Posts tagged with: Sugar and Spice

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Oh, the Sweet Choices… Kicking Off 12 Bandita Days of Christmas!!!

When I was growing up (back on the good ole days), sweets weren’t as common as they are now.  That sounds silly, doesn’t it?  But my memories of candy and my childhood revolve around Halloween and Christmas, and the occasional candy bar purchase with my allowance – which was rare because I was always saving up for new Barbie clothes.  It’s this perception (quite possibly a misconception –I’ll have to ask my mom *g ) that plays into my always overdoing the sweet treat creation binging during the holidays. 

I love to bake.  I love to make candy.  And this time of year, I can do both. And better yet, I can do both and not gain a ton of weight because I give away 97% of what I make.  SWEEEET!! 

So I’m totally getting into this part of the holiday fun. The scent of bubbling sugar and melting chocolate is wafting from my kitchen.  The refrigerator is too full of goodies for there to be room for food.   And the counters are lined with ingredients, all waiting to be mixed into something yummy (and hopefully, they’ll get that wish.  Sometimes my concoctions are a little iffy).  

This week it’s candy.  Next week it’s cookies.  Because I just can’t choose between the two!  I only make candy twice a year- Christmas, and a batch of almond toffee in the summer for my dad’s birthday gift.  So candy is a have to.  But cookies, those are a year-round thing. But there are types I do save for the holidays.  The time intensive ones, the fancy ingredient ones, or anything that requires I decorate them instead of my kids. 

I just can’t choose my favorite.  Do I like holiday candy better?  Or do I want holiday cookies more?  I’m so torn between the two, that I have two books out right now and one features Christmas cookies.  And (you saw this coming, right?) the other features candy. 

In NICE & NAUGHTY, my heroine’s opening scene shows her baking Christmas cookies with her sisters.  Here’s a peek:

Why don’t we take this into the dining room.” He covered his inward cringe with a big smile. “I was hoping for some cookies, and the table means fewer crumbs, right?”

The smile she flashed was bright and happy, as if he’d just answered the secret question and was about to be awarded his prize. Diego’s heart picked up a beat as his imagination flipped through all the prizes he’d like from her. Most involved bare skin and a few required feathers.

“I figured you’d be cookied-out after all the offers this afternoon. But just in case…” She gestured toward the living room again. He followed the wave of her hand. A tall tree, glistening in rich jewel decorations, was displayed in the window. In front of the couch was a low table that looked like a polished brass surfboard. On it were some magazines, a free-form glass bowl in brilliant shades of streaky blue, indigo and purple, and an old-fashioned holiday tin with a bright red lid. He glanced back at Jade in question.

“The cookies are already out,” she said. Then, taking matters into her own hands, she skirted around him. Not touching, not even close to making inappropriate contact. But the glance she offered through her lashes was as naughty as if she’d pressed her body against his . His body reacted as if she had, too.

“It’s comfier in here. And besides, if we have cookies here, Persephone will leave us alone. If we eat in the dining room, or even sit in there, she’s going to raise a ruckus.”

Diego gave the cat a doubtful look. It looked harmless. “A ruckus?”
“Yes,” Jade confirmed, sinking onto the couch as if the matter was all settled. When she curled her feet up to tuck them beneath her hip, he figured in her mind, it actually was. “In here, she’ll jump on the couch, check us out, then curl into a ball under the tree and nap. If we were in the dining room, she’d weave between our feet meowing, angry that she can’t get up on the bench or table to dismiss what we’re doing.”

Bowing to the inevitable, Diego crossed the room. A quick glance told him that the other seating choices weren’t optimal. One was a round footstool, about four feet in diameter and covered in furry leopard print. The other looked like a prop from a fifties movie, with its angular shape and retro polka-dot fabric. Safe enough to sit in, but made for a pixie-size woman. Reluctantly—at least that’s what he told himself—Diego sat on the couch with Jade. As far away from her as he could get. So far, their body heat didn’t even mingle. So far, he couldn’t reach out and trail his palm over the smooth line of her jaw, or comb his fingers through those silky strands.

Close enough, he figured, that if he kept a cookie in one hand and the cup of hot coffee in the other, he’d do just fine.

“Here,” Jade instructed, pulling the red lid off the cookie tin to show a variety of holiday treats. “Cookies fresh from my mom’s kitchen. And that shoe-shaped disk? That’s a coaster. Just set your coffee there.”

He glared at the bright red shoe with its glittery bow and glossy heel. A coaster. A sexy coaster. What better to lure him into temptation with.

Stop, he silently demanded. He was here to solve a case and get the hell back to his own life and his bright new promotion. Not to be led around by his shorts and quite possibly hurt what was probably the nicest, sweetest, sexiest woman he’d ever met.

“Have a cookie and tell me more about yourself, Diego,” she invited with a smile warm enough to melt the frosting off the holly cookie she’d chosen. She bit off a piece, the crispy cookie snapping. Her tongue, small and pink, slid over her lower lip, gathering the scattered sugar.

His mouth watered. She’d missed one glistening green crystal. It sparkled, tasty and tempting, inviting him to lick it off the corner of her mouth.

“How about we talk about the case instead.” He didn’t care if he sounded desperate. He knew damn well that the minute his coffee cup met that shoe coaster, he was in a whole lot of trouble.

 

And in SUGAR AND SPICE, my heroine needs a little magical help in her quest to seduce the hottie she’s crazy about.  And everyone knows magic goes down better in chocolate, right?  

Dedra gave the mirror another doubtful look. Sure, she looked a little sexier than usual. But was it enough to make Paul go crazy, jump h

er body and do all sorts of wildly sexy, semi-kinky things to her? Because that’s what it was going to take. There was no way she could seduce him.

“Oh, wait!”

Dedra winced. Had Anja read her mind? Oh please, please, please, don’t let this be a lecture on how to seduce a guy. That would be so humiliating.

“You’re going to need these.” Anja hurried into the tiny kitchenette and opened what looked like an ornate spice cupboard. She came back with a delicate red ceramic box.

“Here. This is all you need to convince Paul to show you a good time.”
A gun? Dedra squinted at the box. It must be an awfully tiny one.
“They’re chocolate. Truffles, with just a little bit of something extra,” Anja explained, giving the box an indulgent look.


“Drugs?” Dedra pulled her hand back in horror.


“Don’t be silly.” Anja drew the box back a little, her expression offended. “My Gramma made these. Let’s just call them magic.”


Riiiiight. Magic. Dedra wanted to scoff. Then she peered around Anja’s living room again, taking in the Goddess statue, the variety of crystals and the wreath shaped like a star over the door. Real or not, magic was something Anja clearly believed in. And it’d be horribly rude to mock the idea when the other woman had already been so helpful.

Dedra’s gaze landed on the cards, still laid out on the table. She bit her lip, wondering if she was the one who needed to adjust her beliefs.

“I guess it’s a good excuse for stopping by,” she mused, starting to actually feel more excited than nauseous. Maybe a little bit of magic would do the trick.

 As you can see, I’m a big fan of finding a way to have both treats I love.  How about you? 

To tempt you, here’s a quick and easy recipe I love whipping together this time of year. I call it my Pretend It’s Difficult Fudge.  But it’s insanely easy, and always turns out perfect! 

Tawny’s Easy Fudge

2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 Snickers bars, chopped (I’ve made it with Peppermint Patties, HeathBars, etc)

1 can chocolate frosting

Line a pan with foil, then spray with cooking spray.  Melt chips, stir in frosting and candy bar pieces.  Spread in pan, then refrigerate until firm.  Cut into squares and enjoy!

 

So what’s your favorite holiday treat?  Are you a cookie gal?  Or do you go for candy dish?  Are there favorites that you only get at this time of year?   I’ll draw one name to win an autographed copy of NICE & NAUGHTY! 

 It’s the best time of the year….it’s the 12 Bandita Days of Christmas!! From December 13 to December 25th, every day there will be recipes and PRIZES on the blog, leading up to a HUGE Prize bundle of books and goodies on Christmas Day!! Come back every day. Comment. Have eggnog. Eat cookies, and laugh a LOT with the Romance Bandits!!