I’m thrilled to announce that The Back-Up Plan recently released. The story is part of my Second Chances series—six books that talk about the exploits of the wine girls. These six women get together every Thursday night for a little wine-time happy hour where they unwind, gossip and help each other survive as single women!
My own group of friends inspired the premise for the books. Over the past few years, I’ve watched all of them deal with an assortment of issues—from divorce to health concerns to weaving their way through the stickiness of the modern-day dating scene. I think when we’re younger we have a tendency to think there will be a moment in our adult lives when everything falls into place and we’ll finally get our acts together. I’m turning 45 this year and I’ve begun to realize that “moment” doesn’t exist. Life is constantly throwing us curveballs and it’s our ability to adapt, to accept and to move on that keep us in the game. I’ve been quite inspired—and awed—by the true grace and courage of my friends as they’ve dealt with their problems and the Second Chances series has been my attempt to write a “happy ending” for each of them.
The stories have been a challenge to write because all six stories take place concurrently during the course of a single year. In each book, there is a prologue where the women celebrate New Year’s Eve with wine and resolutions. And then…it’s been a bit of apuzzle as I make sure they are all where they’re supposed to be as the months pass.
If you’re interested in checking the books out, they have released in the following order:
Fix You – Zoey deals with the diagnosis of breast cancer.
Full Moon – Fear of putting her broken heart on the line has single mom Josie seeking to fulfill some fantasies…with no strings attached.
Status Update – Newly-divorced Laura struggles to rediscover her own identity after spending so many years as a wife and a mother.
The Back-Up Plan – Career-minded Kristen comes to the unsettling realization that herwork is not enough for her. She’s lonely.
Never Been Kissed (coming Sept. 9) – Shelly has spent her entire life trying to overcome her shyness while dealing with her weight issues. With her health at stake, she decides it’s time to reinvent herself.
Say Something (coming 2015) – Eccentric Georgie has three broken engagements and a ticking biological clock. However, before she can move forward, she needs to put the past to rest.
The Back-Up Plan
Second Chances, Book 4
Just how legally binding is a promise made on a cocktail napkin?
Kristen Grey has always been married to her work, but as her fortieth birthday looms, she begins to wonder if that’s all there is to life. When her friend Zoey suggests she come up with a goal for a second chance at happiness, the first idea to pop into Kristen’s mind falls out of her mouth—to find a husband.
One night, after a few too many shots of vodka, it falls out of her mouth again, in front of the last man she wants to hear it. Her annoying, cocky law partner, Jason Mitchell. She’s shocked when he vows to help in her quest to find a man.
After all, he has a vested interest in her success. Years ago, they foolishly made a pact that if they hadn’t found “the one” by age forty, they’d marry each other. Time is running out.
Problem is, as Jason and Kristen try to help each other find love, it becomes more and more apparent that maybe the back-up plan isn’t such a bad option after all.
The heroine in this story has no objection to how her law partner likes to recess. Legal eagle? Nope. Spread eagle.
THE BACK-UP PLAN
(Second Chances #4)
by Mari Carr
Release: May 13th, 2014, Samhain Publishing
My rating: 4 of 5 ⭐️
Lately, career-focused and workaholic lawyer, Kristen Grey has been feeling increasingly unsatisfied with her life. The law practice she has built up with her partner now a success, the long office hours and lonely nights are becoming less and less attractive. With her fortieth birthday around the corner, she lets drop at a New Year's gathering with her girlfriends that her resolution should be to find a husband before she turns the big four oh....
When her law-partner, and thorn in her side, Jason Mitchell, finds out about her plan, it doesn't take him long to remind her of an alcohol-induced contract they both signed on a cocktail napkin years ago. A deal where, if neither had found their match by the time they turned forty, they would marry each other. Jason himself had slowed down his philandering ways, craving some more stability, and they agree to help each other find good dating prospects.
While attempting to find each other the right match, Jason and Kristen start looking more closely at the person they have worked with for over a decade and discover they are learning new things every day. Suddenly there is an attraction that was never there before and once it is unleashed, there is no turning it back. Perhaps their back-up plan should be given some closer consideration......
Deliciously fun and fabulous read!!
First off I have to say I love this series. Second Chances is about a group of women who get together regularly, they sit around on a New Years Eve, discussing their hopes and dreams for the coming year. Each book in the series follows one of the women on their path. It means the books mostly run concurrently, and although the characters might appear in any or all of them, each book remains a standalone novel. THE BACK-UP PLAN is Kristen's story.
I can't tell you how wonderful it is to read a book that is NOT about someone fresh out of college, but instead about a more mature woman who has been driven to pursue a career and forfeited a serious relationship for the sake of her work. Not the romantic choice, but then Kristen is not a romantic. Not at all. In fact, when she starts her quest to look for a husband, at best she is looking for companionship. She is happy with her collection of vibrators (yes, collection!) and simply wants someone to chase away the loneliness without expectations of love, romance or hot sex.
Enter Jason, who his entire life thus far (more or less), has made it an art to indulge in the 'good times'. A tease, a flirt, a good-natured bachelor, not really someone who takes life too seriously. But although he is looking to settle down some, his first instinct is still to go after the same type of woman he is accustomed to have his 'flings' with. Except, when he sees what and who Kristen has been hiding underneath that stuffy and stiff office exterior, everyone else pales in comparison.
Their abrassive interactions turn into an explosive match-up, that blows any and all expectations each had of the other completely out of the water.
I love the concept of this entire series by Mari Carr, basing it from one and the same event and following the different threads from there....reconnecting the original characters from time to time, touching base to see where everyone is at in their lives. The love scenes in this book are so enjoyable, as scorching hot as ever, but with a lightness and a mature ease, a touch of humour and a sense of self-awareness that is incredibly appealing!
Although highly recommended for anyone, I have a feeling that women who have seen a bit more of life, will perhaps find a tad more connective tissue with this book!!
✨A sizzling, spirited and stimulating agreement.✨
**Copy provided in return for an honest review.**
Jason waved the waitress over and ordered another round of tequila shots.
Kristen groaned. “God. No more. I’m already facing a long night with my toilet. Enough rounds.”
Jason laughed. “Lightweight. It’s your birthday, Kris. It’s your God-given duty to get totally wasted and make stupid decisions.”
She rolled her eyes, but accepted the glass the waitress set down in front of her. “I think that’s only true of twenty-first birthdays. I’m turning thirty-five, which means I’ve entered the should know better than this phase of my life.”
“You’ve got at least five years before that kicks in.”
She laughed. “You’re only saying that because you turned thirty-five a couple months ago and you don’t want to grow up.”
“Maybe, maybe not. But I’m pretty sure forty is plenty old enough to do the adult thing, settle down, get married. Crap like that.”
“The way work’s been lately, I’m afraid I won’t have time to think about getting married until then anyway.”
Jason nodded and stretched. The two of them had been putting in long hours at the office, working their asses off to build a solid business, a law firm with a good reputation. Their diligence and devotion was just now starting to pay off as more and more clients managed to make their way into Mitchell and Grey. Of course, the reward for their hard work was more work. “Yeah. We’ve been building up quite a clientele lately.” Jason lifted his shot glass, grinning widely. They were on their sixth—or was it their seventh—round of Patron. “Here’s to us. The greatest lawyers in the whole damn state.”
Kristen tapped her glass against his and drank, figuring the end of this night wasinevitable at this point. What the hell. They’d just won a huge settlement for an important client, the perfect ending to a month of twelve-to-fourteen-hour workdays.
Plus she’d been feeling a bit sorry for herself lately. She wasn’t even sure why she was depressed. It seemed as if she’d lost some of her enthusiasm for…well…everything. The win and her birthday had given her an incentive to actually go out and do something. The celebration was definitely cheering her up.
“Hear, hear,” she added, enjoying the heat provided by the liquor sliding down her throat. As it made its way through her body, it soothed every tense muscle, absorbed every ounce of stress, and melted away all the heavy feelings until she felt boneless, relaxed,happy.
She saw the same drunken contentment on Jason’s face. “So you really plan to get married someday?”
He nodded, the response coming without hesitation. “Of course I do. Don’t you?”
She shrugged. “Never given it much thought.”
“Seriously? I thought women came out of the womb with their wedding day planned, right down to the dress, music and flowers.”
Kristen rolled her eyes. “Not this woman. I don’t have time to dwell on all that romance crap.”
Jason laughed. “God. I swear if not for the tits, I’d think you were a man.”
She shot him a dirty look. He’d made the same comment many times before. Over the years, their relationship had evolved from adversaries in law school, both of them competing to be the best in their class, to work colleagues consumed by the same drive to succeed, to casual friends who shared a drink on occasion and argued good-naturedly about pretty much everything. Jason’s number one form of entertainment was teasing her, which was fine because she was just as fond of giving it right back to him. “I’d prefer it if you kept your eyes north of the tit range.”
Her admonition was wasted on Jason whose line of vision was nowhere near any part of her anatomy at the moment. Instead he was ogling the group of women who’d just arrived at the bar, laughing loudly and clearly enjoying a bachelorette party. She checked her watch and considered calling for a cab now. It wouldn’t take Jason long to make his way over to the group of women and charm them all into including him in their celebration, which would leave her drinking alone. She’d watched him do the same thing time after time.
For some unfathomable reason she simply couldn’t understand, women found her arrogant, cocky, clearly-putting-the-moves-on, womanizing law partner irresistible. Sometimes, as she listened to him recount all the gory details of his one-night stands, it made Kristen ashamed of her gender.
She was about to excuse herself when Jason’s attention returned to her.
“I think maybe it’s time both of us seriously thought about marriage.”
She frowned. “What?”
“I’m not saying we should go out tomorrow and tie the knot, but I know for a fact, I don’twanna spend the rest of my life alone.”
“Thought you reveled in your bachelor status.”
He shrugged. “I enjoy it now, but let’s face it. There’s a difference between picking women up in bars at thirty-five and trying to do it when I’m sixty-five. I’ll be getting older, but the type of women who come here to drink on the weekends won’t. At some point that makes me less bachelor and more creepy dirty old man.”
Kristen laughed as she imagined Jason in thirty years, wearing leisure suits and gold chains, swaggering around as he tried to put the moves on some poor young woman.
Clearly Jason had given this dilemma some thought. Given his tendency to live in the moment with no regard for the future, she was shocked to discover there was actually an iota of maturity inside him. “Very astute observation. I look forward to attending your wedding.”
Jason rubbed his jaw, deep in thought about something. “Of course, it’s not that easy finding someone you’d be willing to spend the rest of your life with.”
Kristen nodded, agreeing. Whenever she considered the matrimonial state, she knew she’d yet to meet any man who made her think…and they lived happily ever after.
“How long have we been friends, Kris?”
She gave him a grin. “Friends? Is that what we’re calling this now?”
Jason ignored her jest. “We met freshman year of law school, so we were both twenty-two. Damn. Thirteen years. That’s a long time.”
Kristen agreed. “Painfully long. Is there a point to this walk down memory lane?”
He reached for her purse, yanking it open.
“Hey.” She tried to grab it, but Jason had already found what he was looking for, withdrawing a pen and tossing her bag back to her across the table. “You know you could have just asked. It’s rude to rifle through a woman’s purse.”
He didn’t bother to respond or apologize. Instead he asked the waitress for a clean cocktail napkin. Once he had it, he started writing on it.
“Grocery list?” Kristen asked.
She tilted her head. “What sort of contract?”
“You and I are going to make a back-up plan.”
Jason kept writing, letting her question hover in the air unanswered. Once he finished, he reread the words and nodded, apparently pleased with his efforts. “That should do it. Now we just need to grab a witness and sign it.”
She leaned back in her chair. “Sign what?”
Jason handed her the napkin.
Jason Mitchell and Kristen Grey do hereby agree that if neither of them is married by Kristen’s fortieth birthday, they will marry each other.
Second Chances, Book 1
What if love can’t heal all wounds?
After too many years of secretly loving her best friend, Zoey realizes she’s been shortchanging herself. It’s time to take action. This New Year’s Eve heralds the year she’s going to tell Rob the truth. Even if he is on the road, reaching for musical stardom with his band.
Her plan is derailed when she discovers a lump in her breast—and it’s not “nothing to worry about”. How can she ask Rob to take a chance on love when her future is so uncertain?
Rob has spent his entire life chasing his dream, but the moment he hears Zoey’s voice on the phone, he realizes he’s been running the wrong race. Zoey never sounds like she’s been crying. Ever. Without a second thought, he books a flight for home, determined to give her everything she needs. A shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold…and nights of intensely emotional, passionate sex.
His biggest challenge, though, is convincing his best friend that he’s in it for the long haul. Because he finally knows what he wants, and it’s not fame and fortune. It’s her—and her love.
This book runs the emotional gamut between scorching-hot passion and the pain and fear associated with cancer. Keep a box of tissues next to your glass of ice water.
Second Chances, Book 2
Sometimes it’s not just the tide that rises…
In the two years since her divorce was finalized, Josie Jacobson’s life has become one long, boring routine. Work, home, repeat. She has her hands full as a single parent, and while she’s not looking for a serious relationship, she sure wouldn’t mind getting laid.
When her friend, Zoey, challenges her to make a New Year’s resolution for a second chance at happiness, Josie goes one better and creates the “Howl List”. Every full moon, she will indulge in a different sexual fantasy. Right at the top? Sex without strings.
Fate leads her to the Blue Moon bar in January. After all, what better place to howl? And when she meets Jake Stewart, the sexy bartender, and engages in some red-hot sex with a stranger, her year seems to be off to a great start
At least, until Jake declares he wants all her full moons…
Warning: This is NOT the shifter story you are looking for. While the heroine howls during the full moon, she does it in naked, human-form only. Sorry—no wolves, but there is a really sexy bartender and lots of red-hot fantasies.
Second Chances, Book 3
Some things never change. Others never stay the same. Thank God.
Determined that this year will be different, she sets a New Year’s goal to rediscover the woman she used to be—the one who loved to dance, to laugh, to kiss.
When Bryan Sinclair spots his best friend from high school in the Blue Moon bar, he wonders how the hell he failed to notice her beauty and vitality all those years ago. Laura’s confession that she plans to experience lost opportunities tempts him into joining her on the journey.
Together they make up for lost time, in and out of the bedroom. But there’s one area in which Laura has no plans to change the status quo—her heart. And Bryan has his work cut out convincing her to take another chance. On him. On forever.
Warning: This story contains sex at Rocky Horror, sex at a Jimmy Buffett concert, sex on the stairs, sex on the dining-room table, sex on the dance floor, and even sex in a bed.
coming September 9th
NEVER BEEN KISSED
Second Chances, book 5
Two’s Company. Three is perfection.
Shelly MacIsaac has pretty much given up all hope. Hope that she’ll lose weight, that she’ll find any excitement in life, that there will ever be any man in her bed besides Barney, her cat.
When her friend Zoey suggests the wine girls come up with resolutions for the New Year, Shelly latches onto the one everyone expects her to choose—the tried-and-true commitment to go on a diet and get into shape. Deep inside, however, Shelly knows she needs to change a lot more than just her physical appearance.
After a year licking his wounds over a broken romance, Christian is through. He’s been quietly lusting after Shelly at work, and he’s not wasting any more time. There’s something about her that makes him believe she’s the one. Unfortunately, Shelly’s kickboxing instructor, Lance—Christian’s best friend—has set his sights on the sweet blonde as well.
Instead of pistols at dawn, the two friends come up with a deliciously erotic answer to their shared dilemma—if the shy beauty will accept their racy proposal.
Warning: There is a chance this story will encourage you to go on a diet and begin an intense exercise regime. After all, flavored body lube is low cal, right? And sex is a great way to burn calories.