When a new-age remedy fixes Abby Williams’ career rut, the twenty-five year old figures a spell could heal her broken heart too…
Suddenly, she’s having hot sex with an even hotter musician, which might work as long as she doesn’t get in the way of his rock stardom. Her work colleague is flirty and fun, but could he be keeping something from her? And now, the guy who broke her heart wants to rekindle their relationship. Can she trust him enough to give it another shot?
So far, it seems Abby’s spell hasn’t worked. Or then again, perhaps it has?
Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the tour stops! **Anyone who purchases their copy of Flirting with Magick before May 13 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five entries in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon gift card!!**
Currently a stay at home mother, she has worked in the public service, education, road and music industries.
She enjoys reading, cooking and writing stories full of fun, drama, love and always with a happy ever after.
You’re standing in what used to be a slaughterhouse-slash-meatpacking plant. Now, it’s an elegant but modern space with hardwood floors, hand-carved banisters, heavy curtains covering windowless walls, and six different bars – including one staffed by a guy right out of the movie Cocktail, who spins and flips bottles and shakers, concocting six different drinks in the time it takes most bartenders to make one. His name is Levi and he loves to give you and the girls free drinks. You love to let him because he never hits on you in the process.
The whole bar, especially from where you’re standing, reminds you of a shark tank. Even on the dullest nights, you can watch the school of single gals below as they vie for attention from the most eligible men in the bar. Almost more amusing are the small packs of guys following around disinterested women, in an apparent failure to believe they could be resistible to the opposite sex.
“That’ll never work,” says Rachel, watching a pair tentatively flirting across the room. The pretty blonde girl is wearing what looks like an Alice + Olivia dress, and is holding a Burberry clutch. The shaggy brunette guy she’s beaming at wears a pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers on his feet, slim fit jeans, a graphic tee and a cardigan.
Val examines the couple, tilting her head. “Why not?”
Rachel waves a dramatic hand in their air. “She’s air-kisses, he’s air guitar.”
“Shakespearean,” Val says with a nod. “Or maybe Springsteenean?”
“Decent one-night stand at the very least.”
Val angles her drink toward the preppy-hipster hybrid who are oblivious to the world around them. “Go forth and fornicate.”
As promised, you met the girls at your apartment after work. They pillaged your closet until they agreed on an outfit that made the statement “selectively back on the market” and then took a curling iron to your hair until they’d achieved a “natural” look. You drew the line at make up, unwilling to let them near your eyes with pointy objects once they’d finished a bottle of wine between them.
After they filled your handbag with essentials like your ID, Barely Berry lip gloss, a condom, your keys, another condom – they were feeling optimistic for you – your phone, and a twenty dollar bill for back up cab fare home, they declared you ready to re-join them in the world of dating.
For the first time in three months, you shared a cab from your uptown apartment at Yonge and Eglinton (or Young and Eligible as some call it) down to The Entertainment District. As usual, thanks to a bouncer named Will – a patient from Val’s practice – you bypassed the lengthy line of people snaking around the block and walked right through the massive double doors of Mixed, Toronto’s most popular Friday after-work bar.
People come for the promise of four-dollar mixed drinks, but stay for the veritable meat market it becomes by 7 p.m. when it’s bursting with urban professionals. The guys, many from nearby Bay Street offices, are mostly in business dress with loosened ties. The girls wear the most eye-catching outfits they could get away with at work.
Within 10 minutes, you each had a drink in hand and were perched at your usual spot, smack dab in the centre of the top floor railing – the perfect locale for people-watching and running commentary on everything happening around you.
“Wow, that set of rings connected by chains on your hand is so sexy,” Rachel says in a high pitch, her words perfectly synced with the mouth of a pixie-like girl on the level below you.
Across from Pixie is a guy adorned with an unfathomable amount of accessories – a technique known in the Pick Up Artist community as “Peacocking.” When his lips move, Val says in a deep, raspy voice, “I don’t blame you, Sugar. Of all my attention-getting devices, including the ridiculous Abraham Lincoln hat I’m wearing, the rings are by far my favourite.”
“It totally makes up for the fact you just complimented my shoes before telling me you were surprised they came in such a large size. Let’s get out of here and make little douchebag babies you can pass on your gifts to.”
“No way!” you say, shocked when Abe takes Pixie’s hand and they actually walk toward and through the exit doors together.
The three of you break into laughter; Val’s loud, but musical, Rachel’s mostly silent, her body shaking as she doubles over.
Val likes this vantage point because she can see the entire bar, which allows her to instantly assess her surroundings and locate eligible bachelors. You don’t point out that she’s clearly missed the standout in a suit on the first level. Or if she did notice him, she’s not sharing the intel with you.
For a moment, you think you make eye contact with him, but decide you’re the one who needs to get her eyes checked and return your attention to your chocolate martini and the show around you.
In the DJ booth you see the usual heavy-set guy in his standard red Adidas warm-up suit. Despite the presence of turntables and other fancy equipment, you’re fairly certain he just plugs his iPod into the sound system and presses play on the same top 40 pop playlist he’s been updating since the ‘90s. On any given night, you’re guaranteed to hear Red, Red Wine, Crazy in Love, and Christina Aguilera’s Dirty. You stay far away from the dance floor for that one – and pretty much every other song – unless you’re drunk. Speaking of which…
“Fuck!” says Rachel, plucking a twenty out of her top and handing it to Val. “I was sure they’d hold out for at least another 30 minutes.”
Valerie scissors the bill between her fingers. “Clearly you’ve underestimated the low self-esteem of today’s young ladies.”
You smile when you see Bess and Tess (so named by Rachel earlier in the night) faux-lesbian grinding on each other for the benefit of a group of rumpled, half-drunk guys gathered beside them. Clearly this means their forced laughter, strutting, and uncomfortably long bouts of eye contact have gotten the girls (and their steadily vanishing rhythm) nowhere. When in doubt, pretend you’d make out with your friend: the foundation of many an unhealthy relationship.
“I wonder if the fact Bess wore a leopard print dress the same night Tess brought out the zebra number bumped up the desperation time table,” you say.
“It lives!” Rachel hooks an arm around your shoulder. “Welcome back to the world of the judgmental. We’ve missed you.”
“The world has evolved so much since I’ve been away,” you play along. “What is this beautiful duck face girls are making in the pictures they pose for every five minutes?”
Rachel makes the duck face, her full top lip nearly touching the pert tip of her nose. “What?” she says. “This is how I always look.”
You laugh, reaching with your free hand to cover her face until she returns it to its normal, pretty self.
Something tells you to look down, and you’re almost certain that guy is looking your way again. You ignore it. Too often has that assumption led to finding out the guy in question is actually looking at Rachel. You lift your glass and finish what little is left of your drink. “Who needs?”
“I needs,” says Val, holding up her empty plastic martini glass. “Your round, Rach.”
“I needs to dance,” Rachel says. You can see her energy building to a bounce.
“I’ll go see Levi,” you say, taking another twenty Rachel produces from her cleavage. “So much for dispelling the rumors you’re a stripper.”
“What can I say? That Show Girls movie had a profound effect on me.” Rachel snakes an arm through Valerie’s. “Dance floor, Jeeves. The Mantis is hungry.”
As though she’d arranged it with DJ Adidas, the beginning beats of Nelly Furtado’s Man Eater pump through the speakers. “Sorry,” says Val, leading the way from the third to second floor, “but it’s a barren wasteland down there.”
You knew she didn’t see him.
Your trio saunters down the main staircase – by far your favourite feature of the bar. A wide, winding number that grows slimmer the further down it goes, it’s got an ornate, hand-carved wooden banister, and plush ivory carpet centred over each step. It looks like something right out of one of the old movies you watch on Netflix with Valerie – like a time machine to Hollywood’s Golden Age.
You leave the girls at the second level, Rachel gliding to the heart of the dance floor with Val in tow. You feel bad for Bess and Tess, whose real-estate the girls are about to infringe on, and even worse for the guys next to them who are sure to see Rachel flip the switch from happy-go-lucky to hey-go-fuck-yourself any minute now.
You walk down one more short flight of stairs to the main level, offering polite smiles as you wedge your way through clusters of broad male shoulders. When you reach the line for Levi’s post at the bar, you’re surprised to find yourself shoulder to shoulder with Mister Mystery Guy. You steal a sidelong glance at him. He’s exactly your type: good looking and taller than you.
“Hi,” he says, and you automatically turn your body to face him. He extends his hand to you. “I’m Nick. Nick Wright.”
You take his hand and give him a firm shake, noting a twinge in your stomach at the sound of his voice, which is low and just a little rough around the edges. Smiling, you say, “I’m Hannah.”
“Hannah. What are you drinking?”
“What’s your budget?”
He laughs. It’s a good laugh. “I’m a big shot. Sky’s the limit.”
“In that case, a chocolate martini in a diamond encrusted glass.”
He turns to the bar to order your drinks. You pray Rachel and Valerie don’t choose this moment to make an appearance.
You smile when Nick turns back to hand you your drink. “Sorry,” he says. “Plastic is all they have left.”
“No problem. I’ve got two in my purse.”
He places his free hand on the small of your back, leading away from the foot traffic of the bar.
And so begins the banter. You do your best to concentrate, but the way his royal blue dress shirt intensifies his blue eyes makes it difficult. You note that he’s only slightly loosened the Windsor knot in his tie and appears comfortable in his well-tailored charcoal grey suit.
“So, obligatory what do you do question,” he says.
“I manage a chain of upscale brothels,” you tell him, thinking that’s kind of the same as PR. “Twelve locations across Canada with plans for international expansion. And you?”
“Rock star,” he says naturally. “Nobody knows me here, but I’m basically the David Hasselhoff of Japan.”
In truth, he works in finance – something about high wealth clients, investments and “The Market.” Who cares? He’s gorgeous! He’s got wavy, brown hair, perfect teeth and, if Clark Kent taught us anything, he’s probably packing some muscle under that shirt – fitting given he’s got a Henry Cavill thing going on.
“Obligatory where do you live question,” you say.
“With my folks,” he says, focusing on his drink.
His expression is so genuine you worry he’s serious. Apparently he notices this too. “Not like my room is down the hall from my parents,” he says. “I have the basement apartment. Except, I share a front door…fridge…washer and dryer…”
You feel your eyes widening with each detail, until he finally puts you at ease with a smile. “Technically, I do live at my parents’ place, but they don’t live there. They live in the States, so I took their place on Queen West. Gives them a place to stay when they visit.”
Oh, thank God.
“That’s too bad,” you tell him. “I kind of like the idea of a grown man living with his parents. The guys I meet at the brothel are far too independent. It’s refreshing when a guy doesn’t have his act together, you know?”
“I get that a lot. Is that where you live? The brothel?”
“My own room in each location. It’s nice. Homey. Always armed guards around, so I feel safe.”
“So, are you working tonight?”
“No. Not for years now. I’m just supervising.”
“Your employees are here?” he asks, pointing to the floor.
“Yep.” You turn him slightly to the right. “Let’s see. That girl in the red dress? That’s Kiki.” You turn him another 45 degrees and motion to a girl in a terrible paisley blouse. “That’s Mirna. And then one more…” You turn him again until you’re facing the guys you saw him with earlier, one of them chatting up a cute girl. “Looks like your friend has taken a shine to Lauren.”
“Ted could use a sure thing,” Nick says.
“And if he’s got five hundred bucks, he’s got one.”
“Five hundred?” He whistles low and slowly.
“Well, eight hundred, but any friend of yours…”
He smirks. You love a good smirk, and he’s got a great one.
Why? Why do you meet this guy when you’re rebounding? This hot, funny guy who wears a suit, unlike the other guys around you who let their suits wear them. You don’t want this guy to be rebound guy.
So don’t take him home. Even better, don’t assume he’d go home with you.
The gentle pressure of his hand on your tricep brings you back to the moment. Yep. Okay with the touching.
“Will you excuse me for a second?” he asks. “I need to loan Ted some cash. And it looks like you might want to check in with your friends.” With his head, he motions past your shoulder to Rachel and Valerie, who are watching your interaction intently. He recognizes them. So he was watching you earlier.
You wince and blush. “They probably think they’re being stealthy.”
He squeezes your arm. “I’ll come find you in a minute?”
You smile. “Yeah.”
He walks away. You pivot on your heel, only to find Rachel and Valerie standing right in front of you.
“Your surveillance skills are seriously lacking,” you say to Valerie.
“Surveillance? I’m gawking.” Valerie adjusts her gray Prada frames. “So?” she prompts impatiently.
“Cute. Smart. Funny!”
“Super fucking cute,” says Rachel. “You bitch. I was supposed to get that round.”
“It’s still your turn,” you remind her.
“In a sec. So, is he your rebound?” You can tell she’s hoping the answer is yes.
“No! I just-”
She raises her glass to her mouth and cuts you off. “On your six.”
You turn as Nick’s hand lands on the same place on your arm. He looks past you to your friends, reaching out to shake their hands.
“Valerie Hayes, Rachel Winters,” you say. “This is Nick Wright.”
Rachel chokes on her drink.
Oh. Wright! You just got that.
Valerie pats her on the back. “Nice to meet you, Nick.”
“You, too,” he says before turning his focus to you. “Would you all want to join us at a spot a few blocks from here?” He leans down so his mouth is next to your ear. “Unless you’re still on the clock.”
Damn. You’re even more conflicted now than you were before, thanks to that shiver-me-limber whisper. You do want to go with him. Very much so. But, for exactly that reason, would it be wise?
“Let me come find you in a minute?” you ask.
He walks away. You huddle with your friends so they can help you decide what to do.
“I kind of want to go. Should we go?” you ask.
“I wouldn’t. End the night now. On a high note,” recommends Val. “Plus, you’d be missing the opportunity to flirt with more guys when he leaves.”
“More guys in the barren wasteland?” Rachel mocks. “You have to go! It’s an instant date. He’s clearly diggin’ you, and you get to meet his friends. According to you two, that’s like, huge, right?” Beyond you, she sizes up Nick’s cute pals. “And what kind of friend would I be if I let you go alone?”
To see where the night ends, turn to SECTION 10
To end the night here, turn to SECTION 15
Valerie’s right. As far as first meetings go, this one’s been of the highest caliber. Why put it in harm’s way? It’s decided. Better to leave him wanting more.
You cross the floor to where Nick stands with his friends.
“That is a great smile,” Nick says and rests a hand on your hip as naturally as though he’d done it a hundred times before.
“I do. It says, ‘Why, I’d love to come with you. Let’s get outta here.’”
“Actually, it says ‘I really do want to come with you. A lot. Which is why I can’t.’”
An exaggerated look of pain passes over his face and he grabs his chest. In a strained voice he says, “I’m hit. My heart.”
You laugh. It’s a bit cheesy, but he makes it work. “Shoot. I always forget to tell my suitors that Kevlar should really be worn in my presence at all times. I do hope your suit isn’t ruined.”
He tries another tack. “But…but who will protect me from the floozies?”
“Hopefully not the same guys who just watched you take a bullet.”
Undeterred, he slides his arm around your waist and pulls you closer. You look up. Your faces are just inches apart. He certainly isn’t making this easy. “But I ship out tomorrow,” he says. His eyebrows knit together like a sad puppy. “What if I never see you again?”
You laugh and rest a palm on his chest, confirming the Man of Steel Theory. “We’re from Canada. Odds are you’ll come home safe and sound. Still, I’m not unpatriotic. We can see each other when you get back.”
“Alright. White flag,” he says, waving a white handkerchief he pulls out from his the inside pocket of his suit jacket. No doubt Val is swooning right now. “I give up…for now. How do we go about setting up a homecoming rendezvous?”
If you’d rather he calls you, turn to SECTION 87
If you’d rather keep control and take his number, turn to SECTION 3
Back to SECTION 1 (if you want to try the second option)
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it.
Don’t forget to hit up the Indiegogo Campaign to select your perk and obtain an advance copy of Coulda, Woulda Shoulda!
You open your eyes. It’s bright. Way brighter than your bedroom usually is. And your head hurts. And your sheets are blue.
Wait – since when are your sheets blue?
You hear a shower running and, suddenly, it hits you.
You aren’t at home.
You don’t remember leaving the bar last night, and you certainly don’t remember coming here…wherever here might be.
If you look as bad as you feel, you need to get out of here immediately. You lift the sheet covering your body and are confused. You’re still wearing your clothes. Most of them, anyway – you’re missing your top, but your bra and everything else are right where you left them.
You sit up quickly and regret it. Your head is pounding.
You look around the foreign room and see a garbage bin beside the bed. There’s a glass of water and two aspirin on the nightstand.
You greedily drink the water and will your brain to work. The night comes back to you in chunks. You were at Wrong Bar with Rachel, Nick and his friends. You were having a great time flirting and laughing. You even danced. He even danced.
And you kissed! Often.
Between Ted and Rachel, you always had a drink in your hand. Rachel’s current boy toy, Jessie, showed up. She left with him.
Some wing woman.
You heard the bartender announce last call. And that’s it. That’s all you remember.
“What did I do?” you say, falling back onto the pillow. “Where am I?”
“My place.” Nick is standing in the doorway, wearing a towel below his abs. Or, around his waist. Whatever.
Good lord. Those abs.
“Feeling okay?” he asks.
“A little hung over when I woke up, but I’m good now.”
“No,” he says, a little too emphatically for your liking. Not that you’re not relieved. “You were pretty smashed.”
“And how did I get here?”
“I tried to take you home in a cab, but you kept telling me to take you to the brothel.” There’s a ghost of a smile on his lips.
“I think we ended up outside your office.”
You hate yourself.
“I figured it was easier to bring you here,” he says, adjusting the towel.
“The bucket? Please tell me it was just a precaution.”
“I’d be lying.”
“In the cab?”
He winces. “My mother’s front hall rug.”
You close your eyes. “I am so sorry.”
“Don’t be. I hated that thing.”
“And my shirt?”
“You gave me your bed?” you ask.
And then it’s silent.
What do you say when the gorgeous guy you met last night tells you that you’re a drunken menace who destroys carpeting? Got an extra toothbrush?
He speaks first. “Listen, last night was fun, and I hate to rush you out when you’re not feeling well, but… Well, I’ve gotta be somewhere in an hour, so…” he trails off.
“For sure. No problem.”
He leaves for a moment and comes back with one of his tee shirts for you. You retreat to the bathroom, horrified by the raccoon eyes and wild hair that greet you in the mirror. You take a couple of minutes to pull yourself together before your walk of lame. When you exit the bathroom, Nick’s standing in the front hall where you assume the ill-fated rug once lay. You walk to the front door.
“Give me a call sometime?” he asks as you pull on your shoes.
“Yeah, sure,” you say, more to your feet than to him.
He hands you your purse, and before you know it, you’re alone in the hallway outside his apartment.
The hideous floral print lining the walls amplifies your nausea. Then you realize he didn’t give you his phone number. You wonder if he knows that. You’re not going back to ask him.
Back to SECTION 1 (If you want to try the other option)
I was excited to pick back up with Samantha Kidd after Designer Dirty Laundry and Buyer, Beware did not disappoint! Vallere once again brings her knowledgeable fashion skills to the forefront, along with comedy, mystery, and a saucy romance. Samantha takes over the position of buyer handbag for a new retailer in the area – but only after the previous buyer is murdered. Samantha assigns herself the case of solving the whodunit – but are her accessories enough to keep her safe from the killer?
I know sequels aren’t supposed to be as good or better than the first, but I think I liked this even more! I enjoyed jumping right into Samantha’s life and already having a beat on the characters. It was interesting to watch her romance play out, because I did not have a clue what was going to happen. I also had a few suspects in mind for the murderer, and it wasn’t until the end that I started clicking the pieces together- something I enjoy in mysteries. Who likes to know the identity right off the bat? I hope there is more from this series!
Okay – I’ve decided to try something new on CLP – video blogs! I’ve noticed these popping up more around the blogging world so I thought I would give it a whirl. But what to talk about (taps chin) – how about my wedding? I’ve been meaning to blog about it so I thought this would be the perfect time to bring in the videos and share my journey up until the big day. I will warn you – my office is in our second bedroom, which we designated at Mitch’s overflow room when we first moved in. So in case you’re wondering – those are turkey feathers and a Dumb and Dumber poster on the wall behind me Oh – the joys of when we will have our house and I can have a “real” office! I’m hoping if you click the link below the video will open and you can catch a clip of me chatting away and getting choked up like a girl I hope these work and you enjoy them!
I have read The Journey Home from Michael Baron and enjoyed it, so when I was offered a chance to review his latest novel, Anything I decided to give him another go. And I am so happy I did! This book had me hooked from the very beginning, and was one that I would constantly talk about to friends –asking the question: what would you do?
Ken and Melissa, the focal point of the novel, are about to get married. Ken never knew he could love someone as much as he loves Melissa, and he is ready to start a new life together with her as his wife. While searching for just the right wedding present for Melissa, Ken stumbles upon a unique and mysterious shop. When the owner offers him a chance to look in on Melissa’s life when she was a girl, Ken decides to seize the opportunity. But when the look back offers a glimpse at a horrific incident from her childhood, Ken is enraged. But now Ken has a second chance – he can go back in time and prevent the incident from happening. Ken would do anything for Melissa, and to take away that memory would bring Ken such joy and he feels that Melissa’s life would only better from that. But when Ken returns to present time, Melissa is no longer in his life. She doesn’t even know who he is. By changing that one piece of the past, Ken has now altered both his and Melissa’s life – forever.
I enjoyed getting to know a male protagonist, which isn’t something I get often with mainly reading chick lit and romance. Ken was such a lovely character, a man that I think everyone woman wishes she would meet and fall in love with. He had a great dynamic with Melissa, but the depth of these characters goes even farther. Ken says he will do anything for Melissa – even at the expense of them possibly never meeting. This was a terrific book, and like I said earlier, had me talking to people about what they would do given the opportunity. Check out this book – you won’t be disappointed!
WORTH LYING FOR
By: Lisa Cheney & Lisa Craig
I was too old to be scrabbling for loose change on the floor of my car. But the twenty-two pennies mined from the bottom of my purse wouldn’t buy me a coffee at George’s Market. An archaeological dig under layers of receipts, magazines, and old shopping lists was bound to unearth fifty-three cents more. I found a quarter by my feet, then, leaning over, hit the mother lode under the passenger seat: four dimes and a nickel.
I was about to haul myself upright, spare change and pride in hand, when some idiot zoomed up and parked right next to me, even though mine was the lone car in the lot. Craning my neck, I saw a mint condition, 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500. I may only be a receptionist/bookkeeper, but I’m a receptionist/bookkeeper for a classic car restoration garage. I know my muscle cars. And for my money, the 1968 Shelby is the best looking automobile ever made.
The early October morning sun glinted off its shiny black paint and bright chrome trim. I was filled with the covetousness I usually reserve for designer shoes and the occasional signature handbag. If I could own a car like that, and the right pair of stilettos to match, everything in my life would be perfect.
As I sighed over my vision, Jimmy Adler, the biggest jackass I had ever known, stepped out of my dream car. The driver—it was painful to think of him as the owner of this classic vehicle—had spent our high school days in a haze of pot smoke, emerging occasionally to sell to others or publicly berate his girlfriend, Tina. I hadn’t seen him much in the past twenty-some years, which was surprising considering we live in such a small town. Then again, in a small town you hear about people whether you want to or not. It was common knowledge that he had continued on his sordid path, and Tina, now his ex-wife, would never bring charges even after all the domestic violence calls. He was an absolute pig and he was driving my car.
In contrast to my own tee shirt and ancient wrinkled slacks, he was decked out. He had on a gorgeous black leather jacket that, even from a distance, I could tell was a soft, supple lambskin that called out to be petted. He hadn’t gotten fat, or lost his still-brown hair. Truly, there is no justice in the universe.
I watched him swagger toward the store. No, make that stagger. He weaved two steps sideways for every one he took forward. He was completely hammered and it was not yet nine in the morning. Stumbling over the front step to the market, he smashed his forehead against the glass door. He obviously felt no pain as he bounced off in surprise and fumbled for the pull handle. He pushed on it for a minute or so while shouting out some garbled swearing, before he realized he had to pull the door open. He hadn’t changed a bit.
The Shelby was parked way too close, but as long as I eased my door open there was enough room to get out. As satisfying as it would have been to bang my car door into his, I had to rise above such pettiness for the sake of the Shelby. A work of art is a work of art, no matter how big of an idiot the owner is. I lightly ran my fingertips over its smooth paint. Torturing myself further, I peeked inside the open passenger window at the red leather interior. Perfect. Damn it.
On the pristine leather of the passenger seat, next to an empty fifth of Jack Daniels and a couple baggies filled with suspicious-looking herbs, I saw a black duffle bag. Inside the unzipped bag I could see money: stacks and stacks of money. Not Monopoly money. Real, U.S. legal tender. Stupid drug dealing bottom-feeder, how do you end up with a Ford Shelby and a bag of cash while I’m looking for change under the floor mats of a Ford Escort?
On its own reconnaissance my hand shot out and grabbed the bag, then dragged it through the open window. Adrenaline tightened my throat as I stared at my offending hand. This was wrong, so very wrong. I was an upstanding citizen who paid her taxes, mortgage and insurance on time. I believed in my heart that world peace was possible. I had never so much as stolen somebody’s thunder.
Put. The money. Back. Slide the bag through the window, drop it back on the seat and this never happened. I dropped the bag through the open window of my car instead. Inexplicably, I found myself behind the wheel, speeding away as fast as my little junker would go.
I drove two tenths of a mile straight downhill then came to a screeching halt at the end of a treacherously narrow driveway to a daycare establishment called Smartypants, where I turned around. I came back up the hill in time to see the Shelby racing away in the other direction. Jimmy ignored a stop sign, hung a left with tires squealing, then disappeared from sight.
I went around the block slowly. I had no idea where Jimmy was headed. Chasing after him—for any reason—seemed like a bad plan.
As I cruised past the storefront it was impossible to see in or out through the layers of beer and liquor advertisements obscuring the windows. The convenience store had no obvious security cameras pointed at the parking lot. I was fairly sure Mr. George had no security measures in place at all, aside from a baseball bat he kept next to him at the checkout. I thought back. I hadn’t heard any cars driving by earlier and there hadn’t been a soul anywhere in the vicinity.
I had pulled off the perfect crime without even trying.
Rachael O’Bryan is currently on tour with her novel Unlocked and CLP Blog Tours. I thought the concept for this story was interesting, as O’Bryan comes right out and says that the scenarios that happen to the main character, Rebecca, are loosely based on her own experiences. The book is written in short stories, touching on people and situations that Rebecca finds herself in, mostly during the time she was working as a tutor in college for the football team. There are nine guys that share the spotlight throughout, and Rebecca relates each guy and situation to a lesson that was learned. The focal points of the story are love, friendship, self-confidence, trust, acceptance, and heartache, and I could definitely see them all. At the beginning of the book it didn’t seem that Rebecca had any self-confidence, and it was nice to see her grow throughout the stories. Readers follow along as she searches for love and acceptance, both with others and for herself. There were a few stories that I could relate to more than others, and I think anyone should be able to find at least one story that they can relate with as well. This was a fast read, but sometimes a bit too scattered for me to find a good hold onto the characters. Not a favorite book of mine, but still an interesting read.
Red Hot Liberty by Devin O’Branagan is the sequel to Red Hot Property, which I have not read. It can be difficult to read a sequel without knowing the characters and situations from the first book. I did struggle a bit with not being able to relate to all the plot points along the way for that reason, but it didn’t completely hinder my reading experience. The book follows Molly O’Malley, who works in real estate and has a slew of personal problems. She is being sued by a former client, her new assistant is hot and comes with a British accent, her tween daughter is acting like a tween, and her dogs are depressed. There is a lot of focus on the dogs in this book, which sometimes seemed odd, but O’Branagan belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is a big advocate for animal rescue, and it’s interesting to see how she can translate that passion into her books. Another quirky character is Liberty True, who doesn’t trust the government and believes in many conspiracies. All these sub plot points can be a bit overwhelming at times, and I again wonder if I could have gotten a better grip on the story if I had read the first book. The conspiracies that Liberty True talks about were really intriguing to me, and I actually looked up quite a few on the internet. Overall, I liked this book and even the writing style, but there was a lot going on and a lot of characters to keep track of. I would still recommend Red Hot Liberty, but I would suggest you read Red Hot Property first.