Connie Stevens – Romantic Fictional Interview, Excerpt, & Recipe for Romance – Part 2 of 2

Shannon here: Heartsong author, Connie Stevens shares a glimpse into the romance of her fictional characters, an excerpt, and a recipe for romance from her book, Leave Me Never. Comments go into the drawing for Trish Perry’s The Perfect Blend. Deadline: Sept 11, 8:00 PM Central. I’ll post the winner in the comments. If you find your name there, contact me. Connie will be back in January when her book releases with her own giveaway. Here’s Connie:

  1.   What’s the most romantic thing your hero ever did for your heroine?

He kicked down a door to rescue her.

      2.      What’s the most romantic present your hero ever bought your heroine?

He picked a bunch of daisies and tucked them in the door of the place where she was staying.

      3.      How soon after meeting the heroine did the hero know she was the one?

When he was out looking at the piece of land he wanted to purchase for his ranch, he stood there picturing where the barn might be built and where the house would stand, and then he pictured the heroine standing in the doorway of the house.

Excerpt: 

       As she passed Maxwell’s Mercantile, the door opened and Gideon exited. When he looked up, recognition lit his eyes.
     “Tessa, good evening. I hope you had some luck finding a job.” The same apologetic tone he’d used earlier colored his voice. 
     “I did, thank you. I’m working at the hotel.”
     Even in the deepening shadows, she saw him scowl. “You’re working for Kilgore?”
     “Yes.” No sense humiliating herself by telling him of Kilgore’s first offer. “I’m working in the kitchen and dining room. If you’ll excuse me, I’m very tired, and I still have to move my things.”
     “Your things?”
     “Yes. Mr. Kilgore was kind enough to give me a place to stay behind the hotel. I need to move my belongings there.”
When she started around him, Gideon stopped her. “Please, allow me to help. I can’t stand by and let a lady carry her own luggage, especially after she’s worked hard all day.”
      Tessa’s jaw dropped. A lady? Papa would hoot with laughter to hear her referred to as a lady. She couldn’t fault Gideon for his mistake. He was merely being polite, and in her weariness she couldn’t turn down his offer.
      “All right. I would appreciate the help.” In the gathering twilight, she glanced at Gideon and a butterfly hiccupped in her stomach. Her nerves stood at attention. He’d already demonstrated kindness, but trust wasn’t given away easily. “My things are over here.”
      Gideon looked to the left and right. “You mean outside? I thought you were at the boardinghouse.”
      She shrugged. “I was for one night but I couldn’t stay there indefinitely. I have no money.”
      “And you wouldn’t take charity, is that it?”
      She didn’t look at him, but sensed he wore the same sympathetic expression he’d worn earlier.
      “You know, Tessa, there’s nothing wrong with accepting help from a friend.”
      She wasn’t sure what that word meant. She had no friends. Everything she loved was buried in the cemetery.
      “Tessa?” His voice coaxed her gaze in his direction. “I thought we were friends. Friends help each other. But you can only have a friend if you be a friend.”
      She hardly knew what to say. He was offering something she’d never had. “Gideon, you don’t know anything about me.”
      The glow of the flame from the lantern sent fingers of light dancing across his face as he walked back to where she stood.
      “I know you loved your mother and your heart is broken. And I know you need a friend.” He shifted the lantern to the other hand. “I’d like the chance to get to know you better. But for now, let’s get your things moved to your new place. I don’t think Cully will mind if we borrow his wheelbarrow.”
       She was too tired to argue. Gideon handed her the lantern and pushed the wheelbarrow over beside her belongings. He hoisted the trunk first and balanced it over the hand grips. As he loaded the small cabinet, he ran his hand over the carving on the front.
       “This is fine work.”
       “My grandfather carved that cabinet for my grandmother when they were first married. Mama brought it with her when she and Papa moved to Indiana.”
        Gideon traced the intricate detail with his finger and gave a low whistle. “Your grandfather was a fine craftsman.” When he turned the cabinet to steady it, the right side door wobbled.
        “It looks like this hinge is broken. I’d be happy to fix it for you.”
         Tessa shook her head. “I don’t have the money.”
Gideon turned with an exasperated sigh and put his hands on his hips. “There you go again. Can’t you just let me fix it because I want to?”
         Wariness prodded her. Nobody put themselves out without expecting something in return. She wondered if he expected favors she was unwilling to give.
         “Why are you being so nice to me?”
         He picked up the lantern and the light played across the space between them. His eyes studied her, but not the way the hotel clerk did. Even in the flickering light, she saw something different about Gideon, but she couldn’t distinguish what it was.
         “The Bible says ‘A man that hath friends must show himself friendly.’ I just want to be your friend, Tessa. There aren’t any strings attached.”
         He picked up the handles of the wheelbarrow. “C’mon, let’s go find this place Kilgore was so generous to give you.” 

The hero’s favorite recipe:

MISS PEARL’S GINGERBREAD CAKE

1 ½ cups dark molasses

1 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

1 ¼ cups softened butter

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 ½  teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ginger

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 350. Prepare a tube pan or a bundt pan by greasing it heavily and then dusting it with sugar. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, blend molasses, sour cream, and eggs. In separate smaller bowl, blend softened butter with brown sugar. Add to molasses mixture and blend well. In another bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the confectioners sugar. Add dry ingredients to molasses mixture a little at a time, blending very well with each addition, so the final mixture is well beaten. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Test with toothpick. When toothpick comes out clean, cake is done. Cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto plate and cool completely. Dust with confectioners sugar.

Come back Sept 11 for the third place winner in your favorite romantic posts.

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