Giveaway Info: Prize is 5 eBook copies of “Sugar & Spice” (1 each to 5 winners). Contest is tour-wide and open internationally. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Ends Dec 4. Rafflecopter Link is at the bottom of the post and Good Luck!
Sugar & Spice
by Kristen Beairsto
Heat Level: Steamy
Length: 122 pages
Sugar and spice makes everything nice, but mixing business and pleasure can come with a price . . .
Francis Stevens – Frankie to her friends – has declared herself permanently single after a couple of monumentally disastrous relationships. And she doesn’t mind at all. Between the international expansion of the lingerie catalog company she runs with her friends, labor strikes, and her regular work load, she has little time for love or a relationship.
But Royce Weston has other ideas. After his family accuses him of becoming a workaholic, a chance encounter with Frankie at a night club has his mind on things other than business. As luck would have it, Royce winds up the executive assigned to work with Frankie and her lingerie company when she partners with his family’s investment firm to fund her expansion.
Despite Frankie’s outward appearance of confidence and swagger, insecurities rear up and cause her to over compensate and drive harder for what she wants. Doubts weigh her down and with Royce watching her every move, she fights to keep her businesswoman’s façade firmly in place. But while Frankie tries her best to keep her mind on business, she can’t ignore the way Royce’s touch makes her feel or the fact that he makes it clear he’s interested in more than just a business relationship. When all of her defense mechanisms fail to keep him at arm’s length, Frankie finds herself wondering: is it possible to mix business and pleasure?
“Any chance you’d leave the catalog to come have dinner with me?”
Frankie froze. Was he asking her out? She shook her head, reminding herself it didn’t matter.
Frankie dropped her pencil and sat back in her chair to stretch for a moment, “Sorry, I can’t. I need to get this done as soon as possible. Wisconsinreally set me back.” She tried to stomp down her regret.
“That’s what I thought you’d say.”
Whipping around, Frankie stared disbelieving at the sight of Royce standing in the doorway leading to her office. Looking much the same the night he showed up at her apartment with dark hair mussed, suit jacket slung over his arm, tie undone hanging around his neck, and his briefcase in his hand along with a brown paper bag. In his free hand, he held his BlackBerry to his ear.
The corner of his mouth curving upward, he took the phone from his ear and turned it off without taking his eyes off her.
“How did you get in?” Frankie finally asked when she found her voice again.
Arching a brow, Royce pointed to the cell phone she still held to her ear.
Turning her head, Frankie looked blankly at the phone as though she didn’t know how it got there. With an embarrassed blush rushing up her cheeks, she rolled her eyes at herself and turned the phone off.
Royce strolled into the room, “You forget, Weston, Inc. owns this building, which means I have access to a key,” he set his briefcase and the bag of food on the table beside her layouts, “but we can’t talk because we have to dance.”
Totally bewildered, Frankie just stared at him, “Huh?”
Coming around behind her chair, Royce pulled it out from under the table, “My mother was born and raised in Vegas. If there’s one thing she taught me, other than never talk to strangers and always brush my teeth …” he informed her as he pulled Frankie to her feet, her shock at his sudden appearance and his announcement made it easy.
Taking her hand in his, he moved her other hand to his shoulder and his free hand took up a firm position at the small of her back. He pulled her so close she felt the heat of his body envelop her, “You never let a beautiful woman sit while she listened to Ol’ Blue Eyes. Frank’s songs were made for dancing.”
As Fly With Me began, Frankie had the vague sensation of her feet moving in step as Royce led her in time with the melody.
“I should warn you, I’ve broken toes before,” she tried for a light tone. She found herself having a hard time breathing. Had the room been this warm all night?
With the same lopsided grin, “I think I’ll take my chances,” he informed her right before moving her into an unexpected turn.
Almost losing her balance, Royce caught her just before she lost her footing, causing her to laugh as she fell back in step with him. She couldn’t help but enjoy herself. When he moved for another turn, she stood ready for him, laughing smugly, ridiculously proud of herself.
“Not bad,” he gave an approving nod.
“Maybe for an empty office, but not exactly ballroom material,” she joked.
The song ended and flowed into Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered so quickly, Frankie didn’t even notice when Royce slowed their movements considerably.
Smiling at him, Frankie relished the feel of his arms firmly around her for a moment, “You’re very good at this.”
Royce grinned, “It’s one of the main attractions on my resume. My mother thinks it’s romantic to be able to dance this way, while my father only knows how to dance this way. When they started dragging me to their friends’ parties, I didn’t have a choice but to learn.”
“Well, you’re still very good. And I agree with your mother, it is romantic,” she chuckled.
When they actually stopped moving, Frankie didn’t know. But she soon realized they stood still, his fierce sapphire gaze locked with hers. She ordered herself to break the contact to look anywhere else but into his eyes, but she couldn’t.
He leaned slightly downward towards her, “Maybe Mom was right,” he whispered, his head descending the rest of the way.
For this review, I’m going to give my opinion on all three couples and then an overall review. Keep in mind that this book is a blend of chick-lit (at least to me)/contemporary/romance set in the fashion world and high finance. There are children involved, too. 🙂 Riley is priceless, too. I also gave the book a spicy rating. There are a few scenes (study at Royce’s family’s house) that OH MY WORD….WOW! But it’s not graphic. So please indulge me…
The start of the book is great. The three women Frankie, Eddie and Charlie are celebrating having a very prestigious award. Their business is lucrative and has brought them great success but at what price? None of them are involved with anyone, so why do these three particular men that they meet at the bar flip their switches? Frankie’s not interested at all. Royce just wants to leave the scene. Jason “the Pirate” sets his sights on Eddie and Devon “the Blonde” picks Charlie. Not realizing that their chance meeting that night would set off a chain of events that no one could have imagined or that it would change their lives forever.
Eddie is the Designer of the group. She is somewhat aloof at first and then a bit harsh. She has been deeply hurt in her personal relationships with men. She been with controlling, awful men and is very confused by her feelings for Jason. Jason is one of the cousins to Royce. The artist in the family, he helps Eddie in one of her designs and the conversation is priceless. Trust me. Out of all the heroes in the book, he is the most laid back of the bunch. What Eddie thought was controlling was Jason’s way of getting Eddie to really think about the kind of relationship she wanted with him. In the end though, Eddie and Jason are my least favorite couple in the book. I still liked him especially since he is the “pirate” of the heroes. J But I never really connected with Eddie as an individual.
Charlie is the single mother and the “Stitch” in the group. She’s the sewer/maker of the group. Her son Riley figures prominently in the book without being the annoying brat that some authors put in books. Riley is fully fleshed out and the conversations with Devon are heartfelt and poignant. I still hate Chuckie Cheese but I can see where a single man would have a great time with a kid. They never grow up. J Charlie is the most cautious of the women when it comes to relationships with men. She got pregnant in college and has raised Riley with the help of Eddie and Frankie. Charlie’s fears are well-rounded and I completely understood her. I wanted to hug her and tell her that everything would be okay, just have a little faith in her son, Devon and especially herself. As a couple Charlie and Devon were fun and sexy and they were also the most “real” couple with their insecurities and problems that comes with a single mother and former playboy. *sigh*
Frankie and Royce are the main couple in the book. Good lord, I needed a fan every time they were on the page. From their first meeting, you know that they belong together but the journey is going to rough, heartbreaking, tension filled and oh so sexy. In one of Frankie’s disastrous relationships, that very thing happened to my cousin, so I completely understood Frankie’s thoughts on the subject. Ouch! Frankie and Royce were so much alike it hurt me. Both workaholics, not seeking help until the last-minute and never taking the time for themselves. I appreciated that it took a long time for them to realize how much they wanted to be together and it wasn’t rushed into either. The scene in the study is OH MY GOD!!!! Bring a fan. Just saying…They are by far my favorite couple.
As I the read more about the back story of Frankie, Charlie and Eddie it is clear that these women are soul sisters to the end. While they are strong business women in their own right, together they are powerful. Neither one can exist without the other and that’s what makes this book so strong. Neither of these women are weak, malleable, just a mess in their love life. Through good old fashion girl talk, tough talk amongst themselves and a little dancing to ZZ Top (again, trust me) they work through it.
Overall, I never wanted the book to end. I become engrossed in their business and the relationships. Yes, Eddie and Jason were a bit odd for me but as artists their relationship worked. Charlie/Devon/Riley were priceless. Frankie and Royce I wanted to bang their heads together but the were totally worth the wait in the end. The ending is hilarious, sexy and very unexpected. 🙂
Run, don’t walk, don’t think…READ THIS BOOK!!! It has everything and I mean everything I look for in a sexy contemporary. Money, sex, friends to the end and each hero is drawn to make me love each of them.
About the Author:
In between her to-be-read pile and trying to bring the characters in her head alive, Kristen spends as much time as she can with family and friends. Much to her husband’s dismay, she enjoys collecting purses, shoes, and jewelry. During those rare times she’s not working at her day job, rushing her daughters somewhere, watching movies with her husband, and trying to meet a deadline, she can usually be found energetically cheering for one of her favorite New York sports teams.
As with just about every other writer on the planet, Kristen grew up an avid reader. She started with young adult before she technically hit the age range and moved on to sci-fi classics by Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. At fifteen, her best friend gave her a book she just had to read! The book was Honest Illusions by Nora Roberts. Always a sucker for a happy ending, she was a goner and fell in love with the romance genre. Having started writing novel length stories at the age of eleven, Kristen’s stories all took a romantic turn from that point on.
Visit Kristen online at:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website – http://www.KristenBeairsto.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/#!/AuthorKBeairsto