Today we have Shannon Stacey visiting with us, and she’s doing it up Teaser Tuesday style! In fact, I told Shannon she’s a total overachiever, as she’s got her GA&AG covered, is providing an exclusive excerpt, and referenced previous blog posts! She’s the dream guest, because she makes me seem all put together and relevant! *heart* (Um, cuz it’s all about me, yes? ;))
Her Kowalski series has been incredibly popular, and I’ve only heard good things about it. Below, there’s an exclusive excerpt of Yours to Keep, the newest book in the series and it *just* came out yesterday!
It’s no secret I can’t cook. People try to “fix” me. Lime has even tried to feed me. But I’m fairly hopeless, as my misadventures in cooking show. Emma, the heroine of Yours To Keep, is as bad a cook as I am, which made her extra fun for me to write. And it made things a little interesting for the hero, too.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt from Yours To Keep, in which Sean is sitting down for his first dinner as Emma’s fake fiance. Cat, Emma’s grandmother, has just arrived from Florida and Emma wants to kick off a month of pretend family bonding with a
special, home-cooked meal. Too bad she didn’t have a little more time to get to know him first…
Sean didn’t think it was going too badly…until Emma set a steaming glass dish on a trivet in the middle of the table. It was a casserole. One with tufts of little green trees sticking up out of some kind of sauce.
Broccoli. He hated broccoli. Loathed it.
“Chicken divan,” Emma said, and only an idiot could have missed the note of pride in her voice as she put her hands on her hips, oven mitts and all. “It’s my best dish—okay, my only real baked dish—so I made it as a welcome-home meal.”
Cat smiled and Sean forced his lips to move into what he hoped was a similar expression. A woman who was sleeping with and living with and planning a future with a man would know he didn’t like broccoli. And it was his own damn fault for laughing off her suggestion he write an owner’s manual of his own.
She served him first, maybe because he was the fake man of the house, plopping in front of him a steaming pile of perfectly good chicken and cheese ruined by the green vegetable. He smiled at her—or maybe grimaced—and took a sip of iced tea.
He could do this. He’d survived boot camp. He’d survived combat and the harsh weather of Afghanistan. He could survive broccoli. Probably.
“It looks wonderful,” Cat practically cooed, and Sean’s stomach rumbled. Whether in hunger or protest he couldn’t say.
Emma, of course, flushed with pleasure at the compliment. With a few wisps of hair framing her pink cheeks and her eyes sparkling, she was beautiful. Not beautiful enough to merit eating broccoli, but beautiful enough so he watched her for a minute as she served herself and sat down across from him.
Then he made himself look back to his own plate. He’d given his word he’d make this charade work and Cat wanting to know why Emma fed her fiancé his least favorite food wasn’t a good way to start.
He put it off as long as he could—picking out mouthfuls of cheesy chicken that weren’t too bad—but he couldn’t leave behind a pile of uneaten broccoli.
Suck it up, soldier. The broccoli’s tree trunk or stalk or whatever people called it squeaked between his teeth, a little undercooked. Or maybe it was supposed to feel like that. Either way, he didn’t like it, so he chewed and swallowed as fast as he could. Then he dug up another forkful and did it again.
He’d gotten through basic training by putting one reluctant foot in front of the other, and that’s how he got through Emma’s chicken divan. One squeaky, nauseating bite after another.
I love chicken divan, but even if I could make it I wouldn’t. Like Sean, my husband doesn’t like broccoli. (He also doesn’t like cheese, which I’m not sure I knew before I agreed to marry him.) I make a mean batch of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, though!
What’s your favorite dish to make? Or if, like with me, cooking isn’t one of your more finely honed skills, where’s your favorite place to eat? (I’m particularly fond of Applebee’s because I love steak and I’ve never grilled one without totally stripping it of moisture and flavor.)
I’ll give one random commenter a gift certificate for $25 to the online bookstore of your choice!
Shannon Stacey has written romances in a variety of subgenres, but they all have one thing in common—a happily ever after is guaranteed. She can be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, www.shannonstacey.com and is often spotted running amok on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and the eHarlequin.com community.
I have to say… Shannon, you and your family’s food choices make me sad. Like, seriously sad. And… squeaky brocolli? Gah. *shudder* But that excerpt was totally cute. I’m still determined to feed your family…
Oh and of course, it’d be good to share the blurb for Yours to Keep, yes?
Sean Kowalski no sooner leaves the army than he’s recruited by Emma Shaw to be her fake fiancé. Emma needs to produce a husband-to-be for her grandmother’s upcoming visit, and, though Sean doesn’t like the deception, he could use the landscaping job Emma’s offering while he decides what to do with his civilian life. And, despite his attraction to Emma, there’s no chance he’ll fall for a woman with deep roots in a town he’s not planning to call home.
Emma’s not interested in a real relationship either; not with a man whose idea of home is wherever he drops his duffel bag. No matter how amazing his “pretend” kisses are…
So everyone – what’d you think? Have you read any of Shannon Stacey’s stories before? Or any in her “Yours”/Kowalski series? Got any recipe suggestions for Shannon? 😉 And how do you feel about broccoli?
I’ll eat broccoli but it isn’t my most fave green veg but a long shot. It has to be just cooked though so it is a glorious bright green. Nothing sucks worse than overcooked broccoli…oh, well, actually tripe sucks worse. Quadruple worse.
I read Shannon’s first Kowlowski book when I was considering submitting to Carina Press. It blew me away and I thought, ‘if that’s the standard of contemp romance that CP is publishing, I want in on it.’
I have the other two on my Kindle waiting for my mid winter holidays (vacation) which are a scary three weeks away…must finish a book first!
Oh I love the excerpt!
Hilarious! and I am so with Sean, we are so not supposed to eat little baby trees that taste revolting.
I am not a terrible cook, but I HATE doing it.. but I make a mean savoury mince, which is more vegies than mince, and it the best winter comfort food.
(I’m in Oz, hence being up at this time, and it being bloomin winter. Boo.)
I’ll tackle the food questions first. I like broccoli. I usually have to dress it up with a sauce or some seasoning though. It’s kind of bland on its own. I grew up eating southern food so my favorites are usually fried foods smothered in gravy. Personally I prefer to cook italian dishes. I make a mean Pasta Puttanesca. Not everyone likes it though because it has anchovies and capers in it.
I loved the excerpt! I haven’t read the Kowalski series yet but I think I will enjoy it. I have read last year’s Christmas novella from Carina Press. I thought it was a sweet story. He hated the city and she didn’t want to be stuck in her tiny home town. I like that they compromised in the end.
Congratulations on the new release! I’ve read lots of good buzz about it online.
Love broccoli. I’d pass on the chicken divan though. All that icky mayonnaise and sour cream.
I made a batch of white wine sauce yesterday. It’s what I throw over chicken/seafood/veggies and whatever pasta we’re having. The picky kid won’t eat it, but she hates everything. http://www.chefsilvia.com/recipes_whitewinesauce.htm
Congrats on your release, Shannon!
I love the excerpt! I’ve not had a chance to read Shannon Stacey’s books, but I think I will have to. I’m OK with broccoli, but they do need to be just undercooked. I actually like the stems instead of the florets. I’m not a big cook, though I do love spinach and mushroom quiche. Thanks for the post!
Congrats on the new release Shannon! I’ve read it already and it’s awesome 🙂
I love to cook, but try to stick to as simple a recipe as possible. If it’s too complicated, I’ll probably screw it up 🙂
My specialties are Tuna Noodle Casserole and a very easy Lasagna. I also make a mean Kraft Macaroni and Cheese…lol
And I do like broccoli, as long as it’s mixed with a lot of other things….so not going to eat it on it’s own.
I read Undeniably Yours and really liked it! I can’t wait for the other books in the series!
I don’t like broccoli. I pick it out of the Chicken Alfred Lean Cuisines I buy!
LOL! Hi, Shannon! You’re on my TBR 🙂
As for cooking, I’m no expert; my husband is far better, but has less time to cook, so I end up making food that is passable.
An easy favorite of ours is chili–we use Rachael Ray’s recipe (I don’t watch her show or anything; a friend turned us onto this and we’ve used it ever since):
As for broccoli, we love it–often we just steam it and then stir in a little oyster sauce and sesame oil while it’s hot. I also love the broccoli salad they make at Sweet Tomatoes; we have a similar recipe, but I’m usually too lazy to make it often 🙂
Hi Shannon! Thanks for a great post. since I now know you don’t do broccoli at your house, I know I can safely eat there. I’m with you hubby..broccoli..EWWW!! Of course, I’m also with you..Applebee’s..YUM!! I could live on their steak and grilled shrimp parmesean (but skip the grilled veggies and give me double mashed potatoes..I’m a very unhealthy eater LOL)
I can’t get away with saying I can’t cook, though. I do it for a living. But since I cook for 28 people with dementia, I can screw up pretty badly and most of them won’t remember it the next day 🙂 The best meal I make depends on who you ask. My boss would say stuffed peppers or pork and sauerkraut, most of my residents say baked zitior mac n cheese, and hubby says beef stew. Lucky for him, that’s what I’m making for dinner tonight 🙂
Okay, if this excerpt doesn’t make you run out and get this book I don’t know what will!
My mom use to make Chicken Divan, I’ll have to get her recipe. My favorite thing to make is soups or chilli. It’s hard to mess up when everthing goes into one pot.
My favorite dish to make: lasagna, with lots and lots of cheese. Granted only my husband and I will eat it, but yum!
Happy Release Week! I just picked up a copy of Your to Keep last night, and after that hilarious excerpt, I can’t wait to start reading it.
I totally agree about Applebee’s steaks. They are my favorite pick whenever we eat there. I am okay with broccoli, though we don’t do anything fancy with it besides add a dollop of blue cheese dressing.
Thanks for the white wine sauce recipe, Julia. It looks easy enough for even me to get right, and my kitchen skills are more along the lines of Emma’s, lol.
caity_mack at yahoo dot com
Cute excerpt.Poor guy..lol.
I do actually like broccoli.I didn’t when I was younger and then one day I just did.
My favorite dish to make is bacon,cheese potatoes.they’re so not good for you but,darn it I love them 🙂
I haven’t read any Kowalski series books but I do have book 1 on my ereader.
My friend just recommended Shannon’s books to me & then I ran across this blog. I haven’t read the series, yet, but I’m going to have to check it out. I have to say that cooking is not something that I love to do. I like baking much better. Growing up in my house my dad had a rule that if it was green, he didn’t eat it, so we didn’t have much Broccoli. I do like Broccoli, but it usually needs to be slathered in cheese. Which is a great way to ruin the healthy aspect of it. As for favorite foods, give me baked clams from an Italian restaurant and I’m a happy camper!!
Don’t like broccoli either.
I enjoy cooking, but my family isn’t very keen on trying new recipes. My favorite restaurant is Olive Garden or Outback Steakhouse. But Logan’s Roadhouse is good too (and closer to the house).
I’m in the middle of Yours to Keep and loving it so far.
Lately broccoli is my favorite food!
The thing we like to eat the most (whether cooked at home or out) is mexican food! YUM!
I do have the first 2 books in my TBR pile (which is over 400 high!!) Does that count? 🙂
Okay, this book is on my Kindle but I promised myself I wouldn’t read it until I finished my current WIP. I had 7k left to write and wrote 3k yesterday (AFTER working my day job). Best motivation ever. I plan to be done tomorrow night. (Hey, nobody said it had to be GOOD, it’s a first draft, right?)
I love the Kowalski’s and I truly hope you added some more family members so we can keep reading and enjoying them!
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I just have to say… those of you who despise broccoli are making me so sad! 🙁 Broccoli is delicious! Although, I will say generally it’s cooked badly, steamed all to hell or raw… but roasted is amazing! In fact, next time, I’m going to post Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for roast broccoli.
Anyway, this was an absolutely adorable excerpt – thanks for sharing it, Shannon! And an exclusive one! I feel so special 😀
Congratulations on your newest release! So glad it’s out now so I can get it!
I’m with you, I love brocolli, lime! I do agree though, if you overcook it, it’s disgusting.
Brocolli with cheese are raw with dip is awesome. I have read all of Shannon’s “Yours” books and they are awesome. Congrats on the new release.
Love broccoli IF IF IF IF it is NOT over cooked! Nothing is worse than mushy soggy broccoli! In fact, we barely steam it so it is very crunchy . . . . yum!!
I haven’t read any of the “Yours” books, but love contemporary. I added it to my list when I saw Sarah at SBTB post for the next book club and then “voila” it posted here too!
It must be good!!
These comments are so much fun…but making me hungry! (As Lime’s blog often does.) Nothing like a craving for chicken divan and/or Applebee’s loaded mashed at 9:30 in the morning.
Oh, but we ate at Uno’s Chicago Grill for the first time last night and, ohmigod, the Deep Dish Macaroni & 3 Cheese. I actually said the words “I want to marry this” out loud. (Of course, I probably gained five pounds over dinner, but at this point, nobody will notice.)
Thank you all so much for the release congrats! 🙂
Shannon – that excerpt was fantastic! I definitely need to get the book now. I do eat broccoli and cheese, but actually not usually together. I’ve never had chicken divan, and sorry, but after reading the comments and the “squeaky” broccoli, I’m not that eager to try it.
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