By: Hope Frost
A-Tac is an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. The members of A-Tac are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets. I am not usually a huge stickler for reading in order, but I would say to for the A-Tac series. In the first book you are introduced to the team and give a little back ground, that being said....I was hooked on this series from the very first HOT paragraph.
Nash and Annie were not only partners they were lovers. But when Nash thinks that Annie is a traitor and not only left him for dead but she disappeared without a trace, he has no other option then to try and move on. He takes a job with A-Tac and 8 years later, his job and Annie cross paths again, but this time, she is on the wrong side of the law, or so Nash suspects. Annie is a trained assassin and the best in the business, until she retired. When her son is kidnapped, she is given no other choice but to follow through with an assassination plot the kidnappers have mapped out for her. If she refuses, her son dies. When Nash discovers that Annie is the assassin they are supposed to subdue on his latest mission, sparks fly!!!
One of the things I found interesting is that the members of A-Tac are actually professors. They each teach classes in their expertise, it isn't just a front. I loved that there are women on the team and they are protected but not coddled. I loved that you are kept guessing until the very end, I don't like figuring out the who-did-it part half way through the book, the intrigue is part of the fascination I have with romantic suspense.
The series book has it all, HOT love scenes , lots of hunky men and strong women...there is suspense in each story line and it is revealed that there is a traitor in the group. You gather clues throughout the entire series on this traitor and I was wrong about 10 different times and still wrong, and completely shocked when the truth was discovered.
Find out more about Dee's books at her website and check out the cool, interactive A-Tac site. Dee will be giving away copies of Dangerous Desires (Book 2) and Desperate Deeds (book 3) to two lucky participants today, so make sure you comment to win!
It is still cold in Southern Oregon, so I wanted to share my favorite recipe for Chicken & Dumplins (my kind of comfort food). And after mine, Dee has sent one of her favorites for readers to try!
CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
3 to 3 1/2 lb. stewing chicken, cut up
4 celery stalk tops
1 med. carrot, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 sm. onion, sliced
2 sprigs parsley
2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
5 c. water
1/2 c. Bisquick
2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk
In large saucepan or Dutch oven, place all ingredients, except Bisquick and dumpling dough. Cover pan and heat to boiling. Cook over low heat about 2 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from pan to cool enough to chop. Add chopped chicken back in to pot and adjust heat to medium high.
Prepare dumpling dough from recipe. Drop dollops of dough directly in to boiling pot. Cook uncovered over Medium heat, 10 - 15 minutes....Enjoy!!
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch fine salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
4 large cold eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups large marshmallows
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by-8-inch square baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1 inch.
For the crust: Lightly butter the foil with some of the melted butter. Stir the rest of the butter together with the crumbs, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the brownie. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave on 75 percent power for 2 minutes. Stir, and microwave again until completely melted, about 2 minutes more. Alternatively, put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl on the pan without touching the water. Stir occasionally until melted. Stir the light brown and white sugars, vanilla and salt into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs and beat vigorously to make a thick and glossy batter. Add the flour and stir until just incorporated.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is crispy and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean, with a few crumbs, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and carefully position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat on low. Layer marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, (keep an eye on it, it can go quick), about 2 minutes. Cool on a rack, gently removing the brownies from the pan using the aluminum flaps. Carefully separate any marshmallow from the foil and fold away. Cut into 12 (2-inch) squares.
And the recipe from Dee:
Macaroni and Cheese (adapted from recipe from Artisanal Fromagerie and Bistro, NYC)
This classic dish is served at Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro and is known as “the best macaroni and cheese in town.”
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
5 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
Black pepper in a mill
3 cups Gruyere or Comte, grated (from 6 to 8 ounces)
1/2 cup mascarpone (can substitute ricotta or farmers cheese)
1lb dry pasta
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour 2 quarts of water into a 3-quart pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
2. In a small sauce pan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toss well, and set aside.
3. Put the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt it over low heat. Add the flour and cook for 4 minutes, whisking constantly. Pour in the milk and cook for 4 minutes, whisking constantly. Add 2 teaspoons salt , 4 grinds of pepper (can substitute a shake or two of white pepper), the Gruyere and mascarpone, and continue to whisk until the cheese is well incorporated. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the cheese sauce into a large bowl.
4. Add 2 tsp salt and the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, approximately 8 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander and add it to the bowl with the cheese sauce. Mix well with a wooden spoon. (can just mix in the baking dish if your prefer).
5. Pour the macaroni mixture into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 40 minutes. Serve.
Also really good with one bag of Italian grated cheese (Kraft) – 2 cups. And chopped sharp cheddar. About a cup and a half. Instead of the gruyere and mascarpone.