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Baby, It's Cold Outside Paperback – October 27, 2018
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About the Author
Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Tangled, Twisted, Tamed, and Tied.
Kristen Proby is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of sexy contemporary romance fiction, including the Love Under the Big Sky series.
Melody Anne is the New York Times bestselling author of the indie published Andersons series, the Tycoons series, and the Surrender series.
Kate Meader is the author of a sexy new series, Hot in Chicago. When not writing, she works in an academic library in Chicago.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Kate Seymour studied the computer in front of her, squinted, and read the entry again.
Her heart beat faster and that familiar electrical buzz tingled under her skin. Impossible. They were completely different—a match made in literal hell, not heaven. Yet numbers like this didn’t lie. Time to bring in the troops.
She hit the intercom button. “Hey, Arilyn? Can you come in here? And bring Kennedy.”
A few minutes later, her business partners and best friends joined her in the office. Her face softened into a smile at their presence. Their drunken plans years ago to start their own matchmaking agency in Verily, upstate New York, sounded impossible, but they’d made it work. More so. With over a dozen marriages, and endless statistically proven committed happy relationships, they’d made the dream a reality. Kinnections was an exclusive matchmaking agency that catered to the twenty-five-to-forty crowd, and had already been featured in local newspapers and television stations as the new “hot” way to meet a mate. Hell, it had actually worked for her and Kennedy. Now if only they could find Arilyn her match.
Kennedy Ashe, the social recruiter and makeover expert, slid into the chair and let out a sigh. Her burnished hair, whiskey eyes, and plum Donna Karan suit screamed polish and success. “Please let this be good news. I’ve already depleted my hotel bottles of liquor. Is it Friday yet?”
Arilyn shook her head in sympathy, her strawberry hair streaming down her back in pin straight strands. Green eyes shone with concern. She was both counselor and computer guru, and dedicated her life to living a natural, healthy pathway to happiness. She wore her usual outfit of organic cottons, and spent her free time in yoga classes or with the rescue shelter. “Do you need some chocolate, sweets? I have a Kashi bar in my purse.”
Kennedy flashed her a grateful smile. “No, thanks. I’m saving my calories. I’m bummed over the breakup with Sally and Tom. I thought they were perfect together. I hate when I screw up.”
Kate tapped her finger against the desk. “We can’t be one hundred percent all the time. We’ll rematch them and maybe find a better fit.”
“I guess.” Kennedy pouted. She hated when one of her own matches failed. They all took their jobs seriously, knowing the journey to love was filled with a mix of emotions that included heartbreak too many times.
“Which brings me to why I asked you in here.” She swiveled her Apple screen around so her friends could look. “Remember I told you about my neighbor Riley Fox?”
Arilyn nodded. “CEO of Chic Publishing. Named Fortune’s woman of the year, gorgeous, smart, and completely kick-ass. Can’t believe she still lives in Verily. Aren’t her offices in Manhattan?”
“Yes, but Riley prefers to stay out of the limelight. She’s been a longtime resident here. I’ve been trying to convince her for years to sign up with Kinnections, but she always refused.”
Kennedy cocked her head. “Riley probably doesn’t need us. With her background, I bet finding men isn’t a problem.”
Arilyn let out a small sigh as an inner lightbulb cranked on. “Ah, that’s the problem, isn’t it? Plenty of quantity but little quality?”
Kate grinned. “Her last date drove her to the Ben & Jerry’s and a weekend marathon of Top Chef. She’s thirty-three, and her biological clock just turned on.”
“Ticktock,” Kennedy said. “Rotten piece of machinery if you ask me. If it was up to me, I would’ve pulled the batteries long ago.”
Kate’s lips tugged in a grin. “How many times has Nate proposed this month?”
Her friend grunted. “A few.”
Kennedy had found her soul mate and the love of her life in Nate Dunkle, but she was still refusing to surrender to the final step of marriage. Kate was enjoying watching her friend’s barriers crash down one by one as Nate first moved in, then dedicated himself to proving marriage wasn’t a deadly trap for females.
“Well, Riley has a different approach. I’ve done her intake, and she’s refused counseling and makeover.”
“The woman was on the cover of Fortune. She doesn’t need a trip to the mall,” Kennedy pointed out.
Arilyn pursed her lips. “But everyone could use some counseling. What is she looking for, Kate?”
This was where it got delicate. Kate steepled her fingers and stared at her friends. “She was the most thorough client I’ve ever met with. Knows everything she wants, everything she doesn’t, and is so specific I thought we’d never be able to match her. I used that new computer profiling system you built, A, and the craziest thing happened. I got a full match.”
Kennedy leaned forward. “Full? You mean, one hundred percent?”
The room grew quiet. The system of matching people with the computer was a delicate balance of science, gut instincts, and social networking. A top-rated match was 80 percent, and they already had three marriages from the statistic. But this time it was different.
Arilyn’s face lit up. “That’s wonderful. We found her perfect match. Who is he?”
Kate tapped a key and pointed to the screen.
Arilyn and Kennedy gasped in unison.
“Full name: Ryan Dylan McCray,” Kate announced. “Preferred to be known as, and called, Dylan.”
Arilyn looked pale. “There must be a bug. That’s impossible.”
Kennedy let out a humorless laugh. “Arilyn’s right. Dylan’s been with us for over two years now. He’s had twelve mixers, five socials, thirty-two dates, and multiple sessions of counseling. He’s a Peter Pan billionaire playboy who says he wants a wife, but calls us within twenty-four hours of the first date and tells us there’s no chemistry. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
Kate motioned again to the screen. “I know! I checked it numerous times, pulled their files, and manually went over each point. Their personalities are completely contradictory, yet the computer assigns them a perfect match.”
Arilyn shivered. “Maybe there’s something bigger going on here. The universe is trying to tell us something.”
Kennedy walked over to the screen, dropped into the chair near the desk, and began studying the charts and data. “I don’t trust the universe, I trust Kate. Why don’t you bring them both to the office, lay your hands on them, and confirm whether they’re a match?”
Kate groaned. Her ability she termed the “touch” had been passed from generation to generation. She was able to sense an immediate electrical connection between two soul mates. It had been more of a curse in her endless dating years, until she touched Slade Montgomery, a client of Kinnections and her total opposite, and realized they were meant to be together. “Ken, I told you we don’t run our business like that. I’m not going to touch every couple and try to match people that way. We rely on our all assets here—we agreed on that point when we opened.”
Arilyn chimed in. “She’s right. No using Kate for a shortcut. I say we set them both up on a date. They have nothing to lose. If it doesn’t work, we know there’s a glitch in the system and I’ll rework it. If they fall for each other, it’s a win-win.”
Kennedy scrolled through the numerous pages and finally leaned back in surrender. “Agreed. I’ve never seen this before. It’s almost by being completely opposite they’re a perfect match. Bizarre.”
“I know. They both attended Cornell the same years, too. Think they know each other?”
Kennedy seemed to ponder the information. “Could be. This gets more and more mysterious, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah. My instincts say to go ahead and schedule the date but not give them much information. They both tend to make assumptions early on, and I think meeting blind would be better. No full names or background details. I think they both trust me enough to take the leap.”
Her friends both agreed and Kate relaxed. “Good, that was what I figured, but I wanted to check with you both first. I was thinking of setting them up this weekend. Ice-skating in Rinker’s Park. It’s romantic around the holidays.”
“I love ice-skating,” Arilyn said dreamily. “It forces couples to be intimate in a natural way.”
“Like yoga?” Kennedy quipped.
Arilyn shot her a glare. “Don’t knock it till you try it, Ken. I’ve reached levels you never even heard of. In and out of the studio.” She paused. “And the bedroom.”
Kennedy laughed. “I know a challenge when I hear one.” She slid off her chair and headed for the door. “Maybe I’ll have Nate study Tantric sex and give me a full demonstration. The man is a walking fountain of knowledge.” Her grin turned wicked. “In and out of the bedroom.”
Kate shook her head as her friend blew them kisses and disappeared. Arilyn fought a grin and got up. “Let me know if you need any help with this one.”
“Thanks. Hey, A, when you counseled Dylan, did you find any huge issues I should know about?”
Arilyn looked thoughtful. “No. Weird, because usually billionaire playboys have issues and angst galore. Dylan is charming, funny, and smart. But he seems to be looking for something I can’t pinpoint. Has a strong family background and seems like he’d make a great husband or father. I just don’t know what’s holding him back.”
Kate nodded. “Okay, thanks. Girls’ night Friday at Mugs?”
She watched Arilyn retreat and swiveled back her computer screen. She’d set up the date and hope for the best. Her instincts hummed, as if something big was about to happen. Unfortunately, it could be a premonition of either great circumstance or complete disaster.
Kate prayed for the former and reached for her phone.
- Publisher : Gallery Books; Reissue edition (October 27, 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1982117257
- ISBN-13 : 978-1982117252
- Item Weight : 1.06 pounds
- Dimensions : 5 x 1.36 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,266,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I received a copy of this book from InkSlinger PR, for a blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating!
So as this is an anthology with five separate authors I find it's only fair to give my thoughts for each story along with what I would have rated it if they were each their own books. The rating at the top of this post will then be an average of the five combined for the overall rating of the book as a whole. So let's get started shall we?
--Searching For You by Jennifer Probst ★★★★
Sometimes there's nothing better than reading a story where two people who appear to be enemies fall for each other. The fighting, the pushing of buttons that at same point come to a head and it explodes. Somebody gets thrown against a wall and is quite thoroughly kissed. Whew...did it suddenly get warm in here? *Pulls at collar* Ahem...anyway.
I feel like my only complaint was that for a lot of the story Riley really had a major stick up her behind and it was hard for me to relate to her. It's supposed to be part of her personality which I understand. It was just that I, personally, wasn't a big fan. It wasn't until Dylan started to loosen her up and she started to let go that I was able to get over all of it and care about her.
All in all though it was a fun and sizzling read!
--It's A Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol by Emma Chase ★★★★★
Holy crap have I missed Drew! I'm one of those horrible fangirls who read Tangled, fell head over heels for it and him, but has yet to move on and read past book one. I didn't even get through the first page of this one and his voice and charisma came pouring out and in turn I was already cracking up. I mean how perfect is it that Drew is in his own version of A Christmas Carol?! I expect no less but for him to have needed a little reminder that his family needs to come before work.
I swear it's rare to find a character as cocky and egotistical as Drew is and have me still loving every little bit of it. He's even smug about how adorable he had been when he goes back to the past and sees his 5 year old self. This story was all sorts of perfection. It was true to the Christmas Carol storyline yet with all the flare and humor of Drew Evans. Freaking loved it!
I will say though if you're like me and have only read the first book or not any of the Tangled series yet but plan on reading them at some point, wait to read this after. It takes place after Tied so even though I pretty much knew what to expect for the most part there is a possibility of finding out stuff you wanted to be surprised on.
--Saving Grace (A Love Under the Big Sky Novella) by Kristin Proby ★★★★★
I get the warm and fuzzies just thinking about this story. Big time. Which is pretty frickin' amazing seeing as how this one is a wee bit on the insta-love side. Okay, so they don't come right out and say "I love you" right away, but after a two day weekend and then three days apart, Jacob is pretty much ready to move her in and thinking about 'forever'. Normally something like this would have me irked beyond reason, but I just couldn't feel that way here. I loved every second of Grace and Jacob's story.
The thing is Jacob and Grace were hard not to love. Grace is so damn funny and, unlike her name, a complete klutz. She was so endearing. Then there's sexy, billionaire, ski resort owning, British (uh yum!) Jacob. He's so delicious and I loved seeing how smitten he becomes with Grace. Queue cheesy grin and sigh here...The chemistry with these two is so hot I'm surprised they didn't melt the snow off the mountain!
Sweet, sexy, winter fun. Totally in love with this one!
--Safe in His Arms by Melody Anne ★★★
Even though in the previous review I was praising the story that I felt was a bit insta-loveish, this one was just okay for me. Maybe it was because of the fact that things progressed a whole lot faster in this one. I'm not sure but I just wasn't feeling it as much. It was still enjoyable though with sweet school teacher Natalie and sexy fire chief Hawk. The sparks were there I think maybe for me this one would have been better as a full length novel.
The concept was great. I even love having meddlers trying to throw people together! I think that might have been my biggest issue though. I usually like the meddlers to be a bit more discreet. As the reader you can see what's going on and chuckle to yourself when you realize the couple being pushed cleverly together has no chance. The prologue and the epilogue though were both from this group of ladies, one of whom being the mom of one of the main characters Hawk, that make it their mission to make sure these boys in town who run from commitment are happily settled down. I mean it's cute and funny I just like it to be a bit more low key and less out in the open if that makes sense?
Still enjoyable though and a sweet holiday read.
--Rekindle the Flame by Kate Meader ★★★
The storyline was good on this one, but it sort of fell a bit flat for me. I liked it, but I wasn't in love with it. So this will be the shortest mini review because I'm not sure what else to say. Mostly my problem was that I connected more to the secondary characters Beck's brothers. Which is the reason for my rating. They had me entertained and laughing and made it worth the read. If anything it introduced me to them and made me realize I will more than likely be getting the first book in the Hot in Chicago series by Kate Meader which is about one of the brothers named Luke. I wish I had more to say about this one. I love second chance romances but this one just wasn't for me.
I love these five authors. On a normal basis, I read just about everything they publish. When I saw this anthology, I could not resist reading these stories.
For instance, who can resist Jennifer Probst's story about our favorite matchmaking firm - Kinnections. High power CEO Riley Fox has hit those mid thirties and her biological clock has started ticking loudly. She has finally agreed to be set up on a date. Taking this compilation of attributes, she requires Kinnections find her a mate who must match those attributes 100%. Dylan McCray is a billionaire CEO himself with a reputation for being a playboy. He has finally decided to find "the one" and settle down. After having dated all the women Kinnections has sent his way, he is still trying to find his perfect match. What appears to be a computer glitch matching these two together, soon appears to be an algorithmic calculation made in either heaven or hell. Throw in a blind date, a blizzard, some wine, and plenty of hormones - the result is a story you will not soon forget.
Then, there is Kristen Proby's "Saving Grace". Grace is an adorable and warm teacher. She is petite and a power pack of energy and thirst for life. In order to keep up with her BFFs, she agrees to an overnight trip to a nearby mountain resort in order to learn the basics about skiing. One problem... she is a klutz. Really, she is seriously impaired just walking in a straight line! Through a comedy of errors, she ends up confusing her ski instructor and ends up with the owner of the resort as her instructor. Oh, baby, and can HE INSTRUCT! This story is not to be missed.
Same goes for the stories by Emma Chase. Melody Anne and Kate Meader. They are little gems of entertainment to keep warm and snugly on a cold Winter night.
Top reviews from other countries
If you read one Christmas/Winter anthology please ensure it is this one. Although most of these stories are spin off's from current series - you can easily read each one without having needed to have read any of the other books.
Kate Meader was the only new author to me - I have read all of Jennifer, Emma & Kristens books and most of Melody's (that's alot of books!). I shall be seeking out more by Kate and look forward to the continuation of the Chigago FD Engine 6 boys stories.
ARC provided from publisher via Netgalley