Sunday, November 23, 2014

Feisty Foodies Final Day of Recipes and Reads

For the last day of Feisty Foodies, we have saved the piece de resistance!!!
Heather Rainier is unveiling the cover for her 20th Divine Creek Ranch novel right here. 
Absentminded Angel
That's one tasty morsel I can definitely sink my teeth in--Yum Yum!
There are lots of yummy scenes in Divine Creek for readers to satisfy their hunger, from the restaurant scene (you know the one!) to the outdoor bonfire parties to Lidya's ranch house fixin's.  I can't wait to see what Heather has in store for us next. 

I could lick on those tasty treats all night long!

Heather Rainier, ménage author of Divine Creek Ranch, has also sent us the secret recipe to Ethan's Divine Margarita. 

Absentminded Angel blurb

Presley Ann Woodworth has a checkered past and numerous people in and around Divine do not view her as a friend. A series of events have set changes in motion for her that are rocking her right to her foundation but so far she’s reaping the harvest she’s sown head-on. Fate has seen fit to draw Kendry and Jared McCulloch back to Divine and even though they were teasing the day Jared asked Leah if she had a sister, they are sincere in their interest in Presley Ann. Guilt, a strong sense of duty to her baby, and really bad luck make their journey together a challenging and often comical one, but ultimately Presley Ann has one stumbling block only she can overcome. Does she deserve a happily ever after?

Note from Heather's Blog
Many readers have asked about Presley Ann over the years. Was she truly a villain or just really misguided. You’ll find that out in Absentminded Angel. Readers familiar with the series may remember Presley Ann’s comical encounter with Veronica Benedict in Awakening Veronica, and her subsequent run-in with Tabitha Lester in Stigall’s dressing room. Presley Ann took me by surprise when she came out of the dressing room mimicking Tabitha’s gossipy, snippy attitude, “Meh-meh-meh-meh-meh!” That was the moment she won me over and I began to believe there was more to her than what readers had seen so far. And I have to say I love the way readers have embraced her and given her a chance at redemption.

Keep an eye out for Pre-ordering
this Dec. 19, 2014 release at

 Excerpt featuring the Divine Margarita

Presley Ann had just lifted her Divine Margarita to her lips when a familiar, work-roughened hand gently stroked her neck. “Have I mentioned how beautiful you are tonight?” Jared murmured near her ear. Licking the hint of salt from her lips, she turned to him, loving the way his arms felt as he gathered her close. “You okay?”


“Dance with me?”

She glanced at Kendry, who was in conversation with Hank Stinson and Travis McDaniel. He winked at her and nodded. He knew she needed the time on the dance floor with Jared without being told. She squeezed his muscular bicep, silently promising him the same.

Jared took the margarita glass from her hand and set it back on the table. She felt lighter than a feather as she drew in a shaky breath, following behind that wonderful man as the band finished their song. Yeah, sometimes bad circumstances lead to good outcomes.  

Electric guitar and a syncopated drum rhythm began playing as the lights went down a little. She didn’t listen to country music much, but even she recognized the seductive cadence of Jason Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down” as the band’s vocalist sang the opening verse.

Jared looked down at her as he pulled her close on the crowded dance floor. All she could see were his light-colored eyes, which were a pale, hypnotic gray under the flashing, sparkling lights. He slid his warm hand over her bare shoulder blades, sending a sizzle through her torso and down between her legs, as he tilted his head down and nuzzled beneath her ear.

Even though they were occasionally bumped or jostled, it might as well have been just the two of them out there.

She caressed the nape of his neck and smiled as he groaned and pulled her closer, pressing her abundant, unencumbered breasts against his chest. Her nipples went diamond hard and the warm ache in her pussy grew to nearly painful proportions when she felt the thick ridge of his cock as he glided his hand down her back to just above her ass and held her against him. Power and wantonness—and maybe the tequila—made her bold as she felt his fingers move against her hip, discovering the thin elastic strap of the G-string she wore beneath the dress.

“You’re killing me, woman,” he whispered, sending a wave of shivers down her back as his breath whispered over her sensitive flesh.

“That’s all I have on underneath this dress,” she whispered before nibbling at his ear lobe. She sent up a prayer of thanks for finding the beautiful black and silver dress on sale. The pattern hid a multitude of sins but the body-hugging lines made her feel incredibly sexy, and having his hands on her and hearing his reaction made her feel like a sex goddess. She bit her lip and didn’t resist the urge to rub her hips against him as she moved with the erotic lyrics and rhythm of the music.

“Keep teasing me like that and you’re getting a spanking, angel.”

A woman’s power and self-confidence rippled up her spine as she slowly rubbed him again, purposely tempting him. “Maybe I’m a fallen angel in need of punishment.”

His eyes positively glowed. “Or maybe you’re an absentminded angel who’s forgotten that spanking your gorgeous ass isn’t a hardship for either of your men. Keep it up and everyone will know how much I want you.”

She chuckled and let her hand slide down his back until her fingertips found the back pocket on his jeans and she slid her hand inside. He growled as she stroked his muscular butt and rose up on tiptoe to kiss his throat. “I want you, too.”

His smile warmed her from head to toe. “We keep this up much longer and we won’t make it to midnight.”

 “Besides the G-string, did I mention that this dress unties at the neck? That makes for really easy—” She gasped as he raked his teeth along her throat. Her G-string was soaked in the next heartbeat.

“You were saying?” he murmured as he dug his fingertips into the flesh at her hips.

“It’s really easy access.”

“I love easy access. You need more clothing with easy access. Better yet, you need to not wear clothes…anymore.” She trembled as he licked the shell of her ear.

“No clothing? How shocking.”

“No. Sexy. Very sexy.”

Her pussy quivered and ached, and she could practically feel him surging inside her already. “I don’t care if we make it to midnight, or even if we make it home first.”

His chuckle had a devilish quality to it as he said, “Oh, we’re making it to midnight, angel. I’m not the only one who’s getting tortured. We have the whole evening ahead of us and a naughty little angel to play with.”

“Holy hell,” she said with a whimper. He practically had her panting as she imagined all the possibilities she saw in his eyes.

“Maybe for you, angel, but I’m looking forward to licking that heavenly little pussy of yours the second we get you alone.” She missed a step in the dance and whimpered. “You okay?” he asked with a chuckle.

“I think I just came a little.”

RECIPE : Ethan's Divine Margarita
Careful ladies-This one'll knock your boots off!

1 1/2 Oz Patron Silver Tequila
1 Oz Patron Citronage
2 Oz Margarita mix
Juice from 1/2 of a lime
1 Dash of Sugar
Chilled Margarita glass with salted rim
Shaken with ice and served straight or on the rocks
Another great Southern cooking author is Sable Hunter.  From Hill Country bar-b-ques to Cajun fare, she can satisfy any palette with spicy or sweet romance. 
Not only does Sable start the Hell Yeah series by bringing the heroine chef to work at the ranch, Sable also publishes her own cookbook.
Start the Hell Yeah Series by Sable Hunter
 with Book 1 - Cowboy Heat
 Aron McCoy has sworn off women - except for sex. When Libby Fontaine arrives at Aron's Tebow Ranch, she is determined to cram a lifetime of living into a few short months. The doctor has told her that she can't count on her remission from leukemia being a permanent one.
 Their attraction to one another is instantaneous and overwhelming. But when Aron finds out that Libby is innocent - he backs off. He has nothing to offer a girl who deserves white lace and promises. Then Aron catches Libby pleasuring herself in his stock tank and hears her cry out his name - and the heat is on.

*Content Warning: Contains explicit scenes and language. Intended for 18+ Audience


Cowboy Heat (Hell Yeah! Book 1)

Stepping closer to the table, he loudly proclaimed, “Tag!”
As soon as the word had left Aron’s mouth, the younger men looked up at him in surprise. Isaac bit back a snort, and Jacob simply said, “Thank God.” Their brother had finally decided to come out of hiding. 
   Libby wondered at the word that Aron shouted. Was this some type of fire drill or a weird game that they played? She could feel him looking at her, ‘God give me strength’, she prayed.
Libby, as of yet, had not turned to face him fully. And he had to see her – now. “Turn around, baby. Let me see your face.” 
 Confused, Libby did as he requested. Slowly. Uncertainty made her hesitate; but when she had made a complete 180, she heard him catch his breath and she raised her eyes. Aron. There was no way that she was going to hide the joy that she felt, so she didn’t try. 
   Her smile lit up his world. His body began to instantly heat as if it had been graced by the warmth of the rising sun. Aron tried to move forward, but he was frozen; immobilized, entranced. Muscles that he hadn’t used in a while began to loosen, and before he knew it – Aron McCoy was smiling. 
 My Lord, the woman had the cutest, sweetest face that he had ever laid eyes on. All he could focus on was pink, kissable lips. They were trembling ever so slightly. Aron felt the world tilt just a fraction, he wanted to follow that irresistible pull and enjoy the silky softness of that delectable mouth. 
 He heard her let out a soft, sweet sigh. Memorizing her features, he let his eyes slide over the smooth curve of her cheek, the endearing turned up nose and cheekbones that begged to be traced with his tongue. When he met her gaze, Aron was surprised by the beautiful color of her eyes. They were huge, a deep dark violet, surrounded by smudgy dark lashes that made them look like amethysts nestled in velvet. 
 Knowing she expected him to say something, he tried to get his brain to engage with his mouth. All he could manage was “Where did you come from?”

RECIPE: Libby's Orgasmic Brownies
2 boxes of good brownie mix.
Follow the directions on the box BUT substitute heavy cream for water,
substitute real melted butter for oil, add 1 teaspoon vanilla,
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder and 1 bag of chocolate chips.
Bake according to directions.
Will be a tad gooey in the middle, these are luscious brownies.

Sable Does It In The Kitchen (Volume 1)Sable Hunter does more than write racy romance novels, she can also cook!

Many fans have asked for recipes that were mentioned in her books - so here are some of them, there are also recipes included that were given to her by author friends and fans.

Sable's dishes are made with a southern flair that only those native to certain parts of the South can conjure, as Sable has spent her life in Texas and Louisiana, home of some of the greatest cuisines in the world!

Inside you will find several of Sable's favorite dishes from Grilladas, Gumbo and
Etoufee to a Pork Loin stuffed with Cajun Boudain. If you keep reading you'll find the secret McCoy Recipe for their fool-proof smoked brisket which is showcased in her Hell Yeah! Series.

As you progress through the cookbook, you'll find various links provided that will take you to the places where you can buy things like Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning, as well as the smoker used to cook some of these dishes.

You'll find the recipes are divided into Sections called 'Savory' for meat and vegetable dishes, and 'Sweeter' for desserts. These terms are a play on words about her books.

Inside 'Sable Does It in the Kitchen' there is PG excerpts of her work, if you'd like to take a peek, as well as links to her website and other places you might find Sable on the web.
Hennessee Andrews writes one of my favorite foodie scenes in Tattoos and Cupcakes.  She also pens the Rough in the Saddle series (MM).  Today,  she will teach us to make her guilty pleasure Potato Chip Crack.
Austin’s Story - Rough in the Saddle 6
Austin Stephens never anticipated meeting a gorgeous, fast-tongued auctioneer.  He will learn Cole Jacobsen is more than he seems with secrets to prove it.
As cattle buyer by trade, Austin learns many new valuable lessons in his quest to capture Cole’s heart. Buy low, sell high is not always the best plan. In Austin’s quest to earn the XYZ Ranch the most money for their stock he hurts Cole, not intentionally, but soon realizes the error of his ways.
A lot is going on at the XYZ with an upcoming rodeo they're gearing up for. Just as Austin kept his own secret concerning the sale of the ranch’s stock, Cole has his own secret, and it will prove to have much higher stakes.
Nationals are coming up while the ranch continues to grow. Somewhere out there someone is stirring up trouble for the ranch. The stakes are getting higher, threatening the world Zander created.
Foreplay was officially over. Austin allowed Cole to have his fun, but it was past time for Austin to do what he craved the most. From the first time he laid eyes on Cole earlier in the day he knew he had to have him, and have him he would. Some may see Austin as a simple country bumpkin, but he was more than that, more worldly than that. He was no stranger to various bedroom acts meant to bring about pleasure, in fact, he sort of adored being spanked and flogged. The cock ring was quite an added bonus, not that there wasn’t a pang of displeasure, but overwhelmingly, the device just kept his cock hard as steel, and a great asset in the bedroom.
With his arms released, Austin didn’t bother to assert his power physically. Instead, he used his voice and the arousal pinging between them to do the work. “Wrap it,” he demanded.
Cole shoved Austin back onto the bed and straddled his waist. “You better be more than a pretty face,” he said as he ripped open a condom.
Austin just grinned and skimmed his hands up Cole’s thighs. His ass was still tender, reminding him of the well-placed strikes of the paddle. Added to that was the tinge of pain at the end of his prick from the flogger. Mmm, good times.
While licking his perfectly shaped lips, Cole rolled the condom over Austin’s cock, eyes wide, needy in nature. Austin was getting ready to make his dreams come true. Patience and timing, sex was all about the surprise. Cole was willing, based on his expression that was part desire, part uncertainty.
“Lube it,” Austin demanded in a gentle tone, loving the compliance Cole gave.
Oil dribbled over Austin’s prick. He watched patiently, mesmerized by Cole’s body hovering above him. It was past time for dessert. Austin easily overpowered Cole and loomed above him. He held Cole by the wrists and grinned. “I meant what I said, you know.”
Cole audibly swallowed. The sound was so hot that Austin forgot to breathe. He pulled Cole’s legs up and pinned them down to his chest. “Hold on tight. A storm is coming your way.”
A glorious sight greeted Austin. Cole was into manscaping and his puckered hole was free of hair, as well as other parts of his anatomy. He leaned down and flicked his tongue over Cole’s bud, tracing up to his ball sack, where he stopped to suck each nut into his mouth. Cole writhed and wavered with his hold until Austin reminded him.
“I said hold your legs.”
Cole grabbed his legs tighter and sucked in a breath.
“That’s better.” Austin tongued Cole’s entrance. He gripped the backside of Cole’s thighs, holding him in place as he unleashed a fury of rapid lashes, making Cole cry out with pleasure.
He couldn’t wait to sink deep inside Cole, but dared to guess Cole harbored secret fantasies, and that was what Austin wanted to uncover. His tongue thrust against the tight ring of muscle. Cole groaned and shook. Reaching for the bottle of lube, Austin and held it up and allowed the slick substance to drizzle out, hitting the target below. “I bet you had a lot of fun in store for me,” Austin teased, rubbing Cole’s bud with his left thumb while rummaging through the box with his free hand.
Cole whimpered in protest and started to move. Austin smacked his ass so hard with the palm of his hand that the sound echoed though the large bedroom.
“Oh, god!” Cole cried out and his legs trembled.
“Ooo, what’s this?” Austin asked, excited with the stock Cole owned. “Yeah, this should do nicely.”
Using the restraints at the head of the bed, Austin chuckled as he leaned over Cole, and tied his arms back. “I’m so glad you have these.” He continued by teasing Cole, placing a soft kiss to his lips. “I sure hope you have another one of these rings. The pain is quite exhilarating.”
Cole blinked his eyes rapidly and inhaled a deep breath.
“Nervous?” Austin moved and began to secure Cole’s ankles up in the air. “Don’t worry, my little voyeur. I’ll be gentle…at first.”
The wooden paddle slapped Cole’s ass with just enough force to make him yelp and arch up from the bed. Austin groaned at the sight and the sound, and the two combined with his cock throbbing from the ring became difficult to ignore. He wanted to be thrusting into Cole more than anything, but realized Cole must need to feel out of control, or else he’d have never started this game.
“Mmm, we’re getting somewhere now, sexy.” Austin growled. “Your ass is a nice shade of red, like a cherry. He caressed Cole’s firm cheeks and rimmed his bud with his fingertip. Cole’s prick was hard again, balls drawn up, silky smooth.
“Oh, hell.” Cole gasped and writhed while Austin slowly inched inside him with his finger. Giving a little wiggle, Cole moaned and tensed around his digit.
Cole struck Austin as someone who generally was the top, but craved to be the bottom. He was nervous and rightfully so. Austin had plenty of devious plans. He did have to chuckle inside. Cole had more than met a worthy opponent. When Austin was done with him, Cole may rethink bringing home strange men and tying them up to his bed.
Hennessee’s Potato Chip Crack
  1. Place about 3/4 of the chocolate into a heat safe bowl, and place over the top of a pan of simmering water. If you have a double boiler, use that. Heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted, then continue to heat the chocolate to 110 degrees F (43 degrees C), stirring occasionally. You may use a meat thermometer if your candy thermometer does not go that low.
  2. As soon as the melted chocolate reaches temperature, remove it from the heat, and stir in the remaining chopped chocolate until melted. Continue stirring until the chocolate has cooled to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). Touching a dab of chocolate to your lip will feel cool.
  3. Use tongs to dip potato chips one at a time into the chocolate. Place on waxed paper starting at the point farthest from you and working your way in so as not to drip on your finished chips. Cool until set. You may refrigerate if you like.
  4. Depending on your preference, use dark or milk chocolate. I love the dark!
  5. For my chips, I love wavy ones. Try with your favorites.


OOur third Texas author today is Laurie Olerich, who brings us the urban fantasy/paranormal romance

Stone Angels (The Lost Soul Trilogy #3).  She also has a great recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole.

Mica’s got no options. Sean’s lost his mind. Violent and unstable, he’s teetering on the edge. Desperate to save him from falling, she risks everything she has, including Killian. How far will she go to pull him back? Every step moves her farther away from Killian’s plan. As they work together to save Sean and the rest of the world, she’s haunted by a sense of deja vu that leaves her feeling trapped between two worlds. Which future is the right one?
3,000 years ago, Killian made a promise. Since then, he’s waited for fate to right the wrong that stole his life. The time has come for him to be free, but it’s never that easy. Knowing that Mica’s love is the only weapon against Sean’s demons, he sends her to rescue him. He trusts her completely, but can he trust Sean?
His heart, her soul... Will the promises of angels heal them both?

“I bought you a present. Would you like to open me?” I posed provocatively in the doorway.
After my luxurious shower, I’d lathered up in body lotion and slipped on the sheer blue sex magnet. The sapphire fabric draped and clung to my breasts. Three wide ribbons of blue satin wound their way around my rib cage and tied in a little bow just above my pubic bone. The effect was my lean body wrapped up in blue ribbons…like a sexy present. The tiny satin thong didn’t cover much, but looked pretty…To add some modesty for dinner, I’d wrapped a silky blue sarong around my hips. A pair of inky blue stilettos finished off my look. I’d pinned my hair up into long, loose curls like Giselle had shown me.
Killian’s mouth fell open and he blinked at me. A rush of color flooded his face and his lips curled into a sexy smile. He licked his lips and actually growled low in his throat. My entire body jerked towards him, heat flooding me from head to toe. I clutched at the door frame and tried not to shake. He moved towards me, stalking like a jaguar, muscles rolling smoothly under his clothes. Sex dripped from every pore of his body and my knees went weak. My knuckles were white with strain and my heartbeat drowned out every other sound. His grin widened.
Taking his time, he stood just out of reach with one palm cupped in front of me. His eyes caressed every inch of me, lingering in all the important places. The weight of his stare was tangible as his hand drifted in front of my body, not touching, just hovering over my breasts, my ribs, down my belly, over the wisp of the sarong slung low over my hips. His voice purred inside my head as he described everything he wanted to do to me, with me, for me…He didn’t touch me with his hands, but by the time he was done looking, I was seduced. My heart was skipping beats and a bead of sweat ran down my back.
With his palms flat against the wall behind me, he pinned me between his arms and said, “Dinner’s ready.”
Food or sex? Food or sex? Food or…
Offering me his hand, he bowed and said, “Come, my queen, your feast awaits you.”
Food it is then. Grinning at the unexpected playfulness, I regally presented my hand and allowed him to lead me to my seat. He poured the wine and held up his glass.
I touched my glass against his and answered, “Slainte.”
“We have another day in Paris. What would you like to do with it?” he asked while filling my plate for me.
I watched with amusement as he cut up my chicken and tore off a chunk of the warm bread. Who are you and what have you done with Killian? He sat the plate in front of me and picked up a piece of the crispy meat with his fingers. Before I could answer his question, he held the morsel to my lips. I opened my mouth like a baby bird.
Sighing with pleasure, I said, “Mm, that’s so good.”
With a grin, he sliced a piece for himself while I chewed. He slipped another piece between my lips, allowing his fingers to linger longer than necessary. A tingle of electricity wove its way down my spine and I took a calming sip of wine.
What did I want to do with him in Paris, the most romantic city in the world? That had to be a trick question. I mean really. The only thought that came to mind was sex…Of course it was hard to think of anything else with his fingertips brushing my lips and his eyes undressing me. I tried to give him a seductive stare across the table and flinched away at the flash of raw desire in his eyes. He was taking his time right now but those eyes promised no such restraint later. I was having a really hard time eating when I only wanted to drag him to the bed.
“Eat, Princess. You have to get your strength back. Did you know that sex burns off a thousand calories? When you consider your high metabolism, you’ll probably burn triple that much by the end of the night. You’re too weak for that now. Probably we should wait another week or two; just to be safe.”
I stabbed another piece of chicken and made a big show of chewing it up. After swallowing, I said, “You’re not playing fair! I can only eat so much! My stomach’s shrunk.” I speared another bite of chicken and washed it down with mineral water.
He laid his hand over mine and said, “Take your time, baby. We’ve got all night.” He traced the rune on my hand and smiled slowly. “This night’s for you. I’m going to spoil you, so just relax and let me.”
 RECIPE: Sweet Potato Casserole
Makes 6 servings.
3 pounds medium-sized sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1/3 cup half and half
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon, more or less to taste (optional)
2 eggs, beaten to blend
3/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional)
Butter an 8 inch square or 9x11 inch rectangle casserole dish with 2 inch sides.  Boil sweet potatoes in water until very soft--about 20 minutes, may take longer. Note: You can also microwave in their skins until super soft or even roast in their skins. Either way, the potatoes have to be really soft before you can process them. Make sure you peel them!
Put potatoes into a food processor. Add rest of ingredients except for the pecans. Process until smooth.  I sometimes add a touch more sugar or a little vanilla.  Transfer to the baking dish. Smooth the top evenly. You can put this in the fridge at this step and cook later. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F. Bake casserole until the center is set and top just starts to brown. Usually about 50 minutes. Slightly more if you had it in the fridge. Garnish with the pecans and serve.
Note: I’ve experimented with using brown sugar, adding some molasses, adding cinnamon or nutmeg. I’ve even added some cayenne pepper for a little heat. All taste good. This is the basic recipe. Feel free to customize.

Our final recipe comes from author Alvania Scarborough, author of Disobedience.  She brings us the recipe for Plum Roasted Chicken. 

Blurb for Disobedience

Harker's Hell. Early settlers thought they'd found a western re-creationist's heaven there. Instead this new world became a hellish version of the Old West. Now the seeds of long-ago conflict are stirring to life.


Dissonance Walker is in a world of trouble. Sold to a secret organization by her parents, her ability to disobey is ripped away by a brutal experiment. When she escapes, Dissonance believes the worst is over. She's dead wrong. She's captured and sold. The key to reversing the experiment lies hidden in the stretch of arid waste called the Badlands. Problem is, the too-sexy bounty hunter who bought her stands in her way.


Bram Spencer is sure the heat has baked his brains. With his friend murdered and his ranch under attack, he needs to attend to a little unfinished business. That sure didn't include buying some fool woman because she pokes at scabs he thought long healed. Then he discovers the only way to set her free is to marry her.

Secrets have a long life. Sometimes decades. Now the past is about to slam into the present. Only trust can save Dissonance and Bram from a shocking evil ... but trust is a hard commodity to come by on the frontier.

Amazon Print:
 Kindle US:

Author Contact


Yesterday my oldest, Jackson, left with a handful of men. On each man’s chest was the badge of a bounty hunter. Only those select few know the truth, and are dedicated to tracking down GenForm and eradicating them.

Already Jackson’s been blooded by this damnable war. Though he’s but twenty-two, men twice his age are eager to follow him. It makes my heart heavy as I can see the ice forming a shield around him. He’s becoming hard, but it is that very hardness that will keep him safe.

Chapter 13

“If you ever do that to me again, I will shoot you with your own gun.”

A chuckle heated the side of her neck as Bram leaned down and whispered in her ear. “I knew you could do it.” He scooted her chair closer to the table.

Dis glanced around but no one was paying them any mind. The men seemed more interested in seeing who could get the seats closest to the roast and ham. Still, she kept her voice down. “Look, I know I’m just a slave but you really have no idea how much—” A finger across her lips silenced her. Startled, her gaze flashed up.

Bram’s eyes were dead serious. “You’re my wife.”

The words sent a warm thrill through Dis, along with a sense of belonging. Stupid really. Bram never asked her opinion on anything, just gave orders.

“You didn’t seem to mind them last night.”

Dis went beet red as she realized she’d spoken aloud. “Hush.” Oh mercy, she’d sink through the floor if the others overheard. A quick glance assured her they hadn’t. The amusement in Bram’s green eyes said he was well aware of her worry and wasn’t above using it. “You,” she said, leveling a quelling frown at him, “are a very irritating man.” She would not let him keep baiting her like this. She always seemed to lose.

Little crinkles formed at the corner of his eyes. “You have no idea, sugar, no idea at all just how irritating I can be. Wanna find out?”

“No.” She nearly groaned when all eyes turned in her direction. “What?” She tried to look innocent but felt her face heating again. “Oh for heaven’s sake, sit. All of you.” Bram opened his mouth. “You, too. Sit.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Dis almost snarled at the meek tone. There wasn’t a meek bone in the man’s body. She waited until he rounded the table and took a seat at the other end. “Now, if everyone doesn’t mind, let’s eat this meal before it grows cold. It’d be a shame if Jake’s, Cookie’s and Elliot’s hard work went to waste.” She bared a smile at the men. Elliot, his freckled face turning almost as red as his hair, gave a shy, uncertain smile back. Jake just nodded. Cookie grinned and nodded.

As if that opened a dam, everyone started talking. Putting a small piece of roast beef on her plate before passing the platter to Elliot on her left, Dis listened in amazement to the easy banter between the men. Even Stone took part. So very different to the heavy silence she’d grown up with at the dinner table.

She cleared her throat. “I heard the strangest story.” Immediately, she had everyone’s attention. It was uncomfortable being the cynosure of so many but she pressed on. “Uh, something about a railcar that disappeared years ago.”

Three or four men began talking at once. She picked up a word here or there in the jumble of noise. “Dutchman?”

“Yes, ma’am.” The cowboy across from Elliot, Reid, she thought, picked up the story before anyone else could. “The Lost Dutchman. Everybody hereabout knows of it. Why, we even get people from as far away as Lil’ Washington come hunting it. The vice president himself came last year,” he bragged.

“The Lost Dutchman is a railcar?” she asked, needing to be sure.

“Of course. Everybody about here knows ol’ Harker had a fortune in gold on it when it got lost,” Reid continued.

“Everyone thinks they know,” Bram amended.

“Boss, you knowed it couldn’t be anything else. Why else build tracks that go nowhere if not to quickly move something too heavy to pack on horse or mule. Only thing that heavy is gold. And only reason to build tracks to nowhere is to hide it.”

“Talkin’ out of your ass—beggin’ your pardon, ma’am—Reid,” Nick said. Or was it Vincent? She was getting confused as to who was who. “Bet it was weapons. After all, they was in the midst of a war.”

“Nah, you wouldn’t build a track that goes nowhere if you were hauling weapons. You’d want them where you could distribute them. And how do we even know it was Harker’s railcar? Could’ve belong to the other side.” Stone said, then sat back, a satisfied look on his face.

It was as if he’d thrown a cat among the pigeons. Argument broke out. Comments and conjecture flew across the table faster than the food disappeared.

Dis frowned at Stone. He just smirked back. She gave up and tried to follow the conversation.

Nick, or Vincent, threw up large, scarred, work-worn hands. “Everybody knowed it was Harker’s. That son of a bi—Beggin’ your pardon, ma’am. He ruled with an iron hand and no one was laying track across his land without his a-knowing about it. Had to be him. Hell—Beggin’ your—”

“I know, I know. Begging my pardon.” She waved a dismissing hand. “This is a big land. Harker couldn’t have kept track of everything that happened in it. So why couldn’t it have been the opposing force?” She happened to know for a fact it had been, but that was something she couldn’t reveal. At least not yet.

He leaned across in front of Elliot, eager to convince her. “Because the tracks disappear right in the heart of what used to be Harker’s personal empire.”

“Which is why it’s gold, not weapons. War needs funding and Harker was running the war.” Cookie sat back, arms crossed across his massive chest.

Cookie, well Bartholomew, but he’d told her everyone called him Cookie as he was the cook so she might as well too, had saved Dis’s sanity earlier in the afternoon when he offered to make rolls for supper. She smiled at him. He smiled back, showing the missing front tooth. Bar fight, Elliot had whispered, sounding a little afraid of the burly older man.

“It weren’t gold. Any gold he had would’ve been spent on weapons.”

“Sounds like the chicken and the egg to me,” Bram said, a cynical twist to his mouth.

Nick-Vincent shook his head. “Legend says this was close to the end of the war. Any gold he had would’ve been spent by then. Had to be weapons. Wasn’t long after that, he won the war.”

Jake reached for another helping of beef. “Maybe. Or maybe Harker was hedging his bet in case he lost.”

“How did the war start?” Despite her need to learn the whereabouts of the railcar, she was fascinated by the tale and wanted to know more. She lamented her lack of formal education. What little she had was from lessons Mary, the sheriff’s wife, had given her whenever Dis had gone over to help her when she had one of her spells. Mary, a well-educated woman from the East, used to sneak books to her. Dis had devoured each one, and then went back and read them time and again.

When all this was over and she was better, she’d fix her lack of learning. It discomfited her, how little she knew outside of growing plants. Why, even Bram kept a couple books on the nightstand on his side of the bed. Maybe she’d start with the books in Jim’s office.


For a second Dis was confused, and then she remembered her question. She looked around the table. “Water?”

Bram took pity on her confusion. “Out here water is more precious than gold. Without water you can’t have crops, cattle or a place to call home. Not long after Harker and the settlers he brought with him claimed this land, another group moved in and tried to take over. They were well-armed and provisioned. Some figure they were a front group, sent in to wipe out all sign of Harker and his people.” He shrugged. “If so, no one ever figured out who was behind them.

“In any case, they underestimated Harker and the settlers ability to resist. All out war broke out and it lasted three years before the interlopers were sent packing.”

“And the railcar?” she asked.

“Lost. Some say tracks were laid over a bubble created by a lava flow, and when they tried to run the car across it, the bubble collapsed, burying all signs of car, crew and gold. Some believe the interlopers attacked the car, killing all onboard and taking the gold for themselves. Then there are those who believe Harker, fearing the shipment was about to be stolen, hid it. Others believe it never existed at all. That it was a legend created by Harker himself. That no one has ever found the Lost Dutchman because there is nothing to find.” Bram leaned back in his chair. “I happen to fall into that last group myself.”

“I’ve been giving some thought to it lately,” Elliot said. He glared when Nick-Vincent jabbed him in the ribs with an elbow. His mouth thinned and he stared down at his plate.

“Go ahead. Tell us,” Dis encouraged. After all, the more she knew, the better, right? She took a dainty bite and chewed while she waited.

Elliot turned a dull red. “Thank you, ma’am. Jim told me once he thought Harker was hiding something. Something not gold or weapons.”

The very breath stopped in her chest. She licked her lips. “Did he know what it was?”

He scratched one ear. “Not so’d he ever mentioned to me. But he told me it was something important.”

“Why would Jim tell anything to a wet-behind-the-ears shaver such as yourself?” Jake scoffed. “I’ve been on the ranch for nigh onto ten years.”

“Because he used to take me with him when he hunted for it.”

“Jim believed the railcar was on the ranch?” Bram asked.

“Yeah. We were out hunting strays close to the malpais, and I noticed an outcropping that reminded me of an old map my granddad used to show me when I was a kid. Jim asked me a lot of questions. Several times after that, he invited me to go with him. Made me promise not to say a word to anyone. Truth to tell, kinda reminded me of Granddad. Granddad was a mite secretive when it came to the map.”

“So whatever happened to it?” Bram asked.

“The map?”

Bram nodded.

“Why, I don’t rightly know. I was still just a kid when Granddad died.” He forked up some mash potatoes. “I drew Jim a copy bests I could, though. I have an eye and memory for maps,” Elliot bragged.

“Do not. You get lost going to town.” All the hands started hooting.

Elliot flushed. “Do too. Show me any map and I can draw it. It’s following it, I have problems with.”

“Prove it,” challenged Jake. “Draw it for us right now.”

The young cowboy looked mutinous. “Ain’t goin’ to do it.”

“Because you can’t,” Jake goaded. “Admit it, you have no proof.”

“Believe what you will. I know I did, so there.” His expression lightened. “Besides, I do so have proof. It’s in Jim’s journal. The one he kept on the Lost Dutchman.” He sat back with a smug grin. “So there.”

It was all Dis could do not to jump up and shout with glee. This was better than she’d dared dream.

“I still say you’re full of sh—” Jake broke off. “Begging your—”

She sighed. “I know, begging my pardon.” She tapped a nail on the exquisite lace tablecloth. “Why do you think Elliot’s,” she paused and then continued diplomatically, “mistaken?”

“Because I ain’t never seen Jim with a journal. That’s why.”

“Don’t know about that, Jake,” Cookie drawled, obviously thinking as he spoke. “I saw him with one a time or two.”

Dis cupped her chin in the palm of her hand. “Really?”

Cookie nodded.

“Tell us more,” she invited.

“Not much more to tell,” he admitted reluctantly. “About six months to a year before he was kilt, I seen him scribble in a book. Reminded me of a tally book, only covered in leather, but I never saw what he wrote. He was real careful like not to leave it lying about.”

She bit her tongue on more questions. Wouldn’t do to be too obvious, after all. That’d just invite all sorts of inquiries she’d rather not answer. But, there was more than one way to skin a possum, as Granny Walker used to say. Cookie liked to talk. She’d learned that this afternoon. Only no one would take the time to listen. Well, he now had a very, very interested audience. Same with Elliot. Thanks to her husband’s order for him to stick close, she now had the means to pump him for information without anyone being the wiser. Dis began making plans, scarcely taking note of the conversation as it turned to cattle and range conditions.

Recipe:  Plum Delightful Roast Chicken

 1 whole broiler-fryer chicken

1 ¼ cups herb bread stuffing

1 apple, cored, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped celery

9 tablespoons hot water, divided

3 tablespoons butter (margerine), melted

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoons finely chopped onion

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup plum jam

¼ cup lemon juice

1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flour

 In large bowl mix stuffing, apple, celery, 5 tablespoons hot water, butter, walnuts and onions. Spoon into cavity of chicken. Hook wing onto back and tie legs together. Place in large shallow roasting pan. In medium bowl make plum sauce by mixing wine, jam, lemon juice, ginger and salt. Pour over chicken and brush to coat.

 Bake, uncovered in 325 degree oven, basting occassionally, 1 ¾ hour or until leg moves freely when lifted or twisted. Remove to serving platter.

 Skim fat from pan. In small bowl, mix flour and remaining 4 tablespoon hot water until smooth. Add to baking pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat about 5 minutes or until thick. Serve over chicken.

 Serves 4

Enjoyed this installment of Feisty Foodies: Recipes and Reads? 
Check out the previous installments too. 

 Day 1      Day 2     Day  3     Day 4

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  1. LOVE the cover for Absentminded Angel! Can't wait to read it! Heather, you totally rock!

  2. I have been looking forward to Absentminded Angel from Heather Rainier for a long time! Can't wait to dig in!

  3. I love the new cover for Absentminded Angel!!

  4. I love the cover!! I cannot wait to get my hands on Absentminded Angel!M. I have been looking forward to Presley Ann's story!!!

  5. Can't wait until Absentminded Angel. Love Heather's Books, oh and Tara and Elle. And many more authors

  6. I love chocolate, no matter what! Thank you all for being on the blog. We have had tons of amazing recipes and lots of hot excerpts. What a wonderful event right before Thanksgiving!