At the Stroke of Midnight

At the Stroke of Midnight

by Tara Sivec

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250137203
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 02/27/2018
Series: Naughty Princess Club , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 6,322
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Tara Sivec is a USA Today best-selling author, wife, mother, chauffeur, maid, short-order cook, baby-sitter, and sarcasm expert. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and looks forward to the day when they all three of them become adults and move out.

After working in the brokerage business for fourteen years, Tara decided to pick up a pen and write instead of shoving it in her eye out of boredom. Her novel Seduction and Snacks won first place in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards 2013 for Best Indie First Book and she was voted as Best Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards for 2014.

In her spare time, Tara loves to dream about all of the baking she'll do and naps she'll take when she ever gets spare time.


Tara Sivec is a USA Today bestselling author and the Best Indie Author in the Indie Romance Convention Reader's Choice Awards in 2014. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.

Tara is the author of The Naughty Princess Club series, including At the Stroke of Midnight.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Find a Job and Pay for Herpes

Three months earlier ...

My fingers absentmindedly fiddle with the strand of pearls around my neck as I stare out of the kitchen window at the front yard, cocking my head to the side and mentally adding call the landscaper to my to-do list when I see a few stray weeds peeking up through the black mulch. Our yard has always been the most beautiful and well cared for one on the cul-de-sac of Fairytale Lane, and it just won't do to have weeds popping up all over the place all willy-nilly. What will the neighbors think?

Fairytale Lane is located in an area most people in town refer to as "the wealthy area." Gorgeous, large homes and pristine yards on a dead-end street where it's safe for children to play and ride their bikes because the only traffic comes from the people who live here. Well, aside for Christmastime, when everyone's homes are professionally decorated, and people from all over town drive by to see the lights and try to glimpse in the windows, imagining what it's like to live in such a big, beautiful home on such a wonderful street. There's actually a waiting list to live here. Applications are piled a mile high, and the homeowner's association goes through each one with a fine-tooth comb whenever a house goes up for sale, which doesn't happen very often. Once you've lived on Fairytale Lane, you can't imagine such perfection anywhere else.

I suddenly realize calling the landscaper will also mean paying the landscaper, and my skin breaks out in a cold sweat. My fingers drop from the pearls as I reach a shaky hand out to adjust a small black picture frame standing next to the sink that must have been bumped so it's no longer facing east like all of the other pictures in the house.

"Cynthia, did you hear me?"

The sound of a shrill voice echoing through the kitchen makes me jump, knocking over the picture frame completely.

"What was that sound? Is everything okay?"

Keeping a deep sigh of annoyance to myself, because as my mother-in-law ingrained in me long ago, a lady should never scowl or be rude to anyone, I right the frame and scoop up my phone from the counter as I turn away from the window to look at the large, white, marble-topped island in the middle of the spacious room.

The counter is white, the cupboards are white, the floor is white, and the walls are painted white, just like the rest of the house, with a few pops of color here and there in paintings hung on the walls and throw pillows on the furniture. White is associated with light and goodness, and it's considered the color of perfection. It's exactly what I wanted when Brian bought this house and told me I could decorate it any way I wanted, as long I didn't use loud colors or anything that wasn't classy.

"Everything is fine, Caroline. And yes, I heard you. I just finished baking the last of the cupcakes, and I'm getting ready to frost them as soon as they cool," I tell my neighbor, who's on speakerphone. She hasn't been getting on my last nerve at all, calling me ten times a day every day for the last week to make sure everything is coming together for the Halloween party we throw every year on our street.

"And you made them gluten free, nut free, wheat free, and sugar free, right? You know we had that issue with Corbin Michaelson's mother during the Halloween party last year when she found out the cookies we were serving had gluten, and there are currently four children on the street with nut allergies, and —"

"Caroline, I've got it covered." I cut her off, pasting a smile on my face even though she can't see me as I hold the phone in one hand and start rearranging the two-hundred cupcakes cooling on the counter into a more uniform fashion with the other hand. "I'm the president of the PTA and chair of the homeowner's association. I've planned and successfully executed hundreds of events over the last thirteen years since we bought this home, including our yearly Halloween party. I've always got it covered."

I hear Caroline sigh through the line and realize she must have never learned the proper etiquette of keeping your cool when you're frustrated.

"I know that, it's just ... you've been a bit distracted lately, what with Brian gone and all," she says softly.

My hands move faster along the counter organizing the cupcakes into perfect, neat rows, and I let out a small, nervous laugh.

"I told you, everything with Brian is fine. He's just been traveling a lot with work recently and that's why he hasn't been able to attend any of the functions with me. He'll be home soon and everything will be back to normal and perfect, just like always."

I realize I'm rambling and quickly clamp my mouth closed, blinking my eyes rapidly to stop the tears that have pooled in them from falling down my cheeks.

A lady never shows her emotions.

A lady should also never lie, but under the circumstances, it's better this way. I have to believe that Brian will be home soon. Maybe everything won't go back to the way it was, but telling everyone the truth would just make both of us look bad. At this point, my reputation is all I have, and there is no way I'm going to tarnish it by feeding the gossip mill in this town. I've spent too much time becoming the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect head of every organization I come in contact with, and maintaining the perfect home that is the envy of everyone on this street, to let anything ruin it. Brian literally plucked me from the trailer park. He took me away from a home where I never knew when my next meal would be, freed me from a stepmother who made my life miserable and stepsisters who constantly tried to one-up her in the misery department. He released me from that prison and he handed me the world on a silver platter. Literally.

When he proposed, he put my engagement ring on a vintage Tiffany and Co. silver, oval, footed tray. I was blinded by sparkly things, and luxury I never imagined in a million years would be mine with just a snap of my fingers or a swipe of a black Amex card. I was so afraid of losing everything and being forced to go back to that trailer park with my tail between my legs, that for years I did everything I could to be what Brian wanted. I took etiquette lessons from his mother, and I spent every waking moment of our marriage emulating her, being perfect like her, being classy like her, and ignoring the signs that were right in front of my face. Ignoring the fact that Brian got a thrill out of rescuing the damsel in distress, but that once I stopped being the girl who needed him to be my knight in shining armor, he stopped wanting me.

Hearing the slam of the front door, I quickly end the call with Caroline, promising her I'll meet her out on the street tomorrow afternoon to begin setting up for the party with the gluten-free, nut-free, wheat-free, sugar-free cupcakes, perfectly frosted with gluten-free, nut-free, wheat-free, sugar-free frosting.

A blur of black rushes by the kitchen doorway, and I slide my phone into the front pocket of the white apron that covers my knee-length, pale-blue tea dress, the heels of my matching pale-blue pumps clacking against the white Italian tile as I rush to the doorway and out into the foyer.

"Anastasia, you're late."

The black blur comes to a stop at the base of the stairs with her back to me, her heavily black-charcoal-lined eyes still midroll in annoyance as she slowly turns to face me.

"I told you, it's Asia now. And I had shit to do," my thirteen-year-old daughter mutters with a sigh, sliding her hands into the front pockets of her black skinny jeans.

"Language, young lady!" I scold, crossing my arms in front of me as I shake my head at her and take a few deep, calming breaths. A lady never shouts or makes a scene, even in the privacy of her own home. "You have a closet full of bright-colored clothing; I don't understand why you insist on always wearing black."

I decide against arguing with her on this Asia silliness. I'm hoping it's a phase, just like this whole black-clothing thing. It will pass. We've both been under a lot of stress lately, and I know that has to be the main reason she's been trying my patience so much. You have to pick your battles with teenagers. Unfortunately, it seems like recently, everything between us ends in a disagreement. At least she hasn't touched her beautiful, long blond hair. Even though I always wear mine pulled back in a low bun at the nape of my neck and she lets hers hang in a stringy mess around her shoulders and down her back, it's the one and only thing we seem to have in common these days.

"I insist on wearing black because it's the color of my soul," she deadpans. "Are we finished here?"

She doesn't even give me time to answer before she's turning her back on me and stomping up the stairs to the second floor. As soon as I hear her bedroom door slam closed, my arms drop to my sides and my shoulders droop.

I wish I could say I don't know what happened to my sweet, loving little girl. Or that I have no idea when the exact moment was that she turned into a sullen teenager who always looks like she's going to a funeral. But I know the exact moment down to the second. Six months, fourteen days and three hours ago. It was the moment my world came crashing down around me and I had to work extra hard to keep up the façade of having a perfect life with a perfect family in a perfect house on a perfect street aptly named Fairytale Lane.

"This is just a tiny bump in the road, Cynthia. You've overcome worse and you'll get through this as well," I whisper, giving myself a pep talk as I turn and head back toward the kitchen with my head held high to start making the frosting for the cupcakes. I pause to reach out and straighten a crystal vase of flowers on the small side table in the foyer next to the kitchen doorway. "A place for everything, and everything in its place." That's what my mother-in-law always used to tell me, and now, after so many years of hearing her voice in my head with every decision I make, it's impossible to remove it.

Any day now, Brian will come home, and the last six months will have just been a horrible nightmare. I will no longer have to worry about how I'm going to pay the bills, or how I'm going to keep pretending that everything is fine without losing my sanity, or spend another sleepless night wondering how I got to this point. I've managed to fool people this long by telling them Brian has been extremely busy traveling for work, instead of telling them the mortifying truth. I can do it a little bit longer. Things can't possibly get any worse. I have reached rock bottom and there's nowhere to go but up.

Taking a step back and smiling at the bouquet of blue hibiscus flowers I picked this morning, which are now in the middle of the table instead of off-center, I then take a few steps toward the kitchen when the doorbell rings.

Smoothing my palms against the side of my head to make sure I don't have a hair out of place, I walk to the door and open it with a smile on my face. The smile threatens to falter when I see who is standing on my front stoop.

"Yo," the stunning, redhead divorcee who moved onto Fairytale Lane seven months ago greets me with a nod of her head.

I still have no idea how her application was approved to move onto this street. It was processed when I was busy chairing a gala at the local zoo and I'm still not happy the homeowner's association let it go through without my final say.

"Pardon me?" I reply, my smile still firmly in place even though I want to slam the door in her face.

A lady never slams the door on a guest. Even if that guest is well-endowed and wearing a tight tank top showing off entirely too much of those endowments and, as rumor has it, only moved onto Fairytale Lane to snag herself a new husband to pay for a new ... endowment lift and injections to her already plump red lips.

"I said yo. It's a greeting. Sort of like hello, or what's up, asshole. But that last one is just for friends, and we're not friends, so I figured yo was the safest bet," she says with a shrug.

"Can I help you with something?" I ask, wanting to end this conversation quickly, before any of the neighbors see this ... person on my doorstep.

"Glad you asked, Cindy!" she chirps happily, sticking her hand down the front of her shirt and pulling a folded piece of paper out of her cleavage before holding it out to me.

I grimace, taking a step back from the paper she's thrusting toward me, refusing to touch something that has been burrowed down in between the assets she has on display for God and the entire neighborhood to see.

"My name is Cynthia, not Cindy," I inform her, still refusing to take the paper from her hands.

"Whatever," she mutters with a roll of her eyes, not unlike Anastasia moments ago. "And my name is Ariel, not homewrecker or redheaded harlot. I know all you busybodies on this street have nothing better to do with your time than gossip about me ever since I moved in, and this is just going to add fuel to the fire, but I don't give a shit."

I wince at her crass language, and my eyes widen in shock when she moves closer to me in the doorway, unfolding the paper in her hands as she gets right up into my personal space.

I have no choice but to grab on to the paper when she rudely smacks it against my chest.

"What in the world ... ," I mumble in a shocked voice, pulling the paper away from my chest as I stare at the woman standing in front of me.

"That's a doctor bill, Cindy. Tell that lying, scum-sucking piece of donkey dick you call a husband he owes me two hundred and forty-five dollars for the test, seventy-five dollars for the prescription, and if he can contort his body enough, I'd really like him to go fuck himself," Ariel announces, letting out a huge sigh as she backs away from me, turns her face up to the sky, closes her eyes, and smiles. "Wow, that felt good. Better than I thought it would. I've been burning incense for a week, did three juice cleanses, and attended seven hot yoga classes, and nothing felt better than getting that off my chest. Thanks, Cindy. You're a peach."

With that, Ariel turns and starts walking down the steps, leaving me in the doorway with my mouth dropped open, wondering what in the devil just happened.

Shaking myself out of my stupor, I race out of the doorway and down the steps after her.

"Excuse me! Could you please explain to me what exactly you're talking about and what my husband has to do with this?" I shout after her, my feet stuttering to a stop when I see a woman walking down the sidewalk glance in our direction. The beep of a car being locked forces my gaze away from her, noticing a man I've never seen in this neighborhood before. He's standing in the middle of the street next to a black truck with his key fob in his hand, staring right at me. His piercing blue eyes make goosebumps break out on my arms, and I almost forget why I'm standing in the middle of my front yard until I notice a smirk on his face. That smirk is what stops me from appreciating anything about the dimple I can see in his cheek, or how nicely he can fill out a pair of black slacks and a white button-down.

I can't believe I just shouted across my front lawn like an unrefined woman with no manners.

Turning my head away from the rude man who still continues looking across the street at me, I push him out of my thoughts before I start doing the math on how long it's been since a man looked at me like that — slightly amused and wondering what I might look like without my clothes on. Giving the woman walking by, who I don't recognize, a shaky wave and a smile as she drops her head back down to the book she's holding in her hands, I continue moving again until I catch up with Ariel.

"Pardon me, but could you please tell me what's going on?" I ask again, this time in a hushed voice.

Ariel finally stops walking and turns around to face me, pointing at the now-crumpled paper still clutched in my hand.

"It's all there on the bill, Cindy. Tell Brian thanks for the herpes. I guess what happens on Fairytale Lane doesn't always stay on Fairytale Lane. Am I right, or am I right?" she laughs, giving me a light punch on the arm.

My body sways to the side and little sparkles of light creep into the edge of my vision. The last thing I see before I crumple to the ground in my front yard are a bunch of weeds right at Ariel's feet that I know I'll never be able to afford to get removed. As the blackness takes over, I mentally add find a job and pay for herpes to my to-do list, realizing that THIS must truly be rock bottom.

CHAPTER 2

I Tripped and Fell on His Penis

"Maybe she had a brain aneurysm. Wait, no. Don't people die from those?"

"Ruptured brain aneurysms are only fatal in forty percent of cases. But I don't think it was an aneurysm. Her breathing is fine, and her heartbeat is regular."

The muffled sound of voices I don't recognize penetrates my ears and I realize I must have left the television on when I went to bed. I try to shut the noise out and go back to sleep, but it's no use. They just won't quiet down.

"You're like a walking encyclopedia. Tell me another random fact."

"The average woman uses her height in lipstick every five years."

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "At the Stroke of Midnight"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Tara Sivec.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Prologue,
Chapter 1: Find a Job and Pay for Herpes,
Chapter 2: I Tripped and Fell on His Penis,
Chapter 3: Life Sucks. Men Really Suck.,
Chapter 4: Your Stick Is Showing Again, Asshole,
Chapter 5: Take It Off!,
Chapter 6: It's Time to Get My Hands Dirty,
Chapter 7: A Prude, a Mouth, and a Librarian Walk into a Strip Club ...,
Chapter 8: Forget About Dicks, I'm Switching to Chicks,
Chapter 9: Hanson Sucks!,
Chapter 10: Stripper Glitter Boobs,
Chapter 11: Clone-a-Willy,
Chapter 12: Does Your Wife Know Where You Are Tonight?,
Chapter 13: Just Sit There and Look Pretty,
Chapter 14: Chlamydia Eye,
Chapter 15: Hairy Troll Vagina,
Chapter 16: I Think We Broke Princess Barbie,
Chapter 17: Nipple Nut Clusters,
Chapter 18: Pablo Jessabelle,
Chapter 19: The Naughty Princess Club,
Chapter 20: Tit Sweat,
Chapter 21: Jazz Hands,
Chapter 22: I Want to Lick Your Balls,
Chapter 23: Make Momma Some Money!,
Chapter 24: Golden Shower Man,
Chapter 25: Don't Make an Ass of Yourself,
Chapter 26: Speaking of Sex . . .,
Chapter 27: Human Ficus Tree,
Chapter 28: I More Than Like You,
Chapter 29: Mexican Drug Lords,
Chapter 30: Drunk Princess,
Chapter 31: They're Called Tits, Brian,
Chapter 32: Prince Charming,
About the Author,
Copyright Page,

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At the Stroke of Midnight 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous 15 days ago
A rollicking good time following the awakening of Cynthia.
Lisa-Lou 17 days ago
At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec is the first book in her funny and sexy Naughty Princess Club Series. This modern day retelling of the cinderella story is hilarious and steamy and well-worth the read! Cindy is doing everything she can to maintain appearances. Her husband has left her for another woman and cleaned out their accounts. She is at the six month mark of trying to cover everything with their credit cards and is about to find out her husband just stooped even lower and cancelled the cards. What is left for her to do but start her own stripping service along with two newfound best friends and call it the Naughty Princess Club. When a handsome and rugged stranger saves her from hitting the ground during a fainting spell she is equally enamored by his good looks and enraged by his presumptive behavior. PJ doesn't have the time or inclination to deal with a quirky Stepford wife and all her drama but there is something about the fainting woman that stays with him. When a second chance encounter puts them back int he same room he'll do what he can to keep seeing her. Hot and steamy, funny and well-paced - this book will make you laugh out loud. If you don't, well, check your pulse! Enjoy!
KivicCT140 29 days ago
This is my first Tara Sivec book but it won't be my last. At the Stroke of Midnight (Naughty Princess Club #1) puts a whole new naughty spin on the traditional Cinderella story, This was laugh out loud funny and a delight to read. I LOVED the characters (Cynthia, Ariel, Belle, PJ) and the super witty dialogue. I'm eagerly awaiting In Bed with the Beast (The Naughty Princess Club #2)
tsmb02 5 months ago
This is the first book in the Naughty Princess Club, but actually the last one of the three in the series that I read. While I think it would have been better reading the series in order, you really didn't have to. Cynthia Castle had the picture perfect life. She lived in the big house on Fairytale Lane, with her perfect husband and her perfect teenage daughter....or at least that is what she let everyone think. In reality her life was miserable so when her husband up and left, WITH THE BABYSITTER!!! and took all of their money, Cynthia had no idea what to do but still pretend everything was perfect. When Cynthia meets the divorced, redhead on the street, Ariel, she is thrown for a loop and immediately treats her like an outcast. Ariel calls her out on her perfect life and then drops a bombshell. When Cynthia faints, a tall, handsome stranger comes to her rescue and carries her back into her house. At the Halloween street party, Cynthia, Ariel and Belle all dress up as Disney princesses. When one of the guys suggest they show up at his party dressed like that and he will pay them, they decide to do it since they need the money. When they end up at the guys party, they realize that the guest of honor, PJ Charming, is the handsome man who rescued Cynthia and he is not too happy that the girls are there. They were the hired strippers only they didn't realizes that was the job they were hired for! LOL When PJ explains to Cindy, Belle and Ariel that they are not cut out to be a strippers, they set out to prove him wrong. This move riles PJ up....he likes this feisty side of Cindy. The more PJ and Cindy keep crossing paths, the more the attraction starts to escalate until these two finally get to their happy ending. I just loved the transformation Cindy went through to become the woman PJ fell in love with. It was fun watching her shred that perfect image. I also loved the friendship between Cindy, Belle and Ariel. These girls are fun and entertaining in their own ways.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Laugh out loud funny!
Anonymous 11 months ago
This an amazing book, and I love the comedy, mixed with the adult fairytail drama. Its A great book and a fantastic read.
GratefulGrandma 12 months ago
This book had a bit more than I expected (insert sex scenes here), but the story was funny, empowering and had great characters, one with a bit of a potty mouth, I did enjoy it. Once upon a time... three Beautiful women lived on or near Fairytale Lane.. Cynthia (Cindy Ella) is the main character in this book. She is a newly divorced woman, with a teenage daughter named Anastasia, who struggles to make ends meet. Her husband left with their previous babysitter, emptied the bank accounts and stole five million dollars from his parents. Cindy's life echos that of Cinderella in the fairytale. Her widowed father remarried a woman with two daughters. He died and she was left taking care of them as well as being treated like crap by her mother and step-sisters. Brian, her ex-husband, rescued her from a small apartment and working two jobs, only to abandon her and his daughter years later. Ariel is a single woman with the looks of a princess and the mouth of a trucker. She was also abandoned by her husband and lost her antique business as a result of having to pay him alimony. She is now selling off her antiques to survive. She had a one night stand with Cindy's husband and is trying to reform her. "Take the stick out of your butt" is one of her favourite sayings. Belle is a quiet librarian who still lives with her father. Cindy and Ariel want to bring her out of her cocoon and start to live. The three ladies are all dressed up as princesses at the neighbourhood Hallowe'en party. They are offered a job to entertain at a party and they are excited to earn $3000.00 to entertain at a children's party. How wrong they are. It is a birthday party and the ladies have been hired as strippers. The laughs do not stop from that point on in the story. The girls were a bit over the top, everything exaggerated a bit, but that made it even more funny. The fairytale references were great. The strip club is called Charmings, Cindy's love interest is called PJ (if you know the story you will understand the significance) and the bouncer at the club is named Beast, I wonder who his love interest will be. My only complaint is there is some well described sex scenes in the story, but I just skimmed them and it did not diminish the storyline at all. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Crazybooknerd More than 1 year ago
At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec (Audiobook) Narrated by: CJ Bloom Series: The Naughty Princess Club #1 4 Stars - This book had me laughing right away and kept the humour up throughout the story. I liked the spin on the Cinderella fairytale, and I felt the author portrayed strippers well and seemed to shed positive feelings toward the profession. The titles of the chapters were a great way to ensure a chuckle, the characters were fun and intriguing and the romance was sweet. This was my first time reading this author and I look forward to reading the next books in this series. CJ Bloom did a good job with the narration. It was also my first time hearing her. She was clear and brought the characters to life. ~Paragraphs and Petticoats~
DaneWeimMama More than 1 year ago
At the Stroke of Midnight is an awesome read. The characters are over the top entertaining & discussions they have are laugh out loud funny. Do yourself a favor & read this modern day telling of the Cinderella & Prince Charming story. I can't wait to read the next book in the The Naughty Princess Club series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
AboutThatStory More than 1 year ago
This was hilarious goodness in all its glory! I had a seriously fun time reading this and laughed myself silly. I adored this! Cindy was amazeballs! Watching this uptight woman pretty much fall apart and build herself back up was fantastic. I loved seeing her get all worked up and when she finally lets it all fly, it was epic! This was witty and smart and I couldn't turn the page fast enough. I loved her friends Ariel and Belle, these women together were so incredibly entertaining with very distinct personalities, making me excited for their stories. Everyone together could be crass and a bit obnoxious but it was just so hysterical that it made it all that more endearing. Cindy’s love interest is PJ and every meeting and encounter between the two just seemed so well played, it made me giddy. There's some tension and animosity that's really fun and I loved watching their relationship build. There were just so many entertaining, well written scenes with excellent comedic timing. There's a bit of tension, a lot of laughs, a nice amount of heat, a very swoony man, an icky ex, a sarcastic teenager, and a fantastic trio of women in play. I was just so excited reading everything and I'd seriously just burst out with these barks of laughter. There were so many great lines in this. I loved all the fairytale tie-ins and thought it was all really well thought out. Yes, there's an HEA for this charming couple but most of all it's Cindy reclaiming her life and owning who she is and being this strong, sexy, fierce, women and it was freaking awesome! If you want to get your laugh on, you can’t go wrong with this! Complimentary copy received for honest review.
Book_Sniffers_Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At the Stroke of Midnight is sort of a parallel universe to the Disney princesses that we’ve come to know. Basically, it’s a mash-up of Weeds, and the Desperate Housewives of Fairytale Lane. Cynthia’s husband left her and her daughter to go traipsing around with the babysitter. He took all their money, stole from his parents, left divorce papers on the table, and just left the country. Cynthia has no idea how this could have happened. She grew up in a trailer park with her step-mom and step-sisters, Brian (her ex) drove up, swept her off her feet, and whisked her away to Fairytale Lane where she was supposed to live happily ever after. She’s done everything a respectable housewife in her position should do. She dressed the part, acted the part, was head of the PTA, organized all the neighborhood events, and kept all of her emotions in check. She was pretty much a Stepford wife. That is, until the moment her husband leaves her scrambling with no money and bills to pay. Pretty soon she finds herself teaming up with a couple of neighbors (Belle and Ariel) to start their own Naughty Princess Club stripper hotline. You pick the princess of your fantasies from their website, and that princess will show up to your party and strip for you. Needless to say, this was one riot of a story. I loved the way the author meshed modern-day with the fairytale. It’s honestly like a parallel universe. With Cindy living with her step-mother who treated her like a little slave, her rags to riches story, the fact that she falls for a certain PJ Charming, and there’s even a scene with the iconic shoe. Except it was all a realistic take, and I loved it. I loved the rawness of these characters and their situation. Belle is a twenty-something young woman who still lives at home with her father. She also works at the library. Ariel is a wild and carefree character. She loves collecting antiques and her ex-husband left her to be with another man and became a performer for a cruise line. That’s not even touching base with PJ, Eric, or “Beast” that we meet in this story. I just thought the author did an amazing job taking something we all know and completely making it their own. At the Stroke of Midnight is the perfect balance of a fun retelling with insane amounts of humor and some steamy scenes mixed throughout. I enjoyed my time reading this story immensely. I will be honest, these three princesses are not my favorite when you think of a Disney Princess. However, the author was able to make me fall in love with them. I love that one of the chapters is titled, “A Prude, a Mouth, and a Librarian Walk Into a Strip Club.” There were just so many laugh out loud moments that I didn’t want to put the book down. This seriously needs to become a TV show.
Arys More than 1 year ago
At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec is book one in her new Naughty Princess Club series. It is a fun romantic comedy that will have you smiling at the antics of these "princesses". A modern twist to the classic fairytale of Cinderella, the main character Cynthia "Cindy" has spent the last six months in a nightmare after her husband, Brian, left with the babysitter. Leaving her with bills to pay (and no money) and their teenage daughter to take care of. Then one morning she gets another bought of bad news when one of her husband's one night stands ends up surprising her with news of her husband's infidelity and that she now has to be tested for herpes! The beginning of the story lays out the backstory for Cindy and soon introduces the other princesses of Fairytale Lane: Ariel and Isabelle. Hilarity and romance ensues as these princess go from neighborhood block party to the stripper pole while finding love along the way. Tara Sivec does an awesome job of creating a new fairytale romantic comedy about Cindy Ella and her prince-charming, PJ, the owner of Charming's Gentlemen's Club. From the moment they meet briefly at the Fairytale Lane block party, there is heat and chemistry between Cindy and PJ. I love how Cindy comes into her own throughout the novel and is doing things that make her feel confident and happy for herself. I enjoyed this story and can't wait to read the next installments to this series. Ariel and Belle were great supporting characters in this novel and I am excited to read their individual stories. Overall, At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec is a great novel and I happily recommend. (I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my open and honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.)
caroldh4 More than 1 year ago
At the Stroke of Midnight is book one in the Naughty Princess Club series by Tara Sivec. I knew going in to this book that it was going to be hilarious. What I didn’t plan on was falling in love. About half way through, it really hit me, that I loved these characters. Cynthia had a rough childhood, being raised by an awful stepmother. After getting out on her own, she met who she thought was her knight in shining armor, Brian, whom she married. But thirteen years later, she knows he’s not her knight at all. He has taken off with their baby sitter, left the country, with every penny they had saved as well as stealing money from his parents business. Cynthia has spent her entire marriage trying to be the perfect wife and mother to their thirteen year old daughter. Not a spec of dust, not a hair out of place, perfect clothes, and always pearls. Now she is selling the furniture and her jewelry just to keep food on the table. Cynthia meets two other women who aren’t in much better shape, Ariel and Belle. The three of them are desperate for a way to make a living and come up with a hilarious way to both earn money and to regain their confidence as well, they are going to start a strippers for hire business. Here is where PJ Charming comes into the picture. He is the real knight in shining armor here. PJ owns a strip club which only employs single mothers. PJ is everything her now ex husband was not, supportive, encouraging, sexy, sweet to both she and her daughter, and he makes her laugh. This man is hot enough to melt all the snow at the North Pole. And most important of all, he is honorable. I even fell in love with his mother. She was adorable. “Everyone in my life before him stood idly by and let me fall, but with PJ, something just tells me he’ll always be there to catch me if I need him.” As the three women try to get their business started, Cindy and PJ start a slow building relationship. Again, PJ just made me swoon the way he took things slow to make sure Cindy felt important and cherished. But when they finally unleashed all that pent up sexual frustration, holy moly, it was hot! Reading back over this, it doesn’t sound like a funny book at all but it is hilarious. These women and their crazy shenanigans were so funny. They are also three women who have all been hurt, who are all trying to regain control of their lives, who are all trying to prove to themselves and to the world that they are strong, independent women and that they are confident and successful. They all three stole my heart. But this book centers on Cindy and PJ and they were amazing. This book is funny and sweet and sexy and just fantastic. I couldn’t put it down. The next book is going to be, In Bed with the Beast. I suspect that it will be about Belle. I can’t wait.
BeckyRendon More than 1 year ago
Tara Sivec is a surprise. I was taken in by her ridiculously on point sense of humor in one of her novellas. I fell into her fandom because of the Eye Candy anthology. I enjoyed it. I smirked and I added a bunch of her books to my TBR. But as most things on my TBR, her books got buried in the ever growing numbers. Until I saw a teaser for At the Stroke of Midnight... The Naughty Princess Club has more than just a smirk inducing name going for them. These chicks, these badasses at heart, are the key to the world. Or at least the key to Tara Sivec opening your eyes! This wildly ridiculous, yet charmingly awesome book is filled with "did that just happen" moments, sailor talking princesses, and enough hormones to make teenagers run and hide. Did I mention there's also the presence of a teenager who eats people's soul for entertainment? Silly me for forgetting that nugget. At the Stroke of Midnight is everything a princess could want in a romance book. It's full of handsy jerks, men behaving badly, a gorgeous hot business owner who makes women think "men climbing should be an Olympic sport". It also has a cast of characters that are bound to give you a headache from the whiplash, a case of heartburn from the worry, and a hangover in solidarity. What more could a girl need!?! Oh you want more? Don't worry I can guarantee that the author has to write at least two more before she can risk being kidnapped and held hostage by wild men...right, Ms. Sivec?
CarissaR More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this one! I laughed and swooned. It was definitely the palette cleanser I needed. I practically read this book in one sitting. One of my favorite parts were how Cynthia, Ariel, Belle met PJ, Eric, and Beast at Charmings club. The conversations were such a tease for whats to come. I knew the movie Striptease was somehow going to be mentioned in this book. I seriously can't wait for the other 2. I need them NOW. I need Belle's book bc shes my fav disney princess and Ariels bc she curses like a sailor! The characters totally fit their respective princess'. I highly recommend this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tara Sivec has done it again!! It will make you laugh out loud and swoon! The Naughty Princess Club series is starting out with a bang! I can not wait for the next book!!
TerryL56 More than 1 year ago
This is a romantic comedy that is a play on the Cinderella story. A rich housewife (who formerly had a stepmother and 2 stepsisters) is left by her husband when he takes off with their babysitter and all their money. So Cindy and her 2 new friends (Ariel & Belle ... guess who's stories they take after?) get mistaken as strippers. Realizing that this could be a way for them to make money, they start up a Princess stripping business for home parties. This is a light-hearted, hilarious romance. The situations Cindy puts herself into are so cute because she was such a snob in her former life with her husband and then she pretty much becomes the opposite! And PJ really is prince with the way that he treats her. A great start to this series about the wayward princesses. I received an ARC courtesy of St. Martin's Press through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
Dalitza More than 1 year ago
Tara Sivec has given a breath of fresh air to a classic fairytale and has whipped up hilarious, empowering, sweet and romantic story in which she introduces us Cynthia, a perfect housewife whose cheating ex-husband left her with a ton of bills, no money, no marketable skills and low self-esteem – until, that is, she meets Ariel, her outrageous, potty mouth neighbor and Isabelle, a super shy librarian. In their quest to solve their money problems, the three end up getting hired to show up at a party dressed up as princesses. Thinking it’s a kids’ event they soon grasp they were confused for strippers and the party is for adults. Upon some reflection though, they realize that a change in careers is just what the fairy godmother ordered. Cindy ends up getting a lot more than a crash course in pole dancing from the handsome and reluctant PJ Charming, a strip club owner and unlikely hero. Set against the fictitious perfection of Fairytale Lane, the story is an engaging production of three women who despite their very different personalities become good friends capable of saving themselves. Of course the trek towards happily ever after is sweetened with the swoony and delectable romance between PJ and Cindy. Sivec’s characters are embodiments of fairytale individuals with their very own fresh appeal. Ariel, whose mermaid counterpart can’t speak, will give it to you straight with a bunch of curse worse strewn in between. Belle can spout random facts left and right. Be assured there’s an Eric and a Beast for each and you can probably guess about Cindy and PJ, but the entertaining journey is half the fun. Reading a Sivec rom-com is a laugh out loud guarantee. At the Stroke of Midnight is book #1 of the Naughty Princess Club series by author Tara Sivec. It is a standalone romantic comedy, told from the heroine’s point of view with a fairytale happy ending.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
While I've loved this series so far I found myself frustrated while reading this book. It's fast paced and filled with twists and turns and normally I find that a plus in a book but this one had so much going on at times I felt lost. Overall though I did find the book entertaining and enjoyable with all the nail biting action. It does have a nice romance and suspense. While filling in for a friend on a catering job, Jenna Henson finds herself squarely in the middle of a covert operation being overseen by Dare Servant. Dare is bossy, rude, and demanding. Seeing no way out she cooperates with Dare. Now she has to rely on him to keep her safe. Scary to start with but worse if her heart gets involved. I'd recommend this one.
KMariReads More than 1 year ago
OMG I loved this!! This is a book I highly recommend. You NEED this book! I just finished At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec and OMG this is freaking AWESOME! This is my first read by her. I had seen her name around and knew she wrote funny sweet romances. So when I saw this on Netgalley, I tought well the cover and blurb look good, so why not. I am kicking myself for not reading her before! This woman has me for life now! I..COULD..NOT..PUT..THIS..DOWN! This book...It's hilarious...seriously hilarious, sexy and swoon worthy. I am HOOKED!! I can't wait for the next book in the series because I know I will be rolling with laughter again. At the Stroke of Midnight is a twisted humor filled play on our favorite princess. I am begging you to check this book out when it releases on Feb. 27th! I am not going into too much detail or putting in favorite quotes because I would have pages upon pages for this review. Why would a mom do to take care of herself and child? Would she go completely out of her comfort zone and befriend people who she wouldn't have been caught with before? The main characters P.J. and Cynthia are everything. I loved the banter between them. The push and pull, the sexual tension and oh my a few HOT moments oh yes please! The secondary characters are begging me to read them. I found myself loving Ariel and Belle. Ariel had me holding back tears from laughing so much. The stuff that came out of her mouth...Gah she was snarky and lovely! She is a girl I want in my corner. Heck I want them all in my corner. This book has it all...ALL!!! It is funny, sexy, a little angsty, sweet, and sassy! The writing is on point, the dialogue flows naturally and you get swept up in the tale of PJ and Cin! RomCom at its finest here! This is going into a top read for 2018 and I look forward to more from Tara! 5 Frickle and Frackle Stars! I voluntarily read and this is my honest opinion
iScreamBooksBlog More than 1 year ago
"Tick, tick, tick...BOOM! When I read the synopsis for this first book in the new The Naughty Princess Club series I was very intrigued. After having previously experienced the hilarity of a Tara Sivec #RomCom I knew I was in for a treat. Cynthia (aka Cindy, Cinderella, and Cin) is the first naughty princess to be featured in this incredible new series. But don't worry, you will still get to meet Ariel & Belle, who show up at her neighborhood Halloween party also wearing princess costumes. After comparing notes they discover that they all share a similar struggle with finances. When they receive a job offer inviting them to attend a neighbor's birthday party wearing their costumes they assume they'll be paid to entertain at a young girl's 'princess party'. Imagine their surprise when they show up and discover that there are only full-grown men in attendance. #StripperBootCamp #FRICKandFRACKLE #NaughtyPrincess #tickTickBOOM! I had so much fun reading this entertaining story. I couldn't stop smiling and giggling. I probably looked like a fool to anyone who saw me, but I didn't care. All three women are special, but when you put them together they become extra-special with the banter and shenanigans that follow. They each have their own personalities that are very different, but they strengthen and complement each other as a team. "A Prude, a Mouth, and a Librarian Walk into a Strip Club... I can't wait to get my hands on In Bed With The Beast, the next naughty princess novel. I've been doing some mental matchmaking and I've already got some naughty princes picked out for the remaining two women. I'm chomping at the bit to find out if I'm right. I wish I could just say bippity-boppity-boo and have it in my hands already! Until then, the line forms here...
MomLovesToRead More than 1 year ago
Although it was a bit slow in the start it was a funny, fairytale themed story. I loved how Cindy evolved throughout the story. How sometimes when you hit rock bottom, it can be a dream come true when you find yourself, best friends and Prince Charming.
StephPhillips More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This is the first book I've read by Tara Sivec. I know...where have I been? Well...reading everyone else but apparently. I'm making up for it now though. This new series by Tara is hilarious! There's one character in this trio that says the most off the wall funny things. I was laughing so hard at times one of my kids asked me what was so funny. This book's focus is on Cynthia (Cindy). She's newly divorced and her inlaws are blaming her for stealing millions from their company. One she's never worked for ever. She's always stayed home and played the perfect housewife. The one thing that irritates me about her character is she doesn't stand up for herself in the beginning. She's a shell of a person it seems she was before she married. Though that eventually changes. Her hero, PJ, is such a sweet guy. He definitely takes a quick liking to Cindy...but they get off to a bit of a rocky start. Not to mention Cindy is a little man shy with how her douche canoe of a husband has been. PJ gives Cindy and her friends some instruction on how to get their new stripper party business started. I'm telling you - hilarious. You'll just have to read it to see because no review of mine can do it justice. Definitely add this one to your list ASAP!
carvanz More than 1 year ago
Oh my gawd!!! I absolutely LOVED this book! Every. Single. Thing!! Cynthia is living in a fantasy land of denial after her husband left her for the babysitter taking all of their savings and closing their credit cards. With a thirteen year old daughter to care for she’s trying to make ends meet all while carrying on the façade that things are perfectly rosy in her world. When Ariel, the neighborhood’s main source of gossip, arrives on her doorstep to deliver some shocking news, she is suddenly pushed outside her pompous and prudish ways. Together with Ariel and Belle, the ladies come up with a plan for a way to make money. They will strip at private parties dressed as three princesses. Easy, right? Eh, maybe not. PJ owns a local strip club and Cynthia needs his cooperation to not only have access to one of his dancers for lessons, but for advice on how to start a business. There is an instant attraction to him that she fights but after one memorable evening at his club, there is less fighting and more yearning. I absolutely loved that PJ only had Cynthia’s best interest in mind as she stumbles from her rule shrouded life and into a life that allows cursing and cleavage as well as good friends that will always have her back. His background was perfect for her and their banter regarding his name was so dang cute. Ariel and Belle were spot on for the perfect counterpoints to Cynthia’s uptight personality. The relationship here was laugh out loud fun. I adored Ariel’s snarky dirty mouth and Belle’s geeky random trivia sharing. While the romance is definitely a part of this book, in my opinion, it is the relationship these women begin that is the true shining star of this book. Normally, that might bother me but in the end it all seemed to have evened out and I loved these women so much and all their quirky ways that I couldn’t resent the time they took up in the story. I’ve read a few books by this author. Some were heart wrenching and I loved them while others were hilarious and I loved them. However, one of them I was not a fan of despite the warnings of immature humor, so I was a bit apprehensive going into this, afraid I’d end up with the over the top immaturity that this author does so well when she chooses to do so. (Nothing wrong with that but it’s just not my cup of tea.) But I couldn’t ask for more or less in this case. The humor was almost a character in itself and I loved it all! This is an honest review of an advanced copy provided by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. Heroine POV No apparent triggers Safety – some ow/om drama
UpAllNightBookAddict More than 1 year ago
Will Tara ever run out of funny? I sure hope not! I will never be able to look at Disney princesses in the same way again! Princes either, considering PJ is a prince himself. The best thing about this book is the characters. As always, Tara gives us a band of characters that we fall in love with instantly. How can we not? Hot, swoony-worthy men, and spunky, strong women. This is one is a little angsty, feisty, emotional, and a lot of funny. From the characters to the plot, I didn't want to put it down. This book will make you believe in real life fairy tales.