Today I'm talking about The Sweetest Dare, currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. At the end of the tour one lucky reader will win his or her choice of 2 eBooks from the ARe Books imprints (Out For You, Bad Boys, Perfect Strangers, Alpha), so be sure to enter the giveaway!
Kit Cheever is more than eager to welcome her new co-worker, Sidney Campbell, to Tish’s Riches, the best chocolate shop in Virginia. While the long days on the job hardly exhaust them for long nights of play, Sidney hopes for more in their relationship than candy-coated orgasms. Is dinner out too much to ask?
Kit would oblige, but she likes her privacy. The people of Dareville don’t need to know she and Sidney are anything more than co-workers. Why be “out” when it’s so much hotter and safer indoors?
Kit won’t even hold her hand in public, which upsets Sidney. She’s not asking Kit to march in a parade, just to acknowledge her feelings to the people she loves. What will it take to get Kit out of the closet and into Sidney’s heart?
The Sweetest Dare is now available from ARe.
Excerpt“Nice getup,” Kit said, and twirled her finger downward to guide Sidney to move away. “I have to see the shoes.”
Sidney laughed and offered the full model strut. She whirled around and sashayed along the bar a few steps, wiggling her slim hips, then returned with an exaggerated en pointe of one high-top sneaker, which was actually designed to look like a red Uno playing card.
“How come they don’t match?” Couldn’t be too difficult to find checkerboard-patterned shoes.
“The shoes that go with this outfit are worn out. I haven’t had time to make another pair.”
“Really? You don’t buy these?” Kit asked. Baking, sewing…this girl was a one-woman craft bazaar.
Sidney smiled. “What can I say? I’m good with a glue gun and a pastry bag, so long as I don’t get them mixed up.”
“Cool. Uh, what brings you here?” Did Sidney know this was a lesbian bar? The décor didn’t outright advertise it—no rainbow bunting or pink triangle beer coasters. Yeah, framed posters of semi-nude women hung on the walls, but Kit saw those at other places.
“I heard this was the best place to meet women in town. Rather, close to town. We’re kind of in between Dareville and the beach, huh?”
“Yeah. We were thinking of calling it West Vagina.”
Sidney snorted up a sip of her drink. “You have to warn me when you make a joke like that.” She waved over the bartender for some napkins.
She attracted many an appreciative stare from other patrons, too, leaving Kit to think of the right words to get Sidney to a more secluded place to chat.
Luckily, though, Sidney shared her idea. “This music is so damn loud, how do you stand it?” she called out. “Wanna sit out on the patio?”
Kit nodded, and a minute later they found two Adirondack chairs on the concrete, screened-in patio that abutted the alleyway behind the club. Kit had heard, when the building had housed an Italian restaurant, this area served as a smoking lounge for the wait staff. Nobody lit up here now due to new laws, but the folks at the Den tried their best to make the patio look pretty. Fake palms trees wrapped with white twinkle lights adorned each corner, and standing space heaters kept the area comfortable. Though no door separated them from the club interior, Kit noticed that the distance did mute the music’s volume to a low, steady boom.
“What were you drinking? Refill’s on me,” Sidney offered, and flagged down a server making the round to others lounging on the patio.
“You don’t have to do that, I’m good.”
Sidney smirked away Kit’s reluctance. “Please. I’m a working woman now. I can afford it,” she said with a wink. Kit couldn’t argue with that.
“I usually get the Key Lime Pie martini. It’s their signature drink.”
“Ooh, that sounds good. Two, please,” Sidney told the waitress, and Kit watched the silent exchange between them that followed. Well, she counted the seconds the waitress lingered, shuffling backward with her eye on Sidney, before finally retreating to the bar to place their orders. Petite blonde with Eighties fetish proved tonight’s favorite flavor, and Sidney no doubt tempted many an appetite. Kit placed a hand on her growling stomach.
Sidney crossed her legs and turned in her seat, squeezing her arms close to her body as though to preserve warmth. “How does a key lime drink become the specialty of the house here? Rather unusual choice.”
“Not really. The person who owns the Den is from South Florida. She used to run a lesbian bar down there. I guess they’re a dime a dozen, so she came up here to find a captive audience. Before that she taught English at some college, so that’s where the Woolf came from.” Kit crooked her head toward a poster of Virginia Woolf’s profile on the brick wall. Several artistic renditions of the famed author decorated the establishment, in places where one didn’t find the semi-nudes.
“I would love to have had a place like this in Wyoming to go to.”
“Yeah?” Images of gorgeous women in tight blue jeans, bouncing in saddles as the horses they straddled galloped in some wide prairie, filled Kit’s mind. One rarely ran into country girls in town, and suddenly Kit pictured Sidney in a Stetson the color of her geektastic shoes.
Sidney in a cowgirl hat, stripped down to a Rubik-colored thong, straddled over her hips and bucking with one hand in the air… yee-haw.
Robyn's ReviewDisclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I was super excited when I saw the tour information for The Sweetest Dare, because F/F romance can be hard to find. (Dammit, mainstream romance industry! Why don't you love F/F romance?!) Then I read the blurb and knew I had to review this book, because lesbians and bakeries are extremely relevant to my interests. I needed this book in my life.
Because omg you guys, Sidney is a bisexual pastry chef with glasses and custom geek chucks. I'm in love. Where do I find one? And where do I find the gay bar mentioned in the excerpt, because I need Key Lime Pie margaritas in my life too.
I loved just about everything in The Sweetest Dare--the love scenes were spicy, I was emotionally invested in the characters, and the setting was vivid and appealed to my inner Food Network addict. (Kit wants a food truck. I have watched every season of The Great Food Truck Race.) My only nitpicks are that this is a novella, and one of the challenges of writing/reading novellas is that you have to pack a lot of action into a small word count. This tends to result in, "Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my giant toolbox full of sex toys, WHEE!" And as a reader I had a feeling of "Wait, what just happened? Did I miss a transition?", which was then followed by "DO NOT PUT THE MAPLE SYRUP THERE! YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE THAT'S BEEN!"
Seriously. Aunt Jemima does not approve.
But I digress. I wanted a bit more about Kit and the personal reasons behind her reluctance to come out, and a bit more time on the relationship development between Kit and Sid, but overall this was a great read. The ending is super adorable and left me with a happy smile. :) I'm definitely adding more Leigh Ellwood to my TBR list.
Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars (or Key Lime Pie margaritas)
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Leigh Ellwood writes erotica and romance, particularly M/M and F/F pairings. She is a two-time finalist for the Gold Crown Literary Society Award and an EPIC Award finalist and winner.You can find out more about Leigh at these links:
When Leigh isn't writing, she reads. She enjoys all genres, especially historical fiction.