Hi, Matt. Merry Christmas. I think it's so sweet for you and Violet to help Elaine this way.
Oh, we were glad to do it. What recipe are you sharing today?
(Rebecca laughs.) It's the Gomez family broccoli casserole. I swear I could eat a whole pan of it by myself.
I bet Violet will want it for her catering business. Say, Rebecca, I hear you have a new book out.
Oh, I do. It's called Maya's Vacation, and guss what? It's about food.
(Matt laughts.) How perfect is that? Why don't you share the recipe and then let us read an excerpt?
I can do that. Merry Christmas, Matt. I hope you and Violet have a wonderful time. It is your first Christmas as man and wife. Readers, I hope you have wonderful holidays too.
Gomez Family Broccoli Casserole
20 ounces chopped broccoli
14 ounces cream of celery or mushroom soup
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups crushed Ritz crackers
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil the broccoli until tender and drain. Mix together all the ingredients and pour into a greased 8 x 8 square pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
“Where are we going?” she asked after a few minutes of silent walking. She stopped to catch her breath, not knowing if the pace, the wine, or the proximity of Dean were responsible for her short-windedness.
“Just a little spot I saw earlier today. It's on the other side of the bed cabins. I think you'll love it.”
“Okay, but slow down a little? I'm not exactly nineteen anymore.”
“No,” he agreed while lessening his speed, “you're better.”
Around the next bend, she smelled a sweet, heady scent that nearly overwhelmed her wine-dimmed senses. “Lilac!” she exclaimed. “You remembered!” She had always loved that flower. She’d insisted Chuck wear a bunch for his boutonniere on their wedding day. Chuck . . . who’d brought her a bouquet of them on the day he'd made his first million dollar sale, who’d bought her lilac perfume every Christmas they were together, though she never wore it because it smelled so strongly of alcohol. The sinking feeling in her gut that had dulled over the course of dinner came back.
Dean didn't notice. “Of course I remember! You tried to paint lilac blossoms for a month straight before you gave up and shredded the canvases to pieces. You are so—so sexy when you're frustrated, do you know that?” He kissed her forehead suddenly then snaked his arm around her waist.
“I—I can't do this,” she heard herself say, though her body wanted nothing more than to touch his skin, kiss his brow.
“What? Can't do what?” He kissed her neck.
“This—you—Dean, I'm with Chuck.”
You can buy your copy of Maya's Vacation at http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662249&mode=product&product=3028832