Today I am so pleased to welcome Rick R. Reed back to Joyfully Jay. Rick has come to talk to us about his latest release, Dinner at Jack’s. He has also brought along a giveaway to share. Please join me in giving Rick a big welcome!
Sweet Potato Chili and Dinner at Jack’s
Dinner at Jack’s is my next “romance with recipes” (in the same vein as my Dinner at Home). I love combining food and love in a story—after all, these two things are pretty essential to life, a happy one anyway.
In the excerpt below, you get a ‘taste’ of the kind of comfort food you’ll find in Dinner at Jack’s and get a little insight into the rocky start between our two love interests, Beau and the PTSD-afflicted Jack, whom Beau’s been hired to cook for.
EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT (and a recipe!)
“I’m going over there right now,” I told Mary Beth as I gave the pot of chili one final stir. It smelled so good, I was tempted to pull out a bowl right now but restrained myself. Holding back like that for others was what made me such a good cook, right? Or at least a considerate guy…. Still, I held the phone between my shoulder and my ear so I could grab a quick spoonful. It was too hot, but man, was it good. If this didn’t win over Jack Rogers and his mom, I didn’t know what would. I tossed the spoon into the sink.
“What are you doing this for, Beau? You don’t even know these people, and you’re not gonna make any money at all. Why don’t you try the Boardman Applebee’s? I hear they’re hiring.”
I rolled my eyes. The prospect of working for an irascible shut-in who might fling my food at his wall was preferable to working at Applebee’s. I did, after all, have my standards.
“Hey, it’s just a little something to pass my time until something better comes along.” I had told her all about the mother and son, and although their sad story elicited some sympathetic clucks from my sister, she was steadfast in thinking this was a bad idea. Mary Beth couldn’t understand why I’d want to sell out my valuable skills and time for peanuts when I could be doing better. And in my heart of hearts, I had to admit she had a point.
But there was something about Jack, his familiarity and my perception that he needed me, that called to me, even if it was against my better judgment, against logic. I had always been a guy who followed his heart over his head.
Sweet Potato Chili
A little olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped into small dice
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
Three cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 T chili powder
2 t ground cumin
2 cans (4 oz. each) diced mild green chiles with juice
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
2 cans beef consommé or beef broth
1 large sweet potato, cubed
2 bay leaves
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a Dutch over, add ground meat, and cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain and remove the meat to a bowl. Add a little more oil and add the pepper and onions and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add your garlic and sauté for another minute.
Throw in everything else, stir to blend, and reduce heat to low. Let chili simmer for an hour before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, and if you want it a little hotter, Tabasco or other hot sauce.
Personal chef Beau St. Clair, recently divorced from his cheating husband, has returned to the small Ohio River town where he grew up to lick his wounds. Jack Rogers lives with his mother Maisie in that same small town, angry at and frightened of the world. Jack has a gap in his memory that hides something he dares not face, and he’s probably suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Maisie, seeking relief from her housebound and often surly son, hires Beau to cook for Jack, hoping the change might help bring Jack, once a handsome and vibrant attorney, back to his former self. But can a new face and comfort food compensate for the terror lurking in Jack’s past?
Slowly, the two men begin a dance of revelation and healing. Food and compassion build a bridge between Beau and Jack, a bridge that might lead to love.
But will Jack’s demons allow it? Jack’s history harbors secrets that could just as easily rip them apart as bring them together.
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.
He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”
Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
You can also email Rick at – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick has brought a copy of Dinner at Home to give away to one lucky reader, and a copy of Dinner at Fiorello’s for a runner up. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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