Heather Hiestand wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Learn more about Heather at her website and blog.
I love to cook and bake. My Redcakes series has a reputation as a “foodie” romance series, but when it came to writing the third book, I had to dig a little deeper. Why? Because this is my hero who is done with Redcake’s Tea Shop, which is where the first two books are set! Gawain Redcake served in the British army in India, but is forced home when he is injured during battle. His father gives him a job in the accounting department so he can learn the family businesses – he’s the only surviving son of the family after all – but he hates it. Gawain is a man who wants to make his own way in the world. Of all my Redcakes books, this is the one that couldn’t be about the cake. Now cake is pretty personal to me, so I had to think about what other foods have such resonance.
I learned some of the basics of Indian cuisine when I became friends in high school with a family who had moved to the United States from Pakistan. That’s when my love of curries, flatbread and fabulous vegetable dishes was born. Today I’m sharing with you an easy curry recipe. Once you mastered the basics of this fabulous dish, please look online or in cookbooks for a huge variety of curry dishes. Read the recipes carefully. Curry can be a quick-to-make dish or very time consuming.
Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans
1 lb pork tenderloin cut into paper-thin slices
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 lb trimmed green beans
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese to taste
Crispy onions (such as Fresh Gourmet brand)
Preheat oven at 425 degrees
After slicing the pork, rub it with the vinegar, salt and turmeric. Heat oil in a large pan and fry the onion and ginger until softened. Add the cayenne and the pork. Stir fry about 15 minutes until the pork is tender and cooked through.
Toss your green beans with olive oil, garlic and salt, then place in a roasting pan on parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, then top with parmesan cheese and crispy onions to taste. Serve immediately for best flavor!
You are probably wondering why Indian food would become so important in His Wicked Smile. Gawain loves it, for one reason, because he served in India during his army days, but also, it’s because I’m dragging Gawain away from the aristocratic bride he so desires and am unleashing an entirely new type of love interest for him.
Enter widowed, half-Indian Ann Haldene, a provincial innkeeper and trained healer whose mother was once an Indian queen. She and Gawain meet when she serves him an expertly prepared meal at her inn. She offers to massage his battle-damaged body, a service she is trained for as part of her healing arts, but neither of them is prepared for the erotically charged results. Or the baby that comes nine months later.
Ann is many things. A woman who loved her murdered husband, a woman who lost a baby, a talented, lonely person in her twenties who craves sensual contact. She’s also a gifted cook, and one thing the Redcakes can appreciate is good food. While Ann considers herself almost entirely British, the food of her childhood and her mother’s kitchen connects her to the exotic past she has no memory of.
Whether you read His Wicked Smile as a standalone or as part of the larger Redcakes series, I hope you enjoy Gawain’s journey to love with my feisty Ann!
His Wicked Smile
Some temptations are impossible to resist, even for a bakery heir…
Ann Haldene is the most beautiful woman Gawain Redcake has ever seen. A gifted healer who soothes his battle-scarred body like never before, the widow’s touch has a powerful effect on him. It’s no wonder the rugged Redcake heir forgets his quest for a society bride during one passionate night in Ann’s arms. But once he learns she is pregnant with his child, he searches for her, intent on giving her his name, if not his heart….
Ann is shocked by Gawain’s proposal, mostly because he has not uttered a word of love. For the sake of their baby, she accepts, even knowing that Gawain dreamed of marrying to secure a title and all she has is a severed royal Indian bloodline. Now the new bride faces her greatest challenge: showing her husband that their union is more powerful than pedigree—and love is the ultimate reward….