by: Wendy Sparrow
Series: Servants of Fate
Genre: Paranormal Holiday Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Publisher: Pen and Kink Publishing
Father Time’s son, Zeit Geist, must sacrifice a mortal’s lifetime to the Fates each New Year’s Eve. Last year—inexplicably, really—he made an 11:59 substitution. The Fates are pissed and they’re after his mortal Hannah. With the year ending, he ought to figure out why he’d saved her—and why he keeps doing it.
Following an unlucky year, Hannah Lyons needs a week’s holiday in a lodge to unwind. What she gets is near-death experiences and a sexy immortal who can’t avoid kissing her, but might have to kill her. After all, even Zeit can’t hold back time indefinitely.
“What are you doing to me?”
“What do you think I’m doing?”
She glared at him. Saying it out loud would sound utterly stupid. “I keep having these lapses of time. One minute, I’m in one place and, the next, I’m in another. And four times now, I’ve seen you walking away from me when it’s happened.”
“So, you’re accusing me of doing something to your memory? Or of stalking you?” He took another sip of his drink as if he was only mildly interested in her response.
She opened her mouth to say something before snapping it closed. What was she accusing him of? It all sounded silly and impossible, and he’d be around this whole week. Every time they saw each other, she’d feel humiliated that she’d actually thought…
Oh, who cared? She was going to get brain cancer from all this testing if she couldn’t get to the bottom of things.
“You’re doing something to time. I don’t know what you’re doing, but I don’t think your name is just an odd little coincidence.”
For a blink, she saw something in his eyes and a quick half-smile. “It’s a family name.”
“So, your entire family manipulates time?”
Copyright © 2016 by Wendy Sparrow
How Chocolate and Reading Romance Go Together
Right now, you might be shaking your head and thinking I’m contributing to a cliché, but hear me out. What if what you thought was a guilty pleasure was a cry for help from your body?
In Stealing Time, Hannah gets Zeit a chocolate orange which not only started a binge for him, but inspires me every time I work on this story. Reading and chocolate already went together, but I really want it while reading about chocolate. Over the years, my desire for chocolate has taken a dark turn, and by that I mean anything less than 70% cocoa totally grosses me out. I top out at around 85%. I have a 100% bar that I’ve yet to try. I imagine it’s basically pressed cocoa. My cravings have intensified and I didn’t realize why until I stopped to analyze it.
Do you know what romance novels and dark chocolate have in common? Brain chemicals. Reading romance novels has been shown to cause our brain to release dopamine—a chemical attached to pleasure and happiness. Dopamine is one of the chemicals that gives a rush when we fall in love. If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably closed a really good romance with a happy sigh. You feel floaty and relaxed. The term “book lover” isn’t so far off. You’re experiencing what it’s like to fall in love to a lesser degree on a brain chemical level.
Chocolate likewise increases the production of dopamine but it also releases other neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which also lifts our moods. The stereotype of women eating chocolate due to their cycles can be plausibly related to their bodies attempting to regulate hormones. Chocolate also releases endorphins that decrease both pain and stress. Studies have linked chocolate to fighting inflammation—in fact, I use cocoa powder to control my joint swelling and pain.
Need other reasons to indulge in chocolate while snuggling up with a romance? Antioxidants. Chocolate contains a wallop of antioxidants which may help with both blood pressure and cardiovascular health. It also contains fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc and more. The theobromine in chocolate also can work as a natural cough suppressant.
Before you toss back a couple of those cheap chocolates that are left over from some long ago holiday, keep in mind that the darker the chocolate the better in terms of your health. The waxy, high-fat, high-sugar chocolates might play havoc with your health, rather than help it. This is your excuse to buy the good stuff and maybe add a teaspoon of cocoa powder to your smoothie or other drink while snuggling up with a romance novel—especially if it’s Stealing Time. Basically, I’m giving you an excuse to steal some time for yourself…and your health.
To that end, I’m sharing a hot chocolate recipe with you that I’ve used—though I typically add a tablespoon of cocoa to store-bought hot chocolate every day. (I like Stephen’s Dark Chocolate mix. Yum.)
Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix:
1 ½ c Instant Powdered Milk, dry
1 c Powdered Sugar
¾ c Dutch-processed Cocoa (It has to be Dutch-processed.)
1 c Peppermint Candies or Candy Canes, pulverized. (Use a new coffee grinder or food processor to grind it down to a powder.)
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-proof container. (You may want to modify to taste because I like my cocoa dark.) To make cocoa: add 4-6 T of the mix to 1 c of hot water or milk.
Possible additions: Crushed Andes Mints, Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips, or Marshmallows. To make creamier: add up to a cup of powdered coffee creamer.
Possible substitutions: Instead of peppermint candies, use other flavors of candy canes or hard candy such as: orange, butterscotch, or berry.
Purchase Stealing Time from:
The Servants of Fate Series:
(Clicking on the book covers will take you to Amazon.)
At home in the Pacific Northwest, Wendy Sparrow writes for both an adult and young adult audience in many genres but always with a happily ever after. She has two wonderfully quirky kids, a supportive husband, and a perpetually messy house because she hates cleaning. She’s an advocate both online and in her community for autistic children in addition to actively trying to raise awareness about obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most days she spends on Twitter procrastinating doing the dishes.
Places to find Wendy Sparrow:
You can follow the Stealing Time Blog Tour here.
First Prize ~ A handmade original "limited edition" choker from Neath the Veil. The delicate rose-patterned Venetian lace garland ribbon is contrasted with three black clock hands. Tiers of black chain drip between. This choker is very lightweight and comfortable and adjusts from 11-1/2 to 16 inches. This giveaway is international.
Second Prize ~ $10 USD Amazon gift card which is open to countries with Amazon sites.