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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Romance and Comfort Food

My first eight novels fit tidily into the romance genre, but when I decided to write the story of the Burnett family, I knew it wouldn't--fit, that is. Now called ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, the story will be coming out in June, published by Covenant Communications. It tries to answer the question of how to repair a broken family.
That doesn't mean it won't have romantic moments, like this excerpt from Chapter 17, written in the point of view of family dad, Tom Burnett:

I filled a glass with milk, got out a fork, and sat down at the kitchen counter. That’s when I heard the bedroom door open and knew Karen was about to catch me red-handed, eating red beans and rice in the middle of the night—a violation of a small promise I’d made to myself to avoid eating between dinner one evening and breakfast the next day. Well, at least I wasn’t breaking a promise to anyone else. If my dad’s betrayal had done nothing else, it had taught me to keep the important promises, the ones I made to others.
“Hi, honey,” Karen said, her voice smoky with sleep.
“Hi, yourself.” I lifted my fork defiantly. Just let her say something.
“Couldn’t sleep, huh?” she asked. She must be postponing the inevitable assault on my dignity.
“No. You either?”
“I slept pretty well for a while.” She looked at the bowl of hot food and I knew what was coming next, but my sweetheart surprised me. “I don’t suppose you have any more of that?”
“Um, uh, no. No, this is the last.”
She sighed. “Pity. I’ll find something else then.”
I watched as she opened the refrigerator and started looking through its contents. “No comments about eating in the middle of the night?”
She turned and gave me a sweet, sleepy half smile. “Sometimes it’s good to break the rules,” she said. “Frankly, this seems like a good time for some comfort food, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I thought so.” I took another bite of the spicy leftovers. Comfort. That was it, exactly. Well, at least Karen understood that part.
“Oh, yeah. This will do it.” She came out of the refrigerator with her arms loaded and calmly went about making a sandwich from Friday’s meatloaf and two slices of wheat bread, spreading mayonnaise and catsup with abandon. “Yum, this looks great!” she announced as she put the condiments away and started toward the counter to sit beside me.
“You’re not obsessing about the calories?”
“Calories, schmalories. We worry about them all day every day. A little letdown under these rather extreme conditions might just help us remember we’re still alive and still need a little peace and comfort where we can find it—even in food.” She took a big bite. “Ummmm, that’s good!”
“Glad you’re enjoying it.”
We sat for a while, eating side by side in companionable silence. A few minutes later, my bowl was empty and Karen’s sandwich gone. I finished the last of my milk and—I couldn’t help it--I burped loudly. “Oops! Sorry. I guess the old stomach doesn’t necessarily agree with your philosophy about midnight comfort food.”
Karen rubbed her own middle. “My old stomach isn’t all that happy about it, either,” she said. “I think I’m going to help myself to some antacid. Shall I get some for you too?”
“Yeah. Thanks.”
She brought over a bottle of peppermint-flavored tablets and we sat quietly, chewing. In another minute, even that was gone. A moment of strained silence followed.
“Well? What’s next?” I asked her. “Do you think you can go back to sleep now?”
Karen arched one eyebrow. Her voice was smoky again, but not with sleep. “Come with me and I’ll help you sleep too,” she offered.
She always looked so sexy when she grinned like that. I couldn’t help remembering all the reasons why I loved this difficult, amazing woman. “You’ve got a deal,” I told her.
I put my arm around my sweetheart and led her back to our bed.

Susan Aylworth is the author of eight published novels, all currently available in digital form for various e-readers. Her ninth book, ZUCCHINI PIE: GRANNY'S RECIPE FOR LIFE, is coming from Covenant Communications in June. Her tenth novel, RETURN TO RAINBOW ROCK, will soon be available as an original e-book, the seventh in the Rainbow Rock series. Find Susan at www.susanaylworth.com or follow her @SusanAylworth.