Chelsea is looking for love. She thinks the best way to find it is to hook up with one guy after the next, but that’s not giving her at all what she wants. After feeling defeated from the latest one-night stand, Chelsea makes a vow to swear off men for a year. Her friends find her promise laughable, but Chelsea is determined.
Chelsea has never been attracted to a woman before, but when she sees Tara, she can’t deny there is something about Tara that calls to her. Tara comes off as confident and flirtatious, but that’s only masking the scars that growing up in the foster care system left on her. Tara isn’t nearly as experienced or as smooth as she leads Chelsea to believe, but with Chelsea’s vow, it may lead them both to the perfect woman.
Flipcup is part of the Vino and Veritas collection, a set of multi-author stories set in the larger World of True North universe. The books are designed to be standalone stories that can be read in any order featuring the Vino and Veritas wine bar and bookstore. While this book has Tara working in the bookstore with visits to Vino and Veritas, it does work on its own.
I was enjoying the direction this story was going as it first opened with Chelsea taking a break from men to get her head together. She then meets Tara and at first Tara seemed like a strong, fun character to balance out Chelsea’s party girl ways. It was the style of the writing and the way the characters developed that ultimately didn’t work as well for me.
Chelsea works as liquor distributor, likes to go out and drink hard with her friends, and likes to be the center of attention in the group. She desperately wants a relationship and realizes that sleeping with every guy that looks her way isn’t working out and she just feels worse. When Tara flirts with her, Chelsea starts having thoughts about Tara and at first those thoughts are mostly physical. Tara moved to Vermont when she needed a change. Her life in the foster care system left her scarred and wary and, at 26, she has never had a relationship with a woman and isn’t sure she wants to be Chelsea’s experiment.
We are told about Tara and Chelsea’s feelings for each other, but there was no emotion here that comes off the page. Chelsea is used to every man wanting her, so she assumes Tara wants her too and aggressively kisses Tara, not once, but twice and doesn’t understand why Tara isn’t immediately falling in bed with her. Chelsea and her friends go to the wine bar, since it is inclusive, and “gawk” at the men holding hands and there was a lot about Chelsea that was distasteful and bordering on offensive for me.
Chelsea and Tara have a difficult time becoming friends and Chelsea continues to be self-absorbed. She talks about wanting to change, but mostly realizes she has to keep apologizing and I didn’t see much change in her. Tara’s foster care background is worked in as well, but it didn’t have the intended impact for me. We are told often about Chelsea and Tara’s connection and I felt like we had to be told so often because it didn’t come across naturally in the narrative. The intimate scenes read as mechanical and their relationship read as bland and flat and as if they were forcing it to work. While I do like the Vino and Veritas world, this book was not to my taste.