Today I’m doing something a little different…something I don’t do here very often…but something I am going to do from time to time in the future.
Today I want to take a few minutes and alert you to a Black Velvet Seductions title you may have missed. It was the first book we published, but that doesn’t stop it from being a REALLY good book and one that has remained a favorite of mine for a long time. It’s also a great read if you need a little escape from the dog days of summer because it’ll take you away – plopping you into the story which is set amid the Christmas season with snow, sleigh rides, decorating, and cookie baking. (Don’t you feel cooler already?)
As those of you who read the blog regularly probably know, I am a fan of stories with plots that include some kind of mistaken identity — heroes or heroines who are hiding their pasts or who have forgotten their pasts due to injury or trauma are some of my faves…as long as they work logically…and bring a little something new to the table.
Fool Me Once by Jessica Joy definitely falls into this category. The heroine, Toni wakes up in the hospital with no memory of how she got there, or her life before that. The only memories she has are haunting images of a murder which she can’t get out of her mind.
Ex-FBI agent Blair was Toni’s friend once, or at least he thought they were friends until Toni betrayed him.
The story could go in a lot of directions with that set-up. The most likely would be to have Toni and Blair fighting over the betrayal which Toni doesn’t remember…but which was responsible for the deaths of Blair’s friends. But that’s not what happens in Fool Me Once.
Blair needs Toni. He needs her to recover her memories so he can convince her to testify against her boyfriend who was responsible for the deaths of Blair’s friends. So, to keep Toni safe until she can regain her memories and until he can convince her to testify, Blair lies and tells her they were friends and were planning to spend the Christmas holidays together.
Largely isolated at Blair’s home Toni comes to rely on Blair as the only link with the person she was and the past she doesn’t remember. As she begins to remember bits and pieces of her past, the pieces in her mind don’t fit with the pieces Blair knows to be true, creating a great sense of mystery and suspense.
If you’ve not read Fool Me Once you should check it out. It’s a great read and if you’re like me, you’ll find the winter/Christmas setting a refreshing break from the summer heat.
An Excerpt From Fool Me Once
Toni pointed toward a small stand of trees. She called to Jason, and they conferred for a few minutes before he nodded obviously adding his blessing to the choice.
“Well, it looks like they’ve found your tree.”
Blair groaned. The monstrous evergreen must have been at least seven feet tall. Now, he knew exactly how his father had felt when his mother had consistently chosen a super-sized tree for their living room. His father had always protested, but Blair knew he would never have refused her anything. She had loved Christmas and celebrated it with gusto, just like she had every other part of her life. Not a nook or cranny of their home had escaped being decorated. He remembered coming home from school and knowing how close they were to the holidays just by the smells drifting out of the kitchen.
He coughed to clear the lump in his throat and tried to shut the floodgates on a rush of memories bursting into his mind. As if he didn’t have enough to deal with, he didn’t want to add nostalgia to the mix.
When his parents had been alive, the bulk of every holiday was spent at their home or his aunt and uncle’s. Any excuse, no matter how trivial could spark a celebration.
Will pulled the chainsaw from under the seat of the sleigh and then headed toward the tree. Even the whine of the saw and the exchange of raised eyebrows between the men reminded him of past Christmases with his family.
He and Will had just secured the tree to the sleigh when the thwack of a snowball hitting him between the shoulder blades drove his sober thoughts aside. A second ricocheted off the top of Will’s head as they swung around to face their attackers. Toni, Emma, and Jason took cover behind a trio of trees, their laughter trailing behind them.
Will scooped up a handful of snow and pressed it into a ball as he ducked behind the sleigh. “You aren’t going to let them get away with that are you?”
“Are you kidding?” Another icy projectile lanced his shoulder. “This is war.”
It wasn’t the first time a tree hunt had ended in a snowball fight. No doubt, while he and Will had been preoccupied with the tree, Emma had been coaching Toni and together stockpiling ammunition. He grabbed a handful of snow, packed it into a snowball, and let it fly, ducking behind the sleigh as one went whizzing by his ear. Toni had a wicked aim.
With a simple hand gesture, Will transmitted the plan, one they’d used so often that Emma should have been anticipating it, unless she was hoping that they would be defeated. Will set off an admirable volley to cover Blair as he darted from tree to tree, working his way behind the women. As soon as he’d taken his position, he gave a whistle and then caught Toni in the back of her leg with a snowball.
Both women swung around, giving Will a chance to advance on Emma and catch her in his arms. He silenced his wife’s mock protests with a long kiss. Blair launched himself at Toni, ducking and swerving to miss the snowballs flying toward him. With a final leap, he tackled her to the ground.
The weight of his body pressed Toni’s into the snow–their faces only inches apart. Blair froze as white-hot heat flared from the inside out. She wanted him to kiss her. He could see the invitation in her eyes and her half-parted lips. He dropped his head closer to hers. Her breath fanned over his face, and he was lost.
His nephew dropped to his knees beside them. “I wanna kiss her, too.”
Jason’s innocent demand stopped Blair from kissing her but not from the bite of frustration. His head said this was all wrong, but his body simply wasn’t convinced.
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