Mai Tai'd Up
by Alice Clayton
Published by Gallery Books
Book 4 in the Cocktail Series
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.
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Contemporary Romance Very funny & Sweet
Mai Tai'd Up is the fourth novel in Alice Clayton's Cocktail series, and centers around Chloe, a former beauty queen, who has fled her wedding. In an effort to put some distance between the life she fled, she moves 400 miles away to stay in her Dad's summer home. It doesn't take long for her to figure out what she wants to do with her life - help animals. So she decides to open up a sanctuary for pit bulls. Lucas, the local veterinarian, can't help being drawn to the beautiful, kind hearted Chloe. But with both of them coming out of complicated long term relationships, and their feelings for one another, neither one wants to chance it being a rebound. But with some Mai Tai's, a beautiful autumn night, and Frank Sinatra's voice in the air, will these two finally succumb to the feelings that are between them?
OKAY, before I get into the book, I need to tell you that the synopsis on the back of the book is incredibly misleading. Even the cover is misleading. There is no bondage. So if you are going into this book thinking it's going to be kinkier than other books in the series - it's not. I get what was trying to be done. Playing with Mai Tai, but I hate it a book is being peddled as something it's not.
THE BOOK is actually pretty great though. It's a refreshing, captivating romance, that has you swooning from the moment Lucas and Chloe lock eyes in a mirror at a bar. It even brings a lot of awareness to the sad stigma pit bulls have against them, and the horrific things that happen to these dogs. The characters are interesting, and I love the automatic attraction and chemistry between the two. The whole retro vibe, stemming from Chloe's house, was an extra element of whimsy to this romance, making it feel fresh. My only issue with the book was its predictability. But honestly, most romances ARE predictable, so I can't fault Alice Clayton on that.
If you love the other books in the Wallbanger series, or you just love a sweet, steamy romance between two kind hearted characters, I totally recommend Mai Tai'd Up. And it comes with a side of adorable pit bulls!
Chloe shoving another doughnut in her mouth to spite her mother
I don't want to marry Charles Preston Sappington
Her dad giving her beer before
Lucas and Chloe officially meeting and shaking hands their entire conversation.
Lucas discovering Chloe's pudding hoard
Chloe's memory of Clark (Screwdrivered) passing out from excitement on the Jurassic Park ride at Universal.
Lucas and Chloe pretending that they hooked up to blow Marge's mind
Clark and Viv visiting, and having dinner with Chloe and Lucas
Lucas bring Chloe fireworks, and they finally kiss
Chloe and Lucas FINALLY hooking up, and Chloe showing how worked up she was when she swore
Airport security helping Chloe talk to Lucas
Lucas coming back early, and forgiving her
What I could see now was that nothing about our relationship was "Holy Mary mother of God." It was smooth and beautiful and covered in swirls of yummy on the outside, but the inside was fat free and full of air and nothing. And if I was going to have a life of air and nothing, I'd at least like a big fat dick to bounce on.
Mother: "What a charming vocabulary you seen to have developed all of a sudden."
Chloe: "For God's sake, Mother, its 2014. This isn't some Edith Wharton novel. No one wears white gloves anymore, no one send calling cards, and women fucking swear!"
Chloe: "Thanks for making the meeting with Dr. Campbell happen this morning."
Marge: "Which Dr. Campbell are you referring to?"
I raised an eyebrow.
Chloe: "The father, of course."
Marge: "And the son?"
she asked, raising her own eyebrow. Oh boy.
Chloe: "You're a little bit wicked, aren't you, Marge?"
Marge: "Only a little bit?"
she asked, and I laughed out loud. This woman was a trip.
Marge: "What perfect timing. Lucas just got back after being away for a while. If you need someone to show you around town, I'm sure he'd be more than happy to -"
Chloe: "No no no, Marge, I'm going to stop you right there. I'm not interested in dating anyone right now. I just got here, and I'm dealing with some stuff -"
Marge: "Everyone's dealing with some stuff, darlin'. Sometimes it's just nice to deal with it while looking at a gorgeous hunk of a man."
Lucas: "Oh, you have a story too? I bet it isn't as bad as mine."
Well, fudge. Now I was intrigued.
Chloe: "Oh, mine's pretty bad."
Lucas: "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours?"
Chloe: "You think I'm just going to whip out my sad talk to see if it's as big as yours?"
Lucas: "Yes, that's the idea."
Lucas: "Pretty and practical. You're lethal, you know that?"
My breath caught as I looked up at him through my lashes, peeking at the cute in front of me.
Lucas: "You're blushing."
Chloe: "Let me blush while I make breakfast."
Lucas: 'What was his name?"
Chloe: "Charles. Charles Preston Sappington."
Chloe: "Yuck? You don't even know anything about him!"
Lucas: "Rick guy, right?"
Lucas: "Country club? Well connected? Shirt never untucked?"
Chloe: "Yes. Yes."
I said, then thought for a moment.
I admitted to the last with a sheepish grin.
Lucas: "I stand by my yuck. Yuck to Chuck."
Chloe: "Who was never untucked."
Chloe: "The best Monterey has to offer? What are you, working for the tourism board?"
Lucas: "Yes, exactly that. So throw all your cares away and enjoy Monterey."
he said, game show voice style.
Chloe: "Well now, that's just creepy. What are we doing?"
Lucas: "It's a surprise, but you'll get wet, so wear a bathing suit, please."
Chloe: "A bathing suit?"
Lucas: "Notice I said please. Something really skimpy and preferably see through."
Lucas: "Kidding. Not kidding."
Lucas: "Okay, suit is a definite, skimpy is optional."
Lucas: "If you don't want to do this, that's totally okay with me. We'll hang on the beach, maybe take a drive - we can do whatever you want to do."
Chloe: "I want to do this."
Lucas: "Great! Let's get suited up."
Chloe: "But if we see one mother-fudging fin, you're the sacrificial seal."
Lucas: "Hold it about midshaft now. Once you're standing up, you'll want to grip the end."
Chloe: "Midshaft. Grip the end. I see what you're doing there."
Lucas: "You're the one with the dirty mind, Chloe - I'm just trying to show you how to stay on top."
he said with a wink.
Lucas: "I've got soda in the cooler."
Seeing it, I scrambled over the truck bed, losing my towel in the process. And as I leaned in to grab the soda, I realized I had very nearly hit him in the head with my bum.
Chloe: "You want something to drink?"
Lucas: "Sure. Whatever. And feel free to take your time. Take a look at every soda in there. Twice, if you want."
I swung wide and made sure to knock him in the head with the object of his affection on my way back to my seat.
Lucas: "There were originally a dozen, but they were rather demanding."
Chloe: "The donut holes were demanding?"
Lucas: "That I eat them, yes."
Chloe: "Well, donut holes'll do that from time to time."
I took the opportunity to pinch Viv's arm.
Chloe: "Hey, I see what you're doing - knock it off."
Viv: "First, I can't believe you just pinched a pregnant woman. Second, I can't believe you are not hitting that! What on God's green earth is stopping you? Third, and this is the pregnancy hormones' talking, if Clark says it's okay, I'm going to hit that if you don't!"
This was all said in a stage whisper while Lucas and Clark talked guy talk about monkeys or something.
Viv: "And fourth, can I have some more ice cream?"
Chloe: "Oh, for God's sake. First, I'll pinch you again if you don't keep your voice down. Second, it's complicated. Third, you hit that and I'll pinch more than your arm. Fourth, of course you can have more. Mint chocolate chip or mocha almond fudge?"
Viv: "First, try it. Second, nothing is so complicated; that man clearly wants you bouncing on his dick. Third, Clark would never let me, hormones or not. And frankly, he keeps me pretty damn happy, if you know what I'm saying. And fourth, mocha almond fudge, please."
she finished, pushing her bowl toward me.
Chloe: "Bouncing on his dick?"
I whispered back, horrified.
I whispered a little too loudly, because I became suddenly aware of two sets of male eyes on me. One pair, warm and brown, looked equally horrified at my choice of words. The second pair, ice blue and dazzling, merely looked amused.
Lucas: "No come on, your ice cream is melting."
He started to lead me back onto the patio.
Lucas: "By the way, what was that about bouncing on his dick'? Whose dick are we talking about?"
When you drop ice cream on a brick patio, it's impossible to clean up without getting the hose out. And in so doing, I may have sprayed a pregnant lady accidentally. On purpose.
Lucas: "Can I get you anything to drink Mr. Patterson? Water, soda, beer?"
Mr. Patterson: "Lucas, I just got off a small place with my ex-wife."
Lucas thought for a moment.
Lucas: "Chloe's taught me how to make a mean martini. Straight up or on the rocks?"
Mr. Patterson: "Rocks. Always rocks."
Lucas: "You've got a helluva bar here, Mr. Patterson. Chloe and I have been working out way though this old sixties cocktail recipe book. You ever had a zombie?"
Mr. Patterson: "Have you been trying to get my daughter drunk, Lucas?"
Lucas: "Absolutely, Mr. Patterson. Absolutely."
Mr. Patterson: "In that case, call me Thomas."
Chloe: "Pick someone out for me? He's not an outfit, Mother. And if he were my boyfriend, which he is not, I would be incredibly lucky. And what the hell's wrong with a veterinarian? If he were a gas station attendant, he'd still be an amazing man who makes me laugh and makes me giddy and makes me happy, for god's sake."
Lucas: "So explain to me once again what a ditty bag is?"
Chloe: "It's just a small bag that might hold things like paper clips or push pins, or you might take it on a camping trip to hold your toothbrush, toothpaste and bug spray. Or I might have had one that I kept backstage when I did pageants."
Lucas: "And what might have been in that bag?"
Chloe: "Preparation H and butt glue."
Lucas: "I can't talk to you ever again."
Lucas: "I brought you something."
he whispered, and from behind his back, he produced two sparklers.
Lucas: "I promised you fireworks, didn't I?"
Chloe; "You did. Light 'em up."
Striking a match against the bar, he lit both sparklers, then handed me one. And as we swooped and swirled and wrote our names in the sky, sparks flew. I began to hum along to the song, adding a word or two here and there, and before I knew it, Lucas had spun me into his arms, dipping me old school.
Chloe: "What are you doing?"
Lucas: "I couldn't help it. Starry night. Sparklers. Incredibly strong cocktails. It's witchcraft."
Lucas: "What just happened here?"
Chloe: "You kissed me."
Lucas: "You kissed me."
Chloe: "No way, mister, you kissed me first. I kissed you back."
Lucas: "You let me dip you. You knew a kiss was coming."
Chloe: "I admit, I had a feeling. But no more - not tonight."
Lucas: "Not tonight? What did you think was going to happen here?"
He looked amused.
Chloe: "I know what could have happened, very easily. But not when I'm already in my panties."
Lucas: "We can take care of that real quick."
he said, now waggling his eyebrows back and forth like a villain.
I said with a laugh.
Lucas: "Girls are weird."
Chloe: "We totally are."
For every peanut, there is an eggplant. For ever Charles, there is a Lucas. And since I'd had one, I feel I deserved the other.
My 'Holy sweet fuck, are you kidding me?" still ricocheted off the tiles, bouncing off his shocked face.
Lucas: "Pardon me?"
Chloe: "Sorry. Actually, not sorry. Actually, congratulations."
I pointed down,
Chloe: "That is kind of amazing."
He threw his head back and laughed out loud.
Lucas: "My dick is amazing?"
Chloe: "Oh, please, like you don't know. You're bigger than a breadbox!"
Lucas: "Baby's arm."
Lucas: "Bigger than a baby's arm, that's the phrase."
Chloe: "That's gross! What does that have to do with a - stop laughing at me! I don't even think that'll fit."
Lucas: "Oh, it'll fit. Wait - are we ... talking about ... fitting?"
Chloe: "If you think we can. Seriously, Lucas - you're huge."
Lucas: "Seriously, Chloe, you're awesome. Will you walk around behind me with a megaphone from now on?"
Chloe: "Quiet, you."
Tossing me onto the bed, he searched his bag, coming up with a package of condoms.
Chloe: "Prepared, aren't you?"
Lucas: "Chickie baby, I'm like a Boy Scout."
he said, grabbing one. Then grabbing a second one.
Lucas: "That's crazy."
Chloe: "You've seen the pudding."
Lucas: "No I mean, the whole girls-not-having-hips thing. You're supposed to have hips. That's all there is to it. Otherwise, what would we boys have to hang on to?"
Chloe: "So it's an evolutionary thing? Hips exist solely for your hands?"
Lucas: "I'm a doctor, Chloe, I know what I'm talking about."
Chloe: "Hey, I can't be naked and cook you pancakes."
I protested, slapping at his hands. If by protested you mean using the least amount of energy to remove those gorgeous hands from my still humming body, then protest I did.
Lucas: "You sure about that?"
Chloe: "I'm going to burn your pancakes."
Lucas: "I'm gonna watch you burn my pancakes."
Chloe: "I'm gonna hit you with this whisk."
Lucas: "I'm gonna bend you over this counter."
Pancakes were burned. An orange Formica counter was defiled.
He pressed a kiss to my forehead.
Lucas: "You thinking about tomorrow?"
Chloe: "Yes. I forgot to tell you - on the news, I saw something terrible about Belize."
Lucas: "You did?"
Chloe: "Yes. It sank."
Lucas: "Oh, really?"
Chloe: "Yeah. I'm surprised you didn't know that."
Lucas: "Belize isn't an island."
Chloe: "It broke off first and then it sank."
Lucas: "You're right. I am surprised I didn't catch that on the news."
Chloe: "I guess you better stay stateside, then."
Lucas: "How'd you sleep?"
Chloe: "Like a rock. You?"
Lucas: "Pretty good, even through the snoring."
Chloe: "I don't snore."
Lucas: "Says everyone who snores. You snore, Chlo."
Lucas: "Funny, that's what I was saying about four thirty this morning."
TSA agent: "Hey, Louis! C'mere! Your girl wants to talk to you."
When he arrived, she said
TSA agent: "Okay, Louis, this girl wants to talk to you bad enough she almost committed a federal crime to do it. Although now that I get a look at you, I can almost understand."
Chloe: "The other night was incredible, and I want every night to be like that. You're sweet and kind and wonderful and funny and you let me eat pudding. Which I need to stop doing, because I almost couldn't run through this airport.
And I don't care that you're leaving for twelve weeks, but I want to be here waiting for you when you come back. And I don't want you meting any pretty young veterinarians down there just because I didn't tell you what I should have told you before."
I looked at my TSA agent for courage, and she nodded.
Chloe: "I don't want to be your rebound. I just want to be yours. And I'm so, so sorry for not telling you sooner about the way that I left Charles. I should have and it was stupid of me not to. I lied to you and I hate that I hurt you, when that's the last thing you deserve. Because you - You're it for me."
Chloe: "Hey, I wanted to tell you something!"
I protested, sitting up a little. Which was not a smart thing to do, because as soon as my breasts were on full view again, his eyes widened. And something else hardened further. My eyes crossed a little bit. He was still inside me, you see. And oh, my.
Lucas: "Tell me whatever you want; just keep bouncing on my dick like that."
He signed, thrusting up ever so slightly.
Chloe: "I love you."
He froze. Mid-thrust. Such control.
Lucas: "I really wish I hadn't said something as crass as 'keep bouncing on my dick' right before you said that."
Chloe: "Well, if you had known what I was going to say, what would you have said?"
A slow smile began to spread across his face.
Lucas: "I love you first."
I shook my head.
Chloe: "You love me second. I said it first."
Lucas: "But you just gave me a time travel option. In which case I would have said it first, instead of the duck bouncing."
Chloe: "Yes, but I technically said it first."
Lucas: "What if I told you when I said ' keep bouncing on my dick,' it was really code for 'I love you?'"
Chloe: "If that's the case, then you're gonna love what ' let me sit on your face' is really code for."
Lucas: "Jesus Christ, Chloe."
Chloe; "Ring a ding ding."
Lucas: "I love you. I love you. I love you."
Check out the rest of the Cocktail series below