Not only is that line the opening of almost every fairy tale and the title of one of my favorite new shows, but it’s also the title of my new series.
What new series?
The series I started years ago that gave me my tagline: Fairy tales with a twist. The first release, Beauty and The Best
is the story I had asked many of you to vote for a few years ago when it was in both the American Title III contest
and the Gather.com/Simon & Schuster First Chapters Romance
. (The links are to those contests if you’re interested.) I thank all of you for your support, and because so many of you have asked me what became of that story, I’m THRILLED to finally be able to offer this book to readers.
At the moment, it’s only available in electronic format, but I am working on setting it up for print. Not quite sure how long that process will take, but if you’re interested in reading the story on your eReader, laptop, PC, or smartphone, the links to do so are below.
Once upon a time…
a long time ago,
there lived a beast of a man,
locked within a castle
with no one to love him.
This is not his story.
This is the story of another man,
locked within himself,
and the Beauty
who sets him free.
Here’s a sneak peak. You may remember this opening line from Chapter One:
There’s a naked man in my kitchen.
The thought registered just as the terse, “Who the hell are you?” had Jolie Gardener spinning around faster than a figure skater on speed.
He had the nerve to ask this? He of the broad shoulders, six-pack abs, and other, nice, um, parts…
Really. A naked man. In her kitchen.
Well, technically, she was in a naked man’s kitchen. Even more technically, she was in a naked Todd Best’s kitchen—and there wasn’t one hint of self-consciousness or embarrassment on his part.
Of course with that body, there shouldn’t be. The guy should flaunt his nudity for the world to see. Which, at present, consisted of one single, solitary person: Jolie Gardener, aspiring writer and personal chef extraordinaire.
“Well?” His hands slammed to his hips.
“You’re naked,” she squeaked, which, really, was the only way to state that kind of obvious.
“I’m what?” Mr. Six-Pack Abs glanced down.
Jolie tried not to—so unsuccessfully it was pitiful.
“Shit,” he muttered. “I am. I, uh, fell asleep last night…”
As butter sizzled in the new super-slick omelet pan on the top-of-the-line range, Jolie’s gaze alternated between some rock-hard abs and a scruffy eight a.m. shadow while her fingers danced along the speckled granite countertop in search of a napkin, placemat, oven mitt… something.
Mercifully, they scooped up a thick dishtowel that, in her world, would constitute a very plush, very luxurious hand towel from The Ritz or The Four Seasons, but which, here, apparently, was used to soak up water from designer flatware. She dangled it in the di rection of Mr. Au Naturel. “Here.”
He placed an empty bottle of Jim Beam on the island countertop with a clink, then took the towel with a grunt. “So, who are you, what are you doing in my kitchen, and would you mind turning around?”
She turned. “I’m the new girl the agency sent over.”
“Hell. There better be some aspirin left,” he muttered beside her, his bare (of course) feet making no sound on the limestone floor.
She peeked over at him.
His eyebrow soared skyward.
Back cover blurb:
Fine is a relative term… right?
Jolie Gardener, personal chef by day, aspiring romance writer by night,
likes to talk and does it a lot. She has to because if she stops, all the pain, disillusionment, and abandonment of her AWOL mother, question-mark father, and foster-care childhood will rise up like a chocolate soufflé on steroids, sweeping away the fragile infrastructure of her life.
But she’s fine. Really. She is.
Or so she thinks.
Todd Best isn’t fine. He knows it. And doesn’t care.
After his wife died—the woman who believed in him when he was a struggling artist—he put painting aside, moved from their home, and lost himself in the minutiae of daily life.
Alone. Private. The way he likes it.
The last thing he needs is some chatty cook seeping into the perfectly bland canvas of his life.
Or so he thinks.
So when Jonathan, a guardian-angel-in-training, turns himself into a kitten to help these two lonely souls find a happily ever after together, it ought to be a piece of cake.
Or so he thinks…
Praise for Judi Fennell’s stories:
“Fun and flirty. Judi Fennell will make you believe in … the magic of happily ever after.”
~ Jennifer Estep, USA Today best-selling author
“Readers will adore the joy and humor and romance from Judi Fennell’s creative pen.” ~ Jill Barnett, New York Times best-selling author
“Fennell’s light & lively writing is full of humor and cleverness.” ~ Publishers Weekly
Buy Beauty and The Best here:
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