Cupid's Mistake – February 25, 2013 – ISBN: 9781301766819
Party-girl Allison Kelly has it all—great friends, a flourishing business, and an active sex life. She's beautiful, busy and blissfully fulfilled, with no time or inclination for a relationship. Sure, she suffers the occasional twinge of loneliness. Who doesn't? But if her latest boy-toy is unavailable, there's always another one at her friend's dating service, Cupid's Cavalry.
Life has been anything but a party for Benjamin Turner. Orphaned at fifteen, widowed at twenty-three, he traveled the world on self-imposed exile, but he couldn't outrun the loneliness eating away his soul. Finally home again, he's dedicated to serious endeavors—ending world hunger, providing clean water—not partying. But he's also ready to give life and love another chance. It's Cupid's Cavalry to the rescue. Maybe.
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?
Cupid's Mistake is a contemporary novella-length Valentine's Day romance.
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Unwrapped and Cupid's Mistake are now available together in their series box set, Christmas Wishes, Valentine Kisses. Click here for more information!
"Once I got started, it was hard to put my e-reader down. The story is fun, the sex HOT, and the ending extremely satisfying." ~ Amazon reviewer
Extra Info For Cupid's Mistake:
Allison Kelly: A true redhead, she 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, and comes face-to-face with her soul mate.
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: Tear-jerker movies and Christian Louboutin heels.
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 fiery redhead—a 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.
Greatest ambition: To alleviate the suffering he witnessed on his travels by using his business, talents and resources to enact real change. Despite Sally's encouragement, dating doesn't really figure into his current plans, especially not with a frivolous party-princess like Allison.
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 took Ben in after his parents died, so they 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.
Mia Patterson: Allison's best friend. Mia (the heroine from Unwrapped) is newly engaged to the love of her life, Derrick Fox. She 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 fiancé to Mia (and hero from Unwrapped), he is one of Allison's best friends. Fiercely protective of both Mia and Allison, he has worried about Allison's cavalier dating style, as well.
Proudest accomplishment: He's fluent in Japanese, which comes in handy in his business.
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 and fiancé, 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: Jeff's fiancé and the gentle soul of the group.
Secret desire: Now that he is engaged to Jeff (finally!), his dream is to make a home for the two of them and raise a family together, but with Jeff's work schedule, he's unsure whether Jeff is ready to think about children.
Settings & Locations
Cupid's Mistake takes place primarily in Orange County, California, and includes references to the following locations ~
Corona Del Mar
Allison navigated the tables without looking up from her phone, sacrificing her usual flair for making an entrance in the interest of closing out her business for the day. She hated running behind.
"I'm so sorry I'm late—" double-damned Orange County traffic "—just give me one moment."
Depositing her coat, scarf and handbag on the chair next to the one she dropped herself into, and finishing up a strongly-worded text to the baker bitch, Allison tossed the phone into her bag, turned emphatically off. She didn't want even a silent vibration interrupting what promised to be a pleasant lunch with a handsome man.
"Whew!" she said, giving her hair a quick fluff. "There."
Turning on her most brilliant smile, she finally looked up. And found herself skewered by a pair of the most intensely-green eyes she'd ever seen. Her breath stopped mid-inhale. The only thought in her head was, "Well, damn it, I'm not ready for you," even as her heart sighed, "There you are," as though the man sitting across from her was the critical missing piece in the puzzle of her life.
Which was just ridiculous. There was nothing missing from her life. Nothing. But. . .
The man had half-risen out of his seat, as though he'd intended to pull her chair out for her but hadn't gotten the chance. Wow, he was huge. Had she read that in his profile? She dated a lot of tall men—she preferred them, since she was so tall herself—and it was hard to gauge his full height behind the table, but he might be one of the tallest she'd been out with in a while. Every inch of him radiated a dangerous sort of sophistication. He wasn't Wall Street by any stretch, but he could probably chew up a suit or three for breakfast, then play a round of golf with the fourth.
A little snap of sexual heat sizzled across her pulse points. She resisted licking her lips.
He sat again, those incredible eyes narrowed and glued to hers. There was something familiar about him, something. . . She couldn't put her finger on it. It was probably just his Cupid's Cavalry membership photo tripping her up, but his expression was definitely off. He didn't look remotely happy to see her. Men were always happy to see her.
Mesmerized, she stared and stared, as though she were looking down a tunnel, unable to tear her gaze from his. Bells rang and fireworks exploded, just like the women in her family had always claimed. The rest of the restaurant and its patrons faded into soundless white mist at the periphery of her vision. For several long, hard beats of her heart, they were the only two in existence.
"Miss. . . Kelly?" the man said, and she shivered. His voice echoed down the silent tunnel, rough and deep. The rumble slid inside her bloodstream like molten lava, igniting tiny flames atop every nerve ending it touched.
Licking her suddenly dry lips, Allison nodded, her field of vision widening slowly to take in the rest of him. And oh, what a vision. A weathered face of granite-hewn features carved by a master sculptor, a strong neck, and militarily-erect posture. Deep-set, boldly green eyes, and even deeper grooves alongside his wide, unsmiling mouth. Surely those grooves meant dimples, if he'd only smile. A hard, square chin, those lips. . . And a body designed for the spectacle of the Colosseum.
"A-Allison, please," she stammered, willing her voice to work. "And you're Benjamin."
He dipped his head in acknowledgement. "Ben," he said, the firm line of his mouth kicking up at the corner in a slight smile. "Ben Turner."
His deep voice slid along her skin like a caress. Rapid-fire images of a lifetime spent with this man flashed behind her eyes—a baby in his arms and another hanging off his shoulders. Teaching a toddler to ride a bike, high school graduations. Insanely passionate lovemaking. An entire history. It made her dizzy and breathless, even as her mind shouted at her to stop the insanity.
Overheated, she grabbed the glass of water at her place setting and sipped when she wanted to gulp it straight down and grab his, as well.
Cupid's Cavalry hadn't done his membership photo justice, and she must have skated right over his stats. The man was enormous, all broad shoulders and bulging biceps outlined beneath his close-fitting black sweater. His chiseled features and deeply tanned skin spoke of many hours spent outdoors. Was he in construction? Her mind had blanked. His name floated alone in the emptied space between her ears, the only concrete bit of information she could grasp.
No, military! He was ex-military. And he liked to swim. That explained the shoulders.
Sharp cheekbones jutted high and smooth, paler than the upper half of his face, though they looked slightly sunburned. His hair was gorgeous. Silky and full, perfectly cut, it waved back from his face like a glossy pelt of many colors—chocolate, russet, bronze, gold, deep red. An urge to run her fingers through it swept across her skin, making her fingers tingle.
"H-how do you do?" she managed.
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