Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Get The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek for FREE


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No more chocolate! No more meddling! No more men!

New Year’s resolutions are great. Announcing them in a crowded bar, with a chocolate martini in her hand? Not Maddie Cash’s finest moment. It’s time this new realtor got serious about her life and this time, she means it.

But when hospital volunteering lands her at the bedside of bruised and battered Mick Meyer, who has no knowledge of Maddie’s reputation – and no memory of the kiss he begged from her during that long, pain-filled night, her best-laid plans are put in jeopardy. It’s not just his sweet tooth that’s tempting her.

The hunky bush pilot with the concussion has an old family property to unload. Making this sale could be Maddie’s professional salvation. But when Mick turns on the charm, she’s in danger of forgetting all her best intentions... on chocolate... on meddling... and especially on men.

Love at the Chocolate Shop series
Book 1: Melt My Heart, Cowboy by CJ Carmichael
Book 2: A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone
Book 3: Montana Secret Santa by Debra Salonen
Book 4: The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek
Book 5: The Valentine Quest by Melissa McClone
More books coming soon

"The usual, Maddie?" asked the bartender.
Madeleine Cash tossed her hair away from her face where it was endangering her false eyelashes, and blotted her damp forehead with the back of her hand. The cold from the snow swirling and drifting outside did nothing to cut the warmth of the busy pub.
"Not yet, Jason. Sparkling water with a slice of lime, please." If there was ever an occasion for her to enjoy a chocolate martini, it was New Year’s Eve, at Grey's Saloon, surrounded by friends and family. But she was the first of them to arrive, which was a bummer, and she wasn't yet in a celebratory mood.
In fact, she was in a bit of a funk.
Maddie wasn't accustomed to worrying. The mere fact of this funk... was worrying in itself.
Plus, she always got a little... glowy... when she indulged in alcohol. Funky plus glowy could only equal trouble.
"Give her a chocolate martini," said a voice at her elbow. "My treat."
"Forget it, Tod." She leaned sideways, nudging her coworker with her shoulder to soften her words. "I'm being a good girl tonight."
"I'm counting on it."
"Ick. I'm telling Elinor. She'll take away your allowance."
With his expensive haircuts and perfect clothes, Tod Styles was handsome enough, she supposed. But even she knew better than to dabble with her boss's son, especially now.
Elinor was implementing cost-cutting measures and, as she'd kindly but clearly pointed out, Maddie’s dramatic tearing up of Rosie Linn's contract had put a significant dent in the last quarter sales figures. It wasn’t her place to make magnanimous gestures, no matter how well-intentioned.
Plus, Tod's lips reminded her of watermelon gummy worms.
"Half the men here are counting on it." Jason Grey pushed a paper coaster in front of her and set her drink on it.
"And look at how responsible I'm being." She lifted the glass at Jason and Tod in turn, then took a delicate sip. "A mature, professional woman, here to ring in the new year with friends. In a mature, professional way. No flirting with the help."
"You could no more give up vodka and flirting than you could give up chocolate," said Jason.
"Why would I want to give up any of that? I embrace life. Chocolate and men are part of that."
"And vodka," said Tod.
"Nope." At least, not until her friends arrived.
"I'm not saying you should give up anything," said Jason. "I'm saying you couldn't if you tried."
"I could so!"
So she had a tab at Grey's. Who didn't? And of course Copper Mountain Chocolates had her credit card on file. Sage's chocolate was the best in the state. The world. The universe.
As for men, well. She was alive, wasn't she?
Jason moved away to fill another order and Tod turned to flirt with the girl on his other side.
Annoyed, Maddie took another sip, her lips leaving a pretty smudge of Candy Coral on the glass. Fizzy bubbles sparkled their zero-calorie dance on her tongue. This wasn't so bad. Who were they to imply she had no self-control?
She knew how to enjoy life. That was a good thing.
Moderation, however, wasn't her strong suit.
A sweet-smelling arm draped lightly over her shoulder, turning into a tight side-hug.
"Cynthia!" said Maddie, shifting to make room. "You're here! I'm so glad. We're going to have so much fun tonight."
Since the day they'd met, Maddie had adored her stepsister, she of the braces and the stutter and the low self-esteem just waiting for the encouragement of an older sister or two. Cynthia was preparing for a spring wedding with her fiancé, Chad, and happiness shone from every last bit of her.
Cynthia deserved it and Maddie was one hundred per cent thrilled for her.
"You look so nice," said Cynthia.
"Thanks." Maddie glanced down at her simple black dress. Too simple, at least, for her. But her boss had also suggested a more professional appearance.
That had stung. Elinor herself was so lovely and polished, her gentle critique of Maddie's flair came as a shock.
For someone whose last name was Styles, she was disappointingly narrow-minded in her appreciation of what that entailed.
"Are you meeting someone?" Cynthia asked.
"Nope. It's just me."
"And me." Tod leered hopefully at Maddie.
"Not at gunpoint, Toddler."
He glowered.
Maddie leaned over the bar. Where was Jason? "You're all sex-goddess gorgeous, yourself. Watch out, Tod's going to fall into your cleavage and then Chad's going to go all cave-man on him."
"I can take Chad," said Tod.
Cynthia caught Jason's eye, pointed to Maddie's drink and held up two fingers. "No worries, Chad's not coming tonight. He and the guys are away at his stag."
"Right, I forgot."
Chad was celebrating with a bunch of pals from Marietta, all of whom shared a love for restoring old houses. And all of whom were ridiculously fine-looking men. Watching them work gave new meaning to the term house porn. Especially when they took their shirts off.
Too bad they were all married, more or less.
"Four days at some run-down camp. Super rustic, which is like catnip to them." Cynthia shuddered. "One of Chad's friends just inherited it and wanted them to check it out with him. Mick Meyer. I met him. He's hot."
"Cowboy hot? Or hot-hot? Not that there's anything wrong with cowboys," Maddie added quickly. Chad was a cowboy. As was his brother Eric. As were ninety per cent of the men in Marietta. Eighty percent of whom she'd dated already.
A nice clean-cut, Armani-wearing hedge-fund manager, that's what she wanted. Ha.
"Bush pilot hot," said Cynthia. "They're ice-fishing. Can you imagine?"
"In this weather? Better them than me." A thought occurred to her. "That means it's just us girls. On New Year’s Eve. Best night ever!"
"Sorry, sis. Apparently, you have to take out a second mortgage to get a sitter on December 31."
"Not even Samara?"
Melinda and Leda each had preschoolers but Samara's daughter, Jade, was at least six now. Surely Sam had found someone to stay with her.
But Cynthia shook her head.
"Spawn." Maddie huffed. "They ruin everything."
It sucked being single when everyone around you was oozing domestic bliss and popping out adorable little spit factories every time you turned around.
Jason pushed two sweating glasses of sparkling water with lime toward them.
"Actually, we'll have a couple of white wine spritzers," called Maddie. But the bartender was already gone.
"It's okay," said Cynthia. "This is perfect."
"No way. We deserve a little something, being abandoned as we are."
Cynthia bit her lip and glanced away. Then met Maddie's eyes and took a deliberate sip of her fizzy water.
Maddie looked at the drink, then up at Cynthia's face. Her jaw dropped.
"Cynthia! Are you-" She clapped a hand over her mouth. She didn't want to jinx anything. She also needed to keep her heart from leaping straight out of her chest to flop onto the bar top.
A Cynthia-Chad baby would be the most adorable, sweetest, heaven-sent treasure in the entire world.
"Don't say it." Cynthia glared at her and then glanced meaningfully at the people surrounding them. "It's too early to talk about it. So, no."
"But maybe?" she whispered.
Cynthia bit her lip. Then she smiled. "Maybe."
Maddie shrieked and hollered. "Happy New Year! I'm going to be-"
"Kicked out," said Jason. "Cynthia, keep her in line, will you?"
"No problem." Cynthia dragged her off her seat by the arm and led her to a quieter corner. "You're impossible."
"Need some help?" said Tod, reappearing at her elbow with a glass of wine in each hand.
Maddie grabbed one. "Family stuff, Tod. Private family stuff."
Cynthia thanked Tod but declined the glass.
"Does DeeDee know?" Maddie whispered.
Deirdre, Maddie's twin sister, was a model in New York City and had been steadily and determinedly drifting away from the family, another thing on Maddie's list of things not to worry about tonight.
"No. Nor do Dad and Joanie. And don't you tell them. I'll make an announcement when the time is right." Cynthia twinkled. "Got that, Aunt Maddie?"
Aunt Maddie.
She liked the sound of that. A big, rollicking family full of laughter and love, all of them getting together at the farm, Mom and Norm putting all the leaves in the table to accommodate everyone at mealtime.
Assuming Norm would still be around to see it.
Don't think about that tonight. Don't think about anything tonight.
Darn, that list was tough to ignore.
Maddie gulped down her drink, tossed her hair over her shoulder and pulled Cynthia out of the corner. "Why isn't anyone dancing? We'll be the first. Someone's got to get this party started."
Jason turned up the music and Maddie gave herself over to the pure joy of sound and movement and the crush of people. So not everyone was here tonight. She had plenty of friends. She had a family she loved, and would soon see an addition. She had a good job, at the moment. And if that disappeared, she'd find another.
She tipped her head back and whirled in a circle, her hips moving in time to the beat of Keith Urban's The Fighter. She had so much to be grateful for. Marietta was the best place in the world and she had such a great life.
"I'd be your fighter, Cynthia," she yelled.
"I'm Tod," said Tod into her ear. "You can fight for me."
"Nope," she said. "Inappropriate fraternization."
She had a job she enjoyed. She'd fight for that, if she had to.
Elinor wouldn't really fire her.
"If you can say words like that, you need this." Tod pressed a chocolate-drizzled martini glass into her hand.
She sniffed it. Cocoa and vanilla. Divine. Maybe she did need it. Where was Cynthia, anyway? The bathroom, she supposed. Or maybe she left when Maddie started dancing.
She took the glass. Downed it.
"Don't get any ideas," she said, shoving the empty glass at him. "I don't need a man to have fun, especially not you."
There was nothing wrong with being single.
"Hear me roar!" she yelled.
Laughter surrounded her, enveloped her, embraced her. Cynthia might have ditched her, but that didn't mean Maddie was alone.
In fact, as the clock wound down to midnight, she found herself talking and dancing with so many generous and appreciative men who kept things interesting, and made sure to keep her drinks refreshed, that she couldn't remember why she'd ever imagined herself to be lonely.
"Ten... nine... eight..."
She wasn't lonely.
"Seven... six... five..."
She threw her arms around the nearest available man. She was celebrating New Year’s Eve and the fresh start of a new and better year.
A new and better life.
A new and better her.

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