#Delectable December: Skylar Cates Gets Glamorous #mmromance

Skylar Cates stops by the Love Shack today to talk about one my favorite subjects: Food. For Skylar and her characters, cooking is more than making a meal. It’s expressing an emotion that’s bigger than words. It’s no wonder food plays a big role in her upcoming Dreamspinner novel. I sure hope she shares the recipe for that cheese bread. I’m craving some right now. She’s also giving away a copy of her last novel Exposed! Please enter on the Rafflecopter below and an extra entry with comments.

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

last-guyfromglamourIn many homes, the kitchen is the most important room. This was true of my house when I was growing up. No matter how comfortable other rooms in the house might be, we all gathered in the kitchen. Special occasions were crowded around the kitchen counters, swapping stories and cracking jokes. Not that everybody in my family cooked. My mother, in fact, only did two types of cooking: microwaved or takeout. My grandmother, on the other hand, thought she was a terrific cook. She insisted that regardless of the type of food we wanted—from Chinese to Greek—she could and would make it better. Nobody had the nerve to tell her otherwise.

Real cooking is not always successful. Although we try to follow a recipe, things can go wrong. We might undercook it or burn it. But there is still something about the attempt to make a good, honest dish for somebody else that is immeasurable. Even when the food falls far below the line of perfection, we offer it up with love (and maybe lots of butter to disguise the burnt cornbread. Or lots of frosting on that lopsided birthday cake). A friend once advised me to deliberately be bad at cooking, and that way my husband wouldn’t expect too much from me. I make so many mistakes naturally, though, I never had to fake a thing.
I admit it freely. I’m not a great cook. On my best day, I’m an adequate cook. Yet on the days that my family gathers around me in the kitchen, especially on a holiday, I’m the best type of cook of all. I’m a happy one.


In my upcoming novel, The Guy from Glamour, Anthony wants to cook dinner for his love interest, Dean. They are at a tentative stage in their relationship here, still defining who they are to each other. Anthony is from a close-knit Italian family, so he uses some recipes from his mother’s kitchen to create the meal, including her famous cheese bread.cheese bread

Cooking is both an intellectual as well as emotional act. Following a recipe, taking out the ingredients, mixing them, adding to them—it can be like a good striptease or it can reveal the truth about what is in one’s heart. For Anthony, making bread from scratch is his way of connecting his new love with the love of his family.
Anthony Carrino loves his big, gregarious Italian-American family, even if his sisters are interfering, and his dad, the local sheriff, knows everything going on in town. He’s happy as a middle school guidance counselor. Despite helping kids and their parents fix their problems, Anthony can’t manage to get his own love life right. If only everyone would stop calling him the “nice” guy.

Dean Pierce doesn’t do relationships. A tough-minded military man, he is dedicated to his job as a Night Stalker, flying Chinook helicopters and not speaking much to anybody. He certainly doesn’t want to deal with a mess of emotions. But when tragedy strikes, Dean finds his hands full with his troubled niece, her irresistible guidance counselor, and a meddlesome family, which includes a rather large puppy.


Anthony got busy with the dough for the cheese bread while the oven heated. He melted half a cup of butter and mixed up the flour and special Italian cheese his mother always used. After combining things, he began to roll the dough into balls and place them on a cookie sheet, but then he stopped, frowning. After wiping his hands on a dishtowel, he grabbed his cell phone and dialed.
“Do I have to put the dough balls in the freezer before I make your cheese bread? I can’t remember.”
“Hello to you too, Anthony.”

“Sorry. Hiya, Mom.”
“Hi. And yes, you freeze the dough first, then put it on the baking sheet. It will crisp up to a golden brown.”
“Thanks. I should get back to it.”
“Wait a minute. You hardly call and now you’re rushing off the phone? Why are you making my cheese bread? You usually only make that with me on Dad’s birthday.”
Anthony hesitated. “I’m having a friend over.”
“Is it this Dean fellow? Your father told me about him.”
No surprise there. Mia had caved and told Cody, and Cody had told their dad, thinking he’d already known…. Still, Anthony’s fingers tightened around the phone.
“Yeah, it’s for Dean.”
“Your father told me about his adoption case. Why didn’t you call me? It is my area.”
“Because you were in New Jersey and because you’re retired.” Anthony didn’t add it was also because of his mom’s declining health. That would make her go ballistic. “Anyhow, Pete took care of it pretty quickly.”
“I suppose that makes sense….” She still sounded a little hurt. “When am I going to meet Dean, exactly?”
“Mom, you just got back into town last week.”
“So? I still want to meet him. I usually meet all of your boyfriends.”
“He isn’t like my other boyfriends.”
“Meaning what?”

Oh crap. Anthony hadn’t meant to say that to her. He stalled a moment, taking the dough balls and sliding them into his freezer.
“Well?” his mom demanded. “You don’t define him as a real boyfriend like your others? So how do you define him?”
That was the trouble with a lawyer for a mother—he was always being interrogated over semantics.
“It’s a casual thing. That’s all. We like each other, but neither of us is ready for a permanent relationship, so we are keeping it casual, having some fun, we’re—”
“A ‘wham, bam, thank you, ma’am’ type of thing? That’s not okay. It’s not you.”
“I’m fine.” Anthony tried to sound like a responsible adult.
“What about Rick?”
“Rick? What about him?”
“Are you really over him? When I was shopping the other day, I spotted Rick across the mall and—”
“Mom. Remember that I told you Rick left the area? You couldn’t have spotted him.”
“It looked just like him.”
“It wasn’t.”
“If you say so. In any case, I’m still not convinced about Dean. Not at all. It’s unlike you to jump into something with a man you barely know.”
“Mom, stop it! Maybe this isn’t my usual choice, but Dean’s a good man, really good, and when he looks at me, it’s like….” Anthony shook his head. “It’s enough for now.”

There was a long silence. “Okay,” his mom finally said. “I worry, that’s all. A mother’s prerogative. Actually, sweetheart, it’s nice to hear some life in your voice. Some fire. For too many months, you seemed deflated.” She didn’t add that it had been all his months with Rick deflating him, but Anthony understood her. He appreciated that his mom spared him from saying the words out loud.
“Let’s change the subject, okay?” Anthony began to mix the ingredients for his pepper sauce.
“Fine. How’s work? Are they treating you right?”
“Yes, it’s going well.”
“Don’t let them make it all about the teachers.”
“It should be about the teachers. They’re the most important thing.”
“Nonsense. Guidance counselors are every bit as important.”
“Thanks, Mom.”
“But they really should give you a raise. It’s a crime what they pay the people serving our children’s future. You know Emily and I went to school together, right? I can always call her.”
“She’s a great principal. And our raises are always two percent across the board. Nice and fair. No calls needed,” Anthony said. “Now, tell me all about my new nephew in New Jersey.”

Thanks for hosting me! I love holidays and food (maybe too much). It was fun to think about all my connections to the kitchen.

The Giveaway: Win a copy of Skylar’s other novel, Exposed

The Guy from Glamour is coming to Dreamspinner Press in January 2014.


Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

Skylar can be found on Facebook, Goodreads, or her website: http://skylarmcates.wordpress.com.

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3 Responses to “#Delectable December: Skylar Cates Gets Glamorous #mmromance”

  1. trishaharry says:

    I can’t wait for this book! 😀

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