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, DARLENE OAKLEY, and her favorite recipe for ONE POT RICE & CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH #naturallyella!!
VOICES OF ANGELS
BY DARLENE OAKLEY
After shooting a teen during a jewelry store robbery, Halifax police officer Daniel Howard (Dany) takes stress leave and respite at his grandmother’s house on the Bay of Fundy. While sifting through some of her things, he discovers a message in a bottle in her attic, an object he and Nan had found decades before. As he fights to recover from the trauma of the shooting, and finds the courage to hold a gun again, he undertakes a personal mission to find the person who wrote the message in the bottle.
Julia McIntyre is a well-known Christian performing artist whose brother was killed by a stalker during a stage performance. As Julia cradled her brother’s lifeless body, the killer slipped away in the ensuing chaos. Ravaged by depression and deserted by her husband, she hides away, locked in a prison of fear and grief.
In an effort draw out her brother’s killer, at the encouragement of the investigating officer, Julia steps out into public and is determined to return to a normal life—but there’s no denying the terror lurking in her heart and around every corner—until Dany appears on her doorstep.
As their hearts are inexplicably drawn together, Dany and Julia must unravel long lost family secrets to get inside the mind of a killer before Julia’s voice is silenced for good.
She glanced at the kitchen clock. Half an hour. He would be here in half an hour.
She turned on the television in the living room and sat down on the sofa with a couple slices of rye toast with peanut butter and a bowl of fresh-frozen strawberries.
She was just in time for the 8 o’clock news. They were just getting to the weather when her cell went off.
Who would be calling at this hour? Maybe Dany, checking up on her and reminding her that he’d be there shortly. Her heart cartwheeled.
“Good morning, honey girl.”
The food in her mouth turned to sand and she was barely able to swallow. Definitely not Dany.
“You showed some guts yesterday morning on TV.”
“I’m glad you thought so, Anthony.” Good. Just enough bravado, but not overconfident.
He chuckled. A sound that made him sound like a deranged Harley Davidson, and her stomach churn. “Anthony, huh? You really think that’s my real name?”
She nearly choked on her own saliva. Not his real name? What other information had he given her that was not right and that had wasted considerable time for Dany and Constable Davis?
“Wh-What do you mean?”
“Oh, that’s for me to know and Dany-boy to chase his tail for a little while longer.”
Anger pushed the usual terror she felt at the sound of his voice down to the furthest part of her stomach.
“Why are you calling me?”
“I know Dany-boy’s not with you this morning.”
“So, you’re just calling to keep me company, is that it?”
“Ooh. Feisty. Nice try, honey girl, but no. I’m calling to tell you about an unexpected visitor I had last night who is now keeping me company.”
If she hadn’t already been sitting down, she would have fallen. Fear, dread, heartache, and anger all nearly suffocated her.
Dany. He had been called in last night while she was sleeping. Had he gone on his own to confront P.O.? Had he decided to follow-up on whatever tip Constable Davis had been working on when he called them at the mini-putt?
Tears bedded her eyes, but she kept her voice level and lethal. “What have you done to him?”
The Harley Davidson chuckle returned. “Nothing … yet.”
Julia sighed. P.O. hadn’t killed him. Not yet. He was probably only using Dany for one purpose – to lure her to him. There was no guarantee that if she surrendered to him he would let Dany go, or that he’d even spare Dany’s life. She had no way of trusting anything P.O. said.
“Let me talk to him.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Then how do I even know you’re telling me the truth?”
“Do you really want to test me?”
She didn’t, but she also knew she couldn’t just sit in her house and do nothing.
“Don’t you hurt him. I’ll come if you promise me you won’t hurt him.”
She couldn’t decipher the next sound that came through the phone. Was it glee? Victory?
“If I come to you, you will let him go?”
“Yes. If you come to me, I will let him go. Completely unharmed.”
Her body raged with the war between her mind screaming that something wasn’t right and her heart knowing that if she didn’t respond and something actually did happen to Dany as a result of her inaction, she would never forgive herself. She would never be able to live with that guilt. The guilt of knowing she hadn’t done everything possible to save him.
“Then, I’ll come.”
It was quiet on the line for a few moments. P.O. was probably celebrating.
“I’ll look forward to it,” he finally said.
Julia sat in shock for a few moments after P.O. hung up. This was it. The confrontation she’d been dreading. He’d finally succeeded in getting her. Of course, that was assuming that he actually did let Dany go, and Dany actually left after she surrendered. Dany wouldn’t be happy that she offered to sacrifice herself for him, but she also knew that him being free was the key to eventually getting her out of the whole predicament.
She was dressed and ready to go in ten minutes, her breakfast forgotten on the table. There was one more thing she needed to do.
She dialed Dany’s cell. It was entirely possible that P.O. didn’t have Dany at all. When she got his voicemail she hung up. There could be many reasons why he didn’t answer the call. His phone could be dead. He could be involved in some sort of aspect of the investigation that he couldn’t pull himself away from. If part of that work had meant confronting P.O., he could be unconscious.
Her next call was to Constable Davis and only got his voicemail, too. Maybe already working on getting Dany back.
Oh, well. A message would be better than nothing.
“Constable Davis, it’s Julia McIntyre calling. I received a phone call from P.O. He’s got Dany. He’s promised to let Dany go if I go over there. So that’s what I’m going to do. I tried Dany’s cell and he didn’t answer. May not be able to answer. I’ll be in touch when and if I can.”
She hung up and slipped the phone in her pocket. On a whim, she put the two empty Coke bottles and the remaining four loose in her satchel, and headed out the door.
Darlene Oakley is a freelance writer, editor, and transcriptionist. She has written over 200 articles that have been published online, and edited over 25 books. Her first title, Inner Sanctum (Dystopian Fiction) was released in 2014, along with a devotional companion and journal. Her second fiction title, Voices of Angels (Romantic Suspense), was released December 2016. She is currently working on Book 2 of Inner Sanctum.
Amazon Book Link: https://amzn.to/2pCfAWi
I hope you enjoy the recipe Darlene is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 367 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.
ONE POT RICE & CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
[Courtesy of Naturally Ella & Author Erin Alderson]
- 4 teaspoons olive oil (divided)
- 1/2 medium red onion (minced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
- 1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch cubed butternut squash (about 1/2 pound)
- 1/2 cup chickpeas (drained/rinsed if using canned)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- Scallions (for serving)
- Cilantro (for serving)
- In a 3 qt (or 5 qt) dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and cook until onion is translucent and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Next, add in the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil followed by the brown rice. Stir until the rice is well coated with oil.
- Stir in the squash, chickpeas, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Then add in the tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to the lowest simmer, cover, and let cook for 45 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Sprinkle with scallions and cilantro before serving.
FOR SPECIAL TIPS & TRICKS: Go to the recipe link at Naturally Ella. https://naturallyella.com/curried-butternut-squash-and-brown-rice-skillet/
Note from Darlene: Healthy and hearty are not usually used in the same sentence but can be with this recipe. Instead of butternut squash I added sweet potato, 1 full can (798 mL) diced tomatoes and 1 can of coconut milk instead of vegetable broth.
This can easily be done in the Instant Pot, as well. Psst, the house smells really yummy afterwards
About 15 minutes on the meat setting on the Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker XL
SPECIAL GIVEAWAY!! Darlene is giving away either Voices of Angels mobi or epub editions, or a complete paperback set (Voices of Angels, Devotional, and Journal), reader’s choice, to one reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Fixin’s blog.
Thanks, Darlene, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!