After you read today's offering from Elizabeth Black, don't forget to check out her blog and then, after that, scoot down one blog if you missed it yesterday's toe warming offering.
The Joys Of Fall
By Elizabeth Black
I love this time of year. In most parts of the U. S., it's fall. Leaves are turning red, gold, and purple. Pumpkins are growing, ready for pie, quickbread, or carving for Halloween. I have terra cotta pumpkins, black cats, and maize out as decorations. This is also the season for maple candy, apple cider, and hot cocoa. As the weather chills, light a fire in the hearth and curl up in an overstuffed armchair. Sip hot cocoa - mini marshmallows are required - and dive into a good book. Looking for something sexy? How about erotic fairy tales? I've written two. One is "Climbing Her Tower", my erotic retelling of Rapunzel. The other is "Trouble In Thigh High Boots", my erotic retelling of Puss In Boots. Buy links, a blurb and an excerpt are at the end of this post.
But first, 'tis the season for baking! Not only is it the season for the Day Of The Dead, it's also Halloween. I made Candy Sugar Skulls for The Day Of The Dead, and they reminded me so much of maple candy that I am craving it. I searched the web and found an easy recipe for making it. The only ingredient is maple syrup - real maple syrup not that Mrs. Butterworth glop.
The directions for making maple candy reminds me very much of making English toffee. It's all in the chemistry.
2 Cups Fancy-grade Maple Syrup
In a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot, boil maple syrup on medium-high heat to 235 degrees F. Stir the syrup occasionally so it doesn't boil over
Remove the pot from the heat immediately, but leave the thermometer clipped to the side,. Place the pot on a wooden board or non-burning surface to cool. (Don't touch the syrup while it is cooling, or large crystals will form.)
Cool the mixture to 175 degrees F. This takes about ten minutes.
Beat the mixture quickly and continuously with a wooden spoon. Do this until the syrup becomes lighter in color, thick and creamy and begins to lose its gloss. This takes about 4 or 5 minutes.
Pour into maple leaf candy molds or a buttered pan. If using a pan, immediately score into squares. I use candy molds shaped like seashells. Set aside to cool.
Wait until the candies are completely cooled. Flip over the molds and tap out the candies.
Candies will store up to 1 month in a container in a cool, dry space. Makes 18 to 20 one ounce candies.
Hint: The outside temperature will dramatically affect the degree to which you boil maple syrup. The soft ball stage is 235 degrees. To reach the soft ball stage, boil the maple syrup 22 degrees past the boiling point of water. Depending on the outside temperature and the humidity, water will reach the boiling point between 209 and 217 degrees.
And now that you have your hot cocoa and maple candy in hand, curl up with a good book like "Trouble In Thigh High Boots".
TROUBLE IN THIGH HIGH BOOTS
Amazon US: http://tinyurl.com/trouble-amazon-us
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/trouble-amazon-uk
Coming soon: Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and AllRomanceEbooks
Tita is a Puss In Boots with a little something extra. Being a magical creature, she shifts from a kitty into the form of an alluring, ginger-haired woman when the situation demands it. And what a situation she finds herself in! Her new master Dylan is a poor man who needs a boost in the world. Sly Tita uses her seductive wiles to pass him off to the villagers and the king as the Marquis of Carabas in order to help both of them gain their fortunes. Her plan is not without its problems. Dylan's malicious brother, Zane, lusts after Tita, and he wants her all to himself, but she refuses to succumb to his treachery. Being a cat first and foremost, she purrs in the arms of her many lovers but her heart belongs to only one man - the king. She hopes that in ensuring Dylan his lofty place in the world the king finds a place in his heart for her. Her life becomes an erotic adventure in reaching her goals.
Her stiletto heels clicked on the hardwood floor, attracting the king's attention. When he turned toward her, her heart nearly stopped at the unabashed thrilled look on his face when he set eyes on her. She sniffed the air and smelled castile soap and fragrant oil of rosemary. If I didn't know better, I'd think he expected me. Maybe his knights told him I was on my way.
"Ah, cat, you have returned! How delightful!" The king's jolly laugh boomed around the high-ceilinged room. "My sister told me she saw you on the road. Your rabbits were absolutely delicious. I saved a morsel in case you returned."
She smiled and batted her lashes at him. Stop it! You're acting like a peckish school girl with a bad crush! "You are too kind, Your Highness. Before I accept your gracious offer of food, might I offer you another present from the Marquis of Carabas?"
"Another present? Your Marquis is quite impressive. First, the fattest rabbits I've seen in these parts in a long time, and now more gifts! Yes, please, do show me what you have to offer."
Oh, I'll show you much more than you expect, sire. She lifted her knapsack and prepared to open it, but hesitated. The king looked dejected.
"I want this gift to be a special surprise for you, sire, but I can't have you looking at me when I give it to you."
"Well, what shall we do then?"
"I had an idea." She opened the knapsack a tiny bit, reached inside, and pulled out a silk blindfold. "How about we play a game?"
He clapped his hands. "I love games! Cat, you are quite the adventuress!"
Little do you know… "I do my best, Your Highness." She held the blindfold between her claws. "May I approach you and slip this over your eyes, sire?"
"Of course you may."
"You trust me?"
"Why shouldn't I?"
"How do you know I won't shield your eyes and then slit your throat?"
"Because there's something special about you, cat. I can't put my finger on it, but you are very intriguing. I'm willing to trust you with my life."
Her heart melted at his words, and she took great pride in feeling his affection even though he had not yet seen her in her human form. What would he think of her once he saw her long legs, full breasts, and thick tawny hair? Would he ravish her when he felt the warmth from her heart and tasted the sweetness of her breath? How would he react to the tenderness she longed to give him?
When would he remember her, if he remembered her at all? She had never spoken to him or shifted in front of him when she lived in the castle. Her heart ached with love and memories of his tender caresses and playful roughhousing. If only he recalled her!
She walked to him as he sat in his favorite chair, and then she leapt onto his lap. He ran his fingers through her long fur without thinking twice about it, as many humans did when accosted by a cat, although certainly not most. She had met her share of men and women who beat her and threw pans of water at her. Zane's face flashed into her mind. When would she see him again? Tita knew he would make another appearance soon, aware of his cruelty and greed. She shook her head and quickly shoved his memory away. She would not allow him room in her head to ruin her time with the king.
Thankfully, her king was not cruel. She purred with pleasure as he scratched her behind her ears. Ooooh, he found my most sensitive sweet spot! I can't stand it! Let me at him! In a fit of arousal, she rubbed her mouth against his hand, leaving her scent on his skin.
She stared into his deep blue eyes and paused before lifting her blindfold. I wonder if he can see into my soul when he gazes into my eyes. One look will show him a world he's never before seen. She gazed at him, wishing he could read her mind, to sense the love she felt for him.
"You have lovely eyes, cat. The color of a deep sea – quiet on the surface, but I suspect there is quite a bit of turmoil in those depths." He ran one hand over her back, stroking her length until she arched in response. "Your eyes are very human. Long-lashed and expressive. Are you enchanted?"
"In a way, sire, yes I am. But I'm not cursed. I can give you what you need."
"And what might that be?"
"Let me show you." She slipped the blindfold over his eyes and waited for him to sit back and relax. When his breathing eased, she curled into his lap, placing both paws on his shoulders. "Don't be afraid. And whatever you do, don't remove the blindfold. I'm about to give you my surprise."
As her body lengthened and stretched, she stroked his hair. Paws elongated into palms and fingers and she scratched his scalp with her long nails. He moaned and curled his head into her embrace, but as her furry body grew into curvy feminine form, he backed away with a gasp of alarm.
"Please don't be afraid," she whispered in a deep, mellow voice that sang in his ear. "I won't hurt you." She guided his hands from his sides to her bare hips. "Touch me. Feel me."
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