As you all know by now, both my husband and I are great gourmands and lovers of all things food. Today I made one of our favorite dishes, Spaghetti Carbonara, which is delicious and easy to make, even by those who usually get lost in a kitchen.
I’m going to share my special recipe with you, and instead of dessert I’ll treat you with a free chapter of A French Kiss in London, one of my Suspense Romance novels. In this chapter, Linda, my beautiful Italian heroine, prepares Spaghetti Carbonara for Gerard, her gorgeous French lover. Or, at least, he will become her lover by the end of the night…
So, this is what you need for Spaghetti Carbonara:
- 400 g spaghetti
- 200 g bacon
- 200 g mushrooms
- 200 g parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 100 g sour cream
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt, pepper and whatever spices you prefer.
Boil the pasta in salted water, then drain. Meanwhile, chop the bacon and mushrooms and cook them in the heated olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring them often. Mix the eggs, cream and parmesan, with salt, pepper and the spices of your choice (I put paprika and oregano). Then mix everything together (the pasta, ham, mushrooms, egg mix) in a pot on the stove and stir at very low heat for a couple more minutes, until the egg coagulates.
That’s it! This is how mine looked like, and I assure you it was divine!
And now the dessert I promised you…
EXCERPT: A French Kiss in London (The Coriola Saga, Book #1)
Linda had learned to cook from an early age. She used to spend hours watching enthralled as Sofia—their cook—prepared sumptuous meals for the Coriola family, which back then was still intact.
Sofia was a well-rounded woman with ever-rosy cheeks and gray hair, which she always covered with colorful scarves. When Linda had asked the woman to teach her a few simple recipes, Sofia had been delighted with the little girl’s passion for gastronomy. She’d immediately taken her under her wing, teaching her the art of becoming a domestic goddess, as she used to say. And so, in a few years, Linda—who was already in her teens—had gained the experience of a high-class chef.
At the moment however, it seemed all her culinary knowledge had left her. She’d hired Mrs. Adams to cook for her so she could dedicate her time to sculpting and not bother with domestic stuff. Now she got the impression she’d lost her touch.
She lined up precisely on the counter all the ingredients she needed, then sat on a chair next to Pirata, who watched the preparations curiously.
For a few long minutes they both sat, staring at the spaghetti, spices, mushrooms, cheese and ham, all arranged in military fashion. The cat’s gaze was lustful, his nose and whiskers twitching with interest. By contrast, Linda’s gaze reflected a shadow of something resembling desperation.
Eventually, with a deep, resigned sigh, she stood and got to work. The Spaghetti Carbonara was her favorite dish and was quite simple to prepare.
Working efficiently, without conscious effort, carried by the rhythm that had never truly left her, she started an animated discussion with Pirata.
“I don’t know what I was thinking, inviting him for dinner,” she told the cat, barely noticing that he’d just slid a paw on the counter to steal yet another piece of ham. “I mean, look at me.” She gesticulated with the knife she used for cutting mushrooms. “Instead of minding my business, I’m cooking for a guy. And I don’t even know if he’ll like this. As a matter of fact, I know very well why he’s coming to dinner. He’s only interested in the dessert.”
Remembering the way he’d kissed her the night before, of how incredibly sexy he looked sitting at his desk—unshaven, his shirt nearly unbuttoned—she became aware of her own need and desperate craving for that kind of decadent dessert.
Ignoring for a moment the fantastic way he was built, she had to admit he was a special man. Noble, that’s how she’d called him, and meant it.
“Why do I have to complicate stuff?” she demanded again of Pirata, who was washing his paws, satiated. “I’m just going to live the moment, not sit around analyzing every little thing. Giovanni was right. Not all men are a pain in the ass. Some of them are worth the trouble, right?”
At the end of this one-sided conversation, during which she had been moving like a robot, she was amazed to discover the meal was almost ready. She made the final touches, then consulted her watch and exclaimed in panic, “It’s a quarter to eight! Gerard has to be here at eight sharp!”
She scrambled toward the door and ran upstairs to her bedroom, under the cat’s placid gaze.
She quickly applied some basic makeup. After that, she pulled on a white backless dress that reached her knees, splendid in its simplicity and elegance.
Her only jewelry was the ring she never took off and a pair of delicate pearl earrings.
Precisely as she descended the stairs, she heard the intercom’s buzz. She pressed the button to unlock the gate and opened the front door, in time to see a black Jeep advancing on her driveway.
Gerard parked in front of the garage, before climbing out of his car. He walked around and opened the passenger door, revealing an enormous bouquet of flowers. He removed it from the seat, then headed toward her. He wore midnight blue pants and a white shirt, open at the neck. The white cotton created a delicious contrast to his tanned chest, sprinkled with dark-gold hair. She felt her entire body reacting to his presence like a metallic splinter attracted to a powerful magnet.
When he reached her, she noticed he’d shaven.
My God, he is completely magnificent! she thought, while his intense green eyes drilled into hers, as if he intuited all her thoughts and sensations.
He handed her the bouquet—a combination of white roses and white lilac, spreading a divine scent. He took in her white dress, the thin material that flowed down her body, subtly emphasizing every curve.
“I can see I chose the flowers very well. They perfectly match you and your attire. You look magnificent,” he said, bending to kiss her cheek.
She turned her head involuntarily and his warm, soft lips touched the corner of her mouth. Entranced by his nearness and by his dizzying perfume, she turned her head another fraction. Their mouths touched in a kiss that would have been as chaste as the white flowers between them, if not for the explosive sensuality crackling in the air. For several seconds they just stared at one another, in hypnotizing fascination.
He touched her lips with his once more, then slowly traced them delicately with one finger, as though caressing the petals of an exotic flower. He stepped back from her slightly, noticing Pirata, who had come to inspect the intruder. Amused, he bent to rub the cat’s ears and was repaid with a generous purr.
Linda invited him inside, prompting him to have a seat on the living room sofa, while she took the flowers to the kitchen.
“Would you rather we ate in a more formal ambient or in the kitchen?” she asked when she returned, aware that her dress wasn’t suited for a kitchen meal.
“Definitely in the kitchen. You don’t have to be formal with me, Linda. Do you need me to help you with anything?”
“Just with the eating,” she joked. “Come into the kitchen then.”
As he sat at the counter, she mentally congratulated herself for being such a tidy cook. Because she cleaned all surfaces while she was cooking, her kitchen always looked brand-new. She took great pride in that.
She arranged the dishes, then brought the spaghetti.
“Mmm, they look almost as good as you!”
“Thanks, but I can assure you they taste a lot better.”
“I seriously doubt that,” he replied, watching her in that particular way, which never failed to incite her.
After he had his first taste, Gerard remarked, “It’s absolutely delicious! Where’d you learn to cook this?”
“Back home, when I was a child, we had an excellent cook. Sofia taught me everything I know. Unfortunately, lately I’ve become pretty lazy and I rarely cook.”
“I’ve always loved Italian food the most. It’s got something special, just like Italian women. My mother always pushed me to find an Italian girl.”
“And you didn’t succeed?” she asked jokingly.
“I did now,” he answered in a serious tone, his eyes meeting hers.
They looked at one another for a long moment, in silence. She was the first to break that intense visual contact. She resumed the conversation, changing the subject as if nothing had happened.
They went on with their meal, making small talk, while Pirata twirled around their feet, shamelessly begging for treats.
“I’m sorry, but I haven’t had time to prepare dessert,” she apologized, as she cleared the table. “But I’ve ordered something delicious.”
Gerard stood and put his dishes into the sink.
“What? So far, dinner was great.”
She went to the fridge and produced a casserole, from which she generously filled two dessert bowls. She put them on the table and added two spoons.
“Caramel Cream. Haven’t you ever had this?”
He studied it curiously, then used his spoon to test and taste the creamy surface.
“I’ve never tasted something this good in my whole life!” he exclaimed, his eyes closed in delight. “Would you like to go in the living room? A good movie in your company is all that’s missing.”
She smiled, taking her own bowl and spoon.
“You’ll have to watch that cream at all times. Pirata loves it.”
They sat comfortably on the living room sofa. Following a short debate regarding her DVD collection, they decided to watch Far And Away, a sort of romantic comedy starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
The movie had barely begun and Gerard’s bowl was empty. Linda laughed when she saw him placing it on the table.
“Do you want some more?” she asked, putting her half-eaten dessert next to his empty bowl.
“No, thanks. It was delicious, but I’m full.”
“Let me know if you change your mind.”
He sank deeply between the cushions and put an arm around her, on the sofa’s backrest.
On the screen, Tom and Nicole were exchanging witty lines, making both spectators laugh out loud.
“I would love to visit Ireland one day,” Linda confessed, referring to the country where the movie was taking place. “And another thing on my to-see list is Stonehenge. Though I’ve been in England for months now, I’ve never taken the time to visit it yet. But I plan to.”
Gerard watched her curiously.
“I guess that means we have a common goal?”
When he nodded, she went on, “Ever since I was in high school, when we learned about Stonehenge during History classes, I was fascinated by the pictures of that place, by all the legends going around about the origin and purpose of those megaliths, about druids. I’m interested in everything tied to Celtic culture, although I don’t know much about it.”
“Frankly speaking,” he said, “I believe no one knows anything for sure. They all speculate based on some research or facts and the hypotheses of the ones who invent opinions. But you’re right, places like Stonehenge are spectacular. It’s incredible to simply admire them, to imagine the efforts of the people—or any other entities—who built them, driven by ideas or purposes known only by them. I intend to visit it too, one day.”
“Maybe we’ll go together,” she suggested.
He looked at her, smiling.
“I would like that. Perhaps when I get back from Romania.”
She absently stroked Pirata, while the cat curled up in a corner of the sofa, sleepily kneading a cushion with his claws.
“When do you plan to leave? And how will you get there?”
“Well, as soon as possible I’ll reserve a plane ticket. When I get there, I’ll rent a car or something.”
He slowly rubbed his chin, watching her thoughtfully.
“Why don’t you come with me?” he asked her, so suddenly it had probably been a potentially crazy impulse.
She stared at him, stunned.
“Me? In Romania?”
“What’s the problem?”
“W-well, in two days I have the opening of my art exhibit. I have to be there,” she stammered.
“I hope you plan to invite me too. I can’t wait to see what you can do,” he replied, his white teeth gleaming in the playful light beams coming from the TV screen—the only source of light in the dark room. “But we could leave next week. Or do you have something against Romania?”
She massaged her forehead with two fingers. The guy demolished her every argument like a wrecking ball.
“I don’t have anything against it, but I can’t just leave. What do I do with Pirata?” she asked with renewed hope.
He thought it over for a moment.
“Didn’t you say you have a housekeeper? She could take care of him. We won’t stay longer than two or three days. Or don’t you want to come with me?”
She sighed deeply.
“It’s not about that…”
Under his steady gaze, she felt herself weakening.
“I’ll think about it, I promise. And I’ll try to find a way to organize my stuff. Now let’s watch the movie, okay? I haven’t even paid attention.”
Meanwhile, the movie’s action had moved from Ireland to America, and the adventures of the two protagonists oscillated between amusing and tragic.
“I’ve always wanted to have curly hair,” Linda said dreamily, admiring Nicole Kidman’s thick, wavy hair. “Look at her, she’s gorgeous with that hair.”
Gerard ran his hands softly through her hair, analyzing a long strand.
“Your hair is lovely just the way it is,” he said and she turned her face to his. “Ever since I first saw you, I admired it. After last night, its scent has remained etched into my memory. You remained ingrained into my head.”
She looked at him, speechless. The games of light and shadow coming from the screen reflected on his face. One moment, they emphasized only his deep eyes that watched her with their unmoving spark. Then the light fell over his lips, sensual and so alluring, capable of offering the most skillful kisses. When he leaned in closer to her, his warm breath made her whole body tremble with desire.
An almost electrifying shiver ran through her from head to toe at the first touch of his lips. When the kiss intensified, passion seized them both, engulfing them in thousands of sensations, nameless but of a crushing profoundness.
When he drew her against him, running his hands over her soft skin, she was lost in his touch, in the masculine scent stirring her senses. She felt his lips and steamy breath over the sensitive skin of her neck, turning all her doubts into imaginary ashes. She wanted this man with every particle of her being, and his every gesture proved that he was as lost as she was in the intensity of those same feelings.
Gerard drew back from her slowly, then stood and turned off the TV. They both remained in darkness—two silhouettes in the weak light sneaking through a window.
He enfolded her in his arms again, whispering with his lips on hers, “Where’s the bedroom? Show me.”
With her heart racing madly, she took his hand and headed toward the stairs. Then they were lost to the silence and blackness.
The same diffused lunar light streamed through the windows of the bedroom, and a vague floral smell perfumed the air.
Next to the bed, he drew her into his arms without a word. He kissed her deeply, exploring her naked back with his rough palms. Under her curtain of hair, he found the strap that held her dress in place, tied at the nape of her neck. He slowly untied it and the white dress glided to the floor with a sensuous rustle.
They remained face to face. She, naked, and he, still fully dressed—an erotic tableau in the moonlight.
He lowered her tenderly onto the bed, then rose and began undressing. Each inch of naked, gorgeous body exuded pure masculinity. Linda had the impression her own skin radiated mists of lust. She studied his strong arms, the networks of veins subtly outlined, his magnificent chest covered with soft, golden hair. Her eyes travelled down to his abdomen, perfectly sculpted and proportioned, as the rest of him, revealed below.
She sighed deeply. For a split second, in the vertigo of emotions tangled in her soul, a trace of insecurity and fear of the unknown shadowed her euphoric state.
But when she felt him close, massive and hard, all rational thoughts turned to smoke and dissipated in the moonlight, leaving the two solitary figures in the night to become one, enraptured by passion’s abyss.
He stretched above her and she thrived on feeling his weight, absorbing his warmth. He used the pad of his thumb to trace her lips softly, then he kissed her thoroughly. His tongue explored her mouth, his teeth nipping playfully at her lower lip.
Just the intensity of his kisses and the feel of his solid, naked body over her made her head spin. But her desire took on new dimensions when he shifted and his mouth started to slide down her body. He kissed her breasts, caressing them softly until her nipples tightened and rose, as though begging for more. She arched her back and he sucked gently at every peak, until her breaths grew choppy.
He didn’t stop there. His hands descended lower on her body, followed by his mouth. His tongue traced the lines of her body, down to her navel, which he kissed ardently, making her gasp. When his lips continued their way down, she was too stunned to move. She couldn’t have moved anyway. His strong fingers held her hips, as his mouth went seeking for the hottest and most sensitive part of her body.
At the first stir of his breath over her, she moaned involuntarily, then all reason left her. She clutched hands full of the sheets and of his hair, while his lips and tongue flickered over the gem of her femininity. She was helpless to do anything but surrender, and she did.
Her tummy felt weightless, her skin feverish. Under the thrilling assault of his mouth, her body quickened and she cried out his name as the explosive release claimed her. She was skyrocketing with the speed of light, even as her vision darkened. With mindless abandon, she let go.
A few moments later, she was still breathing hard, her entire body trembling with the reverberations of her orgasm. Gerard stretched out beside her to give her a few needed moments. He stroked her cheek gently and she barely managed to turn her head to look at him. The moonlight was enough to reveal the tender expression in his eyes. It took her aback, and would have probably scared her if she weren’t so dazed.
He smiled at her, still cupping her cheek as he bent to kiss her softly. When he angled her body toward him, she felt his hardness against her middle. To her own amazement, waves of desire she thought were spent started to ripple through her again.
“Touch me,” he whispered urgently against her lips.
She placed a timid hand onto his muscled chest, sprinkled with just the right amount of hair. Curiosity, as much as lust, made her explore further. When she found one of his nipples, she rubbed it with the tip of one finger, making it tighten. His short intake of breath encouraged her and her palm ran over his abdomen. She felt the muscles there tense. She hesitated just a fraction of a second, before she reached even lower. They both gasped when she touched him, and he firmed his grip on her hips.
He was perfect—hard, smooth and ready. Her hand grew bolder; her own breath came out faster, mixing with his. She folded her fingers around him, then squeezed and massaged, up and down, until a low sound vibrated into his chest.
He pushed her onto her back and rolled on top of her, kissing her hungrily. His hands ran freely over her body, without restraint or discipline. He sent his tongue deep into her mouth, as he eased himself into her. She felt weak with the delicious, stretching pressure of having him inside her. Then, the immense pleasure of it took over and she rose her hips to meet his every thrust.
He pushed high, hard and fast, driven by untamed, primal desire, until they were both seized by a shattering orgasm. Through the roar in her ears, she heard him call her name hoarsely. Then she closed her eyes and let herself be swallowed by the vortex of exquisite sensations.
If you have enjoyed this sample, you can buy the book from Amazon, or read it FREE on Kindle Unlimited: http://www.amazon.com/French-Kiss-London-Melinda-Ross-ebook/dp/B014Z8T0US/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1447255293&sr=8-4&keywords=melinda+de+ross