Posted by Ing on 28 September, 2011 // ★★ 26 Comments ★★

Guest Post with Cate Lord
Whenever I have free time, I love making desserts. Watching Food
Network is one of my guilty pleasures, and I often find recipes on the
shows I watch (especially Barefoot Contessa) that I want to try. My
husband and daughter wholeheartedly support my interest in
While writing my contemporary romantic
comedy Lucky Girl, released this September by Entangled Publishing, I
was struck by how much the writing process is like making a layered
confection. Since Jessica Devlin, the twenty-nine-year-old heroine of
my book, adores Tiramisu (along with many other calorie-laden desserts),
that seemed a perfect example. Tiramisu is also one of my personal
favorites, and one I’ve made several times when we’ve had friends over
for dinner.
I always start my books by gathering a few
basic ingredients: a rough plot, a hero and heroine, goals that each
character must achieve by the book’s end. Likewise, my Tiramisu recipe
begins with egg yolks, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, all equally
important in making the creamy filling that’s essential to the dessert.
Lucky Girl, Jess—my most important basic ingredient—finds herself
single, months before she was to be married. Heartbroken by her ex
fiancé’s betrayal, she takes an overdue vacation from her job as beauty
editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine and flies to England to be
maid-of-honor in her cousin’s wedding. Jess is nervous about the trip,
and not just because her cousin is living the fairy tale Jess wanted so
badly. There’s also the mortifying episode that took place two years
ago after Jess’s grandfather’s funeral; it involved an English pub, too
many drinks, and a handsome Brit who held her in his arms and soothed
her while she cried. 
Of course, Jess believes there’s zero chance of
her seeing James Bond gorgeous Nick Mondinello again—but guess who is at
the wedding?
Jess’s running into Nick provides
conflict—what’s going to keep them struggling to complete their
character journeys until the book’s end. In terms of Tiramisu, conflict
equates to the crisp ladyfingers soaked in rum and espresso. Complex
in flavor, the ladyfingers provide structure for the dessert. They keep
the two separated layers of filling from collapsing in on each
other—just as powerful story conflict keeps a novel from falling flat.
kept the conflict strong in my novel by having Jess believe Nick isn’t
right for her, since he’s a playboy like her dad who left when she was
twelve. No way will she risk her wounded heart to have it trampled on.
She does her best to fight her attraction to Nick, but it’s a losing
battle. He couldn’t possibly be her Mr. Right, could he? How could Sex
God Nick be attracted to Plain Jane her?
Scene by
scene, I wrote Lucky Girl, each chapter taking me closer to the
climactic moment and resolution of the novel. With the same careful
attention, I’d craft Tiramisu: a neatly-arranged layer of ladyfingers,
dollops of the luscious filling, more ladyfingers, more creamy filling.
Once completed to this point, the dessert must be covered and put it in
the fridge overnight, to allow the flavors to “meld”—a step that
parallels revising the novel so that the nuances of each word, scene,
and chapter blend together to create a cohesive whole.
At last,
the revising is complete. The Tiramisu comes out of the fridge, and is
decorated with shavings of semi-sweet chocolate. It’s done.
final moment, when the Tiramisu is ready to serve? It’s just like the
moment I celebrate finishing a novel. There’s a deliciously sweet
satisfaction to all the work being done. And what better way to
celebrate than to indulge in a rich, gazillion-calorie dessert?
Here’s a tempting excerpt from Lucky Girl:
started down the sweeping gravel drive. Already, my stress was fading
like the last splashes of sunshine. Now, my head swirled from too much
alcohol, sugary cake, and. . . Nick.
I smiled into
the breeze tugging at my gown. How totally dumb to get giddy over a few
conversations, and him touching my arm—but those moments were mine. All
No one could steal, distort, or shatter them.
Most of all Sex Crazed.
savor those memories for days, like a mint I’d pull out time and again
and twirl around on my tongue to revive the zingy flavor, but would
never dream of crunching.
While I walked, stones skittered under
my sandals. The trees whispered in the breeze. Were those big ol’ cranky
oaks talking about me?
Boy oh boy, I must be really drunkie-wunkie. I knew trees didn’t talk or get cranky. Honestly I did.
toe hit a half-buried stone. Ow! I stumbled, struggled to regain my
footing, and stepped hard on the hem of my dress. The seams under my
breasts and arms pulled taut, followed by a faint ripping noise.
Righting myself, I squinted down at my gown. I couldn’t see past my
humongo-bingo-bongo breasts. Was the silk torn? Were my womanly
attributes going to burst out?
As discreetly as possible, I slid my hand up to feel along my underarm and bodice seams. Yes! I was still intact.
down at an awkward angle, I brushed a gray smudge off the silk. It took
several swipes to get rid of the smudge, but I managed.
On the
last smack, I heard laughter. Swaying slightly, I straightened, blinked,
then focused on the cars parked in rows on the lawn.
Tilly and Andrew’s white limo gleamed nearby.
Two ushers stood beside it, their backs to me. Both held metal cans.
Hmm. What were they doing?
I walked closer and heard a soft whhoooshht.
“Don’t forget to slather the door handles,” Nick said, his voice coming from the other side of the car.
“Nick, are you sure we have enough shaving cream?”
“Shaving cream?” I blurted.
straightened and stared at me over the roof of the limo for two long
heartbeats. My pulse jumped from a smug-chicky thud-thud to a crazy
“Jess, Jess, Jess.” His tone held a warning note.
Resisting a delicious shiver, I sidled closer. “Nick, Nick, Nick.”
“What are you doing out here? I thought you’d be enjoying another G & T.”
he’d been keeping tabs on me, huh? Watching how this Chicky Dee held
her drink as part of his panty-interrogation plan? “I thought I’d go for
a twilight stroll. Keep out of trouble—unlike you bad boys with your
shaving cream.” 
“One of Andrew’s friends owns the limo rental
company. He won’t mind.” Nick’s gaze slid to the other ushers then back
to me. “You’re not going to tell on us, are you?”
“And if I am?” I echoed his teasing tone.
Wrong answer, Jess.” He stepped from behind the limo, a can of shaving
cream in his hand. “I’ll have to find a way to keep you quiet.”
exciting. Would he lather me all over with shaving cream? Force me to
join them? This could be very, very fun. “Keep me quiet?” I said. “How?”

He fingered the can’s trigger. White foam hissed out into his palm before he arched an eyebrow.
“That doesn’t scare me.”
His brow arched higher. More foam spurted out until it filled his hand. Enough to toss like a mucky snowball.
“Want this in your hair?” he said, his voice husky and low.
Barely resisting a shudder, I shrugged. “It will comb out.”
He grinned. “On your face?”
“It’ll wash off.”
Eyes narrowing, he moved closer. His gaze slipped to the neckline of my gown then locked on my breasts. “On your. . . dress?”  Chills skittered over my skin. Hoo-eeee!
him, I slowly circled around the tail end of the limo. They’d
splattered shaving cream on the boot. Someone had scribbled ‘Just
Married’ in clumsy letters.
I giggled. “Wow. You guys would get an A in kindergarten printing.”
Nick scooted closer. “You’re not going to tell, right?”
Wicked excitement burned inside me. I felt alive, exhilarated, and very, very naughty. “Why the hell not?” 
vision of the boy chasing the girl in the reception hall darted though
my mind. “C’mon, Nick. You’ve no reason to get your panties in a knot,
Laughing, he shook his head. “Promise you won’t tell.”
“No, I can’t promise.”
“Well, then. . .” He lunged toward me.
I shrieked, spun around, and bolted across the lawn.
Whoops rang out behind me. “Get her, Nick.” “I intend to.” 
My heels sank into the turf, bringing me to a sudden, lurching stop. Damn. I needed to run!
as I yanked my heels free, cold wetness splattered in my hair. Another
soft whoosssht, and more cream hit my arm. Shrieking just like the girl
with the stolen bowtie, I resumed running, darting from side to side as
though being chased by a hungry alligator. I tripped on the uneven
ground, caught my balance, and then ran on.
Dammit, he was right behind me.
side pinched. Gin lurched up from my stomach, burning the back of my
throat. Wheezing a breath, I stumbled to a stop. Nick pounded up behind
me. Bracing my hands on my thighs, I dropped my head and gasped for
air—realizing, in that moment, that my posture gave him a perfect view
of my cleavage.
A twinge of self-consciousness prompted me to
stand up straight. As I rose, I took in his long legs, lean waist,
gorgeous face—so close I could reach out and trail my fingers down the
shadowed line of his jaw. Shaving cream spotted the front of his suit
Meeting his gaze, I raised my hands in mock surrender. “Okay, you got me.”
reached out and pulled a soggy wisp of hair around in front of my eyes.
“I warned you,” he murmured in an oh-so-soft voice. “Do you like to
tempt danger, Jess?”
Was he asking if I was interested in him? “Always,” I said.
What are you doing? the rational part of my brain screeched, but the naughty part told it to shut the hell up.
mouth curved into a grin before he released my hair so it brushed down
past my cheek. Shaving cream dropped from the edge of his hand. The
wetness cooled my neck and moistened my bodice above my breast. I didn’t
Oh, God, I didn’t care.
He cupped my face with a
gentle hand. The potent heat of him zinged from his flesh into mine.
Longing, loneliness, and desire twisted inside me in a fierce tornado.
How keenly I remembered his hand smoothing over my back years ago, his
warm breath upon my hair, his strong, masculine arm curved around me.
I ached for him. Ached, so badly.
Touch me, my body cried. Kiss me. Snog me.
I wanted to get drunk on the essence of Nick.
stared at me, his focus so intense, I quivered inside. Very slowly, he
rubbed his thumb over my lips. I tasted shaving cream. I tasted him.
Oh, yes, yes, yes, my body wept. Snog me now! 
trilling romantic melody floated through my mind along with a glorious
fantasy—Nick’s hand sliding into my hair to capture the back of my head,
his head lowering, his mouth pressing to mine. Not a quick little kiss,
mind you, but a deep, slippery, tongue-tangling smooch which brought my
body arching against him, while I clung to his broad shoulders, begging
for more.
Oh, yes!
Anticipating the luscious taste and feel of him, I rose on tippy-toes and pressed my mouth to his.
Warm lips to warm lips. . .
Exhaling a sharp breath, he broke the contact. Stepped away.
I dropped back on my heels. Disappointment crushed my idyllic fantasy like an unlucky caterpillar. Splat! 
Heat flooded my face. “Why—?”
“Jess.” His gaze shuttered before he wagged the shaving cream can. “Let’s call a truce, all right? I’ve got work to do.” 
I struggled to understand. When did putting shaving cream on a car take
priority over kissing? “Is that the only reason you stopped our kiss?” I
“No,” he said, too damned quietly.
Wow that was HAWT!  Well folks if you’d like a chance to find out more about what happens to Jess and Nick you’re in luck. The fine folks at Entangled Publishing is offering ONE lucky reader of the blog a chance to win and e-book copy. If your interested see the rules and details below:


  • Open to US and International residents
  • You MUST leave a comment with your e-mail address 
  • You MUST answer this
    questions: Ever ran into an ex or that special that you never dated but lusted at a wedding?  How did your encounter turn out?
  • Giveaway ends Oct. 7th
Cover Blurb:

Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by
her unfaithful ex‐fiancé, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during
her vacation in England where she’ll be maid‐of‐honor at her
cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s
O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is
ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single
But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she
sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James‐Bond‐gorgeous
Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who
held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years
ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely
wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.
Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky

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  1. Dee

    Nope, no ex at wedding. Most of my friends don’t get married or else did so young. Definitely no ex’s at my family weddings. Wow, that last phrase could be so misconstrued. This is going on my want-it list. Heading to amazon now…

  2. I forgot my email – sorry and I will be away for a wk starting next Sunday and don’t know if I will have access to a computer should I win…

    Anyway, enuf of my tale of woe – LOL.

    patoct at yahoo dot com

  3. Hi, Cate,
    Thanks for the chance to win this book.

    Never ran into an ex love at a wedding but at a h.s. reunion. It was a bit awkward, but I looked good and he was fairly bald. LOL.

  4. I’ve never ran into an ex or a special someone I wanted to date since most of the weddings I’ve been to I was pretty young or no one was to my liking. Thanks for the great excerpt and giveaway!


  5. I have run into an ex, but he was married at the time, I walked up to him, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and said nice to see you again. I walked on, but I heard his wife, say “who was that woman, how did you know her?. He sputtered something.. And I just laughed. He was an SOB who was seeing somebody else at the same time as me… He deserved everthing he got.

  6. Congrats on your new release! It sounds great! Thank goodness, I never ran into my ex at a wedding after ours. I saw him one time afterwards and he had remarried and had a child (fathered while we were married.) Amazingly, I was ok with it… congratulated him and went on … Que sera. Thanks for the giveaway!

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