There are three things you need to know about Sandra Fielding: 1) She makes all her first dates cry, 2) She hasn't been kissed in over two years, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Sandra has difficulty removing her psychotherapist hat. Of her last 30 dates, 29 have ended the same way: the man sobbing uncontrollably. After one such disaster, Sandra--near desperation and maybe a little tipsy--gives in to a seemingly harmless encounter with her hot waiter, Alex. Argumentative, secretive, and hostile Alex may be the opposite of everything Sandra knows is right for her. But now, the girl who has spent all her life helping others change for the better, must find a way to cope with falling for someone who refuses to change at all.
This is a full-length, 110k word novel and is the third book in the Knitting in the City series. All books in the series can be read as a standalone.
I know I say this every time I read one of Penny books, claiming that this one is my favorite and I'm going to do it again. Sorry. I can't help it. I've never read an author where her growth as a writer is incredible and consistent with every piece of work she produces. She keeps getting better, people. I mean whaaat?! Not to say that the other two were shit because HELLOO, go read that last two reviews I wrote for Penny. I'm just saying that I don't think there is an end to the depth of her talent. It's humbling to read someone who just get's it on so many levels. Someone who can write characters that are so freaking true that they break the fourth wall even though we physically HOLD the fourth wall (i.e.-book, kindle/nook, whatever else you would use...phone? I dunno). Even though our situations are so different, I connect with her characters every single time. That kind of talent for relatability is something that cannot be learned. It's innate and Penny has it in spades.
Ok...I think my girl crush is sufficiently apparent. Moooooving on!
Speaking of girl crushes...Sandra. Holy hell, Sandra. I think I love this chick. She is truly one of the funniest people I've ever read about. Not just outlandishly funny either, but genuinely funny. I will admit to having reservations about reading her book. I know, I know. WTF am I talking about? Let me explain. She's a psychiatrist. I thought we were going to have a character that overanalyzed everything and diagnosed everyone. I thought the book was going to be sooooo thick with internal dialogue and description it was going to basically be a fantasy novel from the 90s. I thought this would be unavoidable...being the nature of psychologists. Apparently, I'm an idiot because it wasn't like that. Not at all. Sure Sandra had her moments, especially with Alex (we shall get to his looney sexy ass later), but it's a little unavoidable. I just LOVE how Penny handled her character because holy hand grenade it could have gone in another direction. How could I ever hate someone who uses the German term for Grief Bacon? Huh?! TELL ME HOW YOU COULD HATE THAT PERSON?! It's impossible. And I've adopted that word into my daily life. Also. When she accuses Alex of making penis prank calls to her vagina. I laughed so hard I may have...may have.....peed a little. Yes, Penny, you win.
I can go on about Sandra for days, but let's get to Alex shall we? So we meet Alex at the restaurant Sandra goes to for all her dates turned therapy sessions. He's always her waiter and obviously they have chemistry. He's a gorgeous hunk of man meat. He's also the most complicated, sweetest, damaged and EARNEST of Penny's heroes. He's truly my favorite. Sorry, Quinn! His past is so sad and I have to say, I actually cried when he told the story about pajama's. Yes, you got me Penny! Dammit. I wanted to hug him so hard! He has one of the most beautiful souls I've ever come across in a book and he loves Sandra with such a pure heart. Gah, she better protect him! And oh man, I don't know if it was truly meant to be a Life of Pi reference, but when he's telling the story of his childhood and he gives the different scenarios I almost bawled there too. It's my favorite part of Life of Pi and then to have that here, I was just bowled over. I also loved his directness. Every other second I was like "oh! Whoa!" I said this about forty times.
Another thing, Penny? Are you psychic? Because this whole Bitcoin this was a littttle prophetic don't you think? Hahahahaha! I heard about the dude doing an interview and I was like OMG ALEX!!! Hahahaha and then I had to remind myself that these are fictional characters and they don't live in real life. I will say that this whole plot point fed my nerdiness perfectly. I did so much research afterwards. So interesting. So thanks for giving me awesome characters to swoon over and something to nerd over. Actually, Penny is the only author I've ever read that engages both sides of my brain. The name Smart Romance could not be more aptly applied here.
I guess I should tell you whether or not I recommend this....I don't know guys. That's a tough one. Good God, if you read this far OBVIOUSLY I recommend it. I'm surprised I was able to coherently express myself I was so excited about this one. So yes! Go read it, people! YOU WILL LOVE!
WHO WANTS AN EXCERPT??? YOU DO!!!!
His hands gripped my waist—not my arms, which my pickled brain thought was noteworthy—and duly steadied and unsettled me with his nearness. His proximity and touch caused a zing—yes, a zing—from the back of my neck to my fingertips and heretofore neglected womanly pelvic region. The heat of his hands bled through the thin material of my dress, settled just above my hips, and this sensation paired with the zing sobered me slightly.
I hadn’t experienced a zing with a man—or a boy—or a man-boy—in a very, very long time.
“Well, h-hello.” I stuttered, lifted my eyes and found his, once again, singularly focused on my mouth. A new zing sailed southward, past my female equipment to my tiptoes.
Ah, how I missed the zing!
We stood silent, inches from each other, sharing the same breath.
“Three years is a long time.” He said, his voice achingly seductive.
I frowned because I was confused, but whispered, “Yes. And fettuccini noodles are too thick.”
He frowned, but his attention didn’t waver from my lips. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“I don’t know. You said three years is a long time. I thought we were sharing random opinions.”
Alex laughed—it sounded a bit nervous, but I couldn’t be sure, and shook his head. “Sandra, what do you say? I think it’s well past time you had a kiss.” His eyes flickered to mine. I noted they were still guarded, wizened; but they were also heated and every shade of licentious lapis imaginable.
In a word, delightful.
I licked my lips, gathered a deep breath through my nose, considered the offer.
He was maybe twenty-three; more likely he was twenty-two. That was six years younger than my twenty-eight. The six years between twenty-two and twenty-eight was a vast minefield of life experience and a thick forest of emotional maturity.
We were on different emotion planets.
I was looking for the guy. I was looking for my life partner. I wasn’t looking for a dangerous yet delicious looking youngster waiter with a chip on his shoulder.
Alex was manlicious in a way that I rarely encountered. And he wanted to kiss me. And he wasn’t crying. Triple bonus.
Okay, I thought, psyching myself up, yes, let’s do this. Let’s go wild, just this once. Kiss the boy. Kiss the boy and round the bases. Look for your life partner tomorrow.
Before I lost my nerve, I kissed him.
It was brief, sudden; a drive by kiss and I savored his stunned soft mouth. Then I leaned just my head away and glanced at him. He had such a great mouth and he’d parted it slightly in surprise.
I nodded. “Okay, just one more.” I kissed him again, fast but with more pressure this time, planted my lips to his and breathed in through my nose
Then, reluctantly, I leaned away again and immediately said, “Just one more kiss after this-”
He interrupted my assertion by mouthlesting me; meaning, he affixed his lips to mine and kissed me good and thorough.
Thick, urgent tongue invasion; biting; sucking and stroking. As he assaulted me in the best way possible, I was vaguely aware that he’d backed me into and against the corner of the small alcove, just under the stairs. His feet braced apart and his body towered over mine, filled every inch of available space; his fingers dug into my side and back in a way that felt aggressive.
Then, abruptly, he pulled just a centimeter away. Breathing hard he said, “One more meaning that kiss?”
I hazily blinked my eyes and opened my abused lips to respond; however, before I could, he pressed me against the wall with his imposing frame, rocked against me—center to center—and growled, “Or, this kiss?”
ZING ZING ZING!
His every day voice was a thing of beauty; but his growly voice made me want to lick his face.
The mouthlesting moved from misdemeanor to a felony crime against all women other than me. He employed tongue, teeth, lips in a way that drove all thought beyond this kiss from my mind. We existed, just the two of us, in our kiss cocoon. In that moment, strangers though we were, I allowed him to take in a way I hadn’t known I was capable of giving.
I’d lit the fuse and, God bless him, he’d provided the fireworks. Life was good.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!!!!
SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).
By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.