Blog Tour + Giveaway: Start Me Up by Nicole Michaels

Start Me Up by Nicole Michaels
Expected Publication: March 3, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Paperbacks
Format: via publisher
Rating: 4/5

Why do Do-It-Yourself...
 Single mom Anne Edmond can handle—and hand-make—just about anything. From table settings to party favors, floral arrangements to nursery décor, there is no project her creativity and a glue gun can’t tackle. But dating? That’s a whole ’nother story. Case in point: Mike Everett. He’s a gorgeous mechanic and known car-whisperer, a man who can work with auto parts like nobody’s business. And he has thrown a monkey wrench into Anne’s carefully-crafted life...

When you can do it together?
 One look at Anne is enough for Mike to know that she’s no fixer-upper. She’s perfect just the way she is—and the chemistry between them works like a charm. Mike’s always been a no-strings kind of guy, but Anne’s impressive self-reliance—and gorgeous exterior—gives him pause. This time, a fast joyride just doesn’t seem like enough. But first he has to convince Anne that he means to take her all the way.

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My Thoughts
I’m officially a Nicole Michaels fan! I loved her Christmas read Blame it on the Mistletoe and this one was just as good. I love this read! It had everything I needed and wanted in a read right now in my life. I’ve been reading so many serious reads that I needed a simply cute, fun and romantic read. I love how Anne and Mike are total opposites yet you know they are meant to be together from the start. I also love how they balance each other out of course nothing goes off smoothly, there is that love/hate that always seems to happen. This book is what it is which is a great rom com! While it is a little predicable don’t let that stop you from enjoying this great read. My only wish was that I wanted the romance to be not so slow to get going. However when it finally did watch out!  If you need or want a little escape from everyday life this is the perfect read for you. It will no doubt make you laugh and fall for these two misfits.

U.S. only

About the Author
When she's not writing, cooking, or hanging out with her husband, NICOLE MICHAELS is a portrait and wedding photographer. She enjoys writing love stories with happy endings and lives outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. Visit her at: Website / FB / Twitter

The little girls were taking turns batting with a stick at a flower piñata in the yard, and a loud whack pulled him from his fog. He stopped gawking long enough to notice the group of four women staring at him from the grass near the patio. They were obviously the other moms. Shit. Why had he chosen to stay again? Every- thing about this situation was out of his element. Was it too late to run?
A finger tapped him on the shoulder. “Here ya go, you can have a grown-up drink.”
Anne said it with a wink, which made him think a lot of grown-up thoughts until he glanced down at her outstretched hand and the . . . jar drink? The kind of jar that his grandmother would have filled with pickles, okra, or tomato sauce, but this one was filled with a bright-pink beverage and a blue-and-white-striped straw. Jesus, what the hell was he doing here?
Apparently he was going to drink pink lemonade from a jar, because she was waiting. He gently pushed the straw to the side. “Not really a straw guy.”
“Oh . . . of course.”
He lifted the jar to his lips, his eyes on her, her eyes on his mouth, which made him wish he’d picked up a razor this morning. The drink tasted decent, a little sweet for his taste, but standing here with her was worth sip- ping a girlie beverage. He smiled. “It’s good. Thank you.”
“There’s just a touch of champagne in there. It is a children’s party, of course, but I like the parents to enjoy themselves, too.”
“I’m impressed. You think of everything.” He meant it: This was quite a party.
She looked pleased with herself and placed a hand on his biceps. The innocent yet forward gesture surprised him. Glancing down, he noticed her nails were also manicured pink with blue tips—the same shades as all the decorations—and her hand was warm on his exposed skin. He instinctively flexed and then felt like the big- gest douchebag. She began to pull him toward the group of women. Talking to the mommies wasn’t exactly what he wished to do, but as long as her hand was on him he was following. He needed to think of something to say, a distraction.
“Your nails are pink and blue. They match. Nice touch.”
“Oh, actually everything is raspberry and aqua, but—” She stopped and removed her hand from his arm. “Oh gosh, I’m sure you think I’m ridiculous, but this is kind of . . . I don’t know, my thing.”
She shrugged and tilted her head with a brilliant smile. The kind of smile that would make a man take up an interest in whatever hobby she was into. He grinned at her, glancing again at her amazing full lips. “No, you’re not ridiculous. I kind of like . . . your thing.”
God, he was a total asshole. He was hitting on a mother and wife in her expertly decorated backyard at her daughter’s birthday party, and the heat he saw in her eyes verified that she wasn’t completely uninterested. He should leave, but the look on her face made his body respond, tensing from head to toe. She didn’t seem to be offended at all. Mike had done a lot of things he wasn’t proud of in his life, but home wrecking wasn’t on the list. He needed to down this fruity drink, get the hell out of here, and not return until the clock hit three like Erin originally suggested. He’d heard enough stories about bored suburban housewives, and becoming someone’s piece on the side was not his style.

“I’ll introduce you to everybody.” She didn’t give him a chance to decline the offer so he walked with her over to the group of women, who were obviously very curious about the conversation they’d just tried to appear not to notice. If he knew anything about females, they hadn’t missed a thing.
Anne introduced him to the four women and pointed out what child belonged to whom. There was no way he would remember the information and he honestly didn’t care. He couldn’t stop staring at Anne as she spoke and laughed with the other women, her large blue eyes sparkling.
She was gorgeous; everything about her seemed so effortless and graceful. She made mother and wife look like something he wanted to have in his life. An interesting epiphany for a twenty-nine-year-old bachelor who’d planned on getting married someday, but as of yet hadn’t given it any serious thought. Usually his next beer, next restoration job, and next lay were the only items on his immediate agenda. But she made the whole white-picket-fence thing seem like it was what made life worth living.
How nice would it be to lie on a couch with matching pillows instead of ones that smelled like spilled beer? Anne’s house was warm and cozy, made for napping and all sorts of feel-good activities. He had married friends, and they seemed happy enough—but until now he’d never envied them. Anne was Betty Crocker, Martha Stewart, and Playboy Playmate wrapped up in striped aqua paper with a raspberry flower pinned on top. What man wouldn’t find that appealing?
All these thoughts floated through his mind as he absently watched an overwhelming number of girlie toys opened, games played, and pink and blue cupcakes eaten. He even managed to avoid several awkward conversations with the nosy moms. He tried to shut out their voices as they gossiped about teachers, PTO, and how beautiful Anne’s “tablescape” was. What the hell did that even mean? Were they talking about the table or the landscaping?
It wasn’t until he checked his watch and it was two fifteen that he realized it didn’t make sense to leave and come back. Plus watching Bailey laugh and have fun made him happy, although hearing the “awwws” from the women every time she called for “Uncle Mike” was getting a little annoying.
It also ticked him off that when Anne escaped to the kitchen to get a trash bag for the pile of wrapping paper and paper plates, the other women began to talk—about her.
“I swear to God, I don’t know how she does it. I mean, she stenciled chevron onto the goodie bags. I’m lucky if I get a cake ordered from the grocery store.” The offending woman took a long drink from her grown-up jar as nods of agreement erupted from the other ladies.
“If Ellen thinks she’s getting a party like this, she’s crazy,” said another woman. “Have you seen some of the pictures on Anne’s website? It’s ridiculous what people are willing to pay her for.”
“Right?” the first mom said again. “I mean, I pin things like this all day long, but I know I’ll never actually do any of it.”
As far as Mike was concerned, these women were speaking a foreign language, and he was getting more than a little annoyed at their tone regarding Anne. Why? He had no clue, but they were just jealous bitches as far as he was concerned. He felt only respect and amazement when he looked around at what she’d done for her daughter, but he also wasn’t a woman, and as every man knew, women could be a little crazy. One of the comments made him curious, probably too curious for his own good, but he wanted to know more. He found himself leaning into the woman closest to him. She must have sensed his presence and tilted her head toward him, a wide smile on her face.

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