Monday, November 4, 2013

A Bit of Southern Comfort Food


Thank you for having me on Just Contemporary Romance to share my new sexy small town romance, which came out today (!) from Carina Press.

Chance of Rain is about being lost and finding your way home. It’s about grief and comfort. And sometimes the best comfort is the company of friends and a good, hearty meal.

Food has a special place in the book as well…clearly, since my heroine owns a diner. This too means more to her than a source of income. This diner was started by her grandmother, the tough-as-nails woman who raised her. The diner is the center of the town, where most people stop in at some point in the day, where friends are made and kept—even where business is conducted, over a steaming plate of chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes.

These are the opening lines of Chance of Rain, where Natalie describes her feelings about the diner: 

Every morning at 4:00 a.m., Natalie Bouchard pulled down fifty vinyl chairs from the lacquered tables. In a matter of hours, they filled with friends. She shared her space, her food, her heart, and in doing so, she never ran empty. Tired and foot-sore, but never alone.

She loves this diner and what all those empty chairs represent. They represent her friends. Her family. This is what southern comfort food means to her.

Personally, I love breakfast tacos and kolaches. Not only are they delicious, but they speak to the heritage of Texas. From the south we have the Mexican influence, and the Hill Country in central Texas, the setting for Chance of Rain, has a large German heritage. I love sweet tea and ice cream on a hot summer day. I love warm cider and kettle corn on a wintry one.

In truth, it’s not the type of food that matters, it’s the act of preparing it for someone we love. It’s the act of service and caretaking. I hope you enjoy this scene from Chance of Rain, where Sawyer has just visited Natalie’s apartment above the diner. He’s found two ducklings who need a home, so he’s brought them to Natalie because he knows she can care for them. And she can care for him too…

When she looked up, she found him munching on a biscuit from the counter.

He froze. “Sorry,” he said, his mouth full.

Reluctant amusement tugged at her lips. “Hungry, are you?”

He swallowed. “These are really good.”

“Sit down at the table, and I’ll fix you a proper meal.”

She didn’t have to ask him twice. Since she hadn’t eaten either, she prepared two plates and popped them in the microwave. He dug into the steaming plate of chicken as soon as it was served.

Natalie munched on a piece of broccoli, watching him, wondering at the warmth inside her. Partly it was sexual—he was hot even while scarfing down leftovers—but it was more than that. She always felt some satisfaction to think of nourishing people with the food she served. Their company was an added bonus. With Sawyer those feelings ran deeper—cut a little too close, actually. Briefly she wondered if she should guard herself against him, protect herself, but she remembered Barry’s advice. Sawyer didn’t look like a man struggling to adjust. In fact, settled in at her kitchen table, he looked right at home.

“You’re always welcome at the diner.”

His answer was delayed by a drink of water. “I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.”

“The idea that you eat food?”

He slanted her a dire look that did nothing to dampen her spirits, just her panties. “That I’m going to join the club. The small town club where we get in each other’s business.”

“Yeah, you wouldn’t want to accidentally make any friends.”

He paused, his fork midair. “Sometimes I think you’re all sweet and innocent. Then times like this I wonder if you don’t know exactly what you do to me.”

Thank you again for having me on Just Contemporary Romance! I have the blurb and links for Chance of Rain below, and I hope you enjoy the sexy antics of these two as you find out exactly what Natalie ends up doing to Sawyer. :)

Chance of Rain

The only things Natalie Bouchard wants to change are the weekly specials in her Gram’s diner. So when her high school sweetheart strolls back into Dearling, Texas, she allows herself to indulge in a little flirtation, but that’s as far as it goes.

Navy SEAL Sawyer Nolan has returned to sell his father’s land and get the hell out, no matter how enticing he still finds Natalie. Until a storm rolls over the Texas hills, stranding them together at the farm…and the memories of their steamy past  lead to a reunion filled with hot days and long nights.   

Soon Natalie’s so far under Sawyer’s skin he can’t imagine being without her. But he has a lot of history in Dearling he’d like to leave behind, and Natalie is practically married to this town.  If Sawyer wants to be more than just another person who leaves Natalie, he’ll have to give his hometown—and himself—one more chance.

Read it now:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

To celebrate Chance of Rain’s release day, I’m giving away a $10 gift certificate on JCR. All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know your favorite southern comfort food and you’re entered to win.

Thank you!

Amber Lin writes edgy romance with damaged hearts, redemptive love, and a steamy ever after. RT Book Reviews called her debut novel, Giving It Up, “truly extraordinary.” Amber married her high school sweetheart, gave birth to a kid who’s smarter than she is, and spends her nights writing down her dirty thoughts. In other words, life is good.

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Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Nov. 4th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JCR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. Not sure if its Southern... but, my fav comfort food is mashed potatoes. Of course if I need lots of comfort I add a bit of sour cream, green onions, bacon bits and cheddar cheese to the potatoes.

    Born and raised in a small town... left and came back. I love a story I can relate to like a Chance of Rain.
    Thank you for the giveaway.
    Julie O
    jo1963jo at gmail dot com

  2. Hmm, not sure if mine counts as Southern either but my favorite is chili. There's just no way you can go wrong with it!! This sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing it with us!


  3. Fried chicken...hands down! I love small town romances of all kinds so I"m adding this to my TBR list!

    ahui89 at hotmail dot com

  4. I've got a couple. If you haven't tried the Southern (with a capital "S") version of macaroni and cheese, you haven't died and gone to heaven yet. Another yum which I never thought I would ever put in my mouth is fried pork chops. My husband makes this and I refused to eat them the first few years we were married. When I finally succumbed, I couldn't believe I'd turned my nose up for so long! Of course, you can't eat these often and you have to plan for them:)

    Love the premise for your book!

    Jonettaallen77 at yahoo dot com

  5. My favorite is meatloaf! Nothing better! :)

    Your book sounds great!! I love small town romances!

  6. South Italian (I'm from Italy ^-^) comfort food counts? If the answer is yes, my answer is Melanzane Alla Parmigiana; orherwise Fried chicken ;)

  7. Happy release! Fried chicken

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com


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