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, ANNIE CURTIS, and her favorite recipe for Alice Bourland’s Peanut Brittle!
Texas Plains Series Book 3
BY ANNIE CURTIS
Is Darby O’Shea a witch or a beautiful woman with magical powers?
When Darby moves to Christmas, Texas, to manage the local restaurant, she soon runs into trouble with a nosy neighbor who accuses her of practicing witchcraft, growing marijuana, and trying to poison her son. Darby even has a one-eyed black cat.
Reed Vincent is the new police chief whose quiet life is disrupted when he becomes his nephew’s guardian while his brother is overseas in the military.
The new responsibility has brought Reed everything he didn’t want—stress, conflict, and a growing concern for his nephew’s welfare after the boy gets involved with the wrong crowd.
When Darby moves across the street from Reed, their instant attraction blossoms into something unexpected.
But he is wary of romance. His ex-wife left him with a distrust of relationships, and he vowed to never be hooked again.
This charming small-town romance will make you believe in magic.
This is Book 3 in the Texas Plains series. The books in the series are linked and many of your favorite characters from the other books reappear, but each book can easily be read as a standalone.
Reed Vincent opened the screen door and stepped out barefoot onto his front porch with a cup of coffee in his hand. His well-worn Levi’s rode low on his hips as he yawned and then reached under his threadbare t-shirt to give his flat belly a scratch. He took a step back when he saw Darby O’Shea looking at him from across the street and sheepishly gave her a grin and a slight nod while easing his shirt back down to his waist. She probably thought he was crazy to walk outside without wearing shoes or a jacket on this crisp fall morning.
Darby was a woman he tried to avoid as much as possible, which was no small feat since he was the Chief of Police in the small town of Christmas, Texas, and she ran the most popular restaurant. Then, she had moved in across the street from him six weeks earlier.
One look at her long black hair and strange, mesmerizing eyes had told him to be wary. When she opened her mouth and spoke in a voice that reminded him of home, he knew he had to make her off-limits. Reed Vincent wasn’t going to get suckered in by another beautiful woman. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t look from a distance.
Darby’s hair glistened in the early light as she lifted her hand in a silent hello. As usual, she wore a long, flowing dress, which only made him fantasize while wondering if her legs were as amazing as the rest of her body. Again, he reminded himself, he had no intention of finding out.
He watched a cat rub up against her. When she reached down to scratch behind the animal’s ears and then picked it up, he had a glimpse of the swell of her magnificent breasts when she bent forward. He took a sip of his coffee and groaned. It had been forever since he’d been with a woman, and this one was as tempting as a slice of warm apple pie.
Several minutes later, after Darby deposited the cat inside her house, he watched her drive away in her Volkswagen bug convertible, its bright tangerine color contrasting with the dark hair billowing around her face.
As he turned to go back inside for another cup of coffee before dressing for work, he heard his next-door neighbor call out to him.
“Chief Vincent,” her high-pitched whine grated. Maybe if he pretended that he didn’t hear her, he could escape. Unfortunately, he wasn’t fast enough. “Chief Vincent,” the thirty-something woman said again while crossing his front yard toward the porch.
Reed plastered a welcoming smile on his face and turned toward her. “Good morning, Mrs. Waites.”
“Chief, I need to talk to you about that woman. And it’s Andrea, remember? You can call me Andrea.”
“All right, Andrea. What woman?” he asked, knowing full well to whom she was referring.
“That woman over there,” Waites said and pointed to where Darby O’Shea had stood only moments before.
“You mean Miss O’Shea?”
The woman huffed and placed her hands on her hips as she glared. “You have to do something about her. She’s growing marijuana in that greenhouse of hers. I’m sure of it. It’s still illegal in this state, and people are coming and going at all hours.”
Reed hadn’t noticed that, and he was quite observant. It came with the job. He watched as she raised her hand, and he moved away to keep her from poking him in the chest. The corners of his mouth lifted, and he couldn’t keep from laughing. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No, I’m not kidding. I saw the plants growing right there inside that glass monstrosity.” She pointed across the street again. “You need to do your duty as the law in this town. We can’t have that stuff here.”
Reed rubbed his neck and looked at her dubiously. “You’ve been invited to her house then?”
“Uh … well … no.”
“Okay, you’re not friends, but you’re friendly enough for her to show you her greenhouse?”
“Not exactly. I may have taken a walk and accidentally discovered the plants.”
His expression hardened, and he said, “You accidentally trespassed on your neighbor’s property, opened the door of her greenhouse, and went inside?”
“You make it sound so …”
“The door was already open, and I only glanced inside. But I saw the plant. It was right there in front of me. I learned all about that when my son Jimmy was in junior high. I know what to look out for.”
“I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you confess to a crime, Andrea,” Reed said sharply. “I have no probable cause to ask to see her greenhouse, but if it makes you feel better, I will tell her about your concerns.”
“No, don’t do that. I don’t want her to …”
“Well, to do something to me.”
“Like hex me or something. The woman has that black cat, and she sells all those strange things at the restaurant now. And she always seems to know what other people are thinking.”
He raised an eyebrow and shook his head. “I’ve been to her restaurant, and the only new things I’ve seen on the menu are additions for gluten-free meals and meals for vegetarians. All the usual favorites are still served.”
“Don’t you think that’s strange for our little town?”
“Personally, I’m prone to a big juicy hamburger and a rare steak, but different strokes for different folks.” He lifted his cup in the air and said, “If that’s all, I need to get going, but I do appreciate your civic-mindedness, Mrs. Waites.” He turned around and left the woman standing on his porch with her mouth open.
Reed’s mind drifted to images of his good-looking neighbor across the street, and he remembered the first time he’d seen her. Darby had set the gossips abuzz when she’d come to town at the end of the summer to take over Max’s Diner.
Max Heart had hired the young woman to manage his restaurant while traveling the world with his girlfriend, the famous actress Genevieve Page.
Darby had arrived in the middle of the night, and by the time he woke up the following day, the for-sale sign was down, and a car was in the driveway across the street. He didn’t know who his new neighbor was until he walked into Max’s Diner a couple of days later and was greeted by a fascinating woman who addressed him by name and then set his usual breakfast and a mug on the counter before he took a seat. He still remembered that first conversation like it was yesterday.
“Good morning, Chief Vincent. I apologize for not introducing myself earlier, but I’ve been immersed in all things culinary here at the restaurant and have barely been home to sleep.”
Confused, Reed sat down and looked up into a pair of hypnotic eyes, one green and one blue, and was suddenly at a loss for words. He managed to stumble out a reply. “Do I know you?”
“Oh no,” she gave him a magnetic smile, “but I know you. I’m Darby O’Shea, your new neighbor.”
“Yes, of course. I noticed the for-sale sign was gone, and lights have been on in the house. I should have been the one introducing myself sooner. Welcome to Christmas,” he said, trying to look everywhere but at her eyes.
“It’s called heterochromia,” she said, gently touching his hand.
“My eyes. It’s a rare condition called heterochromia and causes a person to have two different eye colors. It can be genetic. I inherited it from my Gramps,” she said. Her voice was low, with each syllable drawn out in a sexy Southern accent.
“Where are you from? It’s not Texas, but somewhere in the South,” he said, lifting his cup to his lips.
“A little town in West Virginia. And you?”
“A little town in East Texas.”
She gave him a big smile that showed off the dimple in her cheek and placed a large paper cup filled with coffee beside his plate. “This is on the house,” she said, tapping the cup. “I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those days, and you might need a little boost. Come back soon.”
With that, she turned and went back into the kitchen, and damned if she wasn’t right. It had been one of those days—the busiest and craziest he’d had since he’d come to Christmas, Texas. Running away like a scared rabbit, he’d managed to cut down on his visits to the diner since that morning.
Having decided not to be a coward, he placed his badge on his shirt and hat on his head and walked out his front door. He needed to see a lady about a greenhouse. It was purely a professional visit.
Annie Curtis is the pen name for two sisters who write as a team. Charlene Tess and Judi Thompson live over 1400 miles apart, and have written fourteen novels together. They also write romantic suspense as Tess Thompson.
Links to Annie’s website, blog, books, #ad etc.:
I hope you enjoy the recipe Annie is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 531 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.
Here’s a recipe that our mother always made to give as gifts at Christmas. She was famous for her peanut brittle.
Alice Bourland’s Peanut Brittle
Generously butter a large flat surface. (A large cookie sheet or sheet pan will do.)
Use a candy thermometer for best results.
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 cups raw peanuts
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons butter
In heavy saucepan combine sugar, water, and Karo. Bring to a hard ball stage. Remove and add peanuts. Return to stove until at hard crack stage. Remove and add baking soda, vanilla, and butter. Pour out on flat, buttered surface. Be careful, it will be very hot. When completely cooled, crack into pieces. Enjoy!
Thanks, Annie, for sharing your story and recipe with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!