Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Club: Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

By Ronlyn Howe

Regan McKinney, a studious paleontologist, isn't exactly accustomed to a life of high crime. But when a mysterious note from her missing grandfather leads her to a secret surveillance site maintained by a notorious special-ops task force, and headed by a smoldering ex-fighter pilot, even Regan can't resist the chase.

Regan McKinney is the quintessential good girl.

Quinn Younger is an American Hero bad

And from the first time Quinn walked in on Regan while she was changing clothes as a teenager, they’ve been Crazy Hot for each other, despite some rather desperate attempts to get each other out of their systems. Regan however changes everything when her grandfather suddenly goes missing and she finds a note with Quinn’s name on it. For the first time in her life she decides not to play it safe and to take matters into her own hands by hunting him down. Okay, to be fair, Regan tried to play it safe, but no one would listen to her. Her grandfather has a habit of wandering off a bit so no one is convinced that he’s in any sort of trouble.

Quinn however is in hiding, or laying low as he calls it, after being on the receiving end of a particular nasty ass whoppin’. And he’s not happy about it. When Regan lands in Cisco, UT he’s on her like white on rice, which turns out to be a really good thing because Regan has lead some seriously bad bad-guys right to Quinn’s hide out.

Quinn quickly sweeps Regan into his protection, straight into his car…much to her dismay.

“What about her car? Dump it?” the boy wonder asked and Regan’s eyes got even wider.

“Whoa. Wait a minute.” She moved toward the two men and the desk, working to control the tremor in her voice. “No car dumping. No way. Not my car. If you want to dump a car, dump this one.” She gestured at the car on her left, the ugliest piece of junk she’d ever seen. It had no paint, just four or five shades of black and gray primer. It had only half a dashboard. The rest was a snake pit of wires, gauges and gizmos. It had no backseat, just a hold full of junk. What it did have was an engine sitting under the open hood, a lot of engine even to her untrained eye.

While Quinn is dealing with Regan he sends Peter “Kid Chaos” Chronopolous on ahead to protect Regan’s sister Niki. Regan is so overwhelmed with her own situation that she doesn’t remember to warn Kid.

The doorbell itself was his first clue that this was not exactly cold-beer-and-ESPN territory. It was a naked angel-a highly detailed, metal-casted, anatomically correct naked guy angel with wings spread, tips touching, standing on a fiery sun. The doorbell button was the sun and it looked hot and molten, the depths of it’s amber crystal lit from within.

His finger hovered for a second, then two before he pressed it. From somewhere within the house, a guy screamed.

Shit! He jerked his hand back. Then he felt like a fool.

Shit. No wonder the old guy had left home.

There are so many things I can say about this book and series that I really don’t know where to start. CRAZY HOT is the introduction to the guys and gals of Steele Street code named SDF. Between the guys (super hot, super cool, world class bad asses) and the cars (the hottest of the hot muscle cars that aren’t made anymore due to pesky safety standards) there is so much testosterone pumping through Steele Street that the women have to be tough and strong to take them all on. But boy do those gals taken them on.

This series is balls to the wall fun with razor sharp turns that leave you wishing you had something more than just a lap belt to keep you secure.

I want to thank the wonderful Tara Janzen for joining us today and offering up an autographed copy of CRAZY HOT, the second book in the series, to one lucky commenter.

I’m going pretty basic with my recipes this week, being that it’s summer and Quinn & Regan stop for burgers and fries, I’ll offer up my garlic burgers and homestyle fries.

Garlic Burgers

Yields 1 burger

  • 1/4 - 1/3 lb ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced/crushed
  • 1 dash liquid smoke
  • pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire or soy sauce

Combine the beef with the liquid smoke, salt, pepper and Worcestershire or soy sauce. Split in half and flatten into a thin, flat patty. Spread garlic evenly over the surface of one patty, staying a little away from the edges. Place the other patty on top and press the edges in to seal.

Grill until done to your liking.

Homestyle Oven Fries

Makes enough for 2

  • 3 medium Idaho or russet potatoes
  • small pinch of hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder or granulated onion
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
  • salt
  • non-stick spray
  • oil

Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut potatoes into steak fries. Make sure fries have been patted dry if the potatoes were stored in water. In a large bowl, mix together the potatoes with all of the spices, tossing well to ensure even coverage. Drizzle about 2 tsp of oil, tossing to combine.

Spread fries evenly on a cookie sheet lined with silicone or foil. Don't overcrowd. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes, depending on fry thickness, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes. Spray with non-stick spray about halfway through.