ALL OUT OF LOVE – Lori Wilde
A Cupid, Texas Novel
Avon
ISBN: 978-0-06-221896-4
July 2013
Contemporary Romance

Cupid, Texas – Present Day

Twelve years ago, then fourteen-year-old (and socially awkward) Lace Bettingfield had been humiliated when her secret crush on Cupid High School's star football player (and Lace's brother's best friend), Pierce Hollister, had been broadcast on the front page of the school newspaper. They never laid eyes on one another again until Pierce, now the injured star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, arrives in Cupid to check on his ill father. Lace happens to be visiting the hospital at the same time, and the two run into each other. Pierce's hormones immediately go on alert even before he recognizes Lace. All he knows is that he's attracted to the pretty, dark-haired woman who won't give him the time of day. He is stunned—and intrigued—to learn it's Lace.

Lace returned to Cupid after obtaining her PhD in plant science and is running the Cupid Botanical Gardens. She has come a long way from being fourteen, and though she still has a lush figure, her teen humiliation still haunts her. Realizing Pierce is back in town, she tries to avoid him, but they keep running into each other. Lace's intelligence, combined with what he sees as her dynamite body, have them bantering back and forth, trying to up the other with one-liners. Pierce wants Lace in his bed, but she's resisting, fearing another rejection. When there's a town budget crisis, it's Pierce to the rescue, but he has stipulations, with Lace at the core of his requests. Will she agree to them?

Dear Cupid letters are family lore after Lace's family helped found the town and the letters are printed in the local newspaper. When young Lace had one of hers about her crush on Pierce printed due to a sneaky cousin, Lace wasn't sure she could face anyone in town again. But she survived, and even made the decision to come back after the job opened up, despite the lucrative offers elsewhere. Pierce became a popular and rich football star, but his career is in jeopardy after a gruesome injury during the Super Bowl. He isn't even sure he has the quarterback job anymore. Returning to Cupid allows him to reconnect with his father and brother, though his relationship with the latter is tenuous. But Pierce's focus shifts to Lace. She's bloomed (no pun intended) into a beautiful woman, and he can't wait to get his hands on her lush body. But she continues to resist him, even though their sexual chemistry is as hot as a greenhouse.

It's a return to Cupid for the fans of Lori Wilde's Cupid, Texas series. In ALL OUT OF LOVE, we are introduced to Lace, Pierce, and their respective families. Pierce's brother, Malcolm, has remained in Cupid on the family ranch and resents what he sees as Pierce's halfhearted attempt to kill time until he can return to football. Add in the concern they both have for their father's unexplained illness and memory loss, Pierce shouldn't be so distracted by Lace. Unlike most women he comes into contact with, Lace just rolls her eyes when he tries to impress her. It's going to take a lot of wooing before he gets a touchdown with her.

The truth of the matter is that Lace is attracted to Pierce, but she fears another humiliating heartbreak if she gives in, only to have him toss her away like an eaten chicken leg. She tries to steer clear of Pierce, but Cupid is a small town, and soon he's needed to help the town raise money. With her intelligence and quick wit, along with her size fourteen body, Lace quickly turned into one of my favorite characters. While Pierce might seem a bit egotistical in thinking Lace would fall over her feet wanting to sleep with him, her standoffishness only intensifies his attraction for her and his willingness to do anything to win her.

With snappy back and forth dialogue and sizzling chemistry between Pierce and Lace, ALL OUT OF LOVE is a fun, engaging tale that will surely be a hit for readers.

Patti Fischer