The Cinderella Deal

The Cinderella Deal

by Jennifer Crusie


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New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie brings humor and storytelling magic to this modern-day romance about a match with a dubious beginning—that is destined for a fairy-tale ending.
Daisy Flattery is a free spirit with a soft spot for strays and a weakness for a good story. Why else would she agree to the outrageous charade offered by her buttoned-down workaholic neighbor, Linc Blaise? The history professor needs a makeshift fiancée to secure his dream job, and Daisy needs a short-term gig to support her painting career. And so the Cinderella Deal is born: Daisy will transform herself into Linc’s prim-and-proper fiancée, and at the stroke of midnight they will part ways, no glass slippers attached. But something funny happens on their way to make-believe bliss, as a fake engagement unexpectedly spirals into an actual wedding. Now, with Linc and Daisy married and under one roof, what started as a game begins to feel real—and the people who seem so wrong for each other realize they may truly be just right.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345530660
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/25/2011
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 302,927
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Crusie is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifteen contemporary novels. Her work has been published in twenty countries.



Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:



B.A., Bowling Green State University, 1973; M.A., Wright State University; Ph.D., Ohio University, 1986

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The storm raged dark outside, the light in the hallway flickered, and Lincoln Blaise cast a broad shadow over the mailboxes, but it didn’t matter. He knew by heart what the card on the box above his said:

Daisy Flattery

Apartment 1B

Stories Told, Ideas Illminated

Unreal but Not Untrue

Linc frowned at the card, positive it didn’t belong on a mailbox in the dignified old house he shared with three other tenants. That was why he’d rented the apartment in the first place: it had dignity. Linc liked dignity the way he liked calm and control and quiet. It had taken him a long time to get all of those things into his life and into one apartment. Then he’d met his downstairs neighbor.

His frown deepened as he remembered the first time he’d seen Daisy Flattery in the flesh, practically hissing at him as he shooed a cat away from his rebuilt black Porsche, her dark, frizzy hair crackling around her face like lightning. Later sightings hadn’t improved his first impression, and the memory of them didn’t improve his mood now. She wore long dresses in electric colors, and since she was tall, they were very long, and she was always scowling at him, her heavy brows drawn together under that dumb blue velvet hat she wore pulled down around her ears even in the summer. She looked like somebody from Little House on the Prairie on acid, which was why he usually took care to ignore her.

But now, staring down at the card on her mailbox, appropriately backlit by the apocalyptic storm, he knew there was a possibility he might actually have to get to know her. And it was his own damn fault.

The thought gave him a headache, so he shoved his mail into his jacket pocket and went up the stairs to his apartment and his aspirin.

Downstairs, Daisy Flattery frowned too, and cocked her head to try to catch again the sound she’d heard. It had been something between a creaking door and a cat in trouble. She looked over at Liz to see if she was showing signs of life, but Liz was, as usual, a black velvet blob stretched out on the end table Daisy had rescued from a trash heap two streets over. The cat basked in the warmth from the cracked crystal lamp Daisy had found at Goodwill for a dollar. The three made a lovely picture, light and texture and color, silky fur and smooth wood and warm lamp glow. Unbelievably, fools had thrown away all three; sometimes the blindness of people just amazed Daisy.

“Hello?” The petite blonde across the chipped oak table from Daisy waved her hand. “You there? You have the gooniest look on your face.”

“I thought I heard something,” Daisy told her best friend. “Never mind. Where was I? Oh, yeah. I’m broke.” She shrugged at Julia across from her. “Nothing new.”

“Well, you’re depressed about it. That’s new.” Julia took a sugar cookie from the plate in front of her and shoved the rest toward Daisy with one manicured hand, narrowly missing Daisy’s stained glass lamp. The lamp was another find: blue, green, and yellow Tiffany pieces with a crack in one that had made it just possible for her to buy it. The crack had been the clincher for Daisy: with the crack, the lamp had a history, a story; it was real. Sort of like her hands, she tried to tell herself as she compared them to Julia’s. Blunt, paint-stained, no two nails the same length. Interesting. Real.

Julia, as usual, had missed color and pattern completely and was still on words. “Also, you’re the one who has to come up with the bucks for the feline senior cat chow. I should eat so good.”

“Right.” Daisy scrunched up her face. She hated thinking about money, which was probably why she hadn’t had much for the past four years. “Maybe leaving teaching wasn’t such a good idea.”

Julia straightened so fast, Liz opened an eye again.

“Are you kidding? This is new. I can’t believe you’re doubting yourself.” She leaned across the table to stare into Daisy’s eyes. “Get a grip. Make some tea to go with these cookies. Tell me a story. Do something weird and unpractical so I’ll know you’re Daisy Flattery.”

“Very funny.” Daisy pushed her chair back and went to find tea bags and her beat-up copper teakettle. She was sure the tea bags were in one of the canisters on the shelf, but the kettle could be anywhere. She opened the bottom cupboard and started pawing through the pans, books, and paintbrushes that had somehow taken up housekeeping together.

“I’m not kidding.” Julia followed her to the sink. “I’ve known you for twelve years, and this is the first time I’ve heard you say you can’t do something.”

Daisy was so outraged at the thought that she pulled her head out of the cupboard without giving herself enough clearance and smacked herself hard. “Ouch.” She rubbed her head through her springy curls. “I’m not saying I can’t make it as an artist.” Daisy stuck her head back into the cabinet and shoved aside her cookie sheets long enough to find her teakettle and yank it out. “I believe in myself. I just may have moved too fast.” She got up and filled the kettle from the faucet.

“Well, it’s not like you ever move slow.” Julia took down canisters one by one, finally finding the tea in a brown and silver square can. “Why did you put the tea in the can that says ‘cocoa’? Never mind. Constant Comment or Earl Grey?”

“Earl Grey.” Daisy put the kettle on the stove and turned up the heat. “This is a serious moment, and I need a serious tea.”

“Which is why I’m drinking Constant Comment.” Julia waggled her long fingers inside the canister and fished out two tea bags. “I have no serious moments.”

“Well, pretend you’re having one for me.” Daisy sighed, envying Julia’s optimism. Of course, Julia hadn’t quit a safe and solid teaching job to become a painter, or spent the past four years living on her savings until she didn’t have any. Daisy felt her head pound. “Julia, I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’m tired of scraping to pay my bills, and I’m tired of trying to sell my paintings to people who don’t understand what I’m doing, and I’m tired—” She bit her lip. “I’m so tired of worrying about everything.” That was the thing, really; she was worn down from the uncertainty. Like water on a rock; that was what the edge of poverty did to you.

“So what are you going to do?” Julia asked, but somewhere there was a faint sound, half screech and half meow, and Daisy cocked her head again instead of answering.

“I swear I hear a cat crying,” she told Julia. “Listen. Do you hear anything?”

Julia paused and then shook her head. “Uh-uh. Your water’s starting to boil. Maybe that’s it.”

Daisy took the kettle off while Julia took down two mismatched cups and saucers, plunking her Constant Comment tea bag in a Blue Willow cup and Daisy’s Earl Grey in the bright orange Fiestaware. Daisy poured the hot water over the bags and said, “Pretty” as the tea color spread through the cups.

“Forget the pretty tea.” Julia picked up her cup and carried it back to the table. “You’re in crisis here. You’re out of money and you can’t sell your paintings. How’s the storytelling going?”

“Budget cuts.” Daisy sat down across from her with her own cup and saucer. “Most libraries can’t afford me, and it’s a slow time for bookstores, and forget schools entirely. They all say I’m very popular and they’ll use me again as soon as possible, but in the meantime I’m out of luck.”

“Okay.” Julia crinkled her nose as she thought. “How else were you making money? Oh, the jewelry. What about the jewelry?”

Daisy winced with guilt. “That’s selling, but Howard won’t give me the money until the end of the month. And he owes me from the end of last month, but he’s holding on to that too. It’s not that much, about a hundred, but it would help.” She knew she should go in and demand her jewelry money, but the thought of Howard sneering at her wasn’t appealing. He looked so much like her father that it was like every summer she’d ever spent with him condensed into two minutes.

Julia frowned at her. “So how much do you need? To keep the wolf from the door, I mean.”

Daisy sighed. “About a thousand. Last month’s rent, this month’s rent, and expenses. That would get me to when Howard pays and then maybe something else would turn up.” That sounded pathetic, so she took a deep breath and started again. “The thing is, I quit so I could paint, but I’m spending all my time trying to support myself instead of concentrating on my work. I thought I’d have a show by now, but nobody understands what I’m doing. And even though I almost have enough paintings for a show, I’m not sure what I’m doing is right for who am I now anyway.”

Julia sipped her tea. “Ouch. Hot. Blow on yours first. What do you mean, you’re not sure what you’re doing is right? I love your paintings. All those details.”

“Well, that’s it.” Daisy shoved her tea away to lean closer. “I like the details too, but I’ve done them. I think I need to stretch, to try things that are harder for me, but I can’t afford to. I’m building my reputation on primitive narrative paintings; I can’t suddenly become an abstract expressionist.”

Julia made a face. “That’s what you want to do?”

“No.” Daisy shut her eyes, trying to see the paintings she wanted to do, paintings with the emotions in the brushstrokes instead of in the tiny painted details, thick slashes of paint instead of small, rich dots. “I need to work larger. I need—”

The mewling cry that had teased her earlier came again, louder. “That is definitely a cat,” Daisy said, and went to open the window.

The wind exploded in and stirred Daisy’s apartment into even more chaos than usual. Liz rolled to her feet and meowed her annoyance, but Daisy ignored her and leaned out into the storm.

Two bright eyes stared up at her from under the bush beneath her window.

“You stay right there,” she told them, and ran for the apartment door.

“Daisy?” Julia called after her, but she let the door bang behind her and ran out into the rain. Whatever it was had vanished, and Daisy got down on her hands and knees in the mud to peer under the bush.

A kitten peered back, soaked and mangy and not at all happy to see her. Daisy reached for it and got clawed for her pains. “I’m rescuing you, dummy,” she told it when she’d hauled it out from under the bush and it was squirming against her. “Stop fighting me.”

Once inside, she wrapped the soaked little body in a dish towel while Julia and Liz looked at it with equal distaste.

“It looks like a rat,” Julia said. “I can’t believe it. You rescued a rat.”

Liz hissed, and when Daisy toweled the kitten dry, it hissed too.

“It’s a calico kitten.” Daisy got down on her knees so she could go eye to eye with the towel-wrapped little animal on the table. “You’re okay now.”

The mottled kitten glared at her and screeched its meow with all the melody of a fingernail down a blackboard.

“Just what you needed. Another mouth to feed,” Julia said, and the kitten screeched at her too. “And what a mouth it is.” Julia shot a sympathetic look at Liz. “If you want to come live with me, I understand,” she told the cat. “I know you’re legally dead, but even you must draw the line at living with a rat.”

Liz glared at the kitten one more time and then curled up under the light and went back to sleep.

“A kitten doesn’t eat much,” Daisy said, and went to get food. She found a can of tuna on the shelf over the stove, stuck behind her copy of Grimms’ fairy tales, a jar of alizarin crimson acrylic paint, and her cinnamon. She took down the can and called back to Julia. “Want some tuna?”

“No. I just came over to bring you the cookies, and then I got distracted.” Julia and the kitten looked at each other with equal distaste. “You know, this is not a happy rat.”

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The Cinderella Deal 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 413 reviews.
Nikki-in-MN More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Crusie is a favorite author of mine and she did not disappoint with this book. Her characters are always easy to relate to. I love how she bases hers books on characters that not perfect, but have imperfections that real women have. She always has the right amount of romance in her books. This book had it all...Great characters, romance, and comedy. A definite must read!!
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
Get ready to follow the prince around trying to find the damsel that fits into the glass slipper. Jennifer Crusie's re-issued novel from 1996 is a heart-warming, feel good, boy meets girl and doesn't know what to do with her, that so fit's into today. Meet Daisy a free spirit who has a hard time paying her bills and always falls for the wrong guy, bring in Linc, a stodgy, black and white thinking professor looking to improve his resume and his career. The only thing missing his getting the perfect job is him having the perfect woman to accent him. But has he got a deal for Daisy, a Cinderella Deal that is. Jenny never disappoints with her wonderful storytelling and The Cinderella Deal is no exception. She gives us characters that jump off the page with their liveliness and uniqueness. You will not be able to stop yourself from loving Daisy and Linc, two of the most unlikely and unforgettable hero and heroine you'll ever have the pleasure of reading about, and don't forget her supporting characters some you'll love and some you'll love to hate, of course the most memorable supporting cast is her casting of the pets that Daisy and Linc by association adopts. Her dialogue is witty and funny and by the time you've finished you wish there are 300 more pages at least. Her romance is sweet and tender while her love scenes will burn a hole through a glacier. So jump on board the magic carriage before it turns into a pumpkin and read one of Jennifer Crusie's classic romances The Cinderella Deal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't say this book is great but it is cute and a quick read. Somewhat-okay-very predictable but since it's so short, tolerable.
risuena More than 1 year ago
It was a quick fun read, but nothing interesting nor memorable. I do enjoy Jennifer Crusie's books, but I don't think this one is among her top works. Her other stories are more comedic and off-beat or hot. This one is the standard let's pretend to be together and eventually the predictable happens. How the main characters grow on each other is sweet, but again, it doesn't make a lasting impression on me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first book on my nook. So charming that I stayed up until all hours of the night reading. So delilghtful that I think you'll enjoy this.
Jess_at_From_Me_to_You More than 1 year ago
3.5 out of 5 stars! Funny & Sweet! I couldn't put the book down!! Review By: From Me to You ... Book Reviews -- read more of this review on my blog: --
Sapphire_Reader More than 1 year ago
Daisy Flattery is a free as it can be character. Makes you want to be her. I love the way she is so giving, free-spirited and willing to take on a challenge. Even if the challenge to save her apartment is to pretend to be engaged to her obnoxious neighbor Linc Blaise.  Linc on the their first meeting thought what a space cadet. She dresses like a flower child of the 60's. She is not the type of girl he would ever consider dating let alone be engaged to. However, he needs someone of her caliber to pretend to be engaged to him to land a huge job offer at an university. Upon receiving his dream job he realizes that he has to keep up the charade until they can play up a breakup. What Linc was not counting on is the infectious personality of Daisy. Will faith take over his heart or will he keep to a deal and that is the end of it?  All I can say is that Jennifer Cruise has such a cute way of writing these fairy tales of love. This was one of those stories that you just want to see as a Hallmark or Lifetime movie. Susan Boyce was a delight as she performed the characters throughout the book making  them all come to life and add to the personalities of each of them. Draws you into each scene as it takes place.  From Daisy being her flaky, giving self to Linc's somber this is the way is should be demeanor. To the town's folk that she brings into their lives. I like this story so much this is one that I actually did listen to 2 times.  I guarantee that this will be on your fav list of romance comedies. This is a review for both the book and audio. 
kronan1 More than 1 year ago
Absolute first rate romance. In a romance we all know how its going to end ---- so its the journey that counts. And this is a great trip. Two great characters draw from each others strength and accept their weaknesses. Highly recommended.
Breezyd More than 1 year ago
... that being something sweet and lighthearted. Crusie has a defined voice that is very appealing and is able to help her characters develop and grow in a charming way. There aren't any great plot surprises (but really, I didn't expect any) but it was an enjoyable, fast read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this as my first enook read. It was quirky, quick to read, and enjoyable. What a great way to enjoy an evening! A sweetheart of a tale! Read and enjoy!
Conkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this book as much as I did, as it was written 15 years ago. A lot of times, storylines don't "wear" well over time. This one seemed to. Cute story, well narrated, one of Jennifer Crusie's better efforts.
librarymeg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Jennifer Crusie. She's so dependable. I can trust that when I read her books, they will be funny, and charming, and have smart, quirky, flawed characters. I will have fun! Glad to have rediscovered her all over again.
harumph on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I read that one of the protagonists was a history professor, I *had* to pick this book up. (My Bachelors is in history, so I felt drawn to it) It didn't turn out to be one of my absolute favourite Crusie books, but the sexual tension between the main characters is amazingly hot. It's definitely worth a read for any contemporary romance fan.
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Daisy is a free spirit, Linc a straight arrow. They get pretend-engaged so he can get his dream job, then short-term married so he can keep it.An older one of Crusie's. Not her best, but not bad.
January_F on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great story - it was fun, funny, romantic, and entertaining. As usual, the dialog between Crusie's characters was fantastic. She always manages to make me laugh (out loud) while reading her books. Definitely one of my favourite authors these days!
allthesedarnbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It's a lovely, light hearted, thoroughly delightful romance, and, IMHO, Crusie at her best. It's a tale of two opposites attract: artist and free spirit Daisy Flattery and tight-laced professor Linc Blaise. Linc needs someone to pose as his wife; Daisy makes a living storytelling or is, in Linc's words, "a professional liar." Of course he hires her. And of course the one weekend turns into a longer contract, and of course they fall in love. The plot may be predictable, but the characters shine, and there are lots of laugh out loud moments. I was sick when I read this one, and it was just what the doctor ordered. By the time I was finished, I felt much better. Four and a half stars.
rdh123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a quick read. flaky artist Daisy Flattery agrees to be professor Linc Blaise fiance and eventually marries him to help him get a school job. cute, easy to read.
dhaupt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Cinderella Deal is a classic by Jenny Crusie.Get ready to follow the prince around trying to find the damsel that fits into the glass slipper. Jennifer Crusie¿s re-issued novel from 1996 is a heart-warming, feel good, boy meets girl and doesn¿t know what to do with her, that so fit¿s into today. Meet Daisy a free spirit who has a hard time paying her bills and always falls for the wrong guy, bring in Linc, a stodgy, black and white thinking professor looking to improve his resume and his career. The only thing missing in him getting the perfect job is him having the perfect woman to accent him. But has he got a deal for her, a Cinderella Deal that is.Jenny never disappoints with her wonderful storytelling and The Cinderella Deal is no exception. She gives us characters that jump off the page with their liveliness and uniqueness. You will not be able to stop yourself from loving Daisy and Linc, two of the most unlikely and unforgettable hero and heroine you¿ll ever have the pleasure of reading about, and don¿t forget her supporting characters some you¿ll love and some you¿ll love to hate, of course the most memorable supporting cast is her casting of the pets that Daisy and Linc by association adopts. Her dialogue is witty and funny and by the time you¿ve finished you wish there are 300 more pages at least. Her romance is sweet and tender while her love scenes will burn a hole through a glacier. So jump on board the magic carriage before it turns into a pumpkin and read one of Jennifer Crusie¿s classic romance The Cinderella Deal.
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A flighty, pet-poor, friend-rich artist and her thriftstore furniture collide with a steel and glass, organized to the nines history professor. Linc Blaise needs the job at a quiet midwestern liberal arts college to finish his book - Daisy Flattery needs somewhere to live (and food on the table) while she pursues her art. What started as a $1000 bargain blooms into something much more lasting.Fun, funny, and fast.
dissed1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Crusie¿s romance entitled, The Cinderella Deal is a cute book, but lacks accomplished technique. Her main characters, Linc and Daisy, follow the predictable pattern for mass market romances: they begin as acquaintances that can¿t stand each other and quickly progress to head over heels love. However, in Crusie¿s version, the story is missing the stereotypical break-up over a misunderstanding, which undoubtedly leads to the happy ending. The Cinderella Deal is just sunshine and roses all the way through, making for an uneventful and somewhat unsatisfying read. Additionally, the pervading premise of the tale, a marriage of convenience for show only is ridiculous. Have you ever heard of two people actually getting married and living together¿celibately¿merely to procure a job or make an extra $1,000.00? I like Jennifer Crusie¿s fun, often witty vibe, but this reissue of an earlier work shows her immaturity as a writer. Pick it up as a quick, stress-buster read for the train or a vacation trip if you¿re looking for a simple fantasy. Just remember, that¿s all you¿ll get.
kellyoliva on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In order for Dr. Lincoln Blaise to land his ideal job, that of history professor at a small town college, he needs a fiancée- at least temporarily. In an attempt to convince the heads of his department he is a family man, ¿Linc¿ makes a ¿Cinderella deal¿ with his artsy neighbor, Daisy Flattery. For one thousand dollars, Daisy will play Linc¿s future wife for one night, just long enough for him to secure his professorship. Daisy and Linc are clearly not each other¿s types. Daisy¿s thrift store ways are a complete turn-off for Linc, and Daisy thinks Linc is cold and unimaginative. The two are forced to get to know each other, however, when one of Linc¿s bosses gives him an ultimatum: no Daisy, no job. Soon, Linc and Daisy are married, but in their attempt to fool the people in their small town, they realize they might not be so wrong for each other after all. Caught up in so many lies, however, are their lives just a house of cards waiting to fall? The Cinderella Deal can be easily devoured in one sitting. A light, contemporary romance, it is classic Jennifer Crusie, and her dedicated readers will not be disappointed.
IceQueenTN on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cute but predictable love story.
Wuzzlicious on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It may be one of her earlier books, but like all Crusie's, this book delights. Love the characters- especially Daisy with her free spirit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, hot and steamy love scenes ?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a keeper. I lost the paperback years ago & was so happy to find this in ebook. Jennifer uses words like her painter uses a brush & the finished product is a story you can come back to every time life throws you a curve ball. I laughed, I cried. Its great!