MELTING MR. FROSTY'S
is like ice cream: you have to take it one lick at a time...
Those of you who've been with me for a while will know I have a bit of
a thing for ice cream. Three books - Tempted By Trouble, Anything But
Vanilla and Vettori's Damsel in Distress - have charted the romances
of the three Amery sisters who founded the ice cream events business
Often one book will lead to a spin-off - great characters cannot be
left dangling while the main event sweeps on to its inevitable
Two such characters were that magician with ice cream, Ria (Knickerbocker
Gloria, herself) and uptight millionaire with a passion for opera,
Sorrel Amery's parting gift to him was to tell him that Ria loved the
opera. Great Uncle Basil's response was that she would "shake the
creases out of his pants".
Melting Mr Frosty's Heart is a short story that catches up with the
moment when Graeme, much against his better judgement, decides to ask
Ria to join him in his box at Covent Garden.
Will she say yes? Do opposites ever
attract? And what does happen to his pants?
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GRAEME Laing had spent the last half an hour doing everything but enter
Knickerbocker Gloria. The Neapolitan bright ice cream parlour was the
last place he wanted to be.
His dismissal of Sorrel’s decision to go into partnership with the ice
cream queen had nothing to do with balance sheets. It had been driven by
a gut-level instinct for self-preservation, but her parting words —
“Ria loves opera…” — had become an irritating earworm that he
couldn’t get out of his head.
He needed to see Gloria Mason, remind himself why this was the worst
idea in the world so that he could walk away, dismiss her from his mind.
‘Well if it isn’t Mr Frosty…’
As if his thoughts had conjured her up he turned to face Knickerbocker
Gloria herself. Provocative in an ankle-length dress in some ethnic
print, her mess of dirty blonde hair braided with beads, she was glowing
in the afternoon light as if the sun was her personal spotlight.
‘Miss Mason,’ he responded, stiffly.
‘If you were looking for my partner you’re out of luck.’ Her smile had a
touch of winner’s satisfaction. ‘She’s drumming up business at a wedding
event in Brighton.’
‘Sorrel,’ he said, ‘as I’m sure you’re aware, has decided that it’s
time to move on.’
‘Not before time. She was becoming positively middle-aged under your
Ria’s dress was cut low enough to reveal a teasing glimpse of the tattoo
on her breast — a posy of flowers entwined with a quotation that he’d
made a point of never getting close enough to read. He was close enough
now and found himself staring at the word “thoughts”…
Thoughts of whom?
She glanced down at her dress, then back at him and smiled, knowingly.
‘Middle-age is a state of mind, Graeme.’
Caught out, he retaliated. ‘Not one that’s troubling you.’
‘Not while there’s breath in my body,’ she agreed. ‘So? If it’s not my
partner that you’re after why are you slumming it in the unfashionable
end of town?’
‘Slumming? According to the latest edition of the County Chronicle
this area has become something of a foodie shopping destination.’ He
lifted the carrier he was holding to demonstrate his excuse for being in
the area. ‘Your ice cream received a particularly glowing review.’
‘And you thought you’d try some? Perfect timing. I’ve just created
something rather special and you can be the first to taste it,’ she
said, as if that was an inducement he’d find it impossible to resist.
‘What flavour?’ he asked, suspiciously.
Her wry smile underlined the fact that she had no illusions about what
he thought of her or her ice cream. He already knew what she thought of
him. Inflexible, lacking imagination, cold; she always looked at him as
if wondering how to shock a reaction out of him. Or maybe she knew and,
like him, recognised that it would be a mistake.
‘There’s no need to look so concerned.’ She gave a little sigh. ‘After
the disaster with the kale—’
Her throaty “gotcha” chuckle as she stepped around him and reached for
the door warned him that he’d stepped into her trap.
‘Oh, I see. You were pulling my leg.’
‘They are such very long legs.’ Her gaze travelled slowly up from his
feet and paused for a moment at his groin, just as his had lingered on
the tattoo at her breast. The result was as if she’d feathered him with
her fingers… ‘And you have such sharp creases in your
This was definitely a mistake. ‘I should go—’
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From the book
FROSTY'S HEART by Liz Fielding
Copyright © 2016
by Liz Fielding