Shannon Taylor Vannatter – Romantic Excerpt & Recipe for Romance – Part 2 of 2

Today I’m sharing a recipe from Reuniting with the Cowboy. At the beginning of the story, Ally is concerned her new neighbor might complain about her noisy veterinarian clinic/animal shelter. So she takes a dessert over hoping to butter up any potential animal haters. The dessert is a Four Layer Delight, something my mom made a lot when I was a kid. Comment or answer the question at the end of any post dated Sept 12 – 15 to enter the drawing. Details are at the end. Deadline: Oct 6th, 11:59 pm central time.


Four Layer Delight

1 stick butter

1 c. pecans

1 c. flour

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese

1 c. powdered sugar

2 containers Cool Whip

2 small boxes chocolate instant pudding

3 C. milk

Use a 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees.

Mix together butter, pecans and flour. Press into baking dish and bake 20 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.

Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Fold in 1 container Cool Whip. Spread on cooled crust.

Blend together instant puddings and milk for 2-3 minutes; pour over cream cheese mixture. Cool for 20 minutes.

Spread 1 container Cool Whip over top and garnish with pecans. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours (or overnight) before serving.

My mom used to make it with vanilla pudding instead of chocolate with pecans and coconut in the crust and on top. Since my husband likes the chocolate version, I make both. I buy one box vanilla and one chocolate, then split it down the middle with half and half. That way we’re both happy.

Here’s the excerpt where Ally takes her new neighbor the dessert:

Ally stepped out and strolled casually toward the farmhouse next door.

She’d just wanted to be a vet, not run an animal shelter. Yet after a client had brought her an injured stray, word had gotten out. And before she knew it, Ally’s Adopt-a-Pet was born.

But she was running out of room. Thank goodness the inspector had already come for the year. If the state showed up tonight, she’d get written up for being over her limit. All she could do now was sweet-talk her new neighbor. And hope whoever it was liked animals.

Trying not to let her nerves show, she unlatched the gate between the properties and stepped through.

The horse trailer by the barn had to mean something. Ally’s heart rattled. Surely their new neighbor wouldn’t mind a few dogs since he, she or they clearly liked horses. Surely.

A cacophony of barks and yips echoed from the barn behind her clinic. Her volunteers—three girls from the local youth group—strolled the property walking several of the dogs. She waved a greeting and climbed her neighbor’s porch steps.

Who was she kidding? There were way more than a few dogs, with a generous sprinkling of cats, plus the pets she boarded for her traveling clients. And if she tried to shush the menagerie, it usually only made the racket worse.

Maybe she should wait until the teens left and the dogs settled down a bit.

The door swung open.

Cody Warren—in the flesh. Tall, muscular, with hair the smoky brown shade of a Weimaraner and soothing aloe eyes.

Ally gasped. Twelve years since his kiss had changed her world. Twelve years since he’d left to follow his dream.

Twelve years of trying to forget.

The glass dish slipped from her hand.


Cody grabbed the dish, his hands closing over hers. His breath caught.

Ally. On his porch.

Same old Ally. Long waves the color of a dark bay horse’s coat, usually twined in a thick braid but loose today and spilling over her slender shoulders. Cautious coffee-colored eyes as skittish as a newborn colt.

He’d succumbed to her charms once. It had rearranged his insides and altered everything. Who would have thought one kiss would put the wariness in her eyes, build an uncomfortable wall between them and cause Ally to spend all that time since avoiding him? All because of his disobedient lips.

“Cody?” Her voice went up an octave. “You’re my new neighbor?”

“Looks like.” And now he’d gone and moved in next door to her. Maybe not the best way to keep his distance. “Let me take this.” He scooped the dish out of her hands.

“I thought you’d be back on the circuit by now.” Her gaze dropped to his shirt collar.

“I…um…I decided not to go back to the rodeo.” More like his doctor decided for him. And that little bubble in his brain had something to say about it, too. “Aubrey is home and I needed a place of my own.”

“You bought the place next to me?”

“This was the only land available with enough acreage to start a ranch.” Technically leasing, with an option to buy. If he decided to have surgery. And lived.

She hugged herself. “What happened to Aubrey not being big enough for you?”

“Things change.” A brain aneurysm changed lots of things. “Does your mom still live with you?”

“She does.” She bit her lip. “Okay, yeah, I still live at home. But it’s the perfect place for my vet practice-slash-shelter and Mom’s my office manager at the clinic.”

“Come on in.” He stepped aside, striving for casual, despite the drumming of his heart. “And tell me this is a pecan chocolate four-layer delight.”

“It is. Mom made it, but I didn’t come to stay.” She glanced toward her place.

“You got a passel of kids waiting for you?”

“Um, no.” Sarcasm laced her words. “Surely you know I’m not married.”

“I meant the teenage girls out there walking dogs, but it looks like they’re leaving.”

“Oh.” Pink tinged her cheeks. “They volunteer to make sure all of the animals get attention and exercise.”

“Since they’re leaving, I figure you can stay and help me eat this.” He took her by the elbow and led her into the empty kitchen. Warmth swept through him. Shouldn’t have touched her. Not even her elbow.

About the book – Reuniting with the Cowboy:

The Cowboy Next Door 

A charming cowboy moving in next door shouldn’t be bad news. But veterinarian Ally Curtis knows Cody Warren—she’d never forget the boy who left her when she needed him most. Cody is doing everything he can to show his beautiful neighbor he’s not the wild bull rider he once was, from helping her find homes for her beloved strays, to protecting her when her business is threatened. But Cody has a secret that keeps him from fully reaching out. Yet as they continue to work together to promote her shelter, he can’t keep himself from hoping that Ally might have a home for him…in her heart.

Can’t wait for the drawing? Get your copy now:      Amazon            Christianbook          BarnesandNoble

About Shannon: Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market.

Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her family, flea marketing, and doing craft projects. Learn more and connect:

Shannon’s Website            Shannon’s Blog            Shannon’s Facebook

Shannon’s Goodreads            Shannon’s Pinterest           Shannon’s Twitter

Question for Readers: What’s your favorite dessert your mom or a family member used to make?

animal-memory-boardReuniting with the Cowboy cover

Giveaway details: Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Reuniting with the Cowboy. Ten copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from Sept 1 – 27. One winner will receive a Noah’s Ark themed memory board personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special since it was in the Vannatter nursery 14 years ago and goes along with the float the characters in the book build for a parade. Great for a shower gift or displaying kids or grandkids. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on Oct 8th. Sign up to enter more giveaways:

Follow the tour:

Sept 1:

Sept 3 & 7:

Sept 5:

Sept 5 –

Sept 12 & 15 –

Sept 13:

Sept 16:

Sept 21:

Sept 27th:

Come back Sept 19th for Donna Schlachter!





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