Chef Kristoffer "Kit" Rex is hot, pure and simple. But for Sabrina Bliss, he's off-limits. Thanks to a bet with her sister, Sabrina can't sleep with a man for one year unless she falls in love. With the help of a regular diet of chocolate, though, Sabrina manages to "simulate" the effects of sex without actually having it. Unfortunately, Kit doesn't want to play by the rules .
BUT THE SEX IS SWEETER!
It's agonizing for Kit to see Sabrina every day and not have her. For some reason, she keeps him at arm's length, and he's not ready to settle for that. She obviously loves chocolateshe eats it every time he comes near her!so what better way to seduce her than with the velvety smooth concoction? Although she has incredible willpower, Kit knows Sabrina's readyand willingfor one sweet seduction .
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The Chocolate Seduction
By Carrie Alexander
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Some wedding," Sabrina Bliss said to her sister. "I nearly lost it when the minister got to the 'till death do us part' part." Mackenzie would understand what she meant.
"That's why I pinched you!" Mackenzie tried to put on a scolding face, but warm laughter bubbled up instead. "It's so rude to laugh in the middle of a wedding ceremony."
Sabrina smiled, feeling oddly light and cheerful despite her doubts about the marriage. "You'll notice I didn't object, either."
Mackenzie blinked. "Do you have objections?"
"Mmm ... no, not really."
"But you're not optimistic."
Sabrina tucked her fist beneath her chin, fingers tightening around the small velvet box in her palm. She should give it up, but ... she just wasn't sure about letting go.
"You know I don't believe in fairy-tale endings," she said.
Sabrina and Mackenzie had come out onto the balcony of the Fontaine Hotel to catch a quiet moment together, away from the reception. They'd found their newlywed parents, Charlie and Nicole Bliss, dancing beneath the starry sky on one of the brick paths of the hotel's rose garden. Light and music spilled from the open French doors, dappling the scene with a particularly picturesque version of romance.
Bah, humbug, Sabrina thought, without much conviction. Her emotions were too close to the surface. Luckily she had plenty of experience in not letting them show.
Mackenzie was the opposite. And clearly a goner. She'd welled up throughout the ceremony, and now her gaze was pinned on their parents, her big dark eyes shining with hope.
A couple of months ago, Charlie and Nicole Bliss had confessed to their daughters that they'd never quite managed to fall out of love despite their divorce of long standing. They'd decided to give marriage another try. Sabrina and Mackenzie had been stunned. Aside from the occasional family Christmas dinner or birthday party, they hadn't known that their parents were seeing each other. Naturally, Mackenzie found it all so touching and romantic. Sabrina wasn't as ready to forget the perils of the rancorous divorce, even though it had taken place sixteen years ago, when she was thirteen. And she sure didn't want to be around if the shrapnel started to fly again.
"Maybe it's not a fairy-tale ending," Mackenzie said softly. "Maybe it's real."
"Ha." Sabrina raised a champagne glass to her lips.
"When reality hits, I give them six months."
Mackenzie wrapped a hand around her sister's arm. She squeezed, making Sabrina wish she could take back her words. Mackenzie was a squeezer, a patter, a cheerer-upper. And a very good friend. They'd been apart for too long. Mackenzie was settled in New York City while Sabrina went wherever whim took her.
"You're so cynical, Breen," she said, reverting to the family nickname.
Did that mean they were a family again?
Sabrina shrugged. While she might have her doubts about her parents, Mackenzie was as reliable as a rock. The sisters had very different personalities, but they'd turned to each other for comfort after the divorce and had been close ever since, even when separated by thousands of miles.
"Look at the divorce statistics," Mackenzie continued. "If half of all marriages fail, then Mom and Dad already have their divorce over and done with. This marriage is practically a sure thing."
Sabrina scoffed. "Your numbers are skewed. I'd definitely double down on that bet." She'd learned the lingo in Reno, where she'd once worked as a cocktail waitress after a stage magician had fired her for screaming bloody murder during a botched saw trick. "Here I thought logic was your strong suit."
"This isn't about logic. You've got to have faith."
Mackenzie gazed past the balcony to their parents. "Look at them. Tell me your heart doesn't melt."
Sabrina held the ring box in one hand and sipped champagne from the glass in the other, brooding over the sight of her parents exchanging whispers and kisses after all these years. They were a study in contrasts, much like their daughters. Charlie Bliss was tall and sandy-haired, prone to daydreaming and wild, irresponsible schemes. Nicole was as short, round and stable as Mackenzie, but not as gentle. She could be a bulldozer.
Sabrina truly wished them the best. But whatever faith she had had been left behind years ago, dug deep into the bottom of the backpack she'd lugged between their houses after the divorce.
Six months was generous, she decided. It wouldn't be too much of a shock if they were arguing on the honeymoon cruise, when Charlie wanted to go parasailing and Nicole chose to snorkel. Every little thing had once been a battle. The arguments were still familiar.
"Sure, they seem devoted," Sabrina admitted. A spring breeze whipped up and stole the words "for now ..." from her lips. Loose pink rose petals from the swags draped over the balcony railing scattered like confetti. Cream satin ribbons fluttered.
Below, Nicole's delighted laughter rang out as Charlie removed the jacket of his tux and draped it over her shoulders. He used it to pull her toward his kiss.
Mackenzie sighed. "See that?"
Sabrina nodded, watching. Even her heart had melted ... a little. Then the wind came again and she shivered in her whisper-of-silk slip dress. Ever practical and prepared, Mackenzie hooked an arm around Sabrina's shoulders, sharing her pink cashmere wrap and her body warmth. Mackenzie was a home-and-hearth kind of girl. Sabrina was long and lean, built for running.
She was good at that. But then why was she still clutching the ring box so tightly?
Mackenzie stirred. "Doesn't it make you think, Breen?"
"Mom and Dad aren't afraid to go for it. We shouldn't be, either."
Sabrina drew away. "What are you talking about? Love? Marriage? Me? Not on your life!"
Making a tutting noise, Mackenzie pulled off the wrap and arranged it around her sister. Her long hair covered her own shoulders like a cape. It was beautiful - waist-length, thick and wavy, the color of dark chocolate. She'd been wearing it in the same plain style since she was ten. "No, Sabrina. I mean change. Transformation, renewal, starting over - whatever you want to call it. Change would do us both good."
Sabrina made a face. "It's my policy to avoid anything that will do me good. And I like my life the way it is."
Mackenzie's brows went up. "Do you really?"
"I remember a certain 3:00 a.m. phone call -"
"You swore you wouldn't use that against me. It was no more than a bad breakup rant. I'd already done the sympathy margarita thing with my girlfriends. I was in the middle of the tearing-up-photos-and-freaking-long-distance stage."
"Now, Sabrina, you were with the last guy for almost an entire winter. It was more than just another failed relationship. You're used to those. If you weren't hurt, you wouldn't have packed up and flown to Mexico the very next day."
"I'm used to doing that, too," Sabrina pointed out.
Mackenzie got a stubborn look on her face. "Just because you're used to it doesn't mean you like it. I distinctly remember that before the breakup you were wondering if it wasn't time to settle down and start a real career."
Excerpted from The Chocolate Seduction by Carrie Alexander Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When their divorced parents remarry one another, sisters MacKenzie and Sabrina Bliss react differently. Mackenzie feels this will last forever while the cynical Bliss expects a second divorce within six months. The siblings agree to 'change' lives. Mackenzie must drop 'Mr. Dull' to seek exciting romance and quit her secure job to begin her dream of her own candy business. Sabrina must settle in one city with one job with no sex for one year except if she falls in love. Six weeks later, Sabrina has become a chocolate addict convinced that the rush is as good as that from sex. However, working as a lunch manager at the same place as Dessert Chef Kit Rex has caused Sabrina to geometrically increase her intake of chocolate. Kit wants Sabrina and decides the way to her heart is sinfully through sweets as every time he sees her she grabs chocolate. Fans will find sweet pleasure with this amusing sugary yet sexy romance. The story line is played for fun as Sabrina struggles with her desires for Kit who concocts a plan to make him her diet substitute. Readers will enjoy this tale and look forward to Mackenzie's story due next month. Harriet Klausner