New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

of Contemporary Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedies, and Historical Romances

 

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I'm very excited that this novella is now available exclusively in ebook format after being out of print for more than 5 years.  The story was originally published in 2004 in the Stroke of Midnight anthology.  I hope you enjoy it!

For Cinderella, the fun ended at midnight.

But for Merrie Langston, that’s just when things start heating up…

Merrie is a free-spirited, caterer looking for a bank loan to expand her business. Tom Farrell is her buttoned-down accountant who’s trying to get her finances in order--no easy task as she keeps her receipts in Baggies. Sparks fly when these opposites realize they attract!

 

  Order it now from the Amazon Kindle store


Excerpt

 

Tom wasn't sure how a caterer dressed in an elf's costume could look so sexy. His gaze dropped to her mouth and he barely refrained from groaning.

One taste. One kiss. Just to satisfy this inexplicable, insatiable curiosity.  He lowered his head, slowly, giving Merrie the opportunity stop him, but instead she lifted her face and rose up on her toes.

He brushed his lips over hers, once, twice, experimental touches that enflamed rather than satisfied. He lightly ran the tip of his tongue over her bottom lip, a favor she instantly returned. And in a heartbeat he was lost.

She tasted exactly the way she smelled-- sweet, seductive, and delicious. He heard a low groan. Him? Her? He didn’t know. Didn’t know anything beyond the satiny, luscious warmth of her mouth, the erotic friction of her tongue rubbing against his. The bewitching feel of her pressed against him as he drew her closer and she wrapped her arms more tightly around him.

Heat, want, desire, pumped through him, rapidly depleting his control. His hands glided slowly up her back, and he plucked off her elf hat to sift his hands through her silky soft curls. Everything about her was curvy, feminine, and soft and fit so well against every part of him that was so… not soft. She strained closer, shifting against him, and his erection jerked in response.

Some small, barely audible kernel of common sense worked its way through the fog of lust clouding his judgment and reminded him that they stood in the Baxter’s kitchen and that this had gone far enough.

He lifted his head and fought to control his ragged breathing. Merrie clung to him, short puffs of breath emanating from between her moist, parted lips. A hint of crimson stained her cheeks, and she slowly opened her eyes. A growl of want rose in his throat. She looked glazed, dazed, and thoroughly aroused. Much the way he assumed he must look.

“Holy cow,” she said in a breathless whisper.

Personally, he didn’t think ‘holy cow’ did that kiss justice, but damn, he was impressed she was capable of speech. He sure as hell wasn’t there yet.

She blinked several times, her stunned gaze searching his face as if she’d never seen him before. “I, um, didn’t know accountants could kiss like that.”

He had to swallow twice to finally locate his voice. “I didn’t know elves could kiss like that.”

“I’m not sure they normally do. Seems like it would melt the north polar cap.”

She could say that again. He felt as if he were roasting from the inside out. And if he didn’t step away from her, he was going to kiss her again. Which would definitely be unwise-- for some reason he couldn’t think of right now, but he was pretty sure there was one.

After slowly releasing her, he took a step back. Her arms slipped from around him, then settled at her sides. He immediately missed the feel of her against him, which was bad. Really bad. But now that she wasn’t touching him, his brain was kicking back into action, shouting recriminations at him. Since he felt responsible for starting this… whatever it was, it was up to him to cut it off at the pass.

He raked his hands, which weren’t completely steady, through his hair. “Look, Merrie, as pleasant as that kiss was, I think we can agree that it wouldn’t be a good idea to repeat it.” He forced himself not to wince at using a tepid word like “pleasant” to describe a passionate exchange that had steam all but exuding from his pores. “You’re my client, and I wouldn’t want to start anything that could be construed as a conflict of interest, especially where your loan might be concerned.”

As soon as the words passed his lips his inner voice scoffed and shoved the reasoning aside. Hey, he was her accountant, he prepared her financial statements, but it’s not like he was the loan officer. Now that would be a conflict of interest. He could imagine that Merrie’s kiss would induce the loan officer to not only give her the money she requested, but also the keys to the freakin’ vault.

She nodded, slowly at first, then more vigorously. “You’re right, of course. Besides, it’s not as if that kiss could go anywhere. Let’s face it, personality-wise, we’re like oil and water.”

“Exactly,” he agreed, wondering why he didn’t feel quite as relieved as he should. “Like night and day.”

“Like wet and dry. So we’ll just forget it. Go on, business as usual. Blame the last few minutes of insanity on that common holiday malady, Mistletoe Madness.”

It took him several seconds to answer because he was still trying to figure out which one of them was ‘wet’ and which one was ‘dry’-- a difficult task because nothing about their kiss could be labeled ‘dry’, and when he thought about wet… hell, his train of thought completely jumped the track.

 

 

 

I hope that whets your appetite!

 

Reviews (written when story appeared in The Stroke of Midnight Anthology)

 

 Publishers’ Weekly

…spicy tales of lovers and holiday midnights…their appeal lies in their playful sensuality and a consistently generous helping of warm holiday detail. D'Alessandro rounds out the trio with a classic story of opposites attracting. Forecast: Each of these authors is well known in her own right Phillips for her lighthearted contemporaries, Denison for her sensual Wilde books and D'Alessandro for her playful historicals and together they should attract a broad spectrum of romance readers.


 Deliciously sensual" [Booklist]

USA Today bestselling author Jacquie D'Alessandro turns a professional relationship into a pleasurable one when two business partners melt the ice on the night before Christmas.


Sue Waldeck for The Road to Romance

Jacquie D’Alessandro’s contribution is my favorite of all, with a depth of characters I was surprised to see in a short story. Tom and Merrie just leapt off the page at me, keeping me grinning the entire time. The whole story sparkled like a Christmas tree, making a shining conclusion to this fun anthology. This story is sure to make you watch for more of this author.


Mary Emmons – ReaderToReader.com

A collection of three romantic tales with Midnight titles, each different, each a highly enjoyable read.  Get your fire lit in the fireplace, draw up that comfortable chair, set your cup of hot chocolate on the lamp table and get comfortable. You're in for some very pleasant hours.

As soon as you begin to read Mine at Midnight (from Stoke of Midnight) by talented Jacquie D'Alessandro, you'll begin to share in the Christmassy feeling this story evokes… A tale to remind you that glowing embers of love can give off warmth to last a lifetime. Enjoy. I sure did.


Jeri Neal -  The Romance Reader's Connection

This anthology, by three strong, popular writers, is being published just in time for the holidays.  Each of the stories occurs at Christmastime and involves themes of misperception.  Each of the romantic duos in the stories is discovering something unexpected about their partner and finding out that their basic impressions were actually misunderstandings.  The outcomes make for delicious, romantic holiday reading and readers will not be disappointed.

 [Mine at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro] is my personal favorite of the three and involves Merrie Langston, a free-spirited young woman who runs a party planning business.  Her accountant is Tom Farrell, a buttoned-down conservative type of guy who is drawn, in spite of his resistance, to Merrie’s fun-loving, zany personality.  The descriptions of these characters are so vivid that they seem to jump out of the page at the reader and leave a solid understanding of the differences between the two.  The story is a delightful read about the ways they incorporate their opposite personality types into their relationship, all against the backdrop of Christmas.  If you choose to purchase one book over the holiday season and want something light and fun to read while you’re caught up in the holiday craziness, STROKE OF MIDNIGHT is for you.  Thoroughly enjoyable, it combines three equally terrific stories from three very readable authors.  I highly recommend getting this book and reading it while you eat a Christmas cookie.


Tracy Farnsworth - Owner & Editor for www.roundtablereviews.com

The best part about STROKE OF MIDNIGHT is that three of my favorite authors team up and deliver three feel good romances.  These are the types of story that call for a steamy, bubbly tub and at least an hour’s peace and relaxation.  Sensual relationships rise out of old friendships, what more could any reader ask for?


Reviewed by: Missy Andrews –  Fallen Angel Reviews

[Mine at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro] is a fantastic story; it’s sexy, funny and heartwarming. I can just see poor Tom shaking his head and wondering about his sanity and Merrie’s. I can also feel the emotion and see how these two unlikely lovers are the perfect balance for each other. This is the first work that I have read by Jacquie D’Alessandro, but I am on my way to her website now to see what else she has to offer and I suggest that you do the same.
Midnight, New Year’s Eve: midnight, Christmas Eve: It is a time when anything can happen, any obstacle can be overcome, and the world explodes with magic. Don’t believe me? You will after reading Stroke of Midnight by three of the leading ladies of romance Carly Phillips, Janelle Denison and Jacquie D’Alessandro.


Susan Lantz - Romance Fiction Team Captain, America Online

Jacquie D'Alesandro's contribution to this holiday anthology is bittersweet and wonderful, and features terrific characters who have differing views of Christmas.
Three of today's hottest romance authors combine their talents, and offer up an early, sizzling, and delicious holiday gift to readers.


Patti Fischer, Romance Review Today

Three stellar authors in one outstanding anthology and it turns out to be a reader's lucky strike. STROKE OF MIDNIGHT's three stories are all unique and well written, with a bit of something for everyone: old lovers reuniting; old friends discovering love together, and polar opposites attracted to each other. Pleasurable and hard to put down, STROKE OF MIDNIGHT has enough heated sensuality to keep you warm on cool nights. I highly recommend STROKE OF MIDNIGHT for a delightful evening of Christmas cheer and reading."


Suzanne Coleburn, The Belles & Beaux of Romance/Reader To Reader Reviews

STROKE OF MIDNIGHT will hit your libido like a stroke of lightning as three dynamite authors entertain you with delicious stories sensual enough to make your Christmas bedtimes shake, rattle and roll. Watch out your man doesn’t go into orbit after you are through with him. Oh, yeah!


Kathy Boswell – The Best Reviews

A great holiday anthology! Lately I've been in a mood to read anthologies and luckily I've been able to find some really superior ones to delve into. This is one of those anthologies! There wasn't anything about this anthology I didn't like. All three stories were just magnificent. I especially enjoyed the way the stories embraced the holidays so well. Of course, my requisite happy endings played a big part in why I enjoyed these stories so much.


Blue Ribbon Rating: 4,4 and 4

STROKE OF MIDNIGHT is a tale of couples finding love and a little something extra at the beginning of a new year. 

MIDNIGHT ANGEL by Carly Phillips tells the story of Dylan a hometown boy who has made it big in Hollywood as an actor, but he comes home for the one woman he has always wanted.

MEET ME AT MIDNIGHT by Janelle Denison is Shayne and Alyssa’s story of two friends finding out that there is much more than just friendship between them and what happens when they act on it.

Finally there is MINE AT MIDNIGHT by Jacquie D’Alessandro, which is the tale of Merrie and Tom and what happens when a man that’s all seriousness meets a woman that’s his complete opposite.

STROKE OF MIDNIGHT is an anthology by three awesome authors who penned wonderful stories of new beginnings at the beginning of a new year.  All three stories are exciting and romantic with heroes and heroines you won’t soon forget.  The different plots reach out to grab you and sends you on an emotional roller coaster with the characters. This book makes the perfect holiday read and a great gift to give or receive.

 

 

Reader Comments

 

I tried to sign your Guest book but was unable to do so, I just finished reading Stroke of Midnight and loved all three stories. My niece told me about the book ( we are big fans of Carly Phillips) but she couldn't wait for me to read your story, she kept telling me it was the best and I have to agree. I would loved to be on your mailing list and would like to know if your planning any book signing near by, we are practically neighbors I live in Suwanee.  I look forward to reading your new work.


Here I am entering your Love and the Single Heiress sweepstakes and wanting to comment on the other book, but that is what's on my mind. You have quite an outstanding trio of authors combining on the Stroke of Midnight book and that ain't flattery. It's the truth! That book has to be great.


Hi there. nice site! by the way, I love your books Jacquie!!! They are so awesome to read and so romantic...


I love your books!!


Just wanted to write again to compliment you on your books. I just finished Stroke of Midnight and thoroughly enjoyed all 3 stories. I can't wait to read The Hope Chest (in my pile of "to be read" books) and look forward to reading your 1st Blaze book, Why Not Tonight? My friend and I both enjoy the Blaze books and can't wait for yours. I always enjoy them. Congratulations on your success and keep them coming. Thank you.


I am so thrilled to hear about your new release. I look forward to getting it and enjoying a great read.


Your work is so great and fun to read and just exciting that it is very hard to put down when you start to read..


I just finished reading Stroke Of Midnight. I loved your mix of romance, sex and humor. I look forward to reading more of your books.


Had just finished reading the "Stroke Of Midnight" book. I found "Mine At Midnight" a wonderful read. I love the mix of romance with humor irresistible. I look forward to reading more of your books.


I am so excited about Stroke of Midnight! I can't wait to have it in my hands :)


I can hardly wait to read the book -- you're 3 of my favorite authors!!


I just finished whirlwind wedding. you other 2 books I've already read. So I can't wait for a Stroke of Midnight. I LOVE YOUR BOOKS, KEEP GOING. THANKS


CAN'T WAIT TO READ IT


Looking forward to reading this book as I will be reading you for the first time and that is how I have come upon many of my favorite authors. Thanks, Val


I'm waiting impatiently for Stroke of Midnight. I especially like your Regency romances.


I am never bored reading one of your stories.


What fun! Three terrific authors in one book. I know this will be a wonderful read ladies.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write to me.
I love hearing from Readers!


 

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging with the Whine Sisters -- stop by and say hi!

         

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