Like all the men, Darcy provocatively and slowly slid his spread hand down his greased, bare chest, and it was then that Elizabeth knew she was more than just intrigued. She was attracted to him like a moth to a dangerous flickering flame.
(from Lucky 13)
Cat Gardiner’s Lucky 13 is a modern-day Pride and Prejudice that follows confident NYC advertising executive and kickass kickboxer Elizabeth Bennet as she embarks on a quest to find a date for Christmas dinner at her parents’ house in Meryton, Long Island, and for her sister Jane’s wedding on New Year’s Eve. Lizzy has long considered herself Unlucky 13 — from the day of her birth when she should have been a boy to Thanksgiving Day 2013 when she’s the only single at the table, much to her mother’s disappointment.
As part of her quest, she enlists the help of her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, who persuades Lizzy to start a blog about her adventures — beginning with a disastrous personal ad — and even convinces her to try everything from speed dating to a Jewish matchmaker. Meanwhile, Lizzy is working on a fundraiser for the FD Burn Foundation, which involves putting together a calendar of the smokin’ hot men of the NYFD. Her job puts her in the sights of firefighter and Pem Tech executive Fitzwilliam Darcy, who is still smarting from his perceived snub by “The Black Widow” at the gym.
Christmas is a difficult time for Darcy, as the anniversary of his parents’ tragic death approaches, but since meeting Elizabeth, he thinks it just might be possible to embrace the Christmas spirit and live again. However, Elizabeth is dead set against “Mr. December” and resists his every attempt to show her that he really isn’t the arrogant and cranky man she thinks he is. Lizzy and Darcy’s friends and family see what the pair keep trying to deny, but can they succeed in bringing together two strong-willed people determined to misunderstand each other?
Oh, how I loved this novel! Gardiner is a master at bringing Jane Austen’s characters into the present day and turning up the heat (and the laughs). From their heated arguments to their heated encounters at the jaw-dropping calendar audition and the chest-oiling photo shoot, I couldn’t get enough of this Lizzy and Darcy. The secondary characters are equally entertaining, from Jane, the supermodel with a secret, to Caroline, the matchmaking poochie mama, and especially Charlotte (aka “Punky) and Darcy’s cousin, Rick (aka “Preppy”), who are the most obnoxious of the numerous matchmakers. In a fun addition, Gardiner offers readers the chance to read Lizzy’s and Charlotte’s blog posts, which are linked at the end of every chapter in the Kindle edition. (Check out these extras as well: Lucky 13 Pinterest Board, Lucky 13 Audition Pinterest Board, Lucky 13 Spotify List, Lucky 13 Audition Spotify List)
Lucky 13 takes readers on a romantic journey as Elizabeth and Darcy put their past hurts behind them, and Gardiner even takes readers on a tour of NYC during the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Another winner by Gardiner, and a book I could easily re-read every year during the holidays.
Disclosure: Lucky 13 is from my personal library.