8/19/2011

Have You Read?

Keeping House


Available at



Mischa knew his brothers were up to something.
  He didn’t know it would lead him to Donovan Holloway
 and change his carefree lifestyle forever.


Donovan Holloway, advertising executive, newly made vice president of the company where he’s worked for twenty years, grew up in a free love hippie commune taking care of the parents who should have been taking care of him. He’s worked hard to put himself through school and achieve the American dream- all he’s ever wanted was a normal family life- house in the suburbs, two cars, two kids, a shaggy dog. A family to come home to, to care for, to care for him has been his dream since he was a small boy.

Mischa Blake is the green eyed, liberally pierced, black haired, Mohawk wearing spoiled youngest son of a Hollywood producer and his actress wife. Mischa has made a terrible mistake. In a fit of childish pique he’s accepted a dare from his older brothers. The dare? Live on his own supporting himself completely for a year without accessing his trust fund. No problem. Except Mischa has never worked a day in his life, hasn’t finished college, and has absolutely no skills that he can bring to the table.

So when he sees Donovan’s ad for a housekeeper/gardener, he has nothing to lose by applying, because really...how hard can it be?

EXCERPT:
            
            “So, tell me why you want to work for me.” That should give him pause.
            “I don’t. My brothers dared me to get a job, and it’s been a lot harder than I expected. I just came from a McDonalds where the manager had a guy with a BS cleaning the toilets and an MBA flipping burgers. The economy sucks.” Mischa sounded dejected.
“Ahh.” He wanted a job on a dare? What the hell? Who told a prospective employer they didn’t want to work for them? “Let me tell you a little about the parameters of the job.”
            Mischa gazed at him quietly, waiting. Maybe the daunting aspects of the task would send the kid the way of the first applicant. “You’ll be responsible for preparing meals. I eat breakfast at six, daily, take a boxed lunch to work, and expect a minimum of a three course dinner. Sometimes I have guests, and occasionally dinner parties.” He didn’t really, but threw out the possibility anyway. For a moment he was distracted by the amusing vision of a room full of elegantly clad clients and coworkers staring in horror as a Goth-garbed Mischa, hair spiked and piercings glittering in the candlelight announced that dinner was served.
            “Got it. Cooking. I can do that.” Mischa seemed to be trying to convince himself as much as Donovan of that fact.
“You’ll have to do the shopping. I don’t have time for things like that. Then there’s the cleaning. I expect the house to be spotless at all times.” He assiduously ignored the fact that the house was currently anything but clean.
            Mischa wasn’t inclined to be so kind, though. He glanced pointedly around the kitchen, at the stack of dirty dishes in the sink, the debris from several takeout meals on the counter tops, and the unpacked boxes of kitchenware. “Ok. Clean. I can do that.”
            “I need the house put together, too. The boxes," he waved around, “unpacked and stuff put away. The walls painted, furniture ordered and assembled and put in place.”
            Mischa looked shocked. “You trust me to decorate your house?”
            “No. I have the plans here.” He thumped the red leather-bound album that held the dream house drawings he’d labored on over the years on the marble counter. “I need my housekeeper to coordinate the workmen, decorators, deliveries and so on.”
            More nods. “I can do that.”
            Donovan stared helplessly at the kid. Stop calling him kid. It’s too pervy. What else? “References? Do you have references?”
            Mischa bent over and the tight black t-shirt rode up as the skinny jeans inched down. Damn. All that creamy white flesh, hairless and smooth tempted him to reach out and touch, to examine the texture and resiliency. He wondered if there were any more shiny piercings hidden under that severe black garb.
            “Hey,” Mischa was waving a handful of papers in front of his face, and Donovan flushed slightly. Could Mischa tell he’d been staring inappropriately at his exposed skin?
            “I’ll, ahh, I’ll keep these. I need to call on them later.” He searched desperately for something, anything to turn the kid-man off the idea of working for him. Recalling the indignation and vitriol of the second applicant, he took a shot in the dark and threw it out there. “I’m gay.”
            No response.
            “I said I’m gay, a homosexual, a flamer.”
            No response. Just inquiring green eyes locked on his face. Someone must have told the kid–man that eye contact was important.
            “I sleep with other men?” Shit now he was making statements as questions.
            The pierced brow rose slightly at that in an enigmatic gesture, but no response was forthcoming.
            “This is a live in position. You don’t mind working for and living with a gay man?”
            Finally, Mischa smiled. Donovan’s heart lurched at the sexy sweetness of that smile. The tiny silver hoop in his lower lip glinted seductively. Wonder how that piercing would feel when he pressed his lips to Mischa’s? It certainly drew attention to the swollen plumpness of the full red lower lip. Yeah—he really needed to get laid this weekend.
            “No. I don’t mind working for a gay man, as long as you don’t mind hiring one.” Mischa’s smile was now a broad grin, and he settled back more comfortably on the barstool, as though he were suddenly making himself at home.         
            Sudden sympathy overrode Donovan’s concerns. Why not give the kid a chance? If Martin Weston hadn’t hired him to work in the copy room at his company all those years ago despite his being an underage gay hippie he wouldn’t be where he was today. He’d probably regret this, but it looked like the skater-Goth-boy/man had talked himself into a job. And the corporate advertising executive was sentencing himself to a series of cold showers.

8/17/2011

In The Kitchen: Casseroles Are Fun!

Everyone has a Tuna Noodle Casserole in the family recipe file, right? This one is my mom's, not sure where she got it, but we loved it as kids and I still make it occasionally as an adult.  You can change it up by adding different veggies, and I've even made it with salmon instead of tuna.  It works.


Tuna Noodle Casserole

INGREDIENTS:
1 (8 ounce) package wide egg noodles
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream
of mushroom soup
1/4 cup bread crumbs
DIRECTIONS:
1.         Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2.         In a 1 1/2 quart glass casserole dish, layer noodles, butter cubes, 1/2 cup of cheese, 1/2 of the tuna, and 1/2 of the soup. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients. Top the casserole with bread crumbs.
3.         Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes.

Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955