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Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes! Every Thursday and Friday I will introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! This week I am bringing you author, Diane Kelly, and her recipe for Southern Pecan Pralines along with an introduction to her book, Death, Taxes and Extra-Hold Hairspray. Please join me in welcoming Diane and savor her recipe for Southern Pecan Pralines as you read about her new book!



Southern Pecan Pralines

This is a vegan recipe – it’s healthier and makes the cows happier, too!


1-1/2 cups of pecans
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of coconut milk
1/3 cup Earth Balance butter substitute
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions: Lightly toast pecans in oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Combine sugars, coconut milk, Earth Balance butter substitute and vanilla in a large saucepan and cook over medium high heat. Stir continuously while everything dissolves, then slowly add in the pecans while continuing to stir.

Remove from heat and stir vigorously for about 5 minutes. Once you stop stirring the mixture will thicken up quickly so spoon it out immediately onto parchment paper or those great new plastic cutting boards (see photo) and let the pralines set for a few hours. Then eat until you can eat no more. Yum!


Excerpt from Death, Taxes, and Extra-Hold Hairspray,

Book #3 in Diane’s hilarious Death & Taxes Series

 Chapter One

This is what Happens When Rednecks have too Much Time on Their Hands

“Damn.” I dropped the phone back into its cradle on my desk. I needed help on a case, but it seemed no one was available this afternoon. I’d called every special agent in the Dallas IRS Criminal Investigations office.

Make that every special agent but one.

That one sat directly across the hall, his cowboy boots propped on his desk, his right hand rhythmically squeezing a blue stress ball as he eyed me. I sat at my desk, pretending not to notice.

Why didn’t I want Nick Pratt working on this case with me? Because the guy had whiskey-colored eyes that drank a girl in, an ass you could bounce a quarter off of, and more sex appeal than George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Johnny Depp combined.

I realize these factors might all sounds like reasons to want to work with him. Problem was, I was in a committed relationship with a wonderful guy and, despite that fact, wasn’t entirely sure I could resist temptation.

Better not put myself to the test, right?

My usual partner, Eddie Bardin, had received an unexpected temporary promotion to Acting Director three weeks ago when doctors found a spot on the right lung of our boss, Lu Lobozinski. Lu had taken time off for her chemotherapy treatments and recovery, appointing Eddie to take her place until she was able to return.

Eddie’s temporary promotion left me to handle a buttload of cases all on my own. And not just any old buttload, but cases that had been purposely put on the back burner for years because each case was guaranteed to be a major pain in the ass.

One of the biggest of these cases involved an eighty-three-year old chicken rancher who’d served seven consecutive terms as president of a radical secessionist group. Another involved a popular, charismatic preacher who financed a lavish lifestyle via his congregants’ tax-deductible donations to his mega-church. It was almost enough to send me back to my boring old job at the CPA firm.

But not quite.

The phone on my desk rang. The caller ID readout displayed the name N PRATT.

Dang. No way I could ignore the guy now. It would be too obvious.

I looked across the hall as I picked up the phone. Nick looked back at me, one thick brown brow raised. How the guy could look so damn sexy in a plain white dress shirt and basic tan slacks was beyond me. Maybe it was the oversized gold horseshoe-shaped belt buckle that did it, drawing attention to his nether regions like a flashing neon sign that said wanna get lucky?

“Big Bob’s Bait Bucket,” I said in my best southern twang. “We got whatcha need if whatcha need is worms.”

You got me. I’m a bit of a smart ass. But I had spent two summers in high school working for Big Bob. Minimum wage plus all the free nightcrawlers I wanted. Which was none.

Nick shot me a pointed look across the hall. “Why haven’t you asked me up to help you?”

Because you make my girlie parts quiver in a very unprofessional manner. But I couldn’t very well tell him that now, could I? Better think quick, Tara.

“You looked . . . um . . . ” Gorgeous? Sexy as hell? Absolutely boinkable? I went with “busy.”

He grinned, flashing his chipped tooth, an imperfection that somehow only added to his primal appeal. “I fake it pretty good, don’t I? That’s how I got fast-tracked to senior special agent.”

Nick’s career as a special agent with the IRS had indeed been meteoric, at least until three years ago when he’d been forced to flee the country or die at the hands of Marcos Mendoza, a violent, money-laundering tax cheat.

Lucky for Nick, Lu had later assigned me and Eddie to renew the case against Mendoza.

After the creep threatened Eddie and his family, I’d smuggled Nick back into the U.S. and the two of us had brought Mendoza to his knees. Literally. Hard for the man to stay standing after I’d shot off his left testicle. I’d considered taking the gonad to a taxidermist for mounting, but I doubted my mother would let me hang it over the fireplace back home next to Dad’s sixteen-point trophy buck.

Nick sat up at his desk, his expression serious now. “You gave me my life back, Tara. I’ll never be too busy for you.”

Nick was directly offering to help me out. No girl in her right mind could say no to that, even if she had been avoiding him. There’s only so much willpower to go around.

I hung up the phone. “Saddle up, cowboy,” I called across the hall as I stood and grabbed my purse. “We’ve got a chicken farmer to check in on.”

 Meet Diane:

A CPA and tax attorney, Diane spent several years at an international accounting firm where she had the pleasure of working with a partner later charged with tax fraud. She also served a stint as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas under an AG who pled guilty to criminal charges related to the tobacco company lawsuits. Given this work history, Diane decided self-employment might be a good idea. She also realized her experiences with white-collar crime made excellent fodder for a novel. Her fingers hit the keyboard and thus began her humorous “Death and Taxes” romantic mystery series.

Diane’s debut novel, Death, Taxes and a French Manicure, won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award.  Visit Diane and read excerpts at http://www.dianekelly.com.

Visit Diane and find buy links at www.dianekelly.com!

Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipe! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and read a new book!