Cover image for Girls night
Title:
Girls night
Author:
Holm, Stef Ann.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ontario, Canada : Mira, 2002.
Physical Description:
376 pages ; 18 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781551669496
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Single mother and owner of a coffee bar called Java the Hut, Jillene McDermott finds her life turned upside down by a personal ad run by her matchmaking daughters that goes awry, forcing her to be rescued by local crime writer Vince Tremonti, who unexpectedly brings passion and love into her life. O


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Single working moms will be drawn to the fairy tale element of Stef Ann Holm's Girls Night, which depicts the relationship between a wealthy true crime author and a middle-aged widow who owns a failing coffee shop. Jillene McDermott needs someone to save her from financial ruin and loneliness, and gorgeous Vince Tremonti may be the perfect man for the position. Vince, a confirmed bachelor, is only in Blue Heron, Wash., for a short stay, but he's inexplicably attracted to the featherbrained Jillene and charmed by her sunny, adolescent daughters. Holm throws Vince and Jillene together as often as possible, but their lack of chemistry hampers the story nearly as much as her trite, awkward prose ("Time stopped moving," "Their eyes clung"). While there isn't much to recommend here in the way of romance, Holm does offer some insights on the true-crime writing profession. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

All Jillene McDermott wanted was a little breathing room and the only place she could find it was in the bathtub. Even though she wouldn't be lucky enough to have the tub all to herself before the bubbles went flat and the water cooled, she'd take every minute she could get. She grabbed a book she'd just bought along with the latest issue of Women ROAR which had just hit the magazine racks. The acronym ROAR - Reaching Out And Rising - was a tribute to the Helen Reddy song "I Am Woman." Jillene hadn't bought the forty-five. She wasn't into roaring. Contrary to feminist philosophies, she didn't strive for empowerment or liberation. Pieces of her life were being tugged in all directions, but it didn't matter to her which side of the fly the zipper was zipped so long as she could pull things together. She stuck the plug in the drain, twisted the faucets and gave the water a generous squirt of Tweety Bird bubble bath. Rubbing her sore neck muscles, she walked into her bedroom for her nightie and slippers. As she returned to the bathroom she heard loud giggles and music coming from her daughter Claire's room where she and her sister Faye were playing Disco Dance Studio to the soundtrack of "A Night at the Roxbury." Jillene wished she could goof around with her daughters, but she needed to figure out how to better manage Coffee Time - a coffee bar that had been her late husband's idea. An idea that was now her only source of income. Becoming a single parent and business owner after being a housewife for so many years had meant she'd had to change her coping skills and take on the role of sole provider. She undressed in the bathroom. The tiny space had been remodeled when she and David bought the house three years ago. Two of the walls were cornflower blue with a painted seashell border. The pine floorboards were bleached and needed maintenance. A faded spot in the wallpaper above the mirror outlined the spot where an antique lamp had once been. She'd sold it last November to pay the heating bill. Their seaside cottage, off the coast of Washington, had been built in the forties. When she, David and the girls had first moved in, it had required fixing up, but the house was large and airy, making the gloomy winter days a little brighter. Now the rooms seemed even larger because some of the furniture had been sold, the proceeds going toward expenses. But nothing could take away the view from the front porch. She could still see the Blue Heron Beach marina and walk down to it on the wooded trail that started behind her house. At least something in her life hadn't changed since her husband's death two years ago. A yellow Labrador retriever padded into the bathroom, shoved her tan nose in the bubbles and started to drink. "Sugar!" Jillene nudged the dog out and closed the door. Grabbing the magazine, she sank into the tub with a sigh. She lay there for a full ten seconds before she opened ROAR , hoping for some useful advice. Because she'd been in absolute distress during the first year on her own, she'd let the manager of Coffee Time continue on in his position. But eleven months ago, she'd taken out a second mortgage and let him go. When she had first bought a copy of ROAR last December it had inspired her to make her first big decision. That was to rename the coffee bar. In order to save it, she needed to make it hers. So Coffee Time became Java the Hut. Lifting the magazine, she read the finance columns while making mental notes. She was supposed to keep an eye on gross profits by focusing on the cost of sales. If it doesn't make a sizable profit, you don't need it. She thought of the Chihuly chandelier in the store - it didn't do anything but hang and look pretty. But - Oh, how pretty it was ... If it doesn't make a sizable profit, you don't need it. Jillene groaned. To part with the Chihuly, it would be like ... She didn't want to think about how hard that would be. She scratched her knee, submerged her leg back into the warm water and moved on to an article about power lunching. With a frustrated sigh, she tossed the magazine onto the floor. She'd read more later when she could think more clearly. She picked up the book she'd set on the edge of the tub. For a moment she stared at the cover photo of a smirking Satan worshiper/serial killer. The Night Stalker: A Tale of Terror , by Vince Tremonti. Vince Tremonti was the local celebrity. He might not live in Blue Heron Beach, but he'd grown up here. His father owned Al's Barbershop across the street from Java, and Al proudly relayed his son's accomplishments in publishing. Al bought a coffee from her most mornings and always asked her how she was doing. Jillene had never tried one of Vince's books. True crime stories weren't her idea of entertainment. She'd read Helter Skelter back in high school, but though she'd read to the end, she didn't like being in the mind of a sadistic killer. It wasn't worth the insomnia. She eyed the lurid cover of Tremonti's book with some doubt. She'd wanted something to read other than women in business magazines, spread sheets and motivational stuff, but it had been Al's faithful patronage of her coffee bar that made her buy his son's book. Vince Tremonti's bio on the jacket flat said he lived in metropolitan Los Angeles and was a former Seattle police detective. A black-and-white author photo took up the entire back cover. She looked at his picture, thinking he came across as intense. She opened the book to the first chapter. The demon struck in the darkest hours of the night, creating earthly hell and - The door to the bathroom burst open and her ten-year-old daughter, Faye, made a beeline for the toilet and pulled her jeans down. "Do you mind?" Jillene commented over the book's edge. "We have another bathroom in this house." Faye smiled as she went ahead with her business. "Yeah, but I like this one." The toilet paper spindle unleashed yards of costly squares as Faye slapped her palm across it. "Hey!" Jillene cautioned. "Go easy on that toilet paper." With a crinkled nose, Faye muttered, "Sorry." While Claire resembled Jillene, Faye looked more like her dad. There were times when Jillene looked at her younger daughter and saw so much of her late husband that an ache formed in her chest. Faye's brunette hair was silky straight and her eyes were green, while Claire's hair was blonder and she had brown eyes. In a burst of energy Claire came into the room and declared, "We're out of cotton balls." Twelve-year-old Claire was tall and slender with preteen curves and small breasts that were perfectly round and pert. Faye still carried some of her little-girl body but insisted on wearing a bra like her sister. "Funny you should mention the cotton balls." Jillene still held the book open in her hands, but hope was fading fast that she'd be able to actually read any more of it now that the girls had invaded. "I wanted to take my toenail polish off and I couldn't find any. What happened to that bag I bought last week?" Faye stood and gave the toilet a flush. "We had to use them because we were making all the Barbies pregnant." "At the same time?" Jillene asked. The girls had at least forty of the dolls between them. "We were doing a fake TV show," Claire said. "The Barbies were on an episode called `My Man's Cheating on Me.'" The commentary didn't shock Jillene. Her daughters possessed uncommon imaginations. They were mature for their ages, but they still played Barbies - a pastime Jillene had promised not to talk about outside of the house. When popular boys and school activities weren't a priority for them, they dressed up in old Halloween costumes to put on dance shows for her. Claire was taking home economics in school so she liked to bake cookies on her own. The three of them used to have a great time at the mall on mother-daughter shopping sprees for fun platform shoes and perfumes and cute undies. But they couldn't afford to do that anymore. Things were so different now ... Excerpted from Girls Night by Holm Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.