Screwdrivered (Cocktail Series #3)by Alice Clayton
By day, Viv Franklin is a tough-as-nails software engineer who designs programs and loves hospital corners. By night,
Readers back for a third round of the bestselling Cocktail series will enjoy a madcap romantic comedy about bodice ripping and chest heaving, fiery passion and love everlasting. Plus a dash of paperwork filing and horseshi—wait, what?
By day, Viv Franklin is a tough-as-nails software engineer who designs programs and loves hospital corners. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.
When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?
There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.
In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian. Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?
Read an Excerpt
Standing atop a lonely hill, Vivian gazed out upon the turbulent sea. Voluptuous and shapely, she cut a striking silhouette. Resembling the siren she was purported to be, she looked to the west. A dark ship appeared on the horizon, and with its sighting, her pulse quickened. Was it the dark pirate captain who haunted her dreams? A tall and fierce warrior, his face was full of fury. And passion. With just a glance from him, her loins quivered. With a touch . . . implosion.
Was it he? Returning from faraway lands and adventures she could only dream of, would he pillage and plunder her body as only he could? Would the pirate bestow upon her the treasure of his manhood? Or would he cast her aside as an empty booty?
Would he care for another Diet Dr Pepper?
I was torn from my pirate fantasy by the nasal, weenie voice of Richard Harrison, CPA.
“Can I get another Diet Dr Pepper, please? And for the lady, another—what was it you’re having, Viv?”
“Scotch. Water. Neat,” I answered, looking across the table at the latest in a long line of blind dates. Set up by my mother, which should have been my first clue to say no and run screaming into that good night. Not that she didn’t have good taste; she’d picked a looker with Richard. Strike that—he was a looker if that’s what you were into.
Brown hair. Brown eyes. Brown chinos, perfectly creased. White button-down. White teeth. Blindingly white, actually; I was pretty sure when he smiled chimes went off. Every time a CPA smiled, a fairy got its wings?
Jesus, Viv, get a grip.
I sipped my Scotch, wincing not only at the good burn, but at the bad turn this conversation was taking. Tax laws over appetizers. Nothing like a little burrata caprese with a side of capital gains.
I’d gotten through the first twenty minutes of Current Bad Date by letting my mind wander to my favorite place, Romance Novel Central. But now even the thought of pirates marauding through my underwear couldn’t spare me from the drone of brown-brown-brown-white-white-boring.
I let my eyes wander around the restaurant, fingering the small locket around my neck. Shell-pink and ivory, the tiny cameo had been given to me when I was thirteen. A family heirloom, it had been given to me as a confirmation gift. My family was still active in the church; not so much me. Although I did love a good fish fry. With a side of guilt, thank you very much. Which was why I was here on a Friday night instead of relaxing with a good book.
Directly above my heirloom cameo was a face “framed by wisps of dark curly hair, with golden tanned skin, and sea-glass-green eyes.” This is how my mother sold me to Richard Harrison, CPA, and aforementioned weenie. I did in fact have dark curly hair, all two inches of it, and I did have green eyes. Golden skin? Well, it was tan, I’ll give her that. But what she neglected to mention was the barbell in my left eyebrow. She usually also left out the nose piercing, tongue piercing, and the tattoo at the base of my neck. When I took off my leather jacket earlier, it made Mr. Harrison cringe a bit, but he held his own. Barely five two in socks but almost five four in my favorite combat boots, I knew very well the image I was projecting—certainly one at odds with the familyfriendly TGI McGeneric restaurant he’d brought me to. All the great restaurants in South Philadelphia, and he brings me here?
Why in the world did I let myself get talked into another blind date?
Because you’re single, you’ve never been in love, and you’re Desperately Seeking Pirate?
True. I’d also take a cowboy. Or a fireman. Or an estranged prince separated from his royal bloodline by a ruthless uncle hell-bent on obtaining the throne, especially when it came along with the maiden princess from a rival kingdom, the most beautiful creature in all the land. Too bad for the uncle that the maiden had been de-maidened by said prince on a bed of snowy-white down feathers. And when the prince thrust into his lady love, her nails scored into his back like those of an eagle taking flight, a flight into passionate—
Whoa. No more Scotch.
Ten solid minutes later of listening to him wax poetic about tax shelters and Roth IRAs, I set my glass down and stared at him. I could be luxuriating in a bubble bath and inside my head with the pirate king, but I was listening to this? I was perfectly capable of finding my own dates, a fact I lectured my mother about over and over again. Though actually putting this capability into practice was a different matter; a practice I didn’t really engage in. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested in dating; I was. To a point. I just didn’t have any patience for the small-talk two-step that one needed to engage in to catch a feller.
I knew that life couldn’t be like a romance novel, where someone could fall hopelessly in love with her soul mate the moment they met eyes across a crowded room.
Or that you could be whisked off into a world of fantasy and excitement by a handsome stranger, instantly connect, and be in perfect sexual sync from the second his mammoth male member teased your delicate flower petals.
Or that there was a billionaire bad boy at the head of every Fortune 100 company who was in his late twenties, six feet, three inches of barely tamed unchecked male aggression who was waiting for a tiny waif of a girl with no self-esteem and Chuck Taylor sneakers with no socks to knock him off his pedestal and change the course of his life over a two-martini lunch and a quickie in the restaurant ladies’ room.
For the record? Wearing Chucks with no socks makes your feet stink like bags of disgusting.
However. For all the ridiculous perpetuated in a romance novel, I still longed for the fantasy. The fairy tale. The wonderful give and take that occurred when two became one. So I went out on dates, met guys in bars, picked them up occasionally, and had the mostly bland, occasionally inventive, sex of the single-girl encounters. Orgasms, whether by my own hand or someone else’s, could never be discounted. So when my mother wore me down every few months about being the only one of my siblings who wasn’t married, I relented and let her set me up on blind dates.
My type and my mother’s type were as different as tuna fish and a curling iron. I liked a bad boy, and had enjoyed some a time or two. I preferred them a bit rough, tough looking. Messy hair? Yes, please. Artistic? Yes, please—musician, painter, performance artist, what have you.
My mother’s type was everyone’s type: good provider, steady, accomplished, smart, sociable at parties, and enough sperm to breed Catholic guilt into the next generation several times over.
And in this latest surge of motherly influence, no doubt spawned by the birth of her third grandchild and her wild desire to have a baker’s dozen, lately she had been setting up dates for me like it was going out of style. In the last two weeks alone I’d been out with Harry Thomson, Tommy Dickerson, and now Richard Harrison. A financial planner, a tax lawyer, and now a CPA. Same guy, same pants, same brain. Tom, Dick, and Harry? Oh hell, no . . .
“So I said to the guy, if you want to roll over all of this into a 401(k) I’ll do that, but you’d miss out on the more attractive shelter over here! So what I proposed was—”
“Dick? Can I call you Dick?”
“Actually, I’d prefer Richard, but—”
“Dick, I’m going to stop you right here. This was a mistake.”
He looked crestfallen. “Darn it all, I knew we should have ordered the chicken fingers. This berretta cheese is a little too exotic for my taste too. Let me see if I can get our waitress and—”
He held up his hand for some help with his “berretta,” and I slapped mine on the table.
“It’s not the cheese, it’s not the restaurant, it’s not even you, Dick. It’s me. I should never have let my mother talk me into this.”
“Your mother is terrific. Great assets.”
“No more asset talk. I want to be romanced; I want to be swept away—I want something special, rare, passionate, out of the ordinary!” I replied, my voice rising as I got worked up. I leaned across the table. “I want someone who will sweep everything off the table, throw me across it, and ravage me to within an inch of my life. Can you do that, Dick?” I slammed down the rest of my Scotch, meeting his eyes in challenge.
“Passionate? Out of the ordinary?” He gulped, pulling at his tie. Then a strange look came over his face. “You mean like, in the butt?” he whispered with an exaggerated wink.
Oh. My. God.
“How we doing over here?” a cheerful voice asked, and I looked up into the face of our waitress.
“Dick needs some chicken fingers.” I sighed, taking a twenty out of my purse and setting it on the table next to my empty glass. I pushed back from the table, went around to his side, and patted him on the shoulder. “Sorry this didn’t work out.” The relief was so very evident on his face it was almost comical. He started to stand, and I waved him off as I grabbed my jacket and headed for the door.
Another one bites the dust. Or chicken finger, in this case.
As I shut the front door to my home, the silence was palpable. My shoes rang out dully against polished concrete, the lights low and a bit lonely. I peeled off my jacket, snickering once more when I thought of Dick’s face when I took it off. Tattoos were commonplace in this day and age, but there’s nothing like neck ink on a girl to make a guy in a suit blink. I shouldn’t snicker; he didn’t deserve total annihilation like that. Not over appetizers. I tamped the snicker down as I passed by the wall photo of my mom on my way to kitchen. “Sorry, Ma, but come on. Berretta?”
I may have snickered once more. Just the one.
Contemplating the effects tomorrow morning of having one more bump of Scotch tonight, and deciding the hell with it, I splashed a little more into a glass and leaned back against the counter. Polished concrete, like the floor. My home had an industrial feel to it: clean, uncluttered, orderly. Steel, chrome, blacks, and shades of—you know.
Along one wall was a line of pictures, all in black frames with black mattes. Spaced exactly three inches apart (above, below, and in between) were photos of my family. Five older brothers. Mom. Dad. All of us together.
It had been interesting, growing up. By the time my parents got around to having me, they were so used to football, hockey, and baseball, that into the jerseys I went, and never even entertained the idea of a dress. I wore dresses sometimes now, but they were the skintight-over-fishnets-and-combat-boots type. Courtney Love circa 1996. Without the smeared lipstick. Or the heroin.
Growing up with five older brothers meant that everyone in town saw me as one of the “Franklin Boys.” Something that became harder to lump me into when I developed serious lumps of my own when I hit puberty, but the fact that I ran around in ball caps and sweatshirts continued the myth. Following in my brothers’ footsteps also meant that I excelled at school, particularly math and science, taking calculus in tenth grade. Franklins are good at math and science, therefore as a Franklin, I was too. The hitch in the giddy-up was that I also loved art. Drawing, painting, you name it, I loved it. There’s a symmetry to drawing, an innate sense of placement and scale that appealed to my inner math geek. But between after-school sports and advanced placement college prep classes, it was a side that I didn’t have much time to explore.
And frankly wasn’t encouraged to explore. The family business was computers, and that’s what all of us were groomed for. And I followed suit—for a while.
Next to the framed pictures of my family was the single piece of artwork in the room, the only piece that was in color. Bold splashes of bright corals, cotton-candy pinks, soft curling puffs of white. April in Paris. I let my eyes follow the swoops and swirls of color, remembering what it felt like to spend my days in a studio in France. Heaven. A heaven that was a world and a computer software company away.
I pushed the thoughts aside, draining the rest of my Scotch and fumbling for my phone. I decided to bite the bullet and check my messages. There were at least three from my mother and two from an unknown number. Knowing that Mother just wanted to see how the date went, and not caring about messages from someone I didn’t know, I erased them all and headed for my bedroom.
Slipping out of my clothes and into a fluffy white robe, I made my way toward the only room in the house that didn’t have my monochromatic modern theme. I opened the door into rosy chaos.
Rose wallpaper, rose carpet—if there was a surface I could stick a rose onto, I did it. Gold candelabras too; I had plenty of those. White taper candles with romantic drips spilling down them—it was all there. My private escape. My romantic nirvana.
Soaker tub. Deep. Long. With a shelf overflowing with bubble bath gels, salts, pearls, and oils. Fragrances of lavender, geranium, and of course, rose. I flipped on the radio, tuned to the local classical station, and felt the evening fade away as I turned on the hot water. While I poured the rose-scented bubbles into the stream, my eyes zeroed in on the book I’d be finishing tonight. On the cover? Man. Strong. Fierce. Pecs. Woman. Beautiful. Swooning. Boobs.
Dropping the robe and all memories of Dick Weenie, I slipped into the perfumed water and let my world fade away.
I was sound asleep when my cell phone rang, jolting me out of a dream in which a giant shoe was chasing me down a water slide. I grappled across the nightstand, knocking over a stack of books and a water bottle, finally clutching my phone. “Hello?”
“Hello, is this Ms. Vivian Franklin?” a man’s voice asked.
“This is Viv, yeah, who is this?” I barked, noticing the time. Who the hell called at 1:28 a.m.? “Do you have any idea what time it is?”
“I am terribly sorry for the time difference. It’s considerably earlier here in California.”
“Well, bully for all the granola eaters. Who the hell are you, and what the hell are you doing calling me in the middle of the night?”
“Ms. Franklin, I did try calling earlier in the evening. Did you not get my messages?”
“Five seconds, California, or I’m hanging up,” I growled.
“Forgive me for saying so, but you do remind me of your aunt.” He laughed a cultured laugh, and I frowned.
“My aunt?” I didn’t resemble either Aunt Gloria or Aunt Kimberly, and neither of them lived in California. Wait a minute— “Are you breathing heavy?” Ick, he was! “Dude, you picked the wrong chick for an obscene call—”
“Oh, no, Ms. Franklin. I just climbed up a rather long staircase, and I’m afraid the old ticker isn’t quite what it used to be.” After taking a deep breath, he laughed. “Obscene—the idea. Your Aunt Maude would have loved that.”
Aunt Maude. Aunt Maude? Ohhhh, Aunt Maude.
“As in my Great-Aunt Maude? Maude Perkins?”
“Yes, the very one. I’m sure you’ve heard this time and again in the last few days, but let me please extend to you my condolences.”
“Yes, of course, on your aunt’s passing. My firm represented her for decades, and I’d gotten to be quite fond of her in the last few years. What a remarkable woman.”
Great Aunt Maude was . . . well . . . in need of condolences?
“Okay, California, start from the beginning, including your name and why in the world you’d be calling me in the middle of the night about a woman I barely know and haven’t seen in fifteen years. And who by the way, I didn’t even know had . . . well . . . passed.”
“Oh my! You didn’t know? Well, this is all a bit strange then, isn’t it? I’m so very sorry, Ms. Franklin. Let me introduce myself. My name is Gerald Montgomery, your aunt’s attorney and executor of her will.”
I switched the light on, climbed out of bed to grab a pad of paper, then got back in bed.
“Okay, Mr. Montgomery, you’ve got my attention. Now tell me everything, including how in the world she died without even one person in my family knowing about it.”
“Well, Ms. Franklin, she was, as you are aware, quite eccentric,” he began with a chuckle.
Thirty minutes later I set the phone down, utterly numb and confused. I looked back down over the notes I’d scribbled on the pages.
• passed away with no one but me named in her will
• house and ranch and all worldly goods . . . to me?
• Mendocino. As in California!
I looked at the clock, my mind whirling. It was too late to call my parents. I’d have to call them in the morning. I could barely process all of this. Crazy Aunt Maude. I hadn’t seen her since I was twelve, spending the summer out west with her in her old house.
The old house on a cliff above the beach. Oh my God—the beach house.
I flew out of my bedroom, down the stairs, and toward the bookcase in the living room. I grabbed an old family photo album, filled with Polaroids from family vacations and holidays from when I was kid. Flipping through the pages quickly, I found the ones I was looking for.
I spent one summer in Mendocino, one magical summer with my family and Aunt Maude. It was so long ago I’d almost forgotten it. I closed my eyes, remembering the feel of sun on my skin, salt in the air, and sand between my toes. I opened my eyes and stared down at the picture of the Victorian home overlooking the raging Pacific. Named “Seaside Cottage,” it was anything but. Turrets. Widow’s walk. Porch for days. Wide plank floors rubbed smooth from years of bare feet running across it. Kitchen garden. Attic, filled to bursting with trunks and old dress mannequins. It was like little girl wonderland.
And I’d inherited it?
And the ranch! Christ, how could I have forgotten the ranch that was adjacent to the picture-perfect house? Acres and acres of fertile California land, dotted with sheep, chickens, and the occasional milk cow. And horses. How could I have forgotten the horses? And the quaint old barn where . . . wait a minute . . . horses need tending to. Usually by a . . . cowboy.
A mysterious phone call in the middle of the night, beckoning me from my sleep. A call that awakened my mind with endless possibilities. An adventure? A new beginning? A journey across the land where a new life awaits? One with a . . . gulp . . . a cowboy? Shit. I could gulp a cowboy. Especially if I was about to be starring in my very own romance novel. But could I actually move across the country? I didn’t know a soul in California.
Wait, strike that.
I picked up the phone to call the only person I knew on the West Coast. One who shared the same sense of adventure that I once did.
It was only eleven o’clock in California. Of course, who the hell knew where he might be, knowing his job? I scrolled through my phone, looking at his name, weighing the decision about waiting to call in the morning.
I called my old friend from high school, Simon Parker.
Meet the Author
Alice Clayton worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop). She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her. And she finally got her Bernese Mountain Dog.
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I was a little late to the party for Alice Clayton's Cocktail series, but now I'm fully on board and can't get enough. Wallbanger was fantastic. I had a real love/hate relationship with Rusty Nailed, but wound up enjoying it when it was all said and done. Screwdrivered got me back on track with this series. Alice brought the humor and the heart I thought was somewhat missing in Rusty Nailed. This one was damn near perfect. I wasn't sure what exactly to think of Viv when we first met her earlier in the series. I have this thing about meeting the ex-girlfriends, hookups, whatever of characters I love who are currently involved with someone else. It seems like something bad always follows. That's SO not the case here. I'll say it loud and proud – I loved Viv. She was a great female lead. Her inner dialogue was amusing. She was strong and sassy and we'd totally be friends in real life. Her bodice-ripping romance fantasies of the cowboy made me chuckle, while her real-life interactions with him left me cringing. Awk. Ward. Oh and Viv and the sexy librarian she loved to spar with? Absolute perfection. There was some fantastic sexual tension hiding behind all that arguing. I couldn't wait until it ignited. Some people might be turned off at the prospect of a love triangle. Let me tell you, it's not even that. The sexy cowboy (who never really did it for me, if I'm being completely honest) is just a fantasy. And that's where he's best left. In no way was he real competition for Clark, the smart and sexy librarian. You know how swoony Simon is? Well, Clark is right up there with him. Seriously, Alice, a photographer and a librarian? You're hitting all my swoony fantasy guy buttons here. I love it. A huge bonus in this book was the reappearance of Simon and Caroline as they come to help Viv with her newly acquired home. I'm a huge fan of theirs, so it was great to catch up with them and see that life's treating them well. They're just so freaking cute together. Plus I enjoyed the friendship that developed between Viv and Caroline. It was a bit unexpected, but shows how much Caroline has grown and how confident she is in her relationship with Simon now. Screwdrivered was a great book. I look forward to rereading it once it's released in audiobook because I think Viv's voice will be fantastic in audiobook format. She's such a rich and interesting character, and much like Caroline in Wallbanger, her inner dialogue is hysterical. Now I can go back to chomping at the bit until Mai Tai'd Up is released. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve heard this series was funny so I had to see for myself. I hadn’t read the first two books in the series so I wasn’t sure what I was getting into but I’m SO glad I took the chance. The lovely Viv has had some good fortune in inheriting a house from a distant relative. She heads to the seaside beach town to start this new adventure in her life. Viv thinks she’s getting a pristine house but finds it in complete disarray and in desperate need of repairs. Putting the word out around town for some repairmen, Viv encounters a huge road block in the form of the librarian, who’s also the town archivist and the director of the historical society, Clark Barrow. The house she inherited is on the historical register in town so any repairs have to be approved by the director of the historical society, aka Clark. As you might be able to tell, this news doesn’t sit well with Viv at all and Clark ends up being the proverbial thorn in her side. Viv is also a romance book junkie (a girl after my own heart!) and has been dreaming about a knight in shining armor/pirate/cowboy to come rushing in to sweep her off of her feet and carry her into the sunset just like in her romance novels. With a new home on the beach and lots of romantic possibilities, she can’t wait to finally meet her Prince Charming. When she encounters the sexy cowboy who takes care of the animals that came with the inheritance, Viv thinks her prayers have been answered! Cowboy Hank is tall, gorgeous and has a body cut from granite. Fate has surely favored Viv, or so she thinks. Clark, the irritating yet endearing librarian is getting under Viv’s skin as well. Now the big question is, who will claim the heart of the fair maid Vivian; a cowboy with a rockin’ bod and not much to say, or a studious librarian with a sexy brain and a heart of gold? You’ll have to read this one on your own to find out who the victor is. Which one would you chose??? I absolutely LOVED Viv, or Vivian as the sexy librarian addresses her. She is vivacious, brilliantly witty and has some of the most colorful vocabulary I’ve ever heard. Viv’s character was easily relatable and so realistic; I could have sworn the author was giving Viv some of my life experiences as well! I laughed out loud every single time Viv started daydreaming about a dashing hero to come in and rip her bodice off, then snap back to reality at some of the most awkward times! I’ve done the exact same thing many a time myself and I just loved her. Viv is one of the most dynamic characters I’ve ever encountered and I am completely in awe of the author. The characters, both primary and secondary, completely made this book. They are so warm and realistic that you want to know people like this in real life. I have to go back and read the first two books so I can find out more about these wonderful beings. And I cannot forget about Clark. *Dreamy sigh* Clark, the librarian and my new book boyfriend, was beautifully created and I am praying hard for my own Clark one day. He was ...no words will ever do him justice so I’ll just leave it at that. I think Viv would be a total fool if she doesn’t get something started with him. But does she? I won’t say. I don’t want to deprive you of the magic in this story J This book was a complete joy to read. I laughed through the entire thing and just couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a beautiful love story full of laughter and a Prince Charming who will easily capture your heart. ***I was gifted an eBook copy from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All conclusions reached are my own***
What a wonderful story. Loved, loved, LOVED this! Screwdrivered was just so entertaining, flirtatious, and playful and had me laughing out loud. Viv is an amazing character. Strong, independent, and totally sassy. I wanted to be her friend and I instantly had a girl crush on this woman. Loved her. Her internal thoughts of romance, the stories she thought in her head, and how they intertwined into her real life were fantastic. I thought it was unique and engaging, it was so exciting to read. And her leading man? The cowboy versus the librarian? I don't even know how to write this without spoiling it but I thought Viv’s adventure was perfect. She was in the middle of a real life romance novel and didn't even realize it. I just wanted to shake Viv’s shoulders and tell her to open her eyes and see the awesome guy that was right in front of her. Loved the bickering and bantering, and the simmering heat that was right below the surface. When she finally gets it, my heart burst and I was cheering for them. The leading man she picked was oh so perfect and sweet and I loved him so. They had such electric sexual tension throughout. The looks, the longing, the chemistry. All there. Aw yeah! This book just made me happy-happy-happy and I was smiling and laughing throughout. There was just the best build to this story. I absorbed all the details, it was fast paced and highly entertaining. Very light on the drama but it didn't need it. I was just so caught up in everything and enjoyed it way too much. I could not put it down! I just loved watching it all unfold and I completely fell in love with Viv and her main man. And when they finally get together? Hot, steamy, and passionate! Aw yeah! We got to see Simon and Caroline and a few other friends, and make some new ones as well, like Jessica. They were all so great and having them there made it even more amusing and definitely added to the story. There were all these little awesome moments that built up to make this amazing, lighthearted, and laugh out loud love story. Thank you so much Alice Clayton. Just the best read that leaves me smiling and full of all kinds of happy! Complimentary copy received for honest review.
29-year old Philadelphia native Viv (Vivian - we met her in Rusty Nailed - she's an old school friend of our darling Simon!) just inherited a beach house and a little ranch in Mendocino, California. Her mom's estranged aunt left all her possessions to the niece she last saw 17 years ago. Now Viv needs to decide what to do? Which is pretty easy - she'll move to California!!! Yay! Because as much as she loves her family - including her FIVE older brothers - she needs a little distance from them. Her mother, who's always arranging blind dates for her. Her Dad wants her to be more involved in the family computer business. She already sacrificed her beloved art to come back home and work in the computer field. She spent her very early twenties living in Florence and Paris - happily doing her art thing - but then her Dad had a health scare and she came back home. Now here's her chance to finally do something for herself again. Maybe she can finally find her dream guy in California. She's always dreamed of being swept off her feet by a sexy pirate or cowboy or prince - she's kind of obsessed with romance novels ¿ And what do you know? We have a sexy cowboy AND a sexy librarian to choose from in Mendocino!!! Only she doesn't really leave the best first and second and third impressions with both of them! ¿ And she sooo wants to fall in love now that she's starting her new life in California. Viv is mega busy getting the house cleaned up and renovated. Which involves Librarian Clark - he's the guy who's stopping her every renovating idea. Because he's the guy in town who has to make sure that the old historic buildings stay true to their time. But Viv really loves this adorable town. She even found a friend in Jessica on her first day - and Jessica's boyfriend John, the most important man in town: The Pizza Place Owner ¿¿ Everything could be perfect - if only one of the 2 guys would be interested in her....or are they??? ¿ WHAT WiLL HAPPEN TO ViV??? WHO WiLL SHE CHOOSE? OR DO THEY EVEN WANT TO BE CHOSEN BY ViV? WiLL THERE BE A CLiFFHANGER??? NOPE . . . I'm not telling you ¿ Well - ok - there's no Cliffhanger! ¿ _____________________________ I really loved SCREWDRIVERED!!! I LOOOOOVED Wallbanger and now we finally have a new heroine to laugh and cry with! Viv! She's adorable! She's this typical nice girl from a perfectly loving family, who then rebelled against her parents by going to study in France, and getting tattoos and piercings. But she still loves her family very much and they're all very close, but now she could finally 'escape' to California to maybe find her own Happily Ever After. A HEA like the ones she always reads about in her beloved Romance Novels ¿ The book was sooo cute and funny and romantic and sexy! I loved that we got to see Simon again!!! Remember? Our beloved wallbanging guy from San Francisco? ¿ He comes to visit with his Caroline and their friends Mimi and Ryan. Were there some things I didn't like? Yeah..unfortunately... I was expecting more sexiness... yes - Viv dreams about sexy times - Romance Novel style - but - no idea if I'm spoiling too much here - but the first kiss happens way to late in the book... way too late for us Romance Novel Junkies!!! And yeah - her dreams and daydreams - kind of like the inner goddess in Fifty Shades - I didn't like that. And when I started reading and found out that there will be two guys? Hm nope - not a fan of the love triangle thing. But luckily you realize pretty quickly who'll she end up with... ¿ BUT - all of ^^ that didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying SCREWDRIVERED. Viv was such an amazing heroine! I loved her - I loved the one guy ;)))) and I loved the place - Mendocino - I just totally loved reading the book!!! Screwdrivered was an amazingly cute and funny and romantic story! I loved it! And you'll fall in love with Viv & peep too ¿ Can please someone make the book into a movie?? and now PLEASE HURRY Alice - I need to read Mai Tai'd Up ASAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I went in thinking it was going to be as good as the other two books in the series, but it ended up being disappointing. Over half of the book is boring and silly. I got tired of the girl's vivid imagination and teenager's behavior. The author tried to make the dialogs funny but, as in the other two books, but here it felt as a way to overcompensate for the weak story. It was really lame. Things get a little more interesting in the end but not enough to save the book. Big disappointment because I preordered all the books after the Wallbanger as soon as they became available, including the next and fourth booj in the series. Let's hope it improves because this one was a waste of money and time.
I absolutely loved and enjoyed the awesome & amazing, fabulous & fantastic, beautifully written, humorous, romantic story Screwdrivered (Cocktail, #3) by Alice Clayton that I received free from Goodreads First Reads. Vivian inherits an old mansion on the beach from her Aunt Maude that she hasn't seen in twelve years. Vivian meets Hank, a handsome, sexy cowboy who takes care of the animals on Aunt Maude's estate. Vivian has a lot of repairs she wants to do on the house but finds out from the bothersome, handsome, sexy librarian, Clark that all repairs have to be approved by Clark since it is on the historic register. Sparks, passion, and arguments fly between Vivian and Clark. As Vivian gets to know Hank and Clark, she finds Clark more and more intriguing. Read the extraordinary, spectacular, highly recommended, romantic love story of Vivian and Clark by the phenomenal and talented writer Alice Clayton.
So often in today's contemporary romance books all we see are bad boys. After a while, for the zealous reader, this can get old so reading a nice 'good guy' book is revitalizing. Vivian comes from a family of math geniuses. Her five older brothers all work for their father's computer company. After getting her degree, Vivian rebelled, running off to do art instead. She later invented her own software and started her own computer business. Although she has accomplished so much and has a full life with her family, she's lacking in the romantic love department. Also she can't stop her over-the-top fantasies spawned from corny erotic novels. Unexpectedly, Viv receives a call in the middle of night. Her great aunt has died leaving everything to her. She takes off on an adventure, leaving her life behind in New York to move to a small town in California in order to take over the property. When she gets to the house, it's like an episode of Hoarders. Not only that, but the house is in a desperate state of disarray and decay. Much to Viv's delight, the property comes with it's own cowboy who takes care of the horses and chickens. He's absolutely gorgeous and sends her imagination into overdrive. She's often distracted in one of her daydreams staring Hank. "I see by your buckle your name's Hunk. I mean, Hunk. I mean, [...], Hank. Crap." Much to her annoyance, the house also comes with a head of the historical society librarian who must approve any changes or repairs she makes to the house. He makes her blood boil in a wholly different way. Clark Barrow. Historian. Archivist. Librarian. He forgot to list Elbow Patch Rocker. I like how Vivian isn't the average beauty. She has barely there spiky hair and lots of tattoos and piercings. At the same time, she still acts somewhat girlish, not constantly trying to be a hard[...]. Seems many female leads are either of the perfectly virginal or utterly bad[...] extremes. I completely fell for Clark. He's so respectful. He opens doors. Where the guys who know they can get whomever they want might ignore the non-Barbie everyday type, Clark seems to have a reverence for the female population. Hidden under his nerdy casual suits is a nice athletic body. I picture him as a young Noah Wyle. Screwdrivered has great original scenes—falling through rotten wood, bats in the house, late night adolescent-like phone conversations from across the country. Some of the previous couples make appearances. Simon and Caroline come to visit bringing with them Mimi and Ryan. Also a new couple pops up, Jessica and John. As far as in relation to the other books in the Cocktail series, I feel this book isn't as good as Wallbanger and is better than Rusty Nailed. I had fun reading it. I recommend it, and I plan to read the next book in the series. Also gotta add, I so want my own Clark. <3
I decided to try this book, because I loved Wallbanger... i was sadly disappointed. I am a little over 50 pages in, and i feel no need (or reason) to waste more time on this story. Coming from someone who would read a 500 page book because I spent money it, I cant even bring myself to finish this book... Sorry, Alice. Better luck next time! (I gave this book one star, for the simple fact of not being able to post without leaving at least one)
Want to be the star of your own romance novel? Well, Viv does! Minor Spoilers Alert!!! On the one hand, I loved that Simon's buddy, Vivian got her own novel. She's quirky, strong and yet vulnerable. So far, she's had career success, owning her own computer software design company. Her sex life up until this point had been nicely satisfying if unemotional. An avid romance novel addict, she eventually realized that she wanted to fall in love and be the star of her own romance novel. Her aunt's unexpected death gave her the means to shake up her life a bit and she quickly casted Hank, the caretaker of her aunt's horses and chickens, as the hero of her fantasies. But real life is rarely as it is in romance novels as Viv discovered in her stilted and curt interactions with Hank and then her frequently contentious dealings with Clark, the local librarian and historical society register representative. Back to my hands. I liked the idea of this novel but on the other hand, I found myself impatient at times. I thought the romance fantasies that Viv would slip into randomly were a tad over the top. I wanted her to realize that Hank was a terrible choice a lot sooner than she did. I loved the feisty interactions she and Clark had and then their bonding times as they agreed what renovations should be done to preserve her aunt's legacy. Up next in the Cocktails series is Clark's cousin Chloe as the featured heroine of Mai' Tai'd.
This 3rd in the Cocktail series might just be my favorite so far!!! I adore Simon and Caroline but I loved Viv from the get-go too. Spoilers ahead ------------------ Baby, I am Team Clark all the way. I never warmed to Hank's character at all. I loved Jessica and she described him perfectly. In fact, I loved the town and John too. I read every description you gave of the coast, town and Viv's house. That's a first for me. I also loved the slow burn, flirty and late night out-of-town phone calls. This was fun and romantic from start to finish.
I wasn't sure what I thought of Viv when we met her in Caroline & Simon's story, but after reading Screwdrivered...you have to love her, especially with Clark. The start was a little slow, but it was worth it. Once you pick up Screwdrivered, you can't put it down.
AudioBook Review Stars: Overall: 4 Naration: 3 Story: 4 The second in this series I have reviewed, I found this installment much more to my liking, with a very clever plot twist and inclusions that helped to fuel and push the story forward with humor, light and imagination. Alice Clayton returns to bring Screwdrivered, a clever pun on the DIY elements as well as a cocktail, and introduces us to Viv, a software designer who really lives for her romance obsession, particularly historical in genre. I could instantly empathize with Viv’s obsession: my obsession with historic romance notwithstanding. Viv is clever, determined, and wild-child notwithstanding, a touch obsessive. Again, Clayton uses some really clever casting and insets, with Viv breaking into ‘retro-feeling romance novel speak’ when we are treated to her interior monologues, and the bleed-through from imagination to real life with increasing frequency is hilariously depicted. The love ‘triangle’ that Viv has between Hank the cowboy and Clark the librarian who also is a bit of an historical nazi when it comes to renovations and changes Viv wants to make on the cottage. The dialogue and needs that each character fits in their interactions with her are clever - while she is rather blind to the whole “who fits best for the long term” aspect of their relationships. Narration in this is again provided by Heather Smith, and while I was not a huge fan of the repeated pauses (some pregnant – with twins and no explanation from text or intention that I could see) and a touch of over-arching emotion added, there was a marked improvement from my first encounter with her work. The characters are voiced with distinction, and she managed to keep all of the characters straight (a trick, as this brought characters from the earlier books as well as new voices just for this story). I’m not sure what I was looking for in this title – what I got was a cleverly plotted and paced romantic comedy that is a bit slow to grow, but when it gathers steam is full on to the finish. Fans of Clayton’s work will certainly like this story, and fans of the ‘old school’ romance stories will get a kick out of Viv’s obsessions and interior monologues. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Just like Wallbanger, this one hits the mark. Funny, quick, sweet, snarky and hot. Viv is incredible, she is hilarious with her quick come backs and comments and her foul mouth. It had me laughing right from the start.\ "But now even the thought of pirates marauding through my underwear couldn't spare me from the drone of brown-brown-brown-white-white-boring" The interpretation of the dolls and under the deck was funny. Each time it came up it had me smiling. The relationship between Viv and Hank was corny as all heck but funny as hell the way this tough tatooed, pierced girl reacted to him. I love the bantering and bickering between "the librarian" and viv and how the author brings in the characters from other books to play a small part. The house sounded amazing! The story line is great and it was kind of interesting as they cleared out the house, I felt like I was there with them discovering all the treasures... but it did tend to drag on just a bit. It's an easy sweet read and that will keep you entertained...until the end then holy heat. You knew it was coming but it just seems to hit fast and hard. I loved it! The touch of dominance without going all caveman was good.
Viv, Clark & Hank....another hilarious yet sexy story!
4.5 Stars Reviewed by Francesca and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog I have a confession to make…I loved WALLBANGER but I was a little less than impressed with the sequel, RUSTY NAILED. Yes, Simon is still to die for, but maybe he turned a little boring. And don’t get me started on crazy Caroline and her issues. So I was so very excited to see this book was about another couple and double excited that it was about that little spitfire I loved to read about in RUSTY NAILED. Vivian works as a software designer, she has a very successful company on her own, which follows in the footsteps of what her father does for a living. But she’s a self made kind of girl. Smart and kick ass. And a free spirit. Everything I adore! But she’s still looking for that special something that she can’t put her finger on. That something missing in her life. When she inherits a home in California from an aunt she hadn’t had contact in a while, she decides maybe this is the opportunity to live out her romantic fantasies. Ah, yes. A romance book lover, who imagines everything in her life will play out like the romances she reads. Especially if they involve a cowboy. So she takes on the challenge, moves out to California, sells her company and decides to start a new chapter in her life. But this house comes with baggage. Issues upon issues that she will have to take care of and deal with. And the biggest issue is librarian, Clark Barrow. He’s the head of the historical society and is there every step of the way telling her what she can and cannot do. All while looking sexy in his dusty glasses. Side note here: I’m not quite sure the author had to keep describing his glasses and dusty because it kept throwing me off the hot Clark persona! OK rant over. I loved everything about the interactions between Clark and Vivian. They are complete opposites and somehow they matched. They are fun together. Her bringing out the fun in him, and him trying to tame the wild child. And all of that while Vivian is living out her romantic fantasy in her head about bedding the hot, studly cowboy. This book is the perfect example that sometimes looks are not all that they’re cracked up to be. And being with someone that can make you laugh and if you end up stuck in a house together without power, you would actually have a good time. While this book read a little more like chick lit because, although there’s quite a bit of sexual tension, there wasn’t a whole lot happening, I still loved it. It’s quirky, fun, sexy and sweet. It was a refreshing change and I think for me brought some of the fun back in the series. I can’t wait to see what the next installment brings now!
I love Alice Clayton an liked this book, but not as much as Wallbanger or th Redhead series! Wish there was more about Clark! He was great! Liked his character! Too much on the house issue not enough on the two main characters. The end felt rushed. Good read though. Worh it.
Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton is the third book in her Cocktail series. Where in Rusty Nailed we got to see Simon and Caroline's relationship from the other side of a happily ever after ending where we left them in Wallbanger, in Screwdrivered they play a small peripheral role. This story is about Viv, Simon's high school friend that is a computer software genius and an artist to boot. Viv receives a late night phone call from the East coast telling her she's inherited a beautiful cliff-side home in Mendocino, California. so she goes there and falls instantly in love with the "cowboy" that is taking care of the few animals there. What she didn't bargain for is the argumentative, elbow pad, tweed jacket-wearing librarian telling her what she can and cannot restore or replace in the home. Turns out Clark is also the head of the historical society and is responsible for maintaining historical authenticity on homes that are listed on the historical register. Well that just puts all kinds of wrenches in the works for Viv. She calls in Caroline and Simon for support and ends up spending a ton of time "arguing" with Clark over the repairs on the home. A cute and quirky story. Viv has a tendency to totally let her mind wander into a daydream of a romance novel only to be rudely brought back into reality time and time again - usually blushing at her own inappropriate thoughts.
Loved this series. So much fun to read.
I have to admit, this series lost me a bit on the last installment. After reading this one…REDEEMED! Totally and completely. Vivian Franklin is an unassuming software designer with a passion for romantic tales. When she finds out that her great aunt Maude left her estate to Viv, including her seaside cottage in Mendocino, California. Viv decides this is a perfect opportunity for her to seek out her own romance worthy adventure and moves across the country to the cottage. There, she meets Clark, the town librarian and historian, who takes a special interest in Vivian and helping her deal with the historic committee in town to make changes to the cottage. Clark is sexy, but in a nerdy, bookish way. Viv recognizes this, but is still looking for her knight in shining armor. And she gets him in the form of Hank the cowboy. And she meets him while he is riding shirtless on a horse, no less! Hank is hot, and Viv wants a piece of that action. Convincing Hank might be another story. So, who will be the hero in Viv’s romantic adventure? Clark the librarian or Hank the Cowboy? This book captured so well what I loved about Wallbanger, which is that it is a FUN read. It’s written in a way that is irreverent and hilarious at points, plus we get cameos of our favorite series characters throughout. Viv is a great character to center a book around. She is hilarious and strong and full of pep. I absolutely loved her and her witty repartee with Hank and Clark. The real difference I thought in this book was that it’s mostly about the shenanigans of trying to choose which man to fall in love with. The result of which means that the couple’s first kiss doesn’t happen until the end. This led to me feeling the book was a bit rushed towards the end, but it still worked for me. I was entertained and found that getting to the end to see how it all turned out was well worth it! Overall, great book. Funny, interesting and filled with laugh out loud moments as only Alice Clayton seems to be able to do! Loved it. 4.5 stars. *Copy provided for review* Reviewed by Sara for Crystal’s Many Reviewers
Loved the other books prior to this one because the characters were very well fleshed out. Here - Viv I get, but not Clark. Frankly, saying "I love you" with about 20 pages left in the book was very disarming. This read more like a Harlequin romance that the author of the Redhead series and Wallbanger. That the cowboy was a dumb cluck could be seen a mile away. LIke the author's writing style and voice, but this story needed more work - more pages, more story.
Screwdrivered is the third book in the Cocktail series by the hilariously talented Alice Clayton. Once again, she created great character dynamics, and kept a very detailed and intriguing story line throughout. Usually, the endless inner monologues and descriptive story telling tends to bore me, but that is where Clayton thrives. She manages to implement comedy into those parts of the story and keeps the reader captivated through the main character(s). In this book, we're reunited with Viv who was previously introduced in Wallbanger. She's a walking, talking juxtaposition which I absolutely loved. She's a brilliant software designer with her own company, but harbors a passion for art. A fiery personality, tattoos and piercings, and a love for romance novels. Oh how she loves her romance books, so much so that she's convinced she's living in one. So, when she gets a late night call informing her that she's inherited a ginormous home in Mendocino, California from one of her aunts, she takes it as a sign. A chance to start fresh and find adventure. Maybe even find a cowboy to ride. Arriving in Mendocino, Viv's perfect romance novel continues to fit into place. She comes across a smoldering cowboy who she can't keep her eyes off of, and luckily for her, he happens to tend to the barn and animals that now belong to her. Cowboy Hank may have hunk appeal, but he doesn't seem the least bit interested. Challenge accepted. Viv's determined to work on trying to get more than a few grunts and nods out of him. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day. In the meantime… An uptight librarian/historian barges in claiming she can't make any changes to her new home without his consent. Clark Barrow assists Viv in the restoration of her historical landmark of a house. He never fails to get on Viv's last nerve, but she's forced to work with him. Everything about him begins to annoy her, the silly elbow patches, nerdy glasses, the way he always disagrees with her over any little thing. While she may not want to admit it, Viv loves spending time with Clark. She craves his presence and their effortless banter. I don't know how she didn't pounce on him as soon as they met. I would've been all over that nerdy piece of goodness in a hot second. After a painful length of time, Viv's typical romance fog clears and her heart finally leads her in the right direction. So does she end up taking a ride on the caveman cowboy or the stubborn librarian? Great inclusion of the characters from the other books. Seeing characters I love so much return for a quick cameo always puts a smile on my face. It always seems to create a more cohesive world for a reader to get sucked into. The only downfall this book had was the lack of togetherness the couple had total. I loved the tension and essentially, the denial between the two, because it made for a funny dynamic. The ending didn't seem rushed in any way, because the entire novel was building up to it. However, I loved these two characters so much, that I simply wanted, nay, needed more about them. I didn't get to relish in their new-found relationship long enough, thus depriving me of that complete experience. Anyone in need of a funny, light hearted read with plenty of sexiness and comedic entertainment, pick this up or any Alice Clayton book for that matter!