Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Porc à l'Orange #recipe + book #giveaway from author @DarylWoodGerber


A Soufflé of Suspicion, the 2nd French Bistro Mystery came out last week! 
I'm so excited. Lots of readers are enjoying it.

A few reviews for your reading pleasure:

“Just as delicious as the first… When it comes to the word “appetizing” you automatically think of food. But when it comes to the literary scene, this series is well beyond appetizing. Not only are the foods incredible (make sure to check out the awesome recipes provided), but the characters and plot are equally superb.” ~ Suspense Magazine

To get in on the Great Escapes Cozy Blog Tour, which has a giveaway, 
follow these "review" links.

 “What a SWEET cozy! Daryl Wood Gerber has served up her readers a delectable mystery with fine characters and a full-bodied story.” ESCAPE WITH DOLLYCAS

"Warmth, humor, a few chills, a soupçon of intrigue, and plenty of charm make for a great read." COZY UP WITH KATHY
To get the recipe for Soufflé à l'Orange, which Kim Davis 
made with flair, follow this link:

"A Soufflé of Suspicion, the second book in the French Bistro Mystery series by Daryl Wood Gerber, pulled me in with its charming cover and then kept me turning pages until the very last word was read!: CINNAMON, SUGAR, AND A LITTLE BIT OF MURDER


From Daryl:

When it's PR "month," I share a few recipes I've included in the most recent book. Today is no exception.  I thoroughly enjoy this recipe. It has so many wonderful flavors. My particular favorite is the allspice, which gives the dish a kick. It has a lot of ingredients but not that many steps, so don’t panic. It’s easy to make.  Think of it like stroganoff with an orange twist. I’ve noted a few substitutions if you need to eat this gluten-free.

The sauce works for pork, chicken, white fish, too.  Any of the "white" meats. Enjoy!

Porc À L'Orange

(serves 6)

 cup flour (for GF * substitute potato starch)
teaspoon salt
teaspoon paprika
teaspoon white pepper
teaspoon allspice
pound pork tenderloin, sliced into 12 rounds and slightly flattened
tablespoons safflower oil
cup chicken stock (for GF * make sure gluten-free)
 cup sour cream
tablespoons orange juice
tablespoon orange rind, grated
teaspoon salt
 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
tablespoons orange liqueur
Wild rice or Arborio rice, 6 portions  (cook ahead or simultaneously)
Orange slices

In a small bowl, combine flour (or *gluten-free flour), salt, white pepper, paprika and allspice. Coat the rounds of tenderloin with the flour (or *gluten-free flour) mixture.

In a heavy skillet, heat the safflower oil over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, lay the pork medallions in the oil and brown pork well, about 4-5 minutes a side. This will spit!
Add the chicken stock (or *gluten-free chicken stock), cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pan combine the sour cream, orange juice, orange rind, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and orange liqueur. By the way, orange rind is hard to measure. Figure about a half of an orange to equal one tablespoon. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a low bubble, but do not boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

Turn off the pork and serve 2 slices of the pork over each portion of wild rice or Arborio rice. Drizzle 2-4 tablespoons of the orange sauce over the pork. Garnish with parsley and orange slices.



To one commenter, I'm giving you a choice of one of my backlist books. 
Plus some fun swag. Leave your email (cryptically if necessary). 
Tell me, what is your favorite white meat (or veggie if you're vegetarian) and how do you prepare it? I'll pick the winner Saturday.


Savor the mystery!

Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Plus check out my website.

Follow me on Bookbub, too.

A SOUFFLÉ OF SUSPICION, the 2nd French Bistro Mystery.
Can Mimi prove her chef innocent before the chef gets dusted?
Click here to order.

PRESSING THE ISSUE, the 6th Cookbook Nook Mystery.

The annual Renaissance Fair serves up a helping of crafty courtiers,
damsels in distress, and medieval murder . . .
Click here to order.

A DEADLY ÉCLAIR, the 1st in the French Bistro Mysteries.
Can Mimi clear her name before the killer turns up the heat?
Click here to order.

FOR CHEDDAR OR WORSE, the 7th Cheese Shop Mystery.
Finally there's going to be a cheese festival in Providence!
Click to order.

GIRL ON THE RUN, a stand-alone suspense.
When a fairytale fantasy night becomes a nightmare, Chessa Paxton must run for her life...but will the truth set her free?
Click to order

DAY OF SECRETS, a stand-alone suspense
A mother he thought was dead. A father he never knew.
An enemy that wants them dead.
Click here to order

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Soupe au Pistou aka Pesto Soup

LESLIE: It’s summer time, and the veggies are thick in the garden patch and on the tables at the Farmer’s Market. While we think of soup as winter food, this one – a sort of summer minestrone – is perfect for a July evening.

The recipe is based on one I found in The French Country Table by Laura Washburn, which I found at Book Passage in the Ferry Terminal building in San Francisco. Washburn falls in that long line of modern cookbook authors strongly influenced by Julia Child, though her recipes fall more on the bistro than the gourmet end of the French table. And they always turn out – they look like the photos and are well-written, but that hasn’t stopped me from making a few changes!

Washburn's notes say traditional Provençal cooks insist on Gouda because the soup was invented by Italian workers building the railway above Nice and used the Gouda which was plentiful in the port. Nonetheless, she calls for Gouda or Parmesan, and we’ve used only Parmesan.

In my opinion, canned beans are a pantry staple, though we do choose low-sodium varieties. Like most soups, the flavor improves if you can make this a few hours ahead and let it rest before serving. If not, you’ll still love it—and the leftovers will be terrific!

I’ve included Washburn’s pesto recipe, but will confess I very often use a spoonful or two of commercial pesto. And I didn’t bother blanching and skinning the tomatoes. The ghosts of Julia Child or those Italian railway workers haven’t come to haunt me yet, so I think the substitutions are safe.

Be French or Italian, and serve this with a loaf of crunch country bread and a crisp white wine.

Bon Appetit, as Madame Child would have said, and Madame Washburn would likely agree!

Soupe au pistou

Active prep and cooking time: about 1 hour.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb, quartered, cored, and chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
8 ounces new or small white potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
a sprig of thyme
2 cups (roughly 1-15 ounce can) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups (roughly 1-15 ounce can) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces green beans, cut in 1" pieces
2 ounces spaghetti, broken into pieces
1-1/2 cups grated cheese (aged Gouda or Parmesan)
basil leaves for garnish (optional)
more cheese for garnish (optional)
seasoned croutons for garnish (optional) (I made my own by tossing cubed bread with oil and dried herbs and toasting in the oven about 10 minutes)


4-6 garlic cloves 
½ to 1 cup of fresh basil leaves 
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or kettle. Add the onion, fennel, and zucchini and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, stock, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes.

Add the cannellini and kidney beans and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the green beans and spaghetti and simmer about 10 minutes more, until the pasta is tender (al dente). Cover and remove from heat; let stand at least an hour and reheat, or serve at room temperature.

Just before serving, make the pistou. Put garlic, basil, and oil in a small food processor and process until well-blended. Add more oil if needed; you want a fairly thin pistou.

Top each bowl with a spoon of pistou or pesto, a basil leaf or two, and croutons if you’ve got them. Pass the bowl of cheese and enjoy! 

"Budewitz's finely drawn characters, sharp ear for dialogue, and well-paced puzzle make Jewel Bay a destination for every cozy fan." --- Kirkus Reviews

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink, June 2018, available in trade paper, e-book, and audio):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Baked Squash with Cheese and Panko

If you have a garden, yellow squash is probably coming in fast and thick. My friend Karen Hines recently brought me a dish of her grandmother's Baked Squash. We gobbled it up, and I asked for the recipe, which I'm sharing with you today. Karen's grandmother, Mabel Lester Furrow, baked this in the summer when squash was plentiful, and it takes Karen back to the summers of her childhood and her beloved grandmother.

The original recipe makes a huge amount so I made half of it, which is plenty to serve four people as a side dish. I also added a little bit of cheese because I happened to have it on hand. But that's entirely optional. What I love about this old-fashioned recipe is that it's healthy and light with a nice crispy topping. Don't be afraid to omit the cheese. It's delicious either way. I've listed the amounts in the original recipe in parentheses in case you're baking for a crowd. Note that the quantity of eggs remains the same, even if you make the halved recipe. The original recipe calls for baking it at 375. I was in a bit of a hurry and baked it at 400, which worked great.

I think this would be a wonderful recipe for someone who is learning to cook. It really doesn't matter how you cut the squash because it will be mashed anyway. Steaming is easy. And most of the mixing can even be done by hand.

I used one super large and one small yellow squash. The squash should be around 1 1/2 pounds in weight but I think the recipe is forgiving if you err a little bit either way.

Mabel Lester Furrow's Baked Squash

8-inch baking dish or an 8-inch pie dish

1 1/2 pounds yellow squash (3 pounds)
1/4 cup chopped onion (1/2 cup)
black pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon)
2 eggs, beaten (2 eggs!)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup shredded Jack cheese (optional)

For the top:
4 tablespoons butter (8 tablespoons)
1/2 cup Panko (1/2 cup cracker meal or breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (optional)

Butter the baking dish. Wash the squash, cut it up, and steam until tender. Drain off the liquid. Mash the squash. Mix with onion, pepper, eggs, sugar, salt, and Jack cheese. Pour into pan and spread out. Melt the butter and mix with Panko and Parmesan. Sprinkle lavishly over the top. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until it bubbles and the top is golden.

Steam or boil the cut squash.

Mix with onion, eggs, seasonings, and a little cheese.
Mix the Parmesan with the Panko and melted butter.
Sprinkle over the top.
Pretty enough for company!

Have you read THE DIVA COOKS UP A STORM? I'm giving away a copy today to one person who leaves a comment. Don't forget to leave your e-address so I can contact you if you win.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Welcome Author Lisa Q. Mathews with 5 Blueberry Recipes and a Great #Giveaway

A terrific author is with us today. Please welcome Lisa Q. Mathews who's sharing five wonderful blueberry recipes and a prize package giveaway that includes the second book (PERMANENTLY BOOKED) in her cozy mystery trilogy and other delicious prizes. Find out more at the end of this post. Now take it away, Lisa!



It’s steamy mid-summer, but my odd-couple sleuths Summer and Dorothy—aka the Ladies Smythe & Westin—and I have a lot on our (paper) plates. I’m working on a new book and the Ladies are working to solve a murder. And as the Goddesses of High Humidity would have it, all three of us need to whip up some tasty, quick-and-easy treats for our next book club meetings ASAP. 
Dorothy, a seventy-something widow, has fond memories of the long-ago summers she and her husband spent in a cozy Maine cabin. Now that she lives year-round at the Hibiscus Pointe Senior Living Community in Florida, those cool, pine-scented days can seem very far away. 

But she vividly remembers how much she loved filling baskets with freshly-picked, wild blueberries, and the simple but delicious recipes her mother jotted onto berry-stained cards and filed in a small wooden box. In fact, Dorothy keeps that same, faded box with the blueberry wreath painted on the lid in a place of honor on her kitchen counter. 
Dorothy’s twenty-something neighbor and co-sleuth Summer, an ex-party-girl from California who’s camping in her late grandma’s condo, doesn’t have much experience with blueberry-picking. 

But she knows those berries are full of antioxidants and Vitamin K to pack a punch in her favorite smoothie. Plus, she loves the idea of minimal cooking and maximum yum. Book club refreshments (or unexpected visitors) problem solved—and more time to solve a mystery! 


Summer loves these blueberry-lemon oatmeal cookies—with added chocolate chips—for breakfast and late-night snacks!

Serves 2 dozen

Prep Time: 30 mins. 
Cooking Time: 10-12 mins at 350° 


¼ cup soft butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup sugar 
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 cup flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1½ cups old-fashioned oats 
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 cup blueberries
Chocolate chips or chopped walnuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS: Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (for easy blueberry clean-up!) 

In large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, and lemon zest on Medium until smooth. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt until combined, then mix in oats with wooden spoon. Add chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, if desired. Carefully fold in blueberries. 

Use cookie or ice cream scoop to form and drop cookies onto lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with back of scoop. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Let stand on sheets for a minute or two, then transfer to wire rack for cooling. 


Dorothy brings this classic, refreshing beverage to the pool in a Thermos to share with Summer and their adorable 6-year-old friend, Juliette-Margot. (At cocktail hour, the Ladies sometimes add a little vodka to theirs.)

Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 20 mins. 


½ cup sugar
1 cup blueberries 
¾ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ lemon (sliced)
Mint leaves or springs 
Water (total 7-8 cups)

INSTRUCTIONS: To make a blueberry simple syrup, stir sugar and 1 cup water together in saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in blueberries and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 3-4 minutes, until blueberries pop.

Strain blueberry mixture and discard skins. Allow liquid to cool.
In large pitcher, whisk together blueberry syrup, lemon juice and 6-7 cups water. Chill in refrigerator.

Serve over ice. Add a few more blueberries, lemon slices, and mint to each glass, for a festive touch!


Need a morning or late-afternoon pick-me-up? The Ladies have the perfect answer, especially if you have a lot of reading to do! (If you prefer, though, you can substitute decaffeinated tea bags.)


1 16-oz package frozen blueberries 
½ cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4-6 cups of water
3 large tea bags 
¾ cup sugar
Lemon slices and mint leaves or sprigs

INSTRUCTIONS: Bring frozen blueberries and lemon juice to a boil in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour through a strainer. (Dorothy suggests doing this over the sink.) Discard skins and rinse saucepan.

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in same saucepan. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, stir in sugar and blueberry syrup. Pour into pitcher, add more water to fill. Cover and chill. Serve with ice and garnish with lemons and mint.


This was Summer’s favorite side dish back in LA. It’s so fast and easy, you may have time to catch some rays (or a murderer) before book club!


1 cup fresh blueberries
2 cups diced cucumbers
3 cups diced watermelon
½ lime, juiced
Pepper and pinch of sea salt to taste
Mint leaves 

INSTRUCTIONS: Mix together the watermelon and cucumber. Drizzle with lime juice and stir. Carefully fold in blueberries. Add pepper to taste (if you’re not eating til later, wait to add the salt). Garnish with mint, stick in the fridge, and hit the beach!



The Ladies and I found we still had plenty of blueberries left over, even after making so many book club treats. Dorothy went back to her mother’s old recipe box for this one—try it over pancakes, yogurt, toast, graham crackers, bananas, in smoothies and, of course, over ice cream for a perfect sundae. (Stir into slightly-melted, classic vanilla and, presto! Designer-blueberry ice cream.)


3 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 ½ Tbsp. corn starch dissolved into 3 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS: Place 2 cups of the blueberries in saucepan. Cover with water; add sugar and vanilla. Heat over medium-high until mixture comes to a low boil and blueberries start to pop.

Add dissolved cornstarch to saucepan and bring mixture to rolling boil. Turn down heat and simmer on low for about 2 minutes, until sauce reaches desired thickness. (If it gets too thick, add water, a tablespoon or two at a time.)
Remove from heat and add remaining blueberries. Stir gently. May be served warm or cold. 

Lisa Q. Mathews was a lifeguard, a competitive figure skater, and a Nancy Drew editor before starting to write her own mysteries. She was also an executive editor at Random House Children’s Books and penned kids’ series such as Mary-Kate and Ashley and The Lizzie McGuire Mysteries. Like her odd-couple co-sleuths in The Ladies Smythe & Westin series from Carina Press/Harlequin, Lisa loves swimming, rich desserts, romantic comedies, and above all a good mystery!

To learn more about Lisa and her books, please visit her website at:

You can also join Lisa at: 

Facebook  *   Twitter * Chicks on the Case (cozy-mystery group blog)


To learn more or buy,
click here.

Permanently Booked 

by Lisa Q. Mathews

The final chapter…?

Semi-reformed party girl Summer Smythe is finally feeling at home at the Hibiscus Pointe retirement community. All that’s left to do is replace her late grandma’s massive book collection with a big-screen TV. Donating them to the on-site library is the perfect solution—until she finds the librarian buried in books. Literally.

Summer and her sleuthing partner, longtime resident Dorothy Westin, can’t imagine who would want to kill poor, dedicated Lorella. Soon they’re on the case…and the Hibiscus Pointe Book Club is the perfect cover for their investigation.

A murdered librarian is headline news in South Florida, and even outsiders, including an oddball professor and a pair of dueling authors, are eager to join the once-dull group. But one menacing member has Dorothy and Summer bookmarked for the morgue. If the Ladies Smythe and Westin don’t nab the killer fast, the Hibiscus Pointe Book Club may be reading their own obituaries next…

PERMANENTLY BOOKED, CARDIAC ARREST and the Ladies’ most recent case, FASHIONABLY LATE, are available wherever e-books are sold. And don’t forget to mark your engagement calendar for October 1, 2018, when the paperback edition of PERMANENTLY BOOKED officially pubs (you can pre-order here)! 



An e-book copy of PERMANENTLY BOOKED (if preferred, print copy available to winner late August) with matching mug and spoon set and a tin of blueberry green tea. Available to US and Canadian readers. Good luck!

TO ENTER: Leave a comment for Lisa with an
email address or way to reach you if you are 
selected to win! Good luck and thanks to
Lisa for her generous giveaway!

Drawing for winner will take place
after 12 Midnight, Wed. July 18


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Szechuan Tofu #AuthorDenise Swanson recipe

My husband and I live in the boondocks so when we’re hungry for Asian food, we have to make it ourselves. Since we’re going through all the trouble to create dishes from our favorite Chinese restaurant, I decided to see if I could make it fit my food philosophy—HIT—Healthy, Inexpensive, Tasty. This Szechuan Tofu is one of my results.

12 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 3/4-in. cubes
2 teaspoons cornstarch for sauce plus an additional amount to sprinkle on tofu
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup unsalted vegetable stock, divided
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 cups cauliflower florets
2 cups thinly diagonally sliced celery
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted ketchup
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

Cube tofu and pat it dry with paper towels. Spread it out on a cutting board and sprinkle cornstarch on each side. 

Turn oven to warm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high and add tofu. Cook for 6 minutes or until golden and crisp, flipping them over after 3 minutes. Remove tofu to a plate with a slotted spoon and put in oven’s warming drawer.

Combine remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup stock in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup stock, soy sauce, vinegar, and hoisin.

Add cauliflower to remaining oil in pan and cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add celery and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add ketchup and pepper and cook 1 minute, stirring to coat. Add stock mixture to pan and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is slightly thickened. Add cooked tofu and toss. Top with green onions and serve with pot stickers.

Interested in my books?

Right when Dani thinks she's hit a dead-end in her career, she unexpectedly inherits an enormous old house in a quaint college town. This gives her the perfect opportunity to pursue her true passion―cooking! So Dani opens Chef-to-Go, preparing delicious, ready-made meals for hungry students attending the nearby university, as well as providing personal chef services and catering events for the local community. To help support her new business, she opens her home to a few students, renting them rooms and becoming almost like a big sister figure in their lives.

But just as Dani is relishing her sweet new life, the friend of one of her boarders is murdered, and Dani becomes one of the primary suspects! She'll have to scramble to clear her name and save her business before the killer reappears―perhaps to silence the new chef forever.
Pre-Order Now! Coming September 2018

The chips are down in Scumble River

School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd had hoped that her maternity leave would be at least a little relaxing, but when she and her husband, Wally, meet with the priest to discuss their newborn twins' christening, an explosion at the nearby bowling alley rocks the rectory. And although the business was closed at the time of the blast, there's a body inside.

As police chief, Wally is inevitably drawn into the investigation, which seems to indicate that foul play is afoot again in Scumble River, and Skye can't help but do a bit of her own sleuthing. But the clues come fast and furious, ranging from an odd new stranger in town to animosity toward the gambling machines that had recently been installed at the bowling alley, and Skye finds herself wondering if this could be the puzzle that stumps her for good.

New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson has penned another hit for cozy fans with Die Me a River, the latest installment in her beloved Welcome Back to Scumble River mystery series.


Enjoy the occasional romance?

Take one smoking-hot top chef who thinks food should be a sensual adventure, add a venture capitalist who has struggled with her weight since she was a teenager, and mix well. Is this a recipe that sizzles, or is he just another craving she must resist?

* * *

Deanna Sloan has worked too hard, dieting herself from a chubby teenager to a sleek businesswoman, to give in to her hunger now. Enduring four years as the target of her high school classmates’ cruelty taught her that only three things matter—power, money, and looks.

Leaving her small town behind, shedding the excess pounds, and obtaining a job with a six-figure salary are all steps in the right direction. However, in order to keep on target, she needs to outshine the other twenty venture capitalist associates at her new firm, maintain her weight loss, and be prepared to double-cross anyone who gets in her way. Walk in the park, right?

Wrong! Her first assignment is an investment appraisal of one of Chicago’s top chefs. Nico Thorne has come to her firm for the seed money to open his own restaurant. He is smoking hot and just a glimpse of his navy blue eyes in a photo clouds Deanna’s brain and dampens her panties. Will the flesh-and-blood man make her dissolve into a puddle of mindless lust that will derail her fast track to success?

Like Deanna, Nico’s past drives his present choices. He hates his father for using his mother’s social status to further his career, then abandoning her. As a teenager, Nico’s anger at his father resulted in a hair-trigger temper and a vow never to fall in love. Although Nico may have learned to control his demons, he still avoids women who even hint at wanting anything deeper than a few nights of uncommitted fun.

That is until he sees Deanna. Her cinnamon curls and soft green eyes totally captivate him. As they spend more and more time together, Nico’s determination to keep their relationship casual dissolves and he realizes that she might be his amore mio. But will he be able to convince Deanna that he’s the one for her?

Deanna fights her attraction to Nico, fearful that giving in will mean the loss of both her figure and her job. Can Nico overcome a lifetime of distrust? Can Deanna embrace life—imperfections and all?

Publisher’s warning: This book contains sensual consummated love scenes.

Series description:

First in Denise Swanson’s new Delicious contemporary romance series. All books are complete with no cliffhangers and a guaranteed HEA!

Catch up with me on