You know what they say about mixing business with pleasure ...
When the breakdown of her marriage leaves Sadie Turner a single mum, she vows that she will make it on her own. After all, why would a smart businesswoman with a PhD and the prospect of a life-changing deal on the horizon need a man?
But Sadie's man-ban is tested to the limit when she travels to Monaco to meet her potential investor. There she encounters Mac, a rough and ready playboy billionaire who lives life in the fast lane and that's when the real adventure starts!
But Sadie's heart isn't the only thing on the line. There's also the business she's worked so hard to make a success; the business that could so easily slip out of her grasp if she doesn't seal the deal within thirty days ...
|Publisher:||Choc Lit, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
She is the author of short stories for children’s TV (Buena Vista, ‘Rise and Shine’), and published a semi-autobiographical weight-loss book called Till The Fat Lady Slims. Her debut with Choc Lit Take a Chance on Me reached the final of the top ten ‘Best 100 First Words’ competition at York Festival.
Debbie lives in Dorking, Surrey and has two grown up children and three feisty Labradors.
Read an Excerpt
Take a Chance on Me
By Debbie Flint
Choc Lit LimitedCopyright © 2015 Debbie Flint
All rights reserved.
She nearly did it. In that split second, she nearly did it. After all, if throwing a mobile phone into the sea could magically take all her troubles away, Ms Sadie Turner (PhD) would instantly be a stone lighter, debt-free and not in the mood for killing somebody. Well, one body in particular – the one explaining light-heartedly that he couldn't have the girls at the weekend – again. Something had 'cropped up' – again. But this time, Sadie had a way out. This time, the deal of a lifetime was within reach, and this time, nothing could stand in her way. Least of all the waste of space she used to call husband – because tomorrow she had a business meeting with a billionaire, and, with his investment, everything could change. A way to be finally free of the painfully thin string that was holding her hostage to her past.
She had just thirty days to make it happen.
'Aw come on, sweetie, let your mum have them for me. She did it for you last month when you went swanning off to play aloha halfway round the world.'
'She's my mum, Stuart. And it was business,' Sadie replied. At that moment a ship sounded its horn offshore, and Sadie jumped, as did a hundred seabirds who took off, filling the air with their cawing and flapping. Not quite the Mediterranean 'breeze' she had in mind.
'Anyway, where are you? On another cheapo jaunt? Some European jolly, sweetie?' said the voice on speakerphone.
'Don't call me sweetie,' she replied. 'It's not a jolly. And they flew me here Club Class, if you must know.'
'Oo-ooo, sorry, sugar-lips.'
'And don't call me sugar-lips! Or babe, or cutie-pie, or anything – in fact, don't call me at all when I'm away on business!'
'Is it proper business?'
'Yes, of course it's proper business!' Sadie snapped a little too loud for her opulent surroundings. She heard a 'tut' from somewhere nearby and looked around but couldn't see anyone, just a group of glamorous people a little further down the jetty, queuing to board one of the executive yachts.
She adjusted her jacket, lowered her voice, and banished her demons.
'No more of your sob stories, Stuart. And I'll tell you something – if you don't take your daughters somewhere nice this weekend, then your latest "girlfriend" – girl being the operative word – will be mysteriously twittered about how old you really are.'
'I don't care if it's twatted, don't let your children down again.'
She made a mental note to tell her kids later about this latest heated debate with their dad – it would make them smile. He had stopped being their fourth musketeer years ago, but it could be worse – he could be worse.
'But there's no way I can miss my ...' he began, but at that moment her call waiting bleep sounded.
'Hold on a sec, Stuart,' she said as she jabbed at her phone sharply. 'Good afternoon, Sadie Turner speaking.'
It was an update on her lost luggage. It was still lost. A few more hours in the business suit then.
Sadie swapped calls again, and let out a big sigh.
'Was that one of your big sighs?' her ex-husband asked.
She rolled her eyes at the phone.
'And I bet you're rolling your eyes?' Damn the man. 'So I saw the local paper – who'd have thought it, my Sadie winning a marketing award and a trip to Hawaii to pick up some trophy.'
'I'm not your Sadie. Not any more.'
'Something happen when you were out there?' he continued, ignoring her comment. 'No sooner are you back than I try to call and get yet another foreign ringtone. What's that all about then?' He gabbled straight on, not waiting for her reply – like he used to do when he had a bee in his bonnet. 'Most unlike my workaholic Sadie. Have you met someone?' he asked an edge to his voice. Ah, there it was.
She took a moment to compose herself, then mentally squeezed him out from under her skin like a great big spot. Satisfying.
'That's none of your concern, is it?' she replied triumphantly, stretching her neck to left and right. 'Not any more. Got to go, Stuart, people to see, things to do. And don't forget – be there on Saturday. It's your turn. Bye.'
She hung up before he could reply. That felt good. She exhaled and closed her eyes. Things to do indeed – like wasting time waiting for my suitcase to turn up. She started to walk along the jetty.
Lost luggage – today of all days.
A long blonde tendril escaped in the breeze and blew onto her face, so she stopped walking to fix it. Her handbag was heavy and she put it down at her feet. She'd brought the shiny glass trophy along so she could look at it every now and then as a kind of talisman, a good luck charm. And maybe if she rubbed it enough her luck would continue. She'd need it because palpitations hit her chest like a freight train every time she thought about the make or break presentation she had to give tomorrow morning. Was it any wonder, with the challenge she was facing? Could she do it? Could anyone do it?
Just thirty days to find an investor and sign the contract – certainly not your run-of-the-mill business deal. But then Sadie Samantha Turner was 'not your run-of-the-mill business woman'. At least that's what her fridge magnet said.
She pulled a little tube of high protection sun cream from her jacket pocket. It smelled wonderfully exotic and felt soothing as she dabbed some onto her glowing cheeks. Then she shoved the wayward hair back into the once-smart 'up-do' that had become more 'do' than 'up'.
Picking up her weighty handbag again, she set off, carefully clip-clopping along the cobblestones as fast as her five-inch stilettos would allow. Ouch – not so fast – she nearly twisted an ankle.
She wasn't expecting cobblestones. Why cobblestones not wood? Well, the boats were huge. Goodness only knows how wealthy you had to be to own one of these beauties. She remembered the conversations amongst the plane passengers on the way over, two of whom were having an in-depth debate about which stars were docked here for the Grand Prix. She'd been so fascinated by their conversations, and so clearly out of her depth in Club Class, that they'd taken pity on her and regaled her with stories of the glitterati in Monaco. 'Here,' one of them had said, 'take this ticket – if you don't mind pretending you're on the guest list. It's for an Open Day for a yacht that's for sale – not on our agenda, darling, not this trip. But you are welcome to go – you've certainly got the shoes for it.'
She'd hesitated. What would it be like ... imagine the view from the deck ... just to get one photo on board, to see the girls' faces when they saw it ... She'd heard about the famous marina and wanted to see how the other half lived – play a bit of make-believe. But now cold feet had set in. Maybe just seeing the outside of the Nomusa – the massive blue yacht pictured on the ticket – would be enough. Maybe it would be best not to try to pass herself off as someone she wasn't, considering her inappropriate business attire and dishevelled hair. But as she got closer to these amazing craft it was hard to ignore the pull of curiosity to find out more. Yet the nearer she got, the colder her feet became.
No, it's no good – I just don't belong.
She couldn't do it. She'd just have a look from the outside. And maybe find some interior images later online. Ever the stickler for detail, she took out a tiny notebook and pen, and looked around her on the dock, jotting down one or two of the other yacht's names to Google later. Two very glamorous people passed her by and looked at her quite strangely, so she smiled and quickly popped her notebook back in her bag. Then she walked off, head in the clouds, allowing herself a little daydream.
Several feet above Sadie, on the deck of one of the biggest yachts in the marina, a seaman called Mac was distracted. Sadie's slightly raised voice and mad gesticulating had caught his attention. Then her voluptuous curves had kept it, despite her tetchy manner. So who was this woman in the tight blue business skirt? No tourist dressed like that, plus she'd been taking notes. Maybe this was the harbour inspection the Captain had warned the crew about. But in those shoes ...? Hmmm. Mac stopped his chores, rested an elbow on the end of his mop handle, and took in the sight of Sadie's backside swaggering away up the jetty in her towering heels.
He pondered, taking out a handkerchief – white-linen and monogrammed – to dab the sweat from his tanned forehead and chiselled face. Then the corners of his mouth quirked as, several yards away, Sadie tripped a tiny bit, and glanced around to check that no one had seen her.
Smiling and shaking his head, Mac tucked the hanky away in the shortest of shorts, and kept one eye on Sadie while he went back to mopping the deck.
Sadie was completely oblivious to being watched. She meandered down the jetty, approaching the queue of people near the Nomusa, trying to pretend she belonged. She was, however, much better at sticking out like a sore thumb. Sadie drew level with the group of supercilious fashionistas standing in line, all hoping for a spare invite. As she got nearer her heart pounded knowing she had what they desired – the magic ticket tucked tidily inside her bag. Could she do it?
Nope, no way am I going on there, she thought, as the glamorous group of girls nudged each other and glared at Sadie. She took a deep breath, and strutted straight by, sticking her chin in the air. Just then, several tresses of Sadie's hair suddenly freed themselves and dramatically flopped onto her face, blocking her view completely and the group giggled. She simply tossed her head back, and continued walking by, peering out from underneath the hair at a funny angle, just till she passed the end of their queue. She cursed under her breath and stopped to rummage around in her bulging bag, removing things one by one.
'Where's that damn brush ...?' she muttered to herself. Ahh, there it is, underneath everything else, naturally.
Looking around she spotted a low post nearby and deposited her things on it, while she fixed her hair. In the bright sunshine, if she held the glass trophy at the right angle, she could just about see her reflection in it. Stupid hairdo. It might be newly blonde, but it's definitely getting another cut when I get home. A business-bob, yes, that would suit her new executive image.
Absent-mindedly she started placing her things back in her bag. With an effort, she began to close the zip, then stopped. The last thing she'd stuffed inside was the colourful invite, with gold embossed lettering in French. She took it out again, and gazed at it, thoughtfully, completely unaware that a pushy salesman, holding a clipboard, had spotted the invite and was coming her way. Suddenly a pair of very smart brogues were right in front of Sadie and she looked up, holding the ticket. The gaggle of yacht groupies behind her fell silent, and she felt their eyes piercing through her back.
'Ah, the final latecomer,' he said, with a strong French accent. Then he thrust a glossy brochure into her hand and took the ticket from her before she could say a word. 'Do come on board. You are just in time. And I believe I know who you are,' he said. Sadie's heart began to pound as the man continued. 'Mr Clooney said to look out for ze heels! Haha. Welcome to the tour, Miss ...'
'Turner,' Sadie replied. 'And it's Ms.'
'Yes, Ms. As in not-Miss but not-Missus.' The man merely raised an eyebrow then started looking down a list of names on his clipboard.
'Oh, but you won't find me on any list of Mr Clooney's,' she said.
'You won't be the first woman to say that,' he said. 'Or the last.' Shaking his head slightly, he gave up looking at his list. With another glance at her heels, and at her, he shrugged, closed his clipboard and put away his pen. He took her ticket, then her elbow and guided her to the walkway.
'We are about to commence. Straight up the gangplank there, but stay on the red carpet. Champagne awaits you at the top.'
Sadie opened her mouth to explain, and then stopped, looked up at the plush, luxurious red carpet leading onto the yacht, and the buzzing hubbub taking place on deck. Jealous eyes burned into her back from the queue behind her. A massive, full-headlights beam spread right across her glowing face as mischief crossed her mind, and she held her arm out graciously to accept his offer to help her onto the gangplank.
Why not? Why the hell not! About time, lady luck ... Before she knew it she had joined a tour of a very large vessel that apparently was having an Open Day for a certain Mr Clooney.
Half an hour, a few nibbles and two small glasses of Cristal champagne later, Sadie was back on the jetty, having learned that Mr 'Alistair' Clooney was no relation to any film stars, married or otherwise, and not at all partial to gatecrashers.
But hey, she thought, fanning herself with the glossy brochure she'd been allowed to keep by the amused French salesman, it would make a nice little story to tell her girls when she got back. And she'd got the prized photo on her phone – which she began uploading to her cloud storage straight away, while she wandered distractedly back down the jetty once more. It had been worth it, pretending to be someone else, even if only briefly. And no one would know, would they?
Time to chase the luggage again. But there was still no news. She could only hope and pray it would turn up at her hotel by this evening, as her laptop and back-up were in there with everything she needed for the meeting tomorrow. Oooo more palpitations. The meeting tomorrow, everything depended upon it. Her little health food store back home in Surrey, the girls' education – everything. This opportunity was what she'd been praying for and it simply had to be a success. And if it wasn't ...
She shuddered at the alternatives, all too dismal to contemplate, each of them meaning she would still have to lean on pain-in-the-butt Stuart.
Sadie took a moment to catch her breath and looked out at the amazing view on the other side of the jetty. In front of her was the bluest sky she'd ever witnessed, and the most luxurious harbour. She felt like she was on one of those travel programmes and expected Judith Chalmers to come creeping out from a yacht with a microphone, looking all orange and shiny. Sadie was old enough to remember Judith Chalmers' travel shows, another fact that bothered her slightly – she wasn't getting any younger. She caught herself mid-thought. No! No negativity. Come on, Sadie, think positive.
One minute and some serious focus work later, she was allowing herself to feel a little elation. After all, she, Sadie Samantha Turner, had made it this far. Who would have 'thunk it' as her girls were fond of saying.
Not her critics, who kept telling her she'd never amount to anything, especially Stuart – and his mother.
This time, they would see that this wasn't 'just another hare-brained scheme' as her old boss had called it, when, post-divorce, the newly single Sadie had left the university research lab to strike out on her own – in more ways than one.
This time it was Sadie doing it by herself. And if she could only pull off this multi-million pound negotiation, the commission would be incredible. Then let's see them laugh on the other sides of their faces.
And in her ex-mother-in-law's case, that would be at least two.
The mobile phone in her bag rang and snapped Sadie out of her stupor. She squeaked in surprise, retrieved it and checked the screen before straightening up and answering in her best voice.
'Hello? ... Oh, thank goodness.' She continued walking as she talked. 'So, where did you find it? ... But how could my suitcase end up in Milan? ... What time "later"? ... Well, it will have to do, won't it? And I'll just boil in my business suit till then ... Yes, I know you're doing your best. It's not your fault, I'm just having a bad ...' She stopped herself.
Don't say it, Sadie, think positive. Always think positive.
Excerpted from Take a Chance on Me by Debbie Flint. Copyright © 2015 Debbie Flint. Excerpted by permission of Choc Lit Limited.
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
Take a Chance on Me is an excellent contemporary romance story. Max and Sadie from their first encounter they instantly have a strong emotional connection. The characters are perfectly rendered, delightful sensual scenes. A beautiful story of romance entwined in with an interesting tale of new beginnings and sometimes second chances.It was fast paced, suspenseful and the storyline connected with the characters perfectly from beginning to the end of novel. New and fresh with a magnificent ending. No cliffhanger. Well-developed, appealing plot and impressively written. A marvelous heartfelt novel. *A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.*
This story started out very strong. We meet Sadie, on a business trip to meet with a prospective investor. With some free time on her hands and a borrowed “Open House” invitation, she's at the docks, nervously boarding a yacht under the pretense of being someone posh who might actually want to buy a yacht. After getting thrown off said yacht, she meets Mac, a deckhand on another yacht. I connected with and loved Sadie right from the beginning. She's a little awkward and self-conscious, she's smart and witty, she's mum to two adolescent daughters, she totters about on her sky high heels, she's got curves, she's a realistic woman. She has a self-imposed rule about no men in her life until her girls are grown. A one night stand with Mac is the perfect way to end a stressful day. Not that she rushes into it. Oh no, she vacillates, and actually walks away, but her libido drags her back. On an impulse she's given him her middle name, and they agree that there will be no talk about their personal or business lives. Just each other's company for one evening. So naturally the next morning when she walks into the meeting with the investor, who is she shocked to come face to face with but a shocked Mac. And Mac has a very firm rule – he does not mix business with pleasure. This line is from much farther into the book, but it's a good description of Sadie and Mac at this point: "How could a playboy billionaire ever want to be with a small-town single mother of two feisty teenage girls, with a hippy grandma in tow, and a barely-solvent health food store to run." The banter between Sadie and Mac was just delightful, and I loved watching them get to know each other. Mac gets angry that Sadie didn't tell him who she really was, suspicious that she was playing him because he's rich, but at the same time he kept reminding himself that he was also less than honest, pretending to be a deckhand rather than the billionaire owner of the yacht he was on. He has a lot of trust issues when it comes to women, as billionaire playboys do. But his issues never seem melodramatic and we get into his head enough to have some insight and understanding of his reasoning. At this point in the story, there is a lot of business talk. Sadie has presented Mac's people with a proposed marketing plan for a hydrating water, Frish, in hopes that he will be willing to invest, and join her in vying for distribution rights. If all goes well, and the company that produces the water goes for her plan, she's looking at finally having some financial security, paying off debt, and being able to provide more for her daughters without having to rely on her scummy ex-husband's help. And frankly, all the business talk bored me. The plot got a little convoluted and very busy. Now that they're contemplating going into business together, Mac is determined to not have any kind of personal relationship with Sadie, and he often disappeared and avoided her and told her he would talk to her later and then didn't. I definitely enjoyed the story much more when they were interacting together, rather than going off in separate directions. There are several secondary characters, and they mostly remain secondary. Which was fine, since I wanted the focus to be on Sadie and Mac. Eventually there was a revelation about Simon, Mac's business adviser and CFO, which I thought was unnecessary and a little disappointing. But in the end everything wrapped up quite satisfyingly, and I enjoyed more of the book than what I unenjoyed.
Take a Chance on Me (Choc Lit), Debbie Flint Genre: Romance, Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews This had all the elements I look for in a fun romance but...somehow although it was a well written book, it just didn’t really work for me. I just felt everything seemed a little off, a bit flat and monotone, when I was expecting glorious colour. Still, that’s just my view remember. I loved how it started, but then it just seemed somehow all a bit of a jumble, with plots getting overcomplicated and poor Sadie just being strung along, not really understanding what was happening. Given her strong business ethic that seemed wrong to me, that she’d let herself be side-lined like that. ( Though I’m not sure what she could have done). I found it a little hard to believe that a company on the edge of making it big, but needing financial investors, would let all hinge on her, someone they didn’t know, someone they’d no idea could deliver what she promised, someone with no background in that area, who’d met them almost by accident, especially given the tight financial deadline....Would they really just leave her to save the business, or have been all out themselves for finding finance? She was risking her family’s future on it all too...though TBH the family seemed a very distant thing, we only met them via phone calls really, and she seemed to be able to separate them easily from her business life, when most parents will know – kids affect everything in your life, and don’t stay back til needed! When it came to Mac holding a grudge against Sadie for not telling all at their first meeting – well, he needed to look at himself too if he was casting blame. I could see that sexually there was a hot connection between them but more? I didn’t feel it the way I needed to. Alexis was a good addition - I love that sort of character and she felt very real. Its not a bad book, I’m sure for many it will be a great one, its just that for me this was just OK, a middle of the road read, not one to mentally rehash and remember. Stars: Three, an OK read ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers