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February Harlequin Spotlight

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RANSOM

by Terri Reed

Liz Cantrell is terrified when she receives a call from a man holding her newlywed sister captive—and she’s convinced her sketchy brother-in-law is involved. Willing to pay any price for her sister’s freedom, Liz flies to Niagara Falls with the ransom: an uncut diamond necklace worth millions.

But the moment she lands, a handsome, world-weary Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent takes her into custody. Blake Fallon’s determined to catch a ruthless diamond smuggler—and the pretty antiques dealer trying to save her sister could be just the break his case needs. But as they team up to rescue Liz’s sister and trap the criminal mastermind, a desperate standoff will threaten everything they hold precious—including their lives.

Date Night: What would your characters do for the perfect Valentine’s Day date?

Dinner in a romantic restaurant with a window seat overlooking the ocean, soft music playing in the background and candlelight dancing across the table. Staring into each other’s eyes and knowing that no matter what happens in life, that as long as they are together, they can weather any storm.

 Bon Appétit and a Book: A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book.

Chocolate Soufflé with Raspberry Sauce-see attached.

Chocolate Soufflés:
3 tbs unsalted butter, divided
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 Large eggs
2 tbs granulated sugar
Pinch salt
Pinch cream of tartar
Raspberry Sauce:
5 oz fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
2 tbs granulated sugar
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Use 1 tbs of the butter to grease two 8-ounce ramekins. Coat the ramekins with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate and remaining 2 tbs of butter in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time.
In a clean bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites, sugar, salt, and cream of tartar just until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate. Spoon into the prepared ramekins. Soufflés can be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated at this point for up to 1 day.
Bake until puffed and set, about 20 minutes (25 minutes if baking directly from the refrigerator).
Raspberry Sauce:
While the soufflés are baking, purée the raspberries and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender, until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
Garnish the chocolate soufflés with powdered sugar and serve immediately with raspberry sauce.

 

TERRI REED discovered the wonderful world of fiction at an early age and declared she would one day write a book. Now she is fulfilling that dream and enjoys writing for Steeple Hill. She is an active member of both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers. She resides in the Pacific Northwest with her college-sweetheart husband, two wonderful children and an array of critters. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, gardening and playing with her dogs.

 

BB

BULLETPROOF BADGE

By Angi Morgan

His key witnesses dead, Texas Ranger Garrison Travis had to protect innocent bystander Kenderly Tyler. Her crucial evidence had two very dangerous Texas crime families willing to do anything to keep her quiet. But Garrison’s undercover status had branded him a killer, and now the bad and the good guys were after them both.

Hiding out with a handsome protector, on the run for her life, was so beyond anything Kenderly had imagined. While there was more than just adrenaline pulsing between them, the Ranger vowed his job was his life. Dare she wonder what would become of them should they actually make it out alive?

Q&A with Angi Morgan-Bulletproof Badge

  • What are five words that describe your writing process?

Storyteller. Texan speak. Linear. Feedback-needy.

 

  • What emoji best describes your personality? Why?

I had to ask my friends for this answer. They said the sunglass smiley face because I’m cool. But it’s probably because a lot of my pictures have sunglasses on my face. I love road trips and can’t drive without them.

 

  • Which would you rather do: Never write another story or never read another book?

If I never wrote another story, the ones in my head would probably drive me (and everyone around me) nuts. So sadly, I’d have to give up reading and stick with storytelling.

 

  • How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Oddly enough, I thought the names were extremely important…up until my West Texas Watchmen series heroines’ names needed to be changed. I’d called them Scottie, Donnie and Ronnie.  Too masculine…so I ran a fan contest and let them name them. Sometimes I’ll hear a name and say, that’s this character’s name and it can’t change…Ever.

 

  • Are you a spring, summer, fall, or winter person?

Summer. I love hot–and it gets hot enough in Texas. But give me the beach and a tan. I’ve spent many springs and summers running a girls fast pitch softball complex…snow cones and pickle pops are the best!

 

  • Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Love scenes…I can write action in about an hour…love scenes take me all week.  Action is action. But I always want a love scene to be special for just those two characters. It has to be unique and progress the characters’ stories.

 

  • What was your favorite scene to write in Bulletproof Badge? Why?

Garrison takes Kenderly back to his aunt’s house which is modeled after my grandmother’s home. He’s tending a deep scratch after escaping the bad guys…

“How could I have gotten into this mess?” She fanned her cheeks in a motion his sister used years ago when trying not to cry. “When I woke up this morning, I never imagined I’d have two dogs at my feet, be sitting in a funny little kitchen with peroxide dripping down my thigh and have a complete stranger blowing up my skirt.”

 

  • If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?

I’ve been a fan of Dennis Quaid’s smile all my life, so he would need to be on.

Kurt Russell because I’d love to know if he had stories of Walt Disney.

Chris Pine because I recently discovered he could be any of my heroes.

I’d eventually have writers, I’m sure. (Hiding behind my sunglasses emoji now.)

 

  • What did you find most useful in learning to write?

Listening to myself and trusting my gut about my work.

What was least useful or most destructive?

Not listening to myself and not trusting my gut about my work.

Seriously, the hardest thing for a neurotic writer is trusting that the version of the story on the page is the absolute best version there is. Trusting that you got it right? It’s hard. And all of a sudden I realized that people liked the way I told stories. When I got that version of my writing on the page I gained some confidence and ran with it.

 

  • What is your next project?

This week I’m finishing up book four of TEXAS RANGERS: ELITE TROOP. Hard Core Law is about the Company F commander and the decisions a very good man is faced with in order to save his children. My next project is about two brothers from Liberty Hill, Texas where football rules the town year-round. The first hero is the sheriff (former quarterback and town hero). He gives his brother his word that he’ll protect a woman, then finds out she’s wanted for murder. Does he arrest her or protect her like he promised?

 

About the author:

An 11th generation Texan, Angi utilizes her strong heritage to create passionate characters willing to risk everything. She writes Intrigues where danger and honor collide with love. When the house is quiet, she plots ways to engage her readers with complex story lines, throwing her hero and heroine into situations they’ll never overcome…until they find the one person they can love.

With her three children out of the house, Angi concentrated on her work, finding her dream agent and editor. She and her husband live in North Texas with only the four-legged ‘kids’ to interrupt her writing. Tex & Roxie keep Angi and her characters company and remind her to occasionally take time off to play.

 

CSH

COLTON’S SURPRISE HEIR

by Addison Fox

With an imprisoned serial killer for a father, rancher Ethan Colton never planned on continuing the tainted family name. But six months after a night of passion with a woman from his past, Ethan discovers he’s about to be a dad.

Beautiful, independent Lizzie Conner turns up at his Texas ranch expecting nothing but protection from the guarded cowboy. A stalker is fast on her trail, leaving creepy gifts and notes threatening her and the baby. Now all that matters to Ethan is keeping his unexpected family safe—and out of a killer’s clutches.

 

Bon Appetit and a Book

They say that there are two types of people in the kitchen – bakers and cooks. If I had to put myself into a category, I’d definitely lean toward baker. I have a few dishes that have become part of my standing repertoire, but as a recent attempt at a ham and bean soup will attest, my skills lean toward those recipes that involve copious amounts of butter and sugar, NOT meat, veggies or starch.

I’m not a southerner by birth, but I first moved to Texas nearly two decades ago. In the years since, I’ve learned about the fine art of casserole making AND just how many wonderful ways there are to combine butter and sugar. So…without further ado, here’s a personal favorite. I first heard it called Chess Cake but Paula Deen has perfected it as “Ooey Gooey Cake.” Regardless of what you call it, I can promise you it will be a dessert everyone loves.

 

CHESS CAKE

Ingredients:

1 box of yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla

2 sticks of butter

1 package of cream cheese

1 box (16 oz) of Confectioners Sugar

 

Mix one stick of melted butter with one egg and the yellow cake mix. Mix thoroughly with a mixer until the dough is thick and easy to work with. Press into the base of a 9×13 glass pan.

Take a package of cream cheese and cream with the mixer. Add two eggs and the teaspoon of vanilla, continue mixing. Once fully mixed together, slowly add in the Confectioners Sugar. Mix thoroughly, then layer the mixture over the base you’ve already pressed into the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes (depends on your oven…mine’s perfect around minute 43). The top gets a very thin crust and the insides below should be slightly wet on a tester or thin knife.

Let cool and enjoy!

Happy Baking AND Reading!

Addison

A Fox_Chess Cake + Coltons Surprise Heir Angi Morgan-Baked with chips

 

ADDISON FOX can’t remember a time when words weren’t part of her life. An avid reader, her love of the written word started at the tender age of one with The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear (a poem she could recite by heart to any family member who would listen.) Dr. Seuss, C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume and a host of others quickly followed until she discovered THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel while writing a paper at the library in the seventh grade. Although not a classic romance, Ayla and Jondalar’s love story moved her firmly into the romance section and she hasn’t looked back!

Addison writes paranormal and contemporary romance for NAL, category-length romantic suspense for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and category-length contemporary romance for Entangled Indulgence.  Addison lives in Dallas. She loves to get email from readers.

 

Comments

  1. Oh man, what a great interview and I love and have baked this version of Chess cake since the 70s! It’s always a hit! Books on my Goodreads shelf!

  2. Thanks for having us!
    Kathleen, I have to admit that I’m a store bought cheesecake girl. When we crave it, we normally head to SALTGRASS for their 2-fork plate with white chocolate and strawberries.

  3. Terri Reed, that sounds like the perfect date night to me 🙂 My hubby wants to take me to the restaurant in the Space Needle in Seattle, the one that rotates for a 360 view of the city. I’m too chicken to do it….lol!! I’ve been up there twice and that’s enough excitement for me 🙂

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