy—especially for a shapeshifting bear. But once someone starts killing the scumbags he works so hard to bust, that really gets under his fur. Especially when that someone is a curvy she -- tiger who's bringing his passion out of hibernation...

Marcella Malone is a member of an elite feline protection unit, and Crush is proving one major pain in her gorgeous tail. The only reason she's joined forces with him is to track down the wealthy human who's got her entire species in his ruthless sights. But there's no denying that beneath that big, burly exterior is a man who knows how to rub her in all the right ways...

 The Mane Event (Pride, #1)

THE MANE EVENT  by Shelly Laurenston


How come all the good-looking ones are insane? That's what runs through NYPD cop Desiree "Dez" MacDermot's mind the minute she hooks up again with her childhood buddy, Mace Llewellyn. It isn't just the way he stares at her with those too-sexy gold eyes-as if he could devour her on the spot. Or the six-four, built-like-a-Navy Seal bod-o-death. It isn't even that he sniffs her neck and purrs, making her entire body tingle. It's more about that disconcerting, shifting-from-man-to-lion thing that unhinges her…and makes her want more. Mace likes making Dez crazy. In fact, he likes her any way he can get her-in bed, on the desk, here, now, again. Together, they'd always been trouble, but Dez has no idea just how good trouble can feel…


Brendon Shaw, hotel owner and lion shifter, has seen better days. He's been beaten, had a gun to the back of his head, and had to be rescued by a Pack of shape-shifting wolves. He didn't think he'd survive the night, much less find the woman of his dreams. And he never thought the woman of his dreams would have a Tennessee accent and wear cowboy boots. Once he sets his sights on her, the predator in him is ready to pounce and never let go. Ronnie Lee Reed is ready to change her life, and New York City is the place where any girl-even one who runs with a Pack-can redefine herself. First order of business: find a mate, settle down, and stop using men for sex. Even big, gorgeous, lion-shifting, oh-my-what-big-um-paws-you-have men. Then again…

The Beast in Him (Pride, #2)

THE BEAST IN HIM  by Shelly Laurenston

Some things are so worth waiting for. Like the moment when Jessica Ward "accidentally" bumps into Bobby Ray Smith and shows him just how far she's come since high school. Back then, Jess's gangly limbs and bruised heart turn to jelly any time Smitty's "all the better to ravish you with" body came near her. So, some things haven't changed. Except now Jess is a success on her own terms. And she can enjoy a romp-or twenty-with a big, bad wolf and walk away. Easy.

The sexy, polished CEO who hires Smitty's security firm might be a million miles from the loveable geek he knew, but her kiss, her touch, is every bit as hot as he imagined. Jess was never the kind to ask for help, and she doesn't want it now, not even with someone targeting her Pack. But Smitty's not going to turn tail and run. Not before proving that their sheet-scorching animal lust is only the start of something even wilder…

The Mane Attraction (Pride, #3)

THE MANE ATTRACTION  by Shelly Laurenston

Weddings have the strangest effect on people. How else to explain the fact that Sissy Mae Smith woke up in Mitch Shaw's bed the morning after her brother Bobby Ray tied the knot? Or that gunmen are trying to kill Mitch, and Sissy Mae now has to escort a bleeding, stubborn, yet still incredibly sexy lion shifter to her Tennessee Pack's turf to keep him safe? It doesn't help that Mitch's appraising gaze makes her feel like the most desirable creature on earth, or that the ultimate stray cat is suddenly acting all kinds of possessive...

Mitch is an undercover cop who's about to testify against some dangerous ex-associates. Even more worrisome, he's harboring hot, X-rated fantasies about the fast-talking little canine-and he has to deal with every male in Sissy Mae's Pack sniffing around her in a way that makes his hackles rise.. Mitch has his pride, and he intends to show Sissy Mae that when a lion sets out to make you his mate, the only thing to do is purr, roll over, and enjoy one hell of a ride...

 The Mane Squeeze (Pride, #4)

THE MANE SQUEEZE  by Shelly Laurenston

Growing up on the tough Philly streets, Gwen O'Neill has learned how to fend for herself. But what is she supposed to do with a nice, suburban Jersey boy in the form of a massive Grizzly shifter? Especially one with a rather unhealthy fetish for honey, moose, and…uh…well, her. Yet despite his menacing ursine growl and four-inch claws, Gwen finds Lachlan "Lock" MacRyrie cute and really sweet. He actually watches out for her, protects her, and unlike the rest of her out-of-control family manages not to morbidly embarrass her. Too bad cats don't believe in forever.

At nearly seven feet tall, Lock is used to people responding to him in two ways: screaming and running away. Gwen-half lioness, half tigress, all kick-ass-does neither. She's sexy beyond belief and smart as hell, but she's a born protector. Watching out for the family and friends closest to her but missing the fact that she's being stalked by a murderous enemy who doesn't like hybrids…and absolutely hates Gwen. Lock probably shouldn't get involved, but he will. Why? Because this is Gwen-and no matter what the hissing, roaring, drape destroying feline says about not being ready to settle down, Lock knows he can't simply walk away. Not when she's come to mean absolutely everything to him...

Beast Behaving Badly (Pride, #5)

BEAST BEHAVING BADLY  by Shelly Laurenston

Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can't get the smooth-talking shifter out of her head. Now he's shadowing her in New York-all seven-plus feet of him-determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is...

Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it's good advice, but he can't leave Blayne be. Blame it on her sweet sexiness -- or his hunch that there's more to this little wolfdog than meets the eye. Blayne has depths he hasn't yet begun to fathom -- much as he'd like to. She may insist Bo's nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she'll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal instinct tells him it'll be worth the wait...

 Big Bad Beast (Pride, #6)

BIG BAD BEAST  by Shelly Laurenston

When it comes to following her instincts, former Marine Dee-Ann Smith never holds back. And this deadly member of a shifter protection group will do anything to prove one of her own kind is having hybrids captured for dogfights. Trouble is, her too-cute rich-boy boss Ric Van Holtz insists on helping out. And his crazy-like-a-fox smarts and charming persistence are making it real hard for Dee to keep her heart safe...

Ric can't believe his luck. He's wanted this fiercely-independent she-wolf from day one, but he never expected teamwork as explosive as this. And now is his last chance to show Dee what she needs isn't some in-your-face Alpha male-but a wily, resourceful wolf who'll always have her back in a fight…and between the sheets.


Originally from Long Island, New York, Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living, which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should. Shelly is also the New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info about Shelly’s books go to Or to check out G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons go to

Saturday, April 13, 2013

SKILLET COOKERY--delicious ways to use a favorite kitchen essential--SKILLET RECIPES--Simple, Sweet, Savory, Soulful & Satisfying--plus a skillet folk tale!

I have several favorite dishes that I make with pork & onions. Pork chops fried with onions–make a wonderful gravy from the pan “drippings”–serve with rice or mashed potates, and you must add green beans. Boneless pork spareribs & big sliced onion browned in a big, deep, heavy skillet. When well-browned, add a generous amount of homemade BBQ sauce, set heat to low and cover. Cook on top of stove until meat is fork-tender and falls apart. Serve with buttery cornbread and “cheesey” mashed potates. Add green beans for “health & color”. Spareribs & Sauerkraut: Brown boneless pork spareribs in a large, deep skillet. When well-browned add one large can sauerkraut, one large chopped onion, one or two chopped apples, a generous amount of brown sugar, and a good sprinkle of caraway seeds. Add some water to the sauerkraut can, swirl it a bit, and then add the water to the skillet mixture. Stir carefully to combine. Set heat to low, cover pan, and cook until meat is fork-tender. If additional liquid is needed during cooking, add more water. For more flavor add apple juice–wonderful in cooked sauerkraut. Serve with buttery hot bread, boiled potatoes & green beans. 

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Sauce 

1 cup honey; 1/2 cup molasses; two 8-oz. cans tomato sauce; 1/4 cup vinegar; 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce; 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; 1 large sweet red onion, peeled and minced; 2 cloves garlic peeled and minced; 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a medium pan, start sauce by honey, molasses, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and peppers. In a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender and translucent, then add to the sauce and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 7 minutes.

Savory Southern-Style Green Beans & Potatoes

1/2 lb. bacon, uncooked, cut in bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
3 cups (approximately) of fresh or frozen cut green beans,
2 medium red potatoes, unpeeled, medium-diced
Chicken stock, to cover
1 tsp. sugar salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

If using fresh green beans, remove the ends and snap in half or cut; rinse and set aside. Add the bacon directly into a Dutch Oven and cook over low heat until it begins to brown. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring occasionally. If using fresh or frozen beans, saute them in the cooked bacon and onion for a bit first, and then add the potatoes to the beans. Pour over enough chicken broth to cover. Add sugar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let them low for 20 minutes, or until potatoes and beans are tender.

Savory Beef Bake

In an oven-proof Dutch Oven, brown two pounds beef tips (or cubes of sirloin or top round steak) and one large sliced onion in a small amount of olive oil. Lightly season with salt, black pepper and garlic salt. Brown well over low heat, stirring now and then to keep from sticking. When beef is evenly browned, add one cup of water to hot pan to deglaze the juices and small brown bits. Stir in one 14 oz can of beef broth and one cup of good red wine. Add several bay leaves. Cover and bake at 350 F for at least one hour, until beef is fork-tender. Add more liquid (water, broth, or wine) as needed to keep meat from drying out. Remove bay leaves before serving.  

Guilty Pasta:

Boil one pound of spaghetti or linguine until "al dente" or almost done. Drain pasta well, return to pot and cover to keep warm. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, melt together over low heat 1 stick of real butter and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Toss in one pound cleaned, peeled, deveined medium shrimp and four smashed, peeled, chopped garlic cloves (or sprinkle liberally with California-style garlic salt, which contains dried parsley). Cook just until shrimp is nicely pink and done, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta and combine until mixed well and pasta is coated with butter. Stir in two cups grated Parmesan cheese and mix well. If desired, add a touch of freshly grated black pepper. Serve immediately. Accompany pasta dish with a basic romaine, tomato, onion salad topped with a vinaigrette dressing, real bacon and chunky croutons. Add some hot, fresh Italian or French bread to wipe the plates! Serve with a very well-chilled white or blush wine. Later, much later, a dessert sampler tray with fruit, cheesecake, and lots of assorted wicked chocolates. Served with hot, rich coffee. Much, much the leftovers!!!


1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (14-1/2 oz.) can pork & beans
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp. steak sauce
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Brown beef with onion and green pepper in a 12" skillet; drain. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Delicious as a main dish served with grilled Texas Toast. Leftovers make great hot dog chili.  

Savory Corn Cakes
1 cup yellow cornmeal;  1/2 cup all purpose flour;  1 teaspoon salt  3/4 teaspoon baking soda; 1/3 teaspoon ground pepper;  2 teaspoon sugar;  2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled;  1 large egg;  1 cup buttermilk;  1 cup fresh corn kernels (frozen or canned would also work);  1/4 cup diced scallions, white parts only (reserve tops for garnish); 1/2 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced;  1 1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese;  2-3 tablespoons olive oil for cooking
garnish: sour cream, cooked crumbled bacon, finely sliced green onion tops, ripe tomato slices

In a large bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda, pepper and sugar. Set aside. In a small bowl combine the melted butter, egg and buttermilk. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute the scallions, jalapeno and corn kernels until cooked through, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add the corn mixture to the bowl with the buttermilk. Stir in the Monterey Jack cheese. Add the contents of this bowl to the larger bowl with the flour mixture. Stir until the batter is just combined. Carefully wipe down the large skillet you used for the scallions with a damp paper towel. Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, swirling the oil around to coat the entire pan. Drop the batter onto the skillet 1/4 cup at a time, cooking 2-3 minutes on each side or until the cakes are golden brown. Add more olive oil between batches, if needed. Transfer finished cakes to a paper-towel lined plate and continue cooking the rest of the cakes. Serve warm, topped with sour cream, crumbled cooked bacon, finely sliced green onion tops, and ripe tomato slices.

Summer Squash Skillet
1 tablespoon olive oil; ½ cup chopped onion, yellow or red; 3 cloves garlic, finely minced; 3 medium zucchini, medium-sliced;  3 medium yellow squash, medium-sliced;  2-3 ripe yellow or red tomatoes, chopped; 1 teaspoon sugar; salt & pepper to taste; 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil until the onions being to turn translucent, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn, about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash, tossing well with the olive oil mixture. Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking and stirring about 2 to 3 minutes until the zucchini and squash are tender and the tomatoes have softened. Toss the hot mixture with the Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Texas Skillet Cobbler

1 stick (1/2 cup) real butter; 1 can favorite fruit pie filling; 1/3 cup sugar;  1 1/2 cups self-rising flour; 1 cup sugar; 1 cup buttermilk

Melt butter over low heat in a 10-inch cast iron skillet; remove from heat. Spoon pie filling evenly over butter and sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar. Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, and buttermilk in a bowl. Pour evenly over mixture in skillet. Bake in 350° oven for 25 minutes, or until browned. Leave skillet in oven after heat is turned off, until topping is crusty. Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.


“Granny” Tate was an eccentric little country lady who lived off the beaten path and grew wonderful vegetables, fruit and flowers. She was wise in the ways of herbs and plants and also kept honey bees. She sold her wares at the local farmer’s market, but some who knew where she lived would just stop by her house and “go shopping”. Granny Tate also canned her produce and honey, and she usually made several quilts a year to sell. When the local sheriff started receiving calls from Granny about a prowler, he paid a duty call and told her it was probably a bear after the honeycombs. He had always thought that Granny took a nip now and then, and probably made her own “Mountain Dew”. Finally, she called and said that there was a dead man on her back porch, and she needed him removed. What the sheriff found was a live man with a large lump on his head, and one angry Granny. Southern women wield a mean skillet and rolling pin, and Granny was no exception. What made her so mad was that she had used her favorite old black cast iron skillet, which had become thin on the bottom from long-time use. When she whacked the prowler on the head, it broke her prized skillet! Everyone looked at Granny with new respect. The sheriff searched high and low until he found her a good used skillet…blackened and “seasoned” just right. In return, she sent him off with a basket of preserves and home-canned goods and a large chunk of honey-on-the-comb.

“Honey, you’ll love this coffee cake!”---One sweet way to use a skillet!


•2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
•1/2 cup light brown sugar
•1/2 cup honey
•2 large eggs
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•3/4 cup sour cream
•2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
•1 1/2 tsp baking powder


•1/2 cup all purpose flour
•3/4 cup light brown sugar
•1 tsp ground cinnamon
•3/4 stick chilled butter, cut into 4 pieces
•1 cup chopped walnuts

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

For the cake: Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and honey and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Blend in vanilla and sour cream. With a rubber spatula, fold in flour and baking powder until completely blended. Generously butter a cast iron skillet and spread the batter evenly in the pan.

For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and chilled butter with your fingers until well blended. Sprinkle evenly over the cake batter. Sprinkle with walnuts over the top. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes (mine took just a few minutes longer).  Serve warm.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

LET'S DO BRUNCH!--family, friends, food, fun--shake off your wintertime woes!

Let's do brunch! I am ready to celebrate the arrival of Spring! Let's get together and share our love of some of the finer things in life--food, friends, fiction and fun! We'll have a terrific variety of tempting treats that are easy to make and even easier to eat and enjoy.

I'll put on some easy listening and light jazz--Harry Connick, Jr; Norah Jones; Tony Bennett; Diana Krall; and Michael Buble'. Some nicely scented candles will provide aromatherapy along with the bunches of fresh cut flowers. Casual dress--relax and be yourself. Bring a favorite book along, and tell us why it's a favorite. Read a special passage or line from the book--don't be shy! Be sure to attend--bring a book and bring a friend. There's no telling when this party will end!


1 (6 ounce) package. chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash salt

Melt chocolate chips and butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Cook stirring constantly about 5 minutes until mixture is hot and slightly thickened. Keep warm in fondue pot while serving. If mixture thickens too much, add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until at a dipping consistency. May also be used as ice cream topping. Serve with assorted dippers. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Cubed pound or angel food cake
Fresh strawberries
Pineapple chunks
Apple wedges
Maraschino cherries (with stems)


One gallon lemonade
3 cups frozen mixed berries
if desired, sugar to taste

Place berries in a blender, and add enough lemonade to cover fruit. Puree until blended. Combine puree and remaining lemonade in a large serving pitcher. If desired, add sugar to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir well before serving.


1 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar for topping

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture (the dough will be soft). Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-8 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool. Place on a serving plate and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.


2 cups cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and chilled
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Romaine lettuce or mixed greens
thinly sliced tomatoes
avocado slices
lemon wedges

In a medium bowl, mix shrimp with celery, onion, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste. Chill well. Serve on individual salad plates on a bed of romaine lettuce. Garnish each plate with tomato and avocado slices and a lemon wedge.


1/2 pound elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Cook the macaroni according to package directions (do not overcook). Drain and set aside. Spray four 12 cup mini-muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray (if you only have one mini-muffin pan just repeat the steps until finished). In a large saucepan melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking and whisking for 5 minutes. Add both cheeses and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in egg and paprika. Add macaroni to pan and stir with a large spoon to combine. Spoon macaroni into the muffin cups in slightly rounded tablespoons, gently pressing them into the cups. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden, careful not to overbake. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Gently loosen each mini mac from the cups using a butter knife, then lift from pan. Serve warm.


6 mini bagels, split
1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing
3/4 cup drained sauerkraut
1/4 pound thinly sliced deli-style corned beef
4 large slices of Swiss cheese, each cut into 6 pieces
12 dill pickle slices

Heat broiler. Place mini bagel halves onto ungreased baking sheet, cut-side up. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until bagels are lightly toasted (1 to 2 minutes). Spread 1 teaspoon dressing onto toasted-side of bagels. Divide corned beef evenly among bagel halves. Top each with 1 tablespoon sauerkraut and 2 pieces cheese. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until cheese is melted (1 to 2 minutes). Garnish each appetizer with 1 slice pickle; secure with toothpick. Serve warm.

Friday, April 5, 2013

"ROCKIN' RECIPES"--Each recipe takes a favorite ingredient and uses it in an unexpected variation. The result is a lot of flavor without a lot of extra effort.

Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

2 pints (4 cups) chicken salad (homemade or premium deli)
6 to 8 firm, ripe medium tomatoes
lettuce leaves for garnish
hard-boiled egg wedges for garnish

Place a couple of lettuce leaves on each serving plate for garnish. Top each bed of lettuce with one tomato that has been quartered but not cut entirely through to form a cup for the chicken salad. Scoop chicken salad into the tomato cups. Add a couple of hard-boiled egg wedges to each plate for garnish.

Creamy Roquefort Dip & Fresh Vegetable Platter

1 medium clove garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. Roquefort cheese
1 pint sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
assorted fresh vegetables such as yellow, green, and red bell pepper strips; yellow and red grape or cherry tomatoes; celery, carrots, and green onions; radishes; broccoli and cauliflower florets
toasted baguette slices; baked pita triangles; assorted savory crackers and breadsticks

In a medium bowl, mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Add the Roquefort cheese, roughly mashing the cheese with the back of a spoon. Stir in the sour cream and several grinds of pepper, and then add the cream until the consistency is slightly thinner than sour cream. (It should cling to the vegetables nicely but not be too thick) Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Refrigerate until shortly before serving. (The dip will thicken in the refrigerator but will return to its original consistency as it comes to room temperature.) Wash and drain vegetables and allow to dry on paper towels. Cut larger vegetables into long thin strips. On a large platter, place bowl of dip in center and surround with prepared vegetables. Serve with crispy breads and crackers.

Carrot Cake Cuties

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup shredded carrots
powdered sugar

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in large bowl. Add undrained pineapple, eggs, butter, raisins and carrots; stir until just blended. Spoon evenly into 36 mini-muffin cups sprayed with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Bake at 375°F., 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans onto wire rack to cool. Before serving, sprinkle muffins lightly with powdered sugar.

Quick Coconut-Almond Macaroons

2 packages (7 ounces each) flaked coconut (about 4 cups)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix coconut, sweetened condensed milk and almond extract in large bowl. Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto greased baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Immediately remove from baking sheets to wire racks; cool completely.

Buttery Baked Shrimp & Bread

2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, rinsed, drained
1 16oz bottle Italian dressing (oily style, not creamy)
1 stick real butter, sliced
1 long loaf French bread, halved lengthwise & cut in wedges for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread shrimp evenly in a 13in X 9in baking dish. Cover shrimp with Italian dressing and dot with butter slices. Bake for about 10 minutes, until shrimp are no longer gray. Serve immediately with bread wedges for dipping.  Mix pretzel crumbs, sugar and butter; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to fill. Mix next 3 ingredients in large bowl. Gently fold in 2-1/2 cups whipped topping; pour into crust. Freeze 6 hours. Remove from freezer 15 min. before serving; let stand at room temperature until slightly softened. Top with remaining whipped topping and grated lime peel.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Savory Dip

4 or 5 Medium Sweet Potatoes
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
seasoned salt
ranch dressing or French onion dip

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Cut in half lengthwise, cut each half into 1/4” thick slices. Pour olive oil into a large bowl. Place the fries in the bowl with the oil and toss until all fries are thoroughly coated. Spread the fries out on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle fries lightly and evenly with seasoned salt. Bake for 30 minutes, turning half way through. Serve with ranch dressing or French onion dip.

Cake Mix Cookies

1 (2 layer size) cake mix, your favorite flavor
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup of one or two of the following: chocolate or other baking chips, mini candy-coated chocolates, nuts, coconut

Combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a bowl and mix well. Stir in chips and/or other add-ins, if using. Drop by teaspoons onto a nonstick cookie sheet or regular baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Upon removing from oven, let the cookies stand on sheet for two minutes, then cool on racks.

Bodacious Beef Brisket

1 jar (16 ounces) chunky-style salsa or picante sauce
2 cups water
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 trimmed beef brisket (3 to 4 pounds)

Stir the salsa or picante sauce, water, molasses, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire and onion together in a 5-quart slow cooker. Add the beef, trimming to fit, if needed, and turn to coat. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours, or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender.

Margarita Pie with Pretzel Crust

1-1/4 cups crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
**1/2 cup lime juice
1 envelope. Lemon Lime Unsweetened Soft Drink Mix
1 tub (8 oz.) nondairy whipped topping, thawed, divided
**use a fresh lime for juice; finely grate lime peel for garnish before cutting and squeezing lime for juice

Mix pretzel crumbs, sugar and butter; press onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to fill. Mix next 3 ingredients in large bowl. Gently fold in 2-1/2 cups whipped topping; pour into crust. Freeze 6 hours. Remove from freezer 15 min. before serving; let stand at room temperature until slightly softened. Top with remaining whipped topping and grated lime peel.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Author Tory Richards--aka Debbie Wallace--a lively, curious mind, great sense of humor, and a big heart make a fabulous storyteller!

Author Tory Richards is a fun-loving grandma who also writes as Debbie Wallace. Whether writing a sweet & spicy love story, or a steamy, sensual romance, she always captures her reader's attention! Born in 1955 in the small town of Milo, Maine, she's lived most of her life in Florida. Today she lives with her daughter and her family. She has her own woman-cave which she shares with four felines whose main goal in life is getting as much cat hair on everything that they can. In addition to being a proud mother and grandmother, she is a devoted animal lover and a Sci-Fi fanatic.

Penning stories by hand and then on manual typewriter at the age of thirteen, Tory was a closet writer until the encouragement of her family prompted her into submitting to a publisher. She's been published since 2005, and has since retired from Disney to focus on family and writing.

Visit her website/blog here:

contact her at:

Her blog site Romance with an Attitude often packs an entertaining punch!

Read more about some of her top-selling titles: All The Right Moves , The Cowboy Way,  Someone to Love , The Mercenary Way, and The Promise .  

Take a look at "The Evans Brothers" trilogy:

A little background on the Evans brothers. Beau, Blade and Chaz are identical triplets who divide their time between running the family ranch, and running Evans Security. Big, rugged Texans, they know what they want, and they usually get it!

A Perfect Fit

An ex-Texas Ranger turned bodyguard is hired to protect a beautiful plus-size model from a possible serial killer! They mix like oil and water but in bed, their uncontrolled passion ignites an inferno! Can their passion for one another turn into love? 

COMING 4-15-13:



This is the second installment of "The Evans Brothers" trilogy. You read Beau and Marissa's sizzling romance in "A Perfect Fit"--this second book is Blade and Callie's story.

If you read A Perfect Fit then you know the three brothers are identical triplets! 

Next up...Chaz and Val's story!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

LADIES IN scarlet-gowned heroines in a variety of reds & reads

  A Rogue By Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1)  

A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME  by Sarah MacLean--The rogue in question, Michael, Marquess of Bourne, once lost everything with the turn of one card. Over the next decade, he not only recovers his losses, but increases his fortune many times over. Now one of four partners in an exclusive gaming hell called "The Fallen Angel", he is very much like a fallen angel being driven a burning need for vengeance. Marriage to his childhood friend, Lady Penelope Marbury, will help him to achieve his primary goal: regaining the land that was his inheritance and getting revenge on the man who took it from him. Even though she suffered the embarrassment and disappointment of a very public broken engagement, Penelope is still not willing to settle for a "suitable" marriage. She wants more--much more! A tortured hero, greatly in need of redemption, and a wonderful, spirited heroine make for a very satisfying and rewarding romance read. You will fall in love with Michael and Penelope, just as they fall so deeply in love with each other. A must read for devoted lovers of historical romance! 

 Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)  

GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers--Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

 The Price of Temptation 

THE PRICE OF TEMPTATION by Lecia Cornwall--Lady Evelyn Renshaw can ignore the disgrace her former husband has brought down upon her. She can even disregard the accusations. But when her life is threatened because of his actions, she realizes a stiff upper lip won’t be enough to keep her safe. So she hires a new footman powerful enough to protect her . . . only to find herself shamelessly intoxicated by his breathtaking masculinity. Captain Sinjon Rutherford is no footman . . . but there are those who believe him a traitor. The only way to prove his innocence is by playing the part of elegant Lady Evelyn’s servant in order to infiltrate her home and uncover the truth about her suspicious relations. Yet what seems at first an easy deception is anything but, once he meets his alluring new employer and discovers just how tempting a woman in charge can be . . . because sometimes passion hides in plain sight.

 The Deed (Deed, #1) 

THE DEED by Lynsay Sands--Lady Emmalene Eberhart, an innocent young beauty, finds herself the fulcrum of a struggle for feudal power. Along with her ample dowry, Emma finds herself promised to Amaury de Aneford, a landless knight whose able sword has preserved the King's crown-and whose rugged good looks make her heart skip a beat. Amaury de Aneford is willing to marry solely for the purpose of obtaining a home - the most important thing to him. Little did he realize the wife he was gaining would steal his heart.

 The Lightkeeper's Ball (Mercy Falls, #3) 

THE LIGHTKEEPER'S BALL  by Colleen Coble--It is the dawn of a new century and Olivia Stewart is heiress to an empire. Her family numbers among the Four Hundred-those considered the wealthiest and most distinquished in America. Unfortunately their wealth has nearly disappeared, and now their security rests upon the Stewart daughters' marrying well. Olivia's sister, Eleanor, was engaged to Harrison Bennett, one of the nation's wealthiest men, but has since died. Now the pressure is on Olivia to take her place, despite her suspicions about Eleanor's fiance. Using her family's long-forgotten English title, Olivia travels to Mercy Falls, California, as Lady Devonworth, hoping to learn more before committing to marriage. There she finds that Eleanor's death was no accident. And Harrison is not the man she thought he would be. When Mercy Falls holds a charity masquerade ball to raise funds for the new lighthouse, secrets-and truths long hidden-will be revealed. But can Harrison really love Olivia when he finds her true identity?

   Redeeming Love

REDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers--California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep. Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside. Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.

  The Devil's Temptress 

THE DEVIL'S TEMPTRESS by Laura Navarre--A superbly told tale of medieval political intrigue and the two passionate lovers caught in the court's spidery web. Alienore of Lyonstone is the personal scribe and favored lady-in-waiting of Eleanor of Aquitane, the displaced wife of Henry Plantagenet, King of England. Secretly trained in the skills of a knight of battle, Alienore takes up the cause of women she believes to have been wronged. She meets her match on the battlefield in the form of a mysterious dark knight known as the "Raven". Scarred inside and out, the Raven uses his position as master-at-arms to cloak his hidden agendas. Is the black knight honorable, or is he the Devil in human form? Should Alienore give in to the powerful longings created by the Raven's tough and tender manner? Will he give his heart, something he has vowed never to do again? Ms. Navarre spins this enthralling romantic tale with great skill and historical detail. "The Devil's Temptress" is a very involving adventure which is also richly characterized. Highly recommended!    

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Once Tempted"--Book One in author Laura Moore's exciting "Silver Creek" contemporary western romance series!

Once Tempted (Silver Creek, #1)

ONCE TEMPTED  by Laura Moore

Sweeping passions, family drama, and searing scandal play out at the magnificent Silver Creek Ranch as the heirs to a powerful dynasty seize their legacy of love.

Oldest son Ward Knowles feels the sprawling California ranch in his blood. And now that the family business has expanded to include a popular resort, he’s working harder than ever. Silver Creek is his legacy and his life, which is fine for the ruggedly sexy ladies’ man and committed bachelor. Love and trust don’t come easily for Ward since he lost his heart to a gold digger—until he meets a shy, unpretentious beauty whose sweet grace is about to turn his jaded heart into a hungry one.

Tess Casari has found sanctuary at Silver Creek, working as an assistant to Ward’s mother, Adele. Grateful for her busy new life running the ranch’s spa and resort, Tess can escape the heartbreak, humiliation, and secret shame of her failed marriage. The last thing she needs is temptation—especially from a man who reminds her so much of the husband who shattered her faith in love. But passion and destiny are about to change the rules for two people who have stopped believing in the healing power of love.


The Rosewood Trilogy is a touching romantic saga featuring three sisters, Jordan, Margot, and Jade Radcliffe, and how they come together to save the horse breeding farm and magnificent Virginia estate that’s been in their family for generations. 

Trouble Me by Laura Moore  TROUBLE ME  by Laura Moore

The youngest and wildest of the Radcliffe sisters, Jade is the last to return home to her family's sprawling Virginia horse farm and its unsettling memories. She never planned on a night of passion with a stranger before starting her new life as a teacher and riding instructor--or the shock of recognizing the man who gave her so much pleasure standing in her classroom.
Officer Rob Cooper is stunned. Not only is the woman who rocked his world his daughter's second grade teacher, she's the troubled teen whom he blames for his wife's death years ago.  Worse, he wants her more than ever in the light of day.  Time has softened Jade's hard, rebellious edge--she's spirited, honest, and sexy to distraction.  But will the feelings ignited in the heat of desire be enough to heal a past that needs forgiving?

Believe in Me by Laura Moore  BELIEVE IN ME  by Laura Moore 


After learning of her husband’s affair, Jordan Radcliffe is crushed, but she knows she must stay strong for her three young children. So she moves back to Rosewood, the idyllic horse farm where she grew up. Wishing only to recover and reassess her life, Jordan feels an undeniable attraction to architect Owen Gage—and does her best to ignore it. Her heart is too fragile to love again.
Yet when Owen, who himself is wary of any romantic involvement, offers her a job she badly needs, Jordan has no choice but to accept, even though it means she’ll be working alongside him every day. And that closeness could intensify the connection between them—a desire as unnerving as it is powerful. 

Remember Me by Laura Moore  REMEMBER ME  by Laura Moore


A rising star in the modeling world, Margot Radcliffe hasn’t forgotten the hurt that sent her running from Rosewood, the beautiful Virginia horse farm where she was raised. Travis Maher, a ruggedly handsome rebel and gifted horse trainer with a hard-knock past, had once captured Margot’s heart—only to break it.
But when tragedy strikes her family, Margot is forced to set aside her skyrocketing career and return to a place she never expected to see again, where the legs that everyone admires belong to Thoroughbreds, not super-models. Now Rosewood Farm’s success depends on Margot, and the only person she can count on for help is the very man who so ruthlessly rejected her love all those years ago.
As Margot and Travis enter an uneasy truce to save Rosewood from financial ruin, their wild natures clash and their unresolved passions for each other begin to surge. But can this hard-edged horseman find a way to express his desire for the one woman he’s ever loved before she’s lost to him forever?


"Moore fuses a love story with a tale of two people finally growing up and letting go of the past... "
4 Stars--Romantic Times

"Ms. Moore...grabs your heartstrings and takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride..."
5 stars--Night Owl Top Pick

"This story will delight horse lovers with its in-depth descriptions of raising, breeding and training horses as well as offering the human complexities of pride, honor, integrity and deep love." Nancy Lepri  Reader To Reader 5 Book Review!

"This is a heartfelt, touching story that is expertly told, and will keep you spellbound until the last chapter is complete."--The Romance Reviews

"Don't miss it!"--Fresh Fiction Reviews

  Laura Moore is also the author of In Your Eyes, Night Swimming, Chance Meeting, and Ride a Dark Horse. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two children, and one very old black Lab. One of her great thrills as a writer is to hear from readers. Learn more about Laura at