11.25.2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Love Laughter and Merrily Ever Afters Collection



Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection
Publication date: November 25th 2014
Genres: Romance
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Buy: Amazon / BN / iBooks


Synopsis
TEN fun, romantic holiday novellas by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors


An all-star gathering of some of today's most popular NYT and USA Today bestselling romance authors in a fun-filled collection...holiday style! With the overwhelming response to the chart-topping summer boxed set, we've brought together even MORE of your favorite authors for a winter compilation, and this time, we've giftwrapped TEN stories for you all. From the funny & sweet, to the STEAMY & heartfelt, each novella is packed with a whole lot of romance, and hand-picked to infuse perfectly-portioned holiday cheer into your busy days this season...along with hot bursts of holiday steam for those winter nights.


And at just ***99 CENTS USD*** that's a huge savings of over 95% off retail for the individual books sold separately! This is an extremely limited edition bundle available for just 5 weeks so get your copy today!


THE BOXED SET INCLUDES

IF I RETURN -- by USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett
WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS -- by New York Times bestselling author Mari Carr
SEDUCING SANTA -- by New York Times bestselling author Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
DECKING DREW -- by New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke
FAIRIES & WISHES -- by USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS -- by New York Times bestselling author Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans)
HOLIDAY SPIRIT -- by New York Times bestselling author Cathryn Fox
UNWRAPPED -- by New York Times bestselling author Melody Grace
A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE -- by New York Times bestselling author Alannah Lynne
HIS CHRISTMAS WISH -- by New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine

GIVEAWAY 



Blitz-wide giveaway 
(Open to US/CA/AU/GB/UK)

1 Kindle Fire HD 6 Tablet AND 1 $100 Gift Card

Click HERE to enter



Melody Grace
New York Times & USA Bestselling Author


About UNWRAPPED
Unwrapped is a fun stand-alone novella about spontaneous Lacey and straight-laced Daniel, who get stranded together on the way home for the holidays. Outside, it may be freezing, but inside, a racy game of truth or dare will get them all heated up…


Excerpt
“What do you say? Ready to get to know each other a little better?” I reach over and take a sip of his drink, slowly licking the moisture off my lips.
Daniel blinks once, then lowers himself slowly back on the barstool beside me. “Why not?” he gives me a grin that turns my insides to molten honey. “This should be good.” I have to catch my breath. All night, I’ve been at war with myself: trying not to flirt with him or make a fool of myself. But now, I’m suddenly reckless. Unleashed. Now I’ve spied a crack in his cool, collected attitude, I’m not going to let this chance slide by, not without a fight.
I just want him, more than I can stand.
“You first,” I announce, slowly crossing my legs. 
Daniel looks down at the fabric riding up over my thighs, then back up at me. “That’s easy, truth.”
Of course. A guy like him is an open book: nothing to hide. “Hmm,” I muse, wracking my brain. If I’m going to push him, it needs to be something good. “Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever had sex?”
Daniel raises an eyebrow, but he doesn’t flinch. “I don’t know...” he frowns, “Nowhere. I’ve always just done it the regular way, on a bed.”
I stare in disbelief. “Seriously? Not even in the backseat of a car? The gym locker rooms?  The rooftop of the student lounge?” I prompt.
Daniel looks bashful. “I guess I’m just boring like that. Why, where’s yours?”
I think for a moment. “Backstage at a rock show, up against the amps. He lasted like, two seconds flat and I nearly went deaf... and electrocuted,” I shake my head, giving a wry smile at the memory.
“Sounds painful.” Daniel laughs, and I lose myself in his eyes. The tequila is warm in my bloodstream, mingling with desire and recklessness in one heady cocktail that’s impossible to ignore as I sit here, inches away from Daniel, his tanned forearm resting casually on the bar between us, close enough to touch...
I snap back to reality. “What?” 
Daniel gives me a patient smile. “I said, why bother nearly killing yourself like that? It doesn’t sound like it was even worth your while.”
I shrug. “It was an experience.”
“Jumping off a cliff is an experience,” Daniel points out. “You going to try that too?”
“No, it’s like...” I try to gather my thoughts, “This is it, my wild adventurous youth. One day, I’m going to be settled down with a kid and a mini-van, and, and, a Costco clubcard. I want to be able to look back and say, I lived. I had adventures. You know?”
“Nope,” Daniel makes a face. “I’ve been on the same path since school, I never did anything crazy.”
My heart catches. I force myself to meet his eyes. “It’s never too late to try.”

HOLIDAY TREATS


Alannah’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


Pineapple Cookies


2 Cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few grains salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter/margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla


Drain pineapple well, reserving liquid for icing. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Dissolve baking soda in pineapple. Mash butter until smooth, add sugar – blend well. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add sifted ingredients – mixing after each addition. Blend in pineapple
Bake 6-8 minutes at 375


Icing:
2 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice


Mixed together powdered sugar and pineapple juice and glaze cookies.



Cathryn’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
This is a family recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. It’s so easy and a family favourite.  


Peanut Butter Squares
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup graham wafer crumbs
2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons of milk
Put all ingredients together and spread in 9 by 9 inch greased pan.
Melt one half a package of chocolate chips (1cup) with one teaspoon of peanut butter and spread on top.  Let set, but cut before firm.  




Janelle’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (super easy and SO yummy!)

Ingredients:


1 (18-24 count) package of miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
1 (18 ounce) package Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough

Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1.  Before starting, unwrap peanut butter cups and place in freezer.
2.  Using miniature muffin tins, place a 1-inch ball of dough in each cup.
3.  Bake for 5 minutes (less than package instructions of 7-8 minutes)
4.  Remove from oven and leave cookies in pan.
5.  Remove candy from freezer and carefully press one into each cookie.
6.  Remove from tins after they have cooled, and cool completely on a rack.




Jessie’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


This is one of my favorite holiday recipes!


Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon (From Sunset Nov 2012)
  • Yield: Serves 8 to 10


Ingredients
  • 12 ounces canned or vacuum-packed shelled chestnuts, large pieces cut in half (or about 1 lb. fresh, if available)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved
  • 6 slices (8 oz.) thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss chestnuts in oil and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning often, until slightly toasted but not dry, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. Cook bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until almost crisp. Drain bacon in a strainer, reserving fat in a bowl.
4. Wipe out pan and add 3 tbsp. reserved bacon fat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add drained brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often and adding more fat if needed, until browned and starting to crisp, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice, stirring to combine.
5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with reserved bacon and chestnuts.





Karen’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


Okay, I'm a total cheater. When I make sugar cookies with my kids, I use the Betty Crocker sugar cookie pouches. It's just so much easier! We can bust those cookies out in no time. But I do make homemade frosting and the secret I learned from my grandma to make the frosting taste extra delicious? Include a splash of coffee. Yes, coffee! Sadly, she doesn't make sugar cookies during the holidays anymore but I do. Trying to keep up the tradition!


Frosting recipe:


2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick salted butter
1-2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Splash of coffee


Stir until desired thickness/consistency. Taste test to make sure it's sweet enough to your liking! Then get to frosting all those cookies. ;)


Here's a link to a photo from a couple of years ago - me making all the cookies and various holiday goodies and the mess I leave behind (note the diet Coke in the photo, too funny): http://karenwritesromance.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/misc-010.jpg






Mari’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


Cream of Crab Soup


Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (crushed)
  • dash of white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay
  • 1 quart whole white milk
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 1 pound back fin crabmeat


Directions
1. Remove cartilage from crabmeat.
2. In a Dutch oven, melt butter. Blend in flour, pepper, and Old Bay. Stir and simmer over low heat 2-3 minutes.  
3. Add milk, half and half, and bouillon. Simmer and stir constantly until bouillon is absorbed and the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon.  
4. Salt to taste, then add crabmeat. Heat through; do NOT boil.
Note: You can simply double recipe for a bigger amount.




Marquita’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


So, I’m not much of a cook, but Hot Builder (my husband) is and he makes the most delicious chocolate tarts.  Every one loves them, especially me!


Chocolate Tarts


Ingredients:


8 ounces of semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup of milk
¾ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 package of individual small pie shells
1 tub of cool whip


Instructions:


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Place pie shells on baking sheet
  • Combine heavy whipping cream and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until hot. Don’t forget to stir! Add chocolate, stirring until blended. Let stand for about 5  minutes. Whisk in egg. Pour mixture into pie shells and bake for about 23 minutes. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes. Place tarts upside down on plate and add dollop (or two or three) of cool whip on top. Serves six, unless you like to share. I don’t.


Melody’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
One of my favorite fall/festive recipes is ‘Mom’s Apple Cake’ from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. It’s a delicious, buttery cake that’s perfect for get-togethers: just add whipped cream or ice-cream, or even eat some for breakfast like I do. (recipe courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen)


Mom’s Apple Cake


6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
  • Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
  • Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.




Violet’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


Aunty Pam's Cornbread Recipe
This recipe is near and dear to my heart.  I’ve always loved cornbread.  Always.  However, growing up in Hawai‘i with immigrant parents from Japan, it wasn’t exactly a staple of my diet.  Luckily, my dad was a fan also.  The first time I tasted really good cornbread, I was hooked.  When I was younger, we didn’t have much money and I used to shop for books in thrift stores (yes, a book addict even then).  I found an old local cookbook circa faded brown paper and basic clipart for images and just a few colors on the cover.  I distinctly remember the cornbread recipe in it – “Aunty Pam’s Cornbread” it was called.  Even though I lost the book after we moved years later, I never did forget how good that cornbread was.  Fast forward a few decades after my marriage to the love of my life.  I met a good friend of my husband’s parents, like an extended aunty for him through most of his life, who was well-known for the fabulous cornbread she always makes for parties – almost cakey and just scrumptious.  The woman’s name?  Aunty Pam.  The Aunty Pam.  Living on a small island, things like this happen all the time.  And my taste buds sure are thankful!  Enjoy!


Ingredients:
2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup Sugar
2 sticks of Butter
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 cup Cornmeal
Directions:
1.  Mix all ingredients together well.
2.  Pour into a 9" x 13" pan.
3.  Bake at 350ยบ for 1/2 hour.
4.  Let cool before cutting.


P.S.  I know that’s a lot of butter (I just close my eyes and throw the sticks in). That’s why I only make this during the holidays. LOL! Here’s the link to another cornbreadk recipe I like with less butter! ^_^
http://www.food.com/recipe/copycat-marie-callenders-cornbread-62571





Sawyer’s Favorite Holiday Recipe


This one’s my absolute favorite holiday recipe!


Pumpkin Roll

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner' sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.

With an electric mixer, combine the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you're ready to slice and serve. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

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