It’s called comfort food for a reason.
Not much is known about the cookbook, except that years ago, the mysterious Granny B collected a set of magical recipes and wrote them down. Over the years, each book has been modified, corrected, added to, and passed down through the generations to accumulate its own unique history. The secrets behind these very special recipes are about to find their way into new hands and new lives, just when they’re needed the most.
Food created out of love casts a spell all its own, but Granny B’s recipes add a little something extra. This curious cookbook holds not only delicious food, but also the secrets of love, trust, and healing, and it’s about to work its magic once again.
Tales of the Curious Cookbook
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Date of Publication: April 29, 2015
Number of pages: 87
Word Count: 29k
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He’s invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and in his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.
Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone’s past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.
IT SMELLED like jasmine.
In the whole city of New Orleans, jasmine was the scent hanging heavy in the air, and no one could tell me any different. When I first moved to NOLA five years ago, I would walk around sniffing, asking people what it was, and after answers of crawfish or gumbo, dogwood or honeysuckle, the river or the rain, it always came back to that one underlying current: jasmine. It wafted through the Garden District or came in on a faint breeze off Dumaine, and when I walked the uneven, broken sidewalks in the quarter early in the morning or very late at night, it’s what I inhaled deep in my lungs. My friends thought I was nuts, especially my closest one, my best one, the guy I’d not gone a day without talking to since I met him two years ago. Scott Wren.
When he’d walked into my gallery to give me the flyer touting that he was moving into the French Quarter and bringing his semitraditional Spanish cuisine with him, I noted the gray eyes first, then the thick dirty-blond hair swept up, longer on top, short on the sides and in back, his graceful artist hands, long legs, and lastly his perfect, tight round ass. I was planning to lay a line on him when his mouth dropped open as he glanced around the main room.
It wasn’t my art—I was an interior design guy, not an artist, but I ran a very successful gallery that had my name, Boone Walton, on it, and the fact that he was gazing around in awe gave me pause, made me rethink.
“Holy crap,” he whispered. “I’ve been to ten or so galleries today, but this one is amazing. No wonder everyone said to skip it.”
I instantly bristled. “People told you to not come in my place?”
He nodded, still taking in everything, not giving me much attention. “They said you didn’t need anything, that you never had local food at your openings, that you had a catering company that came in from New York.”
It was all true.
“They said I would be wasting my time.”
And he would have been, had he not noticed the art, had he not appreciated it and thus opened my eyes to the possibility of what he had to offer.
“But I figure, we’re both transplants, yeah?” he asked, turning to regard me. “And you probably just haven’t found someone you trust. You’ve had no one to believe in who had the same things to lose as well as gain.”
“Am I right?”
He was, and the wink I got was adorable, so of course I glowered back. “What?”
“Would it kill you to smile?”
“I promise you can stop scowling. We’re gonna be friends.”
There were no guarantees.
“Does the glare thing usually work? Do people normally scatter?”
They did. Yes.
I could be as enthralling as the next guy, or just plain old menacing. My height combined with the way my clothes fit, hugging hard, heavy muscle, made people wary. If they’d been aware of the tattoos under my clothes, most of my patrons would probably run, but as it was, I could dial down the scary and turn up the charming to make a sale. And at that moment, even though I very much wanted to sell Scott Wren on me—because I really wanted to discover what he tasted like—more than that, I wanted him to go. I could already tell he could get under my skin and make me care about him. He wasn’t scared of me, and that could be bad.
“I hate to burst your bubble,” he informed me, “but I’m not going anywhere. I can already tell you need me.”
“I don’t—” I began, growling. “I have more than enough friends, thank you.”
“Nobody ever has enough of those.”
I couldn’t dispute him with any real authority. I’d made, up to this point, one friend in California and one in New Orleans, and all the rest of them from my childhood were dead or worse.
“So whaddya say? You want to take a chance on me?”
Did I? More importantly, could I? Because if my first instinct had been to want to sleep with him, could we be just friends?
“I think we could help each other out. Maybe you’d like to hang some pictures in my restaurant, and in return, I could cater for you. What do you think?”
It was a gamble. “Is your place nice?”
Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work.
$25 Giftcard to Dreamspinner Press
Paperback copy of Tales of the Curious Cookbook
Paperback copy of Floodgates
$25 Giftcard to Dreamspinner Press