by Alice Clayton
Published by Gallery Books
Book 3 in the Cocktail Series
Readers back for a third round of the bestselling Cocktail series will enjoy a madcap romantic comedy about bodice ripping and chest heaving, fiery passion and love everlasting. Plus a dash of paperwork filing and horseshi—wait, what?
By day, Viv Franklin designs software programs. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.
When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?
There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.
In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian.
Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Contemporary Romance Fun and HOT
Screwdrivered is the third book in the Cocktail Series by Alice Clayton, and centers are 29 year old Viv, an intelligent, successful woman, with a rebellious side that shows with her tattoos and piercings. Viv craves one thing, something that has alluded her: real, true, love. So when she gets a phone call in the middle of the night, finding out her great aunt has passed on, and left her a big house and ranch across the country, she jumps at the chance. After all, all the romance books she has read starts off with something like this - why can't she get a happy ending? The house isn't how she remembers, but that's okay. Nothing some elbow grease, and renovations can't fix. Plus she has a hot cowboy that takes care of her animals for her, and she plans to woo him into being her romance hero. What she isn't counting on - Clark - the librarian/archivist/town historian who puts his foot down on the changes Viv wants to make to the historical house. With his tweed, and elbow patches, and his old fashioned ways, he is the total opposite of Viv, and a huge pain in her ass. Which romance is she living - the hard to crack cowboy who falls for the wild new girl in town, or the enemies to lovers, where two opposites find their way to one another?
Oh. My. God. I loved this book. Once again, Alice Clayton manages to write a simple, yet steamy romance, that will have you curling your toes as you read it. I kid you not - the sexual tension in this book is AMAZING. The chemistry between Clark and Viv is delicious. And this is way too much information, but as I was reading the climax of this book - ahem - I couldn't wait to jump my own husband. I love a good enemies to lovers trope, and Screwdrivered is just that. The writing style was a fun change up as well. With Simon and Caroline, Alice had this quirky, fun style that added so much to the story. And we still get that with Viv's story, but it isn't a copy and paste situation, which is what I was afraid of. Nope, Viv's got her own vibe. I love that we get an MC that is obsessed with romance novels, and often daydreams that she is immersed in the story. It adds a new element of fun to Alice's writing.
If you were worried you wouldn't like this book because it isn't Simon and Caroline - don't worry. I promise you will love this book. Funny, quirky, and sexy as hell, Screwdrivered will entertain you from the first page to the last.
Viv flirting with Clark just to get him all flustered.
The epic argument over the balustrade
Poor Clark getting his nose punched accidently by Vivian
Viv explaining what the Drake equation was and Clark letting out a little whimper.
Viv calling Clark when she was stuck in the porch, and her happiness over catching the bat.
Clark and Viv's phone calls when she is in Philadelphia
Love that he smells like Irish Spring. Same soap my husband uses <3
Viv getting jealous at the bar
Clark coming to make sure the tarp was holding during the storm, and Viv falling in love with Clark in that moment
THE BALUSTRADE OH MY GOD
"I've got this." Damn right you do.
Viv: "Dick? Can I call you Dick?"
Richard: "Actually, I'd prefer Rickard, but -"
Viv: "Dick, I'm going to stop you right here. This was a mistake."
He looked crestfallen.
Richard: "Darn it all, I knew I should have ordered the chicken fingers. This berretta cheese is a little too exotic for my taste too. Let me see if I can get our waitress and -"
Viv: "It's not the cheese, it's not the restaurant, it's not even you, Dick. It's me. I should never have let my mother talk me into this."
Richard: "Your mother is terrific. Great assets."
Viv: "No more asset talk. I want to be romance; I want to be swept away - I want something special, rare, passionate, out of the ordinary! I want someone who will sweep everything off the table, throw me across it, and ravage me to within an inch of my life. Can you do that, Dick?"
I slammed down the rest of my Scotch, meeting his eyes in challenge.
Richard: "Passionate? Out of the ordinary?"
He gulped, pulling at his tie. Then a strange look came over his face.
Richard: "You mean like, in the butt?"
he whispered, with an exaggerated wink.
Oh. My. God.
Viv: "It's Viv. And if I decide to rip off my front porch, I'll make sure to call you first, huh?"
Clark: "I'm not too comfortable with that phrase. Restoration work has to be slow and methodical. Patient."
I leaned one hand on the car behind him, bringing me a bit closer. It was fun making this guy blush.
Caroline: "I don't know. Sometimes fast and hard and furious has its place - know what I mean, Clark?"
Cue blush. Also cue eye sparkle.
Viv: "What the hell is a balus - Whatever you called it?"
Clark: "A balustrade, Vivian, is the row of individually carved spindles and the bannister they're connected to. Which you want to casually throw out like a load of kindling -"
Viv: "I did not say I wanted to throw it out; just that it needed some work so that I don't go tumbling down ass first some night when I'm throwing out buckets of rainwater pouring through the sieve masquerading as a roof! All I suggested was that perhaps replacing the old pieces with something newer might make thing a bit more safe and -"
Clark: "You can't replace a balustrade like that! They literally don't make them like they used to. You think you can just waltz into a Home Depot and pick up a balustrade that -"
Viv: "If you say balustrade one more time, I will slap you right in your very own balustrade!"
Clark: "That doesn't even make sense!"
Viv: "This burger is so good, it's stupid. I thought California was supposed to be full of vegans sprinkling sprouts on everything."
John: "That's at the restaurant across the street. You detox there, you come here when you want real food."
Viv: "I love you."
I said, stroking my burger like a kitten.
John: "Me or the cheeseburger?"
Viv; "I can no longer separate the two."
Viv: "Would you care for some coffee?"
His mouth hung open in midrant. I leaned in, pushed his chin up and closed his mouth, then turned for the kitchen.
Viv: "Follow me, Clark. I hope you like it strong."
Clark: "Like you wouldn't believe."
Viv: "It's falling apart. It's rickety, it's unsafe, and it gave me a splinter the other day! See?" I shoved my hand under Clark's nose, and his eyes grew big. Perhaps because last time I was so close to his face, I'd drawn blood.
Clark: "I hardly think that a splinter is a reason to tear down the entire balustrade. But I am sorry about your splinter."
Clark: "You've got five older brothers?"
Clark: "And they're all back in Philadelphia?"
Viv: "Yeah. Why?"
Clark: "No reason."
Clark: "One would think it unwise, Vivian, knowing the condition of this rotten wood, to traipse about so carelessly."
Viv: "One would think that after getting punched in the nose one would be unwise to provoke me."
Clark: "You're the one stuck in the porch. You sure you want to pick a fight with me right now?"
Viv: "Okay, fine. No fight picking. But do something, Clark."
Clark: "I'm waiting for the magic word."
Viv: "Um, now?"
Clark: "Come on."
Jessica: "Where's the happy ending?"
Viv: "Mmm, the happy ending."
I sighed, licking my fork.
Jessica: "You're disgusting."
Viv: "Horny. There's a difference."
Clark: "Do I sound like I'm kidding?"
Viv: "To be fair, I've never heard you kidding. Who knows what you sound like?"
Clark: "You've never heard me do a number of things, Vivian. You have no idea what I might sound like."
Clark: "What did you just do? You sound different."
Viv: "I just turned around in bed, I had my feet up against the wall before."
Clark: "And now?"
Viv: "I'm lying the right way."
Clark: "I wasn't aware there was a right way to lie in bed, Vivian."
Viv: "Depends on the bed, I suppose."
Clark: "Depends on the body, I'd suppose. Tell me all about the right way."
Officially? I was lying on my back with my head on the pillow, my legs under the blanket. But unofficially?"
Viv: "I'm stretched out on my back, arms over my head, my legs barely tucked under the comforter since it's so hot in here tonight. I've got one hand twisted in my hair, and my other hand is holding ... you."
I closed my eyes, held my breath, and waited.
Clark. Groaned. Deep.
Clark: "Did you just spit something?"
he asked, sounding curious and amused.
Mortified, burying my face in the pillow, I answered a muffled yes.
Clark; "Never would have pegged you as a spitter, Vivian."
Eyes suddenly wide, I sat straight up, almost levitating from the bed, then rallied.
Viv: "Only when it's something not worth swallowing."
Hello line, I believe I just crossed over you. I distinctly heard Clark choke on a sip of what I assumed was his Scotch.
Caroline: "I'm going to get you some saltines."
she called, and I moaned a thank-you.
In the kitchen, Caroline was tearing apart my pantry.
Caroline: "No saltines, but I found some oyster crackers."
I smiled weakly.
Viv: "I'll take 'em. And if you could just hit me over the head with a sledgehammer, that'd be great."
Caroline: "No sledgehammer handy; how about a screwdriver?"
Viv: "As long as it's the tool, not the cocktail. Anything will feel better than the hell I'm currently in."
Caroline: "I believe in signs, and that things are meant to be, I truly do. But try to be open to anything, okay? It doesn't always have to be so hard. Sometimes falling in love just means turning round and seeing what's right in front of you."
Viv: "You should be writing for Hallmark."
Caroline: "Fuck you, Viv - this shit is gold I'm giving you. Gold."
Viv: "I fucking love you, you goddamned librarian."
His eyes narrowed, so I went on.
Viv: "And it's not just because you're incredibly sweet and kind, or incredibly gorgeous and stunning, or incredibly smart and well read, or incredibly sexy and hot as all fuck, or incredibly impatient and smart-alecky, or incredibly strong and tan, or incredibly thoughtful and chivalrous, or have an incredibly substantial penis. Which I'm banking on, because I've seen you in running shorts, and holy shit, Clark."
His eyes widened, so I went on.
Viv: "I love you because you are all those things, but most important, because you're Clark. You're him - the one I've been dreaming about and lusting after, and wishing and waiting for. So you can leave here tonight if you want to, but I'll be outside your house tomorrow morning with scones, Clark - and I will be there every morning until you see me again. Or you can stay here, tonight and every night, and let me love you. And for the record, I am so turned on by your elbow patches, I'm coming out of my skin over here."
His eyes darkened. Deepened. Still dangerous, but no longer cold.
Then I felt his lips open against my palm, soft and warm, and kiss my skin.
And then I felt his hand lose over mine, sliding down my arm to wrap it around his neck, and he wrapped the other one tightly behind my back, clutching me close to him.
Clark: "I won't take less than every night."
Viv: "Holy mackerel, Clark."
Clark: "Do you know where we are, Vivian?"
My hand was buried in his hair, grabbing for support as my legs scrambled for purchase.
Viv; "On the baluhwhozit?"
I managed, and his grin was enough to make me fall in love with him all over again.
he corrected, sliding me even closer to him, his grip firm on my hips.
Clark: "I'm going to fuck you on this balustrade, so hard you'll feel it in your bones."
He slowly breathed me in, nudging me with his nose. Sweet heaven, my librarian was a dirty talker.
Clark: "But first? I'm going to indulge in a dream of my own."
One finger slid down from my hip, circling closer and closer, winding me up, driving me crazy.
Clark: "You see, Vivian, when I called you? Late at night? It was because I wanted to talk to you, get to know you, learn more about you. What you might like, what you might love."
he continued, now teasing lightly at my clit with his fingertip. I cried out, slapping at the railing, trusting Clark to keep me where he needed me to be.
Clark: "and all that time, what I was actually dreaming about? Was the taste of you. All over my tongue."
Clark: "I've loved you almost from the moment I saw you standing on the porch, threatening to tear it down. I've loved you since you put your leg up on the railing and teased me with your bare leg. I've loved you since you picked a fight with me about the very thing you're sitting on, and I loved you even when you punched me in the nose - mostly because you took off your shirt to stop the blood flow.
Clark: "I love you, Vivian."
I smiled back.
Viv: "I love you too, Clark. But can I ask you something?"
Clark: "You can ask me anything."
Viv; "Did you lick my leg when you were under the porch?"
He froze, then burst out laughing.
Clark: "I one hundred percent licked your leg when I was under the porch."
Viv: "I knew it!"
Hank: "Hey there, Viv, need some help with - Whoa!"
I heard from across the yard, as Hank appeared in the barn doorway. He looked at me, then looked at Clark. Then back at me again.
Clark calmly picked up the bag of paper towels and closed the trunk.
Clark: "Morning, Hank."
he said, tucking me into his side and grabbing my ass below his shirt.
Clark: "I've got this."
Check out the rest of the Cocktail series below