Title ~ A Twist and Two Balls (With a Kick #1)
Author ~ Clare London
Published ~ 29th August 2014
Genre ~ Contemporary Romance
Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage and screen. Or that was the plan. His alter ego Eddy March hasn't got further than the chorus and a bit part in a TV series. His parents aren't supportive, his agent can’t place his particular skills, and he's finding it hard to hang onto his young dreams. Things go from bad to worse when he's late for an important audition, hasn't got enough to money to pay the taxi fare, and is chased across the streets of Soho by the irate driver.
Eddy reaches what he believes is sanctuary - With A Kick, a store where ice creams are blended with alcohol and imagination, and where his friends can help him. But Nuri the taxi driver is persistent in his steady pursuit, above and beyond the money he’s owed. Despite their very different characters and background, Eddy and Nuri’s relationship goes from a complete unknown to a wary balancing act. There are still mistakes to be made, and hurdles to clear. And both of them have to admit that their life so far hasn’t gone the way they planned.
But maybe being caught by Nuri was just what Eddy’s career needed – both for his job and his heart.
Well what a tasty little concoction this short story by Clare London was. The first in a series of novellas set around a London Ice cream parlor, its owners Lee and Patrick, and the people who frequent it. I think she could quite easily have called this 'Turkish Delight' because of Nuri the gorgeous Turkish taxi driver, but the delight also comes from the fact that as well as being sweet, but never sugary, this was also a fun, engaging read and that's down to the fact that the two MC's, who kick this series off, are such a likeable and endearing couple. It's only 1093 kindle locations or 66 pages, but I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end.
The story starts when Mr tall dark and delicious, has a run in with the adorable, struggling wannabe actor Eduardo Mancini aka Eddy March, who finds himself in Nuri's taxi; stuck in traffic, short of funds and late for a really important audition. Panicking when he realises the fare is clocking up and he's not even anywhere near his destination, Eddy decides there's only one thing he can do...jump out and RUN!!!...only Nuri isn't going to let him get away with that so the chase is on. Literally!
Poor Eddy isn't having the best time with his career. He's living in the shadow of his successful parents, his agent doesn't seem to care that much and most of the jobs he does manage to get are short lived, success isn't in Eduardo's vocabulary ...but bless him he's a trier. He's changed everything about himself including his hair colour, overall styling and his name in a bid to find fame, and getting to this particular audition is crucial in his quest to push his failing career forward, so it's pure desperation that pushes him to attempt to cheat the handsome taxi driver.
Initially Nuri just wants what's owed him but there's something about this melodramatic actor that ticks his boxes so after some negotiating they agree that Eddy will take him to the nearest place he can borrow some cash from to pay Nuri what he owes him, which happens to be 'With A Kick', an ice cream shop he frequents fairly often... the 'Kick' being a dash of alcohol in the shops specialist section of adult ices. When Lee, one of the owners claps eyes on Nuri, he decides they can use the Turkish drink, Raki, as an idea for a new ice cream flavor...
"....you know what? You've given me Inspiration for a new ice." He grinned bouncing on the balls of his feet. "An aniseed twist is just what Patrick needs to add to the menu. A sharp, striking aftertaste to every cold spoonful. And the balls, of course! Must include them." He laughed aloud. "It could be called ... A Twist and Two Balls! Now I just have to persuade Patrick..."
And "Voila!!" there's the tie in to the books title.
The secondary characters are great too. Mainly consisting of Nuri's large, noisy, supportive, Turkish family, they bring some extra 'Awwws' and giggles to the plate, and I smiled a lot; although there's generally a fun feel to the whole story anyway thanks to Clare's easy, very witty writing style. It's amongst these warm people that Eddy starts to get an inkling of what it would be like to be with Nuri long term, and in a roundabout way his interaction with them all, especially Nuri's cute nephews and nieces, has a major impact on his future. It's not all fun and games however, as there's serious decisions on the horizon for both of them, as they come to realise that if they want to make their relationship work, they might have to rethink the career plans they've both settled on, and that includes Nuri who because of his love for his family and his perceived commitments to them, hasn't told his 'Eduardo' the whole truth about himself so there's a couple of bumps along the way...but there's never a moment when you doubt they'll make it.
What really mattered in life was how he felt about himself, and the gorgeous, clever hunk of human water bottle in bed with him, who fed him and laughed at his jokes, was almost always patient with him, and thought he was sexy.
For its length, it's really entertaining. Clare put just the right amount of cute, funny, sexy and angst in there to even it out across the board, and gave me something that actually felt like it had a beginning, a middle and an end, not always the case in some short stories, because if not paced properly they can end up feeling rushed and incomplete. So I finished this one, nicely satisfied with what I'd read but still curious about what's still to come from the series. Cold ice cream, hot sexy guys and warm hearted romance...what more could you ask for! Yummy!
Alternating throughout the series With Clare, it's Sue Brown's contribution next so watch this space because it's coming soon. Next please!
Buy It Here
The sky is grey, the leaves fall – and Clare London craves ice cream!
Ice cream in autumn, you ask?
And why not? It’s one of those things that’s good at any time of year. When Sue and I first discussed setting a series of romantic stories around a virtual ice cream shop With A Kick, the sun was shining. We’ve had a very reasonable summer in the UK this year, you know! And now, even though the autumn is drawing in, it remains a favourite dessert.
The new romance series I’m launching with Sue Brown is based around an ice cream shop/café, With A Kick. The ice creams there aren’t just creamy and sweet. Their “Adult” menu ices contain real, strong-flavoured alcohol. Many ices today are flavoured, don’t get me wrong. And there’s always been a catering problem with pure alcohol in the ice cream mix because it doesn’t set. But I’m working on some recipes that should combine the two just perfectly – or at least my chef (i.e. Hubby) is working on it. On the long, cold, rainy Autumn and Winter nights, we’ll be sampling desserts. No one said research would be easy LOL.
And whether the recipes work for me or not – they do for the With A Kick shop, and our characters’ sweet and boozy tastes!
ABOUT THE WITH A KICK SERIES: “A new and enticing ice cream franchise, with a unique blend of full flavour, mischief and romance. Patrick and Lee are struggling to make a success of their alcoholic ice cream shop in the centre of tourist London. At the same time, their business partnership may take a turn towards the personal – if either of them can find the time and nerve to go for it! Meanwhile, they cater to the wild and wonderful range of customers in the area, many of whom have their own romantic agenda. Will ice cream be the final ingredient they’re all looking for?”
Each story will have a self-contained romance, but will follow the history of the shop throughout. So come along and sample the refreshments at With A Kick and meet the men who are all seeking ice cream and romance – a perfect combination!
Book #2: Hissed as a Newt by Sue Brown, will be out on Sep 29.
Blurb: A drunk clown rolling around in the gutter is not what David Wright expects to find as he walks to With A Kick, his favourite ice-cream shop. David has had a lousy day. A literary agent has crushed his dreams and all he wants is the consolation of alcoholic ice-cream. He’s about to walk away when he finds the clown has been dumped by his boyfriend. On a whim, David takes the clown into With A Kick before he gets arrested. Underneath the smeared make-up, he meets Stan, who has just discovered his boyfriend and best friend getting more than friendly. Over ice-cream, David and Stan discuss their problems and realise maybe they can help each other.
Book #3: Slap and Tickle by Clare London, will be out on Oct 29.
Blurb: Bryan is an accountant who admires order and self-discipline. When he literally bumps into Phiz outside With A Kick, Phiz’s lifestyle and behaviour appear totally chaotic. But they each recognise something in the other that they need. Bryan needs a lover who welcomes his secret desire, and Phiz needs a firm hand – in every way. They both agree that Bryan may be just the man to provide it.
JUST FOR FUN: Today’s random ice cream fact: The ice cream cone's invention is linked to the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. An ice cream vendor reportedly didn't have enough dishes to keep up with the demand, so he teamed up with a waffle vendor who rolled his waffles into cones!
Tell us, how do you like YOURS? In a bowl, in a cup, on a plate, in a plain cone, in a waffle cone, in a waffle cone coated with chocolate…oops sorry, I got distracted there LOL. Feel free to share your favourites here today!
About Clare London
Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!
I’m offering a FREE download today of the first book, A TWIST AND TWO BALLS, penned by me.
I’m also offering an exclusive “A Twist and Two Balls” trading card, which will be available later in October. If you win, I’ll ask for your mailing address and will send you the card – plus other Clare London goodies – to anywhere in the world.