Series: Cocktail #4
Published by Gallery Books on December 2nd 2014
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]Delightful and humorous. Alice Clayton never fails to charm me. Her humor pops up in the oddest and most entertaining ways. Her characters are engaging and you want to be invited over to join in the fun. Lucas Campbell can be my ginger kryptonite.[/box]
Former Miss Golden State Chloe Patterson was supposed to get married to Charles Preston Sappington. Charles was a lawyer with the right family connections, who belonged to the best country club, and who was on the Board of several of the correct organizations. Everything was progressing just as her mother has planned, including just the right wedding, with the perfect wedding dress and a guest list everyone wanted to be on. It was everything her mother had dreamed for her, but Chloe was beginning to think there was more to her chilly toes than a good pair of socks could take care of.
Before she could put on her wedding dress, Chloe came to the realization that although she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life, she knew that marrying Charles Preston Sappington was not it. Chloe had never had a chance to decide what she wanted from her life. Her life so far was filled with the pageant circuit, a few years of college and now a dream wedding. But it really isn’t Chloe’s dream and she wants a chance to figure out what her dream is before she becomes Mrs. Anyone. Instead of putting on her wedding dress that morning, she grabbed her keys and drove away.
The one thing she knows for certain is that she enjoyed her time visiting hospitals with a therapy dog as part of her pageant volunteering. When a chance comes to work with Our Gang, a rehabilitation and adoption group for pit bulls, and to open a new location, the timing is just too perfect to pass up.
What better place to set up a new location than at her father’s vacation house in Monterey. It’s a sprawling former ranch with an unused barn and acres of property. Good news is Chloe will have help from a Dr. Campbell at the local veterinary hospital. The better news is that Dr. Lucas Campbell is six feet three, blue-eyed, sun-kissed, ginger-haired yummy goodness.
The bad news is that not only is Chloe not ready to walk into another serious relationship, but it seems Lucas was just left at the alter a few months ago by his own former fiancé. It looks like Chloe and Lucas are destined to stay in the friend-zone.
Can Chloe resist this ginger kryptonite and just work closely with him to save her dogs or will they give in to temptation and become each other’s rebound?
Alice Clayton amuses me in the most unusual ways. Not only is her writing entertaining, but her simple use of font sizing to emphasize Chloe’s fiancé’s shortcomings was unexpected and hilarious. Although my husband didn’t find it quite so entertaining as I did when I went running over to show him.
Equally entertaining is the fact that the vacation house that Chloe moves to in Monterey has not been updated since the 50’s and every time we are with Chloe and Lucas, they are playing old Rat Pack music on the turntable and mixing up popular 50’s cocktails.
Grace and Jack in the Redhead series and Simon and Caroline in Wallbanger and Rusty Nailed all won my heart as my all-time favorite couples. Sadly for Alice Clayton that means that I have placed the bar of my expectation so high for her stories that a really entertaining story with fun characters just can’t measure up to my favorites.
Does that mean Mai Tai’d Up is a bad story? Absolutely not! I loved Chloe and Lucas. This was a great story. Very entertaining. But remember that bar? Did I love Chloe and Lucas as much as Grace and Jack? Um, no. But there are few couples who can measure up.
Clark and Vivian from Screwdrivered show up for a cameo, but it is not necessary to read the rest of the Wallbanger series in order to enjoy this one. There is no question that once you have a sip of Alice Clayton, you will be taking on the whole Cocktail series.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Following me inside, he stopped just before stepping down into the sunken living room. Marveling at the decor once more, he turned in a circle to take it all in. The leather couches, the scoop back chairs, the built-in entertainment center complete with record player. Where Frank was now crooning “Summer Wind.”
“I still can’t get over this place; what a great vibe!” He turned in another circle, shaking his head. “Vibe. See? I’m already channeling the lingo, chickie baby.” He chuckled, snapping his fingers. “I feel like Bob Hope might stop by at any second.”
“He’s down on the golf course with Bing, but he’ll be along for cocktails.” I said with a laugh, and started for the kitchen. “Speaking of, can this chickie baby get you something to drink?”
He followed, and I could feel his eyes all over me. Did I swish my skirt a little more than was necessary? Oh my, yes.
“What do you think Frank and company would have to drink?” he asked, and I looked over my shoulder at him. His eyes were on my behind. And when caught? Didn’t even have the decency to blush. Naughty boy.
“Probably martinis, although I heard a rumor that Dean Martin rarely drank. It was part of his image, though, so whenever you’d see him on stage with a scotch? It was usually—“
“Tea. I heard that too. Iced tea, to keep up appearances,” he finished for me, and I nodded.
“Appearances are important,” I said, picking up the platter and then spinning to head back into the living room, where the tiki bar was. When I turned, he was right behind me.
“Well, hello,” I said, my carrots now pressing into his tummy.
“Hello,” he answered, reaching out to take the platter from my hands. “I’ll get that.” He looked down at the vegetables, then back up at me. “This looks impressive.”
“Just a little something before dinner,” I said, scooting him into the living room. Where the bar was—I needed a drink. He set down the tray and selected a pepper while I started to mix up two martinis. “Vodka or gin?”
“Vodka please,” he answered, crunching down on the pepper. I added booze and ice into a shaker, shook for thirty seconds, then poured into two martini glasses.
“Olive? Onion? Lemon?” I asked. I’d stocked the bar. Well prepared.
“Lemon’s good, thanks,” he replied, and I nodded as I used a tiny paring knife to peel back a sliver of lemon. I added a twist to my own glass, then handed him his.
“Cheers,” I said, clinking his glass. We sipped, and our eyes met over the rim of the glasses. No one said anything, except for Frank, who was now crooning about strangers, and them being in the night. Heavy.
The silence stretched out and finally he said, “Well, we sure are fancy tonight, aren’t we?”
“I know!” I said with a laugh, and it was easy again. “After that amazing day yesterday, I wanted to do something nice for you.”
“The dress is nice,” he said, letting his eyes roam once more.
“Thanks. I’ve been so busy lately there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity to dress up, you know?” I gulped my martini. “Not that this is an occasion to dress up; that’s not that I mean. I mean, it’s just dinner, nothing special, just two people having dinner, at home…I’m going to stop talking now, okay?”
He simply said, “So show me around your pad.”
“It was fifty-fifty between that and digs.”
“Pad it is; I’ll give you the tour.”