A Date on Cloud Nine
Jenna McKnight
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A Date on Cloud Nine

Jenna McKnight
384 pages
October 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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A Date on Cloud Nine by Jenna McKnight is a fun, lighthearted story all about second chances and understanding what is really important in life. An explosion, meddling angels, and a sexy hunk all combine to change the main characterís life. Life is short and unpredictable, so the trick is to make the most of the time you have been given. That is something the main character must learn if she is to have a chance at the life that was meant for her.

Lilly Marquette is a beautiful, rich widow whose main goal in life seems to be not only to hang onto the money she has but to increase it. Having experienced the downside of having no money when her father lost all his, Lilly is determined never to suffer her fatherís fate. If some people call her cheap, that doesnít bother Lilly. She prefers to think of herself as thrifty.

Lilly finds herself at an adults-only toy shop called Cloud Nine after she promises her friend Betsy anything she wants for a birthday present. She is reluctant to go into the store, but a promise is a promise, so she goes into the shop with Betsy. While Betsy is shopping, Lilly finds herself checking out the guy behind the counter. Her husband has been dead for over five months, and their marriage wasnít that good for quite a long time before he died. This is the first time since then that Lilly has found herself attracted to a man.

Unfortunately, Lillyís life is about to take an abrupt turn. As she is getting her change from the clerk, several dollar bills blow away and Lilly chases after them. At that moment, a faulty furnace explodes, and Lilly finds herself heading toward the bright lights and the pearly gates. Instead of heaven, she end up in Transition with angels Elizabeth and John. It seems that she is early and wasnít supposed to die in the explosion. It was her own fault for chasing after the money. If she hadnít chased it, she would have been thrown clear of the burning building with the others.

Lilly is offered a second chance, but the terms are harder than she can even imagine. It is a challenge, but one Lilly readily accepts. The alternative, staying dead and waiting in line to get into heaven, just doesnít appeal to her. So, Lilly is sent back and finds herself being carried to safety by the hunk behind the counter. It is only then that she recognizes him.

Jake Murdoch is almost tempted to return the woman to the burning building when he recognizes her. Lilly had been married to Brady Marquette, his best friend and business partner. It was Bradyís money that helped Jake start his tech company, but when Brady died, Jake found out that the life insurance policy that had been taken out for the business had been changed, making Lilly the beneficiary. Because of that, Jake was out three million dollars and lost his business. Now he is living back home, driving a taxi, and occasionally watching the counter at Cloud Nine, which is owned by a friend of his.

Even though Jake feels that Lilly scammed him out of his money, he canít fight his physical attraction toward her. Now Lilly has not only hired him to take her around in his taxi, but sheís talking to angels and giving away all of her money - three million of which is his. The more time he spends with Lilly, the more he realizes she is not the cold, conniving woman he believed her to be. Instead, he finds her funny, charming and incredibly kind. Jake comes to understand that Lilly had no idea that the insurance policy had been changed and would willingly give him the money, except itís no longer quite that simple.

Jenna McKnight has penned an original story that is filled with quirky characters who manage to be both funny and quite poignant at times. Both Lilly and Jake have lessons to learn if they are to have a chance at a life together, but they are faced with many, seemingly insurmountable, obstacles. A Date on Cloud Nine is such a fresh and enjoyable story that it is easy to overlook the somewhat unsatisfying ending. Lilly is a character who is easy to relate to and empathize with, and you desperately want her to succeed and have the life she deserves.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Norma Collins, 2005

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