Happy Book Blast Day, Cat Lavoie!
You know what they say about best-laid plans… After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof. It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’ But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated.
Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning. But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one.
Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?
It was a birthday surprise—just not the one I was expecting.
Throughout my twenties, I’d predicted that my inevitable and premature midlife crisis would happen during my thirtieth birthday party. I’d throw an epic tantrum, dramatically curse out the friends and family who’d gathered to celebrate my milestone, and disappear with a bottle of champagne and an entire triple layer chocolate cake. As it turns out, I rang in the big 3-0 without so much as a single tear. But exactly twelve months later, I was on the verge of losing it.
“Screw him,” I shouted over my shoulder at my best friend, Elsa. “I just want to dance. It’s my birthday and I shouldn’t have to wait for anybody to have fun. I’m going to throw my hands in the air and wave them like I just don’t care.” I took a defiant and confident step in the direction of the crowded dance floor, ready to lose myself in the music.
“Peri, watch out!”
But Elsa’s warning came about half a second too late. A brick wall—almost seven feet tall and wearing a tight black T-shirt that could barely contain his muscles—appeared out of nowhere just as I was throwing my hands in the air. Crashing into him face-first, I felt the heel of my shoe snap. I knew I’d sprained my ankle before I even hit the ground.
“Peri! Are you okay?” Elsa asked, rushing over to me. At least I think that’s what she said—I had a hard time hearing her over the terrible dance music blasting from the nearby speakers. I’d never been to The Cat’s Meow and, after spending an hour in that club, I knew why. I’m sure half the people there were using fake IDs and the rest didn’t look a day over twenty-one. They were going crazy over songs I’d never heard before. I felt old, out of touch, and horribly overdressed. I’d squeezed myself into a tight black skirt I could barely move in and my ridiculous top had both sequins and sparkles. The mirrored disco ball spinning above our heads—which I now had a perfect view of—was more discreet than me. “Peri,” Elsa repeated. “Answer me. Are you hurt?”
The brick wall was pumping his fist in the air, completely unaware that he was the reason I was sprawled out on the floor trying to avoid getting trampled by the abundance of stilettos dancing dangerously close to my head. I pointed at my leg and winced. “My ankle.” I could feel it beginning to throb and swell. What was I thinking wearing heels? Flats would have been a much safer option, but I’d wanted to step outside my comfort zone for a night on the town with my best friend and my secret (for now) boyfriend—or my Clandestine Lover, as I liked to refer to Declan, which never failed to make Elsa gag.
“I think it’s time we call it a night,” Elsa said, helping me up.
Keeping my weight off my right leg and holding on to Elsa for dear life, I stumbled off the dance floor and made my way to an empty leather couch at the back of the room. “Ow. Ow. Ow.”
“If you’re in that much pain, then we definitely need to go home and put some ice on your ankle. And, to be honest, I can’t leave soon enough. This place makes me feel ancient.”
“But it’s my birthday,” I said, whining like a child and readjusting the glittery pink BIRTHDAY GIRL tiara on my head. “I did not wear this stupid thing and make a fool of myself just to go home early. I think some of the glitter fell into my eye and that’s why I didn’t see that guy in front of me. I bet it’s full of toxic glue.”
Elsa shook her head, and I could see her trying not to laugh. “First of all, that tiara is a treasured tradition. We’ve been wearing it on our birthdays since grade school. And if you’re going to blame anything for tonight’s turn of events, I’d blame those dance moves. Were you trying to pirouette or something?”
I stuck my tongue out at her. If you’re going to act like a petulant child, might as well put some effort into it. “No, we can’t leave. Declan might still show up. Maybe he’s just running late.”
Elsa grunted and rolled her eyes.
“What happened to ‘screw him?’ And unless he’s coming here with an ice pack, he’s not going to be useful at all. As far as I know, sticking your tongue down someone’s throat is not a recognized medical procedure.”
It’s always been hard for Elsa to hide her complete and absolute hatred for Declan. I was hoping she’d be able to fake it for the sake of my birthday. Apparently not. It was hard enough convincing her that The Cat’s Meow was my idea. If she had known Declan was a regular here and he was the one who’d suggested this place for celebratory birthday drinks, she would have never agreed to come along.
“Let me check my phone,” I said, fishing it out of my bag. “Maybe he tried calling me.” My face broke into a huge grin when I saw his name on the screen. I held up the phone triumphantly. “A text! He sent me a text.” And then I proceeded to read Declan’s message and my face fell faster than I did on the slippery dance floor.
Can’t make 2night. Sorry.
No explanation. Nothing—not even a simple happy birthday. How hard is it to type two little words? I would have been happy with Hap B-day.
Cat Lavoie lives in Montreal, Canada with her tempestuous cat, Abbie. She is the author of BREAKING THE RULES, ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN, and PERI IN PROGRESS.
If Cat isn’t reading or writing, she’s most likely watching too much TV or daydreaming about her next trip to London.
To find out more about Cat and her books, please visit www.CatLavoie.com and follow @CatLavoieBooks on Twitter.
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Rae Reads – Book Excerpt/ Promo Post
Josie Ann Books – Promo Post
Glynis Astie – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Book Lover in Florida – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Reviews by Crystal – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
Hello…Chick Lit – Book Excerpt/Promo Post
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