This just in: romance takes center stage as West End theatre’s Richard Troy steps out with none other than castmate Elaine Graham.
Oh my gosh, what a fun book! 😀
The whole idea of stage actors starting a fake relationship and then falling in love intrigued me, but as soon as I started reading, I fell in love with the writing. It was smart, sassy, oh-so-witty and even downright hilarious in places. I laughed out loud countless times, and loved the light-hearted vibe of this romance! With it’s feisty heroine, grouchy-but-loveable hero, and unlikely love story, this was a winner!
The fun thing was that the hero and heroine actually started out almost hating each other (or, at the very least, you could say that they barely tolerated each others’ presence). But they were both famous stage actors and due to various circumstances, their management teams ‘suggested’ (you know, the kind of suggestion where you really don’t have a choice and you’d better just smile and say ‘yes’) that they fake a romantic relationship for publicity’s sake. Despite their rocky start, things between them slowwwly began to turn into something real as they both found that they’d perhaps been a little quick to judge each other.
I loved that there was no insta-love (not that I have a particular issue with insta-love at all in books, but the drawn out romance in this book made much more sense for their situation.
Had she just admitted to finding Richard sexy? She wondered when to expect the remaining signs of the apocalypse.
To be honest, prior to reading this, I was in a bit of a book funk and not quite sure which book would fit my current mood. So I decided to play a little of what I like to call Reader Roulette, which is where I try the first 3 pages of a bunch of books and see which one sparks my interest. When I opened this book it ‘had’ me by the end of page one. I loved this author’s particular writing style. Her sense of humor, and comedic timing is totally on point with what I love and as soon as I saw that, I knew I had to read this.
Lainie, the heroine, was strong, hilarious and full of sass. I loved her and I’m pretty sure any reader would love her too. On the flip side, our hero, Richard, came off entitled asshole at first. He was sexy, rich, famous, and talented, but always managed to grace the weekly tabloids with his antics (much to his managers’ displeasure). So they came up with the perfect plan. The bad boy of theater would publicly date the stage’s sweetheart and the world would be perfect again. Or so they thought… Lainie refused. Flatly. Not even to save her career would she agree to pretend date him… but then they made her an offer she couldn’t refuse that benefitted a charity dear to her heart and for that, she’d make herself put up with him.
“A photographer is circling.” The theatrical agent looked them up and down critically, exactly as if she were a parent grooming her children for their school pictures… “In a moment, I want you to put your arm around her, and say something into her ear. You look up at him and laugh. Then kiss her. A peck. Playful. Affectionate.”
“This is not a sitcom,” she snapped. “I am not going to mindlessly giggle and pucker on cue. We agreed to attend events and hold hands. Done and done.”
“No,” [her agent] said with barely leashed temper… “You agreed to foster a certain impression… Which is not being fulfilled by the two of you standing three feet apart, glowering at one another. Only the most diehard romantic and the clinically brain-dead would be seeing hearts and flowers.”
Seriously you guys, I was laughing out loud every couple pages in the first half of the book. This author seems to share my exact sense of humor. I highlighted so many quotes!!! And it was just so much pure fun to see Lainie and Richard go from completely rubbing each other the wrong way to slowly falling in love.
“And what words of wisdom did he offer?”
“He told me to grow a spine and get over it.”
That startled a laugh from Rachel. “He doesn’t beat around the bush, does he?”
“He bulldozes right over the bush.”
I have to admit that the more I found out about Richard, the more I liked him. In his defence, he was never a mean asshole, he just had zero tolerance for bullshit, and about as much tact as a brick wall. To be honest though, I kinda could see where he was coming from in many cases. There’s no doubt that he wasn’t the Prince Charming hero type. Rather, he was the guy more likely to be cast as the villain of the show — but I’ve always found myself drawn to flawed characters so I really liked him! (I was mentally picturing him as a cross between Ian Somerhalder and that Hook dude from Once Upon A Time)
She stilled. “Your — what?”
His jaw worked as he looked down at her. “My…” Suddenly, he released her hands and cupped her face, bringing her up on her tiptoes and her mouth to his. His kiss was forceful and demanding… “Mine,” he said. “Just mine.”
Pulling back to take a much-needed breath, she rested her hands on his chest. “There’s a distinct scent of eau de caveman around here.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I did find the first half to be a bit stronger than the second half though (I’d give the first half 4.5 stars, and the second half 4 stars) but my issue with the second half was more to do with the editing than the writing. But I was having such a great time reading this story that honestly any of the little things just didn’t matter to me. What mattered was I loved the writing, was smiling non-stop, and was generally having a totally awesome time reading this book.
It’s told in third person but you do still kinda see both sides of the story. It’s mostly told in a forward moving timeline. I’ve been asked about this and I’d probably consider it a New Adult-ish book in terms of steam — there’s sex, but it’s not that graphic. This is more of a witty than steamy read though. And it’s also lovely that it’s a standalone so the complete story is wrapped up by the end.
If you’re looking for a fun new romance that’ll put a smile on your face as you read, definitely try this!!
Rating: 4 — 4.5 stars. Standalone romance.