Please say hello to Vanessa North and
Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.
Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.
Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.
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Jed’s Blueberry Ice Cream
Everyone has a favorite comfort food—mine is macaroni and cheese, my husband’s is chicken and dumplings, and our kids both get giddy over pizza. For Connor from Blueberry Boys, ice cream is happy childhood memories, and for Jed, it’s a great way to use some of the crop. Blueberry isn’t the easiest flavor to find in the grocery store, but making your own can be fun too—especially when you can share it with someone you love.
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sugar divided in half
1.5 cups whole milk
1.5 cups heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, stir together the blueberries and half of the sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside. (taste it if you like, it should be sweet and still a little tart. Remember, there’s sugar in the custard too!)
In a second saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and vanilla but do NOT boil. (this is important—if your milk mixture is too hot, you’ll scramble your eggs)
Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining half cup of sugar.
Next, you have to temper the yolks—again to keep you from ending up with scrambled eggs instead of custard. Using a ladle, s-l-o-w-l-y add some of the hot milk mixture to your yolks, whisking the whole time. This will feel kind of awkward and you might dribble milk all over your counter, but it’s worth it. Two-ish ladle-fuls is probably enough.
Now, slowly whisk the egg mixture into the rest of the hot milk—again, just go slow, and keep whisking. Cook for another 10-15 minutes at this low not-boiling temperature. Do NOT let it boil!
Strain the custard through a mesh and into a container suitable for chilling. This should get out any little bits of over-cooked egg. Stir the blueberry mixture into your custard. Admire the beautiful purple color. Isn’t it pretty? Now cover it up and stick it in the fridge overnight.
Remove from the fridge and pour into your ice cream maker and chill according to the machine manufacturer’s instructions.
About the author:
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.
To celebrate the release of Blueberry Boys, Vanessa North is giving away a $30 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!
Promotional post. Materials provided by the publisher.