Hello and welcome to Romance Recipes where I am happy to introduce you to a new author and a new recipe! Two of my favorite things! Today I am bringing you author, Peggy Bird, and her recipe for Greek Orzo Salad along with an introduction to her book, Trusting Again. Please join me in welcoming Peggy and savor her recipe for Greek Orzo Salad as you read about her new book!
In my new book, “Trusting Again,” Cynthia and Marius enjoy a romantic vacation sailing in some of the Pacific Northwest’s most spectacular real estate: the San Juan Islands northwest of Seattle. For ten days, as they fall in love, they picnic, eat in favorite restaurants in the towns that dot the islands or they cook on board. This was Cynthia’s contribution for the first few lunches.
Greek Orzo Salad
½ cup uncooked orzo pasta
6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
¾ cup grape or cherry tomatoes
½ sweet onion, chopped
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup sliced black olives
salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
Drain artichoke hearts, reserving liquid, and chop into bite size pieces.
In large bowl combine pasta, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, onion, feta, and olives. Toss and chill for one hour.
When chilled, toss with reserved artichoke marinade. (If not enough dressing, supplement with a bit of commercial Italian dressing or a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice.)
After years of struggling, Cynthia Blaine is finally getting recognition from Seattle galleries and buyers for her designer jewelry. Her life seems to be on an even keel. Her professional life, that is. Her personal life is less exciting than a cloistered nun’s. After a messy breakup with a man who decided he needed a woman who could help his career more than a mere artist could, she’s steered clear of anyone who could hurt her like that again.
Then Marius Hernandez comes into a gallery where she is working. He’s a successful coffee broker; he’s to-die-for handsome; he’s sexy and charming. And he’s very, very interested in her.
Marius woos her on a sailing trip through the beautiful San Juan Islands during which their romance lights up the summer nights. Soon after they return to Seattle, he leaves on a six-week business trip to Central America, promising he’ll return to her. But just before he’s due back, Cynthia gets a shock. And when she goes to Portland to pour out her heart to her best friend, she has another shock. Marius is in Portland, not where he said he would be. And he’s with another woman.
It’ll take more than a good cup of coffee to get Cynthia and Marius to their happily-ever-after.
Mid-day they moored at East Sound on Orcas Island for lunch. Cynthia had volunteered to provide all the lunches as her contribution to the trip. Today, she served up cold chicken, a pasta salad, nectarines, and brownies. He offered a light white wine or sparkling water to accompany lunch. She picked the latter. She was not about to add alcohol to the mix of sun, wind, and Marius Hernandez’s half-naked body and was relieved when he chose the same.
When they’d packed up the remains of their meal, Cynthia poked around in her small duffle bag and came up with a tube of sunscreen. “I need to put more on. Want some?”
He held out his latte-colored arm. “With this skin?”
“With any skin. You mean you don’t have any sunblock on? Don’t you know about the epidemic of skin cancer? Here, let me.” Without thinking it through, she went behind him and began to rub lotion onto his shoulders.
It was a mistake, a very big mistake. The heat of his skin zinged through her fingers, up her arm, into her chest, taking up so much space in her lungs it was hard to breathe. She tried to get more oxygen in by taking deep, deep breaths, but that just meant she replaced the little air in her lungs with the exotic smell she associated with him, a scent even the sunscreen couldn’t mask.
And if touching his skin wasn’t bad enough, there was the feel of the muscles underneath. Oh, dear God, the muscles. Trying to distract her mind from what she was doing, she racked her brain for something to think about that wasn’t related to his body. Touching his body. Massaging those muscles. Which if she didn’t stop thinking about would lead to licking all the way up his spine to his neck. Where she’d nibble, until she moved to sucking on his earlobe. Or maybe sliding her hands around his waist, insinuating her fingers under the waistband of his cutoffs to follow that line of dark hair.
No! She had to do something to stop the train wreck she could see coming if she kept on thinking this way. But she couldn’t help herself. She loved touching him. Loved the feel of his skin and the strength of his muscles. Remembered what it felt like to have him hold her, touch her. To feel the hardness of his body against her softness. To have all that male heat against her.
This was getting worse by the minute. There had to be something she could do. But what? What? Wait. She’d read someplace about what men did to divert themselves from thinking about sex. What was it? Oh, right. They thought about baseball. That wasn’t workable. She didn’t know enough about the sport to form a coherent diversionary sentence.
Okay. What was it Liz said she’d done when she wanted to stop smoking? Oh, yeah, she’d used the idea of a mental stop sign when she got the urge to light up. Cynthia closed her eyes for a minute, pictured a huge, red stop sign on Marius’s back and proceeded to blow right through it to touch the next muscle.
Then she remembered her life drawing class in college, naked bodies as art project. She’d learned all the major muscles in that class and now ran through what she could remember. Trying to think of the correct names for what she was massaging worked at first. Deltoids. Triceps. Biceps. Brachioradialis.
Arms and shoulders finished.
Then on to his back. Latissimus dorsi. Trapezius. Obliques. She was on a roll. Gluteus max…oh, shit. Don’t go there. Do not go anywhere near that thought. Or that muscle.
Born in Philly, I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Pacific Northwest where I have happily grown webs between my toes and moss behind my ears. I pursued a number of careers—nurse, legislative staffer, lobbyist, public affairs consultant, non-profit association executive, workshop teacher, oh, and mother and wife—before deciding to leave it all for what I’ve loved through every stage of life—writing. I’ve been published in anthologies, magazines, newspapers and in the brochures, newsletters and reports of my consulting clients and employers. Unless you count speeches for politicians, I’d never written fiction until a cast of characters began inhabiting my daydreams. A glass artist and a gallery owner were there. So were a sculptor and a jewelry designer. When some dead bodies showed up, a couple of cops and a deputy DA arrived. Soon they began to fall in love with each other and work for their happy ending. Bingo. I was a romance writer.
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Thank you for joining us for another Romance Recipes! I hope you’ll stop by next week to meet another author, try a new recipe and pick up a new book!