All about Charming Alice by J. Arlene Culiner

Romance is a dance, archaic and complicated, that has to be re-learned each time it appears. The first steps are awkward, tentative, then just when we gain a bit of confidence, we trip over our own feet, stumble, and sometimes come crashing to the floor. Oh, the misery — especially since this dance requires considerable elegance, high polish, and a promise of tenderness.

Romance isn’t polite. It’s an obsession that makes us rude to friends (think of canceled coffee dates), self-centered (we can’t talk about anything else), and narcissistic (we’re always looking for a mirror).

So it is in All About Charming Alice. Alice Treemont, an original but prickly character, lives in a semi-ghost town in the Nevada desert. She rescues dogs, studies and protects snakes. Jace Constant, a writer from Chicago, isn’t crazy about dogs or the Nevada desert. As for snakes… he’s terrified of them.

Neither Alice nor Jace are young; both have had relationships that fell apart, or grew dusty, or lacked long-term zing. Neither expects love when it comes galumphing over the horizon. But here it is, with all its doubts, hesitations, and misgivings…

And while Alice and Jace are taking those first tentative steps, the nosy, cranky folks in Blake’s Folly are watching from the sidelines: ageless, shapeless Ma and Pa Handy: beer-swilling Mick Fletcher; the lovely flirtatious Rose Badger; and Killer, the scruffy stray.


Trust in Love and Solutions will appear

Alice Treemont has no intention of falling in love. Living in Blake’s Folly, a semi-ghost town, she cooks vegetarian meals, rescues unwanted dogs, and protects the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests?

Jace Constant is in Nevada, doing research for his new book, but he won’t be staying. He’s disgusted by desert dust on his fine Italian shoes and dog hair on his cashmere sweaters. As for snakes, he doesn’t just despise them: they terrify him.

So why does the air sizzle each time Alice and Jace meet? A romance would entail far too many compromises.

Excerpt from All About Charming Alice

Suddenly he rose to his feet and, in that languid way of his, crossed to the doorway where she stood. She was a tallish woman, but he towered over her. Casually, stretching out one arm, he rested his hand on the doorframe, a hair’s breadth above her head. He was close, so close. His body was supple, strong and—yes, she had to admit it—warm, fragrant. The heat of him reached her over the few inches separating them, and she ached to curve into it. Aura? This man was a flesh-and-blood heat wave.

The strange, tingling excitation was flowing through her again like thick port wine. She lowered her eyes, refusing to meet his gaze, although she knew he was, once again, examining her minutely.

“I want to take the room.”

“Look, you don’t need my room,” she said, desperation too evident in her tone. “There’s a perfectly reasonable motel the other side of the Winterback Mine, out in the direction of Logan. Actually, it’s far better equipped to take in tourists than anything you’ll find here in Blake’s Folly.”

“I know. Rider Motel. Air conditioning, cable TV, and right across from the Dew Drop Inn.” His smile was wry. “That’s exactly where I’ve been staying for the last three nights. And over and over during those three nights, I remembered Blake’s Folly and the Room to Rent sign on your wall. And the more I thought about it, the more appealing it got. There’s nothing worse than an impersonal motel room when you have to stay in an area for a while.” He let his eyes wander over the faded wooden framing, over the settee on the veranda. “Right here, it feels more like home.”

That wasn’t it, she knew. That wasn’t even part of the truth. He was back because something hot and wonderful shimmered between them. Did she fascinate him as much as he did her? Possibly. Although she hadn’t done anything to encourage him, not once. It would have been hard to find someone less friendly than she’d been.

Yet, there was something about him that touched her, something that had nothing to do with raw desire. Was it the warmth in his eyes? A quirk to his lips that promised humor and understanding? Or was it plain magic, the magic that happens when the right female meets the right male.


Buy Links:

Author links:

About the Author

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, and impenitent teller of tall tales, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a mud house on the Great Hungarian Plain, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, a haunted house on the English moors, and on a Dutch canal. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest where, much to local dismay, she protects spiders, snakes, and all weeds. She particularly enjoys incorporating into mysteries, non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with very odd characters.

Gosh, I enjoyed reading this book immensely. The humor during Jace’s courtship of Alice and her self doubts often had me laughing out loud.

Diana Lanos, Smile Somebody Loves You

The perfect story for all the hopeless and hopeful romantics out there.

Lisa McCombs, Readers’ Favorite

The writing and dialogue is magical and masterful. The romance filled my heart with an emotional, heartfelt, dazzling experience. Enjoy!

Sheila Clapkin, author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *