Lemon Drops And Love

All the Cocktail Series books are standalone stories with no cliff hangers. They are linked by characters and location and each has a unique theme. the Cocktail Series gives you romance and so much more. If you like your 'Happily Ever Afters' hard fought for, if you like to run the gambit of emotions, and if you have a large supply of tissues that need using up, then this is the series for you! Each unique story gives you the best book boyfriends with a side of hockey fun and a hot and steamy storyline with gritty characterization and strong language. Each story in the series is guaranteed to pull at your heart strings.

CHAPTER 1 - PERFECT DAY

    It was a perfect day, for a perfect wedding, for a perfect pair. Maya sighed with content as she watched Roxy move effortlessly from one guest to another. Her friend looked elegant in her beautiful cream silk wedding dress. How could she look otherwise? She’d inherited her coloring from her mother, a natural blonde of Swedish decent. Not only did she get the white-blonde hair and blue eyes but she was blessed with flawless skin that tanned to perfection at the hint of sun. As if Roxy needed any other good fortune in the looks department, she also inherited her mother’s tall, slim frame. Roxy managed to take all those perfect Swedish features and somehow still pulled off that all-American girl look.

    Maya couldn’t be happier that Roxy and Johnny were finally getting married. They'd met at the end of Roxy’s sophomore year and she'd fallen for him right away. Almost from day one she was convinced he was the one. Roxy and Johnny were always blissfully happy and their happiness was infectious. Maya spent a lot of time with them over the years. The three of them went everywhere together, their sense of fun and adventure sparking each other. They were always at parties, trying new things, and having a blast.

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    That was until recently. Over the last year things began to change for Maya. Now she was living on the edge of her nerves, tense, jumpy, dropping things; her confidence had deserted her. But today, for the first time in ages, she felt different. Acting as Roxy’s matron of honor made her feel like her old self.

    When Roxy first asked her, she panicked about the responsibility, but despite the day being hectic she was in her element. It had been crazy busy as she rushed around picking up flowers, cakes, and table decorations. Setting out tables, arranging serving dishes, and getting cutlery ready for the caterers boosted her dwindling confidence.

    Maya caught her reflection in the window and smiled. For the first time in months she felt genuinely attractive thanks to Roxy insisting she had her makeup done. The girl at the salon did such a fantastic job. The blush warmed her pale complexion and the soft smoky eye makeup made Maya’s chocolate brown eyes look big and sultry. God, she couldn’t remember the last time she wore makeup, let alone this much. Carl, her boyfriend, didn’t like her wearing it but Roxy was insistent.

    Maya pulled up the front of her dress. Was it too low cut? She hoped it didn't look too tight. She tucked her silky tangerine bra strap back under her dress straps and blushed. Why did she buy these sexy undies? She was feeling really self-conscious wearing them now. Roxy laughed at her when she told her she didn’t have the courage to wear them! Teasing her, saying she wore this stuff all the time, that Johnny got off on it and it made her feel good dressing all sexy for her man. Maya blushed again at the thought of what Carl might say when he saw them later; she hoped he wouldn’t laugh at her silliness.

    Now that the vows had been taken, the day slowed into a relaxed evening. Roxy and Johnny's family and friends were packed into the yard enjoying cocktails and a catered buffet. “Maya, don’t you look lovely!” She turned to greet one of Roxy's relatives, Uncle Rodney. He was eyeing her somewhat lecherously. As she made polite conversation with him she became distracted. A familiar figure stood at the patio doors.

    Carl!

    Her breath caught in her throat and she felt a little faint. He stepped into the yard, his eyes scanning the crowd. Maya's red plastic cup eased itself out of her fingers and fell to the grass, splashing white wine all over her lovely new shoes. She took a faltering step forward but her ankle spontaneously collapsed and she found herself tipped forward into Roxy's uncle.

    Uncle Rodney helped right her and made a show of wiping down her dress with his white handkerchief. Muttering apologies, she extricated herself from the overly attentive man. Maya looked towards Carl; panic set in. Did he see her drop the cup? He was always going on at her about being so clumsy. She flung herself to the ground, grabbing for the beaker like it was someone’s priceless cut glass crystal that had fallen rather than a disposable cup. Now, her perfect day was a forgotten memory, the confidence and self-assured feeling she’d felt earlier, vanished. Her heart felt heavy and she began to perspire. Despite the lovely breeze, the garden became airless.

    Maya's hand went to her hair. She tamed it, then checked her dress. Smoothing out wrinkles, pulling the cleavage up and in, she hoped it didn’t show too much skin or look too clingy. Conscious her color had drained from her face, she pinched her cheeks and put on her happy smile. Then she waved tentatively towards Carl.

***

    Carl glanced at his watch as he stepped into the yard. He was hours late! He should have been at the damn service at the church, but got distracted. Technically, that was Maya's fault. She begged him to pick up her sister on the way, something about Hannah's car being in the shop. So he played the Fairy Godmother, making sure Maya’s sister got to the ball on time. Except they hadn’t made it on time, actually they hadn’t made it to the church at all. He got to Hannah’s apartment at the allotted time but when he arrived, Hannah was not quite ready.

    Actually, that was an understatement. She'd literally just come out of the shower and answered the door in a tiny towel that was more suitable for drying hands on than wrapping around those curves. Needless to say, he had an eyeful of her pert and very naked ass as she shimmied back to the bedroom. After slumping onto the couch, armed with a beer out of the refrigerator, he settled in for the long haul. Hannah accidentally, on purpose, left the bedroom door open. Naturally Carl watched while she performed some erotic reverse strip tease. Now that sparked his interest.

    Hannah knew he could see her and that was an added turn on. Carl knew that she didn’t expect him to look out the window like a good boy. Putting the beer to his mouth, he took a long pull and settled in to enjoy the show. It didn’t disappoint. Hannah wriggled first into barely there panties and then jiggled her tits into a scanty lace bra. When she began slowly rolling up thigh highs, Carl decided it was time for some audience participation.

    Carl had always had a thing for Hannah and this thing was on a sort of rolling program. For some reason, every few weeks Carl found himself back at her place. It didn’t help that she worked at his favorite bar on the weekends. Every time he went there, she encouraged him to walk her home after her shift. Needless to say, that usually meant one thing lead to another. Maya, being as pathetic as she was, never noticed.

    Now that he had arrived, he left Hannah chatting up hockey players in the lounge and went to find his girl. He scanned the garden looking for her. Shit. He rolled his eyes, typical fucking Maya. That girl was always dropping stuff and groveling on the floor. Christ, what does she think she looks like in that fucking dress? Everything was on show. He could tell Roxy picked it out; Maya would have more respect for herself. Though, the dress was kind-a-sexy and it did emphasize her curves. Actually he'd forgotten she had curves; in fact, he'd forgotten that she was that sexy. But that was beside the point; he was not having her out and about dressed like that. Not with every Tom, Dick and even Uncle Rodney staring at her fucking tits and tight ass.

    Carl had seen enough. He was going to march her out of here pretty damn quickly. She could go back to the condo and change. Fuming, he made two strides towards Maya but was intercepted by some guy.

    “Carl, how’s it going? Nice party, eh? You know….”

    Blah! Blah! Blah! Who the hell was this guy anyway? Marcus? Manuel? Something like that? He lived in the condo next to theirs. Damn guy always greeted you like you were his best friend, then went jawing on for hours. Now he remembered. It was Malcolm. He lived with that other guy; the one who was a decorator. Maya was always going on about how they should get him in to redo her place.

    Nod. Nod.

    "Malcolm, how nice to see you, we must get together for drinks soon." Carl cast his eyes over the yard while his neighbor prattled on.

    Malcolm looked at him like he expected Carl to answer a question. What on earth was Malcolm going on about? What did he ask? "I'm sorry, Malc. I'd like to chat but I must find Maya."

    Carl extricated himself and searched the crowd. Where the fuck had she gone now?

***

    Across the other side of the yard, Jude Holland could hardly take his eyes off Maya. All day long, he'd caught tantalizing flashes of that fantastic orange dress but never got close enough to talk to her. He wasn’t even sure she'd noticed he was here.

    She hadn’t changed. As he watched her chattering to his relatives and friends he tried to remember how her voice sounded. Was it really a year since he had last seen her? It only felt like yesterday. He sighed, he should leave her alone. Jude had promised himself not to do this anymore. It was over; actually, it never even began. For God’s sake, turn around, Holland. But Jude was unable to turn his head away.

    Next to him, his cousin’s mouth was moving up and down. What she was saying was anyone's guess. Maya was the only thing he could focus on. Even though he was too far away to hear what she said, her voice was the only one in his head. He closed his eyes; nope she was still there behind his lids. Jude groaned to himself; that feeling was back. For years he’d felt this same gravitational pull towards her. He wondered what she was doing now, if she was still dating the same guy. Please let her be single.

    Jude's traitorous feet carried him towards her. An overwhelming urge to settle something that should have been settled a long time ago came over him. This was kismet. He couldn’t fight it any longer. His year-long resolve was gone. In its place a new resolution; he would tell Maya what he'd kept secret for over five years.

Reviews

I got a chance to see an earlier version of Lemon Drops and Love on wattpad while it was still taking shape. And then I got to watch it “grow up” over a succession of drafts. The writer from the outset showed great promise and it was particularly dazzling to follow her learning curve from “talented amateur” to “equally gifted professional writer” in such a short time. One indicator of how impressed I was by her unique, and warmly inviting narrative voice is I don’t usually read in this genre. In fact it’s fair to say it’s well outside of my bailiwick. Most romances are so syrupy sweet with the love stuff I have to reach for a sugar blocker before we’re out of the first chapter.

Angela, moreover, does a masterful job of intertwining A & B stories. Her B story is a psychological thriller that involves the desperate ex’s attempts to win his girlfriend back that puts this book on a par with Sleeping With the Enemy. Fans of that film, and loyalists of the Lifetime Network channel will feel right at home here with the abuse and terror that a demented control freak male can wield. But I found this story thread also gave male readers an in to the book and kept it from degenerating into pure “mummy porn” or your typical harlequin romance. Though the A-story offers plenty of both, lol.

The characters were likable, believable and engaging, and you couldn’t help root for them. Even the bad guy is someone you love to hate. I felt myself wanting to reach through the pages and strangle him personally. And I’m an easy-going, hard-to-rile, long-fused pacifist at heart! Even more interestingly, the author does such a good job at the twisted inner workings of his mind that it’s difficult to imagine this book not helping to walk people through their own recoveries from such relationships; anything they might not understand about what just happened to them and why will be shed light on here.
— Author, Dean C. Moore
The quality of writing and production of this first novel is remarkable and one can be excused for believing this is a work by an author of greater maturity in writing and publishing than Angela Stevens.
I came to this book in its first edition when it was freely published on the Internet. I have now bought the finished work and shall enjoy reading it again and again; it is one of those books. I am not ordinarily attracted to Romance as a genre. But this is not an ordinary Romantic novel. In the pages one finds romance and beautiful people but a gripping story that includes a Maniac, Passion, Heartache, Selflessness, Desperation and Tension. An Innovative Plot wrapped in crisp and realistic dialogue delivered at a fast pace against a backdrop of Ice Hockey in the East USA. In short a compelling and memorable read. This is a book that will stretch the emotions and will not disappoint. I note this is part of a series - the Cocktail Series- that means there will be more. Hurry with the sequel please Angela!
— Peter Thompson
My disgust and utter dislike for Carl was completely lost to the sexual anticipation between Maya & Jude. With my pulse racing and my breath coming in short pants I just hoped I could hold out long enough for him to finish.
— Lauren Busk
Lemon Drops and Love, was not the book I was expecting when I first read it...it was even better. The book tells the story of Jude and Maya two characters that stayed with me long after reading. The author does an amazing job making her characters real and relatable. The dialogue is strong and the plot is intricately woven, combing both romance and a compelling mystery.

I can’t write this review without mentioning the most important thing...the sex scenes! I loved them! All I can say is...wow. The author created in Jude one of the most likable and steamy male love interests I’ve come across in a long time. He alone is worth purchasing this book!

I doubt anyone would be disappointed by this read. I’m quite picky when it comes to romance yet this one had everything that I was looking for and more. Can’t wait to see more from this talented author!
— Camille Eckert