Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Thursday's Tasty Temptations

In My Wildest Dreams

Food is a major part of our everyday lives. It sustains us. Whether it's a quick lunch to get us through the afternoon or a leisurely gathering with friends, food is always included.

What better way to make the characters in a book real than to have them gather in the kitchen to cook and enjoy a meal together?

Apparently, being kidnapped and dragged through the woods in your nightgown curbs your appetite since we don't have see a food reference until chapter thirteen. Here, Lynzi is introduced to another member of the family, Aunt Pet and a couple of her magical healing recipes. Let's take a look at what's cooking.

“Lynzi, dear, how are you?” Layne’s mama asked with genuine concern as she stroked my hair and kissed me gently on the forehead.

“Better, thank you, now that I’m here,” I said in Layne’s direction.

“I’m so relieved you’re safe again. I can’t believe this happened. Pet and I are working on stronger safeguards now. We will not allow this to happen again, I promise you. Oh, dear, this is our Aunt Pet. She’s a wonder with magic and herbal remedies and has made some special tea to help your body heal.”

A petite woman, Aunt Pet stood no more than four feet tall, with silver hair drawn into a bun at the nape of her neck. When Layne had said she was old, I expected her to be pushed in a wheel chair or walking with the help of a cane but she was surprisingly youthful, spunky even.

“It’s so good to meet you, Aunt Pet, and thank you for the salve. We’ve put some on my cuts and they are better already. What did you use in it?”

“It is my pleasure to at last meet you, little one. You are so welcome. I used herbs in the salve such as amaranth, bitterroot, calendula, and cantella. They make an excellent salve for soothing and healing the skin.” I tried to place her accent and to figure out why she had an accent. Hungarian? Romanian? Perhaps she had spent time in that area of the world. She was cute as a button, to be sure.

Layne poured the tea into a cup and passed it to me as the ladies watched with concern.

“The tea is more effective if you drink it without sugar or milk, little one,” Aunt Pet said.

I took a sip, prepared to put on my best fake pleasant face in case the tea tasted bitter or otherwise mediciney, but I found the drink quite flavorsome and soothing. “Mmm, tell me about the tea, Aunt Pet. It’s delicious.” I tried my best not to sound too surprised or show my extreme relief.

“The tea contains blackberry leaf, cinnamon bark, damiana leaf, a little yohimbe, and a touch of magic for good measure,” she answered with a curious smile.

Layne’s mama placed her finger to her lips and made an effort to stifle a giggle.

“Aunt Petunia,” Layne said, his voice increased an octave as the last letters of her name rolled off his tongue. He raised an eyebrow as if he were about to scold a child for taking a second cookie before supper.

I gave him a questioning look as I sipped more of my yummy tea.

“I’ll explain later, sweetheart,” he said, grinning and shaking a playful finger at his aunt. “And you promised you would be good.”

Her expression said she hadn’t a clue. “I have only the health and well being of our precious little one in mind, my darling,” she replied with a playful pinch of his cheek.

“Well, Aunt Pet, I find all these home remedies fascinating. I’d like to learn more about herbs one of these days if you have time and don’t mind teaching me.” Genuinely interested in herbs for healing and other remedies, I had always wanted to learn more. Now I could learn from a master.

An expression between pride and sheer delight blossomed onto her face. “I would be delighted to teach you all I know about herbs, my little one.”

“Aunt Pet, I think we should go and let Lynzi get some rest.” Layne’s mama seemed in sync with the strange goings on here. I had to be the only with little to no clue.

“Of course, of course. Now little one, you be sure and drink all the tea so your injuries will heal as quickly as possible,” Aunt Pet said as she stroked my hair.

“I will, Aunt Pet. It was good to meet you and thank you both for everything.” I forced a smile, even though my face hurt like the dickens.

“It is wonderful to have the love of our Layne’s life here with us after all this time.” She blew a kiss in our direction as the two of them stepped out.

Layne made certain I saw him lock the door behind them. I was safe with him at my side but the message was clear. He would protect me.

He sat beside me on the couch and watched as I sipped the last of my tea.

“Something you need to tell me?” I asked as I examined the inside of the empty cup, curious as heck to find out the whole tea story.

“Uh, yeah, about the tea . . .” Layne shook his head and chuckled.

“What was all that about?”

He took a deep breath and exhaled. “In addition to being our doctor of sorts, Aunt Pet fancies herself as a bit of a match maker.”

“Sorry to waste her time but the match is already made here.” In my mind it was a done deal, so to speak.

“The ingredients in the tea . . .” He paused as if to formulate the best explanation.

“Are not going to heal my cuts and bruises? Oh no, it’s not going to put hair on my chest, is it?” I grinned to let him know I wasn’t worried about any unwanted hair growth.

He shook his head. “Oh no, the herbs she used are extremely good for the healing process. But the yohimbe she mentioned is actually an . . . aphrodisiac,” he said, waiting for my reaction with a raised brow.

“Oh? An aphrodisiac?”

“Yeah, it won’t hurt you.”

I glanced down at my legs and arms. The cuts and bruises had begun to heal somewhat. Less than an hour had passed since Layne put the salve on my cuts but they were, in fact, healing as if days old instead of hours. I was impressed and thankful for the results. No more pain is a good thing.

“Well, it seems she was right about the healing herbs.”

“She is good at what she does.”

I placed the cup on the tray and scooted closer to Layne on the couch. “Well, we’ve established the healing herbs are working so I can’t wait to test the extra herb she included in the tea,” I said, sliding my arms around his neck. The sensations from his touch in the shower earlier still sparked inside my body.

“Are you sure you’re up to fooling around?” Layne slid his arm around my waist.

Well :) Sounds like that tea really works. Wonder which one of these ingredients is Yohimbe?

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