Please welcome romantic suspense author Lillie Spencer. Lillie is here to talk about her romantic suspense novel, Manhunt. A romantic suspense, an excerpt, a recipe…what more could we ask? Please make Lillie feel welcome by leaving your questions and comments for her in the comments section following her post.
I wrote a murder mystery/romance novel set in Hershey, Pennsylvania, so what other recipe would I share with you but… Death by Chocolate! I originally found this super-easy recipe years ago in The Mr. Food Cookbook, and when he says “OOH it’s so GOOD!!” he really means it. It’s my go-to recipe to take to parties. I’ve turned bad kids good by bribing them with this recipe, I kid you not.
1 box (19.8 ounces) fudge brownie mix – I used to swear by the Betty Crocker one that came with the Hershey syrup packet, but they recently changed their formula and it’s not nearly as good. If you know of a good one, share in the comments box below!
1/4 to 1/2 cup coffee liqueur — if I’m making this for a kid’s party, I substitute sweetened black decaf coffee. If I’m making it for an adults only affair, I use a combination of Godiva chocolate liqueur, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua. It’s Death by Chocolate – Mudslide Edition!
3 packages (3.5 ounces each) instant chocolate mousse – in a jam, you can substitute pudding
8 chocolate-covered toffee candy bars (1.4 ounces each) like Skor or Heath bars
1 container (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed. I use Cool Whip.
Preheat oven and bake brownies according to brownie package directions; let cool. Prick holes in the top of the brownies with a fork and pour the coffee liqueur over brownies; set aside. Prepare chocolate mousse according to package directions. Break candy bars into small pieces in food processor (or put them in a large ziploc bag and let the kids go to town!). Break up half the brownies into small pieces and place in the bottom of a large glass bowl or trifle dish. Cover with half the mousse, then half the candy – save just a pinch to garnish the top, then half the whipped topping. Repeat layers with the remaining ingredients. Done!
One word of advice — be careful carrying it to your car. I dropped mine once and the dish smashed. I spent the entire night at the party explaining what happened to disappointed friends asking “Where’s the Death by Chocolate?” followed quickly by “What do you mean there is no Death by Chocolate?!” You get the idea. Enjoy!
Cover Blurb From Manhunt
Sometimes you have to forget it all to remember what really matters.
Michael Brennan’s life and career come to an abrupt halt when he receives a phone call telling him the love of his life, Nikki Wright, is in the hospital after another attack by her ex-boyfriend Sebastian Cross. Rushing back to Hershey, PA, Michael turns up at Nikki’s hospital bedside covered in Sebastian’s blood and tells her they have to leave immediately. Though her injuries have induced amnesia, Nikki inherently feels she can trust this man with her life. Soon, they find themselves on the run from both their own troubled pasts and authorities hunting for Sebastian’s killer. With each new day and each touch drawing her further into Michael’s embrace, Nikki remembers more about this fugitive she once loved, and who still loves her enough to risk everything to protect her and keep her safe. But can she love a man who just might be a murderer?
A Chocolate Themed Excerpt
“I got you a hot chocolate with whipped cream.”
The two dollar consolation gift failed to impress her. She returned to gazing out the window.
“Come on, Nikki, take the damn cup. I know it’s your favorite. You would think someone who lived in Hershey, Pennsylvania her entire life would be sick to death of chocolate, but not you. You’re addicted to the stuff. Always said chocolate smelled like home to you.”
It may have been irrational, but the fact that he knew all that irritated her, especially when he was so eager to share this information, but not the information she truly needed at the moment. She chose to ignore him.
She twisted to face him with a scowl. “You’re not talking to me, so I’m not talking to you!” She turned back to the window and huffed. She realized she sounded juvenile, but how else was she supposed to handle this crazy situation?
“Well, at least some things haven’t changed. You’re as hard-headed and stubborn as ever.” He put the drink in the cup holder and pulled out. The sign above the ramp to the highway indicated they were heading south.
Nikki couldn’t resist the call of the chocolate for long, and sheepishly picked it up. She saw the corner of Michael’s lips turn up a little, but he said nothing. She sipped her hot chocolate for a few moments, contemplating an alternate way to get some answers. If he was open to sharing mundane trivia, maybe she could use that to her advantage as an icebreaker which would hopefully allow her to gain more insight. It was worth a shot.
“Michael, can I ask you something?”
“You can ask me anything you like, Nikki. I’m not promising I’ll answer you, but you are more than welcome to ask.” Vague, but in truth a more positive response than the one she expected.
“What’s my favorite color?”
Michael glanced over at her, his eyebrows furrowed in a humored confusion. “THAT’S what you want to know?”
“Well, it’s a start.”
Michael chuckled at her. “I suppose it is. Your favorite color is brown, like chocolate.”
“What’s my favorite food?”
“Bacon cheeseburgers, or at least it used to be.” Michael frowned, but Nikki couldn’t begin to understand why. Maybe he was a vegetarian.
“What’s my least favorite?”
“Seafood. You watched a documentary about shrimp once and decided they were too cute to kill. After that, you wouldn’t go near seafood.”
“What’s my middle name?”
“Anne, with an ‘e.’ God forbid someone forget the e.”
And so they continued for the next several hours. Nikki was careful to keep the conversation lighthearted, not wanting him to shut down again. After a while, she stopped being surprised that he knew the answer to every single question right off the top of his head. The thought occurred to her he could be making up his responses as he went along, but she didn’t think so. He sounded quite sincere, almost reverent. She kept hoping one of his answers might spark some memory, but none of them did.
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