Monday, February 2, 2015

Mai Tai'd Up by Alice Clayton

Cocktail #4

Chloe is Clark's cousin. She was the woman that Clark was having dinner with in the 3rd book (Screwdrivered), which got Viv jealous. Chloe was visiting Clark because she was having issues with cold feet.

Chloe called off her wedding on her wedding day. She realized that she did not love Charles or want the kind of life he offered. She had to get away so she went to her family's ranch in Monterrey.  She decided to open a shelter for hurt pit bulls at the ranch. She will get a salary and her father will get rent money. She will finally be on her own. She is getting some help from the local vet, Dr. Campbell. She likes the looks of his son Lucas, who is also a vet who had been left at the altar. Chloe did not tell the whole truth about her broken engagement. They start to spend time together but Lucas is leaving in two months to go to Belize with Vets Without Borders.
Her Our Gang location opens. Things are going great for her. They get along great but they are just friends. Will it ever be more?

From the author:
The gossip mill in the seaside community of Monterey is churning about Chloe Patterson, the newcomer who is starting a sanctuary for rescued pit bulls. It’s rumored that she’s a former beauty queen (true) who ditched her fiancé the morning of their wedding (also true). And that while she’s not looking for a new man, the good-looking local veterinarian has his eye on her. Absolutely, positively true.
When Lucas Campbell isn’t at the family veterinary clinic, he’s paddle boarding in Monterey Bay. Recently single, he’s definitely not in the market for a new relationship, but he still can’t resist taking a second, third, and fourth look at the recent arrival of Miss Golden State.
Neither Lucas nor Chloe has any interest in being tied down. Being tied up, however—now there’s a thought. But are a few Mai Tais, a moonlit night, and the music of Frank Sinatra enough to allow them both to forget their past? Let’s hope Ol’ Blue Eyes knows what he’s doing.
Mix one part tiki, one part kinky, and a splash of old black magic matchmaking, and it’s time to be . . . Mai Tai’d Up.
Chapter one
Four weeks later in San Diego
“And so tonight, I raise a glass to the most beautiful girl in the world—my daughter, Chloe Patterson. And to her intended, I say: take care of her. Because I know people.”
I could feel my blush rise as my father toasted me and my fiancé—the “intended” he’d just threatened in front of the fifty people attending our rehearsal dinner. Threatened in a perfectly acceptable way, of course, like a father of the bride would tease the man who’s going to take away his little girl forever. And everyone laughed along with me, raising their glasses in our direction.
My intended, Charles Preston Sappington, rose to his feet, shaking my father’s hand and clapping him on the back good-naturedly. Was the clap a little harder than necessary? Yes. Was the threat as affable as my father made it sound? No.
I caught my dad’s eye and he winked. I giggled loudly, earning an eye roll from my mother, who had the most audible eye roll in the room. In any room. And particularly any room my father was in.
Relieved that I could get back to my dinner, I felt Charles’ hand on the back of my neck. He leaned over me, pressing an absentminded kiss onto the top of my head. “Going to go say hello to the Nickersons; I’ll be right back,” he whispered.
I kissed the air behind him as he sped off to press some more flesh, and turned to see my mother watching us.
“Don’t you think you should go with him, dear?” she asked, watching as my fiancé schmoozed. Our rehearsal dinner, and he was schmoozing.
“Not particularly. Did you try the artichoke soufflé? It’s delicious,” I answered, forking up another bite.
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough, dear? That wedding dress barely fits as it is.” She signaled for a waiter to remove my plate.
I smiled resignedly, setting down my fork with a clatter that earned me an eyebrow raise. “Sorry,” I mumbled, patting at my lips delicately with my napkin, which I refolded and placed squarely in the center of my lap.
“Oh, leave her alone, Marjorie, she’s getting married! She should enjoy this night! You know, before the Big Fade,” Dad teased.
A snort escaped me, and my mother’s neck turned three shades of red.
“Honestly, Thomas, I hardly think it’s appropriate to tease her like that, the night before she gets married. And what was that toast? You know people? For goodness’ sake, who are these alleged people? Accountants? Pencil pushers?”
“Oh, lighten up! It was a joke, that’s all,” my father protested, clearly loving this.
Divorced for the last six years after twenty-two years of bickering, my father loved nothing in the world more than to get my mother’s back up. And she never failed to take the bait.
But tonight, she surprised us both by pushing back from the table. “Chloe, go stand with Charles. He shouldn’t have to chat up all these guests by himself,” she chided, not giving my father a second glance as she sailed away. Tall and regal and every inch the mother of the bride, she slipped seamlessly into the background, making sure that the waiters were circling and everyone had everything they needed. She was the hostess with the mostest, a job that I supposed I should be doing. Truth? I wanted more of that sinful artichoke soufflé.
I glanced at my father’s plate and he grinned, shoving it across the table toward me. I grinned back, then quickly ate the soufflé.
“So, you ready for tomorrow?” he asked as we watched the room.

ebook272 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Gallery Books

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