It’s TeaserTuesday and today’s little snippet is from TORI GOT LUCKY, my January re-release! TORI GOT LUCKY is a story about four friends, their moms, their men and what happens when a surprise elopement upsets the balance of the four friends’ lives.
You’ll be able to see more of the friends in TO CATCH HER MAN which will be released in April and be part of the Dangerous Dozen Romantic Suspense Box Set.
This teaser is from the scene where Tori and Gil have announced that they plan to get married. At a family dinner like this one, their might be some empanadas as appetizers or as a treat afterward.
Gil leaned near to her and whispered, “They’re not happy, are they?”
She laughed harshly and glanced at her erstwhile husband-to-be. “My love. Nothing that I do will ever make them happy.”
“But I know what will make you happy,” he whispered.
She flicked him a half glance from beneath lowered lids and let Sinfully Sexy Tori emerge. “Really? And that would be?” she said suggestively.
Gil gazed around the table and grinned, displaying that delicious dimple in one cheek. He shifted his chair closer and no one noticed. They were all too busy arguing about who had to be invited, as if they hadn’t even heard that Gil and she wanted to keep the wedding small.
He slipped his hand on her thigh beneath the table. Her pulse accelerated a notch from just that. “Gil.”
He ignored her warning, brought his face near to hers. The warmth of his breath spilled against the side of her face while he whispered in her ear, “I want to be home. In bed. Inside you.”
Heat and desire rocketed through her. “Gil, please. My family — ”
“Is going to make us crazy, Tori. Tell them again. Then let’s go home,” he urged and moved away.
She glanced around the table where the conversation continued spiritedly and coughed to get their attention. Nothing happened. She coughed a little louder, which finally drew her mother’s attention.
“Are you getting sick?”
“Yes, mom. I’m sick of all this talk when Gil and I made ourselves clear.”
Her mother immediately protested. “But Victoria.”
“No buts. The wedding will be in three months.”
“But people will think the worst.”
She cut her mother off with a wicked slash of her hand. “I don’t care what people will think.”
Stunned silence followed that pronouncement. Flushed with the success of that, she inched her chin up rebelliously, and slowly and carefully stated their announcement once more. “We will be married within the next three months. We will make a list of who we would like to invite, but will keep your wishes in mind.”
She raised her index finger into the air to emphasize her last point. “We, as in me and Gil, will decide what to do.” When she finished, she motioned to Gil and her with her free hand, for Gil still gripped the other one tightly.
The silence continued, uninterrupted except for the rattle of Aunt Carmencita’s espresso cup as she set it down and the clack clack of her grandmother’s rosary beads. Her father finally broke the hush by addressing Gil.
“You are going to allow Tori to speak to us like this? To tell us, her family, that we have no say in this marriage?” With each word his voice escalated in volume.
Gil looked her way and beneath her breath, she began a little prayer of her own, hoping that he wouldn’t say the wrong thing or worse, give in to her family’s demands. That would only set a dangerous precedent for the future.
Straightening his shoulders, Gil glanced at her father, and then at her mother. He inclined his head respectfully and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez. I don’t tell Tori what to do just as Tori doesn’t tell me what to do. This is a partnership. Together, Tori and I have made a decision about what we want. I know that what you want most is to see her happy.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Of course that’s what we want.”
Her parents tripped over each other with their replies, belying their haste to set things right. Her grandmother and aunt mumbled similar agreement beneath their breaths. Score one for Gil, she thought, battling the smile that wanted to emerge.
“Then I assure you that I will make her happy and that whatever plans Tori and I make together, will make her happy,” Gil finished.
Silence reigned again and she breathed a sigh of relief, but knew this was but the first skirmish. Suddenly, she was sure she didn’t want to deal with the wedding planning battles that were sure to come.
“Let’s go, Gil.” She rose and tugged on Gil’s hand. “I have to be in court early tomorrow and have some papers to finish tonight.”
Gil looked at her oddly for a moment, but then quickly jumped up from his chair. “I’m sorry. I forgot you had that case in the morning.”
“You’re always working so hard. I hope that when you and Gil are married, you’ll find more time for family.”
“Mom, I really have to go,” she reminded and rushed around the table, planting perfunctory kisses on the cheeks of each family member and hurrying Gil out to the car.
As they drove home, Tori thought about what had happened at dinner. Envisioned the nightmare that would follow if her family continued to meddle with the plans she and Gil had for their wedding. She thought about her discussion with her friends earlier in the week. Their admonishment that she not let anyone force her into doing what she didn’t want to do.
She didn’t want the nightmare. She didn’t want the whole big traditional wedding thing. The only thing she did want was to have Gil as her husband, as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
“We should elope. Avoid all this craziness and just do it,” she said.
“Just get married? What about your family?”
“My family would deal with it. Just like they dealt with us living together.”
Gil gave a strangled chuckle. “They didn’t speak to either of us for a couple of weeks.”
“And that was bad because?” She arched one eyebrow upward to emphasize her point.
As if realizing she was truly serious, Gil pulled off the road just before the start of the causeway and into a parking lot for a copter service. He killed the engine, turned in his seat and looked at her, concern etched into his features. “You really mean that, don’t you?”
She looked down at her hands, nervously clasped and unclasped her fingers. Softly she said, “My whole life I’ve done what everyone’s expected of me. Measured up to whatever stick they used.”
She raised her head and faced him. “I’m tired of doing what everyone else wants. I’m tired of conforming. Of being the boring and predictable Tori everyone expects.”
Sadness and a hint of hurt flickered across his face. “Doesn’t seem like a very good reason for rushing into a long-lasting relationship.”
She cradled his cheek. “Then how’s this. . . You make me laugh and smile and even cry sometimes. But the one thing I want more than anything is to have you in my life forever. Starting as quickly as possible so I can have my wicked way with you.” She paused for a breath and finally said, “Guillermo Gonzalez. I’m asking you to just do it. Just marry me.”
A broad grin spread across his face. “Well, when you put it that way.”
Empanadas are little filled pastries that are so tasty and don’t have to be all that hard to make. In fact, you can go semi-homemade to have these for a quick meal.
For beef empanadas, start off with the Picadillo recipe I had shared with you!
Purchase pre-made pie crusts, or if you can find them, the pre-made pastry sheets (not phyllo, but the same pastry as for the crust). Some say use a 3 inch cutter, but I like to go a little bit bigger. Make circles out of the pastry dough and then take a tablespoon or so of the picadillo and place it on one half of the round. Then fold over and seal by pressing the edges with a fork. Place the empanadas on a greased cookie sheet and do a quick egg wash over them. Bake for about 15 minutes at 375.
I’ve got a sweet tooth, so I also make guayaba and cheese empanadas. You do the same thing with the pastry dough, but inside you place a small piece of guayaba paste and some sweetened cream cheese. I sweeten mine with a little confectioners sugar and also add a bit of vanilla. Do the egg wash and bake and you’ll have a sweet tasty treat!