Another exclusive excerpt

Another exclusive excerpt

“What about getting your master’s degree and teaching or doing research?”
“That’s what YOU want me to do, Dad. Not what I want to do.”
“I only want what’s best for you, Jenn. I want you to be safe, and happy.”

“One out of two isn’t bad, is it?” she asked, playfully poking him in the arm.

“I guess not. You’ll go ahead and do it whether I want you to or not,” he conceded, giving her a worried smile.
“Yes, but it would be nice to have your blessing.” She always loved the way the corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled at her, but this time his blue eyes clouded with concern.
“I can’t give it, sweetie I want you safe. I hope you understand my objection.”
“Dad, I’m an adult. I get to live my own life,” she retorted, her voice suddenly becoming strident.

“And I have the right to my opinion. You’re a brilliant girl. Why would you put yourself in harm’s way?”
“Because I want to serve my country. Because I want to use the skills I have. Because the idea of spending my life in academia bores the hell out of me!” The moment the words escaped her mouth she regretted them. The expression of hurt on her father’s face was like a dagger in her heart.
“I see. I’m sorry your life has been so lackluster and boring. As your father it was my job to keep you girls safe and to raise you. Jennifer, you’re brilliant. I always hoped you would follow in my footsteps. I’m sorry you find it so pedestrian and unfulfilling.”
“Dad, you’re the reason I’m doing this. Don’t you understand? The CIA will utilize the gifts you discovered and nurtured in me. They’ll put them to use in real-world settings. I’m excited about my future. If it doesn’t work out I can come back and get my master’s degree and teach or do research.”
“That’s if you come back alive,” he quipped. He ran a hand through his brush cut hair. A hint of the strawberry blond of his youth remained, but time and the stress of raising two daughters on his own turned most of it gray. He stood and began to pace. Her revelation upset him. The unwelcome tension stretched ever tighter between them.
“Dad, the CIA is NOT like the Bourne movies,” she reassured him.
“Who?”
“Never mind. Who is to say I’ll be in the field? Maybe I’ll be a data analyst in the home office.”
“Don’t lie to me, Jenn. If you were applying for that kind of job we wouldn’t be having this conversation. You want to be a field agent or you wouldn’t be a so desperate for my blessing.”
“Okay, it’s true. Dad, I’ve never been more excited about my life. I’ll be training to be a part of the Directorate of Operations, the covert arm of the CIA.”
“I knew it,” he sighed. “So, my clever girl is going to be a spy.”

There was no mystery in applying to the CIA. The information was available on their website. What was surprising was how normal the process was, in the beginning. There is an application to fill out online. The CIA’s website stated they were looking for adventurous spirits and world travelers if you speak a foreign language it’s a bonus. Jenn more than fit the bill. Her knowledge of Arabic and Farsi would stand her in good stead as would her knowledge of chemistry. A rush of adrenaline shot through her as she imagined herself in exotic locales, having clandestine meetings. The whole idea of it was thrilling.
She applied to the Directorate of Operations, otherwise known as the clandestine arm of the CIA. Her knowledge of Arabic and Farsi made Language Officer an excellent choice for a career path. The only thing not in her favor was her dirty blond hair and blue eyes. She wanted to visit the exotic locales, but her fair skin, blue eyes and blond hair would make her stick out like a sore thumb. She could wear contacts and cover her hair and body with a burqa she was ready to take the chance if the CIA was, then all the better. She had nothing to lose.

Exclusive excerpt from my new book

Exclusive excerpt from my new book

The next few days I’m sharing excerpts from my new book. It’s not out yet, but you’ll get exclusive peek here!

Prologue 2011

Jennifer Carnegie was a “clever girl,” at least that’s what her father always told her. He doted on her and her older sister, Laura. She was three and Laura seven, when a drunk driver slammed into her mother’s car as she was driving home from work. The three of them went on without her as best they could. The only framed picture of the four of them in the house sat on a cluttered bookshelf in her father’s study. She was too young to remember her mother. For her father and Laura, the memories were too painful. They never spoke of her.
David Carnegie, a professor of Irish literature and film studies at The Ohio State University, gave his daughters an idyllic life. Under his protection and guidance they flourished. He valued education, and when Jennifer showed flashes of brilliance, he urged her to reach higher. Jennifer wasn’t a social butterfly like her tall, elegant, and popular older sister. She preferred the company of her books over people. Jenn spent countless hours reading and studying. The world was a fascinating place, and she had a voracious appetite for knowledge. Her father encouraged to take honors and advanced placement courses in high school. She made the honor roll, was selected class valedictorian, and graduated a year early as a result. There was never a question about where she would attend college. What was the point of having a family member on the faculty if that didn’t mean you could get a break on tuition?
Jennifer’s fascination with chemistry, and languages lead to a double major; chemistry and Arabic. She’d managed to teach herself Farsi as well. Her father’s high hopes for her soaring academic career were about to come crashing down. For as long as she could remember her only desire was to make her father happy. Jenn’s academic life, from AP courses, to honor roll, to math camp were all mapped out by her father,and it bored her to tears. She ached to burst free from the safe, bookish bubble he’d placed her in. She was an adult now, free to choose her own path. Her father always assumed she’d enter grad school for an advanced degree, but she’d changed her mind. At the ripe old age of twenty-one she was asserting her independence. She was applying to the CIA.
The kind of jobs that would put her language and chemistry skills to good use required and advanced degree either a Master’s or PhD, and the idea of spending more time in a classroom or research lab made her cringe. She’d already missed out on so much, dating, prom, sleepovers, and boys, the list went on and on. Dad took excellent care of her and Laura, but he knew nothing about raising girls. Whatever decision and choices he’d made they were expected to fall in line and in agreement. It was time to take her life back and defy his expectations. He would understand and perhaps even be proud of her.
***
“The CIA?” David Carnegie was aghast.
“Yeah Dad, the CIA,” she repeated, bursting with pride.
“Where on earth did you get such an idea?” He plopped down onto the leather couch in a state of shock.
“From you. You always told me I was a clever girl.” She slid down onto the couch next to him.”What do you think?” she asked turning to face him.
“Why? CIA? How?” he asked, concern etched into his rugged features.
“Dad, I’ve already missed so much with all of my studies and research. I don’t want life to pass me by.” The air in his dark wood paneled study was heavy. As a child she loved this place, but at this moment, the air was stifling and she felt claustrophobic.
“At least you were safe. The CIA is not the kind of job you apply for if you want to be safe,” he said wagging a finger at her.
“I don’t want to be safe, Dad, I want to make something of myself. I hoped you’d be happy about that. I finally know what I want to do with my life,” she told him as she tugged on the sleeve of his chambray shirt.

Books my parents left me

Books my parents left me

Books my parents left me

Reading was big thing in my house. I looked forward to weekly trips to the library and the opportunity to lose myself in another world. Books were my escape, my distraction, my inspiration. Out of the six children in my family, I was the one with the love of words.I ate up books devouring them voraciously. In second grade I remember my teacher’s astonishment  that I had so quickly finished the book she’d handed out earlier. Thinking she caught me skimming it, she tested me on the vocabulary, spelling, meaning of the words and the plot. Of course, I passed. The photo is part of a collection of books I inherited from my parents after they died. I remember flipping open the dictionary, and point to a random  word. I’d read it, pronounce it and learn the meaning. The book itself weighs a ton, the other side has little indents with two letters on each one it so you can flip open the page to the appropriate section. I remember thinking how amazing it was that this book contained all the words in the English language, and how I could never possibly learn them all (I was right). The next few entries here will be about the books, my memories and what they meant to me growing up. I’m hoping reading them, exploring them, will help me put the loss of my parents and what they’ve given me into perspective. Mom save the dictionary for me. She knew no one else would want it. It’s old school, a little battered but certainly still capable of doing its job. Kind of like me.

More recipes from luv’s life

More recipes from luv’s life

Scrumptious baking mix scones
ingredients: 2 ¼ cups baking mix generic (or bisquick), ½ cup quick oats, ½ cup buttermilk, 1 large egg, ¾ cup chocolate chips (or raisins or cranberries blueberries will work here too). Be careful not to use a fruit that has too much moisture. ¼ cup maple syrup and flour for dusting.
Directions:
preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. As the mixture comes together use your hands for form it into a ball. Sprinkle a cutting board with flour. Turn dough out on to it and knead it about ten times. Shape it into a circle about eight inches wide and one inch thick. Be careful not to handle the dough too much it will make it tough. Score the dough into eight triangles but don’t separate it. Place on an ungreased baking sheet 13-15 minutes. Until lightly browned.

 

Rick’s coffee bar latte
use a french press, drip coffee maker, or small espresso machine. The small espresso machine and the french press will give you strong coffee.if you don’t have those brew a pot of very strong coffee using your drip machine. Use twice as much coffee as you normally would. Remember you’re finished coffee will only be one quarter espresso and three quarters steamed milk
ingredients: strong coffee, whole milk, vanilla extract, cocoa powder and sugar.
Directions:
put ¼ tsp of vanilla in with your coffee grounds before you brew the coffee. Once the coffee is done its time to heat and froth the milk. Use whole milk, half and half is also acceptable. Pour the milk into a microwave safe cup and heat until it’s steaming, do not boil or scald it! It should take about a minute. Do it in 30 second intervals if it’s not hot enough after the allotted time. When it’s steaming use a whisk and whip the milk until frothy. Pour coffee into a mug filling it one quarter of the way. Fill it the rest of the way with the milk, top with the foam. Garnish with cocoa powder or sugar in the raw, enjoy!