I Love You More Than Pierogi (World of Love) by K.A. Merikan
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K. A. Merikan, the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan. Welcome to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Tell our readers about I Love You More Than Pierogi?
We’ve been thinking about setting a book in our native Poland for quite some time now, and the submission call for “World of Love” helped us come up with an angle 🙂 The two main characters are former high school sweethearts who meet after several years, and after the bitterness that resulted of their breakup, the reconnection is everything but smooth. Through those characters we explored two conflicting feelings many immigrants face – the longing for home and everything it stands for, and the unstoppable curiosity that pushes them to explore. Who knows, maybe one doesn’t have to choose 😉
Marek and Adrian dated in high school, but a bitter breakup led them to choose different paths. Adrian is out and proud while Marek is in the closet. Adrian embraces his eccentricity while Marek clings to a conservative image. And while Marek worked hard to build a successful life and financial stability by climbing the corporate ladder, Adrian threw caution to the wind and has spent the last five years backpacking across the world.
Now Adrian is back in Warsaw, Poland, but while Marek thinks they will have a hookup and have a blast from the past, Adrian is just looking for a place to crash. Worse still, Adrian turns up at Marek’s advertising agency for help with his outrageous new business venture, and if Marek wants to get promoted, he might have to work with the guy who broke his heart.
World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.
Adrian stirred the pierogi, and already his mouth watered at their scent. This was exactly why he learned to cook in the first place. “I worked in many kitchens for the charities I had connections to. At some point I got an understanding of the most basic processes, and the cooks gave me tips. Obviously, foreign cuisines do stuff differently, so in the end I started asking my mom and gran for recipes. It happened organically.”
“Don’t you think that people in Poland might not have the same appreciation for our food as they do for foreign stuff?” Marek asked but sat up straighter on the barstool to have a look at the pierogi sizzling in the fat.
Adrian frowned. “Don’t you? What do you eat on a daily basis? Burgers, kebab, and sushi?”
Marek nodded. “Yeah, the usual kind of takeout. I like pizza but can’t really have too much of it.” He patted his flat stomach.
Adrian smirked. “Oh, I’ll fatten you up if you let me stay here a bit longer.”
“That’s what I’m worried about.” Marek laughed and ran his fingers through his hair. He looked much younger and more relaxed without the suit on. “Though I do miss the traditional home-cooked food,” he admitted. “Frozen pierogi are not the same, and I feel weird going to restaurants on my own.”
Adrian watched him, stirring the food in the pan. He could relate to Marek’s words all too well. “You know, when you immerse yourself in a different culture, everything seems great. It’s all fresh new things, and it’s all delicious. I love spiciness, the sweetness of coconut milk, and I think frying spices before adding anything else frees the flavors, but that kind of food also gets old after a while.”
Marek raised his eyebrows. “I thought you were all about visiting new places and trying new things.”
Adrian shrugged. “Yes and no. It’s all exciting, but at the end of the day you want a steaming bowl of bigos stew with juniper sausage. The comfort food your gran served you after a bad day.” He licked his lips. “Slavic cooking uses a lot of pickles and sour flavors. I really missed that. And when I learned to cook, it was a cure for feeling homesick.”
Marek cocked his head and had more borscht. “Weren’t you too busy to feel homesick?”
Adrian finished frying and put all the pierogi on one plate, generously topping them with lardons. He added a side of rhubarb and carrot salad and sprinkled the remaining chives over the plate. “I don’t think one could ever be too busy to be homesick.” He stopped, looking at the pretty picture that was the plate, and reminisced about the past. “At some point your emotions become a bit stifled, so you don’t think about it too much.”
Marek smiled at Adrian… shyly? “These do look great.”
He reached out for the plate, but Adrian pulled it away and grabbed a fork, then divided one of the pierogi in two.
He picked up one half and blew air over the hot food, watching Marek with amusement. “You will be all over my project after you try these. It’s a secret recipe.”
“Oh? What’s it with?”
Marek’s smile widened, and Adrian was once again reminded of how nice it was to be alone with him, without the roommates or Marek answering e-mails late at night. It made him think[KM1] of Marek’s failed attempt to kiss him and made Adrian wonder if he would ever try again.
He stepped closer, still blowing on the morsel, and put the food against Marek’s mouth. The filling was slow-cooked goose meat with root vegetables, but Marek would have to taste it to find that out. “It’s a secret.”
Marek looked up as he took a big bite, and Adrian couldn’t help but remember how Marek had looked at him while he sucked his cock all those years back. As if Adrian was the center of his universe.
Adrian pulled the fork away and put the remaining food into his mouth, sensing the sweetness of the caramelized onion, which was a perfect addition to the herby meat and vegetables. He stepped closer until his knee brushed Marek’s. “Good?”
Marek nodded with a smile and his mouth full. “Oh, it’s delicious. The real thing. My mom tried to teach me over Skype how to make pierogi with mushrooms one Christmas Eve, and it was such a failure. The dough turned out useless.”
Adrian grinned, looking at Marek while moving even closer between his spread knees. He picked up another piece and fed it to Marek. “It does require the right consistency. You can’t get that just by following a recipe.”
Marek ate more voraciously by the second. “Needs skilled hands. I’m afraid I don’t have the touch for it.” He stared into Adrian’s eyes. “So damn good.”
Adrian chewed on his lip, sensing that familiar tingle in the tips of his fingers as he fed Marek the crunchy salad. So many memories were flooding his brain now, like latent electricity that was finally tangible. “I’ve been told mine are very skilled.”
Marek took a deep breath through his nose. “I might have even been the one to tell you that….”
Adrian’s mouth twitched, and he slowly turned around before casually sitting on one of Marek’s thighs. Anticipation was far more than a tingle now, and he looked Marek in the eyes as he ate a piece of pierogi. “I think you did.”
Marek put his fingertips against Adrian’s back. “Maybe the business idea isn’t that stupid after all.”
About the author
K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite pushing thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.
They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.
More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:
K.A. Merikan’s author page: http://kamerikan.com
Agnes Merikan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AgnesMerikan
Follow the blog tour:
December 29 – MM Good Book Reviews
January 4 – Boy Meets Boy
January 5 – Open Skye Book Reviews
January 5 – The Novel Approach
January 6 – Love Bytes
January 9 – Alpha Book Reviews
January 10 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words