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February: A Great Month for Tea for Two…or Four...or More!
Thanks very much for hosting me on The Book Boost again! I love visiting this fun blog and thrilled to be back to chat about taking a winter tea break and to share an excerpt of my latest release, Hereafter, too.
I admit it. I’m addicted to coffee. Don’t get me wrong. I like tea, it’s just not my first choice of hot beverage. It doesn’t seem to start my engine like a strong, black coffee.
Yet, there’s something so relaxing—traditional, even—about afternoon tea that can relax and recharge a person like nothing else. And the long, dark days of February are a great time to indulge in hot, fragrant tea.
For years now, my sister and I have made a twice-yearly ritual to take our two college-age daughters to afternoon tea. When we arrive, the server hands us a menu with tea that range from spicy to chocolate. Regular ole black tea is on the list too, if you’re not in the mood to experiment.
Then guess what happens next? You relax. That’s right. You sit back, wait for your tea to arrive, let it steep for four-five minutes, and enjoy the slow pace of the tea room. The cushioned chairs, soft chatter, and the scent of scones baking put you into an almost trance-like state. Gradually, your body acclimates to this relaxed pace and you find yourself taking deeper breaths and keeping your cell phone tucked away, not a bit worried about whose text you might be ignoring.
Pretty soon, your blood pressure lowers and that kink in your neck goes away. Then, the magic happens. The three-tiered platter of food arrives. It’s almost too pretty to eat. Picture this: slivers of fruit and fancy-cut cheese on the bottom layer with warm scones that melt in your mouth. On the second tier, intricately cut tomato sandwiches with a savory spread that makes you take small bites so the treat lasts longer, croissants with tuna salad, and finger sandwiches that fill you up more than you’d ever imagine. The top tier…if you still have room…features beautiful gourmet sugary treats for dessert. It doesn’t look like a lot of food, but by the time you get to the top layer, you’re asking for a “to go” box (see the photo above for a glimpse at the real thing).
I think it’s a great reminder about how we should eat. How we used to eat. Dine. Slow down…look around…enjoy each bite at a leisurely pace instead of scarfing down lunch while checking email. Funny thing is, not only is meal time more pleasurable when you eat at a slower pace, you fill up faster, too. Having an afternoon tea luncheon can be good for your psyche and your waistline!
Here’s hoping you find a tea room near you where you can relax and enjoy a nice, slow meal with good company. And you don’t even have to hold out your pinky while you lift your cup!
A Note from the Book Boost: Well, good job Joya...now you've gone and made me drool all over my keyboard. :-) That dessert tray looks scrumptious. What a fabulous tradition you have with your girls. I recently discovered an unknown tea room in my town (when I was stuck in traffic and forced to look around at the same area for 20 minutes instead of just speeding by). You've doubly convinced me to give it a whirl. Great post and best of luck on the new book!
When by-the-numbers accountant Rob Morrison, a skeptic of all things paranormal, moves into a new apartment and discovers it is haunted by the corporeal ghost of a beautiful woman, he must hastily reconsider his beliefs and revisit his painful past.
With no memory of her time on earth, Angie Barsotti doesn’t understand why she’s compelled to visit the same apartment every night as a ghost caught between two worlds. If she’s to have a chance to move on, she needs to find the missing pieces of her life and death through the man who lives there…if only he’d believe in her.
Together they struggle to find the truth about her death and stumble upon a very pleasurable way to time travel, hopeful they can prevent her death. But someone doesn’t want them to discover the truth. And if she’s human again, will she have any memories of her time as a ghost…and more importantly, will she remember the man who helped her find her way?
Angel’s body tingled. Her skin rippled with electricity, and she recognized the signs that she’d be transported soon.
Yes. Finally. She closed her eyes, wishing she could rush the transition from her world to his. Cool air prickled her skin and she stood in the man’s dark apartment. With moonlight shining through the sheers, she could make out his form on the sofa.
He jumped up and faced her.
She wanted to speak, but she couldn’t.
"The electricity went off again,” he said.
He stepped closer. “Ghosts don’t exist.”
No. He couldn’t banish her again. She needed something in this world. The lights flickered, sizzled, and then went off again.
Please don’t tell me to go away; it makes me go away. She might not have a voice in this world, but she could at least think it. She would not go, not when potential answers waited in this place.
The man stepped closer. “What are you doing? Angie, why do you keep coming here?”
Don’t tell me to leave…don’t tell me to leave. Pictures flew into her mind. People smiling and laughing. A tree in the corner with white lights and boxes under it….
He’d called her Angie.
"You know me?” Her words came out a whisper, but at least they finally came out. Tears tracked down her cheeks. The electricity flickered on, and then, stayed off. The air stopped sizzling. She blinked to adjust her eyes to the darkness again.
“Christ, this can’t be happening.” He moved his fingers over something in his hand and then pocketed it.
She closed the distance between them and grasped his upper arms, pleading him with her eyes because her voice had left her again.
“Yes, I know you.” He glanced away and looked out the window, let out a huff of breath, and then gazed at her. “Your name is Angie Barsotti and you used to live here.”
No wonder the place felt so familiar. Her spirits lifted. He could help her find out who she was, help her find out what was going on.
“And,” he dragged a hand through his hair. “You died and I don’t believe in ghosts.”
Cold air, cold as ice tore through her, ripping her from the apartment.
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