Christmas Wishes, Valentine Kisses: Unwrapped & Cupid’s Mistake In One Volume
Unwrapped & Cupid’s Mistake ~ Together In One Volume! Get the Box Set with both Contemporary Holiday Romances in the Christmas Wishes ~ Valentine Kisses series!
Book One: Unwrapped
His to unwrap. His to keep.
Derrick Fox only wants one gift beneath his Christmas tree--his best friend, Mia Patterson. Clueless Mia thinks he's only interested in a friends-with-benefits deal. Even worse, she thinks that's all she wants, too.
Mia and Derrick struggle to find the truth in themselves. . . and in each other. With their friendship hanging in the balance, they must push through their fears and misconceptions to bare their hearts like never before, knowing they'll have to risk it all for the chance to claim their happily-ever-after. Forever.
Book Two: Cupid’s Mistake
Party-planner Allison Kelly has it all--great friends, a flourishing business, and an active sex life, with no time or inclination for a relationship. Sure, she suffers the occasional twinge of loneliness, especially with two of her best friends, Mia and Derrick, all coupled up. But there's always a new boy-toy to play with at her friend's dating service, Cupid's Cavalry.
Life has been anything but a party for Benjamin Turner. An ex-soldier, he's traveled the world on self-imposed exile, but he couldn't outrun his loneliness. Finally home again, he's determined to dedicate himself to serious, worthwhile endeavors. Not partying. But he's also ready to give life and love another chance, even if it means joining a dating service with a ridiculous name.
He's looking for stability. She wants a good time. Will Cupid's arrow find its mark this Valentine's Day, or will their pairing prove to be Cupid's biggest mistake?
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"Unwrapped is a story of true friendship, true passion, and true love. What unfolds is a tale to touch your heart."~Lori Lyn, Author
"Cupid's Mistake is. . . a fast-paced read. . . the perfect light romance. . ."~Amy Brantley, A Girl And Her Kindle review
Extra Info For Christmas Wishes:
Mia Renee Patterson: A twenty-five-year-old virgin, and best friend since college to Derrick Fox, Allison Kelly and Jeff Denton. She has image issues with her body, mostly thanks to the complete jerk who just dumped her, Barry Anderson, and has had a long-buried crush on Derrick. She runs an ezine and print magazine devoted to raising awareness and funding for the most vulnerable in society. She adores her friends, and sometimes envies Allison’s ease with men, but she also worries that Allison is becoming jaded with her constant love-'em-n-leave-'em routine with the boy toys she treats like disposable party favors.
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate-covered cherries and worn-in clothing stolen from Derrick's closet.
Derrick Fox: A computer game developer, and an anomaly—a computer geek/jock with a romantic streak a mile wide. He's secretly been in love with Mia since first meeting her as a college freshman at UC Irvine, where Jeff Denton was his roommate. Once Mia's latest moron dumps her, Derrick is determined to make his stand and let Mia know how much he cares.
Proudest accomplishment: He's fluent in Japanese, which comes in handy in his business.
Allison Kelly: She's a model-perfect true redhead, loves men, sex and food, not necessarily in that order, and runs her own event planning business. She believes in love, but is in no way ready to experience it—she's having too much fun playing the field. That is, until she accepts a lunch date through her friend DeeDee's online dating service, Cupid's Cavalry. . .
Biggest secret: her party-girl persona is sometimes hard to maintain, especially when she succumbs to the occasional bout of loneliness, which can strike even in the midst of a crowd.
Guilty pleasures: Tearjerker movies and Christian Louboutin heels.
Jeff Denton: He was Derrick's college roommate and is now building his entertainment empire as the Drag Queen of the Universe—or so he bills himself—and star of the most popular drag show in Hollywood. He is madly in love with his partner, Greg Mitchell.
Not-so-secret passion: His body is his temple, and it had best be worshipped frequently, but he'd jump in front of a speeding train for his friends.
Greg Mitchell: New to the quartet of friends formed by Jeff Denton, Derrick Fox, Mia Patterson and Allison Kelly, Greg met Jeff one night after Jeff's Hollywood show, and the two have been together ever since. He is the gentle soul of the group.
Secret desire: He'd give just about anything to marry Jeff, if Jeff would only ask.
Mrs. Hinckley: Mia's elegant, elderly, widowed neighbor in Newport Beach, California. She reminds Derrick of British royalty, but he’s less enamored of her ankle-biter of a dog, the appropriately named Rambo.
Shameful secret: She quit smoking months ago—after decades of badgering by family, friends and physicians—but she still misses the filthy, disgusting habit every single day.
Barry Anderson: A prominent plastic surgeon in Orange County, he made Mia his pet project for three months (unbeknownst to her), trying to turn her into a perfect specimen without benefit of surgery—just to see if it could be done—under the guise of dating her. At the end of three months, he satisfies himself that indeed perfection cannot be attained without the benefit of his skilled knife, verifying his own necessity in the social order, and dumps her flat, setting off a chain of events Mia could never have imagined.
Secret fear: That fat is contagious.
Benjamin Turner: Orphan and widower, Ben checked out of his painful past by traveling the world on foot for six years. Finally healed, he returns to Orange County and his cousin Sally's house—just four doors down from a certain gorgeous, fiery redhead. Sally’s home is his temporary home base while he picks up the pieces of his life and puts the next phase in motion. According to his cousin, that phase includes dating. Unable to resist her "help," Ben finds himself joining the membership roster of Cupid's Cavalry. He’s mildly interested in dating—eventually—in the hopes of finding a woman to grow old with. Someone serious and dedicated, like himself. He’s not interested in partying or casual dates, especially not with a frivolous party-princess like Allison.
Greatest ambition: To alleviate the suffering he witnessed on his travels by using his business, talents, and resources to enact real change.
Sally Turner: Cousin to Ben, Sally is divorced for the second time and has two young daughters, who currently live with their father. Sally's parents—his aunt and uncle—took Ben in after his parents died, so the cousins finished growing up together and have always been very close.
Not-so-secret wish: To find her true Prince Charming and make him husband number three.
DeeDee Barnett: Allison's good friend and owner of the successful online dating service, Cupid's Cavalry. She has two ambitions: to make her business the premier dating service on the 'net, and to hook Allison up with Mr. Right, not just a long line of "Mr. Right-Enough-For-Nows."
Secret shame: Despite running a dating service, she has not made time for a date for herself in more than a year.
Settings & Locations
Both Unwrapped and Cupid's Mistake take place primarily in Orange County, California, and include references to the following locations ~
Corona Del Mar
John Wayne Airport
Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park
Magic Mountain, Valencia
Excerpt ~ Unwrapped
Derrick put the lotion away, whistling tunelessly, a goofy grin nearly cracking his face in half. He ignored Allison's pointed stare and repeated eh-hemming while he watched Mia moving farther out into the water.
What an interesting turn of events.
Inordinately pleased, he dropped back onto his elbows, one leg kicked over the other. His free foot swung to the beat from one of the boom boxes pounding out its bass nearby, at complete odds with his whistling.
He'd been prepared to wait several weeks, maybe even a month or two, for Mia to get over Barry before making his move, but. . . His body twitched with pleasure, remembering her hands gliding over his skin, the sound of her fast, heavy breathing in his ears. Maybe convincing her to give him a shot would be easier than he'd hoped.
Even if it was only physical attraction, he could work with that. Start there.
Instead of killing Barry, he'd have to thank the man. If Barry hadn't dumped Mia last night, who knew how much longer they might have stayed together while Derrick waited for his chance with her. Finally, it was his turn. He would do whatever it took to make her happy.
Slender fingers snapped in front of his nose, making him jump. He turned his head to find Allison's giant sunglasses two inches from his face.
"Geez," he said, shoving her back with a light push on her shoulder. "What?"
"You know what," she answered, a supercilious smile dancing across her face.
Derrick waved a hand at her dismissively, keeping his lips sealed, and went back to watching Mia, now halfway to the first buoy. But he couldn't stop the answering grin.
"Uh-huh," Allison said. "I hope you know what you're doing, boyo. And you better not hurt her, or I'll take you out, permanently."
In answer, Derrick reached over and plucked the sunglasses off her nose, grabbed her pointed chin and pulled her in close so she could stare directly into his eyes, all without saying a word. He held her there for perhaps thirty seconds, her deep blue eyes plumbing the depths of his, until she nodded, apparently satisfied.
"Okay, then." She leaned closer to give him a smacking kiss on the lips. "I love you. I love Mia. And I'm really, really happy for you guys. Now I'm going to pick me out a boy-toy from the meat section over there and head home. Go get her, tiger."
And with that, Allison rose gracefully to her feet, stretching luxuriously. Derrick swore he heard synapses misfire in male bodies all across the beach. Evidently oblivious, she gathered her things and stepped off the blanket. She'd gone maybe four paces before three muscle-bound guys shoved their way to her side and offered to carry her belongings, practically panting at her feet.
Derrick sized them up, determined she could handle them, and, catching the wink she tossed him over her shoulder, shook his head. Maybe she carried some sort of whistle only a certain type of guy could hear.
But with Allison occupied, that meant he and Mia had the house, and the evening, to themselves. He could commence the wooing unimpeded.
Excerpt ~ Cupid’s Mistake:
A clutch of cards in her hand, Allison's gaze strayed right, roving over the hulking man on her loveseat. Glints of red and gold shone in the dark brown of his hair and beard, and she detected a pleasing, masculine scent beneath the usual party aroma of spilled beer and dancer's sweat permeating the garage. Something a bit woodsy, with a hint of spice. She sniffed again. Nice.
Her eyes traveled up from the long tail of his beard, over his flat stomach and wide chest, then widened like a deer's caught in a hunter's crosshairs. His deep-set eyes were slitted open, too narrow to determine their color, but fastened on hers with an intensity that had her taking an instinctive step back.
A beat passed, then two. Then three. Frozen in place, a strange current raising all the hairs on her arms as though in recognition of an imminent threat, she stared. He didn't appear dangerous, scrunched as he was into the corner of her tiny sofa, Sally snoozing on his shoulder. And yet. . . Wishing she could see his eyes clearly, she tried to draw a breath into her airless lungs. He hadn't moved a muscle.
And. . . and she was still staring.
Flushing, Allison whirled and hurried to the door without a word, intending to escape back inside. Instead, she nearly barreled into Jeff's muscular chest as he exited the house.
Already taller than most women, in her heels she stood eye-to-eye with his six-foot-four frame, though he outweighed her by at least a hundred pounds. Jeff and the angelically blond Greg, who stood behind Jeff clutching his arm, blocked the doorway. Both men frowned at her.
"What happened with Tom?" Jeff shouted over the music—Shania Twain's Man, I Feel Like A Woman this time.
"Jon," Allison corrected. Sean?
"Whatever," Jeff and Greg said in unison.
Uncomfortably aware of the mountain man's gaze burning a hole between her shoulder blades, she shrugged. "Greener pastures."
Not wanting to hold a conversation in front of Grizzly Adams, Allison made a shooing gesture to encourage Jeff and Greg back into the house, which they ignored.
"Do you want me to take him outside?" Jeff asked. Behind his back, Greg rolled his eyes, making Allison cough to disguise her laugh.
"No, I'm good," she managed, leaning forward to kiss Jeff's tanned, movie-star-handsome face on the cheek. "Thanks. He's not worth messing up your manicure."
Jeff studied her for a moment, while Allison chafed under the weight of the stare still boring into her back. She never ran from a man, not even a hairy hippie throwback, but getting caught scrutinizing a guy she'd thought was asleep had thrown her off. She stiffened her spine and flashed a smile for Jeff, evidently satisfying his silent query.
"Well, then, my darling girl," he said, kissing her back and waggling his dark-red nails—the same shade as her own—toward her family room with a flourish. "Après vous."
Taking her hand in his left, with Greg's clutched in his right, Jeff towed them both back into the thumping music. "Let's dance!"
Christmas Wishes, Valentine Kisses: Unwrapped & Cupid’s Mistake In One Volume is available wherever ebooks are sold. Get your copy today!