Texas has definitely had its range of weather this December. We celebrated Christmas with family on the 23rd. It was in the 70s and we had the air conditioner running. Then temperatures fell the 26th. We had a sleet and rain mix all day yesterday then woke up this morning to 2.5" of snow. It's beautiful! We took the kids out to play in it, came in for some hot chocolate, and made snow ice cream. It's been a great day to stay indoors. This evening, a good deal of the snow has melted. But I'm thankful I captured some of the beauty from our frozen wonderland.
Seaside Christmas by Stacy Claflin
He can’t stand her. She thinks he’s crazy. Will their feelings stay etched in permanent ink?
Cruz Hunter has always stuck out in his small hometown. Now that he’s covered in tattoos, the residents peg him as even more of an outcast. It seems like the whole world is against his dream of opening a local tattoo parlor.
When he finally finds the perfect place for his new business, Cruz discovers a pastor and his daughter have already bought it. The only thing more irritating than the change in his plan is Talia, a beautiful and feisty argument in a dress. Cruz would like nothing more than to have her out of his life and his mind, but for some reason, she’s the only thing he can think about.
If Cruz and Talia can stop arguing long enough, opposites may do much more than attract.
Meet the Hunter brothers of Kittle Falls…
The Seaside Hunters novels are a series of contemporary sweet romances. They’re set in the beach town of Kittle Falls, following the Hunter brothers as they make their way back to their hometown and find the loves they couldn’t elsewhere. Each book is a standalone.
Cruz double-checked the house number and walked up the sidewalk and to their walkway. A street lamp turned on as he walked underneath. He’d gone over what he was going to say countless times. There weren’t any other buildings in town he could use for his tattoo shop—the city council had made it clear the only place he would be allowed to do business was the outskirts of town—so he needed to be convincing if he wanted to talk them out of the building.
His sense of humor and charm had always gotten him out of trouble growing up, so he needed to tap into that. So many times, all he’d had to do was tell a joke and laugh, and his teachers would just melt and let him get away with whatever trouble he’d created. It didn’t work quite as well now that he had facial hair and tattoos, but that wouldn’t stop him from trying.
Cruz walked up the steps to the porch and knocked on the door, avoiding a wreath. It smelled of pine, like it had been freshly made.
Noise sounded from inside, and then the door opened. The blonde chick from the day before—what was her name again?—stood before him, wearing another dress. It was bright yellow with a pattern of tropical flowers. Her hair was pulled back and a floral scent engulfed him—her perfume?
She smiled and stepped back. “Come on in, Cruz.”
And she remembered his name. He forced a smile and nodded a thanks, stepping inside. The house had bare furnishings and almost no decorations, spare a few holiday ones.
Blondie closed the door and then Cruz saw a pile of moving boxes. That’s right. They were new to town. “Nice place.”
“We’re still trying to figure out where everything is. You know how moving is.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“But I imagine it’s a pain in the—uh, neck. I grew up in one house, and the only time I moved was when I went to college, and all I packed fit on my motorcycle.”
Her gorgeous blue-green eyes widened. “Really?”
“Don’t look so shocked. I went to UCLA. I graduated, even.”
“That’s not what surprised me. It was because you got everything on a motorcycle.”
“Isn’t UCLA hard to get into? Less than ten percent get in, don’t they?”
Cruz looked away. “I didn’t really pay attention. Just wanted to hang out in LA for a while.”
“What brought you back here?”
“Sure wasn’t the town. My dad had some health problems and I wasn’t really gettin’ along with the guy I was working for, so I just packed up my bike and came back.”
“Is your dad okay?” Talia’s eyes widened. “Do you guys need anything?”
“No, he’s okay now. Takin’ care of himself and everything. My mom and all five of us brothers help out, too.”
“Oh, good. Well, if you do need something, you have our number.”
Cruz nodded and slid off his jacket. Her eyes widened as her gaze went over his heavily tattooed arms. He tried to tell if she was judging him or checking them out. It was hard to tell because her expression didn’t reveal anything. He’d been judged before by religious people, making wild assumptions based on his body art.
Cruz flexed both arms and then held out his jacket. “Someplace I can hang this?”
Author Stacy Claflin
I don’t stick to a single genre in my writing, reading, or viewing. My favorite shows include Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, Lost Girl, Vampire Diaries, and Once Upon a Time.
I've been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. As a kid, my story telling would get me into trouble because I would try to convince others that my stories were real.
When I'm not busy writing, I like spending time with my family and friends. I also educate my kids from home.
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I'm always on the lookout for a new soup recipe in the winter. This particular recipe is in a Better Homes and Gardens Slow-Cooker Meals book. I actually looked all over for this particular one online so I could just post a link to it on my Facebook page. I was unable to locate it anywhere. So I'll write the recipe out for you here and if any of you run into the link online, please let me know. Thank you!
Chicken-and-Vegetable Bean Soup
1 cup dry Great Northern beans
6 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp snipped fresh parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp ground black papper
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken
1 14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1. Rinse the beans and drain. In a large saucepan, combine beans and the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let it stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the beans. Or you can rinse the beans, place them in the water and put a lid on top of the pan. Then leave the beans to soak overnight. Drain and rinse the next morning.
2. In a 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker, combine onion, fennel, carrots, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and pepper. Place beans on top of the vegetables in the cooker. Pour broth over everything.
3. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
4. Stir in the chicken and undrained tomatoes. Cover again. If you are using the low setting, turn it to high and allow it to cook 30 minutes more until everything is heated through.
Serve with cornbread or another favorite side and enjoy!
** As a side comment, we've never added the fennel or the parsley. Celery is a great addition. We've also put in a can of tomatoes with chiles when we want some heat to the soup. It's a great recipe to play around with and add some of your family's favorite veggies. This soup rewarms nicely, too.
Who doesn't like the chance to win a fun prize package, especially when there's chocolate involved? I had a lot of fun putting this particular one together for you all.
Included is a paperback copy of Finding Peace, a pretty 5x7 picture frame, gourmet chocolate covered pretzels, a snowman ornament, a Hershey's chocolate bar, Faith wings magnet, and three old-fashioned candy sticks.
For your chance to win, enter below. The contest will run through the 15th.
Unfortunately, this contest is open to those with a United States address. My apologies to all of you wonderful individuals living outside the states.