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Out of Eden [NOOK Book]

Overview

Sometimes paradise isn't all it's cracked up to be.

That's what I, Kylie McGraw, have discovered since sacrificing my dreams of traveling the world to run the family shoe store. But if I have my way, peaceful Eden, Indiana, is in for a major shake-up….

It all began on my birthday, when I got drunk and disorderly all over Eden's hunky new police chief (and my former high school crush), Jack Reynolds. Then I may have, in my Cosmo haze, witnessed ...

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Out of Eden

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Overview

Sometimes paradise isn't all it's cracked up to be.

That's what I, Kylie McGraw, have discovered since sacrificing my dreams of traveling the world to run the family shoe store. But if I have my way, peaceful Eden, Indiana, is in for a major shake-up….

It all began on my birthday, when I got drunk and disorderly all over Eden's hunky new police chief (and my former high school crush), Jack Reynolds. Then I may have, in my Cosmo haze, witnessed a murder in progress. Now I'm almost certain I'm being stalked by the mob, while he-of-the-distracting-abs Jack continues to think I'm nuts. However, there comes a time when a girl has to kick off her sensible shoes (size 7, cushion insoles) and go after what she wants. So if I can just survive long enough to put on my sexy new red heels, that's exactly what I intend to do….

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On Kylie McGraw's 32nd birthday, she drinks too many cosmos and vows to shake up her life. While her brother, Spenser, is off being an Explorer Channel star, Kylie leads a predictable, boring, and sensible life running the family shoe store and dreaming of travel. Former NYPD detective Jack Reynolds, Spencer's best friend and Kylie's longtime crush, has returned to Eden, Ind., as the new police chief. He wants to reconnect with his roots, end a feud with his sister, and make peace with his soul. When Ciotta throws these two well-drawn characters together, sparks fly. A widower with a secret past who helps Kylie change the store into an upscale “shoppe,” a Philadelphia mob boss who needs to right an old score, and the escapades of Jack's cheating brother-in-law turn this campy romance into a well-plotted raunchy adventure. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781460301784
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 9/17/2012
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 346,755
  • File size: 731 KB

Meet the Author


Storytelling comes naturally to award-winning author Beth Ciotta. Dubbed "fun and sexy" by Publisher's Weekly, Beth is published in contemporary, historical, steampunk and paranormal romantic fiction. "I can't think of anything more fulfilling than writing stories where everyone (except the villain, of course) gets a happy ending!" A retired professional performer, Beth now pours her artistic passion into her writing.


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Read an Excerpt

"You are a heel. A chunky heel. A chunky, boring heel. Please don't take this personally, but I'm over you."

"I knew it was a mistake to let you drink cosmopolitans."

"I'm not drunk."

"You're talking to your shoe."

"I was talking to my shoe. Now I'm talking to you." Sensible slip-on in one hand, toxic cocktail in the other, Kylie McGraw leaned back against the red vinyl seat of one of the four booths in Boone's Bar and Grill and frowned across the table at Faye Tyler, two of her—strike that—one of her splendiferous best friends. They'd grown up together in Eden, Indiana—Paradise in the Heartland according to the slogan emblazoned on the green water tower planted on the outskirts of town. Someone had even painted red apples on the elevated tank so that the tower resembled a, you got it, apple tree. This was, after all, Eden, a place where most residents lived out their years because who would want to leave paradise? Except for the occasional thrill-seeker and random oddball. Although sometimes fate intervened and even they stuck around. Kylie and Faye were prime examples.

Kylie sipped her drink and studied her friend, reflecting on how they'd come to this moment.

Faye, who'd wanted to be a rock star, was married with two kids and owned the local bed-and-breakfast.

Kylie, who'd wanted a husband and kids, was single and running a business she should have inherited. Nothing was going according to plan. Even her dream of touring Asia, a dream she'd nurtured since the age of thirteen, seemed doomed. It's not that her life was horrible—just horribly boring.

This morning she'd woken up another year older, thinking about another year of the same. Three-hundred-and-sixty-five days of ordinary. She'd barely made it through the long, uneventful, dull-as-the-mayor's-speeches day. Then Faye had picked her up for her birthday celebration and it was official. Kylie had reached the end of her extraordinarily vast and famous patience.

Faye and her slightly blurry twin snapped their fingers two inches from Kylie's face. "Earth to McGraw. Are you zoning or comatose?"

Kylie adjusted her black oval glasses and blinked away the double image, conceding cosmopolitans packed a mighty punch. Either that or Boone had screwed up the ingredients. Possible, since he'd referred to a mix recipe and his reading glasses were forever perched on top of his balding head. "Okay. Maybe I am a teensy bit tipsy, but I am not, absolutely not drunk. And even if I was—" she grappled for a righteous excuse "—it is my birthday."

"I'm not saying you aren't entitled to cut loose," Faye said, nursing a frosty mug of Budweiser. "It's just that you always drink beer."

"Exactly!" Kylie jabbed her shoe in the air to emphasize her point. "I always drink beer."

Faye sighed. "I have no idea what that means."

"It means I can't take it anymore."

"Define it?"

"The predictability. The routine. The mundane. The run-of-the-mill, unremarkable, habitual sameness—"

"I get the picture."

"Today is my birthday."

"September 15. Same day every year."

"And every year we spend my birthday together."

"Since you turned twelve, yes. We've yet to miss a celebration, which goes to show how much I love you. I could be home watching MTV."

"You see my point."

"Not really."

"Same ol', same ol'."

Faye shrugged, smiled. "Not following."

"Every year we celebrate my birthday the same way. Pizza King. Movie. And since we turned twenty-one, Boone's Bar and Grill."

"Except we skipped the movie this time and came straight to Boone's," she said with a frown. "It's 7:00 p.m. We're the only ones here aside from a few guys throwing back happy hour brewskies and you're already half tanked."

Kylie scrunched her nose. "I heard that mobster flick's more violent than The Godfather and The Departed combined. Did you really want to see it?"

"Not really. But since the Bixley only runs one feature, it's not like we had a choice. We could have closed our eyes during the gory parts."

"We would've missed three-quarters of the movie!"

"That's not the point! We always celebrate your birthday the same way. Pizza. Movie. Boone's. It's tradition."

"It's boring." Maybe it was the alcohol, but Kylie could swear the curls of Faye's bleached hair drooped along with her smile. "Not you," she clarified, "tradition."

She glanced at her friend's manicured fingernails. Tonight they were metallic blue. Tomorrow they could be vivid orange or neon pink. Sometimes she even adorned them with decals and rhinestones. She was nearly as creative with her hairstyles, although she changed the shade every other month rather than every other day. Her thrift shop wardrobe ranged from 1960s Annette Funicello to 1990s Madonna. "You," Kylie said with sincere admiration, "are the Gwen Stefani of Eden."

Faye tucked her shoulder-length platinum curls behind her ears and quirked a thinly tweezed, meticulously penciled brow. "I take back the scathing remark I mentally slung your way."

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Kylie was not so adventurous with her appearance. Her wardrobe was casual. Loose-fitting clothes in muted, earthy tones. Minimal makeup and accessories. She came from the less-is-more camp. She wasn't sexy or funky or feminine. She was…sensible.

She was also miserable.

She set aside her right shoe—the left was still on her foot—and wrangled her natural blah-boring brown, overly thick, overly long hair into a loosely knotted ponytail. "It's hot in here."

"Blame it on the cosmos or your heated rant," Faye said. "It's the same as always—comfortable. Boone keeps the thermostat set at sixty-eight year round. You know that."

Kylie wanted to scream at yet another example of predictability. Instead, she propped her elbow on the table, footwear in hand. "My life is like this shoe. Sensible. This town is like this shoe. Practical."

"Hello? Your family's motto? Practical shoes for practical people. It's written on the plaque hanging behind the cashier counter."

Kylie narrowed her eyes. "That plaque is so gone. In fact, I'm going to redecorate the entire store," she said on a whim. "Bright colors. Maybe even pink. Pepto-Bismol pink with banana-yellow trim. Acrylic racks. Leopard seat cushions. Art posters splashed with funky period high heels. I saw this Andy Warhol print on the Internet. Diamond Dust Shoes. Weird, but fun."

"You know me," Faye said. "I'm all for kitschy. But that's radical. If your mom and grandma were here—"

"One would applaud my vision. The other would nix it." She didn't know which woman would take what stance. She just knew they'd take opposing views. They bickered constantly and Kylie was forever playing mediator. She'd been given a short reprieve since they were currently enjoying (or not) the Alaskan cruise Grandma McGraw had won at the church's silent auction, but they'd be back. "I'm bypassing the debate and making an executive decision as the store's manager."

"Without consulting Spenser?"

Kylie bristled. When her treasure hunting brother had been presented with an opportunity to host a cable series on the Explorer Channel, she hadn't thought twice about taking full responsibility and running McGraw's Shoe Store.

A: Because she loved Spenser to pieces.

B: Unlike her brother, she had an actual interest in shoes and the business as a whole.

It's just that she hadn't expected to be in charge for so long without an extended break.

Closing the store for a month was not an option, and she was too territorial to trust the business to a nonfamily member. Leaving the store in the hands of her mom and grandma was unthinkable. They'd kill each other. Or the business. Or both.

Last month when she'd talked to Spenser, he'd said he'd be coming home after he finished a shoot in Egypt, which meant any day now. She'd intended to discuss her dream trip then. In person. Except this morning, when he'd called to wish her happy birthday, he'd explained that he and his cameraman had finally obtained permission to visit Pitcairn—the secluded island inhabited by the ancestors of Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers of the Bounty.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Kitten," he'd said.

They were all once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

"Just a few more weeks," he'd said.

Which in Spenser-speak meant a few more months, maybe years.

Okay. That was overdramatic. But as sure as Kylie opened the store every day, Tuesday through Saturday at 9:00 a.m., he'd be broadening his horizons while hers flatlined. "I know the store's in Spenser's name," she grumbled, "but he saddled me with the responsibility."

"Temporarily," Faye said. "Although I admit his idea of 'temporary' differs from most folks. Still, if I recall, you're supposed to run things status quo. Knowing your brother, I don't think he'd be keen on pink walls and weird posters."

"Spenser can kiss my—"

"Ashe sent this over." Wanda, Boone's wife, who usually manned the kitchen whipping up her locally famous kick-butt chicken wings, seasoned mozzarella sticks and other assorted yummies, was currently working the floor due to a server shortage. She set another cosmo on the table. "Be warned, the silver-tongued dog paid Boone for a double shot of vodka."

"Happy birthday, Kylie," Ashe called from his bar stool.

He probably thought that winking thing was sexy. Smarmy was more like it. "Thanks." She saluted the cocky car dealer with a dismissive smile. Ashe Davis had been trying to score with her since her almost-fiancé, make that ex-almost-fiancé, fled paradise last year. At no point in time had she suggested he had a snowball's chance in hell, but the man was persistent. Handsome and successful, thirty-six and never married, he was considered by some the perfect catch. Only thus far he'd proved too slippery for any of the eligible women in Eden and even a few of the not-so-eligible. With Ashe it was all about the hunt. Once he bagged his prey, he lost interest. If Kylie wanted a brief, hot fling, he'd be the perfect choice. That is, if she could stomach sleeping with a self-absorbed womanizer.

"He's thinking tonight's his lucky night," Faye said with a roll of her blue-shadowed eyes.

"I'd have to be blitzed out of my gourd to sleep with Ashe."

"Drink that third cosmo and consider yourself boinked," said Faye.

Kylie pushed her glasses up her nose and focused, sort of, on Wanda. "Do I appear inebriated to you?"

"I did see you talking to your shoe, dear."

"That's because this shoe represents the crux of my discontent."

"Don't ask," Faye said, then sipped her beer.

"Giving you blisters?"

Faye slapped a palm to her forehead, metallic-blue nails glittering.

Ironically, or maybe not, someone punched A12 on the jukebox—Kylie knew that jukebox by heart—flooding the bar with the retro hit: "These Boots Are Made for Walking." Probably someone was making fun of her current shoe fixation, but she was more inspired than insulted. The music provided the perfect background for her on-the-spot promo.

"These," she said, displaying the slip-on for Wanda's keener inspection, "are Aerosoles. Padded insoles. Lightweight and flexible. They do not cause blisters. A smart buy for someone who spends a lot of time on their feet. Someone like you."

"You introduced me to that brand the last time I was in your shop," Wanda said while snapping her gum. "Felt like I was walking on clouds, but Boone would have a cow if I paid that kind of money for one pair of shoes."

"Yes, but they'd last longer than the bargain canvas sneakers you're wearing, plus they'd offer proper arch support. Given your occupation, don't your feet deserve better?"

"Stop trying to sell my wife fancy shoes!" Boone shouted over the music while sliding a beer down to Ashe.

"They're not fancy!" Kylie shouted back. "They're practical!"

"I'm thinking it's a birthday crisis," Faye said to Wanda. "Did you wig out when you turned thirty-two?"

"No." Gaze fixed on the far wall, she shifted and tapped the empty tray against her thigh in time with the music. She blew a pink bubble and when the bubble burst, spoke her mind. "Although I did go through a funk when I turned thirty-nine. All I could think was, I'm one year from forty. Then of course, I panicked when I turned the big five-oh. Who doesn't?"

"You're a size seven, right?" Kylie asked, bulldozing over their talk of a birthday crisis. This wasn't about age, although it was about another passing year.

"Yes, but—"

"Take them." Desperate to take action, any action to shake up her life, she shoved her right shoe in Wanda's free hand, toed off the left and handed that over, as well. "They're yours."

"They look brand-new." The redheaded, gum-cracking woman flipped them over, inspected the soles and heels. "No scuffs, no wear."

"I've worn them three times max."

"Are you sure you want to give them up?"

"Trust me. I've got loads of sensible shoes."

"Shoes, schmooze!" someone complained. "What's a guy gotta do to get some chicken wings around here?"

They turned their attention to the grumpy complainant, Max Grogan, the town's retired fire chief, seventy-two and prickly as a porcupine. Armed with two bottles of beer each, he and his cronies—Jay Jarvis (of JJ.'s Pharmacy and Sundry), Ray Keystone (Keystone Barbershop) and Dick Wilson (the town mayor)—were engrossed in their biweekly game of cards.

"Keep your pants on, Max!" Wanda shouted.

"An image I can do without." Faye shuddered. "Max's dingy."

"You can tell you've got a five-year-old at home," Wanda said with a grin. "Dingy. That's cute, hon. Thanks for the shoes, Kylie, and Happy Birthday," she added before leaving.

"I wish." Kylie downed Ashe's alcoholic gift in two swallows, then slid aside the empty glass with a snort. "Didn't taste stronger than the first two."

"Probably because your taste buds are numb." Faye pursed her cherry-red lips. "Good thing I'm driving."

"Wash those hands before you handle my wings!" Max yelled when Wanda disappeared into the kitchen.

"I wouldn't mind seeing dingy's Max," Kylie said, tripping over her words. She pinched the end of her tongue. Also numb. Dang. "I mean Max's dingy."

Her friend groaned, then leaned forward. "You have got to be kidding. I know you've been sexually deprived since the asshole split town, but you cannot be that desperate for a thrill."

"Actually, I am." Although, it was spurred by lack of zest, not sex. She'd felt melancholy and hollow since Spenser's phone call this morning. She wasn't a stranger to disappointment, and usually she sucked it up and moved on, doing what she had to do, doing what was best for all involved even if it didn't feel best for her. But today she hadn't been able to wrangle the disappointment, and as the day crawled by, depression had given way to desperation and uncharacteristic behavior. She mentally kissed her nurturing, passive self goodbye. Time to take action. Time to shake up the life she was stuck with.

"At least it would cause a sensation," Kylie said, shocked at the vehemence in her tone. "Can you imagine the headlines?" She mimicked a newspaper barker, shouting her concocted news just as the song ended and the noise level dipped. "Max Grogan drops his pants in protest of tardy service!"

"I ain't flashing my willy just because you're bored, Kylie McGraw." Max grunted as he dealt a new hand. "Kids."

"Kids who don't know when they've had enough," said the mayor. "Even worse."

"Maybe you should switch to soda," called Mr. Keystone.

"Maybe you should mind your own beeswax," said Kylie.

JJ. tsked. "She's usually so nice."

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Customer Reviews

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( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    Another good one by Beth Ciotta

    Kylie and Jack make a fun couple. The town is crazy with their loving of a TV show about mobsters. The question is did Kylie really see a "hit" or were some of the townies playing at being mobsters?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 23, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun and Humorous Romance

    If you like romances that are fun and make you smile, you have got to try Beth Ciotta's books! Out of Eden is just as much fun as all her books are. The lead characters are appealing, the romance fun and hot, and the small town characters zany. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward ot reading Into the Wild.

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  • Posted August 29, 2011

    Far-fetched and fun

    A cute story with a surprisingly complex plot, fun characters and heart-warming romance.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful, witty,comtemporary novel.

    This was the first book by Beth Ciotta that I have read, and I must say she has my vote! This book was fun, witty, suspensful, and romantic all rolled into one. The author sense of humor, and style of writing were very entising. Let it be known that here I sit three in the morning away, and writing beacause I couln't put this book down. Lines such as MFP's had me in stiches. I had never heard that abreviation before, but it was awesome. Read this book you will not be disappointed.

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  • Posted October 4, 2010

    COMPLEX COMTEMPORARY ROMANCE!

    OUT OF EDEN by Beth Ciotta is a comtemporary romance set in modern day Eden, Indiana. It is well written with depth and details. The characters are interesting, enduring and complex.It has danger, suspense, romance, intrigue, sensuality, secrets, small town,the mob and lovable heros. The hero, Jack, is handsome,sexy, left New York City after being burned out on a horrific case, comes back home to be the police chief, was Kylie's high school crush and her brother's friend. The heroine, Kylie is smart, witty,sexy, dreams of traveling, accepts the responsibility of the families show store, and shakes things up in this small town. Kylie witnesses a murder in progress for which no one believes her at first, then things starts to happening. She is in danger. Jack, doesn't really believe her but once things starts coming together realizes just how much danger she is into.Together them shake this small town up, cause plenty of gossip and find the truth. This story is multifaceted, has dry humor and sexy characters.If you enjoy entertaining story lines with twists and turns you will enjoy this one. This book was received for review from Library Thing and details can be found at Harlequin Books and My Book Addiction and More.

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining contemporary romance

    In Eden, Indiana, a bored Kylie McGraw runs the family shoe store while wondering on her thirty-second birthday how she ended up in a rut instead of following her dreams of seeing the world like her brother, Spenser the photographer. She wants out, but sees no way to escape her ennui. Instead she celebrates her birthday by getting intoxicated and taken home by her high school crush, recently returned to Eden as the town's police chief Jack Reynolds.

    Kylie believes she saw a mob hit, but Jack laughs it off as an alcoholic pink elephant. When she begins renovating her store as a means of excitement, she runs into some issues with the nearby business. However, while Jack insists there is no mob presence in Eden, she persists on claiming someone stalks her. Meanwhile widower Travis Martin believes Kylie's contention, but conceals why from her.

    Out of Eden is an entertaining contemporary romance starring a likable cop and a thirty-something doing a life makeover starting with switching from flats to heels. Kylie makes the tale fun to read with her amusing asides and reflective realization that time is passing her by if she is going to go Into the Wild exotic locales like her brother does. Readers will enjoy this entertaining small-town romance.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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