Thank you SO much for following along with our Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup all week! Our final post features a delightful new romance coming out this April by T.I. Lowe.
Recipe for a Happily Ever After:
Take one independent heroine and add one handsome alpha hero. Mix in conflict, a dash of an obstacle, and a good measure of attraction. Stir until you have one fine mess, then pour in a healthy serving of clarity to resolve any angst. Add the anticipated kiss, a sprinkling of tender caresses, two rapid heartbeats, and combine into an awe-inspiring conclusion.
I’d like to introduce you to a couple who fits this recipe to a T: Lincoln Cole and Opal Gilbert. I asked them to describe each other to me, and they sure didn’t hold back. Here’s what they had to say:
Opal: “Lincoln Cole is lousy at first impressions. A brooding giant, he reminded me of a puffer fish—prickly yet somehow cute. Sure, there were glimpses of more in the depths of those ridiculously attractive brown eyes, but that stinker wouldn’t let me near enough to get a good look. Eventually, I discovered underneath the thick layer of orneriness was a big ole teddy bear nursing some deep wounds. Wounds I’d give anything to help him overcome.”
Lincoln: “I’m still baffled by wanting to be in that little pixie’s world, but danged if her free-spirited personality didn’t suck me right into her crazy orbit. Shucks, that beautiful woman is my haven, but it’s still fun to give Opal a hard time about her eccentric lifestyle. Ain’t nowhere else I’d rather be.”
Just let me tell you, I am so glad those two finally figured things out. It wasn’t easy, but they removed their facades—Lincoln’s grouchy giant and Opal’s ditzy fairy—to show each other the vulnerability within. And what a dynamic team they’ve made ever since!
Now, to be honest with you, Opal is exceptional at a lot of things. Cooking is not one of them. Poor Lincoln found this out the hard way.
Here’s a small glance at one of my favorite moments in Beach Haven, where Opal cooks for Lincoln for the first time:
Lincoln picked up the flaky bread and took a big bite and began chewing. He was raised on scratch-made biscuits formed from lard and buttermilk. The golden bundle of deception he held was nothing like those delicious dreams. No. Whatever that thing pinched between his thumb and forefinger was, heavenly it was not. With each chew the fishy travesty seemed to grow in his mouth.
Opal was looking on expectantly. Lincoln had no idea what she was hoping for, but he knew for certain that he was about to let the woman down.
He took his napkin and tucked it around his mouth and spit the awful-tasting biscuit into it, using a clean section to wipe his tongue. “I think they went bad somehow.” He gagged. “What’d you put in them?”
Opal took a tentative bite. “I took the idea of salmon cakes and stuffed it inside a biscuit.” She inspected the inside of the pastry while chewing. “They taste fine to me.”
Lincoln downed a long swig of his lemonade. “Why’d it crunch?”
“Oh, I like to use the cans of salmon with the fish bones. It’s added calcium and texture.”
Lincoln rubbed his gut. “Opal, those things on that plate are an abomination against biscuits. As of right now, you’re off KP duty indefinitely.”
“Kitchen Patrol,” he clarified. “No more cooking for you. Stick to creating your unique furniture and making your wishes. That’s what the world needs from you. Not fishy biscuits.”
Opal sat back, stunned by his admission. “Umm . . . thank you?”
Lincoln tipped his head in one quick nod. “You’re welcome.” He stood and helped her out of her chair. “I’m starving. Let me take you out to supper.”
Have no fear about the recipe below. I promise Opal had nothing to do with it! For some Valentine’s Day fun, you can shape the biscuits into hearts and dust with paprika!
Not Opal’s Crab Biscuits
2 cups Bisquick
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup milk
¼ cup shredded cheese
16 ounces lump crabmeat
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
½ teaspoon parsley
Preheat oven to 450°. Combine Bisquick and butter, using a knife or pastry cutter. Mix in milk and cheese, then fold in crabmeat. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake 10–12 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix topping ingredients. Spoon mixture over freshly baked biscuits and enjoy!
Rémoulade Sauce Ingredients:
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup spicy relish or a relish of your choice
1 teaspoon garlic puree
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
COMMENT TO WIN: Where would you go on a romantic vacation? Leave a comment with your answer and you’ll be entered to win a copy of BEACH HAVEN. US and Canada only – GOOD LUCK!
Please check out all of the amazing posts from our Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup authors this week! Great food, fun books, and giveaways galore. Thanks for following along, and HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to all of you from Fresh Fiction!
Carolina Coast #1
Free-spirited Opal Gilbert seems to have everything she needs to keep living a happy life in Sunset Cove as she refurbishes vintage furniture to sell at her funky ocean-side boutique, Bless This Mess. Until Lincoln Cole, a new-to-town ex-Marine nursing deep wounds and harboring hurts he can’t seem to shake, wanders into her shop. Opal knows a person in need when she sees one and offers Lincoln a job in her workshop. But the brooding former soldier has no interest in Opal’s offer. Thanks but no thanks.
But then a hurricane strikes, damaging Bless This Mess. Feeling guilty for how he treated Opal, Lincoln decides to help her repair the store. And soon it becomes clear Opal wants to restore not only her business, but also help Lincoln find restoration. As much as Lincoln tries to keep her at arm’s length, Opal’s well-meaning meddling begins to heal his wounds . . . and capture his heart almost before he realizes it.
About T.I. Lowe
T. I. Lowe is a native of coastal South Carolina. She attended Coastal Carolina University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she majored in psychology but excelled in creative writing. Go figure. Writing was always a dream, and she finally took a leap of faith in 2014 and independently published her first novel, Lulu’s Café, which quickly became a bestseller. Now the author of ten published novels with hundreds of thousands of copies sold, she knows she’s just getting started and has many more stories to tell. A wife and mother who’s active in her church community, she resides near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with her family.