**Sorry, This Sweepstakes Has Ended**

Liora Blake has a treat for our XOXOAD readers today! Not just a taste of her newest delicious romance, True Devotion (and don’t miss her first in the series, True North), but also a chance to win a prize pack from noted Bay Area bakery Tartine! Enjoy the read, and answer the question at the end of this post to be entered to win.

Tartine

In an age of gluten-free everything, I’m one of those people who still worships at the altar of wheat flour. Even if I might benefit from a gluten-free lifestyle, I can’t seem to let go of my love for French bread and multigrain loaves, challah and ciabatta, even good ol’ white sandwich bread. As long as there is plenty of butter around, I’ll happily devour them all.

And, while I have tried my hand at making bread from scratch, it’s come with mixed results, so I almost always stick with the NY Times no-knead recipe, which never fails. But Devon, the heroine in my upcoming release TRUE DEVOTION, happens to love the slow art of bread baking. Despite her other hard-edged characteristics, baking is one way she has always indulged the people she cares about.

During this scene, she and Simon are on a road trip, making a stop at a bakery Devon has always wanted to visit:

true-devotion

 

Because the universe is apparently in perfect alignment today, the bakery I’ve loved from afar turns out to be everything I thought it would be. There isn’t one thing about my personal mecca that disappoints. Inside the humble corner building, the loud din of a space bursting with patrons is the only distraction from my private Xanadu. Simon is staring at me as I gawk about, a soft smile on his face, then he snakes his hand under my hair and rests it against my neck.

“OK, sunshine, what do you want to get?”

Fuck. I have to decide? Choose? I suppose answering his question by throwing my arms wide and then shaking my hands toward the entire display case might be a tad unreasonable. My eyes must have widened at the prospect of narrowing down a rabid desire for one of everything, because he laughs and gently squeezes my neck.

“Get whatever you want. Go crazy.”

 

The inspiration for this scene was Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Last year, I was lucky enough to visit Tartine during a trip to the Bay Area. We had just spent a week in Big Sur, followed by a drive up the coast, which resulted in a lost afternoon drinking beer in Pescadero. We even happened upon some stellar walnut pie at a roadside farm stand and left with t-shirts that have the simple (yet profound) words EAT PIE printed on the back. Add in morning buns and pain au chocolat from Tartine, and I was a seriously happy camper—surrounded by carbohydrates in all their glorious forms: barley-based, sugar-melded, and joined forever with butter. Yes, yes, yes.

In keeping with all things carb-loaded, and to celebrate TRUE DEVOTION, I’m giving away a prize pack of Tartine cookbooks and three of my favorite romance titles (because you’ll need something to read while the bread bakes). To enter, post a comment below and name the one food you can’t live without.

Sorry, sweepstakes open to U.S. residents only. For complete sweepstakes rules, click here.