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, ASHLYN CHASE, and her favorite recipe for THE OTHER WHITE MEAT, APPLES & LEEKS!!
HOOKED ON A PHOENIX
BY ASHLYN CHASE
Misty Carlisle works as a bank teller in Boston’s financial district. She’s had more rotten luck in her life than most, except when her childhood crush shows up to cash his paycheck. Then her heart races and her mouth goes dry.
Gabe Fierro is a firefighter—and a phoenix. Like his brothers, his biggest challenge is finding a woman open-minded enough to accept a shapeshifter into her life. When his boyhood friend asks him to watch over his little sister, Misty, he reluctantly agrees. But when the bank she works in gets held up, Gabe does everything he can to protect her. The two of them wind up locked in the bank’s vault… where things get steamier than either of them ever imagined.
HOOKED ON A PHOENIX
BY ASHLYN CHASE
Strolling down Massachusetts Avenue, she found herself actually looking forward to visiting with Gabriella Fierro. The woman had been like a second mother to her.
When she arrived on the doorstep and rang the bell, the diminutive matriarch opened the door and almost threw herself at Misty, giving her a huge hug. “Come in, come in! It’s cold out tonight, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. It’s always freezing on my birthday.”
Gabriella Fierro gasped. “It’s your birthday? Today? I thought it was… Never mind. Happy birthday, my sweet girl!” After another tight hug, she released her. “Let me take your coat.”
“I hope I’m not imposing. I was supposed to meet Gabe at his station, but they’re out on a job.”
“Oh, yes. We heard about a big fire in South Boston. Antonio thought he’d go watch for a while.” She chuckled. “You’d think he might have had enough of fires after thirty-two years.” She hung up Misty’s coat and led her to the kitchen. “I was just wishing I had some company. Have you had dinner yet?”
“Not yet. I have plans with Gabe, but I guess they’ll have to wait.”
Gabriella sighed. “Ah, yes. Plans need to be somewhat flexible when you’re involved with a firefighter. It’s a shame they don’t work regular hours, but fires can be very inconsiderate.”
Misty smiled. The woman had such an easy way about her. She wondered if she’d ever be able to take things so calmly. Misty tended to be “wound a little tight,” or so she’d been told.
“Can I get you some coffee and a small piece of cake? I imagine Gabe was taking you out to dinner, and I don’t want to spoil your appetite.”
“Coffee, yes. But no thank you to the cake. It might be easier if I just get takeout and save him the trouble of going out to dinner at this point.”
“Tsk tsk.” Gabriella shook her head as she gathered the cream, sugar, and spoons. “You can’t always make everything easy on them, especially when the relationship is new. They might grow to expect it.”
“Oh. I don’t think we have what you’d call a relationship.”
Gabriella was quiet until she sat down with two mugs of coffee and set one in front of Misty. Then she took a deep breath and held Misty’s gaze. “Be patient with him. He needs you. He just doesn’t know it yet.”
Misty didn’t quite know what to say to that. Gabe needing anybody or anything seemed implausible. He was always so self-sufficient.
Leaning back, coffee mug just below her lips, Gabriella smiled. “He’s a good boy. They all are. But Gabe is the one who… Well, I worry.”
“Worry? Why would you worry about Gabe? Is something wrong?”
“Oh, honey, it’s not that. He’s just a little stubborn. He thinks he doesn’t need anybody, but he couldn’t be more wrong.”
“I see.” She didn’t see. She didn’t have a clue.
“So, how are things with you? Have you found any leads on a new job?”
“Um, no. I don’t think I’m going to look for a new job right now. I kind of need the insurance.”
Gabriella’s eyebrows raised. “Health insurance? Are you all right?”
“Yeah. Well, no. Um, maybe.”
Gabriella gave her an indulgent look. “You know you can tell me anything, right? I won’t divulge any secrets.”
“I know. It’s just that I need to have some tests first. I won’t know if there’s anything wrong or not until next week at the earliest.”
“What makes you think there might be a problem?”
“Between you and me, I’ve been having trouble with my balance. I was afraid it might interfere with my dancing, so before quitting my job to find something in the dance community, I thought I’d better get it checked out.”
The phone rang, and Gabriella rose to answer it. They had one of those old-fashioned phones on the wall. It even had a dial instead of buttons. The Fierros were complete Yankees. What was that saying? Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
“Hi, honey. Yes, she’s here. We’re having a lovely chat.” Gabriella smiled slyly. “There’s no need to rush. We’re fine.”
As she replaced the receiver, she chuckled. “My son will be here in about five seconds.”
“Oh no. Is he worried about being late? It’s no big deal. Really.”
Gabriella grinned. “No, darling. He’s afraid of my talking to you.” As Gabriella sat down, she chuckled and shook her head. Apparently she wasn’t going to explain anything further. She just took a sip of her coffee and looked pleased with herself.
Misty couldn’t imagine why Gabe would be afraid of his mother having a conversation with her. Was there something he didn’t want her to know?
It took more than five seconds, but not much. Gabe strode through the front door and entered the kitchen. He was covered in soot.
“Hello, darling.” Gabriella rose and strolled to her son. He towered over her, but she grasped his broad shoulders and pulled him toward her for a kiss on his cheek.
“Mom, I’m filthy.”
“No kidding. I thought you’d take a shower at the station, but I guess you didn’t want to let Misty wait any longer than necessary. That was sweet. Why don’t you run upstairs and shower? I can find an old pair of your jeans and a sweater or something to change into…unless you need a suit. I don’t know what your plans were.”
Gabe focused on Misty for a moment. “I, uh… We were just going to get Chinese food and go back to your place to watch a movie, right?”
“Yeah. We never did decide what movie we wanted to see.”
Gabriella set her hands on her hips. “Is that the best you can do, Gabriel? Takeout food and a movie at her house?”
“Butt out, Mom.”
Misty had never heard him speak to his mother that way. It would have bothered her except that Gabriella was smirking. It was as if the older woman was in on some kind of private joke neither Misty nor Gabe understood.
“I really didn’t want anything fancy. Takeout food and a movie sounds perfect.”
Gabriella shrugged. “Well, if that’s what you really want…”
“It is. I never do anything much for my birthday.”
“I see. If you’ll excuse me for a minute, I’ll go get some fresh towels and set those out for you, Gabe.”
“I’d rather shower at my place. I have something for her birthday there, and I’d feel more comfortable in jeans that fit. Not something I wore in high school.”
“Okay, honey. I’ll just get Misty’s coat then.”
When Gabriella had left the room, Gabe looked over and gave Misty a smile. “I’m sorry I’m late. It couldn’t be helped.”
“Oh, I know. The dispatcher told me about the fire. Saving lives is a little more important than one person’s birthday.”
“Well, I’m glad you feel that way. Because about a dozen people are going to be able to celebrate another birthday because of us.”
Misty rose and strode over to him. She placed her hands on his dirty coat, looked up at him, and said, “My hero.”
Gabe leaned down and gave Misty a quick peck on the lips.
Gabriella cleared her throat, then breezed into the kitchen, carrying Misty’s coat, grinning from ear to ear.
Ashlyn Chase describes herself as an Almond Joy bar. A little nutty, a little flaky, but basically sweet, wanting only to give her readers some great entertainment.
She holds a degree in behavioral sciences, worked as a psychiatric RN for 15 years and spent a few more years working for the American Red Cross.
Most authors, whether they know it or not, have a theme—something that unifies their whole booklist. Ashlyn’s identified theme has to do with characters who reinvent themselves. After all, she has reinvented herself many times. Now she is a multi-published, best-selling, award-winning author of humorous paranormal and contemporary romances, represented by the Seymour Agency.
She lives in beautiful New Hampshire with her true-life superhero husband who looks like Hugh Jackman if you squint. She and Mr. Amazing have been adopted by two beautiful shelter cats.
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I hope you enjoy the recipe Ashlyn is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 364 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.
THE OTHER WHITE MEAT, APPLES & LEEKS
NOTE FROM ASHLYN: Since I ‘doctored’ this recipe (wink) I’ll call it my own.
The other white meat, apples and leeks. That’s not only the title, but also the ingredients!
Just season the pork to taste (I like garlic and pepper,) lay it on top of sliced apples and leeks, (cut the white part of leeks in 2 inch pieces, then slice in half, lengthwise.)
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes.