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, CHRISTINA SKYE and her favorite recipe for Draycott Abbey Chocolate Pots de Crème !
A Draycott Abbey Box Set
BY CHRISTINA SKYE
Star-crossed strangers uncover old passions in the shadows of hauntingly beautiful Draycott Abbey.
Includes the standalone novels:
HOUR OF THE ROSE and BRIDE OF THE MIST
Hour of the Rose
Archeologist Kelly Hamilton follows a trail of secrets to England, tracking a priceless 1000-year-old sword. Rugged ex-Royal Marine Michael Burke wants her gone, but Kelly’s visions tell her this man is no stranger. She has known him long before. As his ardent lover…
Soon the two are pulled under the spell of the moonlit abbey, caught in a sensuous net of white-hot desire. And all the while an old and dangerous enemy waits to strike.
Bride of the Mist
When Draycott Abbey calls bridal expert Kara Fitzgerald to help a man in mortal danger, Kara is helpless to fight her psychic visions.
Duncan MacKinnon has no time for her vague warnings, though, until the coincidences pile up and the memories of being Highland lovers separated centuries before begin.
Now Kara needs Duncan’s strength to re-awaken the eternal passion that will protect them from an old enemy…
Bride of the Mist
The room had the smell of money.
He thought about money as he crouched in the shadows, eyes narrowed behind a black nylon mask. Bars of light slanted down from the recessed ceiling, outlining glass cases full of sixteenth-century Cellini gold, hallmarked English silver, and a stunning array of Etruscan jewelry.
Every case screamed an invitation to a thief.
The man in the darkness smiled at that, invisible in a black turtleneck and dark twills. In his pocket was the code for the second of three high-frequency silent alarms that protected Calendish and Sons, one of the finest jewelry shops in England.
Tonight he was there to subvert those alarms, elude the team of efficient armed guards, and selectively burglarize the most expensive contents of those fine glass cases.
He glanced down. His watch read 9:20. Four minutes until the second guard moved past. He had recorded the movements of the security team carefully over the last week, secure in a rented flat across the street.
Right on schedule, the broad-shouldered guard from Brighton ambled through the central pool of light.
Duncan MacKinnon eased forward. He now had exactly eight and one-half minutes to cut through a plate-glass case and steal a million pounds’ worth of rare, antique jewelry.
~ ~ ~
With steady hands MacKinnon eased open the front of a small Plexiglas case near the reception desk. The first two alarms had been circumvented, and he was bending low to survey the third, a code-activated German model that the manufacturer had declared to be foolproof. He smiled when he saw the small green board that led to the device’s heart.
By bypassing three chips, a half-million-dollar alarm system could be tied up in knots for hours, with no one the wiser.
Attaching an input cable to a hand-held generator, he substituted the first new chip. The green power light did not waver. Deftly he replaced a second and then a third chip, set up to activate in case the primary circuit was compromised. He looked down and smiled faintly, his hard lips outlined by shadows.
The electronic security system was now deactivated. No silent alarm would trigger the attention of the police station three blocks away.
Somewhere a police car screamed off into the London night. The tall Scotsman tensed for a moment, waiting for signs of pursuit, but the cruiser headed away until the sound of the siren fell to a dim whine.
Before him the green power light continued to flash without a break. The circuit had remained complete. The only difference now was that he could knock down the building brick by brick, and the system would take no note. When would they learn to store their backup systems in a remote location? he thought, smiling cynically. Probably after this theft.
He looked down at his watch.
Four minutes left.
Unhurriedly, MacKinnon closed the case, pocketed his tools, and made his way to a glittering case by the far wall. Inside lay a pair of burnished golden chokers, made to grace the neck of an ancient warrior’s wife.
Or more likely his mistress, the Scotsman thought cynically.
He did not waste time trying to cut the heavy plate glass. Instead he slid a military-issue torch from the pack at his back and triggered a point of bright blue flame. The blast of heat was high enough to sear diamonds, and in seconds it left a curled and darkened hole in the glass.
Not a sound split the silence as the black-clad intruder reached past the melted glass and caught up half a dozen pieces of rare jewelry. With each movement, triumph spilled through him. MacKinnon ruthlessly suppressed it. Any emotion was dangerous at a time like this. Next came the final touch: replacing the stolen objects with replicas. That should buy him the time he needed to clear out safely.
The substitutions made, he closed the velvet-lined bag, eased it into a zippered pocket, then scanned his watch.
Two minutes until the second guard returned. Just enough time to make his way back to the foyer and climb back out to the roof, with the help of a rope secured just out of sight.
Suddenly footsteps approached from the neighboring room. He froze, crouched next to the plundered case with its gaping side. What was the guard doing here two minutes early?
But it wasn’t the guard. It was a woman with auburn hair and a distracted air who started toward him, a notebook clutched beneath her arm. One step more and she was bound to spot him.
MacKinnon raged a silent Gaelic curse. He looked at his watch, feeling the tiny hairs lift at the back of his neck. No time. At any second the guard would appear at the far door.
He reacted instantly, moving shadowlike until he was right behind her. With one hand over her mouth, the other at her waist, he wrenched her into a storage closet at the far side of the room.
She didn’t go easily. Struggling angrily, she tried to bite through the leather gloves at her mouth. Strong, the Scotsman noted distantly. Good muscle tone, too. But she was no match for a man nearly twice her weight.
Thirty seconds later, a guard in a black-and-gray Calendish uniform padded through the room. MacKinnon tensed. His fingers tightened on the woman’s throat. Any sound now would destroy all his meticulous plans.
The officer, a taciturn Yorkshireman named Farrell, halted beneath a column of light. His gaze swept the glass cases, persuading MacKinnon that he’d been right to use replicas. Not that the masquerade would hold up for long. Any closer and that hole in the glass was going to be all too obvious.
Without warning his captive twisted. Her teeth sank with painful accuracy into the soft leather near MacKinnon’s thumb. Pain jolted through his fingers, and he bit back a curse.
The little fool was going to pay for that.
Seconds crawled past. He watched the guard make a final survey of the room. Finally satisfied, the officer tugged a pair of headphones up over his ears and ambled off.
Which left MacKinnon alone with an angry captive and four and a half minutes to escape down two corridors and over ten feet of barbed wire fence.
“One scream and you’re a corpse, understand?” His fingers loosened fractionally.
“Did you hear me?” His captive shivered, then nodded jerkily.
“Good. Now, who in bloody hell sent you? Giovanni? Or was it one of the Hong Fat people?”
His fingers eased open, encouraging her to speak. Her breath slammed hot and damp against his hands, but no words came.
“Answer, damn it.”
Her eyes were wide, the color of fine old amber, he thought. She was terrified and trying hard not to show it. Only what she deserved, he told himself cynically.
She was having trouble breathing.
“Answer the questions and I won’t harm you,” he hissed.
She shivered, and her notebook slid to the ground.
MacKinnon scooped it up, all too aware of the passing seconds that brought him closer and closer to discovery. He frowned down at page after page of neat pencil sketches.
Alarm plans? Guard-movement patterns? Damn it, what was the woman up to?
“What is this?” He jabbed at a page crisscrossed by lines.
“It’s—energy. P-patterns of electricity. Flow charts. I’m—I’m supposed to trace them.” Her voice was stronger now, and her eyes were filled with anger. “And who in the hell are you?”
Christina Skye loves the power of the written word.
The New York Times bestselling author of 36 novels, 7 novellas and one audio story is a pushover for Harris tweed, Scottish cashmere, Shanghai street dumplings, French macarons and dark chocolate.
Not always in that order.
After receiving her doctorate in classical Chinese literature, she worked for five crazy years as a writer, translator and consultant to travel companies, importers, museums and magazines, including the National Geographic Society, the Asia Society and the American Museum of Natural History, spending most of that time in Asia. Her mileage points were awesome. In 1984 she co-curated the most popular traveling exhibition ever held at the National Geographic Society.
In 1990 she sold her first novel in six days. Since then she has written five different series for six different publishers. She has appeared on ABC Worldwide News, Travel News Network, the Arthur Frommer Show, Geraldo, Voice of America, Looking East, and Good Morning, Arizona.
In 2013 The Accidental Bride was chosen as one of the ten best romance novels of the year by prestigious Booklist Magazine. Reviewer John Charles wrote:
“Rich with realistically complex characters and subtle wit, the latest addition to Skye’s Summer Island series is as warm and comforting as a well-knit afghan. Skye perfectly captures the feel and appeal of small-town life, and this sweetly satisfying romance is an excellent read-alikes suggestion for fans of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series or Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books.”
The book also received a reviewer’s choice award from Romantic Times Magazine.
She is currently working on a New Adult paranormal series and 4 more books in her popular Summer Island contemporary series, set on the ruggedly beautiful Oregon coast.
She loves to cook, hike, collect vintage textiles and uncover odd historical tidbits that she can weave into her storylines. Usually her knitting is right beside her while she writes. “The force of color and texture running through my fingers helps me concentrate on the flow of a book while a story unfolds at its deepest level.”
Links to Christina’s website, blog, books, etc.:
I hope you enjoy the recipe Christina is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 505 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.
Draycott Abbey Chocolate Pots de Crème
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 good quality Earl Grey tea bags
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 6 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, finely chopped
(You didn’t think it would be low-fat and low cal, did you? Not if Marston has a hand in it!)
Preheat oven to 325°
Heat cream and milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until liquid is just below a boil. Add teabags and dunk several times to moisten them well. Remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes, then pour over the grated chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Gently remove the tea bags, squeezing firmly before discarding the tea bags. Blend the chocolate thoroughly with the infused cream mixture. ( The chocolate should be nearly dissolved by now anyway.) Meanwhile whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until well blended. Add cream into the yolks in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Strain blended liquids and then pour into ramekins. Place ramekins into a heavy porcelain lasagna pan and set pan into oven. Then fill pan, using hot water, halfway up to top of ramekins. Be careful not to pour water into your little pots!
Cover with foil. Cook for 35 min and check progress by tapping the ramekins. The dish is done when the edges are firm but the centers still wiggle. Be careful not to overcook! Remove from oven and take off the foil. Cool on counter for an hour. Then refrigerate overnight, well covered. (If you can wait.) Serve well chilled with whipped cream, orange zest, grated chocolate or slivered almonds. All of these flavors blend beautifully with the subtle tea flavor.
Marston is thrilled to be of assistance.
PS. These are wonderful made in small tea cups or espresso cups. Just be sure your vessel is oven proof!
Thanks, Christina, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!