Hello everyone! Today I am pleased to welcome author Keira Andrews to the blog. Keira is here to share more with us about her new release, Where the Lovelight Gleams. She has also brought a great excerpt and a fabulous recipe for Scottish Shortbread (which I can’t wait to try!). And if that isn’t enough, Keira is also giving away a copy of the book! So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
In my new holiday romance from Loose Id, Where the Lovelight Gleams, sci-fi actors Cary and Ryan unexpectedly spend Christmas with Ryan’s family at their cabin in Canada. While Ryan has pined for his co-star since they day they met, Cary has a starlet girlfriend— which means he’s straight, right? Ryan doesn’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell Cary will ever return his feelings. Little does he know, Cary has his own secret desires to unwrap this Christmas…
For me, one of the best parts about the holidays is undoubtedly the food. Of course I relish the joy of giving and spending time with friends and family, but I think all of us also really look forward to the delicious goodies! One such tasty treat Ryan and Cary savour in the book is shortbread, and I thought I’d share my grandmother’s Scottish recipe. This is without a doubt the best shortbread in the world (not that I’m biased!), and it’s so easy to make with a food processor.
- 1/2 pound butter
- 1/2 cup fruit sugar (or grind up regular sugar in food processor)
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 2 cups cake and pastry flour
- Preheat oven to 275 F.
- Use food processer – Cuisinart or Kitchen Aid – to make this recipe incredibly simple. (But it can be done by hand as my Scottish ancestors in the 19th century did. All you need is a bowl, wooden spoon, strong arms and boundless energy!)
- If using normal sugar, grind it in processor to make it fine. Or add fruit sugar to processer.
- Add butter and mix with sugar until smooth and light.
- Add rice and pastry flour. Dough should form into a ball in processor.
- Press into square glass cooking dish (medium sized – 9 inches or so).
- Cook for 1 hour or until bottom is lightly browned (lift up glass dish to check). Do not overcook!
- Cool and cut into squares. It’s best to cut when the shortbread is still a bit warm – not too hot, not too cold.
- Try not to eat them all yourself. These squares are deceptively addictive in their simplicity.
What’s your favourite holiday treat? I’m always looking for new recipes to try. Happy holidays to you and yours!
Half an hour later, they struggled through knee-deep snow. Ryan had an ax slung over his shoulder, and he led the way. Cary had picked up top-of-the-line boots, which was a good thing since in LA he only ever wore flip-flops or sneakers.
“How do you know where we’re going?” Cary gazed around at the sea of trees. It was brighter at the tree farm, and Cary’s hair gleamed golden in the sun. “They all look the same.”
Ryan mock gasped. “The same? No, no. Among these trees is The One. The one true tree that I must find to bring home to my family. Usually it would be my dad accompanying me on this quest. But this year it’s you who must prove your bravery, good knight.”
Cary chuckled. “Are there Orcs in this forest? Because I didn’t sign up for Orcs.”
“You’re a Portigan warrior. You can handle a few Orcs.” Ryan changed course and went deeper into the trees.
“Too bad I left my warp blaster at home.”
The snow crunched underfoot as they continued along, away from the families and other people looking for their own trees. The sun darted in and out of the clouds, but there was no wind, so even though it was below zero, it didn’t feel cold. At least not to Ryan. Cary’s cheeks were rosy in the chill.
“Are you warm enough? Here, take my toque.” Ryan pulled off his woolen beanie hat and held it out.
“Your what?” Cary laughed. “It’s okay, I’m fine.”
“You’re not used to this weather. Take it.”
After a moment, Cary relented and slipped on the red hat. “Thanks. How do I look?”
Gorgeous. Perfect. Sexy as hell. “Fine.” Ryan’s voice sounded strange, and he cleared his throat. “My mom’s probably knitting you your own as we speak, so I hope you like it.”
Cary grinned. “I love it.” After a moment, he stopped walking. “See something you like?”
Heart thumping, Ryan huffed out a strangled breath. “What?”
Cary waved his arm around. “The trees. You looked like maybe you spotted one.”
“Right. No. Not yet.”
Ryan started walking again and hoped the blush staining his cheeks would be mistaken for a reaction to the temperature. He ducked around a particularly large pine, and then he saw it.
The sun beamed onto the thick snow-covered branches. Ryan could instantly imagine the tree strung with lights and garlands, his family’s ornaments hanging from the branches and his grandmother’s star beaming from the top. The tree was just the right height to fill the corner of the living room—not too big, not too small.
“Just right?” Cary asked.
“Yeah. You can tell?”
Cary smiled. “I can tell by the way you’re looking at it. Come on, let’s chop this sucker down.”
They took turns with the ax, thwacking away at the trunk. Cary listened to Ryan’s instructions and went about his task with a concentration that Ryan really needed to stop thinking of as adorable. As the tree fell, Cary grinned.
“Timber!” he called out.
They surveyed the tree, and Ryan couldn’t stop smiling. Yep, this was the one.
“So…now what? Do those Orcs carry the tree back for us?”
“Usually old Mr. Barnes would help take the tree back and wrap it up, but I don’t want to put him out. Think we can manage it on our own? We’re pretty far out.”
“As Angelo at the gym would say, this is functional training. Maybe I’ll start a new fitness trend: hauling trees. Of course in LA they’d have to be palm trees.”
“I think you’re on to something there. You should tell US Weekly.”
Cary laughed and picked up the trunk of the tree. “Stars: they’re just like us! They haul Christmas trees through the snow.”
Ryan grabbed on as well, and they worked in unison to drag the tree back to the farm’s entrance. It wasn’t easy work, and after a few minutes sweat moistened the back of Ryan’s neck. He put the tree down and scooped up a handful of snow into his mouth. Cary followed suit, his brow furrowed as he tentatively placed some snow on his tongue.
“For the record, we should never eat snow if we’re lost in the woods.” Ryan put another handful into his mouth, where it melted refreshingly.
“Really? Why not?”
“You can get hypothermia. But I think we’re safe here on Mr. Barnes’s farm. Even if we got lost, someone would come by sooner or later.”
“Huh. What else are you not supposed to do with snow?”
“Well, don’t ever eat the yellow snow.”
“Ha-ha. That much I know.” Cary bent down and picked up another handful before packing it into a misshapen ball. “Should you do this?”
Before Ryan could react, the snowball smacked his face, and he sputtered.
“I’ve always wanted to throw a snowball.” Cary grinned and backed up.
“Oh you asked for it, California boy!”
Laughing and shouting, they did battle, dodging behind trees and firing snowballs at each other. For a newbie, Cary had great aim. He launched a missile that Ryan had to dive to evade.
“Just like throwing out a runner at second!” Cary shouted.
“Except you missed! Need some glasses, huh?”
Back and forth they went, the tree forgotten as they dodged and ducked and hurled snowballs. They were both breathing hard by the time Ryan called for a time-out. “Okay, okay. I think it’s safe to say you’ve got the hang of it. With all the cardio you do, I’ll never beat you.”
“So you’re giving up?” Cary grinned.
“On snowballs? Yes.” Ryan dusted off his parka and wet jeans. As Cary reached his hand out to shake, Ryan grabbed him and used Cary’s momentary surprise to topple him into the snow. “But we have another tradition here. The snow job.”
Before Cary could answer, Ryan ripped the red toque from Cary’s head and crammed fistfuls of snow into his hair and down the back of his jacket. Cary squirmed and kicked, laughing so hard his breath hitched.
“Okay, okay. I surrender!”
Ryan straddled Cary’s hips and pressed Cary’s arms above his head in the snow. “You’re an honorary Canadian now.” His chest heaving as he caught his breath, Ryan smiled down at his friend.
Cary’s face was wet and flushed, and a smile played at his parted lips. His tongue darted out, and Ryan couldn’t look away. Desire thundered in Ryan’s veins, and before he could stop himself, he leaned down and captured Cary’s mouth with his own.
Although Cary’s lips were cool, beyond them the heat of his mouth drew Ryan in uncontrollably. Their tongues tangled, and the fire in Ryan’s veins shot straight to his cock. It felt so good, and he’d wanted it for so long. He breathed Cary in as Cary shook off Ryan’s grasp on his wrists and grabbed Ryan’s head and—
Copyright © Keira Andrews
Buy Where the Lovelight Gleams today and find out if Ryan and Cary can find love this Christmas!
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy and paranormal fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books online at her website, Facebook and Twitter.
Keira is offering up a copy of Where the Lovelight Gleams to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest closes on Sunday, December 9th at 11:59 pm.
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