A tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he's a grump with a secret and an extra room...can love find a way?
Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.
Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places - the local library.
But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.
Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?
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
My Daughter Is Being Hookerish
"Jesus, lay off the carbs!" my friend Ariel mutters angrily from below.
Her hands are on my butt as she grunts and struggles to help push me up into the window I left open before heading out earlier tonight. As my arms start to shake with the exertion of trying to pull myself into this stupid window, I wonder for the hundredth time how much longer I can keep doing this.
"Shut up and push harder!" I whisper back to her, managing to swing one of my legs up and over the windowsill, losing one of my shoes in the process and hoping none of our neighbors see me sneaking into the house wearing a fancy dress and call the police, thinking I'm some kind of well-dressed robber.
"OW! Son of a bitch, your shoe just hit me in the face! If you gave me a black eye I will murder you!" Ariel shouts up to me, smacking her hand as hard as she can against my butt while I continue struggling to pull myself the rest of the way inside.
After all of the stress of the last few months, it was nice to get out of the house tonight, put on a pretty dress and go to a fundraiser for the Animal Protective League. The library I run is on the verge of shutting down, I'm growing more and more discontent with the fact that I still live at home with my overprotective father, and I feel guilty for keeping my problems from my two best friends and business partners, Cindy and Ariel — but for one night, I was able to push everything aside. For a little while, I forgot about my own problems while I sipped champagne and got to witness Cindy and her boyfriend PJ, the owner of Charming's Gentlemen's Club, get a real life happily-ever-after right in front of my own two eyes. After the troubles Cindy went through, it was wonderful to see her find her Prince Charming.
The three of us became fast friends when we all realized we shared similar money troubles. Cindy was left high and dry when her ex-husband skipped town with the babysitter and took all their money with him. Ariel was forced to sell her antique store when her ex-husband screwed her over. And me? I'm still living in my father's basement at twenty-five and running out of ideas on how to keep the town library I run open for much longer if I can't come up with a way to raise money for it. We were all pretty desperate when we met.
We were dressed in princess costumes at the annual Halloween block party on the street Cindy and Ariel live on when one of Cindy's neighbors approached us and hired us to perform at what we assumed was a little girl's birthday party. It turned out we were actually hired to take our clothes off for a man's birthday party (PJ being that man). Sure, that first party was disastrous and ended in one gentleman asking me to do something unmentionable with a balloon, and the three of us running and screaming out of PJ's home, but I wouldn't change anything about how it all happened. Deciding to start a home-stripping business called the Naughty Princess Club might not sound like a good idea for three women who have never taken their clothes off for money before, but it has turned out to be the best idea we've ever had.
And even though I haven't started doing any of the stripping parties that our company has already booked, I still get a small cut of the money Cindy makes for helping with the administrative side of things. So far, it's been enough to keep the doors of the library open, thanks to me being extremely frugal and not having to worry about any personal bills of my own, since I still live at home. Unfortunately, the bills at the library are starting to pile up, and soon that little bit of extra money won't be enough. And even more unfortunately, I don't know how much longer I can continue climbing through windows in the middle of the night after my dad has gone to sleep. It would be nice to sneak back in the house using my key like a normal person, but I learned a tough lesson when I snuck out a few weeks ago: Apparently, my dad likes to get up in the middle of the night and put the chain on the door. After sleeping in his car in the garage until he woke up to get the morning paper, and then sneaking back in when he was taking a shower, I thanked God he didn't also make sure all the windows were locked during his nighttime safety check.
With one last big push from Ariel, and using every muscle in my body, I manage to make it up and over the windowsill, falling into a heap onto the hardwood floor of the dining room. The thumping noises of my arms, legs and hip hitting the floor sound as loud as a shotgun going off in the quiet room. I wince while holding my breath and remaining perfectly still, hoping to God the noise didn't wake my dad.
"I BROKE A NAIL, YOU ASSHOLE!"
Ariel's shout from outside has me scrambling up on my knees and quickly flinging my head out the window to look down at her while she continues cursing and staring at her hand.
"Will you keep it down?! You're going to wake the neighbors and my dad!" I whisper yell back to her.
"I don't give a shit who I wake up! You broke my nail and you gave me a black eye. The entire neighborhood needs to know that the STRUGGLE IS REAL!" she screams at the top of her lungs.
"ISABELLE MARIE READING! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"
I let out a surprised squeak at the sound of my father's angry voice, jumping up from the floor as Ariel looks up at me with a scowl.
"Is that your dad?! Pull me through the window so I can give him a piece of my mind. That old-ass motherfu —"
I cut off Ariel's shouting by quickly slamming the window closed and whirling around to face the man across the room, whom I have never seen looking so angry. He's wearing a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and a rumpled T-shirt, his salt and pepper hair all askew on top of his head, and the sight of him makes me visibly wilt. I feel like the worst daughter in the world.
To say things have been strained between us lately is an understatement, and I hate it. I hate that I've been lying to him and I hate that I haven't been honest with Cindy and Ariel about the state of my relationship with him. He's always been the most important person in my life, but some things you just can't discuss with your own father, regardless of how close you are, and that's taken its toll. How am I supposed to tell him that he's smothering me when he's spent his entire life taking caring of me, being a father and a mother to me since my mother died a few years after I was born? How am I supposed to tell him that I want to spread my wings and fly, have fun and make stupid choices like a normal woman in her twenties — and, most importantly, fall in love? How am I supposed to explain to him that I can't fall in love unless I kiss a whole bunch of frogs, and I can't exactly kiss those frogs, or do any other naughty things I'd like to do with frogs, if he's constantly monitoring everything I do, afraid I'm going to get taken advantage of or hurt? I need to live my life and do something different and exciting.
I've tried so many times to tell him that I'm a grown woman and I need to do grown-woman things, but it never comes out right. It's caused me to be short with him lately, and it's resulted in more than a few arguments between us. I've never behaved like this in my entire life. I've always been the quiet, respectful daughter who does as she's told and whatever she can to make her father happy. It's all just gotten so exhausting lately.
I've lived my life in black and white, content with being the shy, quiet wallflower who does nothing but read, just waiting for something exciting to happen to me like it does for the heroines in my books. When the colorfulness of Cindy and Ariel burst into my life, I realized that being content wasn't making me happy anymore. I realized I couldn't sit around waiting for something exciting to happen to me. If I wanted to have fun and experience real life, I needed to get out there and make it happen on my own. I needed to take charge and find the excitement, instead of waiting for it to come to me. And after seeing Cindy find her knight in shining armor, shed her uptight PTA-mom persona, and move on with her life to something bigger and better, I now want that for myself more than anything in the world.
I want the fairy tale. And I can't exactly figure out how to get it by sneaking out of this house every time I want to do something that hasn't been preapproved for my safety and security by my father.
"Isabelle! Answer me! Did you sneak out of the house tonight? And what in the world are you wearing?!"
I look down at the elegant yellow, sparkly, off-the-shoulder dress Ariel let me borrow, and for the first time since I put the dress on tonight, I don't feel like a beautiful, sophisticated woman. I feel like a child who did something wrong. Realizing one of my shoes is still out in the yard somewhere, I probably even look like a child as I limp-walk around the dining room table and closer to where my dad is standing in the doorway, I stop a few feet away from him.
"Yes, Daddy, I snuck out of the house tonight, but it was just to go to a charity gala. It was perfectly safe, and I was with my friends the entire time," I explain softly, growing sadder by the second when my explanation does nothing to soothe him.
Each word I speak makes his face change a different shade of red, each shade more alarming than the last, until I start to worry that his head might explode.
"I knew it!" he bellows, throwing his hands up in the air in frustration. "I've heard rumblings around town about these new friends of yours, but I shooed it away because I thought, 'Oh no, my Isabelle is too smart to hang out with riffraff like those women'!" And just like that, I forget all about being a sweet, respectful daughter.
"Riffraff?! Did you just call my friends riffraff?!" I shout. "You don't know the first thing about them! They are kind, and they are wonderful, and they're my friends! Do you have any idea how nice it is to have actual, real-life friends who aren't fictional people in books, and who aren't related to you by blood?!"
"What's wrong with having your father as a friend? I am a wonderful friend to have!" he argues, clearly missing my point.
"I don't need you as my friend, I need you as my father! But you can't even do that right lately!"
I start to feel a little bad about saying something so harsh, but the next words out of his mouth make me not even care.
"You're hanging out with hookers and doing hooker things! You think that just because you sneak out of this house and keep secrets from me that I don't know what's going on?! I'm your father! I was born with eyes in the back of my head, young lady. I know when my daughter is being hookerish!"
"THAT'S NOT EVEN A WORD!" I scream. "For your information, I've been sneaking out of the house to start my own business with my friends WHO ARE NOT HOOKERS! And you know what? This business has taken off and it's doing amazing! But I don't get to really appreciate all of this amazingness of a business I helped start until I can behave like the grown woman I am, experiencing new and exciting things, and not have to sneak out of my father's fucking house every night like a child!"
"HOOKER LANGUAGE!" he roars, pointing a finger at me. "A recent study shows that swearing is a result of a lack of education, laziness, or impulsiveness. In twenty-five years, I would never use one of those words to describe you, until now. Until you started hanging out with riffraff hookers with questionable morals! And now you've started a business with these hooligans?! What has gotten into you, Isabelle?"
He folds his hands together under his chin and stares up at the ceiling.
"Why, God, whyyyyyyy?!" he wails.
"Will you stop with the dramatics? And stop treating me like a child! You need to let me go, Dad. You need to let me make my own choices and, yes, my own mistakes. You can't shield me from everything and everyone. Don't you understand?
I'm dying living like this all the time. I don't want to sneak out of the house, and I don't want to keep secrets from you, but you've given me no choice!"
With a huff, he drops his hands down to his sides and lifts his chin in the air.
"Fine. If I'm killing you so much by loving you and putting a roof over your head and spending every waking moment making sure you're safe, then you should leave. Pack your things and go. I hope you'll find everything you need with your new prostitute friends."
With that, he turns and walks out of the room, but of course I feel the need to have the last word.
"FOR THE LAST TIME, THEY ARE NOT PROSTITUTES! BUT THEY ARE STRIPPERS! AND YOU KNOW WHAT? I'M GOING TO BE A STRIPPER TOO! HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT, HUH?! I'M GOING TO TAKE MY CLOTHES OFF FOR MONEY BECAUSE I'M AN ADULT AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT!"
I emphasize my point with a stomp of my foot, even though my dad is already down the hall and in his bedroom, evident by the loud slam of his door. Which is good, considering I just screamed at him that I was an adult and then stomped my foot ... but whatever. I'm finally free! I'm finally getting out of my father's house and away from his ridiculous rules and overprotectiveness!
Slipping off my remaining shoe, I happily start skipping across the floor to head down into the basement to pack my bags, but then I come to a dead stop in the doorway.
Oh, shit. I'm finally free and getting out of my father's house.
Where in the hell am I going to live?!CHAPTER 2
"That's the saddest thing I've ever seen."
I pause from opening up the box of books that were delivered to the library, a wash of embarrassment rushing through me, wondering if Mrs. Potter is talking about me. When I see her staring down at the small box of five measly books with a sad look on her face, I realize she's not referring to the dark circles under my eyes or my wrinkled clothes.
I ran out of the only home I've ever known last night with one small duffle bag packed with as many things as I could quickly grab, which wasn't much. Hence the wrinkled clothes. Since it was the middle of the night when I left, I didn't want to make Ariel come back and get me when she was probably still a little annoyed about the black eye and broken nail. I knew Cindy was busy with PJ and didn't want to interrupt. I don't have a car, so I went to the only place I could think of that was within walking distance — my library. My home away from home, which has now become my actual home. I've been too chicken and embarrassed about what happened with my dad to call either of my friends today and ask if I can stay with them for the time being. I hate imposing on them, but that's what friends are for, right? They're supposed to be there for you in your time of need. I just need to gather up the courage to ask them and stop being so worried about putting them out.
"I remember the days when we needed ten people to open up the book deliveries, catalogue them in the system, and put them on the shelves," Mrs. Potter muses as she rests her elbows on the counter of the reference desk.
I try to share her smile as she reminisces about happier times here at the library, but it's impossible. The first Saturday of every month used to be my favorite day here. The day when all of the books we'd spent hours and hours researching and ordering over the last month showed up. The day when it was all hands on deck and employees knew not to even ask for the evening off because after closing time, we'd have hundreds of new books to go through and put on the shelves. And no one even cared about working on a Saturday night once a month because we always made it fun. Everyone would bring in food to share, and everyone would be giddy with excitement and the smell of new books. Even before I was put in charge here, it was always my favorite day to work.
There's no giddiness today as I pull out the five new books I was just barely able to afford. There's just a deep sadness that has taken over my heart because I couldn't even order more than one copy of each of those books, and my throat grows tight with the need to cry when I think about the hundreds of other books I wanted so badly to order, but couldn't. There's not a group of employees standing around, oohing and aahing with each box I open. There's just me and Mrs. Potter, and one lonely box of five books.
Reaching into the box, I pull out the new true-crime thriller that took me three weeks of saving every penny Cindy gave me to buy. I bring it up to my nose, closing my eyes and breathing deeply. When the smell does nothing to brighten my mood, I quickly set it down on the counter next to the others and give Mrs. Potter a big smile that I know doesn't reach my eyes and feels completely fake.
"Things around here are going to get better very soon, I promise," I say. "I have a plan; it's just taking a little bit longer than I expected. But don't worry, Mrs. Potter. In no time at all, things will be like they used to be." I reach across the counter to rest my hand on top of hers and give it a squeeze.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "In Bed with the Beast"
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
Chapter 1: My Daughter Is Being Hookerish,
Chapter 2: YOLO,
Chapter 3: Match Made in Heaven,
Chapter 4: Creepy Stalker,
Chapter 5: Rude Knight in Shining Armor,
Chapter 6: This is Where I Die,
Chapter 7: Maybe You Should Try a Man,
Chapter 8: Blink Once for Yes, Twice for No,
Chapter 9: Silver Fox,
Chapter 10: Screw You,
Chapter 11: Gus Tone,
Chapter 12: I'm the Boss of Me,
Chapter 13: Luminous the Liar,
Chapter 14: I Took Care of It,
Chapter 15: I Don't Trust Strippers,
Chapter 16: Food, French, Eyelashes,
Chapter 17: The Jig Is Up,
Chapter 18: Rules Are Meant to Be Broken,
Chapter 19: This is Me Refusing to Share,
Chapter 20: Is This Okay?,
Chapter 21: What Have You Done?,
Chapter 22: We Can Have Sex Now?,
Chapter 23: Vincent's Got Himself a Girlfriend,
Chapter 24: The Mess Can Wait,
Chapter 25: I Did Not Get a Boner,
Chapter 26: I'm Just Here for Moral Support,
Chapter 27: I Almost Spun to Death!,
Chapter 28: You're a Cock Blocker,
Chapter 29: You Won't Have to Be a Hooker,
Chapter 30: Fairy Tales are Bullshit,
Chapter 31: Closed Indefinitely,
Chapter 32: We're Storming the Castle,
Chapter 33: I Tamed the Beast,
About the Author,
Also by Tara Sivec,