In A COWBOY'S DREAM, Leah hosts an annual Christmas party for her friends. One of the items she serves is Angels on Horseback.
A Cowboy’s Dream
Hot cider simmered on the stove filling Leah’s condo with its spicy scent. A crescendo of voices nearly drowned out the orchestrated Christmas music filtering through her stereo speakers as Leah glanced into her living room and smiled.
Nearly a dozen of her friends milled around, waiting to help her decorate her home for the Twelve Days of Christmas. She watched her friends mingle, delighted that the tradition, started several years ago, continued. Though it had sprung up because she and several girlfriends discovered they’d be alone for Christmas Eve, the gathering had grown to include boyfriends and husbands.
The timer on the oven went off and Leah removed the Angels on Horseback. She put the oysters wrapped in bacon on toasted bread, then carried the platter to her dinning room table, already laden with an array of food.
“Leah,” Betsy called. “When do we get to exchange the gifts?”
She grinned at the short, plump brunette who was impatient when it came to the gift opening.
“You know we don’t do that until the tree is decorated.” Leah glanced at the still bare evergreen. “And if you want to get to the good stuff before midnight, I suggest you get the guys busy putting on the lights.”
Betsy grinned and hurried back to the group of men, who inevitably congregated together to talk sports and cars.
Tessa, a good friend since their freshman year of college, filled a plate with food and stopped beside Leah. “You’ve been pretty quiet tonight. What’s up?”
She knew Leah better than anyone, so it wasn’t surprising she couldn’t hide her upset over Marcus from Tessa. Still, she straightened the forks on the table to delay her reply. “I haven’t had time to tell you, but I had dinner with Marcus Slade the other night.”
Her friend’s plate of food tipped and a couple of olives rolled onto the floor. “What? Oh my God! You’ve been trying to snag a date with him for a year now. What happened?”
Leah glanced around to see if anyone was listening. Satisfied they wouldn’t be overheard, she gave a quick run down of the disastrous evening. When finished, Tessa gripped her by the arm and dragged her into the relative quiet of the kitchen.
“What the hell do you mean he stopped because of your body?”
Leah gave her a scathing look. “Come on, you’ve seen pictures in the society pages of the women he’s dated. Well, I saw several of them up close and personal. I’m not built like they are and he was reminded of that when he, uh, felt me up. That’s when he stopped the seduction.” She felt the heat of a humiliation brush over her as she remembered how he’d pulled away from her less than perfect body.
Tessa put her untouched plate of food on the counter top. “So, you think he stopped seducing you because he was reminded that, what is it you always say, ‘your IQ is bigger than your bra size?’”
“Why else? My gosh, if he’d asked me, I’d have invited him into my bed right then and there. But he didn’t, he pulled away and told me we had to stop. With the constant reminders of his other dates, can you blame him?”
“You’re saying, he just wants to be friends?” Tessa pulled a glass and bottle of wine off the granite bar and poured a drink.
Leah didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “So it seems. You know guys, it’s sex or friendship...no mixing.”
She grabbed the drink out of Tessa’s hand and gulped half of the Charbonneau down.
“That was for me,” Tessa said dryly.
“I needed it more.”
“Yeah, you may be right there.”
Buy A COWBOY'S DREAM here.
A COWBOY'S DREAM is part of The Wild Rose Press' Miniature Bundle. Six holiday romances at 33% the regular price. A Cinderella Christmas by Stacy Dawn (Sweetheart); A Cowboy's Dream by Anna Kathryn Lanier (Yellow); Dragonfly Dreams by Stacey Joy Netzel (Champagne); Home For Christmas by Pam Champagne (Champagne); I Love You a Latte by Bronwyn Storm (Last Rose of Summer); Lighting The Tree by Carol Ann Erhardt (Last Rose of Summer)
Angels on Horseback
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove minced
salt and pepper
12 shucked oysters, washed and dried
6 slices lean bacon
Mix the white wine, garlic, salt and pepper together. Add the oysters and marinate 10 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Cut each bacon slice in half, and wrap each oyster with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Broil on both sides until the bacon is crisp.Keep warm on a heating tray.
Tomorrow's Recipe: Mexican Pinwheels and Oyster Cracker Snack
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey