Pat Henshaw has a new MM holiday romance out:
Heart of the Holidays.
And there’s a giveaway!
Everyone hopes his road to happily ever after will be carefree and smooth, but too often hair-pin turns and detours seem to get in the way.
Having thought he was on the road to forever before, former Silicon Valley programmer Dan Lassiter is leery about pedaling down it again. His elderly companion Charlie urges him to get to know Rick Reardon whose bakery is across the street from Dan’s bicycle shop.
Under the watchful eye of Charlie, Dan and Rick take tentative steps towards each other, all the while trying to avoid potholes such as exes, homophobes, and family problems.
As summer turns to fall and then winter, they hope that the road will be smooth going from their first date and first kiss to having what Rick’s sister euphemistically calls their “sleep overs”. At each step, though, they are tripped up and wonder why there seem to be so many bumps in their road.
Maybe Dan and Rick should heed some of Charlie’s sage advice or maybe they should listen to their hearts instead of the warnings from their pasts.
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Pat Henshaw Guest Post!
The Perfect Cookie Exchange
The Perfect Stack of Cookies to Go
One of the delights of the holiday season is a cookie exchange with friends and coworkers. True, it’s going to be a little light this year, what with COVID restrictions and all. But that makes it all the better to devise a game plan for next year and the one after.
Why a game plan?
Because you don’t want to be the person whose cookies smash and break before they are exchanged. You want to be the one with the perfectly delicious looking stack of an array of different cookie types, each cookie looking enticing in its own right.
But how can you do that with a stack of cookies?
Glad you asked.
You need to come up with your cookie tiers. Or you can steal mine.
The bottom tier for my cookie exchange plate is a pan cookie—usually chocolate chip bars or pecan pie bars—anything with enough internal heft that they can withstand a stack of cookies on top of them and still not be squished.
Stay away from lemon bars or cheesecake bars, which while yummy will yield like sinkholes, making them and the cookies stacked on top into one mega-cookie.
True, that’s great for the person who picks up the top cookie and finds them all stuck together in the jackpot of the holiday season.
Still, if you get caught with the mega-cookie, you are stuck with it and can’t pry one off and leave the rest for another hapless eater.
So be kind and plan a sturdy, non-sinkable bottom tier.
The middle tier is the traditional colorful cookie tier—gingerbread people, cut-out and frosted cookies, and shaped dough goodies.
The key to this layer is color, lots and lots of color. For example, blue, white, and silver for Hanukkah or green and red for Christmas or black, red and green for Kwanzaa or red, green, brown, and white for Solstice. Whatever you celebrate, make sure the colors pop at the mid-level of your cookie tier.
Remember that frosting and piping are your friends at this tier.
Finally, add the touch de resistance to the top tier: light, airy meringue delights and chocolate chip clouds.
Make these small, bite-sized treats so that you can use them to place around the decorated cookies to highlight their colors and decorations. Or you can use them to stack into a pyramid to support the cling-wrap or other protective layer you’re using to transport your exchange plate.
Whether you call them biscuits (like the Great British Baking Show does) or cookies like Americans do, edible exchanges are the highlight of any season, but particularly of those holidays in the winter.
Do you participate in a cookie exchange either during the holidays or during the rest of the year? If so, what’s your favorite cookie type?
Give yourself a gift of cheer with four HEA romances to take the edge off 2020:
Blame It on the Fruitcake where a motorcycle shop owner and a location scout bond over a grandmother’s holiday recipe;
The Orpheum Miracle in which a squatter in a revival theater meets the man of his dreams;
Making the Holidays Happy Again that sees a blacksmith forge a future with a chemist; and
Heart of the Holidays where a bicycle repairman and a baker travel down the road to love.
And whatever you do, remember that Every day is a good day for romance.
After the kids tumbled from the car and jumped on Rick, he pointed at my open garage and waved at me. I waved back, and they galloped across the street.
“Hi, I’m McKinsey! You can call me Mack.” The red-haired boy danced in front of me. His hair blazed in the sun and was as bright as his green eyes and freckles. He didn’t look anything like his uncle. “So these are all the bikes I can ride? Can I try them out first?”
“Yeah, but don’t go very far. I’ve got an app keeping an eye on them.”
He didn’t wait for me to explain further, but ran toward the racks so fast that I thought he would barrel into them. A small hand on my arm stopped me from chasing after him.
“Don’t worry. He’s careful. He won’t hurt the bikes. We won’t go far because of mom.” Since I wasn’t worried about the bicycles, I looked down into brown eyes, a solemn face, and curly sable hair. “I’m Leslie. Everyone calls me Lee. My brother throws himself into his activities. I don’t. Can we choose any of the bicycles?”
I glanced up at their uncle who shrugged at me. The small hand let go of my arm, so I looked down at Lee again.
“Yes. You have three choices. One, you can select a bike and ride it the entire time you’re here. Two, you could come back to the garage and pick another one to ride for the day, the half-day, the hour, or however long you want it. That means if you wanted, you could ride every bike in this place in one day. Or your third choice, you could stay at the bakery and not go bike riding at all.” I winked at her. “I would choose the bakery except then I’d look like a human lead balloon if I did.”
She giggled and put her hand on my arm again.
“I like you, Mr. Dan. I think we’ll get along fine.” She nodded and gave me a long assessing once over. “Don’t worry. You don’t look like a balloon at all. Not at all.”
If she’d been in her teens, I would have thought she was flirting. But Lee seemed as if she was merely making an observation.
I liked both kids and their approaches to life. I’d be willing to bet Charlie would like them too when he got up from his nap and met them.
Unlike her brother, Lee sauntered over to the bikes, many of which were now askew thanks to Mack’s unsorting process. She carefully started to right those tossed aside. She stopped at a turquoise bicycle, hopped on, and waved to me and her uncle as she sped away. Her brother was long gone. The bike rack still needed straightening which would give me something to do while Charlie snoozed.
I started toward it. Rick had surged across the street and was striding up to me.
“Here. I’ll help.” He stood staring down at the mishmash of bikes. “If you show me how to untangle them without making things worse.”
“I don’t get it. Aren’t you afraid people will just take off with your bikes and you’ll never see them again?”
I watched him bend over to pick up one on the ground. My groin tightened at the sight. We were going out to dinner. Together. Soon. My heart and dick lifted as my mind piled up image after image of dinner and afterward. It was about time for me to get back in the saddle as it were.
Before she retired, she held a number of jobs, including theatrical costumer, newspaper features reporter and movie reviewer, librarian, junior college English instructor, and publicist.
She also loves to travel and has visited Canada, Mexico, Europe, Egypt, Thailand, and Central America as well as almost all fifty US states.
Now retired, she enjoys reading and writing as well as visiting her older daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren on the East Coast and playing havoc with her younger daughter’s life in NorCal.
She thanks you for reading her books and wants you to remember that every day is a good day for romance.
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