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Released: January 2012
ISBN: 9781466013766
ASIN: B00708GGEY
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DUDE LOOKS LIKE A LADY
Series: Carmel Charmers, #2
Author: Kemberlee Shortland
Length: Novelette
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Price: $1.99

Pamela Howard can't believe what she let her friend Maisie talk her into - a charity costume contest where she's made to dress as King Louis XVI. Her partner, dressed as Queen Marie Antoinette, reminds her of a man she's spent five long years trying to forget.

Hank Delacroix is ready to throttle his friend Jake. Hank is a great clown around his 49er teammates, but six-inch heels and a poodle on his head are a bit much. He has to be the tallest drag queen in the state. When he meets his Louis partner, he can't keep memories of the only woman he ever loved from waking in his mind.

When Hank realizes Louis is his ex-fiance, he has to find a way to make her stop running away from him so he can finally apologize.

Excerpt
Carmel-by-the-Sea, California 1986

“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”

Pam Howard planted her feet firmly on the floor as Maisie continued stuffing the belly of her costume with more padding.

It was bad enough she was being forced to dress as a man, but the costume came complete with funny pants, stockings and garters, a hideous powdered wig, and a hat with so many feathers she felt like the ostrich they came from.

“Don’t be such a stick in the mud,” said Maisie, tugging at the waistcoat to fasten the button. “Stand up straight and let’s get this garrick coat on you.”

Pam suppressed a groan as she allowed Maisie to help her on with the huge overcoat that more resembled a fur blanket than a regal garment.

“Really, Maisie. Why can’t I dress as Marie Antoinette? I would rather have been dressed as her poodle than Louis XVI.” Pam continued grousing fell on deaf ears. “Tell me again why you and Jake didn’t sign up for this. Why me?”

A moment later, when Maisie finished tucking, fluffing and draping, she finally looked up. “I seriously doubt Louis ever carried a child other than in his arms.” Maisie stepped back and waved both hands in the direction of her enormous belly. “Beside, Jake doesn’t have the legs for it.”

“You could have at least introduced me to Marie Antoinette. Even the real Louis got to meet his bride before the wedding.”

“We would have, but Hank didn’t arrive until late last night and there wasn’t time this morning.”

“No excuse. You’ve known about this competition for weeks.”

It didn’t slip Pam’s notice how Maisie wouldn’t look her in the eye and she wondered what her friend was up to.

“When we signed up for the competition, I had no idea it would come so close to my due date,” Maisie explained.

If Pam were anyone else, that excuse would have made sense. “You’re not a very good liar. Being pregnant is perfect for this costume.” She patted her padded belly to prove her point but Maisie didn’t reply. “Maisie.” Pam couldn’t help the rise in her voice.

Maisie looked up then. “You’re almost ready, hon. When you are, we’ll find Hank and I’ll introduce him personally.”

“But, Maisie . . .”

“You’ll like him. He’s a real sweetheart.”

Pam wasn’t convinced this would work.

The competition itself was simple. The event was being staged in the gardens of La Playa Hotel and each contestant had been given a suite in which to get ready, which was where Pam and Maisie were now. Each couple dressed as a famous romantic couple in history. The twist was that each couple had to wear the other’s costume. Each couple would parade up and down a runway and play up to their chosen characters. The audience would vote by donation for their favorite couple. The couple with the highest donations would win the competition and receive a token prize. All donations were going to each couple’s chosen charity.

Easy.

Win-win for everyone.

But Pam couldn’t remember ever being so nervous. Normally she enjoyed crazy stunts like this. She could be a bit of a clown at times, and the competition was for charity. So why did she feel she was the only one not winning here?

The thing bothering her, though she couldn’t say why, was she had never heard about Hank Delacriox until a few days ago. She and Maisie were close friends, which meant Jake was her friend now too. She’d met a lot of their friends, so why hadn’t she ever met this Hank before? Or heard of him, for that matter.

The last time she’d heard the name Hank was five years ago when she’d kicked Hank Higgins’ sorry butt out of her apartment. She’d left San Francisco soon after that and never heard from him again. She knew nothing about this new Hank, but she was certain there was more than one man with that name in the world.

So why didn’t this feel right?

And that there hadn’t been enough time to meet this Hank and build some kind of rapport she could play off while they were on the runway also bothered her.

What if he didn’t appreciate her clowning around?

What if he was too serious?

“Don’t look so glum.” Maisie’s voice cut through the fog in Pam’s mind. “It’ll be over in a couple hours.”

“Says you.”

Maisie just laughed again, handing her the walking stick. “Yes, says me. Now, turn around and look in the mirror.”

Pam did as she was told. She thought her heart stopped beating. Her breath stuck in her throat. The image staring back at her was eerily male—eerily overstuffed, frou-froued, and pompously male. She’d always thought her features were feminine, but now she wasn’t so sure. She couldn’t remember the last time she wore so much satin and lace.

What the reviewers are saying
"Tutti-Frutti Blues" and "Dude Looks Like a Lady", brought back memories of the small town I grew up in. Shortland's style of writing is both fun and creative; I look forward to reading more of this authors work in the future! ~ T. Zwagerman, reader

• • •

Dude Looks Like A Lady is a read where the characters and the settings are all quite believable. The storyline is great making it a fantastic read about romance that last throughout many years. Ms. Shortland has penned a story that touches the heart and leaves a wonderful sigh. ~ Linda, Romance at Heart Magazine

 

 

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