Title: The Plan
Series: Flavors of the Month, Book One
Author: Penny McLean
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 08/01/2023
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Female, Female/Female
Genre: Contemporary, Contemporary, romance, humorous, bisexual, multiple partners, blog, ice cream, scientist, doctor
Cynthia Blake has it all. Almost.
As a successful businesswoman who owns a chain of ice cream shops in Scottsdale, Arizona, she knows life couldn’t be much sweeter. But when a drunken birthday realization turns into the plan of a lifetime, Cynthia announces she’ll date one man a month for the next year and marry one of them at the end of it all. In this introductory book to the Flavors of the Month series, Cynthia quickly learns just how complicated life and love can get. Has the perfect flavor been in front of her all along?
Penny McLean © 2023
All Rights Reserved
Drunk and full of birthday cake: the best way to make life-altering decisions. That’s my new motto. It’s taken me thirty-one years to come to this realization, but all my best ideas have come this way. Probably. I don’t actually have the data to back that up.
“Hey, Cyn,” Kim laughs as she plunks a dollop of frosting on my nose. “Weren’t you supposed to be married with three kids by now? Wasn’t that The Plan?”
The emphasis on the last word is like a knife in my ovary. Sixteen-year-old me had been a bit cocky when she showed up at lunch one day and dropped a manifesto on the table for my two best friends to see. Simply titled The Plan, it outlined what I was going to do with my life and when I would do it by. This wasn’t some whim. I’d really thought this shit out.
And to be fair, I hit almost every goal in The Plan on time or ahead of schedule. Am I the owner of a successful chain of ice cream parlors? Yup. In fact, there are currently eleven Sinfully Good locations throughout the Valley (Phoenix, that is) and Southern California. Do I own my own condo in Scottsdale and a vacation home in San Diego? Yes and yes. Am I married to the love of my life and somehow still skinny after having three of his children?
Well, I’m still skinny. Which really comes in handy for those rare getaways to the beach house. Speaking of which. Mental note—must make time to get back to beach house.
It turns out achieving the career parts of The Plan kept me a little busier than I thought it would, and no guy was ever able to keep up. There were contenders along the way and a few times when I thought I might have it all, but then the economy tanked and it took every ounce of business savvy in my five-foot-eight-inch frame to stay afloat. Lucky for me, people going through a recession tend to eat their emotions, and my flavors are incredibly soothing.
So, there I sit, hyperventilating as I try to blow out all those candles and realizing Kim has a point. In my uber-focused career path, I have completely let my love life fall to pieces. A few (read: five) celebratory shots of Fireball later, a new plan comes to mind.
“Well, for starters, I’m going to stop sleeping with Carter,” I announce.
“I’ll believe that when I see it,” says Meg, who has a right to be skeptical.
For the past three years, I’ve enjoyed a friends-with-benefits arrangement with a guy I met at the gym. I blame that Justin Timberlake movie, but it really has been beneficial for us both. We’ve managed to keep things casual while he gets through med school and I conquer the world of dairy deliciousness. He’s even one of my most trusted tasters for new flavors, but that’s mostly because he likes the way the ice cream tastes on my…
Well, anyway, it doesn’t matter what he eats the ice cream off, because it’s going to stop. Tomorrow. I mean, a girl needs birthday sex, right? Carter was on call last night, but he said he wants to stop by tonight to say hi and, as he put it, “let me blow out one more candle.” I’ll have to remind him the birthday girl shouldn’t be required to give a blow job, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
So, yes, no more sleeping with Carter. That’s obviously got to happen. The rest of the Plan still seems a bit crazy to me, but Meg and Kim seem to think it’s brilliant. Let’s see how it feels without a Fireball-induced fog.
I will date one man each month next year, starting in January.
That gives me five days to find someone on either a dating website or the old-fashioned-in-person way. Shouldn’t be too hard once I tell them it has to end after thirty days. Although I probably shouldn’t tell them about the next stipulation.
2. I will marry one of the twelve men.
Meet the Author
Penny McLean is a careerwoman by day, writer by night, mother at all times to three incredible children, and wife to a loving husband. Born in San Diego, California, she now hails from Gilbert, Arizona where she especially enjoys giving back to her community by volunteering at schools and libraries, with Girl Scouts, and for any causes that benefit marginalized communities, especially LGBTQIA+ youth. She began her career as a writer at the age of 17 when she was hired to cover movies, arts, and features for a youth-oriented page in the Arizona Republic. With twenty years of writing experience for magazines, newspapers, social media, and more, she is thrilled to have her first novel out in the world.