Hi everybody. Here I am, back on Rhys Ford’s blog to talk about a Lou Sylvre release for the first time in… I don’t know—a long while—and I’m very happy (and grateful) to be here. This release is different for me, as it’s my first co-authored book, written in cahoots with Anne Barwell. Sunset at Pencarrow is a contemporary novella, part of Dreamspinner’s World of Love collection, focused on New Zealand. For this stop on our blog tour, I’m going to tell you about the fun I had making (and eating) a New Zealand favorite treat, called for completely unexplained reasons, Afghans. Before I get to that, though, I want to let you know that the cover, the blurb, buy links, and an excerpt are part of the post too—just scroll down. And don’t miss the chance to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway—more than once, if you care to increase your chances to win.
Now about those Afghans
I learned some wonderful things about New Zealand while writing this story with Anne and the foods our reluctantly romantic couple ate during their two-day sightseeing jaunt were a part of that. One of the New Zealand treats our characters ate in the story is a filled and flavored cake bite Kiwis call lamingtons. I baked those too, and blogged about it on June 9, on the Dreamspinner Press blog. While I did find them tasty, in my mind, they don’t quite measure up to the divine chocolaty goodness that is an Afghan biscuit.
(Of course, when I say biscuit, I mean cookie. As an aside, I will confess it took me years to figure out why British Victorians in romance novels were so fond of biscuits with tea, when I far prefer mine with gravy. I did eventually figure it out. Cookies and crackers both are biscuits in the UK way.)
I baked Afghans with the younger of my two daughters on the what turned out to be the first really warm day we’d had in 2017. I got the recipe from a website called Just a Mum NZ, and the picture on the site of the finished product looked absolutely scrumptious.
All along the way, however, the dough seemed “wrong.” It didn’t seem like enough cocoa powder to make such a dark product. The dough seemed too stiff, even for cookies. Adding uncrushed cornflakes just seemed strange. Nevertheless, we followed the recipe to the letter. When it came time to prepare the cookies (er… I mean biscuits) for baking, it dawned on me that the dough was stiff because they were to be formed cookies (rolled into a ball and slightly smushed), rather than drop cookies. Duh. They were about the same consistency as the refrigerator dough you slice for pinwheels and such, except they had cornflakes in them. And after baking, they looked gorgeous.
I had to fight myself to do it, but I didn’t eat a single one (and neither did my daughter) until they were iced and topped with walnuts. When I finally ate one, I fell in love—they are so good fresh. Who would have thought that a day later they would be even better! The textures are wonderful. The cookie itself is a little like shortbread but slightly melty and with a finer crumb, the cornflakes incorporated give both a bit of crunch and a bit of chew, and the icing and the walnut provide perfect contrasts. They are indeed more chocolate-rich than I expected given the amount of cocoa powder, and the flavors complement each other perfectly.
In order to save myself, I sent them all with my daughter to share at the office—where they disappeared toot suite and lots of people wanted the recipe.
New Zealand, I’ve got to hand it to you. You’ve accomplished something totally unexpected. Move over Scottish shortbread, I have a new favorite cookie. Or biscuit, as the case may be.
Okay, now are you ready for my super-cheesy segue to talking about Sunset at Pencarrow? Here it is:
At first, I didn’t think I was going to like Afghans, much like Rusty didn’t think he was going to like Nate. Later though, it’s just possible that Nate became Rusty’s very favorite flavor. (I swear I can see you readers rolling your eyes, hear your groans. Still, I can’t apologize.)
Read on for the blurb and a tiny, quite NSFW excerpt (because sex and chocolate, chocolate and sex). Enjoy! (And then make yourself some Afghans, a wonderful New Zealand treat, to eat while you read the book. Hah! How’s that for a tacky plug!)
Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.
Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
And the excerpt:
They’d fallen asleep zipped into the sleeping bags and covered with their thin blankets. Rusty hadn’t wanted to break the connection with Nate—even if it had been nothing more than sex. They weren’t spooning, not quite that intimate. Yet when he woke with the smell of Nate and sex permeating the darkness, he became a slave to it, couldn’t seem to stop himself from wrapping his body around the man. He may even have groaned as he pushed his erection against Nate’s prickly-haired thigh. Of course Nate woke up, and before Rusty could even start to think or talk, Nate took his lips in a hard, biting kiss. Heat surged through Rusty. He broke away, unzipping the bags to push the covers back so he could follow his nose down to Nate’s cock, which was already leaking precum and gleaming in the moonlight. The sight and smell of it entranced Rusty like a hypnotist’s gem, and he lowered his mouth down to savor the taste. He knew right then that the memory of blowing Nate would be burned into his brain as one of the hottest things he’d ever done.
Here’s some buy links, and you can get 30% off at the Dreamspinner Store if you use code PENCARROW at checkout!
Thank you, Rhys, for hosting us on our blog tour, and thank you all you readers for stopping by. Anne and I would love to have you visit us elsewhere on the blog tour. For a complete schedule and links to the blogs, just click right here.
Last but not least, here’s a link to the giveaway—win book money or books!
Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell’s Sunset at Pencarrow Giveaway