Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, DEBRA SALONEN, and her favorite recipe for PURPLE PREGGARS SMOOTHIE!
ALL THE STARS IN MONTANA
Property Sisters of Montana Book 3
BY DEBRA SALONEN
She’s the first woman to tempt him to lower his carefully constructed walls…
Aspiring screenwriter Jade McCall looks at every temp job as inspiration for her next screenplay. Her latest boss, nicknamed the “Realtor to the Stars,” is sit-com gold: handsome, rich, charismatic and intensely brooding. But it’s his intelligence, dry humor and thoughtfulness that reels her in deeper than she’s ever been.
Mega-successful real estate broker Zachary Masters revels in his prestigious reputation—and why not? He wrote his own story, and hides the truth of his past behind the glamorous facade of his success. Jade intrigues him from the start, and soon he’s tempted to take their agreed upon fling to the next level. But then Jade’s career takes off, sending her home to Montana.
He thinks he’s lost her for good, but the consequences of their brief affair create an unexpected second act. Zach never thought he’d have a shot at a real family until Jade returns with a secret of her own.
Early spring, Hollywood, California
Jade McCall felt—rather than heard—her phone. Hearing anything above the music blasting over the Hollywood Hills’s palatial home’s turbo-charged sound system was nearly impossible. The workmates who’d twisted her arm to come to the party had resorted to sign language to communicate in the home’s white-on-white living room. The designer couches and chrome tables had been pushed back, creating a makeshift dance floor roughly the size of her 1940s bungalow.
Dollars and sense are soon parted. Her sigh disappeared into the thumping beat of a song she didn’t recognize. Twenty-five is the new fifty?
She wound her way through the throng, heading toward the patio and pool area. An entire wall of glass somehow folded accordion-style to connect the two areas. Discreet lighting had been replaced by a disturbing laser projection that created creepy, disjointed shadows.
Covering her mouth so her words weren’t carried away on the intense beat that seemed to follow her, she shouted, “Hang on, Maggie. I’m almost outside the DJ’s blast range.”
At the far side of the infinity pool, which lived up to its name by showcasing a wall-to-wall view of the LA skyline at night, she spotted a break in a shoulder-high hedge. She and her new friends had arrived by Uber around nine. Too late to explore the grounds, but someone had mentioned the property’s “Zen” garden, complete with koi ponds and a bridge. The owner of this mansion—her temporary boss—was a single man with no family she’d heard mentioned.
What would an urban jetsetter like Zachary Masters be doing with a Zen garden?
I can use this.
As an aspiring screenwriter, everything that came into her life wound up in notes for either her current work in progress or some future story. Even though she barely made enough money each month to break even, she liked to think her decision to work for a temp agency had been a stroke of genius. New jobs meant a plethora of new characters, good and bad situations and experiences, and enough detail to flesh out dialogue and make her plots sound plausible.
As she’d told her sister on the phone that morning, “Working for the ‘Realtor to the Stars’ has been pure gold. I’m almost sorry to leave.”
Amber, her analytical and ever-practical older sister, had asked, “Why not apply for a full-time job?”
“Because it’s a real estate office, silly. I’m an observer of the human condition, not a salesperson.” She’d tried to picture herself at one of the many desks where busy, well-dressed men and women sat with eyes locked on a computer screen and a headset connected to their phones. “Ye gods, girl, are you trying to put this horse before a cart of bologna? Not happening. Although I might enjoy a little one-on-one time with the man behind the persona. Heartthrob handsome. Brilliant marketer. So well connected, he doesn’t have to name drop. You just know he knows people.”
“He sounds too good to be true.”
“Well, there’s that. I’ll let you know if I run into him tonight. My new besties invited me to a party at the boss’s house. Some quarterly big deal. I was taking notes, but missed that part.”
She slipped through a cleverly hidden passageway created by overlapping hedges, which immediately muted the dance music that had to be punishing the dancers’ eardrums. She took a deep breath of crisp, early May air. They’d had a warm spell the week before—which had coincided with a spot of snow in Montana, her mother had mentioned.
Jade shivered just thinking about it. The winters were one thing she didn’t miss about Montana, along with just about everything else. She’d picked UCLA for more than one reason—the glorious weather and a chance to live her life without the constant scrutiny of her loving, but too-involved, family. Plus, its MFA program in screenwriting was one of the best.
She spotted a concrete bench and sat.
“Okay. Finally. This place is humongous. Why are you calling so late? Is everything okay?”
Maggie Bentonfield, Jade’s agent of two years, was all business—even at eleven on a Friday night. “I was in meetings all day and just got home. The traffic on the 5 was abominable. Luckily, my sweet partner had a hot meal and large glass of wine waiting. Now, I’m catching up.”
Jade braced herself for the worst. Surely, if Maggie had had a solid offer—even a shopping agreement, she’d have called before fortifying herself to deliver bad news.
“It’s a ‘no’ for now, sweetie.” Maggie’s tone was as kind and gentle as Jade could remember hearing. “You’re getting closer. I can feel it. They liked your humor, but felt your characters were a little over the top, and they’re looking for rom-coms right now. With dogs. Do you have anything with a dog in it?”
Jade tilted her head back, the faint stars blurring from tears of frustration. The entertainment market turned faster than a tornado on speed. She took a deep breath and let it out. “No dogs…at the moment. Thanks for trying, Maggie.”
“Of course, honey. I’m disappointed too. I really thought you had a shot with your waitress/cop buddy series. I’m sorry.”
Jade swallowed against the thickness in her throat. “Me too. But, as they say, good things happen to the wrong people.”
Maggie’s snicker softened the blow. “You’re one of my favorite people, you know. Good things are going to happen for you, too, Jade. Soon. I’m sure of it.” She paused a beat, then asked, “So, can we put this script on the back burner for now and try again when the market changes? You mentioned a possible sitcom set in a Realtor’s office. How’s that coming?”
Her businesslike tone shook Jade out of her funk, even though her ego felt like fresh dog poo on the bottom of a sandal. “Still figuring out the best spin. You think romantic comedy is the way to go?”
“Very hot. Try to keep it real but not ‘in-your-face.’ People want to be amused without thinking too hard.”
Jade stifled a groan. “Thanks for letting me know right away, so I didn’t waste any dreams spending my nonexistent royalty checks. Love you, Mags. Give Gina a hug for me. G’night.”
She ended the call and then flicked through her apps, finding a popular rideshare that would probably cost a pretty dime this time of night. She’d just hit open when she spotted the red line in the upper corner of her phone. “One percent? You’ve got to be kidding me. Like having your hopes and dreams drop-kicked into the stratosphere isn’t bad enough? Now I’m going to have to walk home?”
Which is probably a good five miles.
“I hope you don’t mean Montana.”
Jade launched to her feet with so much fight-or-flight energy she nearly collided with the man who’d suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Well, from the same path she’d followed, to be fair, but she’d been too preoccupied to notice anyone else in the vicinity.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Once her heart rate downshifted to first gear, facts flew into her head to rev it up again. Zachary Masters. In the flesh. The too-damn-gorgeous-to-believe flesh. Irony, you suck green bananas through the nose.
Past winner of Romantic Times Reviewer’s Career Achievement “Series Storyteller of the Year” award, Debra Salonen has published more than sixty romance novels and novellas for Harlequin Enterprises, Tule Publishing, and Loner Llama Press. Her books have earned numerous awards, including Best SuperRomance of the Year. Deb lives near Yosemite National Park in California with her high-school-sweetheart husband, close to their children, grandchildren, and Nature. An avid traveler, Deb shares her adventures with her newsletter followers.
Links to Debra’s website, blog, books, etc.:
Property Sisters of Montana:
Buy here: MONTANA BLUEPRINT FOR LOVE
Betting On Love, Books 1-4 — It’s Vegas, baby!
West Coast HEA
Where happily-ever-after is state-of-the-heart!
Black Hills Rendezvous – 10-book series
From Tule Publishing:
Big Sky Mavericks – Love, Montana – Love at the Chocolate Shop
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I hope you enjoy the recipe Debra is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 499 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right-hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
PURPLE PREGGARS SMOOTHIE
NOTE FROM DEBRA: The heroine of this story, Jade McCall, is the youngest of three sisters. She’s the dreamer of the bunch, and her love of story takes her to LA, but when her family needs her, Jade’s on a plane home to Montana. And something about her family’s crisis rings a creative bell in her head. She jots down an idea for a TV Do-It-Yourself network show and sends it to her agent.
Surprise! Her Property Sisters of Montana idea takes off. One sister builds/remodels, one decorates/stages and Jade…um…finds herself filling a role she had no intention of ever doing: selling real estate. With one foot in LA and one in Montana, Jade feels torn—for more reasons than one. When she shares her dilemma with her sisters, Amber gives Jade a Purple Preggers Smoothie. “You don’t have to be pregnant to drink it, I promise. Consider it comfort food in a glass, with a straw.”
To be entered in my giveaway, just tell me about your birth order: Eldest? Middle? Youngest? Only?
One winner can pick one autographed print copy from the Property Sisters trilogy.
Thanks to Karen for welcoming me to your blog and helping to get the word out of this fun, new trilogy.
Thanks, Debra, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!