Romantic suspense author Sharleen Scott lives and writes in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Learn more about Sharleen and her books at her website.
When I decided to write my romantic suspense/mystery series, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate place for my characters to inhabit than a place I dearly love. The rugged terrain, panoramic vistas, foggy mornings, and stunning sunsets of the Oregon coast created the perfect locale for murder, mayhem, and love. In book one of the series, Caught in Cross Seas, I needed a gathering point for my characters and the Sweet Stuff Bakery and Café was born. It’s a homey little place across the street from the beach in Angel Beach, Oregon, filled with a hodgepodge of secondhand store tables and chairs painted in blues and greens. The owner, homeless advocate Harlie Cates, serves clam chowder, crusty breads, pastries, and sandwiches to locals and tourists alike. Alongside those sandwiches a diner might find potato salad and chips or maybe a large serving of Cowboy Caviar.
Why does Cowboy Caviar fit into this scenario? Because of a cowboy, of course. When country music superstar Clay Masterson comes to Angel Beach in search of his missing father, former city girl Harlie does her best to resist his small town charm and beautiful blue eyes. She fails miserably and soon finds herself in the middle of a bunch of Montana cowboys, a serial killer, and a murder mystery where she could possibly be the next victim.
About the Cowboy Caviar…it’s a delicious combination of fresh ingredients such as avocado, garlic, cilantro, and tomatoes together with a few pantry items like canned corn and black-eyed peas. Mix it up with vinegar, salad oil, and enough hot sauce to suit your taste. Cowboy Caviar is a lot like a romance novel…some like theirs mild and some like theirs hot. Enjoy!
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1-1/2 - 2 teaspoons hot sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons salad oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 firm-ripe avocado
1 can (15 oz) black-eyed peas
1 can (11 oz) corn kernels
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, chopped
In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper. Peel, pit, and cut avocado into cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.
Drain and rinse peas and corn. Add peas, corn, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes. Add salt to taste. Serve with chips or as a side dish.
I double the recipe for potlucks and always bring home an empty bowl.
Caught in Cross Seas
When country music superstar Clay Masterson finds his supposedly dead father, he wants to do two things: buy dear ol’ dad a beer to thank him for being a great father for the ten minutes he spent at it, and kick his dad’s sorry butt to Montana to face an eighteen-year-old murder charge. Harlie Cates will try to stop him. Happily ever after could be a problem for them.