“I’ll have the Pasta Telefono with extra mozzarella, along with a glass of the house white, please,” Charley smiled at the cute waiter. His nametag read Alfonso. Not tall, but handsome, with a sexy Italian accent. She thought she recognized the scent of Armani’s Gio for men as he walked by, but couldn’t be sure. All the waiters working at Carpaccio were gorgeous, appeared to have just walked off the pages of GQ, and spoke with yummy accents.
“Sauvignon Blanc or the Chardonnay?” he asked, leaning toward her. His skin was beautiful, not a wrinkle or blemish anywhere, just like most employees and patrons at Carpaccio.
“Is the Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand?” she asked.
He picked up and filled her water glass. “Yes, it is Cloudy Bay.”
“That’d be lovely.”
Charley and Rori were seated in a sea of beautiful, well-chiseled, surgically-enhanced South Americans and Europeans with a few loud, English-speaking New Yorkers scattered about. The restaurant was half indoors but sitting outside was preferable if you wanted to see and be seen. Watching people was the whole point of dining at Carpaccio. While the food was consistently good, the nearby luxury stores attracted an extremely wealthy international clientele. Everyone seemed to be dressed in designer fashions fresh off the runways of Paris, Milan, and New York, and there was a bountiful display of the latest in plastic surgery.
Charley had learned early on that the Shoppes in Bal Harbour were never to be referred to as a mall. She’d been getting her hair cut when she said she was going shopping at the mall in Bal Harbour. Her stylist had ever-so discreetly said, “They’re called the Shops, unless of course, you want to be seen as a tourist.” Being mistaken for a tourist was a fate worse than being seated inside and unseen.
Cindy’s favorite meal: Stone crabs. A seasonal May 15-Oct 15 South Florida delicasy
Cindy’s favorite drink: Diet peach snapple
Cindy’s favorite treat: M&Ms, plain …. for a SUPER YUMMY, Dairy Queen chocolate ice cream cake OMG!
Thanks for sharing your excerpt, Cindy!
To find out more about Cindy, visit her website here.
And remember, all comments will go into the draw for prizes at the end of the month, just make sure you also subscribe to the blog posts
FLY AWAY PETA:
The time has come to face her worst fear and the clock is ticking…
Peta Johnson will go to extreme lengths to protect her daughter Bella. When Bella is kidnapped, the search for her takes Peta back to the small country town of Williams, a place she’d vowed never to return to. The town where her dreams were shattered and her nightmare began. Back to the place she’d been destined to meet two very powerful, yet very different men. One would break her heart, the other would destroy her soul. Both would change her life forever.
Back story: Bella is missing, and Peta and Jaime have spent an uncomfortable night together, under guard, in a hotel room as they wait for demands from the kidnapper….
In the outer room of the suite, Jaime stretched his cramped muscles. A knock at the front door made him start and almost spill his coffee.
“It’s me!” He heard Mark call out and crossed over to open it.
“Special delivery! Your shaving gear,” Mark said, patting the stubble on Jaime’s jaw, “And boy do you need it! Some clean clothes and breakfast.” Triumphantly, Mark held up first the gym bag and then the brown paper bag.
Jaime shook his head. “Why the hell are you so chirpy so early in the morning?” he asked, rubbing his head. It had developed a dull thud. Probably from too much excitement the night before. He wasn’t used to being shot at, or being confronted by a past he’d been working hard to bury. Either way he was going to bleed, he thought grimly.
Mark laughed as he popped muffins into the microwave. “Go and shower. You’ll feel better.”
Jaime picked up his kit and headed in the direction of the shower. Whistling, he soaped himself and washed his hair. He allowed the warm water to rinse his body, enjoying the invigorating spray as it battered away the numbness of sleep. Turning the water off, he reached around the curtain for a towel and realized there wasn’t one.
“Damn!” he said and then yelled, “Oi Mark, bring me a towel, mate!”
He heard the door open a few seconds later and swept the curtain aside. Peta stood there, the towel slipping from her hands as she stared at Jaime, her mouth rounded in an ‘Oh!’
Quickly she looked away. “Why are you still here?” she asked abruptly. Picking up the towel with nerveless fingers she muttered, “Mark and Jones went out to get some more milk. Here’s your towel.” She thrust the towel at him. God, she remembered that body well. From the glimpse she’d gotten, he was more muscular than before, bigger even than she remembered.
Quickly, he wrapped it round his waist. “Thanks.”
Juanita’s favourite meal: A nice, juicy Prime Rib, medium rare, topped with prawns and garlic and served with creamy mashed potato and herbs
Juanita’s favourite Drink: Nespresso Coffee – preferably served by George Clooney
Juanita’s favourite Treat: Bailey’s (hold the ice), sprinkled with chocolate mint flakes
Thanks for sharing your excerpt, Juanita!
Remember, comment below to be in the draw for prizes at the end of the month, just make sure you also subscribe to the blog posts
Today I thought I’d share an excerpt from my current work in progress, FAST FORWARD. Hope you enjoy!
“You’ve got to be kidding?” I stood, rooted to the ground as Ryan tried without success to usher me towards the ‘Ben’s Bungy Jumping’ sign. What did he expect me to say, “Oh yippee, just what I’ve always wanted!”?
“I’ve booked us both in for a jump, it’s gonna be awesome!”
“You can’t be serious? There’s no way I’m going to let someone tie rope to my feet and throw me off that thing!” I pinned him with a determined stare.
“Mum, remember at your birthday dinner last year you said you wanted to do something adventurous for your next birthday?” Ryan enquired. “You said you wanted to do something different, to feel alive again.”
I shook my head at him.
“Well, you did say it, and I listened, and I’ve had this planned for ages and it’s non-refundable so you can’t back out. Mum – you’ll thank me for this, it’s going to be something you’ll never forget.” He clamped his hands together as though in prayer.
“Never forget? This is THE thing I’d want to forget! I can’t do this. Besides, I’m f…f…fifty,” I stuttered, still in shock of my situation. “Surely they wouldn’t let seniors like me go bungy jumping?” I planted my hands defiantly on my hips and jutted out my jaw.
“Of course they do, it’s perfectly safe, and you’ve been given a clean bill of health by the doc, so there’s no reason you can’t do it. They can even jump people who are in wheelchairs, you know.”
Yeah. Probably adrenalin addicts who are in wheelchairs because of bungy jumping.
“What if the rope breaks? They could forget to tie it on properly, and only realise once I’ve plunged to my death!”
“They won’t forget. I know Ben, he’s a professional,” Ryan assured.
Professional what? Professional Idiot?
I looked at the huge purpose-built structure, completely out of place in the lush natural rainforest, and imagined myself launching off the edge to the water below. I shuddered as I saw all my saggy bits sagging upside down, my loose turkey-neck skin falling over my face, covering my mouth and nose and cutting off my air supply.
This could be fatal in more ways than one.
You can read more about this story here.
So, have you ever been bungy jumping? What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
And remember, every comment left on this post and all others during May will go into a prize draw at the end of the month.
My mother however was going nowhere. Worse than that she kept leering at Teddy, which simply made me uncomfortable.
I really didn’t know what was going on with Teddy and me but I surely didn’t want anything going on between Teddy and Moonbeam.
“Teddy, do you want to help me get some dinner together?”
“No Allegra, he can stay and keep me company.” She was good.
“How about we both help Ally out.” What a guy.
So we piled into my small kitchen with her standing a bit too close to Teddy for my liking.
“So what are we having?”
“Potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and a salad.”
“Cool, what can I do?’
I had already cooked the potatoes so I put Teddy to work mashing them. And I pulled down a jar of sauce I had made from organic tomatoes earlier in the summer and put it on to simmer.
Teddy looked at me quizzically “You jar your own sauce?”
“Uhmm yes”. I was always kind of embarrassed by my love of cooking. It makes me seem like a possessed potential housewife or something. I mean I know you don’t go to a club and discuss organic cooking; it doesn’t get the men flocking. Ultimately though I just like to cook and eat well.
“Well, Allegra, that being the case I may have to marry you.” He winked just so I’d know he wasn’t serious. “I’ll grow the veggies and you can make the sauce.”
I noticed Moonbeams dark eyes got a tad darker and flashed a bit wilder.
“I don’t know that there is room for a veggie patch in my flat or your designer terrace either for that matter,” I laughed.
“Well, we’ll just have to move to the country.”
“Sorry can’t leave the shop.”
“I’m heartbroken,” he feigned distress as he mashed. “I offer to give up my lucrative TV career and to grow veggies and marry you and you won’t leave the bookshop!”
Monique’s favourite meal – I really love my husband’s paella.
Monique’s favourite drink – Red wine but it’s hard to go past a nice glass of champagne.
Monique’s favourite indulgence – I am a sucker for a good cheese plate. I’m a bit like the Cher character in the movie Mermaids. I could happily live on finger food.
Thanks for sharing your excerpt, Monique!
Today’s Mouthwatering Moment excerpt is from Bolton Carley’s non-fiction piece, ‘Sophisticated Palette…Not so Much’, from the 6S network.
When it comes to my husband’s food passion, routine and consistency generally trump variety. His brother is no different, as every day I am expected to pack the same traditional granola bars, gala apples, and sandwiches for their lunches.
In my sleep, I cake ketchup and mustard on wheat bread, slap on slices of Kraft American cheese, and ponder the meat selection like a witch that threatens, “I think it will be you, my pretty” as she throws one into the bubbling caldron. In my attempt to spice up their daily noontime meal, I rotate between turkey, barbecued chicken, roast beef, roast pork, hard salami, and their oh-so-healthy personal favorite: bologna. This week the slices-of-bologna to number-of-sammies ratio was not equivalent so I promptly warned my hubs that one would be downing Oscar Mayer b-o-l-o-g-n-a while the other was stuck with icken slicken (his term for chicken) today.
Aware that there will be a mad dash for the bologna, I can only imagine Chariots of Fire streaming in the background as they, in slow motion, race to the lunchbox tearing the sandwich out to raise it up in victory like a gold medal or a chunk of the Berlin Wall.
Favorite drink –Although I’m a regular Mountain Dew girl, you can’t beat a traditional strawberry daiquiri, but if you really want to do it up right, just line up the Cool Whip-covered Jell-O shots!
Indulgence – warm breadsticks, Reese’s peanut butter cups, my couch, my fur blanket, and an afternoon watching Dirty Dancing
In Luna Tango, journalist Gabby McNally is trying to woo tango dancer Carlos Escudero, for a story. The problem is, the wooing tables appear to have turned.
“Stand up straight!” he said, and she realised she had, in fact, angled her body slightly forward and her nose was dangerously close to the part of his neck where the cologne was.
Pulling back, she tried to hide the shock from being wrenched out of her momentary lapse of reason.
“Sorry,” she mumbled.
His body shook with laughter. “It is okay.”
She hoped he hadn’t cottoned on to what she’d been doing, but his reaction told her he had. How embarrassing.
She looked up to find his dark eyes watching her. Her body temperature soared, quickly reaching sauna level.
“Yes?” she asked, not sure whether he was referring to the dance or the girly crush she’d developed. Man, now she was just like every other woman in Argentina.
“This emotion is the most important part of the dance. Without it, there is no point–much like everything in life that is worth the while. Ready?”
Before she had a chance to say a word, Carlos dipped her backwards and curls spilled across her face. Blowing them away with a large puff, she looked up at him, their faces inches apart. He held her there for what felt like an eternity, his strong arms wrapped firmly around her torso, their gaze not breaking, electricity zapping between them. Eventually, he guided her to the standing position and let go. Gabby smoothed down her dress, looking everywhere but directly at Carlos.
“Now, you dance with Gualberto,” he said and sat down.
~ Alli Sinclair writes romantic suspense set in South America that fuses the contemporary with historical. You can find Alli blogging about her passion for storytelling, culture, and travel at noveladventurers.blogspot.com.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world sampling food from various cultures. It’s difficult to pin my favourite food down to one, so instead I’ll let you sample my Fantasy Dinner…”
Entree: Fresh Turkish bread with a plate of olives, cheese, and dips direct from my favourite Turkish restaurant
Main: Arroz con mariscos (seafood and rice) from Mancora, on the north coast of Peru
Dessert: Dulce de leche ice cream from my friend’s ice cream shop in Mendoza, Argentina
Accompanied by: Antonio Banderas serving Argentine and Chilean wine–any kind will do!
Today’s Mouthwatering Moment excerpt is from KEEPING SECRETS by Darlene Fredette.
He wiggled the strawberry in the air. Samantha couldn’t resist. She grinned and leaned forward. Matt scooted closer and brought the berry to her lips. She stared into his eyes, opening her mouth. Matt smirked and dabbed the cream cheese on her nose.
Samantha sat back, startled. “Two can play that game.” She dipped a finger in the cream cheese and wiped it across his nose.
Matt let out a hearty laugh.
She selected another strawberry, dipped, and then held it to Matt’s lips. He leaned in, his lips parted, but she pulled the berry away. Samantha slowly licked the cream before biting off the tip of the strawberry.
Matt cleared his throat.
Samantha seductively nibbled another berry, keeping her eyes riveted on Matt, who was watching her every move.
“I so want to kiss you right now.”
The strawberry fell, forgotten from her fingers, and landed on her lap. She swallowed hard and licked her lips.
Darlene’s favourite meal: roast beef dinner with all the fixings: gravy, mash potatoes, carrots, corn, and of course finish the meal off with warm apple pie and ice cream!
Darlene’s favourite drink: Kahlua, Coconut rum, and milk. It’s like a white Russian but I substitute the rum for the vodka, it’s much smoother.
Darlene’s favourite indulgence: Strawberries. I just love them!
Thanks for sharing your excerpt, Darlene! Keeping Secrets was a great read
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Elizabeth caught Rob staring at her again across his mother’s dinner table. He was surprisingly silent amidst the family chaos. She, meanwhile, was left to answer questions galore from Camilla, Sammie and even an occasional triplet. Dishes clattered as roasted potatoes, manicotti, grilled carrots and tossed salad with crouton cubes were passed back and forth. Hunks of bread slathered in garlic butter were distributed to the crew. Wine or soft drinks were offered. Nobody dared refuse anything.
“None of that stinking low-carb stuff for us Gabinarris,” Rob’s brother Tony whispered to her with one eyebrow cocked. They all watched as Rob and Tony’s mom, Alessandra, heaped several spoonfuls of potatoes onto little Sammie’s plate.
Alessandra stopped abruptly, ladle in the air. “What happened to my music?” She looked accusingly around the table. “Roberto, was it you?” she said.
Rob shook his head, wide-eyed but with upturned lips, and his mother’s gaze fixed on Tony.
“Oh, all right. Yes, it was me.” Tony rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air.
His mother continued to glare at him.
“I’ll go put it back on,” Tony said.
“You do that, Antonio.” She set down her bowl and crossed her arms. “Fooling with my CD player,” she muttered until the strains of Madonna’s classic “Get Into the Groove” floated into the dining room. “Hmm. That’s better,” she said when Tony returned. And the clattering, clanking, chattiness and general chaos resumed again at the table.
Fifteen minutes later, Elizabeth had managed to mostly relax. The children’s queries kept her occupied and Tony’s wife tossed encouraging smiles her way. She released a deep, pent-up breath. She’d almost done it. She’d nearly made it through the meal without saying or doing anything too embarrassing, thank goodness. In another half hour she’d be able to go home.
She glanced around the lively table. The triplets were making a game of poking holes in their bread. Sammie was still hiccupping. Camilla and her mother were giggling about something they’d seen in a Disney video. Rob and Tony were in the midst of a rousing debate over the previous NFC and AFC champs and the players who’d make the best draft picks for the fall season. Everyone grinned, talked, munched. She took a big bite of manicotti.
“So, Elizabeth,” the family matriarch said loudly, “don’t you think my son should get married soon?”
Marilyn’s favourite meal: Homemade lasagna (my Italian mother-in-law’s recipe) with soft garlic breadsticks and a fresh garden salad
Marilyn’s favourite drink: Sparkling white grape juice (non-alcoholic) or Lemon-Drop Martini (alcoholic)
Marilyn’s favourite indulgence: Sea-Salted Milk Chocolate-Covered Caramels (SO GOOD!)
Thanks for sharing your excerpt, Marilyn!
To find out more about Marilyn and her books visit her website.
Don’t forget to comment below and be in the running for some great prizes as part of my Mouthwatering May special event!
“Don’t move,” he says, getting up from the table and crossing the kitchen. He hefts a large cast iron pot from the oven. He lifts the lid, cups his hand, and wafts the steam upward toward his face. Even from across the room, the smell makes me want to swoon. Jake has made my favorite dish—his signature take on cassoulet, made with wild boar sausage braised in Barolo, cannellini beans, fennel and sweet red peppers. I can hear the hollow snap as he breaks the delicate crust of toasted bread, garlic and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. He fills a shallow bowl and places it reverently in front of me. “It’s not exactly summer fare, but I know it’s your favorite. I missed making it for you this winter. It actually works nicely with your pizza recipe, which has always been one of my favorites. We make a pretty good team, don’t you think?” he says softly. “Go ahead, taste it.”
“Aren’t you going to join me?”
“Of course,” he says, raising his eyes to meet mine. I watch as he fills his plate, picks up a bottle of wine and two glasses, and joins me at the table. He pours us each a glass of red wine. “Well? He asks, his eyes focused, unblinking, on my face.
I spear a piece of meat, which yields easily to my fork, and raise it to my lips. I take a deep breath and close my eyes…The flavors are at once complex and earthy. I taste every ingredient: the thick, slightly gamy taste of the boar; the subtle undercurrent of the fennel, which, when braised, releases a delicate licorice perfume; the gentle creaminess of the beans; the smoky heat of the roasted peppers; the harmonious balance of the wine.
It tastes like love.
Meredith’s favorite meal/indulgence: I love mussels. Any time, any way. (I’ve even been known to eat them for breakfast!) My favorite preparations are either steamed in white wine and shallot butter, or grilled and tossed with basil breadcrumbs. Just add a warm, crusty baguette and a glass of chilled Sancerre and I am a happy, happy girl.
To WIN one of two copies of AFTERTASTE, please leave a comment below. This competition is open WORLDWIDE and will be drawn at the end of the month. Thanks for your generosity, Meredith! (All comments left by blog subscribers will also be put in the draw for a Mouthwatering May special prize).
Today I thought I’d share one of my own Mouthwatering Moments with you! This scene is from THE JANUARY WISH, and unfortunately it is not published, but I hope it will be one day.
‘You never got to eat any Death by Chocolate,’ Mark said, a smile oozing from the corner of his mouth. ‘There’s still an hour and a half left of your birthday, how about we try and catch Café Lagoon before they close, and grab something to take-away?’
Sylvia’s smile grew wider. ‘As Grace told me today, ‘every birthday is a gift worth celebrating’, so I think it’s my duty to make the most of it.’
‘Especially at your age,’ Mark said, spicing his words with sarcasm.
Sylvia twisted her lips to one side and gave him an evil glare. ‘Watch what you say, mister, or –’
‘Or…I’ll thump you with my walking stick.’
Mark snorted. ‘In that case, I better think before I speak.’ It felt good to muck around with Sylvia, especially after the stress of tonight. ‘Anyway, in all seriousness, I think Grace is one wise girl.’
‘She sure is,’ Sylvia replied, accepting Mark’s offer of his outstretched hand.
At ten minutes to eleven they pulled up outside Café Lagoon, and Mark jumped out, before ducking his head back in the car. ‘What can I get the birthday girl?’
‘I’ll have a hot chocolate,’ Sylvia replied.
‘And to eat?’
‘Um… surprise me.’
Mark smiled and rushed inside. A staff member was wiping down tables and the last of the customers were filtering out. He paid for his order and then got back in the car, placing the cardboard tray containing the hot drinks on Sylvia’s lap, and the paper bag containing her ‘surprise’ between the two front seats.
‘Let me guess…a dandelion chai for you?’ Sylvia asked.
She tried to peer into the paper bag but he stopped her. ‘Uh-uh, wait till we get to the lookout. It’s a surprise, remember?’
My favourite meal: It’s hard to choose one favourite meal, but a meal I cook often that I love is lamb cutlets with sauteed bok choy and mushrooms, drizzled with toasted pine nuts and mustard dressing. The combination of flavours is beautiful.
My favourite treat: Guylian Belgian chocolate seashells (but I usually only have them a couple of times a year – birthday and Christmas!)
My favourite drink: A frothy soy hot chocolate
As well as this blog, I have a website you can visit here. And remember to leave a comment below and subscribe to the blog to be in the running for the Mouthwatering May prize draw at the end of the month! (You can see the prizes and rules here.)