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, TARA MILLS, and her favorite recipe for ASPARAGUS & SHRIMP OVER RICE OR NOODLES!
THE SENATOR’S WIFE
Women’s Romance Short
BY TARA MILLS
There are things you don’t break, like your word, your vows, or the public trust. It’s Justine’s code of ethics. So can somebody please explain how she just set off Washington’s biggest scandal of the year?
When Justine agreed to delay divorce until after her husband’s reelection, she didn’t know Sean O’Donnell was on the horizon. Now, falling fast for a man she’s admired for years, she’s stuck playing the happy politician’s wife instead.
Sean noticed her beauty right away, but it was Justine’s haunting sadness that captivated him. His wish to meet her became a need to photograph her. Somewhere in between, he fell in love.
A series of chance encounters leads the pair to admit the temptation to misbehave has grown too strong to resist. Distance is the only remedy, but as soon as they’ve made that painful decision, the press closes in. Is there a way to contain the damage, preserve reputations, and protect the campaign? As a matter of fact…
The solution will shock everyone.
Fall in love with The Senator’s Wife today.
THE SENATOR’S WIFE
Women’s Romance Short
BY TARA MILLS
Putting Justine out of his mind all week hadn’t been easy. Nights were the hardest. That’s when he finished his work, closed out of his digital files, and strayed over to social media. Sean told himself it was to find out what was going on in the world, read headlines, and join discussions on topics of interest. Total bullshit. He pulled up images of Justine visiting this place, speaking there. He found her on Twitter, though he resisted the urge to follow her. He looked for her on Facebook too, but let her be.
Clearly, there were other women out there. He’d certainly enjoyed his fair share. On a strictly practical level, his interest in Justine was ill-advised. Happy or not, she was a married woman. Having once been a husband himself, that meant something to him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t turn this attraction off. It was there, like a hunger pang in his gut. She wasn’t his only option, but she was the only one that interested him, which was why he didn’t want her here tonight.
Hoping she’d stay away, he mingled and smiled, always with one eye on the time.
Marking her absence off in fifteen-minute increments became an obsession for him. Unfortunately, as the clock wound down and she failed to make an appearance he grew tenser, not less. Eight o’clock couldn’t come soon enough so he could escape unscathed.
Answering questions about his upcoming ‘Famous Chefs at Home’ series for Bon Appétit magazine, he was just hitting his stride with an interested couple when he heard Justine’s laugh from across the room. His heart crumbled and his smile cracked. He took a covert look at his watch. It was twenty minutes to eight. Damn, he’d almost made it.
There was no way to avoid her, but he could try to delay the inevitable.
Glancing over he saw Justine in conversation with someone he didn’t recognize. The man slipped her arm through his and walked her over to the wall and they began to circle the room.
Sean gave his newest patrons a warm, “Thank you for your support,” then moved on, away from Justine determined to keep his distance as long as possible. It was a good plan, though impossible to execute. Lise Van Zandt sought him out and led him directly over to her.
“Sean O’Donnell, my husband, Niels. And of course, you know Justine.”
“How do you do?” The men shook hands. Then Sean took Justine’s. “Mrs. Hubbard. Nice to see you again.”
She looked fantastic. Shit.
“I noticed quite a few of your photos have already sold. Congratulations.” She gave him an uneasy smile, her discomfort as obvious to him as his must be to her.
“Anything you particularly like?” he asked the trio.
Lise place a hand over her heart and practically swooned. Her rapturous smile flattered his ego. “Generations. I’m trying to talk Niels into letting me have it.”
The group walked over to the photo in question and quietly studied it for a moment. The great-great-grandmother was one hundred and two years old. The little girl was not quite two. Enthralled, they stared at each other, inches apart, touching the other’s face. The tips of the little girl’s tiny fingers seemed to disappear into the old woman’s deep wrinkles. Her gnarled hands caressed the flawless, smooth cheek of the little girl. Their mutual adoration and fascination were unmistakable.
“It’s beautiful,” Justine said, blinking rapidly.
The impulse to put his arm around her was perfectly natural, given her emotional reaction—and completely out of line. Catching himself, he stopped short before making contact and let his hand fall to his side.
They shared a private glance and he mumbled a soft, “Sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry,” she murmured back while the Van Zandts engaged in a whispered negotiation over the purchase.
He nodded to Justine and with a slight tilt of his head, signaled her to follow him and give the couple some privacy.
As soon as they were out of earshot, she hastened to explain. “I know I promised I’d come to your opening, but after, you know, I decided I probably shouldn’t. Then Lise heard I was alone this weekend because Gary is out of town and she forced me to come with them. She said I’m becoming a social hermit.” There was regret in her little laugh. “Maybe I am. I’m sorry if I’ve made this awkward for you. That’s the last thing I wanted to do.”
“It’s awkward for both of us.” Still, he couldn’t stop himself from drinking her in—the creamy skin; warm, glowing hair; and the melancholy smile that never failed to tug at his heart.
That’s when his regret at seeing her again collapsed in on itself like a house of cards and he understood he was wide open and vulnerable to all kinds of hurt with this woman. It is what it is, he thought philosophically.
“You look beautiful.”
I write stories I like to read, with authentic characters and realistic themes. From laugh-out-loud romantic comedy to nail-biting suspense, I’ve got you covered. Escape with me into books.
In the real world, I’m a happy wife, proud mom, doting nana, and dog owner—again.
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I hope you enjoy the recipe Tara is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
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ASPARAGUS & SHRIMP OVER RICE OR NOODLES
My dinner suggestion is simple, perfect for summer, and something my characters would surely love. Asparagus and shrimp over rice or noodles.
You’ll need 1 bag large frozen precooked shrimp, fresh asparagus spears, fresh minced garlic, and tamari or soy sauce.
Thaw the shrimp (the number is up to you) in a large bowl of cold, salted water. A squeeze of lemon in the water is never a bad idea.
This is when I start the rice or noodles. Then I move to the cutting board and trim the asparagus. Place the spears in a frying pan and add just enough water to barely cover them. Put the pan on the stove and cover it with a lid. Turn the heat to medium to steam.
Now you can prep the garlic. Again, let your own tastes dictate how many cloves you mince. I’m heavy-handed with garlic so I’d probably use four or five. Let them sit for the moment.
Drain the shrimp. I usually dump them into a colander and let them sit in the sink until I’m ready for them.
This is when I’d check the asparagus. It should be bright green and slightly limp. Drain the water and return the asparagus to the burner. Drizzle the spears with olive oil, turning them gently to coat. Now add your minced garlic, some fresh pepper, and splash a little soy or tamari over the top and turn to coat again.
Quickly remove the asparagus to a plate and add the shrimp to the hot pan. Turn them in the olive oil, garlic, and tamari, ensuring all are coated and the shrimp heats through. If you want, squeeze some fresh lemon over the top or add a splash of your favorite white wine.
Serve the shrimp and asparagus over the rice or noodles and add a fresh side salad to complete the meal.
Thanks, Tara, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!