Hello everyone! Today I am so pleased to welcome author Indra Vaughn to the blog. Indra is here to share some good stuff with us about her book, The House on Hancock Hill. She has brought an original excerpt, as well as a great recipe from the book, courtesy of her pastry chef character. Indra has also brought a fabulous giveaway along! So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
When his family’s farmhouse burns to the ground, he’s summoned to identify a body found in the ashes. Jason returns to Hancock, Michigan, and reunites with a childhood friend, small town vet Henry McCavanaugh. After fifteen years apart, their rekindled friendship soon develops into much more. But Jason’s baggage threatens their blossoming romance, and he leaves town unannounced to escape his feelings—and Henry’s feelings for him. He has learned the hard way if something seems too good to be true, it’s best to run for the hills. Jason stress-bakes more confections than he knows what to do with before wondering if he’s running in the wrong direction.
“Jesus Christ, Jason,” came Tom’s voice through the door that hadn’t clicked entirely into its lock when Henry and I had pounced on each other. “You should tell that bookstore owner to do something about—” Automatically, I took a step away from Henry before Tom burst through the door. Henry’s eyes narrowed, but he let me go. “Oh.” Tom fell back even as he pushed against the door. With one glance, he measured up Henry, my messy hair, the entire situation, and pulled himself together. “I’m sorry,” he said, completely in control again. He held out his hand, and Henry warily shook it. “I didn’t realize you had company, baby.” I bristled, but before I could get a noise out, Tom was barging on. “I’m Thomas Ross. I’m sorry if I interrupted something.”
Henry didn’t supply his name but let go of Tom’s hand. “You didn’t,” he said at the same time I snapped, “You did.” Henry closed off fast and panic flared in my gut, wild and uncontrollable.
“Tom,” I said, stepping between the two of them as if Henry needed shielding. “This really isn’t a good time.”
“Yes, I can see that. I do apologize.” His gaze flicked from me to Henry, and I resisted the urge to look back, check what Henry was thinking. It wasn’t necessary. The small smile Tom couldn’t hide told me everything I needed to know. I almost physically pushed Tom out the door, but he got his last blow in. “I just wanted to talk to you about our trip to Florida tomorrow morning. I’ll call you later this evening, all right?”
“Henry,” I said, finally daring to face him. He no longer looked like he belonged, no longer made my apartment seem like home. Tom’s words had changed his bearing, subtly but unmistakably; his wings had been clipped when he should be soaring. “Please, don’t leave. Just give me a moment, I will be right back.”
At first I thought he’d refuse, but he relented with a sigh, shoulders hunching. “I’ll wait.”
Surprising both Tom and myself, I grabbed Tom by the arm and pulled him downstairs. There were boxes with books cluttering up the hallway, and one of the walls had a peeling Tintin mural on it. “That was a really shitty thing to do, Tom, implying there was still something between us.”
“I didn’t realize I wasn’t implying the truth.” Tom pulled his arm free and straightened his suit jacket. It shocked me to see he meant it. “I want to be on that plane with you tomorrow.”
“I told you, I have to do this alone.”
“All right, I’m sorry, okay? I saw the way he was looking at you and—” Tom snapped his mouth shut, glanced away, then back up at me again. “Of course you don’t have to do this alone, Jason. You don’t have to do anything alone.”
“I’m going by myself, Tom.” He stared at me, apparently unable to believe I was serious. I knew he wouldn’t understand, so I didn’t try to explain.
Tom nodded and then smiled, running a hand through his hair. “He’s a little bit gorgeous, isn’t he? Your man upstairs.”
“I don’t think he’s my man anymore, but yeah. I have to get back to him.”
Swiftly Tom stepped into my space and embraced me. “I don’t suppose I’ll see you again,” he whispered against my neck. Having no answer for him, I said nothing, just backed away and opened the door, not waiting to see him go. When I turned around, Henry was watching me from the top step and began a slow descent. What all of this must look like from the outside, I could only hazard to guess.
“I brought the stuff you left behind,” he said, looking somewhere past my right shoulder, “in case you needed it.”
“Henry, please. That wasn’t what you think. Tom and I are no longer—” A sharp shake of his head shut me up.
“It was a mistake coming here,” he went on, tone tinged with a regret I couldn’t stand. “I just thought….” He looked at the ground. “I couldn’t bear the thought of you here alone after what you’d learned about your dad. But obviously that was foolish of me, Jason. I shouldn’t have presumed.”
Blueberry Muffin Recipe
The House on Hancock Hill is nearly three months old, it’s pretty hard to believe! (And Michigan any time you want to get with the program, I’m ready. This time last year I was wearing shorts, just saying.)
So to celebrate here with the lovely Joyfully Jay I want to share with you my favorite blueberry muffin recipe. I found the original on this site, but I did tweak it just a little bit.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for muffin tops
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup reduced fat milk (I use non-fat and it works just as well.)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- A handful of chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line 8 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners. Add some water to the empty muffin cups if you have an oven dish with 12 like I do, so the muffins bake evenly.
- Combine flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder and the salt in a large bowl with a whisk. (Whisk at least 10 times.)
- Take a measuring jug that holds at least 1 cup, add the egg, fill the rest of the cup with milk. Add vanilla and whisk.
- Add egg and milk mixture to bowl of flower and combine LIGHTLY.
- Gently fold in blueberries and chocolate chips.
- Divide batter over 8 cups. It will reach the top of the cups, this is fine.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the batter comes off a toothpick in crumbs, not wet.
I promise you, these are the easiest and best blueberry muffins EVER.
Indra has brought a fabulous give away along to share with you all. One lucky winner will receive a signed paperback of The House on Hancock Hill, some swag, and a $10 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest closes on Wednesday, May 7th at 11:59 pm EST. Updated: Due to some issues with site comments the contest entry date is extended to Thursday, May 8th at 11:59 pm EST.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.