Monday, 10 June 2013

Guest post by Amanda Usen + Giveaway

You all know how much I love cooking/baking and thus culinary romances. One of my favourite authors in this sub-genre is the lovely Amanda Usen, whose novels aren't just scrumptious but the recipes she shares on her blog are equally irresistible and delicious. *yum* So when I heard that Amanda's latest novel, Into the Fire, will be a steamy sensual romance published by Entangled Publishing I knew I just *had* to read it. Trust me, you need to put it in your basket as well! ;-) So please give a warm welcome to Amanda who kicks off her official blog tour celebrating the release of Into the Fire today!

“Personal Chef, at your service…what are you hungry for?”

INTO THE FIRE was inspired by one line that just wouldn’t let me go. Who could say that with a straight face? How would the person on the other end of the telephone respond? I built the story around that one little nugget of cheeky inspiration, and it took off from there.

How would you feel if you had a one night stand, it ended badly, and the next time you ran into the guy you were filling in for a server at a bachelor party? Imagine the company you work for uses sex as a sales hook, so you are wearing a revealing French maid uniform. Imagine he hits on you then calls you at work the next day, and you have to answer the phone by saying the line above. Poor Lila! But don’t feel too bad for her. I write heroines who give as good as they get. Here’s how the scene plays out:

“Personal Chef, at your service…what are you hungry for?”

A familiar low chuckle greeted her. “Seriously? Do you answer the phone like that every time or did you know it was me?”

“Every time,” she growled, dropping the pretense of civility, doubly pissed because her heart had skipped a beat at the sound of his voice. She’d made a huge mistake last night. “It’s a niche market.”

“I have to meet your boss. He’s a genius. Say it again, one more time, like you mean it.”

“What do you want, Jackson? I’m covered with chocolate mousse.”

“This just gets better and better.” He laughed while she weighed the pros and cons of hanging up on him.

There were no cons, she decided.

Jackson and Lila strike sparks from the first chapter onward. She’s got a good reason for having a beef with him, and he has an equally good reason not to trust her. However, they each have something the other one needs. And wants. And has to have…

Lila has a gift for creating fresh twists on classic recipes. Jack is opening a restaurant and having a crisis of confidence. He is willing to go to any length to get Lila to help him make it the best menu in New York. I love a gorgeous, talented, witty hero who acts like a jerk to disguise his vulnerability. It gets me every time. I have even more fun reading a book if the heroine calls bullshit every time he misbehaves. Sexy banter is my favorite! Can you guess what Lila wants from Jack? I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but feel free to speculate in the comments section. I’m driving home from the Lori Foster Reader & Author Get Together today, but I’ll pop in to chat and answer questions when I stop for coffee. If I get too involved in my audio book and drive straight through, I’ll catch up when I get home this afternoon. :-)

INTO THE FIRE is a fun, sexy book that RT magazine described as “simply mouthwatering.” If you get hungry while reading, you can find recipes from the book on my website. I particularly recommend Lila’s favorite chocolate cake – a recipe I discovered when I got home from work late and only had an hour to whip up a cake to take to my mother-in-law’s for dinner…delicious.

Lila's Favorite Flourless Chocolate Cake aka Chocolate Ecstasy
Stella, thanks so much for celebrating INTO THE FIRE with me! Last time we visited together it was your blog birthday, and today is my book birthday! It’s always fun to hang out here because I know you love food and romance as much as I do. I jokingly said many times this weekend that I write about chefs because I met my husband in culinary school. Writing about food and romance means I don’t have to do any research! But I only say that to get a laugh. I write about food because I love it. You’d have to love it to work in kitchens for almost twenty years! I write romance because I’ve been reading in the genre longer than I’ve been cooking. I read my first category romance at the tender age of nine, and it is a dream come true to write one myself, only eclipsed by the fact my loving husband brought me many delightful sandwiches while I was writing it. *giggle*

So let’s talk more about my favorite subjects: food and romance. I like wounded alphas. What is YOUR favorite flavor of hero? Or your favorite food? Maybe we can brainstorm my next book or at least come up with something to cook for dinner! Thank you for stopping by to see me! If you check out INTO THE FIRE, I’d love to hear from you. Happy reading and cooking!

Book #1 in the Hot Nights series

Jackson Calabrese has a lot of nerve. He beat Lila Grant in the Culinary Academy competition using her recipes. Now, he’s opening a restaurant and wants her help? Fine, she'll fix his menu, but it's going to cost him.

Heir to the Calabrese restaurant empire, Jackson can buy anything he wants, except creativity, so he buys Lila's instead. He can craft perfect paella, but to take New York by storm he needs her innovative spark.

Skillets aren't the only things hot in the kitchen, and an uneasy truce ignites into passion. They’re great in bed, but Jackson doesn't trust her, and Lila is contemplating revenge. The restaurant opening approaches, the menu is completed, and the tables are set for one final act of betrayal. How can love bloom in the midst of such a hot mess?

Buy at Amazon - B&N - Kobo - iTunes

Amanda Usen knows two things for certain: chocolate cheesecake is good for breakfast, and a hot chef can steal your heart. Her husband stole hers the first day of class at the Culinary Institute of America. She married him after graduation in a lovely French Quarter restaurant in New Orleans, and they spent a few years enjoying the food and the fun in the Big Easy. Now they live in Western New York with their three children, one hamster, two guinea pigs, a tortoise, and a new-to-them beagle. Amanda spends her days teaching pastry arts classes and her nights writing romance. If she isn’t baking or writing, she can usually be found chasing the kids around the yard with her very own hot chef husband.

Want chimichurri, chocolate cake or Chicken Alighieri? Visit Amanda at, where you can find recipes for many of the yummy dishes in her books. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter if you want to chat about romance, writing, or recipes.


Amanda Usen is offering winners a chance to at some wonderful prizes during the Into the Fire Blog Tour!

To be entered just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and tell us in a comment: What is YOUR favorite flavor of hero? Or your favorite food? 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 7 July 2013!

Good luck!

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