Books are great, am I right? We all know that. But books involving cake are something on a whole different level, meaning I am VERY excited about Petit Four, a new anthology of stories, edited by Lucy Simone. With a total of four stories and contributions from Cindy Arora, Lucy Simone herself, Joel Zlotnik and one of my personal favourites, Sue Watson, I can’t wait to discover this book. Look at that beautiful cake-infused cover…wowzers.
Here’s a little more about Petit Four and the four authors behind the book, plus an excerpt to whet your appetite…Enjoy!
Excerpt for “Aprez Vous” by Lucie Simone
“Does your mother know you packed that outfit?” Tara said to the empty room. She doubted her sister would have let Marissa out of the house knowing that skirt was in her suitcase. Meg was what magazines called a ‘helicopter parent.’ It was practically a miracle that she’d even let Marissa go on this trip. But Tara had assured her that she’d keep Marissa out of trouble. Besides, it was her job as an aunt to spoil her rotten.
Growing up in the quiet suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina, Meg and Tara had been raised on a proper Southern diet of hospitality, grace, and censure. While Meg was always the ‘good girl,’ Tara had acquired a more rebellious reputation in her teen years with her green Doc Martens, purple hair, and passionate political debates. In fact, her summer excursion to Europe only happened because she had earned a full ride to New York University and her father figured she deserved a bit of fun before freshman year. Whereas Meg had always been tied to their mother’s apron strings, Tara was Daddy’s girl. And it was his word that ruled the household.
Now, Tara slipped on her sandals and dropped her bag on the console table in the foyer. Beyond the French doors in the living room, the sun was indeed descending past the horizon, and soon the Eiffel Tower would burst into light. They’d never make it to the park in time for the show.
She went into the kitchen and retrieved the complimentary bottle of champagne from the refrigerator, a bottle of sparking water for Marissa, and two flutes from the cupboard, and headed out to the balcony. Settling in on the chaise lounge, she saw her niece step into the living room wearing a pair of jeans, Vans, and a T-Shirt emblazoned with Che Guevara’s image. Well, there was a little Tara in her after all.
“Munchkin! Out here,” Tara called.
Marissa hurried out onto the balcony. “What’s going on?”
“We won’t make it in time for the light show, so let’s watch it from here.”
Marissa took a seat, folding her legs under her as Tara carefully opened the bottle of champagne, wrapping a towel around the top and twisting until the familiar ‘pop,’ signaling a celebration, rang out.
“Oh, but it didn’t fizz all over the place,” Marissa said, slightly disappointed.
“That only happens to amateurs.”
Marissa picked up one of the flutes from the table between them and held it out to Tara.
“Nope. Sparkling water for you, little Miss.
“But we’re in France. It’s legal here.”
“Not on my watch. Your mother would have my head.”
“Okay,” Marissa sighed, twisting the cap off the bottle of Perrier as the last ray of sunshine slid beneath the horizon.
“Watch,” Tara said, pointing with her glass at the Eiffel Tower in the near distance as it exploded into sparkling light.
It blazed white and gold and a huge spotlight erupted from the top of the tower like a beacon. Both women watched in silence for the next ten minutes as the structure twinkled in the darkness, Tara gazing part of the time at Marissa, her face aglow with joy and wonder. She remembered that feeling, the first time she saw the tower light up. The feeling that anything was possible. It was as captivating then as it was now. And as the lights settled into a steady golden hue, she lifted her glass of champagne in a toast.
“To Paris,” Marissa said, raising her flute.
“To new memories,” Tara said, clinking her glass against her niece’s.
Cake is often a major part of life’s celebrations, both big and small. From birthdays to wedding days, cake, in all its delectable concoctions, marks joyous occasions with a sweetness that can’t be beat. But even better is the love that is shared when two people connect over a sweet confection. Maybe it’s a cute new guy wreaking havoc on a broken heart, or a beautiful woman testing the limits of love, or an old beau stirring up long lost desires. Whatever the circumstances, cake can always be relied upon to save the day when it comes to affairs of the heart. In this collection of short stories, cake is the delicious center around which each tale unfolds and romance blooms.
When single mom and journalist, Olivia, sets out to find romance in Cindy Arora’s “Cake Therapy,” she gets a little help from her friends and more than a few slices of cake to coax her off the couch and into the arms of a truly great love. Lucie Simone’s “Aprez Vous” finds success-driven Tara in Paris reminiscing of her long lost love, Jean Marc, and her niece bound and determined to reunite them. In “The Heart-Shaped Secret of Raspberry Jam” by Sue Watson, cake enthusiast, Milly, meets her match in the kitchen, and other places, when new owners take over the tea rooms where she works and her talents and her heart are put to the test. And Scott, mayor of a small seaside community, flirts with political suicide in Joel Zlotnik’s “Her Charms” when he falls for new-in-town Nicole, an entrepreneur with a passion for cupcakes, and whose latest venture proves a little too sexy for the sleepy beach town.
From San Francisco to Paris, from small towns to tea rooms, this anthology tempts readers with humor, style, romance, and the powerful aphrodisiac that is cake. Petit Four is four stories, frosted with love.
Available November 7th at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo
About the Authors… ♥
Lucie Simone has a passion for travel, romance and all things chick lit. She also has a degree in Journalism and a Master of Fine Arts in Television Production. She is the author of novels, Hollywood Ending and Picture Perfect, both offering an insider’s take on life in the City of Angels. Her love of comedy (and living under the delusion that she might one day be an actress) resulted in a stint studying improvisation, which, ironically enough, taught her to be a better writer. She lives in Los Angeles (and loves it), but considers New York City her imaginary second home and visits the Big Apple as often as her bank account will allow. For more information on Lucie, please visit her website at www.luciesimone.com.
Cindy Arora was a staff writer at The San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register and Sacramento Magazine. She’s been published in Saveur, Tasting Table, Orange Coast Magazine and Fodor’s. She’s also mama to an adorable little boy, a feminist, a whiskey enthusiast, and proud to call herself a Chick Lit author. She is the author of Heartbreak Cake, a delicious debut novel, and a contributor to the anthology, Merry & Bright, with her story, “Christmas at Mulberry Inn.” To learn more about Cindy, please visit www.cindyarora.com.
Sue Watson is a former BBC TV Producer who woke up one morning to the realisation that there was no such thing as ‘having it all.’ Marriage, motherhood and a full-time career were taking over her life and what she really wanted to do was stay home all day, bake and eat cake, watch reality TV and write… in that order. So she quit the day job, baked a year’s supply of cupcakes and chased the dream. What followed was a lot of cake and many hours in the company of ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ ‘The Biggest Loser,’ and ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ During this, time Sue also managed to write a few books too: Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes; Younger, Thinner, Blonder; Love, Lies and Lemon Cake; and her latest cake offering, Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake. Learn more about Sue by visiting www.suewatsonbooks.com.
Joel Zlotnik is a former Southern California journalist who was lucky enough to find a second career on the other side of the notepad, answering questions instead of asking them. He recently cancelled his cable so he would write more and quickly discovered online binge watching. You can find him living at the beach in South Orange County, where he listens to records, reads and watches the waves. Find some of his essays and short fiction at http://www.joelzlotnik.com.