25 November 2014

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection



Love, Laughter, and Merrily Ever Afters Collection by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors.
Audience/Genre: Romance.
Publication: November 25th 2014.
TEN fun, romantic holiday novellas by ten New York Times & USA Today bestselling authors

An all-star gathering of some of today's most popular NYT and USA Today bestselling romance authors in a fun-filled collection...holiday style! With the overwhelming response to the chart-topping summer boxed set, we've brought together even MORE of your favorite authors for a winter compilation, and this time, we've giftwrapped TEN stories for you all. From the funny & sweet, to the STEAMY & heartfelt, each novella is packed with a whole lot of romance, and hand-picked to infuse perfectly-portioned holiday cheer into your busy days this season...along with hot bursts of holiday steam for those winter nights.

And at just ***99 CENTS USD*** that's a huge savings of over 95% off retail for the individual books sold separately! This is an extremely limited edition bundle available for just 5 weeks so get your copy today!

THE BOXED SET INCLUDES:

IF I RETURN -- by USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett
WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS -- by New York Times bestselling author Mari Carr
SEDUCING SANTA -- by New York Times bestselling author Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde)
DECKING DREW -- by New York Times bestselling author Violet Duke
FAIRIES & WISHES -- by USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy)
TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS -- by New York Times bestselling author Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans)
HOLIDAY SPIRIT -- by New York Times bestselling author Cathryn Fox
UNWRAPPED -- by New York Times bestselling author Melody Grace
A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE -- by New York Times bestselling author Alannah Lynne
HIS CHRISTMAS WISH -- by New York Times bestselling author Marquita Valentine

THE BOXED SET INCLUDES:
IF I RETURN by Sawyer Bennett 
Hope Camden is relentlessly serious, awkwardly shy, and in complete need of a walk on the wilder side. At least, that's what her sister tells her when she drags her off on an impromptu Christmas getaway in the mountains, where Hope meets gorgeous, enigmatic Army helicopter pilot Jack Freeman...who's headed off to war in a week. 

SEDUCING SANTA by Janelle Denison (aka Erika Wilde) 
All Faith Roberts wants for Christmas is one sexy night with Matthew Carlton, the hot, gorgeous pediatric surgeon posing as Santa for a visit to the children's ward where she volunteers. While Matthew is more than willing to fulfill her naughty wishes, he's determined to show Faith that he's the kind of gift that keeps on giving. 

TWELVE DATES OF CHRISTMAS by Jessie Evans (aka J. Evans) 
When Lula Jo refused Carter's proposal one dark December night--unwilling to abandon her hometown to live the dangerous life of a treasure hunter's wife--the holiday lights went out in her heart. She vowed to keep her distance from dangerous men and untamed cowboys. But now Carter is back and hoping for a holiday miracle to reunite him with his first and only love. 

DECKING DREW by Violet Duke 
If anyone can make Drew Lawson believe in the magic of Christmas, of course the universe would pick the addictively sweet, mind-wreckingly beautiful Skylar Sullivan to try. She's only the girl-next-door of his dreams he'd classified as completely off-limits two years ago...the same one now standing on his doorstep on Christmas eve. 

FAIRIES & WISHES by Karen Erickson (aka Monica Murphy) 
Lily the holiday fairy is given a new assignment this Christmas season--teach a lonely doctor how to love again. But all Lily knows how to do is gently coerce people into embracing the Christmas spirit; she doesn't have a clue what love really is. So imagine her surprise when she falls madly in love--and lust--with the good doctor in the process. 

WILD IRISH CHRISTMAS by Mari Carr 
It's Christmas Eve, and all seven of the Collins siblings have gathered together to give their father Patrick a precious gift. Gather 'round the tree and join the Collins family as they pass a bottle of Jameson, and Patrick shares the story of how he won the heart of Sunday, his true love, his soul mate...and the mother of his seven Wild Irish. 

UNWRAPPED by Melody Grace 
Lacey James is wild, spontaneous, and up for anything. Daniel Sullivan is careful, sensible, and mending his broken heart. When the unlikely pair get stranded together on the way home for the holidays, Lacey finds her long-term crush impossible to ignore. And as a game of truth or dare spins out of control, Daniel discovers the one girl he truly wants is the last person he expected. 

HIS CHRISTMAS WISH by Marquita Valentine 
War hero Joaquin Morales is back in Holland Springs for the first time in years. His mission? To convince his wife that they have a future together. But falling in love with her husband for the second time is not a part of Sage Caswell's plans this holiday Season. With the help of a little Christmas magic (and a well-timed snowstorm), can Joaquin and Sage's dreams come true? 

HOLIDAY SPIRIT by Cathryn Fox 
What's a girl to do when she finds herself held captive in a bedroom--with the man she's been lusting after for months--by a voyeuristic spirit on Christmas Eve? Give it what it wants, of course. If a holiday romp with her sexy co-worker is what it'll take for Elly Watson to solve her latest Paranormal Task Force case, she's up for the challenge...over and over again if need be. 

A CHRISTMAS HEAT WAVE by Alannah Lynne 
All Samantha Mazze wants for Christmas is to create the perfect Christmas Eve celebration for her friends and family. The house is decorated, the meal has been prepared, the guests are arriving...what could possibly go wrong? Come spend the holidays with your friends from the Heat Wave series, and meet a few new additions.


Mouth Watering Author's Favorite Holiday Recipes...
Alannah’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Pineapple Cookies

2 Cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Few grains salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter/margarine
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Drain pineapple well, reserving liquid for icing. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Dissolve baking soda in pineapple. Mash butter until smooth, add sugar – blend well. Add egg and vanilla, mix well. Gradually add sifted ingredients – mixing after each addition. Blend in pineapple
Bake 6-8 minutes at 375

Icing:
2 Cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons pineapple juice

Mixed together powdered sugar and pineapple juice and glaze cookies.




Cathryn’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
This is a family recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. It’s so easy and a family favourite.

Peanut Butter Squares
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup graham wafer crumbs
2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons of milk
Put all ingredients together and spread in 9 by 9 inch greased pan.
Melt one half a package of chocolate chips (1cup) with one teaspoon of peanut butter and spread on top. Let set, but cut before firm.





Janelle’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (super easy and SO yummy!)

Ingredients:

1 (18-24 count) package of miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
1 (18 ounce) package Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Before starting, unwrap peanut butter cups and place in freezer.
2. Using miniature muffin tins, place a 1-inch ball of dough in each cup.
3. Bake for 5 minutes (less than package instructions of 7-8 minutes)
4. Remove from oven and leave cookies in pan.
5. Remove candy from freezer and carefully press one into each cookie.
6. Remove from tins after they have cooled, and cool completely on a rack.





Jessie’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

This is one of my favorite holiday recipes!
(From Chef Andrew Sprugin link: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/brussels-sprouts-chestnuts-bacon)

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts and Bacon (From Sunset Nov 2012)
Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients
12 ounces canned or vacuum-packed shelled chestnuts, large pieces cut in half (or about 1 lb. fresh, if available)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved
6 slices (8 oz.) thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-in. pieces
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss chestnuts in oil and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, turning often, until slightly toasted but not dry, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook until bright green and just tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
3. Cook bacon in a large frying pan over medium heat, stirring often, until almost crisp. Drain bacon in a strainer, reserving fat in a bowl.
4. Wipe out pan and add 3 tbsp. reserved bacon fat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add drained brussels sprouts and cook, stirring often and adding more fat if needed, until browned and starting to crisp, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and lemon juice, stirring to combine.
5. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with reserved bacon and chestnuts.






Karen’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Okay, I'm a total cheater. When I make sugar cookies with my kids, I use the Betty Crocker sugar cookie pouches. It's just so much easier! We can bust those cookies out in no time. But I do make homemade frosting and the secret I learned from my grandma to make the frosting taste extra delicious? Include a splash of coffee. Yes, coffee! Sadly, she doesn't make sugar cookies during the holidays anymore but I do. Trying to keep up the tradition!

Frosting recipe:

2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick salted butter
1-2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Splash of coffee

Stir until desired thickness/consistency. Taste test to make sure it's sweet enough to your liking! Then get to frosting all those cookies. ;)

Here's a link to a photo from a couple of years ago - me making all the cookies and various holiday goodies and the mess I leave behind (note the diet Coke in the photo, too funny): http://karenwritesromance.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/misc-010.jpg







Mari’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Cream of Crab Soup

Ingredients
¾ cup butter
¾ cup flour
2 chicken bouillon cubes (crushed)
dash of white pepper
salt to taste
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 quart whole white milk
1 quart half and half
1 pound back fin crabmeat

Directions
1. Remove cartilage from crabmeat.
2. In a Dutch oven, melt butter. Blend in flour, pepper, and Old Bay. Stir and simmer over low heat 2-3 minutes.
3. Add milk, half and half, and bouillon. Simmer and stir constantly until bouillon is absorbed and the mixture thickens enough to coat a metal spoon.
4. Salt to taste, then add crabmeat. Heat through; do NOT boil.
Note: You can simply double recipe for a bigger amount.





Marquita’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

So, I’m not much of a cook, but Hot Builder (my husband) is and he makes the most delicious chocolate tarts. Every one loves them, especially me!

Chocolate Tarts

Ingredients:

8 ounces of semi-sweet dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup of milk
¾ cup of heavy whipping cream
1 package of individual small pie shells
1 tub of cool whip

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350
Place pie shells on baking sheet
Combine heavy whipping cream and milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until hot. Don’t forget to stir! Add chocolate, stirring until blended. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Whisk in egg. Pour mixture into pie shells and bake for about 23 minutes. Allow to cool for fifteen minutes. Place tarts upside down on plate and add dollop (or two or three) of cool whip on top. Serves six, unless you like to share. I don’t.




Melody’s Favorite Holiday Recipe
One of my favorite fall/festive recipes is ‘Mom’s Apple Cake’ from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. It’s a delicious, buttery cake that’s perfect for get-togethers: just add whipped cream or ice-cream, or even eat some for breakfast like I do. (recipe courtesy of the Smitten Kitchen)

Mom’s Apple Cake

6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.





Violet’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

Aunty Pam's Cornbread Recipe
This recipe is near and dear to my heart. I’ve always loved cornbread. Always. However, growing up in Hawai‘i with immigrant parents from Japan, it wasn’t exactly a staple of my diet. Luckily, my dad was a fan also. The first time I tasted really good cornbread, I was hooked. When I was younger, we didn’t have much money and I used to shop for books in thrift stores (yes, a book addict even then). I found an old local cookbook circa faded brown paper and basic clipart for images and just a few colors on the cover. I distinctly remember the cornbread recipe in it – “Aunty Pam’s Cornbread” it was called. Even though I lost the book after we moved years later, I never did forget how good that cornbread was. Fast forward a few decades after my marriage to the love of my life. I met a good friend of my husband’s parents, like an extended aunty for him through most of his life, who was well-known for the fabulous cornbread she always makes for parties – almost cakey and just scrumptious. The woman’s name? Aunty Pam. The Aunty Pam. Living on a small island, things like this happen all the time. And my taste buds sure are thankful! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup Sugar
2 sticks of Butter
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/8 cup Cornmeal

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together well.
2. Pour into a 9" x 13" pan.
3. Bake at 350ยบ for 1/2 hour.
4. Let cool before cutting.

P.S. I know that’s a lot of butter (I just close my eyes and throw the sticks in). That’s why I only make this during the holidays. LOL! Here’s the link to another cornbreadk recipe I like with less butter! ^_^
http://www.food.com/recipe/copycat-marie-callenders-cornbread-62571






Sawyer’s Favorite Holiday Recipe

This one’s my absolute favorite holiday recipe!

Pumpkin Roll

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
Two 3-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined. Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the dough with the chopped pecans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner' sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.

With an electric mixer, combine the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you're ready to slice and serve. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.












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