Full of warmth, wit, and voluptuous romance, the Perfect Fit series embraces the holiday spirit with an exclusive new novella--Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas!
On the first day of Christmas, former wild child Dina Gregory returns home to New York on a mission: To find the father of her young son. Making him take responsibility for the child he helped create is the only thing on Dina's wish list. Instead, she finds herself in an awkward run-in with his stuffy older brother, Ben.
Ben has never liked Dina. But he can't help but admire her tenacity—and her bold beauty. Being trapped together during a holiday blizzard offers him a glimpse into what it would be like to have a family, and to fall truly in love. Could it be that Dina has reignited his Christmas spirit? The only thing Ben knows for sure is that her heart is a gift to behold…and he will never let go.
Look for Dangerous Curves Ahead—available now!—and Thrown for a Curve, coming in March 2013 from St. Martin's Paperbacks.
Praise for Sugar Jamison's Perfect Fit series:
"Snarky, sexy, and so much fun. Sugar Jamison is sure to be a hit!"
—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author
"Laugh out loud funny and super sexy, with unique characters you can't help but love!"—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
"Delightful!"—Susan Donovan, New York Times bestselling author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sugar Jamison is a Southern belle trapped in a New Yorker's body. With a love of big hair and high heeled shoes, she spends her day at her very normal day job and night dreaming up sweet and sassy romances.
About the Author
Sugar Jamison is a Southern belle trapped in a New Yorker's body. With a love of big hair and high heeled shoes, she spends her day at her very normal day job and night dreaming up sweet and sassy romances. She is the author of books including Dangerous Curves Ahead and Thrown for a Curve.
Sugar Jamison author of DANGEROUS CURVES AHEAD and THROWN FOR A CURVE is a Southern belle trapped in a New Yorker’s body. With a love of big hair and high heeled shoes, she spends her day at her very normal day job and night dreaming up sweet and sassy romances.
Read an Excerpt
Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas
By Sugar Jamison
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2013 Sugar Jamison
All rights reserved.
I Don't Want a Lot for Christmas ...
Sleigh bells ring. Are you listening?
Dina Gregory had heard that song no less than twenty-six times on her five-day bus ride from California. Twenty-six. Freaking. Times and now it was stuck in her head like some kind of brain-eating ear worm.
A beautiful sight. We're happy tonight. Walking in a winter wonderland.
She had never thought about winter being wondrous. Or beautiful. She had always thought it cold and dark and depressing. That's why she had escaped to LA for two years. But as she walked up the steep driveway to the Windermere mansion she had to amend her thought. A fresh snow had just fallen, leaving the trees and ground covered with beautiful, shimmery snow. There were no footprints or tire tracks to muddy it. It was beautiful. The stuff that Christmas cards were made of.
And if she weren't cold, pissed off and carrying a twenty-pound baby, she might be able to enjoy her surroundings more.
"Ma?" Her ten-month-old son, Dash, touched her cheek, pulling her out of her head for a moment.
"It's okay, lovey," she said to him as she held him a little closer to shield him from the wind. "We're almost there. Just a couple million more feet until we reach the top. Hopefully Mommy won't have a heart attack before we make it. I'm not sure what these people were thinking when they built this place. Surely a moat would have been good enough to keep the riffraff out. Or a dragon. I think building a house on top of a mountain was just a way to keep chubby people out. They should just have a sign that says: 'No Fat Chicks Allowed.' But they don't know your mommy, do they, baby? They're not keeping me out."
Her son grinned at her, one of those happy baby grins, like he knew what she was babbling about, and it kicked her in the heart. Good God she loved him. He was the reason she was here. He was the reason she had spent five days on a bus with people who looked like they had just been released from mental institutions. He was the reason she was huffing and puffing her out-of-shape ass up this steep hill. He was the reason she kept going.
There were just thirteen days until Christmas. Normally the holiday would pass as just another day to her, but this year was different. This year was special because it was Dash's first Christmas. She didn't want anything for herself. Somewhere along the line material things stop mattering. If she had one wish it would be to give her son the world.
That's why she was back in New York, a place she had been too afraid to show her face in the past year and a half. Her family lived just a few towns over, but she couldn't face them. Not after what she had done. The best gift she could give them was to never darken their doorstep again. But she would gladly darken Windermere's doorstep.
She was here to face Dash's father. Virgil Worthington Rowe. The man who knocked her up and disappeared the day after she told him about it.
At first she didn't bother tracking him down. The pregnancy had been a wake-up call for her. The thirty-four years of her life before she became pregnant with Dash had been spent partying too much, destroying too much, not caring enough. Dash had changed all that. He made her want to become a better person. He made her want to stand on her own two feet.
But Dash didn't deserve to live in squalor just so she could prove a point. He was innocent in all of this. And his father had more money than he knew what to do with. She was going to get some of that money. And if she couldn't she was going to kick his no-good ass. With the fifty pounds she had put on during her pregnancy she was pretty sure she could take him.
Another blast of icy wind smacked her in the face, reminding her that her poor nose was going to fall off if she didn't get inside soon. She wished she could have taken a cab right to the front door to save them from some of this brutal cold, but in the tiny village of Sleepy Ridge there were none. Virgil had to be here, because it was too damn long of a walk back to town to leave with nothing.
She had looked for him all over LA. She called around to the hotels he liked to stay in, checked in all the bars they used to frequent. But he wasn't there. Nobody had seen or heard from him in months. The coward was probably hiding from her.
She finally came to the front door, her hand raised to knock, and she froze.
She was nervous.
Nerves were the one thing she hadn't planned on. She had been too pissed to be nervous before, but now that she was facing the front door of this huge mansion nerves snuck up on her and grabbed her by the throat.
"Can I help you, ma'am?" The southern-accented voice that came through the intercom caused her to jump.
Duh, Dina. They probably saw you coming as soon as you stepped foot on the driveway.
"Ma'am, is there something I can do for you?"
"Ma?" Dash called to her, reminding her of her purpose. Reminding her that this trip was about him.
"Yes. My name is Dina Gregory. I'm here to see Virgil."
* * *
Benjamin Rowe sat in his office staring at the stack of legal documents and bills that he had just inherited. Thirty-seven thousand dollars for a hotel bill. Fourteen thousand on a bar tab. The money just kept adding up and he wondered how one person could waste so much. Not the money. In the end money was nothing. Ben wondered how one person could waste so much of their life.
He shut his eyes, unable to look at the mountain in front of him any longer. With each bill he paid, with each lawsuit he studied, his stomach sank even further.
Disappointment. It was a familiar feeling to him. It was all he had felt when he thought of his brother for the last few years. He wished he didn't. He wished he could just wash his hands of the whole mess. He had a team of lawyers and accountants at his disposal. All of this could be sorted out in less than a week. He wouldn't have to think about it. But he couldn't let it go. He couldn't let somebody else handle this. This mess was too personal, too revealing. If he let somebody else fix it he knew he would be letting down his father.
You've got to be a man now. Protect your little brother. You're the only one he's got.
He had tried to protect Virgil. Their mother had died when they were just little boys. Their father had died when they were just barely men. They had money. They had employees, people who called themselves friends, a company worth billions, but they only really ever had each other.
Now all Ben had in front of him was a pile of debt. His brother was gone. He'd pulled away from Benjamin a long time ago. Virgil didn't like being controlled. He balked at his brother's guidance. He didn't like rules or limits or expectations being placed on him. He wasn't cut out for a life of hard work. All he had ever wanted was freedom. Ben almost couldn't blame Virgil. It was hard being a Rowe man. It was hard running a billion-dollar company, living up to the extremely high example set by their father and grandfather. There were times in his life when Ben wanted to be like Virgil, when he just wanted to be free too. But he couldn't.
And now Virgil was gone and it left Ben wondering would he still be here today if Ben hadn't cut him off?
He looked up to see Miguel, his assistant and personal security guard, standing just inside of his office door.
He hadn't heard the man coming. He was too deep in his thoughts.
"Do you have a brother, Miguel?"
Miguel, who was usually unflappable, was taken off guard. "No, sir. Three sisters. All younger."
Ben studied the young former Marine who had been with him for nearly eight years now and realized that he wasn't so young anymore. "Do you have a father?"
"What's he like?"
"Sir?" Miguel frowned. They had never had a conversation in all the years Miguel had been there. But Ben trusted this man with his life. He should know something about him.
"I want to know what your family is like."
Miguel blinked at him, hesitation clear on his face. "My family lives in Texas. My parents own a food truck that runs six days a week. My sisters Angela and Marielle are both married with babies and my younger sister, Carmen, is in college."
"When's the last time you saw them?"
Miguel looked guilty for a moment, but he shouldn't have. It was Ben's fault. Ben worked, so he made his entire staff work. He never paid much thought to holidays. Holidays stopped having any meaning for him when Karen got sick nine years ago.
"It's nearly Christmas, Miguel. Maybe you should go see them."
"But, sir —"
"The last time I saw my brother was nearly three years ago. You can't be like me. Go see your family. I don't want you to come back until January second."
"But that's too long."
"You deserve it. You put up with me for eight years without a complaint. I think I owe you some vacation time."
"I get ten days a year. This is too much."
"Go tell Dovie and the whole downstairs staff that they have off too."
"But you'll be alone." The way Miguel said it, the way he looked at him with a little bit of pity in his eyes, made Ben pause. He would be alone, but then again he had been alone for years. The presence of people didn't change that for him.
"I'm nearly forty. I think I can manage. Now go. I've got to get through this."
Miguel turned to leave, but he stopped. "Sir? I came here for a reason. There's a woman at the front door. She's here to see your brother."
"Send her away." Ben put his glasses on and picked up the document on top of the stack. Lots of people came to see his brother. They usually wanted something from him. But Virgil had nothing left to give.
"We will, but we wanted to check with you first."
"Why? I trust your judgment."
"Her name is Dina Gregory and she's carrying a baby."
* * *
"Mr. Rowe will see you now."
The enormous mansion door slowly swung open, causing a delicious wave of warm air to touch Dina's face. For a moment she just stood there, absorbing the tease of warmth. She also stood there because for the first time she realized she didn't have a plan. Well, she did have a plan actually. But a life plan. Get support for Dash, find a job teaching dance and then open her own dance studio. But she had no idea what she was going to do when she faced Virgil. Too many emotions ran through her whenever she thought of him
"Are you coming in, ma'am?"
Dina almost didn't notice the woman who had answered the door. She was a tiny older African-American woman with skin the color of fresh-baked bread, startling white hair and the most delicate set of cheekbones she had ever seen. "Holy shit. You're beautiful."
The woman's eyes widened, as she was clearly offended by Dina's potty mouth.
"I'm sorry." She shook her head. "I've been on a bus for five days and the little bit of class and poise I had was probably left somewhere in the Midwest."
"It's quite all right, ma'am. Please follow me."
"You betcha," Dina said, which earned another curious look from who she presumed must be the housekeeper. It was then she decided to keep her mouth shut until she saw Virgil. There was no need to waste her energy when she was going to need it to confront him.
The bastard knew she was pregnant when he disappeared. When she told him, he glanced at her stomach and sneered with disgust.
Too bad. You had a really nice body. Maybe you can get it back after you give the kid up. I know you aren't thinking about keeping it. I wouldn't allow you to care for my goldfish. There is no way you can care for a child.
Up until that moment she had thought about giving her child up for adoption. There were a lot of lonely couples who wanted children. Her own parents had adopted a child. Her little sister, Ellis, had turned out pretty damn good. But when Virgil said she couldn't care for a child, she knew she had to prove him wrong. She knew she had to prove everyone wrong. She was capable of good things. She could be a good mother.
"Mr. Rowe's office is on the third floor. Will you be able to manage with the little one for three flights? There is a service elevator in the back if that would be better."
"This house has an elevator? Well, damn." She took in her surroundings and realized that she shouldn't have been surprised. The house was enormous, practically museum-like. She felt out of place in it, like her dirty boots shouldn't be allowed to touch the floor. "I can carry him. The piece-of-crap stroller I got from the thrift store broke a month after Dash was born. I have to carry him everywhere. I've got arm muscles that can rival any professional wrestler's."
The housekeeper gave her another look and discreetly glanced at Dash before she ascended the stairs.
"I know I probably won't be staying long, but I would feel a little better if you told me your name."
"My name is Dovie, ma'am."
"Dovie! What an awesome name. It suits you. It's sweet and delicate. Unlike my name. I always hated 'Dina' growing up. My real name is Adina, but that's not much better. There's no romance in it, but I was named after my mother's great-aunt. My stepfather got to name my sister. Her name is Ellison. She was named after his grandfather. But her name is kind of cool. People always remember a girl named Ellis."
"That's quite interesting, ma'am."
"I'm babbling. I know." She pressed a kiss to her son's smooth cheek, hoping that it would soothe her frayed nerves. It did slightly. There was nothing that smelled better than a clean baby. "I've haven't seen Virgil in a very long time. I'm surprised he agreed to see me."
"Yes, ma'am." A sad look crossed Dovie's face before she turned away and continued up the stairs.
Dina stopped talking and tried to gather her thoughts before she faced him again. This meeting was too important to screw up.
Dovie stopped at the top of the stairs and gestured down the long hallway. "Mr. Rowe is just through that set of double doors, ma'am. His personal office is the first door on the left."
"You're not going in with me?"
Dovie smiled gently at her. "Miguel will assist you from here." She walked away leaving Dina feeling truly alone.
She shook her head, trying to shake herself out of her stupidity. She had to do this. Dash deserved it.
So she walked down the long hallway, taking in her surroundings as she tried to ignore the fact that her heart was nearly pounding out of her chest. This part of the house felt different. A little more modern. A little less warm, with its dark mahogany wood and tasteful modern art lining the walls. She couldn't imagine Virgil here. His quarters. His office. When she had known him he had never worked. Never had a place he called home. Hotels seemed to be his preferred residences. Maybe he had changed in the past year. Change was possible. She knew she had undergone some. Maybe that's why he agreed to see her. Maybe he was ready to take a role in his son's life. Or maybe Virgil was going to throw her out on her ass. It wouldn't matter if he did. She wasn't going away easily.
She walked through the double doors, finding a handsome man wearing a dark suit and tie. Even though he stood straight, almost regally, she knew he was no butler. He almost reminded her of one of those Secret Service men, or some kind of trained assassin. He looked like he didn't take any shit from anybody, and that's why she smiled when he began to walk towards her. She couldn't picture this man spending any time with Virgil. Virgil was a man who hated order and rules. This man looked as if he lived by them.
"Ms. Gregory." He approached and gave Dash a very long look.
She knew Dash didn't look very much like Virgil. He had dark brown hair and dark eyes. Skin that was almost olive. His father had been light, angelic looking, with hazel eyes and sandy blond hair. She would go for a DNA test if she had to. Virgil had been the only man she had been with for a very long time. Dash was his son, even if Virgil wanted nothing to do with him.
"Please follow me."
They walked through a set of double doors, past a tiny room with only a bed in it, before they walked into a wide-open space. At first all Dina could see was books, shelves and shelves of them, but it was only when she heard the doors shut behind her that she noticed the man sitting behind a simple sleek black desk.
Excerpted from Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas by Sugar Jamison. Copyright © 2013 Sugar Jamison. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this novella. This novella was a good length and the love story was very sweet. I do have to say that Dina's personality changed a lot in this book than in Dangerous Curves Ahead but i liked the story so i am just blocking that out.
I requested this novella from Netgalley because Dangerous Curves Ahead, the first book in the series was an absolute hoot and I couldn't wait to dig into another installment. This book is the story of Dina Gregory, the sister of the female protagonist in the first book. Dina came across as mean, a bit cruel and totally self-centered in the first book. She was an interesting character, but not very likable. I was very interested in seeing what Ms. Jamison was going to do with her. We meet up with Dina about two years after the end of Dangerous Curves Ahead. She is in a small neighboring town to hunt down Virgil, the father of her 10 month old son Dash. She hasn't seen him since she found out she was pregnant, and he hasn't been answering her calls or emails, but she plans on demanding that he help provide for his child. Dina has been patient, but this is Dash's first Christmas. Dina got a mighty big wake up call when she found out she was pregnant and had her son, but she is working very hard at turning her life around. Dina wants to be the kind of person that Dash will one day be proud of, and if that means having a face to face confrontation with Virgil, then that is what is going to happen. Unfortunately, Virgil is no longer able to be held responsible for his actions, as he died in a drunken skiing accident. Ben, Virgil's older brother, had been fascinated with Dina the one time he met her, but assumed that she was just one of Virgil's good time girls. Now that she has shown up with the very last of his family line in her arms, he talks her into staying through the holidays. I really liked this novella. Ben and Dina are opposites in so many ways, and yet underneath it all, the story of two lost souls finding each other and becoming a family is hard not to like. I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads.
Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas by Sugar Jamison Dina Gregory has left LA with her infant son and has arrived in town. She shows up at the father's house and is shown in. She learned Virgil is not there but Ben is and he delivers her a blow. Virgil died and he can see the Rowe in Dash, her son. He gives her a temporary proposal to stay til after Christmas, then she can make up her mind whether she will marry him and raise Dash as their own or she leaves. They each have their past to get over and move forward. Love the sights of the holiday around town. They do spend time together and get to know one another a lot more intimately. Love how he takes control over the house and runs it himself. Love what he springs on her for their celebration of a Christmas meal. She is so hung up on her big girl figure that she thinks no one could ever want her over a skinny woman. I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.
This was a good short story and I love that Sugar Jamison continued on with Ellis older sister Dina. I did not hate her sister in the first book, rather I felt sorry for her and I wanted her to find her happy ending and I am glad she did in this book. When reading the first chapter it is obvious that Dina has changed a great deal and is trying to correct the mistakes she has made by trying to give her son a better life. I love how Ben hears what kind of person she used to be, but still loves her despite everything. I hope there will be another story for their wedding.
I thought this book was sweet. I haven't read the first in the series, so I didn't see how Dina was before this book. I liked her alright, and Ben was a good guy. I liked the writing, so I will read Dangerous Curves, and the next in the series, Thrown for a Curve. I like books that take place during Christmas and I thought the characters had good chemistry. I like the premise for the first book in the series, and look forward to reading that. All in all this book was a cute, quick story, and it opened me up to the other books in the series. I look forward to it.
Reviewed by Marissa Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book As the book starts, Dina is cold and pissed and not in a Christmas mood. I love that about her! She’s just spent five days on a bus with a baby because she can’t afford to fly and now she has to face the baby’s father – who fled at the very first mention of the word “baby”. Honestly, who would be cheerful at that point? I’m just happy Dina isn’t one of those always-smiling, never-lets-life-get-her-down types of characters. I think I would have thrown my reader at the wall if she had been. On the flip side, Ben takes one look at Baby Dash and recognizes himself. He believes Dina outright, no paternity test required. I find this a little odd from someone who is wealthy on the level of Donald Trump or Ted Turner. However, Ben is likeable and so makes up for this little flaw. He begins gruff and overworked, typical of a single man attempting to hold a family business together – but Dash soon has his humanity showing again, much to the delight of his childhood nanny. Not a long book, Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas is very enjoyable – light and fluffy with the inevitable happily every after ending, I recommend this if you are looking for a quick read during those few rare quiet moments during the holidays.
Fun! This is a lovely little read if you like bad girl reforms and gets a second chance as well as Christmas with babies in your romance. I like the banter between the hero and the heroine best of all and if you enjoyed the first book in the series you will like seeing how Dina changed. I was given this book for my honest review and so there you have it!
Very cute story. There were some slow moments so much that I put it down, however once I started again I really liked it. I had read the novel prior to this one (Dangerous Curves Ahead) which I absolutely adored. And was happy to see the two sisters amend. Being really close to my sister, I couldn't stand that they had stopped talking. Anyway I loved how the chapters were inspired by Christmas songs which made it a nice holiday read. You should picked this novella up.
Abandoned by her baby's father, Dina is out of money and options, but not spunk. Packing up 10-month old Dash, she takes a five day cross-country bus trip (thankfully endured off-screen) to track down the no-good and demand he kick in to support his son. Unfortunately, the only things Virgil (the no-good) is kicking are daisies, since he's dead. Luckily for Dina and Dash, Virgil's brother Ben is not only alive - and sexy - and sentimental, and he's also about ready to emerge from a long period of mourning. I received a free copy of this novella via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Note: my copy had considerable formatting issues, but I am assuming those have been corrected in the for-sale versions. Dina is brassy and sassy and speaks without a filter, which makes her hilarious. (And yes, she's also curvy, and self-conscious of having gone from dancer-thin to what many consider chubby, during and following pregnancy.) I loved Dina and Ben, and was very happy that, poor and desperate though she was/is, Dina didn't leap at Ben's proposal of marriage right off. Baby Dash... maybe a little TOO perfect, from looking exactly like his uncle, to never pitching a fit or having the runs or otherwise behaving like babies generally do when they are tired or stressed or in a strange environment, but I concede that it's POSSIBLE for a baby to be that adorable and "good." All in all though, this is a delightful short holiday read, with all the trimmings - snow, holiday decorations, family reconciliations... I will definitely be looking to read more from this author.
This is a perfect book for the holidays! It was a great story and gave enough background, that even though it is a novella it did not feel too rushed. Family, friends, and love is what it is all about!
This is the first book that I have read by Sugar Jamison and it won’t be my last. I really loved her humor, characters, and writing style. Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas is a fantastic little story that left me with a big smile and a warm heart. I loved all the characters but the main character Dina was awesome. She is a person with a big mouth and an even bigger heart. She is down to earth and genuine and had me giggling several times during the book. The story is full of heart, charm, and touching moments but also has little surprises sprinkled throughout. I think the underlying message is one of acceptance and the importance of forgiving and forgetting the past in order to move forward into a happier future. Some of my favorite lines from the book… The pregnancy had been a wake-up call for her. The thirty-four years of her life before she became pregnant with Dash had been spent partying too much, destroying too much, not caring enough. Dash had changed all that. He made her want to become a better person. Dina: What if I can’t keep him happy? Dovie: You can try. And he will try. That’s what a relationship is. A lifetime spent trying to make each other happy. If you are looking for a great fast read give Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas by Sugar Jamison a shot. I think you will be happy that you did.
Sugar Jamison has done what I thought was impossible. She's made me love Dina, a character from her first novel, Dangerous Curves Ahead, a character who made her sister Ellis's life pretty miserable. Two years later, Dina has grown and matured into somebody I wanted to spend time with. Frankly, I would have liked to have spent more time with her, her adorable baby, and her brooding, hunky billionaire than this novella allowed me (insert pouty face here). This story was like a soft, fuzzy sweater on a cold winter afternoon--heartwarming, full of holiday magic, and deeply satisfying. And there's even an excerpt from Jamison's next novel to tide you over. No matter what time of year you read this story, you'll be craving hot cocoa and colored lights. This is another fun, funny, heartwarming offering from an up and coming author. I can't recommend it enough.