Marked: Winter: Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza

This book is a part of the Blood Courtesans – series. Blood courtesans are women, that offer their services exclusively to vampires. Marked is the story of Winter, who becomes a blood courtesans because she has no other way to save her best friend (or actually there is, but she decides to do as her friend wishes).

Needless to say, Winter’s decision leads to all kinds of trouble. It also leads her to Ethen Rune, a vampire that has a reputation among the blood courtesans. The story has exciting events, hot encounters and few quite suprising moments that ensure that readers have to finish this  book.

After a charity auction, Ethen takes Winter to his home. Her growling stomach disturbs Ethen and his house keeper orders a pizza for her. Ethen serves her four slices of pizza on a gold-rimmed platter and first she thinks it’s bit too much. But then, her hunger takes over.

“Touché”, I murmured before taking my first bite. The moment the food touched my tongue, my eyes fluttered shut, and I let loose an appreciative moan. Chicago deep-dish pizza… there really weren’t many things better than that.
“Good?” Ethen asked.
“Delicious. You honestly can’t eat?”
“My tastes run a little more exotic than pizza.”
I almost choked on my next bite, my hand flying up to cover my mouth in case I spat something out. Worth it, though, to hear his deep, rumbling laughter.
(Gwen Knight & Michelle Fox: Marked: Winter, 38% Kindle edition)

The Recipe
3 dl lukewarm water
6 g dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbs maple syrup
3 tbs olive oil
7 dl wheat flour

1 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 cans of peeled tomatoes
2 tbs brown sugar
3 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano

sliced pepperoni
180 g grated mozzarella cheese

1. Add 1 dl of wheat flour into a bowl and mix it with dry yeast.
2. Add the water, maple syrup, salt and olive oil. Then mix them with flour-yeast mixture. Blend thoroughly and then add the rest of the flour and knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. The dough remains kind of sticky. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in room temperature for 1,5 hours.

3. While the dough rises, make the tomatosauce for the pizza. Peel the onion and garlic, chop them fine.
4. Take a sauce pan, heat olive oil and sauté the chopped onion and garlic cloves. When the onion has softened, add the sugar and spices and stir thoroughly.
5. Add the tomatoes, stir and let the sauce simmer for 20-30 minutes. If you want a smooth sauce, you can blend the sauce with hand blender. I myself prefer the more rough consistency.

6. When the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 250 ‘C. Then pour the dough out of the bowl, add some flour and knead the air bubbles out. Then divide the dough in two pieces.

7. Flatten the dough onto two  round oven pans (diameter 28 centimeters), add tomatosauce, then cheese and top with pepperoni. Let the pizzas rise again for 15 minutes.
8. If you bake both pizzas at the same time, use the convection setting and lower the heat to 200 ‘C. Bake the pizzas until ready, about 15-20 minutes.

Marked: Winter: Blood Courtesans (Blood Courtesans)Marked: Winter: Blood Courtesans by Gwen Knight

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book. Especially I liked the idea of blood courtesans, basically prostitutes with exclusive clientele, but still something else.

Amelie Winter finds her best friend to be in no-way-out situation and does what any best friend would do, decides to help her any way she can. And the only way to help Tessa is to become a blood courtesan. But this really made me dislike Tessa, who has gotten her self into shitty situation by being extremely selfish, greedy and stupid. And that happens again and again later on on the book. I think that even friendship goes only so far…(view spoiler)[ like Tessa wouldn’t appreciate or understand what Winter has to do to help her, she just demands these favors and all but extorts Winter to help her. (hide spoiler)] To make the whole thing worse, Winter’s father and brothers are vampire slayers, so all this has to stay a secret.

Blood courtesans serve exclusively vampires and in a charity event, the winning bid for Winter is made by Ethen, a over 200 year old vampire that has secluded himself. According to the contract, they have three days together. Winter is supposed to sate his hunger whether it’s for blood or sex and Ethen shall pay her and when it’s all over, Winter returns to her old life, saves Tessa and all’s good.

Of course it isn’t that simple, whole range of emotions stir and secrets are bound to be revealed. And then the unthinkable, irrevocable happens (view spoiler)[ and it’s probably my favourite scene where Winter tores Alexei’s throat open (hide spoiler)] and nothing remains the same.

This book is definitely romance, but it’s also well written paranormal suspense. I really liked the world building and the back story.

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