Tangled Up In Love
Chicks With Sticks Book 1
Finalist for Colorado Romance Writers' "Award of Excellence"!
ARE THEY FIT TO BE TIED?
Ever since Dylan Stone beat Veronica Chasen out of a prime position at the Cleveland Herald, they’ve been bitter rivals, engaging in a very public war of words in their competing newspaper columns. They routinely challenge each other to go bungee jumping, white water rafting, or into tattoo parlors to see who will wimp out first. But Veronica’s latest taunt may be Dylan’s toughest assignment yet: She dares him to learn to knit.
OR WILL DESIRE UNRAVEL THEM BOTH?
Dylan is not going to let something his grandmother can do scare him off. He’s man enough to make a scarf—and attend Veronica’s weekly knitting circle. But when the infuriatingly handsome Dylan shows up at the craft shop and charms all the ladies, Veronica begins to get all knotted up in something that feels a lot like love… But will the two ever stop needling each other?
“Tangled Up In Love is sexy, witty, and surprisingly deep.” ~The Romance Reader
“I loved this story. Tangled Up in Love is funny, passionate and heart-warming with intelligent, believable characters. I loved Ronnie’s character and her interaction with the sexy Dylan Stone. I’m excited that this is the first book in a new series by Ms. Betts and I’m excitedly awaiting Jenna and Gage’s story Loves Me, Loves Me Knot, which comes out in August 2009. Heidi Betts is definitely one of my new favorite authors and Tangled Up in Love is a keeper!” ~Romance Junkies
“Ms. Betts has thrown in a mix of hot sensuality with the craft of knitting. If passion and steamy sex is what you are looking for, this is the book to read. Not only that, but the author includes a pattern for a knitted scarf too!” ~ReaderToReader.com
“Heidi Betts has penned a humorous, entertaining tale in Tangled Up in Love that will knock you off your feet. [Dylan and Ronnie’s] battle of the sexes will remind readers of classic Hepburn vs. Tracy movies. These exchanges provide several funny moments, but once they bridge the “getting to know each other” barrier, their relationship takes a sensual turn. Get out the ice cold drinks, readers, for Ronnie and Dylan burn the pages! The sexy banter between Dylan and Ronnie sizzles and steams the pages. A royal battle of the sexes highlights Tangled Up in Love and makes for a purely enjoyable read that will keep you up late at night to finish. Grab your copy off the bookstore shelves and get ready for a rollicking fun read!” ~Romance Reviews Today
“I absolutely adored Tangled Up in Love. Usually not a fan of comedic romances, I found myself laughing out loud more than once… Known best for her Silhouette Desire releases, Heidi Betts ups the sensuality in Tangled Up in Love, her newest release. Sizzling emotions and scorching repartee add to the sultriness that involves Dylan and Veronica. I must Joyfully Recommend Tangled Up in Love—I loved it that much!” ~Joyfully Reviewed
“Ms. Betts has written a wonderfully witty work that will have you laughing out loud, and if you don’t you have no sense of humor at all. The rivalry is wonderful and the sex is smoking hot. You will be hoping these two work out all their differences to get their happily ever after. You’ll be rooting for Dylan to succeed and fail by turns. And you’ll be adding Ms. Betts to your Must Read authors list. I know I’ll be looking for the next installment regarding the ladies of The Knit Wits.” ~Night Owl Reviews
"Heidi Betts has practically reinvented the war between the sexes in Tangled Up In Love, a briskly strung romance filled with brash, sexy energy and smart humor. A playful and unique premise, winning characters, and fast-and-furious dialogue all combine to make Tangled Up In Love the most entertaining romance read of the year. Heidi Betts has a winning ability to mix comedy and sensuality with a lively flair that puts her in the top tier of contemporary romance writers." ~New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas
“A delicious, fun, sexy treat from start to finish!" ~New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
“Heidi Betts gives romance a sexy, fresh twist! Fantastic!” ~New York Times bestselling author Carly Phillips
“Hot, juicy, and irresistible!” ~New York Times bestselling author Leanne Banks
“I hate that man with the flames of a thousand fiery Hells,” Ronnie spat as she returned to her table of friends and started refilling glasses from the pitcher of slushy, pale green margarita that shook in her hand.
She said it. She meant it. So what was with the strange sense of exhilaration she always felt after one of their sparring matches? Even now, with adrenaline pumping through her system and rage burning in her brain, she almost wanted to dive back in for Round Two.
“What man?” one of them asked, glancing around the bar as though the offender would be standing under a spotlight.
“Who do you think?” Grace said. Blond and beautiful, she was the picture of calm, never a hair out of place, never an emotion left unchecked. Only her close friends knew she had a sharp wit and a tongue like a razor blade. “Only the same guy Ronnie’s been bitching about for the past year—Dylan ‘That Arrogant Jackass’ Stone.”
“Let’s just call him ‘The Jackass’ for short,” Ronnie clipped out, filling her own glass to the brim before plopping down on her chair with very little finesse.
“I don’t get it,” Grace said. “You’re such a nice person otherwise, and get along with just about everyone you meet, but put you within a ten mile radius of Dylan Stone, and you turn into a slavering she-witch.”
Ronnie’s eyes narrowed as she finished filling glasses and set the pitcher aside. “Payback’s a bitch,” she quipped, “and you’re looking at her.”
“So what did he do this time?” the petite, short-haired Jenna inquired.
“He asked if my new tattoo was sore.”
“Of course it is,” Ronnie grumbled, taking a long, fortifying drink of her deliciously frothy tequila-laced concoction. “It throbs like a suffering bastard and rubs against my clothes all day, every day.”
“Did you tell him what it means?” one of the other girls asked. The rest of the group chuckled, because they knew. Ronnie had divulged that little secret at their first knitting meeting after having the body art done.
“No way. Let him wonder.”
“Fuck him, right?” Grace teased.
A cocky, knowing grin spread across Ronnie’s face and she reached around to pat a spot high on her left buttock. She didn’t even wince at the added sting it caused. “That’s right.”
“So it’s your turn to send him out on a dare. What are you going to make him do?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought of anything yet that’s adequately dangerous or embarrassing.” Her brows knit in a scowl. “He’s so obnoxious about thinking men are braver and more accomplished than women. I feel like daring him to walk into traffic blindfolded. A nice Greyhound bus to the temporal lobe would knock some of the smugness out of him.”
She lifted her head and met the gaze of each and every one of her friends around the table, her eyes conveying her desperation.
“You could figure out a way for him to go through simulated childbirth,” Melanie, a mother of two, offered flatly. “That would shut him up and have him bowing down to every woman he met from now until the end of time.”
“You could send him for a bikini wax.”
Ronnie flinched slightly at that suggestion. “Don’t remind me. I still have that landing strip in my panties that is in no way ready to wave in approaching air traffic. Plus, I don’t want to repeat myself, and I already made him get his legs waxed.” She smirked.
“Wonder if his hair has grown back yet.”
“You could dare him to meet you at some no-tell motel for hot, sleazy sex, then leave him tied to the bed until the maid finds him the next day. And you could be there to capture his degradation on film.”
Ronnie laughed with everyone else, but inside, her stomach had clenched, and picturing Dylan tied to the bedposts, beneath her and at her mercy, sent an odd fluttering through the rest of her body.
Which was ridiculous, because he was a jerk, and if she was going to be attracted to any man at the moment, it certainly wouldn’t be Dylan Stone. She was only having this reaction because it had been so long since she’d had any type of sex that didn’t require batteries. After such a long dry spell, it was completely natural to have a physiological response to anything even remotely suggestive.
“How about walking across hot coals or dressing in drag and going down to the red light district?” one of the women asked, bringing her focus back to the matter at hand.
“If you really want to trip him up on the men-versus-women thing, then he should have to do something women do on a regular basis and are really good at,” Melanie spoke up again. “Like cleaning the house, getting a kid ready for school and to the bus stop on time, or making a Halloween costume from scratch.”
Reaching under the table, she retrieved her purse, which was oversized and stuffed to the gills. She pulled the knitting needles and skein of yarn she’d been working with earlier that evening off the top and set them aside, then continued to remove items one at a time.
“Do you know any men who have to carry around the crap women do, especially ones with kids? They grab their wallets and keys and take off. The rest of us have to make sure we have tampons, tissues, make-up, and nail files. And if you have kids, then you have to walk around with a steady supply of Band-Aids, baby wipes, antibacterial lotion, snacks, toys . . .” She punctuation her words by pulling every one of those things from her purse, including a couple of strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups and a tiny yellow dump truck that was missing one wheel.
“Yikes,” Jenna commented, blanching at the pile of junk cluttering the tabletop.
“So what are you suggesting?” Ronnie asked. “That I challenge Dylan to carry an overstuffed lady’s handbag everywhere he goes for a month?”
Melanie’s mouth twisted as she started loading things back into the purse, making its seams stretch and bulge. “He’s certainly welcome to carry mine. It’s no wonder women end up with osteoporosis. Most days, I’d swear I’m going to be a hunchback by the time I’m forty.”
She squinted an eye and twisted her mouth, lifting one shoulder much higher than the other in a near-perfect imitation of Quasimodo. “You guys will come visit me in the bell tower, won’t you?” she inquired in one of the funniest voices they’d ever heard.
They all laughed, and Ronnie nearly choked on her ill-timed sip of margarita.
“If we’re not already there with you,” Jenna promised, deliberately straightening her spine and throwing her shoulders back, the model of perfect, chiropractor-approved posture.
A moment later Grace said, “I have a better idea,” so quietly Ronnie almost didn’t hear her.
Her attention was immediately drawn back to what had started this thread of the conversation—her ongoing feud with Dylan Stone. “What?”
One side of her friend’s mouth quirked up in a sly, conspiratorial grin and she inclined her head in Melanie’s direction. Or more accurately, to the bag balanced on Melanie’s lap, a tangle of pale yellow yarn and two shiny, metallic blue needles sticking out of the top.
Ronnie looked at the purse . . . then back at Grace . . . then back at the purse.
And finally comprehension dawned. A slow smile spread and lifted her lips until she was grinning like an idiot.
“Grace, I love you, I really do. That’s it! It’s perfect. Not only will he hate it, but there’s no way he’ll ever manage it in only a month’s time.”
She sat back, the discomfort of the tattoo on her rear end forgotten as she laughed and began to mentally plan the text of her upcoming column, where she would stump Dylan but good.
“The next round’s on me, girls,” she announced, reaching for the near-empty pitcher and raising it over her head. “To my partners in crime. And The Jackass’s crushing defeat.”