Liar, Liar, Hearts On Fire by Jennifer Zane
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 16, 2014
Violet Miller is a teacher savoring her summer break until she's been called in as emergency reinforcements—of the dating kind. She volunteers to help an old flame by pretending to be his girlfriend.
In Alaska. At a family reunion. Since the guy is a handsome, lumberjack-sized doctor she's never quite forgotten, faking a relationship won't be hard work.
Mike Ostranski is a desperate man on vacation. His mother wants grandchildren and sees a crazy Alaskan woman as a candidate for daughter-in-law. Mike needs Violet by his side to deflect the lady's advances.
A week in Alaska as boyfriend and girlfriend should be easy for them. They grew up together, even had a brief fling. What could go wrong?
Summer vacation. No two words hold more allure for kids; what they dream about all school year long. To me, they are equally potent, equally daydream-worthy in the dead of winter when those long summer days are months and months away. No, I'm not thirteen. In fact, I'm twenty-nine. I'm Violet Miller and I'm a school teacher. A first grade teacher, to be exact.
So when that last school bell of the year rang last week and kids ran screaming out the doors of Irving Elementary eager to ride their bikes, swim, camp and all the other possibilities of the ten weeks of summer break, I was about ten minutes behind them.
Unfortunately, I won’t be manning a lemonade stand or zipping down the water slide at the Bogert Pool, the outdoor swim center downtown. Instead, I’ll spend my days working at Goldilocks, Bozeman's only “adult” toy store. I have to squeeze in my fly fishing, hiking and camping on my days off. At least until my sister, Veronica, gets back from her cross-country road trip.
“No, honey, you can't mix the flavored in with the glow-in-the-dark ones,” Goldie West told me as I restocked boxes of specialty condoms. Goldie had opened the store back in the sixties and had catered to every unusual, and some very kinky, whims ever since. Both she and the store were Bozeman icons. Infamous and quirky.
Goldie was like the Tasmanian devil, all fluffy hair, long nails and the ability to wreak havoc on anyone in her path. Today, her nails sported a cotton candy pink and her blond hair was teased up like a Southern pageant queen. She wore a T-shirt with a red-sequined heart in the center, black Capri pants and black clogs. Pushing seventy, she looked pretty darn good, although I wasn't sure if all that hair spray was good for her health.
She had a mind like a vault. Not only did she know everyone in town—their brothers, cousins, wives, dentists—she remembered everything about them since time began. Nothing slipped by her or her Rolodex for a brain. Because of this unique and often annoying ability, I try to keep as low a profile as I can around her. Goldie knows everything about Veronica, since she's been a faithful employee since college, but being her identical twin didn't mean I was fair game—or knew what I was doing.
“Whoops, sorry,” I replied, looking closer at the boxes and rearranging them into their appropriate shelf space. It was my first time in the condom section, as I was just filling in for Veronica on a short term basis. She was enjoying Florida and all its steamy summer weather with her boyfriend Jack Reid, packing up his belongings and driving back across the country. Since we lived in Montana, a few time zones away, they were going to be gone a few weeks.
“Did you try out some of the things I put in the box for you?” Goldie stood at the counter pulling red lace thongs from a brown shipping box. To the average person, a conversation about a box from a friend might revolve around hand-me-down clothes or even homemade cookies. To Goldie, it involved a sampling of Goldilocks' wares: nipple clamps, a vibrator, a sampling of lubes, scented lotions and other things I still couldn't exactly name. “I hope the Goldilocks Training Program has helped.”
With what? My personally-delivered orgasms or learning the ins-and-outs of a sex store? Nipple clamps weren't a solo thing and if I told her I'd taken the vibrator for a test drive she'd pull that little nugget of information out when I least expected it. She was fishing here and it wasn't for trout.
I tried some of my yoga deep breathing to keep from mangling the condom box in my grasp. Goldilocks’ Training consisted of watching ten pre-selected XXX videos, sampling a variety of sex toys, thus the take-home box, as well as taking a field trip to the nearest BDSM club, which was halfway to Butte. All had to be completed within the first month of employment.
“Um, yeah,” I replied, hoping to sound non-committal. Since I was only subbing for only a few weeks, I was hoping I didn't have to fulfill all of the requirements. I didn't know anyone I could call who would want to venture to a club devoted to varying kinky lifestyles. I had no doubt Goldie would volunteer, but that was a girls' night out I never wanted to consider.
“It's like working at the kitchen supply store in the mall. If you're going to sell the product, you've got to test it out first. My employees need to be the experts in the field because people are counting on us.” She had neat little piles going of variously sized lingerie on the counter.
Goldie talked as if we were testing fire trucks or life jackets, and a person's safety and well-being were held in the balance. In fact, I'd spent the past three evenings watching Big Boobs III, Junk In The Trunk and Rump Pumping. It was still up in the air whether all that porn was going to give me the expertise I needed to work at Goldie's, or a backup career as an adult film star. Sadly, watching those movies was the closest thing I'd had to sex in a long time.
My sex life was practically nonexistent. Unless you counted the vibrator test run from Goldie's box. There was more in that package than I could handle. At least alone. She'd provided everything for my sexual pleasure and then some. Everything except a man.
“Right. Kitchen supplies.” I finished the glow-in-the-dark and moved on to piña colada flavored. “Although I'm not sure if this is the same thing as cooking.”
Goldie waggled her eyebrows, her poufy hair going up an inch. “But it can get just as hot.”
Jennifer Zane has lived all over the country--from Georgia to Maryland, New York to Colorado, including an exciting five years in Montana. Her time in Big Sky country was the basis for this book. When she's not writing, she savors the insanity of raising two boys, is figuring out how many meals she can make with a pressure cooker, and teaches a pretty mean karate class. She currently lives with her family in Colorado.