Since Valentine's Day is only 2 days past, I was wondering if you've ever given any thought to one of the burning questions of the day: When given some chocolate (as I hope many of you were), do you devotedly sit and eat it all until it's done? Or do you savor it, trying to make it last by eating only one piece at a time, waiting a few days in-between each piece?
Our family joke is that since I wasn't born into the family, but I married into it, that my lack of a sweet tooth the size of the Grand Canyon is an aberration of nature. Everyone else, from my husband, to his sisters and brothers, and all four of our kids, are gobblers. Give them a box of chocolates, as I do for their birthdays, Valentine's Day, and usually Christmas as well, and the candy will have disappeared in a couple of days. Entirely gone. Not even a tiny shaving left. Almost like they lick the boxes clean. All of my kids are runners, and so far they don't look like they eat like that, but they do. One son even asked me to stop buying him Fannie May chocolates (fat chance--I sent him a 1# box to share with his girlfriend for Valentine's Day...heh, heh!) because he feels obligated to eat multiple pieces multiple times a day, then he hates himself when he realizes how quickly so much candy transferred itself from the box to his body!
I've tried suggesting that they follow my path. I still have most of the dark chocolate toffee and dark chocolate coconut morsels I got for Christmas. They are wrapped in plastic and stored in the deep freeze. Every week or so, I allow myself to have one piece. Maybe two if I'm really feeling it. Then I don't have another one for maybe three weeks. I don't know why I'm like this. But compared to the others in my family, I'm the weirdo that no one understands-- they just nod at each other in pity, figuring they need to humor me, to make me feel like I'm as good as everyone else, when we all know I'm different.
So what about you? How are you around chocolate?
Here's an excerpt from For The Love Of His Life, which had been called my most romantic book. Veronica is known for her baking skills, but she's been experimenting with different kinds of desserts. Raul is the arrogant famous movie star, who is only beginning to realize how empty his life has been until now. He's fallen in love for the first time in his life, with Veronica, but fears she'll never believe him because he "lies for a living." They're on a picnic, which is also a first for Raul.
As they ate, they chatted about the weather, the scenery, and the fishing in the nearby lakes. They toasted each other and their day of relaxation with the sparkling wine, then enjoyed every morsel of the food Veronica had packed.
When the food was gone, Raul lay on his back and patted his belly, "Ah, now that's much better. I feel like a new man."
"Well you'd better sit up for an instant, Mr. New Man, so you don't choke," Veronica said with a giggle. His eyebrows rose in curiosity, but he sat up.
"Now close your eyes and open your mouth."
"It won't be gross, like a worm or anything, will it?"
"No, silly. But you won't get your treat if you don't obey."
He closed his eyes and opened his mouth, and felt something being placed onto his tongue.
"Now you can close your mouth and taste it for a while, then tell me what you think."
His mouth closed and he kept his eyes closed as he savored the explosion of dark chocolatey goodness that melted onto his tongue.
"Wow, what is this? It's the most sinfully delicious piece of chocolate I've ever had!"
"You know, they aren't bad. I wasn't sure when I found the recipe, because they were so easy to make. But they are good, aren't they?"
Raul opened his eyes, "Are there more?"
"Yup, I brought three for each of us. They were in my freezer back home, but I knew they would thaw enough in the backpack to be ready for our dessert."
"What are they?"
"Ganache drops, rolled in finely ground pecans then covered with dark chocolate powder. I'm glad you like them."
Veronica started talking about her interest in making chocolates, and her thoughts of combining them with pie crusts to make tiny tarts, but the difficulty of making the crust thin enough when it was that small, and having it not melt when the chocolate was warm.
Raul tried to pay attention to her, but kept getting distracted watching the sun shine off of her long curls, as he imagined being able to bury his nose in her hair and breathe in her smell. His eyes must have looked unfocused, or Veronica noticed his lack of response to her words.
"Hey! Are you bored? I get the feeling you're not listening to me at all."
"I'm listening. I hear words...but I'm not paying attention to what you are saying."
"Because all I can think of is how much I want to kiss you again. Your lips were so soft and warm. I want to taste them."
Veronica leaned back away from him slightly, "Why?"
"Because you're all I think about. You are the first thing I think about when I wake up, and the last thing I think about when I'm going to sleep. I dream about you all night...but in my dreams I call you Nee-ca."
"Everyone else calls me Ronnie..."
"I don't want to use a name that everyone else uses. I want to have a name for you that's just mine. To show you how special I think you are."
Veronica shook her head, smiling sadly, "That's just because I'm the only woman you've been seeing lately. You're going through withdrawals since you don't have your usual legion of female groupies throwing themselves at you. You'll get over it when the rest of the crew gets here and people start treating you like the important movie star that you are."
"I don't want to get over it. I've never felt anything real for any other woman except my Mom. But what I feel for you is growing stronger every day that I see you, and spent time with you, and learn from you how to be a better man. I don't want that to stop."
Veronica stared at him, "Really?"
Raul felt his pulse racing at the thought that she was sitting still next to him, so it was only a matter of him leaning forward just a little bit and their lips would touch. So he did.
Veronica leaned into the kiss and closed her eyes. Raul closed his also, enjoying the soft, warm caress of her lips. He lingered over that first kiss, and she opened her mouth slightly to sigh. He covered her lips with his again, and boldly licked at her mouth. She opened it even more to allow him to explore her mouth, and her tongue met his and caressed him back.
Raul groaned. He balanced himself with one hand on the ground, and raised the other one to caress the side of Veronica's face, his fingers moving back into her hair to feel the silky strands that really were as soft as they looked. Their kiss grew in intensity, the passion of the moment possessing them both.
One kiss became many, as Raul unleashed a tiny portion of his passion for this woman, afraid to let loose lest he scare her from responding. She met him at every increase, her breathing speeding up as much as his was, her face beginning to have a slight flush. She reached up both of her hands to hold his shoulders, one hand moving into his hair on the back of his neck, in a sensuous, familiar gesture, as if she knew it would ramp up his excitement...and it did.
Raul began to push gently, and Veronica obliged by lowering herself onto her back, still holding onto him, their lips beginning to crush each others', their tongues beginning a duel of passion. The hand that had been in her hair now moved slowly down her neck to her shoulder, as if it had a mind of its own and knew where it wanted to be. Veronica made no move to stop him, so he began to massage her skin, heading towards the breasts that had been tantalizing him for so long.
"Mommy, what are those people doing?" The almost-lisping quality of the high-pitched voice let them know there was a very young child watching them.
Raul and Veronica both opened their eyes wide, to stare in alarm into each others' faces.
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