Aug 30 2014 2:30pm

First Look: Alice Clayton’s Screwdrivered (September 2, 2014)

Alice Clayton
Screwdrivered (Cocktail #3)
Gallery / September 2, 2014 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital

By day, Viv Franklin is a tough-as-nails software engineer who designs programs and loves hospital corners. By night, Vivian’s a secret romance-novel junkie who longs for a knight in shining armor, or a cowboy on a wild stallion, or a strapping firefighter to sweep her off her feet. And she gets to wear the bodice—don’t forget the bodice.

When a phone call brings news that she’s inherited a beautiful old home in Mendocino, California from a long-forgotten aunt, she moves her entire life across the country to embark on what she sees as a great, romance-novel-worthy adventure. But romance novels always have a twist, don’t they?

There’s a cowboy, one that ignites her loins. Because Cowboy Hank is totally loin-ignition worthy. But there’s also a librarian, Clark Barrow. And he calls her Vivian. Can tweed jackets and elbow patches compete with chaps and spurs? You bet your sweet cow pie.

In Screwdrivered, Alice Clayton pits Superman against Clark in a hilarious and hot battle that delights a swooning Viv/Vivian. Also within this book, an answer to the question of the ages: Why ride a cowboy when you can ride a librarian?

In her latest novel in the Cocktail series, Alice Clayton is having a good time poking a little fun at the romance reader. We are a fanciful group always looking for a happily ever after with that one special person, but can we enjoy a laugh at our own expense?

In Screwdrivered, Vivian Franklin is an artist and a computer software engineer. She is also a romance novel junkie. There is nothing she likes more than to end her day with a spicy romance full of mystery, intrigue and lots and lots of sexual tension. Her love for all things romance leads to a bit of an overactive imagination.

When her aunt dies and leaves Vivian a house on the beach in sunny Mendocino, California, it starts a chain of events that completely changes Vivian’s life. In fact, Vivian’s life has changed so dramatically, she’s almost convinced that her whole life has turned into a romance novel. 

“Viv reads a ton of romance novels.  So when she got a call in the middle of the night to move across the country, and take over a house on a cliff she’d inherited from an aunt she barely knew, and there was a half-naked cowboy involved, she assumed she was now living in one of the books she loves,” Jessica recapped, and looked to me for approval.

I sighed. “And once again, when you say it like that, it sounds ridiculous.  But it’s not just that—it’s other stuff. Like, aren’t you supposed to struggle a little?  Isn’t part of a great romance the chase? The push and pull, the hunt, the uncovering bits and pieces of the great penis puzzle?”

“Uh. What?”  Caroline asked and I dropped my head to the table.

To add to her romance novel fantasy, we of course have a sexy hero/love interest. Viv’s new house has a stable and comes equipped with its very own hot, sweaty, and shirtless cowboy named Hank…really? Hank?   

I gulped as I traversed the treacherous steps, finally reaching the beach and slowing my pace as he approached.  Closer now, I could see that his hair was long, and flowing, and a blond the exact color of honey and lust.  I stood upon the sand as he cantered close, his cowboy hat—a motherfucking cowboy!—tilted back to reveal a face that could make angels sing and devils weep.  Square jaw, full lips and dark smoldering eyes that made me want to get lost in them for the foreseeable future.

He rode his stallion right up to me, looking down at my female form and raising an eyebrow in…appreciation? Admiration?  Total and complete abandon?

Was this Cowboy Hank? Oh my, yes, it was.  Because his belt buckle told me so…

Those lips parted, and he said—

“Hey, lady, this beach is private property.  Get the hell outta here.”

He spun his horse and galloped away. But as a parting gift, his horse crapped on the beach.

It also comes with a villain who is trying to ruin all her plans for her new home. Okay, maybe villain is a little too harsh a word for local historian/librarian, Clark Barrow but every change that Viv wants to do has to get Clark’s approval since her aunt had the house put on the historical registry. It seems that everything that Vivian wants to do is getting a big fat “No!” from Clark.  So maybe it wasn’t a good idea to fight with the one man who can veto every improvement she wants to make, but for a hot librarian, he is such a stick in the mud. 

Then again, maybe she was too hasty in dismissing Clark as a possible love interest while they were busy butting heads. Many of their face-to-face conversations were during the day and Daytime Clark is a pain in the ass.  But many of their discussions have led to calls to Clark after hours, and Nighttime Clark is a whole different creature indeed. Nighttime Clark can be seductive, sweet, and shiver-inducing.

The Cowboy or the Librarian? This is the question that Vivian needs an answer to because the fantasy lover who visits her dreams each night is leaving Vivian buzzing.  She hasn’t yet seen his face and she needs to figure out which one is the man of her dreams so she can finally jump him before she loses her ever-lovin’-mind!

He pressed his nose just below my ear, making me arch into what I hope was him, but was only empty air.  But he was still there, his lips now grazing the same skin, whispering into my ear my name.  “Vivian.  Sweet, sweet Vivian,” he said, a voice so very deep.  Deep, like I was longing for him to be inside of me, filling me up with hot, frantic love.

“Vivian,” that dark voice rolled through me.  “You taste as decadent as I dreamed you would.”  And just as he began to lift his head and open his eyes—-

I awoke.

“Dammit!” I screamed, punching the pillow.

Clayton proves that if you can’t laugh at yourself, someone is always willing to laugh at you.  It’s a good thing that romance lovers like flights of fancy, a good happily ever after, and a good chuckle, even at ourselves.

Learn more or pre-order a copy of Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton, out September 2, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
This sounds like a fun read! Thanks for the review.
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
Okay, tell me now: is this a love triangle? I can handle it if it's pretty clear that she prefers one over the other, Love Triangle Lite, if you will. It's the one trope (okay maybe that's a lie) that will make me not even THINK about picking up a book, but I loved Wallbanger (skipped Rusty Nailed because I don't like following the same couple into another book), so should I pick up Screwdrivered?
Lucy D
3. Lucy D
@Jennifer It's not your standard love triangle. Vivian is so busy drooling over the cowboy who shows no interest in her that she doesn't notice the sparks between her and Clark since he rubbed her the wrong way when they meet. I wished she had focused more on Vivian and Clark and left out the cowboy. Vivian and Clark were great.
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