Beef and Borscht and Wildcats! Oh my!
One of the things that I love about writing erotic hockey romances aside from the obvious *wink wink nudge nudge* is that I have an international cast. That calls for lots of research to find hometowns, language, and of course, the food of the county a Wildcat or Venom player comes from.
Since I have a new release about a Russian hockey player, I thought I would share a recipe that I imagine Olaf Shevenko, the grandmother of newly acquired Wildcat Petro Shevenko, would make. Margarite might complain about the kasha (a hearty Russian oatmeal) that Olaf feeds her and Petro every morning, but I bet she wouldn`t complain about some of this delicious beef and beet borscht.
After the recipe, you'll find an excerpt from Language of Love, book # 5 of the To Love a Wildcat hockey romance series.
Ingredients (Makes about 8 servings)
1 (1 inch thick) slice of bone-in beef shank
3 quarts of water
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 bay leaf
3 cups diced peeled beets
2 cups chopped cabbage
1/4 cup white vinegar, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill for garnish
1-- Cook beef shank in a large soup pot over a high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Add water, carrots, onion, celery and the bay leaf, bring to a simmer and cook until the meat is tender and falls off the bone, about 4 hours. Strain broth and discard solids.
2--Combine the beef broth, beets, and cabbage in a large soup pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add vinegar, salt, and black pepper.
3--Serve garnished with sour cream and dill.
As we rode up to the penthouse, the kasha I had eaten for breakfast rolled over. Living with Petro and his grandmother, Olaf, had opened up my eyes to Russian food. And kasha, a porridge-kind of stuff made from different grains, was what we ate for breakfast. Every. Day.
"A Russian cannot be full-fed without kasha," Olaf would say then slap her enormous grandson on his thick bicep. If you judged the import of kasha solely by the incredible body that Petro Shevenko has, kasha is a miracle food that all athletes should be eating for every meal. I worried it was going to settle right on my ass. Not that my ass didn`t need some meat. Men liked juicy posteriors. Black men. White men. Hispanic men. Russian men. Mine was somewhat flat.
Must be I got that from Daddy as well, because my mother had an ass that Tina Turner would envy. Daddy always joked that if not for belts his pants would be around his ankles, because there was no backside to hold up his britches. So while I wished for a roomier trunk, I fretted over actually getting one. I never claimed to make sense, especially when it came to beauty comparisons with my mother. Trust me, I lose every time going head to head, or ass to ass, with Isabelle Lancourt.
Olaf, who was built like a Hessian tank, laughed off my concerns about my butt. "Look at Petro," she would say. I would. Then he would look at me as he spooned massive amounts of rice kasha mixed with scrambled eggs and sour cream into his sexy mouth. I tended to forget about a fat ass when he looked at me with those dark, hooded eyes. "He eat much kasha. His zadnitsa not grow fat!"
Well, sure, his zadnitsa, or ass, didn`t grow fat. He was a professional athlete. I was an education major that ran a mile or two every other day, if I wasn`t stuffed too full of kasha, or cabbage soup, or potato pancakes with a quart of sour cream dolloped on them, to move. I had never eaten more cabbage or potatoes than I had the past fourteen days.
The slight surge of the elevator stopping made me feel even queasier. The doors opened. I stepped into the foyer, overwhelmed with what felt like a panic attack setting in, except I had never had a panic attack in my life. My eyes darted to Maggie and Oscar. They were talking away, hands waving this way and that, as if they were attending a tea party.
Oh, yeah, they were. The door to my mother`s house opened. The blast of cold air dancing under my skirt made me shiver. My grandmother stepped into the foyer, a blue blanket wrapped around her bony shoulders. Nothing stuck out but her kinky silver hair, round brown eyes that looked three times as large as they were due to her thick bifocals, and her wide nose.
"It`s as cold as Siberia in there. That big Russian you`re shacking up with would feel right at home," Nana said. Maggie`s head whipped around. Shit. Thanks, Nana. If you want something kept secret, never tell Dolores Davis about it.
I told my grandmother that Petro and I were just friends. Her eyebrow wiggled up her wrinkled brow. I argued with her, quite forcefully, as we stepped inside. Funny. It all looked the same. The tastefully chosen furniture, the artwork on the walls, the subtle touch of wealth in the choice of carpeting, drapery, accessories. Mama was a wealthy widow. A very wealthy widow. A widow who was deliberating about moving in with the head coach of the Wildcats.
I was thrilled for Mama. Philip Moore was one of the finest men I knew, even if he didn`t understand Petro. While it was obvious to everyone who saw them that Mama and Coach Moore loved each other, Mama was pretty ferocious about her independence. But, being pregnant at fifty, and all the potential health concerns my new brother or sister might bring, was tempering her a bit.
Nana walked into the living room. Maggie and Oscar began moving around, looking at angles, sun light, that sort of thing I assumed. I padded over to stand beside the stairs. My eyes could not leave the image of my mother as she descended. Like a Caribbean queen she came down the stairs, her brown eyes glistening with unshed tears, her long legs carrying her elegantly closer, her svelte form lost amid the flowing folds of rich gold and green in her simple cotton shift. Her dress moved as she did, the gold and green setting off her dark chocolate-colored skin perfectly. Of course, she knew that. Mama knew how to buy and wear clothes. She had been a fashion model before she married Daddy. My mother was rarely seen without makeup. Even with no visitors expected she would 'Go light' just in case.
Her cheekbones were perfection, her lips sublime. I cannot tell you how many times, as a child, I would look at her deep brown skin and wish I could trade my café au lait skin tone for hers. You could look at her and see our ancestors from Trinidad. I so wanted to look like her and Nana who were dark and proud. Her pregnancy made her glow from within. I nearly bolted up the steps to embrace her but I checked myself. She smiled when she caught the infinitesimal movement.
"Hello, baby," she whispered before we embraced. I wanted to say more. Sit down. Talk. Hash this mess out. But, we had a reporter and a photographer probably going 'Aww' behind us.
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Language of Love Book 5 of the To Love a Wildcat Series by V.L. Locey
Life was so much easier for Margarite Lancourt before she had set eyes on Petro Shevenko. Her diploma to teach hearing impaired children would be in her hand within a year. Then she would find the right man, the right neighborhood, and bear the right children. Her deafness was not going to get in the way of her aspirations. But were they her dreams or her mother`s?
Now that she has met Petro, the Wildcats sexy new acquisition who has an unquenchable thirst for the wild side of life, Margarite`s nicely mapped out life is in chaos. Can she tame this unruly Russian Wildcat? Or will his family demons drag him, and Margarite, back into the darkness the couple have struggled to break free from?
I had to smile when I saw what had lured him from our bedroom. Breakfast. Of course. Well, at least it hadn’t been booze or some trashy bimbo. Since I had been here, he had been remarkably well behaved. He attended AA meetings weekly. He never missed a training session with Clarkie, Bernie, or Schultz. He ate well, worked hard, stayed sober, and kept his pants zipped. Aside from last night. Olaf swept us into our chairs, talking as she served bowl after bowl of her homeland’s delicacy. I thought that athletes who were training as hard as Petro was were supposed to eat chicken and pasta. Most of the Wildcats had a strict nutritional, as well as personal, schedule. Morning skate of twenty to forty minutes to loosen up, light stretch or bike, home or hotel for the biggest meal that is usually around lunch, then a nap followed by a return trip to the arena about two hours before game time. Perhaps because it wasn’t in-season he didn’t feel the need to be so strict.
I poked at the heavy foods laid out before me. Petro ate his fill and then some. I made a small sandwich out of one slice of dark rye, or “black bread” as Olaf called it, folded over to hold some scrambled eggs with a fat slice of ham and butter. I suppose the bread counted as his carbs, although ham certainly wasn’t as lean as chicken. The coffee was thick, strong, and invigorating. I stirred some sugar into my coffee as Petro and Olaf fell into a rather animated conversation. She sat down beside me with a huff. I peeked at her over my cup of coffee. The hot brew trickled over my tongue.
“So, when wedding?”
Danny Thomas would have been impressed with my spit-take. Petro shook his head then growled something at his grandmother. She waved the man off with a strong hand. I grabbed a handful of napkins to dab at my chin, my dish, and the table.
“Bad news no wedding. Back in Chatsky if couple found naked gooey together, they make vows. But.” She threw her hand into the air dramatically. My shirt was wet with spewed coffee but I could not pull my sight from Olaf. “This is America, land of free and funny TV shows. You two make me great-grandmother, you get married. End of discussion, “she spat at her grandson who must have been retaliating verbally.
I was so mortified I couldn’t move. Coffee soaked through my shirt.
“So,” the rumbling Russian tank said her steely eyes back to me, “Petro say he makes good with you. I like this match. You make good player out of him, keep him on narrow path. Walking the line, yes?”
Petro slapped the table. My stunned sight jack-knifed over to him. He was smiling widely. Olaf grinned at me, shoved a platter of potato pancakes at me then pinched my hip. I jumped in pain. This morning was just going so well.
“You need more meat. When I coached women’s team, I make players get more muscle. You too skinny, thighs too thin. Eat more.”
My mind was completely overwhelmed. Coached women’s team? What women’s team? My thighs were fine. Now my ass on the other hand…
The touch of Petro’s warm fingers on my arm startled me. My head whipped back in his direction. His fingers slid down my arm to my wrist. Far more gently than one would think, he lifted my hand to his lips then tasted my palm.
A moment later I stood outside the Wolverines’ locker room, my eyes fastened to the sign barring anyone except authorized personnel. Placing my purse back on my shoulder, I turned the knob slowly. The aroma of stinky pads, sweaty skates, soap, unwashed man, and old socks hit my nose. I hurried to close the locker room door. If Petro were in there, he could stay in there. Rubbing at my affronted nose, I glanced back the way I came. Something wet hit my arm. I jumped in fright. Spinning around I saw him, leaning on the doorway of another room minus his skates and jersey. I threw a glare at the wet washcloth he had chucked at me. Then I grabbed it off the dirty floor and flung it back at him. It missed by ten feet or more. Petro laughed then stepped back into the open door behind him. Down the hall I went, my purse slapping my hip, my hair bouncing, my eyes locked on my goal.
I slammed into the training center. Massage tables, cold plunge tubs, and whirlpools greeted me, as did the Russian Romeo. Petro was shucking off his padding. The door drifted shut. He threw his shoulder pads to the floor. My mouth filled with saliva. I swallowed roughly then stood there, rooted to the spot, as he worked on divesting himself of every damn bit of gear he had on. When he got down to his compression shorts, my legs grew a little rubbery. Down they came, as did his cup. I ogled his ass. He gave me a sly look over his shoulder before he walked toward a whirlpool. He took just a moment to turn the jets on then he stepped down into the frothy water. His cock hung down the inside of his thigh, growing fatter and longer as I looked at it.
“Come,” he called over the rumble of the whirlpool. I chewed my lip with indecision. Dare I?
Dark eyes smoldering, prick now rising to the task, he called to me yet again. I ran back to lock the training room door, and then scurried past the six massage tables. This rink was bare compared to the new training facility at the Houseman, but that whirlpool seemed to be in fine shape, as was the nude man waiting for me with foam and hot water swirling around his knees. I couldn't undress quickly enough. My eyes roamed over him as I shimmied out of my panties. His hand took mine. Petro pulled me against him as soon as my feet were on the bottom of the whirlpool. My fingers took hold of his sweat-soaked hair. Down I pulled his mouth. His lips roamed over mine. His cock was pinned between us, hard yet soft. The taste of him was divine, sinspirational even. The smell of him? Gross. I broke the kiss then tried to wiggle free. He cocked an eyebrow as if to ask what was wrong. I pinched my nose shut. The man lifted up one arm to smell his pit. Oh God. Even he made a face. I was then yanked downward into the hot, bubbling water, his arm never moving from around my waist.
I slithered free once our skin was wet. He leaned back, arms on the side of the tub. His head dropped back as his eyes drifted closed. My legs were resting over his. I decided to do as he had done. My head rolled back as well. My lashes fluttered closed. There we sat, letting the hot jets work their magic. I cracked one eye open when Petro slid out of the whirlpool. His ass and legs were simply amazing. Muscles flexed and rolled with each step. Water ran between his tight buttocks. My mind filled with wicked thoughts of nipping that ass repeatedly. He unlocked the door then left. I sat up stiff as Nana’s back, my hands over my wet breasts. What kind of game was he playing? Enough time had passed that I was seriously contemplating getting out when his naked form filled the doorway. He had a bar of white soap in his hand and that erection that made my mouth water. He stopped only long enough to shut and lock the door. I was all over his fine ass when he lowered himself back into the whirlpool.
V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted goofy domestic fowl, and two steers: one named after a famous N.H.L. goalie while the other carries the moniker of a 60`s pop legend.
When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.
I love to meet new friends and fans! You can find me at-
Secret Cravings Backlist Books and Upcoming Releases
Pink Pucks & Power Plays (Book One of the To Love a Wildcat Series)
A Most Unlikely Countess (Book Two of the To Love a Wildcat Series)
O Captain! My Captain! (Book Three of the To Love a Wildcat Series)
Reality Check (Book Four of the To Love a Wildcat Series)
Coming in 2015 only from Secret Cravings . . . Final Shifts (Book Six of the To Love a Wildcat Series) and Clean Sweep (Book One of the Venom Series)
Torquere Press Backlist and Upcoming Releases
Two Guys Walk Into an Apocalypse (Part of the He Loves Me For My Brainssss anthology)
Two Guys Walk Into an Apocalypse 2: It Came From Birmingham
Two Guys Walk Into an Apocalypse 3" He's a Lumberjack and He`s Undead
Love of the Hunter
All I Want for Christmas
Every Sunday at One (Part of the 2013 Charity Sip Anthology)
Night of the Jackal
Coming in 2015 exclusively from Torquere Press . . . An Erie Operetta and Early to Rise - A Toms & Tabbies Tale.