Jennifer Allis Provost
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Date of Publication: January 6, 2016
Number of pages: 247
Word Count: 62000
Cover Artist: Wicked by Design
For Astrid Janvier, image is everything…
Astrid is a world-renowned model, as famous for her strut as her startling green eyes. She’s modeled for the biggest names in the fashion world, and is regularly invited to parties in New York, London, and Paris. Thanks to a designer label addiction, she’s also broke, and takes a job as a cocktail waitress just to make rent. When her best friend Britt asks her to be her maid of honor at her upcoming wedding, their first task is to decide the menu.
Donnie Coehlo is a young, up-and-coming chef with a dinner menu to plan…
Donato—Donnie for short—is the head chef at Thirty-Nine and Twelve, a seafood bistro on the Connecticut shore. It’s a great accomplishment given his youthful age, but Donnie doesn’t brag. He just wants to find the right girl, settle down, and have a bunch of kids. When Astrid arrives at his restaurant, Donnie hopes she is the one. But would a high-priced model like Astrid be interested in a regular guy like him?
As Astrid’s life crumbles around her, and Donnie makes a terrible choice, Astrid learns the two of them are irrevocably tied together.
Will their connection be enough for Astrid to leave her high-fashion life behind,
and accept what Donnie has to offer?
Or will she chase her dreams as a model, leaving Donnie as part of her past?
What better time than the holiday season to be with the ones you love? In Changing Scenes, circumstances force Astrid and Donnie to spend their first Christmas apart. This is a much bigger deal for Donnie than it is for Astrid; while she sees holidays as something to endure, he enjoys going back to his grandmother’s house and spending a day or two cooking up a feast for his family.
In order to show Astrid just how much he is going to miss her, Donnie plans a special breakfast for Astrid—but this breakfast doesn’t involve bacon and eggs. Instead of traditional breakfast foods, he makes a few different chocolate pastries for Astrid, and she gets to choose between the sinful desserts. Does that make Donnie the dessert to the dessert? I guess it does.
In the spirit of Donnie’s romantic breakfast of desserts, here’s a recipe for one of the most sinful chocolate cakes you’ll ever encounter. Below that breakfast scene itself.
Happy reading—and baking!
butter and flour for coating and dusting the cake pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
1½ cups warm water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter three 9-inch cake rounds. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. (see cooking lesson below)
Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes.
Divide batter among the three pans. I found that it took just over 3 cups of the batter to divide it evenly.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake meets the toothpick test (stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean).
Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely.
Frost with your favorite frosting and enjoy!
Excerpt from Changing Scenes: Donnie makes Astrid a special breakfast
After the session wrapped, I went home, showered, and took a nice, long nap. When I woke I ate a bowl of cereal, then I got dressed in my warmest socks, leggings, and sweater while I waited for Donnie to pick me up. My man was right on time and came bearing hot coffee, and we did our usual circuit of the market.
“These fish get heavier every week,” I said when we were loading up. “And I think Trevor put rocks in those sacks instead of clams.”
“I hope they’re not clams,” Donnie said. “I paid for mussels.”
I shook my head, unsuccessfully stifling my latest round of laughter; my chef thought he was a comedian. “I’m ready to head out if you are.”
“You know it, babe.”
We hopped into the fishmobile and left the market. I watched the market get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror, wondering how big of a catastrophe would be needed for Donnie to cancel Christmas and hang out with me instead. The restaurant burning down? No, since he’s not an owner he’d probably go back to his family and wait for word from his boss. Massive snowstorm? No again, since he’s a New Englander; they laugh at snow. Me breaking a leg? Hmm, now that could work. Donnie would have to stay in my apartment with me, taking care of me, keeping me company… Of course, I would have that broken leg to deal with…
“What?” I asked, blinking myself back to reality.
“You’re a dreamer, you know that?”
I looked down. “I was just thinking.”
“Hey.” I glanced up, saw his smile. “Dreams are good.”
I returned his smile, then I realized we were headed toward my apartment instead of the diner. “We’re not going to breakfast?”
“I thought we’d do something special.”
“What special thing?” I pressed.
“I’ll make breakfast at your place.”
I flopped back in my seat, totally speechless. Just when I thought Donnie couldn’t be any more perfect, he goes and one-ups himself. Then I remembered that all this cooking would be taking place in my kitchen, and my happiness turned to horror.
“I don’t have a lot of food at home,” I babbled. “I haven’t had time to shop, and I don’t own things like spatulas and cooking spray.”
“I brought everything we’ll need.”
“’Course I did. When I was in your place before I checked out your kitchen.” He gave me a look, and added, “The stove didn’t look like it’d been used this year.”
“I’m not a cooker like you.”
“Babe, there was dust on the burners.”
I crossed my arms and fidgeted in my seat. “What can I say, housekeeping hadn’t come by.”
“It sure hadn’t.”
We reached my building, and I directed Donnie toward my parking space. Once that was complete he handed me a cooler, then he grabbed a second bag and we headed toward the elevator.
“Will the fish be all right?” I asked.
“They’ll be fine for a few hours,” he said. “It’s cold, even in here, and they’re packed in tons of ice.”
When we entered my apartment Donnie went straight to the kitchen. “What do you want me to do?” I asked.
“What do you usually do after I drop you off?”
“Change and go to bed.”
“Go change, then.”
I blinked. “I thought if I didn’t help, I didn’t get to eat.”
He kissed the corner of my mouth. “Grandma’s rules, not mine. Don’t worry, I got this.”
I did as ordered, and shed my fish market gear. Since I wasn’t going to see Donnie for a while I decided to dress sexy, and put on a blue satin spaghetti strapped nightie and matching robe. The smell of coffee lured me back to the kitchen, and I saw little pastries set up on the counter.
“What’s all this?” I asked. “No bacon and eggs?”
“Sweets for a sweet lady,” he replied. The coffeemaker beeped, so Donnie poured a cupful and handed it to me. “Gonna try one?”
“Sure.” I selected a tiny chocolate confection, then I took it and my coffee to the couch. Donnie sat beside me a moment later. “What brought this on?”
“I’m going to miss you, that’s what,” he said. “Not gonna lie, I was single for a long time before we met. Been a long time since I found anyone I wanted to spend time with…” Donnie shook his head. “And now, I won’t even be with you over the holidays.”
“It’s not like you’ll be gone forever,” I said, ignoring the pang in my heart. “If it’s any consolation, I’ll be miserable with my family.”
Donnie made a face. “I’d be miserable too, if they dragged me to some restaurant on Christmas.”
“Yeah, restaurants are terrible,” I said. “And the chefs, especially the head chefs, now they are the worst.”
“Hey, take that back.”
Donnie grabbed my coffee and pastry from my hands and set them on the table, then he grabbed my waist. “Take it back,” he insisted, his hand sliding up my spine toward my neck.
About the Author:
Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction.