Bloom Sisters: a Contemporary Romance Box Set
The Misadventures of Catie Bloom
My entire career is made up of lies.
Not little lies, either. Big, fat explosive lies. It wasn’t meant to be this way. Of course it wasn’t. I’m not a psycho or a pathological liar. It started innocently—little white puffs of misdirection and half-truths. But here I am on the set of the biggest morning show in the nation, dishing out my lies to millions of people.
There’s a scurry of movement as Holly Jenkins, the co-host of Wake Up, America!, leaves the living room set and joins me on the kitchen one where I stand behind the industrial metal counter. After reviewing her notes, Holly surveys the prepped ingredients in front of us: sliced beets and onions, walnuts, arugula, goat cheese, a halved orange, honey mustard, and a caddy with extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
“Welcome back,” Holly says to the camera, her hair, makeup, and couture perfect. “Joining me in the kitchen today is Catelyn Bloom from Simply Chic magazine. She’s here to show us the trick to making a gourmet salad in fifteen minutes.” Holly turns her dazzling smile to me.
“Right, uh…” I glance at my cards. I’ve done these cooking segments on Wake Up, America! a dozen times, but always with my sister Natalie in my line of vision, coaching me along. “Today, we’re making goat cheese and roasted beet salad.”
“Looks delicious.” Holly beams. “But there are a lot of ingredients laid out. How do you manage to make it in fifteen minutes? What’s the trick?”
“It’s easier than you think. First…”
Oh, crap. The trick just up and ghosted me. What is it??
My stomach clenches. This is live TV. There is no cut and do-over.
Natalie’s face appears to the right of the camera. She motions to the beets. Holding back a loud exhale, I fix my smile firmly in place.
“Instead of buying fresh beets—which take ages to boil and make your hands look like Lady Macbeth—buy canned beets. And instead of an entire onion—which you have to peel and cut and makes you cry off your mascara, giving you Panda-eyes—buy pre-sliced onions in the produce section. Then all you have to do is quickly slice the beets, place them both on a roasting pan”—which I do—“drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, then stick them in the oven at three-fifty for ten minutes.”
“It’s so simple!” Holly’s eyes widen as if I’ve just given her the cure for cancer, and I barely resist rolling my eyes.
“While that’s roasting, whisk honey mustard, oil, and the juice of one orange in a bowl.” In the refrigerator, I pull out a plate of already-cooked beets and onions. “And when the beets and onions are done roasting, scoop them into a salad bowl with the arugula and walnuts, then add the dressing mixture. Voilà! The salad is—”
From the corner of my eye, I notice Natalie waving her hands and pointing wildly. I snap my glance her way, following her finger.
“Erm… I mean, don’t forget the star ingredient—goat cheese! Crumble it on top, and there you have it. A gourmet salad in under fifteen minutes.”
“As always, delicious and so easy.” Holly takes a tiny bite with her fork, then washes it down with water. “Your husband is one lucky man.”
I cringe at her words, and don’t dare look at Natalie.