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About the Novel:
Konigsberg, Texas, Book 7.
MG Carmody never figured her musical dreams would crash against the reality of Nashville. Now the only thing she has going for her is her late grandfather’s chicken farm, which comes with molting hens that won’t lay, one irascible rooster, and a huge mortgage held by a ruthless opponent—her
Great Aunt Nedda.
With fewer eggs to sell, MG needs extra money, fast. Even if it means carving out time for a job as a prep cook at The Rose—and resisting her attraction to its sexy head chef.
Joe LeBlanc has problems of his own. He’s got a kitchen full of temperamental cooks—one of whom is a sneak thief—a demanding cooking competition to prepare for, and an attraction to MG that could easily boil over into something tasty. If he could figure out the cause of the shy beauty’s lack of self-confidence.
In Joe’s arms, MG’s heart begins to find its voice. But between kitchen thieves, performance anxiety, saucy saboteurs, greedy relatives, and one very pissed-off rooster, the chances of them ever making sweet music are looking slimmer by the day.
About the Author:
Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country. Book #3, Be My Baby, won a 2011 EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance. Book #4, Long Time Gone, received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Indie Press Romance. Book #5, Brand New Me, won the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers and was nominated for Book Of the Year at Long and Short Reviews. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine Coon anyway). Her Web site is http://www.MegBenjamin.com and her blog is http://megbenj1.wordpress.com/. You can follow her on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/meg.benjamin1), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/megbenjamin/), and Twitter (http://twitter.com/megbenj1). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at email@example.com.
Author Guest Post:
Cooking Up Romance
My seventh book set in Konigsburg, Texas, Fearless Love, features a chef as the hero. That was deliberate. As a sort of low-grade foodie myself, I was really excited about the idea of researching and writing about cooking.
My chef, Joe LeBlanc, is a former superstar chef who’s come back from his own burnout. He runs the Rose restaurant at a very upscale bed and breakfast. Now it may seem strange to have a chef as a romantic hero—I mean, I love Jacques Pepin, but he’s not exactly a romantic figure. Still, if you think about it, chefs have a lot going for them. Like athletes, they have to make split second decisions. Like artists, they create sublime things out of ordinary ingredients. And like other authority figures (cops, military men, vampire hunters, etc.), they have to take charge and keep things going in tricky situations.
Joe is all of these things and more. He’s also a gilt-edged romantic who’s head over heels for the heroine, MG Carmody. MG’s in a tough spot, trying to earn enough money to pay off the mortgage on the farm she inherited from her grandfather. And Joe hires her to be a prep cook in his kitchen even though her culinary skills are a bit limited.
I knew that somewhere in the course of the book, Joe was going to have to cook a meal for MG. After all, what chef could resist feeding the woman he loves—it’s a great way to demonstrate his devotion. But as it happened, the dinner-fixing scene came right after Joe and MG make love for the first time, and they were at her dilapidated farm house rather than his super-fancy restaurant. So no fancy kitchen with its super-hot stove and array of pans, no special ingredients (MG’s on a tight budget, after all), no elegant dining room with sparkling crystal and china. I had to find a dish that would work in a normal kitchen and still show a little pizzaz.
I settled on a variation of a classic “midnight supper” dish—spaghetti with anchovies and bread crumbs. The recipe is simplicity itself. You boil up some spaghetti, and while it cooks, you sauté a couple of cloves of sliced garlic in olive oil. Then you add three or four chopped anchovy fillets to the hot oil. The anchovies will melt away in the oil and you can add the whole thing to the cooked and drained spaghetti. As a finishing touch, you sprinkle some toasted breadcrumbs on top.
That’s the basic recipe, but you can do all kinds of things to jazz it up. Mario Batali adds caramelized onions. The New York Times food guy adds capers. Other recipes add lemon juice, and red pepper flakes are always an option. A sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley on the top is a nice touch too.
It’s a meal fit for a pair of hungry lovers, who need to keep their stamina up. And it can even be cooked wearing only a pair of jeans, as Joe does it.
And ultimately it works. Which is to say it gets things heated up a bit.
He cupped the back of her head and covered her mouth with his.
A few moment later, he raised his head. “I’m starved too,” he growled. “Eat fast.”
“Only cars are named MG. What’s your real name.”
For a moment, she looked like a sulky seven-year-old, her face scrunched into a scowl. “You can’t laugh.”
“I’ll do my best. What are you—Mariah Grimsby or something?”
He blinked. “And you’re upset about that?”
“Well, to begin with it sounds like the name of a sixty-year-old nun.” She sighed. “Probably from County Clare.”
“Trust me, honey, nobody’s going to mistake you for a sixty-year-old nun. Although the County Clare part could fit.” He ran his fingers along her cheek, tracing the high bone. “What else you got?”
She blew out a breath. “The problem is the Grace part. My mom’s the most practical person I know, and a harder worker you’ll never find. But why the hell she saw fit to stick me with Grace, I’ll never understand.”
He let his fingertips trail down the side of her throat. “What’s wrong with Grace? I like it.”
“It’s everything I’m not. Calm. Steadfast. Slow to anger. You name a virtue I lack and it’ll be one Grace should have. Including being able to move around without tripping over my own feet. It’s like naming your kid Chastity or Excellence or something.” She turned her head slightly, brushing her lips against his palm. “And no, I’m not fishing for compliments and I don’t need to be reassured about my general wonderfulness. It’s just that the good things about me aren’t things a Grace would have.”
“Don’t tell me I can’t reassure you about your wonderfulness if I want to,” he murmured, sliding his lips along the line his fingers had followed. “Besides there’s all kinds of grace in this world, darlin’.”
“Such as?” Her voice sounded a little breathless. A very good sign.
“Well, I figure you’re thinking about something like a ballet dancer—you know, professional grace. Or some model, assuming she doesn’t fall ass over teakettle with those skyscraper heels they wear.” He nuzzled the soft spot beneath her ear.
“Something like that.” Definitely breathless now.