Here is my idea of Charlotte. She’s got the look of a beautiful, all American girl. She’s fun-loving, caring, and accepting of her curves. This is my idea of Reed. He’s ruggedly handsome and ripped, but in his case, the body comes from a life of hard work, and not hours spent gazing at himself in the mirror at a gym. BIG DIFFERENCE to me. Charlotte is a southern girl who is a nurse at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, but loves to cook when she is at home. At the beginning of the story, she’s making plans to go home and make a lemon meringue pie. My mom makes the best lemon meringue (icebox) pie. She makes it every holiday for my brother, so I don’t have to ask for it. She shared the recipe with me, and I’d like to share it with you in case you are trying to think of a good dessert to take to a holiday gathering. It is easy and sure to have the compliments coming your way! I am going to give you the recipe, followed by the excerpt from my book, Love Beyond the Curve, where Charlotte has brought Reed some of this famous lemon meringue pie. I hope you enjoy (the pie and the excerpt!).
1 can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk 2 TBS sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 large eggs, separated 1 8″ graham cracker pie crust
Beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add the condensed milk and blend with egg yolks. Blend in lemon juice. Mix until mixture thickens. Pour into the pie shell. In another bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually add the sugar to the egg white mixture. Cover pie with meringue and bake in oven at 350 degrees until it is golden brown. Chill before serving. Enjoy!
Reed was watching ESPN when the doorbell rang. He got up to answer it, only to find Charlotte standing there holding a foil-covered plate and bowl.
“Peace offering. Am I forgiven?” Charlotte held out the dishes to him.
A mouth-watering aroma filled the air and made Reed realize he was starving. “That depends on whatever is underneath this foil. Come on in.” He took the food from her and opened the door wider for her to come into the house. Reed led the way to the farmhouse-styled kitchen, complete with all the latest appliances and fixtures. He set the peace-offering on the table, and went to pour himself a glass of tea, along with one for Charlotte. He grabbed a fork and went to the table to see what delicious-smelling entrees awaited his taste buds.
“It’s homemade lasagna and made from scratch lemon meringue pie. I hope you like it. I had plenty of leftovers from last night, and thought you might be hungry after all the hard work and play this morning.” She settled back comfortably in her chair, sipping the tea he had set before her.
Reed sunk his fork into the pie first, and closed his eyes as he savored the tart confection. “You are so forgiven, but I demand a rematch next week. I will get you back you know. It’s the Jackson way.”
“Okay, I can handle it. Bring it on! But don’t bite off more than you can chew, because payback always has to be bigger and better than what you are paying back. That’s the Hamilton way.” She winked at him as he began eating the lasagna. She was now wearing a turquoise sundress with matching low-heeled sandals. Her hair was brushed out and flowing in what appeared to be natural waves over her shoulders.
“This is fabulous! Thank you for sharing your leftovers. Feel free to do it anytime if it all tastes like this.” Reed took another bite of the Italian dish. While he ate, he thought about how fresh and beautiful Charlotte now looked. She was a natural beauty. He was going to enjoy having her as a neighbor. He was sure of it.