Please welcome guest blogger and fellow Dreamspinner Press author E.M. Lynley! E.M. has a giveaway to share, so be sure to comment to be entered! And be sure to check out the yummy recipe at the end of the excerpt.
E.M.’s new book, An Intoxicating Crush, was just released by Dreamspinner Press. It’s the third book in her standalone Delectable series of food-themed gay romances. I was lucky enough to have beta read this sweet, sexy, and slightly angsty story. I know you’ll enjoy it! Oh, and the book (and all in-stock DSP books) are 25% through this Friday, July 26th, to celebrate marriage equality in the U.K., so it’s a great time to pick it up! -Shira
Cooking—and eating—have always been important in my family. Great food, especially comfort food makes me feel special and loved, no matter who cooks it and it’s even better when someone cooks for me. I particularly enjoy mixing the pleasure of good food and romance in my stories, and that’s what prompted me to write the Delectable series. In each book, two men share a passion for good food or wine that brings them together, no matter how many other forces may be at work to keep them apart.
Having someone cook for you can be a very romantic and intimate experience. What meal doesn’t taste even more delicious when your lover cooks for you, especially breakfast after a wonderful night together? Read an excerpt of winemaker Austin’s breakfast for Simon, the morning after their very first night together. (And after the excerpt is Austin’s recipe!)
Tell me about your most romantic meal or food and you’ll be entered to win Book 1 of the Delectable series: Brand New Flavor.
Excerpt from An Intoxicating Crush (25% off at Dreamspinner through July 26)
The next thing Simon realized, he was alone in bed. The room was almost completely dark, but a glance at the clock told him it was morning—past 9:00 a.m. Sun filtered in through a tiny gap in the curtains. Apparently, Austin had kept the room dark, letting Simon sleep. What time had they finally gone to sleep? After two, he recalled with a smile. It had been a very good night.
He found a towel next to his folded clothes on the top of the dresser. He showered quickly and dressed, then headed downstairs where he was greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee. He headed for the kitchen, where he found Austin sipping coffee and reading the newspaper.
“Good morning.” Austin grinned and held up a mug. “Coffee? It’s regular, not decaf.”
“Sounds great.” Simon glanced around the kitchen as Austin poured the coffee. It was huge. Restaurant-quality appliances and gorgeous blue-gray granite countertops. There was an island with several stools and copper cookware hanging from the ceiling. He’d actually been in restaurants with less equipment. Simon took the mug from Austin and took a first satisfying sip of the delicious hot liquid. “I’m sorry I fell asleep last night.”
“Why? You must have been tired.” Austin gave an impish grin, as if he liked knowing he’d exhausted Simon.
“I didn’t intend to stay.”
The smile faded from Austin’s face, and Simon realized he’d just insulted him. Apparently, the guy didn’t do much casual fucking. In Simon’s experience, you didn’t stay unless you were specifically invited. Austin seemed to hold the opposite view. “But I’m glad I did.” He meant it.
“Me too. Are you hungry?” Austin paused. “I’m inviting you for breakfast. I assume you eat?”
Simon nodded. “I’m famished.”
“It’ll just be a minute.”
“Can I help?”
Simon took his mug and headed for the far end of the kitchen, which let out onto a veranda overlooking a panorama of vineyards. Just below was an incredible swimming pool. It had blue and gold mosaic tiles winking in the sun, and the pool area was lined with two rows of tall white classical—Greek or Roman?—columns. Simon’s mother had once taken him to Hearst Castle as a child, and he doubted the pool there was a match for this one. He’d wanted to swim in that pool. He’d never known anyone who had something as beautiful as this. His mother cleaned houses like this; she didn’t hang out at them as a guest. He wondered how she felt dusting her employers’ expensive belongings, knowing she could never own anything like them. It reminded him he’d moved far out of his usual circles by coming here with Austin. But, he also knew if he worked at it, someday he could be part of this beautiful, glamorous world. He’d grown up knowing it took hard work to get what you wanted. Austin had been given everything by the luck of his birth.
“Would you like to have breakfast on the patio?”
“Yup. It’s just warming. I wasn’t sure when you’d be down, and I didn’t want to wake you.”
“Sorry.” Simon decided not to take the comment as a dig, but as the simple kindness he hoped it was. Yet he was skeptical about the breakfast. He expected someone like Austin would have a cook. Had she made the food while he slept, or was he going to be a guinea pig for Austin’s kitchen aspirations?
“Yes, we should eat outside. It’s a beautiful morning.”
“You laid the table in here already.” Simon glanced down at the gleaming silver and the gold-rimmed plates.
“Would you mind helping move the place settings while I get the food?”
“Sure.” Carefully Simon stacked the plates and gathered the flatware and the real cloth napkins and took everything outside. By the time he’d set the octagonal patio table Austin joined him with a large serving tray, which he set on table.
“Thanks. Have a seat.”
Simon sat and Austin unveiled the meal he’d prepared. Two plates heaped with food, all of it smelling wonderful, and suddenly Simon realized he was famished.
“What’s this? Eggs with….”
“Fried eggs with a balsamic vinegar drizzle.” Austin glanced down at the plate. “Maybe I should have asked if you like balsamic vinegar. Or eggs. I’m sorry. I’m not a very good host.”
“You’re an incredible host.” Simon took a bite of eggs. The richness of the fried egg was a perfect base for the sweet-sour piquancy of the balsamic. It was heavenly. “I don’t think I have words to describe how good this tastes. I love eggs and balsamic, but I’ve never thought of this combination. Did you cook the eggs in olive oil?”
Austin nodded, his own mouth full. He swallowed. “Yes, it adds another layer of flavor.”
Layers seemed to be a pattern with Austin. His wine had incredible layers and so did his personality. Every minute Simon spent with him revealed something new, something unexpected, and something even more attractive. He’d have missed most of this if he’d left the night before, and chances are Austin wouldn’t have forgiven him. This was dangerous.
If you enjoyed this, check out An Intoxicating Crush, by EM Lynley. 25% off through July 26 at the Dreamspinner site, or at other distributors for e-book and print.
Now the recipe:
Austin’s Fried Eggs with Balsamic Vinegar
Butter makes the best fried eggs, but olive oil works even better for this recipe. It’s also a perfect Valentine’s breakfast in bed for your sweetheart.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 slices toasted bread, about 1/2-inch thick
- 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Add olive oil to an 8-inch non-stick or well-seasoned pan over medium heat.
When the oil is hot but not quite at the smoking point, crack the eggs, one at a time, letting each set. Cook for about 30 seconds, on medium.
As the eggs puff up, season with salt and pepper. Tilt the pan and baste the top of the yolks with the hot oil to help them cook. Cook to desired doneness.
Meanwhile, place a piece of toast on each plate; top with one egg. Pour off the used olive oil and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
Put pan back over medium heat. Add the balsamic vinegar; let it sizzle and reduce slightly for a moment or two, and drizzle over the eggs. Serve immediately.
Serve with sliced fruit drizzled with plain Greek yogurt and honey.