Kitty Valentine Dates a Rock Star
Spin the wheel. Date the guy. Write the story. Fall in love?
Six years ago, Kitty Valentine took the book world by storm when her sweet debut romance hit number one on the Best Sellers List, which was followed by a string of successful releases.
Her latest novel, however, totally bombs, causing her editor to suggest she write much sexier books.
To Kitty, writing smut is the literary equivalent of stripping.
But with no advance coming in and her royalties dipping to an all-time low, Kitty has no choice.
Armed with a hot-guy spinning prize wheel, made by her best friend, listing all the different types of men she will date and then write about, Kitty will be spinning—not stripping—her way back onto the best-sellers list.
And in the process, she just might write her own happily ever after.
This humorous chick lit series (imagine an awkward Carrie Bradshaw navigating the NYC dating scene) is now complete and ready for binge-reading!
Release date: July 23, 2020
Publisher: Swoonworthy Books
Print pages: 214
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Listen to a sample
Kitty Valentine Dates a Rock Star
“What do you think?” I fling back the dressing room curtain, stepping out with my arms stretched to either side with a very serious, striking look on my face. Or so I tell myself.
I’m feeling dramatic.
Hayley, my best friend and toughest critic—the combination of which makes her the perfect shopping partner—tips her blonde head to one side, and her smooth forehead isn’t so smooth anymore. “I mean, if you like it …”
So much for striking. “Oh, come on!” I groan, slumping. I’m not proud to admit it, but I might stomp my foot once or twice. It’s all a frustrated, exhausted blur.
Okay, maybe exhausted isn’t the right word. But I sure feel exhausted after going through the arduous task of shopping for Halloween costumes. As in actual, physical shopping. In a store. With doors and mirrors and people and cash registers. All of it.
For somebody whose entire life generally consists of online shopping, this is a pretty big deal. I even packed snacks in my purse, the way people do for toddlers when they know the kid will get hungry and cranky halfway through a trip.
Hayley waves a hand in my general direction. “I mean, it’s cute, but don’t you think it’s a little young for you? You’re twenty-five years old, Kitty, and you’re gorgeous and successful. Why are you dressing up like some sort of cartoon character?”
I turn around to look at myself in the mirror beyond the curtained partition. “I don’t look like a cartoon character.”
“You’re dressed like a superhero. Not even a cool superhero.”
I run a hand over my breastplate—plastic instead of metal, of course. I flutter my bright red cape. “I don’t know. I think I look powerful. Like a kick-ass general or warrior. Who happens to wear a cape.”
“Either way, it’s not doing anything for you. Try on that slinky black dress. I’m telling you, that’s the winner.”
Yes, and it happens to be the costume Hayley picked out for me. What a coincidence.
“Exactly who am I dressing up as when I wear that dress?”
“What does it matter? You dress up as somebody or something when you’re a kid. When you get older, the entire point is to look sexy and enticing.”
I shoot her a look over my shoulder, rolling my eyes. “Isn’t that a little cliché?”
“Put on the damn dress, so I can look at you. Maybe we’ll pick out a wig for you too. You can lose some of your inhibitions and pretend to be, I don’t know, a witch or something. A sexy witch.”
I have to step into the dressing room and close the curtain before the look on my face gives away just how tired I am of this whole misadventure. I love Hayley, I do, but she’s forever trying to tell me how to live my life. Granted, most of the time, I need all the help I can get, but today, she feels impossible to deal with.
“I don’t see why I have to go to this party in the first place,” I grumble while removing my cape. “I won’t know anybody there but you.”
“That’s exactly why you should go! How do you expect to meet interesting, new men if you keep crawling back into your cave?”
“It’s called working,” I mumble while removing my breastplate.
“Don’t get all semantical on me,” Hayley warns. “You know what I mean. It’s like you only come out when you have to. I admit, you’re doing better, but I still think you need more life, period.”
“Gee, I thought I already had a life. What do you call dating two different men in just a few months?”
“I call it progress, but I’d still like to see you live a little. Do things you want to do but outside your apartment. Meeting me for drinks is not enough.”
I take a long look at myself in the mirror. I’m in my underwear, my long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. My blue eyes reflect a little bit of the doubt Hayley’s words have stirred in me.
Is she right? Probably. She usually is. It’s always easier for us to have opinions about the lives of other people, isn’t it? We can generally see the truth with no problem because we have the benefit of seeing the big picture.
It’s the same for us when the tables are turned too. I can always tell when Hayley is working too hard, not taking care of herself. When you’re the one in the trenches, battling it out, it’s tough to pick up your head and look around and see things the way they really are.
Which is why I put on the stupid dress—because I want to fit in at the party. It’s not for another three weeks, hosted by Hayley’s firm. They rented out an entire swanky restaurant on the riverfront and even plan to have a yacht to take people out on the water. Just what that has to do with Halloween, I have no idea, but it sounds like it could be fun.
Normally, I would spend Halloween on the couch, eating Chinese takeout.
But when Hayley is on a mission, the girl is unstoppable. She’s determined to get me out of my comfort zone and to challenge me by insisting I go to this party with her.
I guess I can’t complain. If it wasn’t for Hayley pushing me to do things I wouldn’t normally do, I never would have dated a billionaire boss and a hot, sexy doctor, all thanks to her electronic spinner. I have to say, I might not have liked the idea at first to help my floundering book sales, but now, it has its benefits. I’ve managed to write a pair of books, which have been wildly successful so far. My doctor book just came out this week after being rushed through by the publisher, and all signs point to it selling really well. Much better than my last sweet romance, for sure.
Lesson learned. Even if I don’t always agree with Hayley’s methods, she’s usually right in the end.
Just like she’s right about this dress. It’s tight, hugging all my curves, floor-length but with a slit on the side that just about reaches my hip. There’s a waist-cincher sort of thing that goes over the top, meant to look like a corset but much more forgiving.
“Let me see!” Hayley’s voice carries all the excitement of a little kid waiting to go downstairs on Christmas morning.
Darn it, why does she always have to be right?
For a second, I consider not showing her at all and letting my appearance at the party come as a surprise. Call it my perverse need to be stubborn. But I hate that know-it-all look she gets on her face.
I take my time in opening the curtain, and I don’t make a big, dramatic thing about it like I did in my superhero costume. “Here you go,” I sigh, shrugging. Bracing myself for what I know is coming.
And my beloved Hayley does not disappoint. First, her jaw hits the floor, just before her eyes almost bulge clear out of their sockets. “Oh. My. God.”
My skin feels twitchy and itchy all of a sudden. “Don’t,” I warn, looking away. “You know how I feel about getting too much attention.”
“No way, hon. You are way too hot in that dress to expect me to pretend like you don’t look incredible. See? I told you!”
“One of these days, I’m going to keep count of how long it takes you to say I told you so.”
“It’s not like I don’t give you plenty of opportunities to keep track.” She winks before jumping to her feet to get a full look at me. “Turn around,” she murmurs, moving her finger in a circle.
I do as she asked with a huff.
“I feel like a teenager whose mom insists on embarrassing them,” I whisper, looking around.
She’s making a little bit of a scene here, and we’ve attracted attention from a few shoppers.
“You’re acting like one too,” she sighs, handing me a protein bar. “Here. Replenish.”
Not just yet though. I take a look at myself again, chewing my lip. “Do you really think I look all right?”
“Um, hell yes.” She stands behind me, hands on my shoulders. “You’re a beautiful, successful, stinking hot woman.”
“Stinking hot?” I snicker.
“There’s a reason you’re the writer. Don’t change the subject.” Her hands tighten on my shoulders, and I manage to wipe the smirk off my face. “You need to own who you are. Sometimes, that means forcing yourself outside your comfort zone, but it’s always for the best. No more hiding behind a laptop or an apartment door. There’s more to life than work.”
Okay, now, I can’t help myself. “Look who’s talking!” I laugh, turning to face her.
“That’s different. And notice how every spare minute I have is spent doing things not involving work. Like this, today. Shopping with my best friend. Like the Halloween party coming up at the end of the month. I know it’s easy to fall into habits, but it can be dangerous. You’re in the middle of creating a habit, young lady. You don’t want to become a recluse.”
“Hardly.” I go back into the dressing room and close the curtain to take off the dress, which of course, I’m going to buy because I’m not a complete idiot. I can be stubborn, but I’m not going to cut off my nose to spite my face.
“Yes, you are. You’ve barely come out with me since you and Jake ended things.”
“Hello, I was on a deadline.”
“That was weeks ago, and you haven’t started your new book yet. You haven’t even chosen the next trope. Don’t think your little excuses are going to get you anywhere. I know you too well.”
I swear, I don’t even need to see her face to know how she looks. Smug, in case you’re wondering.
I peek out from behind the curtain. “Let me guess. That’s what today is really all about. You want to force me into choosing my next trope. May I remind you that’s what I call work, and this is supposed to be free time.”
“Fine, I’ll let you off on a technicality, but you know the stakes here as well as I do. Ideally, you should get at least one more book written this year, if not two. I know it’s a lot to ask in three months, but that’s what the publisher wants. You told me so yourself the last time we got together, which was … what, after you submitted the final edited draft of the doctor book? It’s been how many weeks since then? I’m pretty sure it was still summer.”
She’s right. I know I’m dragging my feet, just like I take my time getting out of my costume. I’m feeling a little burned out, point-blank, and the idea of finding and dating yet another type of man is even more exhausting than shopping in person for a Halloween costume.
“Why don’t you choose one for me?” I suggest while pulling on the clothes I came in wearing.
Fall is probably my favorite time of year. I live for sweaters, boots, scarves, and pumpkins. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin ravioli. Pumpkin muffins.
I really need to eat something. My protein bar is waiting, and I scarf it down in a few bites. Shopping is hard work.
“It just so happens, I’ve brought your handy-dandy trope-picker with me,” she sings out.
“What a big surprise.” I open the curtain, the dress over one arm and my purse over the other. “Yes, why don’t you choose this time? Maybe you’ll have better luck than I’ve been having lately—and I know, I know, I’m not supposed to get serious about the guys I’m dating.”
The fact is, I’ve never been able to understand anyone who can date casually for more than a short period of time. I guess I form attachments quickly, which is unfortunate in a case like this, where I need to get in and get out of these relationships so I can churn out these books.
“You know I’ve been dying to do this, right?” She grins, sitting in one of the stuffed armchairs lined up in front of the dressing rooms. Seats for men I bet, where they can rest and wonder why they bother coming out shopping with their wife or girlfriend or daughter.
I sit next to her, my heart in my throat. “So long as you don’t land on Santa.”
“What is your big problem with sexy Santa? Good grief. I think you need counseling. Did Santa hurt you? Did you not get what you wanted for Christmas?”
“Spin the darn thing already,” I sigh.
She does. We watch as options scroll past on the little screen, slowing, slowing …
Hayley lets out a tiny squeal. “Rock star!”
“Oh, help me.” I groan loudly, sliding down in the chair until I fully resemble a toddler gearing up for a tantrum. “Why, God? Why?”
“Come on! It’ll be fun!”
“Just where in the heck am I supposed to find a rock star to date?” I ask, staring at the ceiling. “I mean, I can’t walk down to D’Agostino and pick one up.”
“Leave it to me.” She grins, standing. “Come on. I want some actual lunch before I have to go home and read a bunch of briefs.”
“On a Saturday?” I hold out a hand, and she pulls me to my feet.
A rock star. Where the heck am I supposed to find one of those?
“Don’t look at me that way. You know I’m always working—like you don’t work on weekends.” She hustles me over to the register like some chattering blonde-haired fairy godmother.
I’m shocked she lets me pay for the stupid costume myself and doesn’t pull the wallet out of my purse on my behalf.
She’s probably worried that if she leaves me to my own devices, I won’t buy the costume. She’s too stinking smart.
We’re out of the store and on our way to grab a bite—yes, I know I just ate a protein bar, but come on, it was the size of my thumb—when I remember what she said before helping me up. “What do you mean, leave it to you?”
At first, all I get in response is one of her patented killer smiles. “Girl, you know I’ve got connections.”
“In the music business? Last time I checked, you were working in a law firm.”
“Duh. We have plenty of agents on the client list—and their clients too. Entertainment people. Actors, writers, musicians. Get it?” I’m surprised she doesn’t knock on my head with her knuckles.
“Oh. So, what? You’re going to have your boss hook me up with somebody? Doesn’t that seem unprofessional?”
She huffs out a big sigh.
“I mean it.”
“Leave it to me,” she insists. “I’m telling you, I have my ways. You might be surprised at just how many hardworking lawyers and paralegals would jump at the chance to say they had a hand in the creation of a best-selling romance novel. Heck, there’re a few lawyers in the firm who write under pen names on the side.”
“No kidding?” I gasp.
“No kidding. Where they find the time, I have no idea. Anyway, lots of them know who you are and what you mean to me, and they’ll be glad to help. I’ll send up a signal on Monday. We’ll see what comes of it.”
I can’t help myself. “Thank you,” I cry, throwing my arms around her in the middle of the sidewalk, stopping us both in our tracks. “I love you.”
“I couldn’t do any of this without you.”
“I know that too.” She laughs. “Come on, you dork. I’m starving.”
“This is why I packed snacks.” For once, I was the one thinking ahead.
“Yeah, but you’re not the one who has to put up with you while shopping. Forget snacks. I’ll need wine to get me through it next time.”
“You know, pretty soon, we’re not going to be able to do this anymore. It’ll be too cold up here.” Matt takes a pull from his bottle of beer, smacking his lips. “I do like autumn beers. This pumpkin ale is pretty good.”
“And you thought I was an idiot for buying it,” I remind him with a roll of my eyes. “It doesn’t taste like pumpkin pie at all, does it?”
“What can I say? I hear pumpkin, I think pumpkin pie. Who doesn’t?”
“Most of the world, I guess.” I can’t help but feel just a little bit smug since Matt likes to make fun of me at pretty much every opportunity. For once, I’m the one making him feel like a dope.
“Anyway, I don’t think we’re going to have many of these warm days.” He stretches his legs out with a sigh.
Warm is right. After a few days of temperatures being down in the fifties—which, at this time of year, feels pretty cold—today, it feels like spring. “I hope we don’t have many more.” I shrug.
He puts a hand to his chest, gasping. “Is that an insult? You don’t want to meet up on the roof?”
He is insufferable.
“This may come as a surprise, but not everything is about you. Shocking, I know. What I meant was, I like fall. I like feeling cozy and wearing big, thick sweaters and boots and jeans and scarves and hats.”
“And lions and tigers and bears—”
“And pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cereal and pumpkin beer.”
“Last time I checked, that’s your second pumpkin beer, and unless you want to pay me for it, you can keep your snide comments to yourself.”
“It was your turn to buy the beer.”
“That doesn’t mean I can’t demand repayment when you insist on being such a tool.”
He winces. “Tool? Now, I know you’re irritated since you don’t usually go any more extreme than jerk or dork.”
“Yeah, well, I’m growing as a person. Expanding my vocabulary. You know, it’s not a good idea for a writer to become complacent with their vocabulary.”
He winks, and I know the direction his thoughts have taken the second a slow, knowing smile starts to spread. “That’s true. You’ve definitely been expanding your vocabulary, if what we first talked about was the sort of stuff you were writing.”
“The stuff we first talked about?”
He slaps his forehead. “Oh, right. You were half out of your mind on tequila shots. Let me remind you. You had me read part of what you’d tried to write, and it was … not good.”
“I do remember that, thank you very much.”
He snorts. “What did you call it? Her silky petals?”
“Do you ever get tired of being you?”
“Not yet.” He shrugs with a grin. “And now that we’re on the subject, who’s your next victim—I mean, boyfriend?”
I hold up one finger. “For starters, none of these guys are my boyfriend. We date, yes, but they are not boyfriends. You need to keep that one in mind.”
“Noted.” He nods.
He’s trying to keep a straight face, which I guess is something I should be grateful for, but I wish he didn’t always have the impulse to laugh at me in the first place.
I hold up a second finger. “Two, dispense with the whole victim thing. They are not victims. They are human beings who are fortunate enough to spend time with me.”
“It sounds like you’ve been reading girl-power self-help books.”
“So what if I have? Which I have not, by the way,” I add when it looks like he’s about to laugh. “But you have to admit, I’m sort of a big deal. The total package.”
“That’s Hayley talking.” He snickers before taking another drink.
Darn him. “So what? She’s right. What’s wrong with being confident? And with people like you in my life, who always make fun of me, it’s a good thing I do have some self-confidence.”
“Then, why do you hang around me?”
“Geography, nothing more. You just happen to live across the hall.”
He holds his hand to his heart. “You sure know how to put a man in his place. And here I was, thinking you liked the company.”
I do sort of like the company. I can’t let him know that though. It doesn’t take much for things to go to his head, and he already has a monstrous ego.
“Hey, I call it like I see it.”
“In all seriousness, you’re pretty hard on yourself.”
“Thanks,” I mutter, rolling my eyes.
“See? How am I supposed to try and help you when you get all … that way?” He waves his hand in my general direction.
“For one thing, I didn’t ask you for help. So, your opinion isn’t exactly needed. And like I said, you’re the one always being so hard on me.”
“You know I’m kidding, right?”
I lower my brow. “All the time?”
“Most of the time?” he counters with a wince. “Some of the time?”
“I thought so,” I sigh.
“Lighten up!” He laughs, going for another beer. “Listen, I joke around because it’s fun to joke around with you. Maybe because you take things so seriously. I don’t know. Or maybe I’m really a mean person.”
“That sounds about right.”
“What can I say?” He runs a hand through his brown hair, making it stand up on end. “That’s how I am. Ask my sister. I teased her when we were kids to the point where she would cry.”
“Are you bragging? Because it sort of sounds like you’re bragging a little bit.”
“No! I’m just saying, I joke around a lot with the people I like.”
He likes me, does he?
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