Thursday, November 19, 2015

Featured Guest Author: Amy Jo Cousins talks, Food, Books and her New Release Real World


We are always delighted when Amy Jo Cousins pops in for a visit. Today she’s chatting about the sensuality of food in books and her new release …Real World.

For your chance to win an e-copy of Real World, leave a comment on this post with your favorite food romance.


Eat Your Heart Out

I love food. I love cooking it. I love eating it. And I have a major ladyboner for feeding people. It satisfies so many needs, from pure hunger to the sensual to my love of caretaking. If someone is sick, I bring food. If someone is visiting from out of town, or throwing a party, or exhausted after a long day spent moving, I make food. I inevitably do a terrible job of cooking for new dates, because I get nervous and rush, but I get over that eventually. I stop burning the roasted broccoli (except for my one friend who likes it that way!), and everything is delicious.

In REAL WORLD, my holiday novella about Tom and Reese from OFF CAMPUS, food is all of these things. It’s caretaking and celebratory and a prelude to sex. I included my recipe for the best baked rigatoni ever in the back of the book, and I think we’re about to see a run on canned tomatoes and heavy cream at the grocery story. And even more than writing my own food porn, I love reading other people’s. Here are some of my favorites:

In FOR REAL by Alexis Hall, we get a delicious recipe for a lemon meringue pie and an intensely intimate and kinky romance. Hall plays with our expectations in a BDSM romance by making the younger partner of this couple with a large age gap the dominant one. Toby is a nineteen-year-old short order cook and Laurie is a thirty-seven-year-old jaded doctor. When Toby first cooks for Laurie, his thoughts are all about taking care of him, and maybe showing off a little.

“I know it’s just scrambled eggs, not like cordon bleu, but there’s something that feels right to me about cooking. It’s calm and focus at the same time. And you get something real at the end of it, something that can make someone happy.”

And when Toby makes the lemon meringue pie…whoo boy…

R. Cooper’s A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO WOOING YOUR MATE is even more food-saturated, with Zeki, the human witch hero, and Theo, the werewolf firefighter Zeki rejected five years earlier when they were in high school, without even knowing it. Theo subsumes all of his yearning and pain into the baked goods he makes for various town charity raffles and fundraisers, until even Zeki can taste it:

“This is how a sugar cookie should be,” he said around a tasty mouthful. “This cookie wants me to eat it.” His own choice of words made him pause again, his thoughts whirling…”The cookie yesterday, the moon, gave me the sensation of longing for more before I’d even finished it. This one… the panda design is cute, but this cookie… it’s impossible to ignore this cookie. It only took one bite to hook me. It wants to be noticed.”

Zeki and Theo are amazingly sweet and oblivious and practically shivering with their need for one another. They’re lovely together.

Annabeth Albert’s BAKED FRESH in her PORTLAND HEAT series has a baker who is crushing out on a guy he volunteers with at a homeless shelter. Vic’s highest aspiration is to be Robin’s rebound guy, although we want so much more for him right from page one. I loved reading the shelter scenes just as much as the romantic ones, because Vic’s pleasure in taking care of people just shines in them:

“Most people took the rolls and declined the chitchat, but every now and then I’d get a talky table. Sometimes they’d just want to listen to some little story of mine, like a ruined cake or a memory of my dad’s burned coffee. I wasn’t anywhere near the storyteller Dad had been, but I tried to make things funny and light for my table. Getting people fed, making them laugh—for me it was better than a plate of warm pasta.”

I could go on and on about food romances. Amy Lane’s CANDY MAN and BITTER TAFFY revolve around people who work at and meet their matches at a candy shop. Irene Preston’s A TASTE OF YOU has a hot British chef, and KA Mitchell’s NOT KNOWING JACK has a sophisticated American one who is keeping secrets from his bartender boyfriend. And in the Regency romance BROOK STREET: THIEF by Ava March, cooking becomes the way an ex-thief and a gentleman manage to shape a life together. With all of these books, food and love get all mashed up together, and the combination makes my heart swoon.

Do you love food in romance? As a side note, if you do, you should absolutely check out Elisabeth Lane’s Cooking Up Romance blog. She is a glorious cook, a masterful food photographer, and writes insightful posts about romance novels that illuminate them to me in new ways. (She’s got a gorgeous guest post by Roan Parrish up right now with three different ways to serve gingerbread that made me drool.) I’m a fan. In the meantime, comment with your favorite food romance for a chance to win an ebook of REAL WORLD!


Real World

(Bend or Break #5)

Amy Jo Cousins

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Publisher ~ Samhain Publishing

Published ~ 17 November 2015

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance



When talking fails, it’s time to break out the big guns.

Five years ago, Tom Worthington busted his ass to overcome the fear and paranoia that led him to withdraw from the world and nearly lose his boyfriend. He never thought he’d find himself right back there, shutting Reese out, keeping secrets again.

Reese Anders is ready to try anything to get Tom to talk: if he can’t seduce his boyfriend with food, he’ll get Tom to open up in bed. But even Tom’s confession that his dad is getting out of prison soon doesn’t clear the air between them. And as the holidays approach, intensive mentoring from a new British boss creates more distractions, until Reese is keeping secrets of his own.

At a company Christmas party, it only takes Tom one look at Reese’s new boss to figure out how much danger their relationship is in. But he’s not about to let the connection that started all those years ago at Carlisle come to an end. It’s time to deal with their problems like adults. Face to face. Or back to front. Starting in the bedroom.

Warning: This book contains two adorable guys with way too many secrets, conciliatory rigatoni, a bedroom lesson on the power of multitasking, and indisputable evidence on what makes the perfect holiday HEA.

::: REVIEW :::

  Purchase Links



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Meet Amy Jo Cousins

Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.

Fun facts: Amy Jo can get back into a kayak in the open water if she falls out of it, taught herself and her son how to say I love you in seventeen languages, and once ran the table in a game of eight ball.


For more books by Amy Jo, check out her




Please leave a comment with your favorite food romance for a chance to win an ebook of REAL WORLD!

Please leave your email address with your comment so we can contact the lucky winner. You never know, it could be you!

Good Luck!


  1. Well, I don't think I ever read a food romance... I'm quite intrigued about any recommendation though.
    foebz (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. You'll have to try one out! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Food romance...hmm...I really enjoyed EM Lynley's Spaghetti Western book.

    1. I love the title Spaghetti Western! That's awesome. :) Thank you!

  3. Macarons at Midnight, Souffles at Sunrise and Devils Food at Dusk by Anna Martin & MJ O'Shea. Awesome books

    Thanks for chance
    Oorjanie at yahoo dot com

    1. I've been meaning to try those books! Thanks for reminding me!

    2. Congratulations! ~ you are our lucky winner. Watch out for our email in your inbox

  4. Hmmm! I see two of my favorites have already been mentioned! I enjoyed Spaghetti Western, Devils Food at Dusk, and Rules of the Chef by Nicole Dennis. I am looking forward to reading Real World and thank you so much for the opportunity to win it!

    ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.