Saturday, December 6, 2014

AUTHOR MAXINE SULLIVAN—“The Australian Millionaires”—delicious contemporary romance—plus bonus recipes inspired by the sensational story lines!!!


Millionaire Brant Matthews's desire for his secretary only fully ignited when she became engaged to his business partner. Brant knew Kia was not in love with the other man and set out to discover what game she was playing. A startling request to be a "pretend fiancée" allowed Kia a respite from Brant's relentless pursuit. Surely he wouldn't seduce her believing she belonged to another man. But Kia had severely underestimated how much Brant wanted her...or the revenge he would evoke when he revealed her engagement ruse.

MY REVIEW:  In “The Millionaire’s Seductive Revenge” by Maxine Sullivan, undeniable desire is fueled by underlying need. Brant Matthews looks upon Kia Benton as a self-serving money-seeker who uses her beauty to obtain what she wants. Kia sees Brant as a seducer and user of women, reminding her of her own wayward father. The fact that Kia works for Brant’s partner, Phil, as his personal assistant only adds to Brant’s speculations about Kia. When she appears to become engaged to Phil, Brant’s anger is as raging as his desire. He wants Kia for himself, and he determines to beat her at her own game. Soon, their attraction cannot be denied, and physical want overcomes logical thought. However, Kia and Brant each have a deep longing for more than just physical intimacy. Can they find true happiness in each other’s lives? An intensely passionate and compelling love story, filled with strong romantic imagery. This is the first book in Maxine Sullivan’s “Australian Millionaires” series, and I very much look forward to continuing the series!

Here are some of the tempting and tasty treats enjoyed by Kia and Brant as their story evolves:

English Trifle

2 pkgs. ladyfingers
1/2 cup rum or brandy
12 oz. strawberry preserves
2 (3 oz.) pkgs. regular vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
4 c. whole milk
1 large can sliced peaches, drained
1 pt. blueberries*
1 pt. raspberries or strawberries*
1 pt. heavy cream
1 tbsp. rum or brandy

*reserve small amount of berries for garnish
large clear glass bowl

Line bottom of the trifle bowl with 1/2 of the ladyfingers. Sprinkle with half of rum or brandy. Prepare vanilla pudding according to package directions using 4 cups milk. Top ladyfingers with 1/2 jar strawberry preserves. After pudding is partially cooled, put 1/2 pudding on top of preserves. Add a layer of 1/2 fruit (peaches and berries). Repeat using the remaining ladyfingers, rum or brandy, strawberry preserves, vanilla pudding, and fruit. Whip the cream — adding 1/2 ounce rum — and frost the top of the trifle. Garnish with remaining berries. Refrigerate. Can be made 1day ahead.


Prawns in Cocktail Sauce

3 cups peeled, cooked prawns or shrimp
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp creamed horseradish sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
juice of one lemon or lime
2 cups torn Romaine lettuce pieces
1 lemon or lime, quartered

Combine mayonnaise, creamed horseradish, tomato ketchup, and lemon or lime juice into a mixing bowl. Stir in prawns or shrimp and combine well so that all prawns or shrimp are coated with sauce. Divide the torn lettuce pieces between 4 large wine glasses and top with the prawns and sauce. Decorate each glass with a wedge of lemon or lime.


Strawberry-Kiwi Daiquiris

1 cup sliced strawberries
1 kiwi fruit peeled and quartered
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup light rum
1/2 cup crushed ice

2 large strawberries for garnish

Blend all ingredients (except berry garnish) in blender until smooth. Serve in two tall stemmed glasses. For garnish: Make a slice across bottom of each strawberry and place on rim of each glass.


Pineapple Scones

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup butter
8 oz can crushed pineapple
3 tbsp chopped almonds

2 teaspoons milk
2 tablespoons sugar

In mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center. Stir in undrained pineapple and almonds until dry ingredients are just moistened (dough will be sticky). On lightly floured surface, knead gently 10 to 12 strokes; roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with floured 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush each scone with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake in 425F oven about 12 minutes. Serve warm with creamy whipped butter and tangy-sweet marmalade.



What better revenge for betrayal than taking possession of the betrayer's wife? Rich, powerful Flynn Donovan had devised the perfect plan. Knowing Danielle Ford would have no other means of settling her late husband's debt, Flynn called in his loan. And blackmailed her into becoming his mistress.

Then he discovered Danielle was pregnant ... with his enemy's child.

MY REVIEW:  In “The Tycoon’s Blackmailed Mistress”, the second book in Maxine Sullivan’s “Australian Millionaires”, awesome “Alpha Male” Flynn Donovan meets his match! Intending to seek revenge on the dead man who swindled him by seducing the man’s beautiful widow, Flynn is instead charmed and captivated by the lovely Danielle Ford. Fighting his attraction by continuing to remind himself that the widow is as guilty as her dead husband, Flynn cannot dismiss Danielle from his sensual imagination.

Discovering that she is pregnant by her late husband only increases his fascination, and he begins to wonder if she may be innocent of her husband’s misdeeds. Danielle is just as enthralled with Flynn, except that the last thing she wants or needs is another dominating, controlling man in her life. Her late husband brow-beat her into following his wishes, and after his death, his mother still tried to control Danielle. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Flynn must learn to let go, and Danielle must learn to accept. It’s a lover’s compromise worth the while when two hearts and true love are involved!

The “Alpha Male” is the dominant leader of the pack. They have qualities and strengths which make them “number one”! Along with all that greatness can come arrogance, a “my way is the only way” attitude, and a sometimes ornery personality. However, their fierce devotion to their loved ones, their loyalty and their innate honor all go together quite nicely to smooth the rough edges. I love big, gruff, tough men who have even bigger hearts and an inner core of compassion. I also appreciate intelligence and humor, but kindness is the essential quality. Vulnerability is sometimes the key to an alpha male. What he may consider to be his weakness is actually the inner force which makes him an alpha. Flynn Donovan is a delicious “Alpha Male”! Speaking of delicious, here are some wonderful recipes similar to the fabulous food served to Flynn and Danielle:

Grilled Salmon with Fresh Mango Salsa

4  (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
small amount light cooking oil
salt & pepper

Brush salmon fillets lightly with oil, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Prepare grill or broiler. Place salmon on grill rack or broiler pan coated with nonstick cooking spray; cook 5 minutes on each side or until salmon is done. Serve with Mango Salsa, hot fluffy rice, grilled garlic toast, and a basic green salad.

Mango Salsa:

1 mango, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or mint
Zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

Combine all salsa ingredients in a small bowl, season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, and mix well.


White Wine Sangria

1 Bottle of white wine (Riesling, Chablis, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice
3 oranges (sliced)
1 lemon (sliced)
1 lime (sliced)
1/2 liter of ginger ale
if desired, add more fruit such as sliced strawberries, peaches, fresh blueberries, raspberries, kiwi

Pour wine in a large clear glass pitcher and stir in orange juice. Add fruit and sugar. Stir well. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.


Hazelnut Fudge Parfaits

In a tall parfait glass, place one scoop of your favorite ice cream. Crumble some cookies of your choice (good way to use broken pieces), and add enough cookie pieces to cover ice cream. Top with a little Hazelnut Fudge syrup (half chocolate hazelnut spread & half hot fudge sauce, mixed well). Repeat. Top off with whipped cream, nuts, sprinkles, candy, cookie pieces…whatever you like. Just be sure to put a cherry on top :  )


Damien Trent's time for revenge was at hand. The Australian businessman had bided his time, waiting for Gabrielle Kane to return. She'd "dared" to leave his bed years ago without a word...but now she needed him if she was to save her family's company. And Damien "would" lend his help...but his price was Gabrielle's hand in marriage. With five years of waiting behind him, Damien had no plans on making this a marriage in name only.

MY REVIEW:  Maxine Sullivan brings her “Australian Millionaires” series to a close with a powerful, passionate, and poignant love story in “The Executive’s Vengeful Seduction”! While this is an extremely sexy romance read, it is also a very deeply-felt reunion of two lost lovers. Gabrielle Kane walked out on her relationship with Damien Trent, and told him not to follow her. Five years later, still smarting from her departure, Damien seizes upon a business matter involving her father’s company as a way to bring Gabrielle back into his life. Damien’s reaction to Gabrielle is immediate and intense, and he soon manipulates her into marriage as a means of helping to save her ill father’s business from her unscrupulous cousin. Gabrielle is just as affected by Damien, and she had a good reason for leaving him when they were young. She had an even better reason for staying away–a reason her cousin uses in a blackmail attempt. Sizzling sensuality, secrets, and sentiments all come together in an unforgettable love story! Highly recommended!

One of the pleasures enjoyed by Damien and Gabrielle is fabulous food–like these great recipes:

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.

Scalloped Potatoes:

Spray a 2 1/2 to 3 qt casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Place a layer of sliced potatoes in bottom of dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cover potatoes evenly with a layer of shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Repeat once or twice again. Add enough cream or whole milk to bring liquid to top of potatoes. Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350 F for at least one hour until potatoes are tender.


Sensational Seafood Salad:

1 (16 ounce) package uncooked sea shell pasta
1/4 pound bacon
1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 avocados – peeled, pitted and diced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/8  teaspoon crushed red pepper
dash of salt & pepper
4 cups leafy green lettuce, torn

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain. Rinse under cold running water to cool. Place bacon in a skillet over medium high heat, and cook until evenly brown. Drain and crumble. In a large bowl, gently toss together the pasta, bacon, shrimp, avocados, Cheddar cheese, and tomatoes. In a small bowl mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well and pour over salad, stirring to coat. Chill at least for several hours until flavors have blended. Serve salad over lettuce.


Decadent Chocolate Pudding:

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk plus one pint heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon rum
sweetened whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and chocolate sprinkles for garnish

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream, scraping the bottom and sides to blend in all the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk to prevent lumps. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, slowly add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Pour into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. To serve, remove plastic wrap and top each pudding with whipped cream. Top with sliced strawberries and chocolate sprinkles.


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