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, JUDY KENTRUS, and her favorite recipe for ROASTED AUTUMN VEGETABLE SOUP!!
KISS OF FIRE
U.S. Park Ranger Series Book 2
BY JUDY KENTRUS
Lidia Cunningham has no memory of the first six years of her life. Her adoptive parents provided a loving home but hadn’t been forthcoming on information about her past. As a well-respected fire marshal, she’s made a personal commitment to investigate the cause of a fire and bring the ones responsible to justice. When Blackwell Industries has unexplained fires, she discovers the remains of a body that, by all rights, should have been undetectable.
This case is like no other and hits too close to home. Eleven years ago, she had an affair with the President of Blackwell Industries. It was one of the biggest mistakes of her life, but she was given the greatest gift, her son, Spencer.
In retaliation to her bringing the arsonist to trial, someone burns down her house. Before she can determine the identity of the victim, she receives threats against her child. Her boss offers to put her up in a safe house, but she firmly rejects his offer. She’s capable of protecting her son. On the run in a travel trailer with Spencer, and Albert Einstein, their wired-hair terrier, she is constantly looking over her shoulder.
Kane Wallace is a US Park Ranger with a daunting past. The guilt over the loss of his friends has influenced the way he’s lived his life the past fourteen years. While on medical leave due to a job injury, he agrees to do a favor for his uncle, who just happens to be Lidia Cunningham’s boss. He’s not to tell her who he is because she’s strong willed and will bolt if she knows someone is “watching” over her and Spencer.
The wall Kane’s built to keep love out of his life starts to crumble when he gets personally involved with his charges. He soon recognizes she could be the one who would accept his scars and troubled heart. He’s torn between telling her who he is and protecting them from the men who have been following her every move. Once she finds out who he is, she’ll surely hate him for his deception.
A page-turning romantic suspense that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love.
“You’ve reached Ask Magnolia, advice for the lovelorn. Leave me a message, and I’ll git back to y’all as soon as I can.”
The cheerful Southern lilt in her best friend’s voice was the perfect spoonful of medicine to help pull Lidia out of her doldrums.
“Steph, sorry, I called your business line by mistake. Call me back as soon as possible. Use this new number. My old one has been disconnected.”
She glanced out the window over the sink to make sure her nine-year-old son was sitting at the picnic table under the awning attached to the trailer. Spencer’s busy hands and mind concentrated on assembling a LEGO Minecraft Mountain Cave. Albert Einstein, their three-year-old wire fox terrier, was sound asleep under the table.
The startling ring of her cell phone caused her to accidentally tip the bowl of egg mixture she needed for her chicken parmesan. “Ah, damn!” She grabbed a few pieces of paper towel from the roll to clean up the gooey mess on the counter and her hands. Connection to the outside world continued to rattle her already strung-out nerves.
“Only two people have the number,” she calmly reminded herself and pulled the phone from her pocket. The voice of her very agitated best friend filled her ears before she could offer a friendly greeting.
“What do you mean someone burned down your house? That’s horrible! Do they know who’s responsible?”
“Yes, yes and no. It’s under investigation. Hope I didn’t wake you.”
“No. Jeremy was here for dinner and just left. I’ll catch a couple of hours’ sleep before I have to go on the air.”
“It still amazes me my best friend hosts a live lonely hearts talk-radio show.”
“The local radio channel showcases American roots music and decided to experiment a year ago. More than half of my calls are from senior citizens. The geriatric men are flirts and ask me if they should take Viagra! Hell, I don’t know. My boyfriend is a hot thirty-eight-year-old construction worker who is always willing and able to show me a loving good time.
“We should all be so lucky,” Lidia chuckled.
“In your last email, you mentioned working on a big case but didn’t share any of the details. What the hell happened?”
“The short version is Blackwell Industries was having unexplained fires that caused thousands of dollars of damage to three of their warehouses filled with electrical components. After the third fire, I discovered the remains of a body. I was a key witness against the third-time loser who started the fire. He claimed he acted alone and didn’t know anything about a body. As expected, the owners denied everything.
“The coroner confirmed my on-site determination that the victim was dead before the fire. There wasn’t any soot in the respiratory tract. A couple days before the trial, I got a note that said, ‘You should’ve kept your nose out of our business. We know about your son, and this is only the beginning, bitch.’ They enclosed a photo of Spencer with red slash marks over his face, coming out of his private school. In retaliation for my testimony, someone torched my house.”
“OMG! The bastards! Hold it! Blackwell! Is that the same Blackwell as Spencer’s dirt bag father?”
“One and the same.”
“What’s his response to all this?”
“Considering there’s no love lost between us, he hasn’t reached out to me at all.”
“I know he hated you, but not to show any concern for his son … What a shit!”
“We haven’t been able to prove Blackwell’s, the man or the company’s, complicity, and I wasn’t about to stick around. I’m still reeling from losing everything and trying to keep some form of normalcy for Spencer. It sickens me. A nine-year-old little boy isn’t supposed to lose every one of his beloved treasures.” Don’t fall apart thinking about the devastating loss. Think about now and keeping your precious son safe. “I’ll tell you more when I see you.
“Will you be here for the Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival?”
“I plan to arrive a couple days before the annual celebration.”
“How long will you be staying? Forever?”
“Steph, right now I feel like a whisper in the wind, on the run, trying to protect my son. Please don’t tell anyone I’m coming back. Only you and my boss have this cell number. We’re outside St. Louis for the next few days. Spencer wants to go to the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse.”
“Girl, you’re freaking me out, but I’m always here for you.”
“Thank you, Steph. I don’t know what I’d do without you. Gotta go. You need your sleep, and I have to make dinner.”
Some of her stress melted away. She glanced up, expecting to see Spencer, but blind fear gripped her body when all she saw was a half-completed LEGO Mountain Cave.
I’ve always been a romantic at heart and married my high school sweetheart. I make my home in the Poconos of Pennsylvania. After raising our two children, I followed my dream to publish my books. When I’m not at my computer giving couples their happily-ever-after, you can find me in the kitchen, baking, especially cookies. I’ve been dubbed the cookie queen by my family and friends. My stories are fun, sexy, romances that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love.
Links to Judy’s website, blog, books, etc.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Judy is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 396 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.
ROASTED AUTUMN VEGETABLE SOUP
[Adapted from Weight Watchers]
Thick and rich, excellent on chilly days.
Prep Time: 25
Cooking Time: 40
1 large uncooked onion(s), cut into large chunks
5 large uncooked carrot(s), peeled and cut into large pieces
5 medium uncooked parsnip(s), peeled and cut into large pieces
4 cup(s) uncooked winter squash, such as butternut, peeled and cubed
2 spray(s) cooking spray
4 cup(s) chicken broth
1/2 cup evaporated milk – you can also use half and half
½ tsp table salt, or to taste
½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg for a hint of spice.
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large roasting pan combine onion, carrots, parsnips and squash; coat with cooking spray and roast for 30 minutes.
2. Place vegetables in a large pot. Add broth and milk; season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Puree soup in pot until smooth using an immersion blender. Or transfer mixture to a blender or food processor (in batches if necessary) and puree until smooth (being careful not to splatter hot liquid). Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.
Thanks, Judy, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!