Excerpt from Starlight Kisses

The Winter in Snow Valley anthology will be released December 5. My story is called Starlight Kisses. Here’s an excerpt.

Starlight Kisses
by Jeanette Lewis
All Rights Reserved

When he saw who he was holding, he quickly let go and they both jumped back a pace. Mariah’s heart pounded and she dug her nails into her palms. “Sorry,” she muttered, keenly aware she was blushing. Yet again, she’d embarrassed herself in front of this man.

His glance took in her pin-curled hair, red polka-dot dress with the full knee-length skirt and Peter Pan collar, all the way to her black-and-white spectator pumps. “You look … festive,” he said, a hint of amusement in his voice.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Riker glanced around the hallway at the sea of business suits in sedate blues, blacks, and grays. “Nothing. It’s just a little different.”

“What’s wrong with being different?” Mariah said defensively. “This is how I usually dress; it’s called retro. Besides, you’re awfully critical for someone who tramps around the woods dressed like some kind of wannabe GI Joe.”

He stiffened. “Yeah, I wear camo when I’m hunting mountain lions and it pays to have every advantage. But it doesn’t matter because by the time we got your car out, the cat was long gone.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t plan to get stuck in the snow!” Mariah shot back. “Besides, getting my car out took an hour tops.”

He shrugged. “An hour is a lot of time when you’re talking about wildcats.”

They stared at each other in silence for a moment. He wasn’t wearing a hat today and he’d trimmed his whiskers. His dark leather bomber jacket was worn and smooth and instead of camo, he wore jeans and cowboy boots.

“So what do you do when you’re not pretending to be GI Joe?” Mariah asked. “Are you some kind of cowboy?”

He snorted. “I’m as much of a cowboy as you are. But once you live in Snow Valley for a while, you start to dress the part.”

“Who says I’m not a cowboy?” She put one hand on the black patent leather belt at her waist and fixed him with a challenging stare.

His eyes were gray, like the clouds of a summer thunderstorm, sweeping across the sky bringing a crisp, clean scent. They lit up as he surveyed her up and down again. “Yeah, right. You, a cowboy? You’re more like retro Barbie,” he said.

“Well, I live in Snow Valley now,” she said. “I guess I should start dressing the part too.”

“Cowgirl Barbie?” Riker suggested.

She gave an irritated huff, then caught the twinkle in his eye. He was teasing! In an instant, her animosity dissolved.

“Maybe,” Mariah said loftily, switching tones. “Don’t think I don’t know where to find pink sequin cowgirl boots, because I totally do.”

He held up both hands in a gesture of surrender. “I don’t doubt you. And I’ll bet you’d make the cutest little Cowgirl Barbie ever.”

Genuine Mexican Empanadas

empanadaAna Gloria’s Empanadas

 

In The Adventurous One, Taylor tells her Grandmother about the membrillo empanadas she buys from a vendor in Mexico. Here is a recipe for genuine Mexican empanadas, courtesy of Ana Gloria Moreno, who lives in Sonora, Mexico and is the mother of a friend. They’re flaky and sweet and if you use green apples, you get just the right hint of tartness. Give it a try!

Mini Empanada Recipe

 Ingredients for filling:
15-20 apples, membrillos (quince), or peaches depending on the size of fruit
2 lbs of sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Peel, cut and take out seeds from the fruit. Put a pot on medium heat, add fruit and sugar and mix till sugar starts to melt, then put in a stick of cinnamon. Stir constantly so it does not stick to the pot, lower heat if necessary and keep stirring. As soon as you see the fruit falling apart, turn off heat, take out cinnamon stick and mash well with potato masher. Filling has to have a jelly like consistency. Set aside.

Dough for empanadas:
2 lbs of flour
1 can or 12 oz of evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1 box of Maizena or 14 oz regular corn starch (Maizena found in the Hispanic food aisle)
1 Tbs of yeast
3 cups of sugar
2 Tbs of vanilla extract
1 lb lard

In a large mixing bowl, knead the lard till soft, and then add eggs, sugar and vanilla extract and mix well. Mix in flour, yeast and Maizena and mix well, then start pouring in the evaporated mix till you get a nice dough feel. Make ping pong size balls out  of the dough and set aside.

Roll a ball of dough into 1/8 inch thick and cut with round, medium size cookie cutter. Fill with one tablespoon of the filling on one side and fold dough over the filling to make a half circle. With a fork, press the edges of the dough to seal top and bottom edges together.

Set empanadas on a cookie sheet, heat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15-20 min, or till golden brown.

Go here to get your copy of The Adventurous One.

Excerpt from The Adventurous One

The Adventurous One FINAL01The Adventurous One

by Jeanette Lewis
All Rights Reserved

“What’s ahead for you?” Taylor asked as they sat on the restaurant patio with sandwiches and salads. They were at a small round table and had pulled their chairs so close they were almost touching. The sun was warm on their faces and a small breeze ruffled their hair. Taylor thought of the skydiving
and wanted to go back.

Lane picked at his pasta salad with his fork. “I don’t know. Same old, same old I guess. Work. What about you?”

Her face fell. “I’m not sure. I mean, I submit my travel plans to my editor a year in advance, so I guess I’ll be picking up where I left off in my schedule when I leave here. I just …” She trailed off, unsure how to phrase it.

“You’re wondering what’s ahead for us?” he asked softly.

Heart in her throat, she nodded. The differences between this day with Lane and the day on the boat with Brent were stark in her mind. No guilt, no harsh words, no second guessing, no nerves—except for the good kind. Just being with him, just looking at him, sent thrills shooting through her core and goosebumps parading up her arms. It was embarrassing, really, though if he’d noticed, he hadn’t commented.

Lane put his fork down and reached for her hand. His fingers closed around hers, warm and strong. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I really like you. No, scratch that, I more than like you.”

Taylor gave up all pretense of playing it cool. “I more than like you too,” she whispered.

He flashed her a smile, then he was leaning toward her and she was leaning toward him. There was a moment, right before she closed her eyes, when she could see the flecks of gold in his hazel eyes, the fringe of lashes around them. He smelled clean and soapy and faintly like pine trees. Then her eyes fluttered closed and his lips brushed hers, warm and soft.

She didn’t remember dropping her fork, but suddenly her hands were free, sliding up the warm contours of his arms, over his muscular shoulders, and into the thick hair at the back of his head. Heat and longing exploded through her body as she wound her fingers into his hair as his mouth claimed hers. He tasted like cola and salad dressing, like spending a lazy summer day in a hammock, like swimming in a warm hot springs, like freedom and passion and love.

Lane’s arms were around her, one clamped at her waist, the other at the back of neck, guiding her head so their mouths moved in sync.

“Get a room!” Someone hollered, another diner on the patio, and they broke apart. For a moment they stared at each other, unsure whether to be embarrassed by so much PDA, but then Taylor giggled. She didn’t care.

Lane laughed. “Sorry about that,” he called to the person who yelled. “Can you blame me though?”

The man chuckled, shaking his head, and went back to his lunch.

“Wow,” Lane leaned forward, resting his forehead against Taylor’s. “Can we do that again?”

She couldn’t quite catch her breath. “Come with me,” she whispered, before she could think.

His eyes grew big. “What do you mean?”

It was pure impulse, brought on by desire and raging hormones, but more than that, the knowledge that this was what she’d wanted from the moment she’d seen him again. She wanted to explore the world with this man at her side. “No expectations,” she added quickly, seeing the confusion in his eyes. “We’d get separate rooms, like when Summer and I travel with her boyfriends. I just … I think it would be really fun to have you along, and I think you’d like it. It could be the way it was, at the outdoor club, the two of us, together. I want you to come, need you to come … need you,” she finished shakily.

He ran one hand down the curve of her cheek and sat back. “What’s your next trip?” He asked.

“I cut my trip to Mexico short to come help with Grandma, so I have a couple more weeks free, but then in August, I start the Appalachian Trail.” The thought of having Lane along turned it from an exciting hike into a magical adventure.

“The Appalachian Trail is over two thousand miles long,” Lane said. “You’re hiking all of it?”

“Not the whole thing,” she said. “I haven’t finalized my route yet, but I’m planning to be in New England by autumn to see the leaves. Depending on how much longer Grandma needs me, I might start there and work my way south. What do you think?”

She’d thought it would be exactly like the kind of thing Lane would love. But his face fell and he stared past her at their reflection in the restaurant windows. “Yeah, sounds great,” he said slowly. “If I could walk more than a mile without needing to rest. Or if I could even get up an incline as steep as a dopey bridge in a city park.”

“So that’s where my friend comes in,” Taylor urged. “She can help you get the equipment you need so you can do that kind of stuff, don’t you see?” Her palms were clammy—please let him say yes. Please let him see this was possible.

But Lane shook his head and poked at his salad again with his fork. “I can’t,” he muttered. “I can’t take charity.”

Taylor groaned in frustration. “Will you shelve your silly pride for a few minutes,” she urged.

It was the wrong thing to say. Lane’s head shot up and his eyes turned cold. “My pride is what got me through,” he said quietly. “It’s about the only thing I have left.”

“But it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said, on a roll now that she couldn’t stop, didn’t want to stop. “You don’t have to just accept this is the way your life is now, there are still lots of things you could be doing, lots of adventures you could be having, if you’ll let yourself.”

“I’ll get there, Taylor,” he said firmly. “But on my own terms.”

She shook her head, tears brimming in her eyes. “No you won’t. You’ll go on working in your stupid little office and struggling along and never doing anything you’ve dreamed about because you’re too stubborn to realize someone tried to give you exactly what you needed and you refused.”

His hand clenched around his fork. “You have no idea what it’s like,” he grated.

“You’re right, I don’t. What you’ve been through is beyond imagining and I have no frame of reference for it. But I do know what it’s like to be hurt … so devastated that you think you’re beyond repair. I’ve been there, and it took a long time, but I learned you can’t let one terrible thing define you for the rest of your life.”

“It’s not the same,” he insisted. “You didn’t lose a third of your body.”

“That’s true,” Taylor said carefully, sensing dangerous territory. “Something horrendous happened to you, more awful than I can even imagine. But you’re more than your legs, you’re more than one day, one decision, one tragic accident. You have all kinds of things about you that have nothing to do with any of that, but you’re ignoring all the good things to focus only on this one bad thing.” She put her hand on his arm, trying to soften the words. “You can pay her back if that’s what you’re worried about, but don’t waste these best years of your life. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. Money is a renewable commodity, but time isn’t.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed hard, looking as if he was on the verge of tears, just as she was.

“Please?” she whispered.

He shook his head. “I can’t.”

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Writing Retreat!

mountainsI got to go to a writing retreat this weekend and look at my beautiful view of the mountains!  You can’t help but be inspired when this is right outside your window, right?

In spite of all the time I spent staring at the scenery, I actually managed to get a lot done. I made the final edits on The Adventurous One and added several thousand words to my manuscript for Winter in Snow Valley. Yippee!

 

 

Coming Next – The Adventurous One

The Adventurous One FINAL01The Adventurous One

A Billionaire Bride Pact Romance
by Jeanette Lewis

Taylor Medlin may have taken the billionaire bride pact when she was a teenager at Camp Wallakee, but she wasn’t thinking about that when she married the man of her dreams several years later. And she certainly wasn’t thinking about the pact when she signed the divorce papers after only eighteen months.

Once burned, twice shy, Taylor has sworn off romance forever until a family emergency pulls her home to Sioux Falls and into the arms of old friend, Lance Carter. But Lance has his own demons and he and Taylor must decide whether the past will bring them together, or tear them apart.

***

Don’t you love this cover? When I was brainstorming ideas for covers, I knew I wanted shoes and it’s been so much fun finding photos with shoes that fit each bride’s personality. These match Taylor perfectly.

I don’t have  release date yet. I’m working toward mid-August, but my summers tend to be pretty crazy, so I’ll keep you updated.

Excerpt from The Lucky Billionaire

LuckyBillion_CVR_SMLThe Lucky Billionaire

by Jeanette Lewis
All Rights Reserved

Ty followed Holland’s directions and soon they were pulling into The Grove shopping center.

“No Rodeo Drive?” His sister Misty said from the backseat, disappointment evident in her tone.

“What’s Rodeo Drive?” Ty asked.

“What? C’mon … Pretty Woman? Julia Roberts and the shopping montage?” Misty prodded him in the back with her finger.

He vaguely remembered hearing a song about it, but drew a blank at the movie. “Sorry, not ringing any bells.” Ty swung into a parking space.

“Rodeo Drive is where all the top designers are,” Misty said with authority.

“Oh, then I’m glad we’re missing it,” Ty replied. “I’m not buying anything from some snooty designer.”

A small smile hovered on Holland’s lips as she got out of the car. “This place has plenty of designers too,” she said. “I just thought we’d find more here in your style.”

“That is definitely not my style,” Ty declared, pointing to a display of rhinestone skulls and studded leather jackets in the window of Lace+Bones.

“Of course not, give me some credit.” Holland gave him a mischievous smile and led the way to the white stone facade of Barneys New York.

Mercy,” Misty drawled in her best Roy Orbison impression.

Ty would rather face a diamondback rattler with nothing but a pea shooter than follow Holland into the store. Inside was cool, almost cold, and that wasn’t just the temperature of the air. Two clerks looked up when they entered and appeared to be having had a silent staring contest where the loser had to wait on them.

If Holland noticed, she gave no sign. She marched to the men’s section and began pulling suit jackets off the rack.

“May I help you?” One of the clerks approached them, having evidentially lost the contest. She couldn’t have been more than twenty. Her platinum blond hair hung in rippling waves to her waist and her makeup was so thick Ty bet he could have scraped it off with a credit card.

“I’m Holland Morrissey with Enlighten Images. We need clothes for him.” Holland tipped her head toward Ty, but her eyes never left the clerk’s.

Either the agency had name recognition or Holland won some kind of telepathic battle, because the clerk was suddenly all smiles. “Of course. Why don’t I get a dressing room started for you?”

Holland moved closer to Ty and reached up to hold a navy suit jacket under his chin. She narrowed her green eyes and caught the tip of her tongue between her teeth as she evaluated the color against his skin. The smell of her perfume washed over him, a sharp, cool scent that reminded him of an ocean breeze.

His pulse picked up at her nearness. He picked up the sleeve of the jacket she held and glanced at the tag.

“Six hundred dollars?” He gasped in a whisper. “This suit is six hundred dollars?”

“This is a separate,” Holland said. She replaced the jacket on the rack and reached for a gray one. “We’ll look at suits too, but I think you’ll get more use out of separates.”

“What the heck is a separate?” Ty asked.

“Just what it sounds like. The jacket is separate from the pants. That way we can mix and match,” Holland explained. She held the gray one to his face.

“Wait a second … just that jacket is six hundred dollars?” Ty dodged out of the way and grabbed the price tag. “This one is seven-fifty,” he said almost accusingly.

“Whoa,” Misty said, clearly as horrified as her brother.

The clerk made a grab for the jacket. “I can put that in a room for you if you’d like.”

“No way,” Ty said forcefully. “I’m not paying that much for something I’m only wearing once.”

Holland’s smile slipped a little as she turned to the clerk. “Could you give us just a minute please?”

The clerk slid gracefully out of range and Holland whirled on Ty. “You’re a billionaire and you’re whining about seven hundred dollars?” She hissed. “In the time we’ve been arguing, you’ve probably earned enough in interest to buy every jacket in this store.”

Ty squared his shoulders. “That’s not the point. Just because I can afford it doesn’t mean I need it.”

“Why did you hire me if you’re not going to do what I tell you?” She whispered, her tone strained.

“She’s got a point,” Misty said. From the look on her face, Ty gathered she was enjoying the show.

“I am going to do what you tell me, if it’s reasonable,” he told Holland. “But I’ve seen jackets just like that at Kohl’s for less than a hundred bucks.”

Holland gasped as if he’d just cursed in church. “No you have not.” She clutched the jacket protectively to her chest.

“Are you two about done? Because I really need to sit down,” Misty said.

Ty locked eyes with Holland. She pressed her lips together stubbornly and hugged the absurdly expensive jacket.

He sighed. “Fine. But I still think it’s stupid.”

Holland relaxed. “You’ll thank me later, because you are going to look fantastic on TV.”

What followed was a nightmare.

 

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