In Macy Beckett's Make You Mine, the first book in her Dumont Bachelors series, Allie Mauvais is a baker and a psychic. A vendor of voodoo, if you will. But Allie doesn’t believe she has any real psychic powers.
She could see all kinds of things—like facial expressions and body language. The kinds of things anyone could see if they paid attention. She could hear, too—the subtle changes of inflection or tone that often contradicted the spoken word. People didn’t need voodoo heritage to understand each other. They just had to turn off their iPhones and take their heads out of their asses every once in a while.
Allie has been dispensing advice and voodoo charms for years, operating on a do-no-harm basis and using her excellent powers of observation to help her clients get on the right path. No surprise that the vast majority of charms are “needed” for problems of the heart.
But what about Allie’s heart? She’s had her share of romantic relationships but she’s never forgotten Marc Dumont, the one who got away, or rather didn’t call after the prom and an earth-shattering kiss. How was Allie to know that when Marc woke up the morning after the kiss-but-otherwise-chaste prom his Johnson was at half-mast and sporting a dangerously virulent looking rash?
Feeling like her feelings were never fully resolved, Allie leaps at the chance to spend two weeks with Captain Marc on his maiden voyage. When her sister Devyn agrees to take over the bakery temporarily, Allie signs on as the on-board pastry chef for the Belle, with a bonus of being able to work alongside a legendary chef.
“I get to share an oven with Phillip Regale.”
Devyn sniffed disdainfully and perched on the edge of the mattress. “I saw him on Satan’s Kitchen a few years ago. He’s an asswipe, and he spits when he talks.“
No matter. Marc and Allie are on board and this time there’s no Marc crossing the sidewalk to avoid breathing the same air as the always alluring Allie. The sexual tension doesn’t go unnoticed by the other crew members. Marc’s grandpa, his sarcastic pawpaw, gives it to him straight, especially after a few unfortunate shipboard “accidents” and “incidents.”
The only part of the Belle giving him any grief was of the living, breathing variety. Which was usually the case. “You’re thinkin’ with your tallywhacker,” Pawpaw accused from his seat on the defunct side control panel. “If you have a lick of sense, you’ll drop that witch at the next port.”
Bring on the accidental touches, the sultry glances, the tentative kisses which threaten to spill out of control.
Each of her ten fingertips begged to skim the contours of Marc’s cheeks and tangle in his hair, but she shoved them deeper into her pockets and told them no. It was too soon—Marc wasn’t ready.
Things go from hawt and wonderful (Marc and Allie) to bad and worse (the crew, the chef, the complaining passengers) until it seems that woman overboard (goodbye Allie) is the inevitable conclusion. This is not what Allie wants.
Allie wouldn’t put Marc in the position of having to discipline his most crucial staffer. Or worse, create so much resentment that Phil issued an ultimatum and forced March to let her go. She’d find a way to handle Chef Boyardouche on her own.
We’ve all encountered a Chef Boyardouche or two in our lives. They say true love (lust?) and a cough can’t be hidden and the incendiary couple ends up in Allie’s teensy stateroom, next to Chef Regale.
It would be so easy to untie that white robe, unzip his fly, and slip right inside her. But part of him knew it was a bad idea. She answered by taking his hand and leading it up the length of her thigh, stopping where their clothed bodies met.
Nothing’s going to stop them now, right? Wrong. Fire on board, specifically, fire in the chef’s suite. Everyone blames the 100 year-old hex, including Marc’s half-brother Alex, “‘Never heard of a cell phone starting a fire,’ Alex added. But it could happen—Allie didn’t care what anyone said.”
Accidents notwithstanding, Allie’s biggest problem is the track record of the Dumont men.
“Her sister had been right about one thing: the Dumonts had a raging case of emotional ADHD. They never stayed with one lover long enough to make it count.”
Allie asks Marc why that is.
“By taking over your daddy’s boat, you’re risking bankruptcy, right?”
“Yeah,” he said cautiously.
“So you’re willing to risk your credit and all your cash, but not your feelings? Where the logic in that?”
It made total sense to Marc.
“The difference is I know what I’m doing with the Belle. I have an actual shot at succeeding.”
“And you don’t at love?”
“Of course not.”
This is a romance—of course there’s going to be a HEA eventually—but Marc Dumont isn’t going down easy. At least they have two splendidly sensuous weeks on board, starting with a version of Go Fish that’s new to me:
She wouldn’t mind seeing what he was hiding either. “Are you suggesting we play Strip Go Fish?”
He answered by toasting her with his Coke.
When they finally cross the finish line, Marc wakes up with a satisfied “sultry siren” beside him. And nothing’s lying at half-mast either, “But that assurance didn’t stop him from peeking beneath Allie’s bedsheet to make sure his manhood was still intact.”
When they get off the ship it’s old times again, no call from Marc to Allie. Allie is worried although she’s not surprised by his actions. She says to Devyn that even if he does comes calling, “I think over time he’ll sabotage his happiness. Just like his daddy and his pawpaw.” Devyn’s middle name might be devious because she’s all for performing a hex-breaking ceremony (fake as a three dollar bill) to convince Marc that it’s safe to throw his heart at Allie’s feet. “I hate the thought of manipulating him,” Allie said, “like he’s just another teenager seeking a love charm.”
Of course, Allie and Marc always had the power to love each other without fearing the Wrath of the Curse, but for what they both perceived as good reasons, they avoided each other like repelling magnets. As with all good magic, they simply needed to believe.
Janet Webb aka @janetnorcal has unpredictable opinions on books. Season ticket holder of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart. When I rediscovered the world of romance, my spirit guide was All About Romance's Desert Island Keepers — I started with the “A” authors and never looked back.