Best friends Nely Mendoza and Aggie Portero share a life-changing switcheroo in Castillo's spirited romantic comedy. Past 30, curvy wife and mom Nely and hot, no-carb spitfire shop owner Aggie are a little jealous of each other's life. But after the two switch bodies during a "transcendental meditation ceremony," they realize that the other's grass isn't necessarily greener. Aggie, who's been yearning for marriage and a baby, experiences some reality checks while taking care of Nely's toddler, and Simon, Nely's cop husband, all the while handling Simon's manipulative mother. Nely's challenges as Aggie include rescuing her friend's shop from financial meltdown, fending off a stalker and figuring out what's up with Aggie's playboy pal, chef Kevin Sanchez. Although the trading places idea isn't a fresh concept, Castillo's effervescent style and likable characters sweeten the deal. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Switchcraftby Mary Castillo
Best friends since back in the day, Aggy and Nely are as different as two women could possibly be. Aggie's slim, stylish, and owns an upscale boutique and a long history of no-strings relationships. Nely has a busy baby, a metiche mother-in-law, and some extra post-pregnancy pounds she can't quite shed. And when they reconnect at a New Age spa, each friend/em>
Best friends since back in the day, Aggy and Nely are as different as two women could possibly be. Aggie's slim, stylish, and owns an upscale boutique and a long history of no-strings relationships. Nely has a busy baby, a metiche mother-in-law, and some extra post-pregnancy pounds she can't quite shed. And when they reconnect at a New Age spa, each friend finds herself wishing just a little that she had the other one's life.
Thanks to the metaphysical meddling of a somewhat grumpy guru, Nely is now Aggie and Aggie is Nely—switching bodies, love lives, families, closets . . . everything! The grass may not be quite as green as it originally appeared. As luck has it, they'll be stuck this way until the next full moon! And with a husband, his very suspicious mama, a temperamental tot, a business on the brink of disaster, and a sort-of boyfriend—not to mention a sleazy stalker—thrown into the mix, Aggie and Nely suddenly find they're not just walking in each other's shoes . . . they're running!
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Aggie Portrero never should've slept with the guy next to her.
Not that he was just "some guy"; he was Kevin. Her next door neighbor and only real male friend, and as such, they had exchanged honest accounts of each other's exploits. In other words, if anyone knew better than to get in the sack with him, that person should have been her.
For three years Kevin listened to her vent about everything from PMS, business, and the latest jerkoff she'd dated; while she helped him plot his exit strategies from numerous relationships. They enjoyed the kind of intimacy old married couples had, but without the cumbersome matrimonial ties. But now Aggie really screwed up by calling him up semidrunk last night and then sleeping with him.
Aggie unstuck her shriveled tongue from the roof of her mouth, wincing at the nasty taste. Last night's multiple rounds of green tea martinis at Laurel had been the perfect tonic after another depressing day at her ailing boutique. Sitting in the white and black bar, under a glass chandelier, she'd been feeling chic and sophisticated with her dinner date.
But then, without warning, she thought, I've gotta call Mama tonight. All the air sucked out of the room as she remembered that she couldn't call her mama tonight, or any other night for the rest of her life. While her dinner date seemed to go on mute, a full-frontal assault of loss pelted her with the cold certainty that she couldn't take her mama to their weekly Sunday brunch, or fight about the latest loser Mama opened her door to.
Never again would she be embarrassed when people made faces at Mama'ssignature, skunk-striped hair, or because she still lived in that double wide in the Keystone Trailer Park next to the Bay Theatre. And she would never get another chance to tell her mama "Love you," because the person she loved most in this world was mowed down by an eighty-one-year-old pink-haired woman who had been startled by a backfire in the parking lot of Wal-Mart.
Last night had been one of those nights Aggie knew she wouldn't survive alone, which was how Kevin ended up in her bed.
The sheets whispered over Kevin as he turned, brushing his hot skin against hers. She snuck a look at him, his hair glowing like antique gold against his dark surfer's tan. Long lashes rested on the delicate skin under his eyes, hiding eyes that had seen it all and weren't impressed. She raised her fingers, wanting to touch his plush lower lip. But she let it hover so as not to wake him and give him the wrong idea.
After her mama died, she didn't need a shrink to explain why she'd decided it was time to grow up and settle down. It was a need that started out slowly, almost innocently, when Nely, Aggie's best friend, took her hand, put it on her belly, and said, "The baby's moving."
It was one of those piss-in-your-pants moments, and after that, Aggie began noticing that the world seemed full of pregnant women. And then one day she filled out a subscription card to Working Mother. She knew she was in trouble when she caught herself walking through the doors of Babystyle, because that's when her case of baby fever went from the sniffles to chronic.
All she wanted was someone to love and to love her back. Someone to belong to and who belonged to her.
Aggie pulled the covers up to her nose in case she started crying and Kevin woke up and tried to make her feel better. But she couldn't drag her gaze away from him as she was hit with the senseless need to roll over and snuggle against his side.
Before she did anything else stupid, she snuck out of bed with the vague discomfort that something important had slipped her mind.
"I always knew you'd have great taste in underwear," Kevin grumbled in his sleepy voice, catching her tiptoeing around the foot of the bed. Until then, she'd forgotten about the see-through black mesh bra and panty set. Her robe was nowhere to be seen.
Although she knew she looked good—she'd better, having given up mashed potatoes and other carbs after her thirtieth birthday—this was not what anyone would call a power position. Unless of course, she was trying to seduce him, which of course she was not.
"You have to go," she said as if she weren't standing there in her see-through underpants, and Kevin didn't look like a Herb Ritts portrait with the hazy morning light caressing his cap of close cropped curly hair and his taut shoulders.
Her mouth watered as she took in his chocolate colored nipples, the pattern of hair that started at his belly and then trailed down to his groin, covered by the sheet that barely clung to his skin. When his face squinched into a yawn, she bore down on the lust that spiraled through her belly.
She bent down, deliberately picked his pants off the floor, then pitched them over the bed. He caught them and flung them over her pillow.
"Oh come on. You were a lady last night and I . . ." He pointed to his chest. "I was a gentleman. Nothing happened."
"Really? I could've sworn I was wearing my vintage Diane von Furstenberg wrap when I met you at Laurel."
"You were. But I thought you'd be more comfortable in that." His eyes sparkled in the way of a wolf that just spotted an easy meal.
Aggie thought about all those unfortunate women who tried to tame him. They hadn't stood a chance, although she—
No, she told those thoughts.
"Okay, well, see you later," she said before pivoting on the ball of her foot.
"This how you want to do it?" He dry-scrubbed his hands over his face. "And don't go making this my fault. You called me."Switchcraft. Copyright © by Mary Castillo. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Mary Castillo attenteded the University of Southern California, where she majored in History. During that time she went on medical missions to Mexico (where she helped deliver a baby), and interned at L.A. County Hospital. But when it was time to choose a career, Mary went back to her original love of storytelling and began writing screenplays and novels. She has worked in public relations, advertising, and as a reporter for the L.A. Times Community News. She lives in Orange County, California, with her family.
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I read this book a couple of years ago and the perspectives that I drew from it are still with me today. If you read the description above and think it sounds intriguing go for it!
Married with an infant Nely Mendoza is the best friend of commitment phobia boutique owner Aggie Portero. Although their lifestyles are 180 degrees apart each to a degree envies what the other has. While Nely wipes the baby clean, Aggie kicks herself for sleeping with her neighbor Kevin. Both look forward to sharing a girls¿ weekend together at Venatana de Oro spa where the highly regarded Guru Sauro practices his Seekers of the Dead mumbo jumbo.---------------- However at the spa the ¿grumpy Guru¿, tired of their whining, believes the two best friends need a kick in the butt to learn that each lives a rich fulfilling life. He performs SWITCHCRAFT so that Aggie¿s conscience resides inside Nely¿s body and visa versa as Nely¿s is inside that of Aggie. Now Aggie deals with Nely¿s baby, her needy husband Simon, and her sarcastic mother-in-law, while Nely manages Aggie¿s boutique and keeping Kevin on the other side of the fence.----------------- Switching bodies has been used in many books and movies, but Mary Castillo makes it feels fresh because the audience obtains a deep introspective look inside the souls of the two prime characters as Nely and Aggie learn that the grass on the other side of the fence might be brown under close inspection. The story line is amusing as each of the switcheroos struggle with living their best friend¿s life. Readers will appreciate the latest New Age reincarnation of switch.------------ Harriet Klausner