Tuesday Treat – Canadian Treats
Hi, everyone! I really appreciate Naomi letting me take over her blog today – thanks, Naomi! I’m here to celebrate the release of my first trade paperback, Canadian Connections, featuring two contemporary erotic romances: Letting Jack Watch (an M/F/M by me, Katheryn Wallis), and Hot Fusion (an M/F by Cristal Ryder). Both of our books were originally published as part of the Oh, Canada! series by Ellora’s Cave, and now they’re available together in one trade paperback anthology.
In keeping with the Tuesday Treat theme – and because my book is set in Canada and I’m Canadian myself – I’ve decided to write a bit about Canadian treats, both generally and as they appear in my novel.
I lived in the US for three years, and the three Canadian treats I missed the most during that time were butter tarts, puffed wheat squares, and Old Dutch BBQ potato chips.
Butter tarts are little pastries filled with a wonderful sugary, syrupy filling. (Think pecan pie with no pecans, only even better.) They often have raisins in them as well, but I hate raisins (except on their own, raw), so I never put raisins in mine.
Puffed wheat squares are kind of like Rice Krispie squares, only they’re made with puffed wheat cereal instead, and the gooey stuff is chocolatey rather than marshmallowy.
And Old Dutch is a Western Canadian brand of potato chips. Their BBQ flavor is the best I’ve ever tasted… in fact, I like them so much I wrote about them in my book. Caitlin Cook, the heroine of Letting Jack Watch, moves to Edmonton, Alberta, from Princeton, New Jersey, and falls in love with Old Dutch BBQ chips. (She also falls in love with a hunky police officer or two… but you’ll have to read the book for more details on that. :-)
Some other Canadian treats include poutine – French fries with gravy and mozzarella cheese or, more properly, cheese curds. There are Nanaimo bars from Nanaimo, BC – dessert squares with three layers: chocolatey coconut on the bottom, yellow sweet custardy stuff in the middle, and more chocolate on top. And every time I’m at the airport, I go to one of the corny little tourist shops and buy myself some ridiculously overpriced maple sugar candies. They’re wicked expensive and very bad for you – after all, they’re just pure sugar – but they’re sooooooo good.
What Canadian treats have you heard of, or tried? What special treats do people eat where you come from?
Canadian Connections is a trade paperback anthology featuring my first novel, a contemporary M/F/M erotic ménage called Letting Jack Watch, and Hot Fusion, a contemporary M/F by Cristal Ryder. Both our books were originally published as part of the Oh, Canada! series, by Ellora’s Cave.
Here are short blurbs for both of the stories in this anthology:
Letting Jack Watch by Katheryn Wallis
Edmonton cop Jack has one rule for dating—don’t get emotionally involved. A string of short-term flings leaves him dissatisfied, though, and he starts to envy his partner, Jeremy, who’s been dating curvy redhead Caitlin for a year. Then Jack glimpses something forbidden—and realizes a glimpse is not enough. For Caitlin and Jeremy, letting Jack watch began as an accident and became a game. But they soon realize the game has high stakes—and threatens to tear them apart forever. Jeremy doesn’t want to lose his best friend, but what will he have to sacrifice to keep Jack around? Caitlin knows what she wants, but getting it might destroy everything. And Jack may have come second, but he won’t settle for second best. He started out just watching. Now he wants it all.
After fleeing her hometown years ago, Kara Sinclair has returned to breathe life back into the bakery her deceased grandmother left behind. She has a history in this town—one that involves her one true love. A boy she’d thought she’d give her life to before circumstance got in the way. She needs to focus on her task, but one look at Maxwell Stone and all the old feelings return. And it isn’t long before she can think of nothing else but reigniting the passion they once shared. Max never understood what drove Kara away all those years ago, and once she returns to their Canadian hometown, he’s hell bent on getting her back into his life…and his bed. But when he uncovers the reason she left him behind, he must decide if he can move on from the past and trust his heart with the only woman he’s ever loved.
Here’s an excerpt from Letting Jack Watch:
Jeremy glanced at Jack, wondering what was on his mind. Jack usually let Jeremy drive the patrol car, preferring to handle the radio and computer. Today, though, Jack had grabbed the keys and slid behind the wheel himself. This was unusual. He also seemed tense, drumming on the steering wheel with nervous energy, a muscle moving in his cheek as he repeatedly clenched his jaw.
Through two speeding tickets on surface streets and a fender bender on the Yellowhead, Jeremy held his tongue, hoping Jack would volunteer whatever was on his mind. After a quick lunch at Tim Hortons—chili combo for Jack, club sandwich and soup combo for Jeremy—and an arrest for illegal weapons possession, through which Jack continued to fidget and also began to dart quick, hesitant glances at his partner, Jeremy finally decided to take matters into his own hands.
“So,” Jeremy began when Jack paused in his nervous tapping on the steering wheel. “What’s eating you?”
Jack glanced at him, then quickly looked back at the road. He made a right onto 111th Avenue. They passed 109th Street. “Nothing,” he said finally, and unconvincingly.
“Something is,” Jeremy persisted. “You’ve been acting weird since the weekend. Spill.”
Jack sighed. “Fine,” he said. “I just...I owe you an apology. And Caitlin too, probably, only I’d actually rather you didn’t tell her about this.”
“About what?” Jeremy was surprised. He couldn’t remember any incident requiring an apology. And Caitlin and Jack always got along great.
“When I slept over at your place on Saturday night,” Jack explained, “I went out on the balcony before I went to sleep. Just to get some air.” He squinted, either reacting to the bright sunlight pouring through his window or anticipating a negative reaction from Jeremy.
“And,” he continued reluctantly when his partner didn’t say anything, “I, uh, accidentally looked through your bedroom window.”
“So?” Jeremy was confused. Who cared if Jack saw his bedroom? He’d been in it dozens of times.
“Well, you guys were...I mean, Caitlin was, uh...”
Watching the blush creep up Jack’s neck to his cheeks, slightly darkened with stubble though he’d shaved before their shift as usual, Jeremy suddenly remembered what he and Caitlin had been doing that night, and realized just what Jack must have witnessed. “Oh,” he said. “Right.”
“Yeah,” Jack said.
There was an awkward silence for a moment, as Jack eased up to a red light. They watched a couple on the sidewalk next to them, white male and white female, both in their late teens, arguing. The male stepped threateningly toward the female, shouting, and Jeremy put one hand on his seat belt buckle, ready to step out and grab the guy if things looked to get physical. But at the female’s retort, the male turned, shaking his head, and walked away.
“So, that’s it?” Jeremy asked. “You just glanced in the window?”
“Yeah,” Jack said, but then sighed. “Okay, honestly, I stood there for a couple minutes. I was kind of surprised, you know?”
“Don’t tell me you’re surprised I have sex with my girlfriend,” Jeremy teased, trying to ease his partner’s tension a bit. Jack was clearly upset about what he’d done. Jeremy wasn’t upset himself, though, to his own surprise. He felt like he ought to be mad at Jack, but for some reason, he just wasn’t.
“Of course not.” Jack grinned. “You guys obviously have a healthy relationship.” He looked over at Jeremy again, apparently reassuring himself that his best friend wasn’t furious. “Anyway, as soon as I realized what I was doing, I left,” he finished. “So, I’m sorry, pal.”
“No problem,” Jeremy said. “Thanks for telling me.”
“You sure we’re cool?” Jack still sounded worried.
“Of course,” Jeremy said. He meant it. “This is why you’ve been acting weird since then?”
“Yeah,” Jack admitted. “I wasn’t sure what you guys would think of me.”
“Well, it’s best to have everything out in the open, don’t you think?” Now that the worst was apparently out, Jeremy thought Jack could stand a bit of teasing, to lighten things up. “Now I know that you’re a voyeur pervert, and you know how amazing I am in bed.”
Jack burst out laughing. “I didn’t see that part, dude—sorry.” He shook his head. “I did see that Caitlin’s pretty amazing, though,” he added, then bit his lip, as if fearing he’d crossed a line.
“Yeah, she is,” Jeremy agreed proudly. Maybe that was what was really bugging Jack—was he comparing what he’d seen Caitlin doing with his own experiences, and finding the latter lacking? If so, he could certainly understand that. Jeremy had been with other girls before Caitlin, but sex with her was definitely the best he’d ever had. “How were things with Leanne? Would she...you know, go down on you?”
“Oh yeah,” Jack said. “That wasn’t a problem.” And it hadn’t been, not in the sense that Leanne had been willing—if not necessarily eager—to give him a blowjob. Most of the other girls he’d hooked up with in the last year had been willing to as well, at least on occasion. Getting some action when he wanted it wasn’t usually a problem for Jack. But somehow, it never felt the way Jeremy and Caitlin had looked that night.
“So, why’d you dump her then?” Jeremy asked curiously. “I thought she was nice.”
“Yeah,” Jack said. “She was.” Leanne had been nice. She was tall—only an inch or so shorter than Jack’s five feet, eleven inches—and slender, with curly hair, warm eyes and a sexy, sultry voice. And, after two weeks of dating, she had offered Jack a key to her apartment. And invited him to Sunday brunch with her parents. That was when Jack had dumped her.
Things had gotten ugly after that, before Jack had cut and run. Leanne had called him several things, none of them pleasant. The four-letter words he didn’t mind so much—people swore when they were angry, and she’d had a right to be angry. But some of the other words she’d thrown at him—things like “coward” and “commitment-phobe”—had hit a little closer to home.
“I don’t know,” Jack said finally, realizing Jeremy was waiting for him to go on. “Things were just moving too fast, I guess. Girls always want to jump right in, you know? Do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars, go straight to living together and lifetime commitment. What’s wrong with just having a little fun?”
“Is that really all you want?” Jeremy asked. He was honestly curious. “I mean, I hate the dating scene. Going to bars and coffee shops, trying to find a girl who’s more than just a pretty face. Don’t you want to get past all that superficial stuff and find someone you can really connect with? Really trust?” He smiled, more to himself than to Jack. “Caitlin’s amazing. Yeah, she’s gorgeous, and she’s incredible in bed, and that matters a lot, but she’s also fun. And nice, and smart. And I can talk to her—really talk to her. About anything.” Jeremy cleared his throat. “I’ve finally found the perfect girl, and I’m never going to let her go. I can’t imagine going through all that again.”
“Yeah, well, I thought I had all that too,” Jack said, trying not to sound bitter and jealous. It was hard—harder than usual, somehow, after having seen Caitlin and Jeremy in bed together. “With Angela. But then my ‘perfect’ girl found her perfect guy. Who wasn’t me. And she started fucking him behind my back.” He sighed, running a hand through his black curls. “You just never know, Jer. You never know.”
Jeremy opened his mouth to protest, but before he could speak the radio crackled to life, summoning them to back up some fellow officers on a traffic stop near Kingsway Garden Mall. Jack shoulder checked, then pulled a U-turn while Jeremy grabbed the mike to acknowledge the call.
“Anyway,” Jack said when Jeremy returned the mike to its hook. “Are we good? About last weekend?”
“Yeah, we’re good,” Jeremy confirmed. Now, he reflected as they sped back east on 111th Avenue, all he needed to do was figure out why Jack’s voyeuristic revelation hadn’t bothered him.
The new print anthology, Canadian Connections, featuring my book: http://www.jasminejade.com/p-10450-canadian-connections.aspx
Letting Jack Watch (ebook):
My email: KatherynWallisAuthor@gmail.com
Facebook: Katheryn Wallis (Warning: I don’t use FB much…)