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, MARLENE CHENG, and her favorite recipe for My Mother’s Can’t Fail Delicious Fudge!
CONTEMPT & TRUST
Their Hearts’ Desires Book 4
BY MARLENE CHENG
They’ve stuck together through thick and thin. Will a callous warlord sever a connection she cherishes?
Tijay longs for acceptance. Growing up as one of the few Black faces in Sweden, she finds shared strength with an Ethiopian pen pal facing the same devastating racism in Ireland. And when both girls are accepted into the same medical school, they become bosom companions who eagerly join Doctors Without Borders to face Sudan’s war-torn landscape.
Dealing with the chaos of life in a violent developing nation, Tijay is saddened when her love for a dashing physician suitor ignites hostility in her longtime confidante. But grief becomes horror when her jealous sister-of-the-soul impetuously runs into the arms of a local man with twisted desires.
Can she look past the tragic choices and rebuild their shattered trust?
Contempt & Trust is the gripping fourth book in the Their Hearts’ Desires women’s fiction series. If you like enduring relationships, epistolary novels, and global perspectives, then you’ll adore Marlene F. Cheng’s ode to feminine bonds.
Buy Contempt & Trust to hold tightly to hope today!
Just when everything was going well, and I was at my happiest, I started having concerns about Aida.
One day, on the path by the hospital, we bumped into each other. “I need to talk to you,” Aida said. We arranged it, and a few nights later, she came to my house. We sat on cushions on the floor. That was our way when we had something serious to discuss—ground ourselves as close to the earth as possible.
She talked. I listened. “Malakal has asked me to marry him,” she started.
Nothing like an introduction, giving a few hints, dancing around a spell; let’s jump right into this, I thought, but kept my mouth zipped.
“I’ve told you many times, how, when I was young, living in that tiny apartment with only my mother… without my father… that my dream was to live in a big house with a yard for lots of kids, and there would be a mom and a dad. And we wouldn’t need to worry about money for food.”
“Is Malakal offering you that?” I asked.
“Yes, he is. He’s offering me my dream—a gigantic house, lots of kids, money. My mother can come over for a visit on his tab.”
“So, what’s your problem?” I asked.
“I’m confused. I can’t make up my mind. You know I finished my contract with the organization. They gave me a short extension so I could decide if I wanted to go home, move elsewhere, or stay on at the hospital here. Now Malakal is giving me a fourth choice—stay here but leave the hospital and start a family… live in South Sudan the rest of my life.”
I didn’t say anything, so she continued, “I know I want everything Malakal is offering, but it’s the “live in South Sudan the rest of my life” part I can’t decide about.”
I asked another question, “How can I help?”
“Maybe you can see clearer, all the pros and cons. You’ve decided to live here …not to go home. Was that a difficult decision?”
“Yes, it was, Aida. But it’s worked out. I couldn’t be happier.”
“Let’s make tea. I didn’t see this coming so soon after our last visit. At that time, you said Malakal was dragging his feet.”
“I thought he was, but now he’s proposed. I’m so excited. Won’t it be great to be here together, raising our kids. I guess I was just wondering if you and Z. might go back to Sweden …if that was in your future.”
“I don’t think Z. would ever consider it.”
We sat, drank our Rooibos, and chatted about Ellie. Aida has bonded with Ellie and is interested in her every burp and hiccup. She snuck into the nursery to have a peak. “Ellie sleeps in such an odd position,” she commented, coming back. “She’s, more or less, on her hands and knees with her rear sticking up …like a sprinter in starting blocks.”
“Wonderful simile. She is like a sprinter in the blocks; she can’t wait to start the race; I noticed her bouncing on her bum today.”
We sat down. I didn’t skirt around the issue any longer.
I laid out the facts of her choices and the consequences of each. We always do this for each other. It might help her see the big picture.
Then, I looked her in the eye and gently asked, “Has Malakal ever said the word, love?” I let a few moments pass, then asked: “Are you… together, planning your wedding? Have you met his family? Are they involved in the planning? Am I invited?”
Wanting to give her more to think about, I said, “Aida, remember my wedding. That wedding, in that church, with you and his family’s support, is the foundation that Z. and I are building our lives on.”
“I envy the life you have with Z…. and Ellie. It’s so damn perfect,” she answered.
Then I continued, “You give me wonder, Aida. Do you feel orphaned, abandoned in this God-forsaken country? Are you looking to fill the hole of aloneness? Is the cold of fear shaping you?… the fear of never finding your dream.”
She didn’t have words to answer to that, so instead she said, “He’s given me an amethyst-studded ankle bracelet.”
“Is that your engagement ring? Why an ankle chain? I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but isn’t that a little disconcerting?”
“Their rituals are different from what we’re used to,” she answered. “He lets expensive jewellery speak for his heart.”
I noticed her fists balling.
“That’s great,” I said. “As long as it’s an expression of his feelings and he’s not trying to buy you. Has he shown you his house yet?”
She started to squirm. A film of sweat beaded across her forehead. But I know her; she wasn’t going to let me get to her. Her eyes widened in a practised defensive stare; she raised her voice, ever so slightly, and curtly spat, “When he finishes fixing up the house, so it will be fitting for a lady, he’ll come and take me there.”
I sensed the ridge of her backbone prickle, so decided to be more acquiescent, “Warm yourself by the fire of companionship. But for God’s sake and mine, think before you leap. I want only the best for you. I don’t want you to get burned.”
She didn’t hear my words: Her own thoughts were too busy gathering storm. They came shot out in a maelstrom of sputters that stung as they hit their target. “You have everything. You long for nothing. You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, and you continue to lick cream. I have had to struggle my entire life even to have a spoon. Now, when my tide has a chance to come in you don’t want me to have any part of it. You can’t fool me, Tijay; I know you disapprove.”
She didn’t wait for me to defend myself but went right on with her tirade. “Come down from your ivory tower. You know you only get to lecture at the university because of Z.’s influence. Put yourself in my shoes—no university appointment, no influential husband, no house, yard, nor children. Malakal may not be the king of the crop like your Z., but maybe he’s my one and only chance to start up the ladder of life. I was looking for encouragement, but you have cut every rung and thrown it in my face. You have dismantled my every hope.”
She stood, turned, and left.
I followed her out and watched her stomp up the path, her back straight, stiff, determined.
I wanted to call out to her, but I didn’t.
Perhaps we had both been too candid, too honest. Even for soulmates, maybe there’s a limit. Is this how we end? Are we done? A raucous of bird sounds, from the distant rise, came on the night winds, unlocking some deep, soul-wrenching fear.
I went back in to check on Ellie.
I don’t know why, but I started to cry.
Marlene Cheng is a Wall Street Journal, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon bestseller. She, also, has Maincrest Media and Book Excellence awards in women’s fiction.
Her fiction books are about the relationships that define women’s lives–romance, friendship, and family. Marlene is a keen observer of how people think and feel and writes lyrical, uplifting, and emotionally rich stories.
Marlene was prairie-born, farm-raised, and now lives among the old-growth pine and cedar, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on the West Coast of Canada—a haven that stimulates creativity.
“As with any worthy story,” Marlene says, “my biography has its own inner destiny independent of its author. I sense this and strive for poise, integrity, and courage to go with the flow.”
Links to Marlene’s website, blog, books, #ad, etc.:
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0C87HHRR6/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1JA9MVA6RE6RT&keywords=Contempt+%26+Trust+by+Marlene+F.+Cheng&qid=1687287086&s=books&sprefix=contempt+%26+trust+by+marlene+f.+cheng%2Cstripbooks%2C217&sr=1-2
Visit her at https://www.marlenecheng.com
Drop her a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you enjoy the recipe Marlene is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 647 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.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: If an author’s favorite recipe isn’t their own creation and came from an online site, you will now find the entire recipe through the link to that site as a personal recommendation. Thank you.
My Mother’s Can’t Fail Delicious Fudge
2 c. cut up marshmallows
½ c. evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ c. chopped nuts
½ tsp. vanilla
Combine marshmallows, milk, butter, sugar, and salt in saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until mixtures comes to a full boil. Stirring constantly boil hard for exactly 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add chocolate chips and beat until chips melt.
Blend in chopped nuts and vanilla.
Pour into greased 6 X 8-inch pan. Chill. Cut into squares.
Claim your giveaway here: https://claims.prolificworks.com/free/sbuVKf5i
Before Fiza appeared in Black Pansies, book four in Their Hearts’ Desires Series, to practise English, she wrote, The Turret—the first place she called her own, after leaving South Sudan and coming to Sweden.
It’s a wonderful introduction to Fiza.
A must read before you read Black Pansies.
It isn’t for sale. It’s Marlene’s gift to readers. You can claim the GIFT when you join the Reader’s Fan Club. Remember, it’s written by a young lady who had a horrendous childhood and is trying to adapt to a strange new country in an adopted family.
Go to her website here to claim this gift: https://www.marleneche
Thanks, Marlene, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!