- Pub. Date:
A struggling antiques collector finds herself falling in love with a millionaire playboy; but can she ever be a part of his world?
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.
While her friends have broken free of their insecurities, Ariel Waters is struggling to come out of her shell. Her ex-husband took away her voice and her self-confidence, and Ariel is drowning under a sea of debt to afford the alimony she has to pay him. She refuses to ever fall for a man’s charms again, and is determined to make her own way.
When her house and her beloved antiques are taken by the bank after too many missed payments, Ariel finds herself adrift until the infuriatingly charming Eric Sailor comes to her rescue. Although she can’t stand the millionaire playboy, Eric’s kindness and unconditional support reveal hidden depths and a love that Ariel never imagined she could find.
But there are outside influences who will stop at nothing to keep them apart; can Ariel and Eric weather the storm and find a way to be together in Kiss the Girl?
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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
Fantastic Fish Female
"You have got to be fucking kidding me with this shit."
I glare at my phone sitting on the table in front of me when Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch" blares through the low hum of conversation in the coffee shop for the seventh time in so many minutes.
"It's okay. You can answer it. I don't mind," Natalie, the perky blonde sitting across from me, says with a smile.
I turn my glare in her direction, adding in a lip snarl for good measure as I scoop up the phone and jab my finger against the screen before bringing it up to my ear.
"You better be dying in a ditch somewhere," I mutter in greeting.
"Ariel?" my friend Cindy questions through the line.
I let out a long suffering sigh, closing my eyes and pinching the bridge of my nose.
"You called me, dickface. Who else would be answering my phone? Are you dying?"
"Uh ... well ... no," she stammers.
"Then for the love of God, why in the actual fuck are you calling me? Hang up and text me like a normal person or I will slit your throat."
Natalie has the good sense to look slightly terrified as she subtly pushes her chair a few inches back from the table and out of arm's reach from me. It's not that I want her to be afraid of me exactly, but if this interview continues in the direction it has been for the last thirty minutes, I may have just found a new roommate. It's good to establish who's in charge right from the get-go.
"I was just calling to make sure you're still going to help Anastasia and I move into PJ's house tomorrow," Cindy states.
"Again, something you could have said to me in a text," I growl in annoyance.
I love my best friend, I really do. I just don't like talking on the phone to anyone. I'd like to say that my irritability right now all stems from being forced to speak on the phone, but deep down I know that's not true. I am woman enough to admit that ever since Cindy announced she and her fourteen-year-old daughter would be moving in with her boyfriend, I've been feeling slightly off. Add to that the fact that I need a roommate to help pay the bills since I'm drowning in debt and my life is just one big suck fest lately.
"Belle and Vincent are going to be here at nine tomorrow morning to help as well. I'm going to pick up coffee and donuts!" she tells me excitedly, like coffee and donuts will make getting up at an ungodly hour and lifting heavy shit all day worth it.
Okay, fine. The donuts are definitely a perk.
I swallow back another groan when Cindy mentions my other best friend, Belle, and her boyfriend Vincent. When the three of us became friends, no one was more shocked than me. For one, I don't do girlfriends. Just thinking that word makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Women are too moody and judgmental and hold grudges about shit that happened twenty years ago. On top of that, Cindy was a prude housewife and Belle was a shy, nerdy librarian. Polar opposites of myself. But then we each realized we shared similar money problems and were in dire need of making cash very quickly and, I don't know, we just clicked.
I helped the two of them learn how to break out of their shells and become the strong, independent women they were always meant to be, while at the same time, starting our own business called the Naughty Princess Club. It's basically strippers who make house calls. Think of it like a Tupperware party, but with less clothing and no appetizers. It was all fine and dandy until those two assholes had to go and fall in love and ruin everything.
Okay fine. They didn't ruin everything. They just made me feel like something was wrong with me because I wanted absolutely nothing to do with men or love or romance or any of that other nonsense. Cindy fell in love with PJ Charming, the owner of Charming's Gentlemen's Club, where we initially went to get stripping lessons before we opened our business. And then Belle fell in love with Vincent "Beast" Adams, the surly bouncer from Charming's, who shocked us all when we found out there was a sweet, thoughtful man hidden under his bad attitude.
"How did your roommate interview go?" Cindy asks, pulling me out of my thoughts.
"It's still going," I inform her, watching Natalie nervously rip the napkin in front of her into a million pieces.
"Is she nice?"
"I guess," I shrug.
"Is she too nice?" Cindy questions.
"What the fuck does that mean?"
Cindy sighs through the line.
"It means, is she going to turn into single white female and dye her hair the same color as yours and try to screw your boyfriend?"
"I don't have a boyfriend," I remind Cindy as Natalie perks up and looks over at me.
"Yet," Cindy laughs.
I roll my eyes and let out another annoyed sigh.
"I do not have a boyfriend and I will never have a boyfriend. Stop trying to get me on the boyfriend train just because you found the one guy in the entire world who is sweet and romantic and loves you for who you are."
"He is not the one guy in the entire world like that. Belle found hers too, don't forget," Cindy states.
"Can we be done talking about this now? You're getting on my nerves."
"Shut up and ask the nice girl about her hair," Cindy demands.
Right now, I'm seriously regretting teaching Cindy how to find her voice and not let people walk all over her. Moving the mouthpiece of my phone away from me, I jerk my chin in Natalie's direction.
"Are you happy with your current hair color?"
Natalie looks at me in confusion for a few seconds, tentatively reaching up and twirling a strand of her long blonde hair between her fingers.
"Uhhhh, yes?" she whispers. "I mean, I've been thinking about a change lately, maybe brunette with some caramel highlights. I'm getting a little tired of —"
"Stop talking," I interrupt, holding a hand up to her and bringing my phone closer to my mouth to address Cindy.
"Are you happy now? She's not going to dye her hair red like mine, I don't think she's got the balls to screw the boyfriend I will never have, and I'm fairly confident if she tried to kill me I could take her skinny ass and jam a screwdriver in her eyeball before she could even blink."
Natalie visibly starts shaking in her seat, and I start to feel really bad about scaring the poor girl.
Ha ha, just kidding! I don't give a fuck.
Damn it. Yes I do. I need a roommate, like, yesterday, and Natalie has been the only normal person I've met with in the last few weeks.
"Stop trying to scare her," Cindy scolds. "Give her a chance and do not kick her out before the interview is over."
I bristle at her words and narrow my eyes even though she can't see me.
"I've given all of these jackholes I interviewed over the last few weeks a chance. It's not my fault every weirdo in a fifty-mile radius responded to my ad. Did you forget about Felony Felicia? Or Pothead Patricia?" I ask.
(Let's conduct a small reenactment, shall we?
Me: Well, I think this went well. I'll be in touch.
Felony Felicia: Great! My parole officer will just need to inspect your house.
Me: I'm sorry, what?
Felony Felicia: It's fine. As long as you keep anything that might be used as a weapon locked up and out of my reach, he'll approve it. You know, like knives, forks, chopsticks, stilettos, and lighters.
Me: *blank stare*
Felony Felicia: Honestly, the stilettos charge was total bullshit. It's not like the heel went that far into my ex-boyfriend's neck. He's just a pussy and I guess neck wounds bleed a lot.
Me: Get out.
Me: It was nice chatting with you. I'll call you later this week.
Pothead Patricia: Quick question, dude. Do you conduct random drug tests?
Me: I ... what?
Pothead Patricia: It's fine if you do. I'll just need, like, at least a three-day notice so I can get ahold of some clean urine. It's okay. I've got a guy. Are you gonna finish that muffin? Blueberries are my jam, dude. I could go for some Cheetos. SpongeBob is really funny. Can we take a nap now?
Me: Get out.)
Cindy groans through the line and I know she's thinking about my disastrous roommate interviews as well.
"Just be nice and call me when you're finished," she tells me.
"When have you ever known me to be nice? Also, I will text you when I'm finished, like a normal human being. Leave me alone and go have crazy monkey sex with your boyfriend before tomorrow when you're shacking up, all the magic is gone, and you murder him in his sleep for not replacing the toilet paper roll."
"One of these days, Ariel, you are going to get your own fairy tale and I'm going to point and laugh at you when it happens," Cindy informs me. "You're going to find your very own Prince Charming and he's going to knock you on your —"
I pull the phone away from my ear and hang up on Cindy, cutting off her bullshit fairy-tale lecture.
Fairy tales don't happen in real life.
Shit. Forget I said that. They happened to both of my friends. Let's just say they don't happen to me and I'm fine with that. F-I-N-E, fine.
"Do you have any more questions for me?" Natalie asks softly.
"I'M FINE!" I scream at her.
I don't need a knight in shining armor to save me and pull the stick out of my ass like Cindy did. I don't need a beastly man with a heart of gold to help me spread my wings and save my precious library like Belle did. I just need to be able to pay my bills, finally start stripping for the Naughty Princess Club, and die happy and alone without a man pissing me off and telling me what to do. And it won't be weird. I won't turn into a Creepy Cat Lady or anything because I hate cats.
My best friends can go ahead and have their stupid fairy tales. I will be a Fantastic Fish Female. My pet fish won't let me down, they won't cover me in hair, and there's zero chance of someone finding my dead body with my face half eaten off.
It's fine. I'M FINE.CHAPTER 2
No One Uses Their Phone for That
"Are you almost home? The donuts are getting cold and Cindy's freaking out because PJ wrote bedroom on a kitchen-utensil box and now she's making us check every single box, smacking us with a spatula if we skip one. Hey, did you know the French call their version of donuts pets de nonne which translates to nun's farts?" Belle asks, her giggle echoing through the speaker in my car.
I resist the urge to yell at her for calling me instead of texting because A — I'm driving, and even though I've mastered the art of putting on mascara and eating Taco Bell while operating a moving vehicle, texting is a no-no; and B — As much as my friends annoy me, I can't help but love Belle and her penchant for spouting off random facts.
"Also, did you drop off our state business license at the courthouse? That has to be turned in by this week or —"
"Don't get your grandma panties all in a bunch. I'm pulling onto Fairytale Lane as we speak," I interrupt her.
I choose not to tell her that I got all the way to the courthouse and realized I forgot the paperwork I needed at home and had to turn back around. I take full responsibility for this mistake, and also for now having to turn in this stuff in person, after putting the wrong information on the forms when I initially filed them online. But I don't need another lecture. When I pulled into the courthouse and realized what I'd done, I screamed so many curse words I ran out of new ones and started making a few up. In case you were wondering, yelling "Dick shit son of a nut cock hole" will indeed get you a few strange looks in a crowded parking lot. After that, I burst into tears, which is completely unacceptable. I am not a crier. Ever. Even more absurd, I apologized to the people around me who witnessed my meltdown. APOLOGIZED. I don't know what's happening to me lately. I think I'm having an identity crisis.
"I'm not wearing panties," Belle whispers loudly. "Vincent hid all my underwear when he did the laundry the other day. It was quite breezy at first, but it's growing on me. Especially since it gives him easy access, if you know what I mean."
Silence fills my car as I try to clear my head of any and all images of Belle and Vincent having sex. Don't get me wrong, he's big and muscly and hot, and I'm quite proud of my shy, sheltered friend for owning her sexuality and turning into a wildcat, but I don't need the details. I need to actually be able to sleep at night, thank you very much.
"You know what I mean, right?" Belle asks when the silence gets too much for her. "I mean he can push me up against the wall and easily —"
"Shhhhhhhhhhh ... I can't hear you ... shhhhhhhhh — bad ... connection ... shhhhhhhhh ... going through a tunnel ... ," I say before hitting the disconnect-call button on my dashboard screen.
I can't help but smile, regardless of my shitty morning, as I slowly ease onto my street. Even though I'm not a fan of fairy tales, I love where I live and can let the name of my street slide. It's a quiet cul-de-sac filled with families, and it doesn't make me want to murder a small village of people at all that when I moved here, I still had ridiculous hopes and dreams that I myself might someday have a family of my own. It actually took me some time to love this street, and I'm still iffy about the majority of people who live here, considering they're a bunch of judgmental assholes who mistook me for a harlot homewrecker instead of a brokenhearted divorcée. Cindy was, in fact, one of those judgmental assholes with me at first, but clearly I won her over with my sparkling personality.
My smile falters a bit as I drive down the tree-lined street and pass Cindy's house with a moving truck in the driveway and a few cars parked out front by the curb. Becoming Cindy's friend and having her live a few houses down from me was another check mark in the plus column of living on Fairytale Lane. I know PJ's house is only a few minutes away on the other side of town, but it won't be the same when I can't just walk across the street and barge through her front door without knocking whenever I want. As I pull into my driveway and stare through the windshield of my two-story colonial, I push aside my melancholy thoughts and remember how much I love my house. It's not fancy and it's half the size of Cindy's, but it's still mine, and right now, it's one of the only things that makes me happy.
Sure, I had to sell my antique store in order to continue to be able to afford it and the fucking alimony I've been forced to pay my ex-husband, but it's fine. I still have a roof over my head, and even though I've recently had to start selling off a bunch of my antiques to pay for shit, my house is still filled with a lot of beautiful items that keep me warm at night.
Okay, fine. China, a plethora of grandfather clocks, vintage paintings, and a shit ton of other odds and ends that cover every available surface in my house don't actually keep me warm at night, but whatever. They make me happy. I deserve to be happy, damn it.
Cindy and Belle have been making a killing doing stripping parties for the Naughty Princess Club, and since right now I'm only handling the administrative duties for the business, I only make a small percentage of their take. A very, very small percentage. Not nearly enough to keep paying my mortgage and save me from selling everything in my house, which is why I've been conducting interviews to find a roommate. But I need to suck it up and take my clothes off for money already. My friends just don't understand what's holding me back and honestly, neither do I. Out of the three of us, one would think I would have been the first one to take the leap into stripping, considering this whole business was my idea anyway. When the three of us showed up at the annual Fairytale Lane Halloween block party wearing princess costumes, we were hired by one of the neighbors to do a party for him. We all thought it would be a princess party for his young daughter, but it turned out we were actually hired to be strippers for PJ's birthday. That party did not end well, let me tell you. We ran out of the house screaming, but our neighbor still paid us for losing our shit. And it was a nice chunk of change. I immediately suggested we do parties where we actually strip, and the rest is history.
It was a good idea at the time. And honestly, it's still a good idea, considering how amazingly Cindy and Belle have done with these parties, and how week after week, our client list and party bookings continue to grow. I just need to get out of this funk I'm in. I can't exactly save my house and all of my antiques unless I figure out what the hell is wrong with me.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Kiss the Girl"
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: Fantastic Fish Female,
Chapter 2: No One Uses Their Phone for That,
Chapter 3: Gattaca!,
Chapter 4: NOOOOOOOOOOO, My Precious!,
Chapter 5: Fuck, Marry, Kill,
Chapter 6: Love Thy Neighbor,
Chapter 7: Panty Dropper,
Chapter 8: Derrick Alfredo,
Chapter 9: Princess Sassy Pants,
Chapter 10: Hashtag Poop Dance,
Chapter 11: Kiss the Girl,
Chapter 12: Fucking Perfect,
Chapter 13: Laffy Taffy,
Chapter 14: Ball Licker,
Chapter 15: C King,
Chapter 16: Cat Scratch Fever,
Chapter 17: I Want the Fucking Fairy Tale,
Chapter 18: Tiny House Angry,
Chapter 19: I'm Crying in a Goddamn Mall,
Chapter 20: Gang Bang, Party of Me,
Chapter 21: Show Them Your Wide Open Spaces,
Chapter 22: Dickless, Spineless Pieces of Shit,
Chapter 23: Am I in the Fucking Twilight Zone?,
Chapter 24: Fuck You, Combat Boot,
Chapter 25: Tomorrow Is Going to Suck,
Chapter 26: You Are Goals, Dude,
Chapter 27: I Just Want Him to Piddle His Pants,
Chapter 28: Murder House,
Chapter 29: Pick the Penis Out of Her Hair,
Chapter 30: Can I Kiss the Girl?,
About the Author,
Also by Tara Sivec,