Friday, 2 December 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: SEASIDE WHISPERS by MELISSA FOSTER


Enter to Win 1 of 2 Digital eBook copies of Seaside Hearts
 

Seaside Whispers
Seaside Summers #8
By: Melissa Foster
Releasing November 30, 2016
World Literary Press
In Seaside Whispers (Seaside Summers #8) by Melissa Foster, Matt Lacroux and Mira Savage have been dancing around each other for the past year. With neither of them pushing for their friendship to manifest into anything more until now. Since Matt is on sabbatical from his job as a professor and back to spend time with his family as well as Mira and her young son. Matt doesn't know what the future holds for the pair, but he wants to find out, if Mira is willing. Can they finally find the happiness they both deserve, or are the obstacles that threaten to keep them apart too hard to overcome?

Even though this is book eight of this series by Ms. Foster, I like that each book can be read as a stand-alone. From start to finish, this book was entertaining, fast-paced and I loved how it revisited characters from the previous books, as they're all so supportive of the couple's growing relationship. The way this story started opened the story nicely, but it was from the moment that the hero and heroine came face-to-face that fully captivated my attention. 

As for the dialogue, it was intense due to the main characters back stories. Mira was betrayed in a bad way in her previous relationship, so it's understandable that she has serious trust issues. Will she be able to trust Matt when a future between them seems impossible because he doesn't live in town? Will Matt be able to convince Mira that they can be happy together, if she gives him a chance? Then there's Matt with the guilt he's held over a college friend's attack. If he'd been there, would he have been able to stop it? However, the dialogue wasn't all intense. There were some really good light-hearted moments between the main characters, as well as between the main and secondary characters. Mira's son is so adorable and the bond formed between him and Matt made me love the hero even more than I did. Because Mira's son needs a father figure in his life; one that will love him unconditionally and is the complete opposite of the boy's father. 

Both the main characters were really good, although I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a big crisis moment. Which would Matt choose -- love or his career? Would Mira push Matt away, so he could follow his dreams? Really, it just seemed a little too perfect towards the end. The relationship is supposed to fall apart, so the hero and heroine have to win the other back and it just didn't happen like I thought it would.

Mira is strong, brave and I enjoyed how much she loved her son. That she was willing to put the boy's happiness before her own. No way would she invite a man into her life that didn't love her son as much as he did her. Also, I liked that she was willing to give Matt a chance because he kept proving how loyal and kind he is. While Matt, he's kind, caring, loyal, and I enjoyed how protective he was and that he would do anything for someone in need, which is proven by some of the things he does throughout this book. Also, I enjoyed how good he was with Mira's son. He had me smiling any time they were together because they seemed so alike, as if Matt could have been the father of the heroine's son. Furthermore, I liked the close relationships Matt had with his family, although he didn't get to see them as often as he wished he could. Certainly, they tease each other and provide some really fun moments.   
Overall, this was a really good book where the sex scenes were hot due to the hero's dirty talk and the way Matt shows Mira how much she can trust him. The way this story ended was delightful with what the Lacroux family planned for their future happiness. It was a classic case of the more the merrier. I would recommend Seaside Whispers by Melissa Foster, if you enjoy the friends to lovers trope.
OVERALL RATING: 
 
 

BLURB:
Having a mad crush on her boss’s son, Matt Lacroux—an intriguing mix of proper gentleman and flirtatious bad boy—is probably not the smartest idea for single mother Mira Savage. Especially when the company, and her job, is already on shaky ground. But as a Princeton professor, Matt’s life is hours away from Mira’s home on Cape Cod, keeping him safely in the fantasy-only zone. And as a single mother to six-year-old Hagen, with a floundering company to save, fantasies are all she has time for.
 
With hopes of becoming dean off the table, and too many months of longing for a woman who lived too far away to pursue, Matt’s publishing contract couldn’t have come at a better time. He heads home to Cape Cod on a brief sabbatical, intent on starting his book, and finally getting his arms around sweet, seductive Mira.
 
A surprise encounter leads to white-hot passions and midnight confessions. The more time Matt and Mira spend together, the deeper their relationship grows, and the love and attention Matt showers on Hagen is more than she has ever dreamed of. But Matt’s sabbatical is only temporary, and Mira’s not saving his father’s company so she can leave it behind. Will their whispers of love be enough for one of them to change their life forever?
 

Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo
 

MATT LACROUX NEEDED a shower, a vacation, and to figure out what the hell he was doing with his life—in that order. And sex. Sex would be good. It had been a long time since he’d had a warm, willing woman in his bed instead of a research project to work on, papers to grade, or notes to coordinate on the book he was writing. In fact, now that he was thinking about it, he might move sex up to the top of his list—if he didn’t have someone else’s blood on his hands.
 
He tugged off his torn shirt, tossed it in the hamper, and turned on the shower. He’d been back on Cape Cod for less than three hours and had already broken up a fight between drunken college kids over by the Bookstore Restaurant, where he’d eaten dinner and thought he would write for a while. Maybe he should have done what so many other professors did when they took a sabbatical and gone to a nice resort somewhere, or holed up in a mountain cabin. He could have stayed at his cottage on Nantucket, but he missed his family, and his father wasn’t getting any younger. Plus, his siblings’ joint wedding was only two months away. It was taking place on their mother’s birthday, to honor her memory. It was time to reconnect.
His mind drifted to the other person he’d like to reconnect with, Mira Savage, his father’s employee and the woman who had been occupying Matt’s thoughts since he met her last summer at his younger brother Grayson’s engagement party. They’d spent the entire day together with her adorable son, Hagen. He’d seen her half a dozen times since, during brief visits home. They’d taken Hagen to the park together and a few other places, although they’d never gone on an official date. They’d exchanged occasional texts over the weeks in between, but that was as far as it had gone. It being Matt’s attraction to a woman who lived too many hours away to get involved with. Mira wasn’t the type of woman whose life he could complicate with intermittent encounters. She was a selfless woman who put her son and others first. The type of woman who blushed when he got too close. The type of woman a man took the time to get to know—almost a year, that’s pretty damn long—to show her she could trust him, a woman who should be taken care of and protected but not smothered. And she was the only woman he’d like to undress slowly, loving every inch of her incredible body until she was trembling with need and slick as a baby seal. Keeping himself in check had been like dancing on hot coals, but he’d never stopped thinking about the sexy single mother and her inquisitive son.
He stripped off his slacks and stepped into the shower, turning the faucet to cold now that he was hot and bothered over Mira. He closed his eyes and exhaled a long breath. One thing at a time.
The water shifted from his head to his back, and Matt looked up at the faucet, which promptly fell, clipping his cheekbone.
“Ouch! What the—” He grabbed his cheek and pulled away from the water spraying in all directions from the broken spigot. Perfect. Just perfect. He washed the fresh blood from his fingers and quickly rinsed off.
He stepped from the shower and dried off, eyeing the offending fixture. The damn thing had a crack around the housing and rust on the inside. He’d rented his friends’ cottage in the Seaside community for the summer. The place was in great shape, but things like showerheads were easy to miss when renovating. It was after nine o’clock, and Amy and Tony had a little girl. Matt wasn’t about to bother them about a freaking bathroom fixture. He pulled on clean clothes and called his father, who owned Lacroux Hardware Store.
“Hey, Pop. Is the electronic code to your shop still Mom’s birthday?” His father had been talking about retiring lately. The hardware store was meant to be the family legacy, passed down to one of his five children, only none of them wanted to take it over. But right this very moment, Matt had never been so glad that his father was in the hardware business. The Cape wasn’t big on chain stores. The closest Home Depot or Target was a good forty minutes away.
“Yes. What’s wrong?”
“I need a showerhead for Tony’s place.”
“Want me to run one up to you?”
Neil Lacroux would do anything for his children—even though they were all grown up. Matt knew he’d been lonely since their mother passed away unexpectedly from an aneurysm a few years ago, which was another reason he’d chosen to come back home during his sabbatical. He made a mental note to stop by the store and visit with him.
“I’ve got it, Pop. Sorry to bother you.”
The drive to Orleans took only a few minutes. Even though Matt had grown up on the Cape, it always took him a day or two to adjust to being out of the city. Slacks and button-downs were replaced with shorts and tank tops, people moved at a more relaxed pace, and no matter how far from the beach he was, sand was ever-present. Sand in the grass, sand on the floors, sand on the seat of his car—and he hadn’t even been to the beach yet.
He punched in the code to the security keypad, and the minute he was inside the dark store, he heard it. Tap, tap, tap. He froze, every neuron on high alert, and listened. Tap, tap, tap, tap, pause, tap, tap, tap. It was coming from his father’s office. His arms instinctively flexed, preparing for a fight. He moved swiftly and silently to the office door and listened to the incessant tapping. Dad’s calculator?
He pushed the door open, and his body flooded with awareness at the sight of Mira sitting at the desk, her fingers flying over the calculator. Maybe this was his lucky night after all.
Her hand flew to her chest. “Matt…?” His name came out all breathy. “You scared me. I had no idea you were in town.”
Because I made a point of wanting to surprise you, although not exactly like this.
“Sorry about that, sunshine. I just got in a little while ago. I came to get a showerhead.” He walked into the small office, taking in the ledger on the desk, illuminated by his father’s ancient single-bulb lamp, and the family photos thumbtacked to the wall. He noticed a new photograph front and center, a picture of Hagen holding a fishing rod with a little sunfish dangling from the line. He knew how much Mira and Hagen meant to his father, but seeing Hagen’s photo among their family’s brought the full impact home. He shifted his gaze to Mira, and as the shock of his arrival wore off, a beautiful smile spread across her face. There it was, the brightness that had hooked him all those months ago. The sweet look of innocence and rebellious I-can-take-on-the-world confidence in her gorgeous eyes. She had no idea what she did to him.
“Sunshine,” she whispered, and shook her head.
“You can’t deny the way you light up everything around you.” He’d given her the nickname last summer because she had such a positive outlook on life. 
“You should see me before I have coffee in the mornings.”
I’d like that more than you know.
“A showerhead? Let me show you where they are.” She pushed to her feet, nearly bumping into his chest in the close quarters. Her chestnut hair tumbled sexily over her shoulders as she stood before him, one hand perched over his chest, the other reaching up to touch his cheek. “What happened?”
Their attraction had been immediate and intense last summer and had only grown stronger with each subsequent visit—at least he knew it had for him. For months he’d buried any hope of exploring their connection beneath classes and research papers. Now, as she gazed into his eyes, all those heated memories came rushing back.
“I was assaulted by the old one.”
“Ouch.” She grimaced, and the spray of freckles on the bridge of her nose rose with the effort.
He hadn’t been able to get that cute mannerism out of his head when he’d gone back to Princeton, and damn, did he like seeing it again.
“You might need a stitch.” Her fingers lingered on his skin, warm and soft.
He covered her hand with his, pressing it to his cheek. “It’s nothing, really.”
She nibbled nervously on the corner of her mouth. “I’ll just…” She pointed out of the office, and her hand slid from beneath his. Her breasts brushed against his arm as she walked away, stirring more of that same dark attraction.
There was no shortage of women vying for Matt’s attention. From coeds to faculty, he could have his pick back in Princeton, and the choices were just as plentiful here at the Cape. But the only woman he saw when he closed his eyes at night was heading down aisle seven of his father’s hardware store.
 






 
 
 
 
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance, and women's fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa's emotional journeys are lovingly erotic, perfect beach reads, and always family oriented. 
 
Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
 
 
 
 

 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by ANNIE RAINS


Enter to Win a gifted Ebook set of A Hero's Welcomes series books 1 -3
(WELCOME TO FOREVER, WELCOME HOME, COWBOY and WELCOMING THE BAD BOY)
 
 
Welcome Home for Christmas
A Hero's Welcome #4
By: Annie Rains
Releasing November 8, 2016
Loveswept
In Welcome Home for Christmas (A Hero's Welcome #4) by Annie Rains, Allison Carmichael is in desperate need of a man to help get her family off her back about her being single. So, what better way for that to happen than for her to buy one of the military men up for auction for charity and ask him to pretend to be her boyfriend. Will she and Sargeant Troy Matthews be able to convince her mother they're in a relationship?

Sargeant Troy Matthews isn't looking forward to Christmas this year, not after what happened with his brother last year. However, when Allison buys his services during a charity auction, he agrees to becoming her temporary boyfriend. However, the more time they spend together, the closer they grow. Can Troy convince Allison that he no longer wants to be her temporary partner and instead wants forever?

I have absolutely loved every single book of this series, which can each be read as a stand-alone, but this one is the best of Ms. Rains A Hero's Welcome series so far. Right from the beginning, this story had me hooked with the excitement Troy's job brings him during the festive season. The season brings out the crazies, but at least the chance to help orphaned kids by doing the auction proves he's not turned into a Grinch when it comes to Christmas. However, it was the moment that Allison and Troy met that I loved. Would he win her over with his charm?

Both the main characters were highly entertaining, and I loved that we got to revisit with characters from the previous books. Allison's friends want her to find the happiness that they've found and I liked how they teased her about Troy and encouraged the relationship because there's so much chemistry between the pair, which eventually spills over onto the pages with lots of heat and passion. 

Allison is strong and brave in asking Troy to be in a fake relationship with her. It's not something she'd normally do, but if she didn't ask him, then she'd be relegated to having to listen to her family grill her on why she isn't dating. She's also very kind and caring, and I loved how she helped orphaned kids celebrate Christmas. They needed someone to show them the magic of Christmas. However, there was one thing that frustrated me about the heroine. She needed to stick up to her mom when it came to her dating. That it's her choice who she dates and when. While Troy, he's hard-working, protective and I liked that he went above and beyond his duties as a military officer. Also, I liked how good Allison was for him in making him realize that Christmas is about miracles and family. Then there's the way he's kind and caring in what he does to help Allison deliver a Christmas for some orphaned kids that they'll never forget.

Overall, Ms. Rains has penned a really good novel that I enjoyed from start to finish because of the wonderful characters, fast-paced plot and the way this story ended. What Troy did to win Allison back proves how much he loves her and that she's shown him how good Christmas can be. That it's a time of celebration and family. However, it was the epilogue that wrapped this story up nicely because of what Troy and Allison did to make a little girl's Christmas very special. I would recommend Welcome Home for Christmas by Annie Rains, if you enjoy Christmas themed books or stories encompassing military heroes.

OVERALL RATING:
 
 
BLURB:
The bestselling Hero’s Welcomes series continues with a juicy Christmas romance set in Seaside, North Carolina, where a bustling military base keeps this small town stocked with dedicated, lovable heroes.
Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days a year, Allison Carmichael doesn’t mind being single. It sure beats dating another loser, and it keeps her heart safe. Then there’s that three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth day: Christmas Eve, the traditional time her entire family gathers together—and gangs up on her, demanding to know when she’s going to get married. This year, she swears, is going be different. And that’s why, at a charity auction she’s throwing on-base, she buys herself a man.
Sergeant Troy Matthews insists that he’s not for sale. His time is, though, and he’s happy to donate it. Happier still when he learns the identity of the winning bidder: the redhead with the killer good looks and smart mouth who runs the veteran’s center. Allison needs Troy’s help to fool her family into believing they’re an item, and he’s all too happy to indulge her. But by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, their little charade is working a little too well . . . because Troy’s falling head over heels.
 
Buy Links:      Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo 


“So there’s one thing I now know about you. You’re a good liar.” Allison folded her arms at her chest.

“Good, maybe. But I value honesty. Sometimes lying to someone is for their own good, though. A little white lie never really hurt anyone. Here’s one for you,” he leaned in closer and lowered his voice, “I have absolutely no interest in dating you, either.”
Her cheeks flushed.
“And I don’t think you’re the most beautiful woman in this room, and the thought of taking you out does not appeal to me whatsoever.” He shook his head. “Nope, not one little bit.”
She smiled. “Now I know two things about you. You lie well and you’re a smooth talker. So, do you agree to my proposal?”
Troy could just say yes, but he was enjoying engaging her in a conversation. “You know, when I was kid, Christmas was always magical. I’d sit with the toy catalog and create this huge, mile-long list of the things I wanted. I never got so excited about a pencil and paper.”
“Did you get everything on the list?” she asked.
“Usually.”
“So your family had money?”
He nodded. His family practically owned the town he’d grown up in. He didn’t know what it felt like to want for something until his cousin Dale had died in 9-11, the deciding factor in him joining the military. “I figure the more money raised for those kids, the better their Christmas will be.”
“That’s my goal. I want this to be the best Christmas Mercy’s kids have ever had.”
“So, if I have to take you out . . .” He trailed off, smiling at her.
“We’re just going to talk. Have a meal or something together. No kissing, no handholding.”
Troy held up his hands. “I’m an honorable guy. I don’t force myself on women. Truth is, I usually have to fight them off.” He winked again.
“And you can’t act like that when you meet my mother.”
“Like what?” he asked.
“All flirty and charming. She’ll never believe that I’d fall for someone like that.”
He tried not to take offense because no matter what she was saying, she was attracted to him. He could see it in her dilated pupils and the way her chest rose just slightly under her racing pulse. “No? What kind of guy exactly would you fall for?”
Allison looked around the room. There was still a nice-sized crowd laughing and mingling. Christmas music filled the merry air. “I wouldn’t fall for any kind of guy right now. That’s why I’m pretending with you.”
 

 
 
 
 
 
USA Today Bestselling Author, Annie Rains, is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.


Author Links:   Website | Facebook Twitter | GoodReads
 
 

 
 
 

 

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: HEARTTHROB by BELINDA WILLIAMS


Enter to Win 1 of 2 Gifted Ebook copies of
THE BOYFRIEND SESSIONS: City Love #1
 
 
Heartthrob
Hollywood Hearts #1
By: Belinda Williams
Releasing November 10, 2016  
Self-Published
 
In Heartthrob (Hollywood Hearts #1) by Belinda Williams, Ally Valenti has always wanted to follow her dreams of becoming a fashion designer, but circumstances in her life prevented her from ever getting the chance. Until now when her best friend and actress, Lena Lyons, convinces her to come and stay in Los Angeles for six months and design some gowns for her to wear during the awards season. She never expected to meet Jacob Swan, Lena's handsome co-star, and soon after meeting him she finds herself enjoying spending time with him. Will she give Jacob a chance or be scared off by someone that is trying their best through various incidents -- which seem aimed at her -- to get her to return home?

This is the first book I've read by Ms. Williams, and I've got to say that it does not disappoint. Right from the beginning of this story I was hooked, as the heroine believes she doesn't belong in Hollywood. How is she going to be able to handle designing a dress for Lena that will be on display for a lot of people to see? Will she make it big when people see her creations? However, it was the moment that Ally met Jacob that made this story a real page turner, as she made a really good first impression on him, even if it was embarrassing from her point of view.  

As for the dialogue, it was intense due to the main characters back stories, especially that of the hero. He doesn't get along with his family, and when they are together, it is very tense times. Furthermore, the dialogue was also intense due to the incidents done by the person trying to scare Ally away. Will they find out who is causing problems for her before it's too late? However, there were some light-hearted moments between Ally and Jacob that I loved, especially when he teases her about what she does the moment they meet. Then there's the secondary characters, especially Ally's cousin, Arabella. She has total fan-girl moments when it comes to Ally meeting various actors, actresses and knowing Lena.

Ally was a wonderful heroine. She's strong and brave for even giving herself the chance to show off her skills. She's not confident she can pull it off, but it was good to read how determined and willing she was to make something great for Lena with lots of encouragement from her best friend. But she doesn't just have skills when it comes to fashion, and I was absolutely charmed by how she impressed everyone with her cooking skills. The reactions from people after eating food she's cooked had me smiling or laughing, especially when it came to a certain conversation between the main characters about whether the benefits of exercise or her cooking were better.

While Jacob, he's charming, confident and he's determined to win Ally over into giving him a chance. He may be a Hollywood heartthrob, but he's just like everyone else when the cameras aren't rolling. Then again, paparazzi are everywhere, so it's not as if he can completely let his guard down. Also, I liked the decision he made when it came to his career. He needed to branch out and find roles that weren't restricting his talent to the sorts of movies he featured in. But most of all, I enjoyed how Jacob supported Ally when it came to his family. She was only doing what she felt was right, because Jacob didn't deserve the way one of his brothers treated him.

Overall, Ms. Williams has penned a fantastic novel in this one, which encompassed a strong romance that did justice to this couple's intense chemistry. Even though, Ally is completely anti-Hollywood when she arrives, it's surprising how she changes her mind the more time she spends with Jacob. The way this story ended took me completely by surprise with the person causing trouble for Ally, because I did not suspect the secondary character it turned out to be. Moreover, the way Ally and Jacob reunited after things went awry between them was delightful. Ally is such a klutz and she's lucky that Jacob is there to make sure she's all right. At least the headlines this time around will be about Ally and not Jacob. I would recommend Heartthrob by Belinda Williams, if you're a fan of books by  Rachel Gibson, Victoria Dahl, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, or Liliana Hart.

OVERALL RATING:



  
BLURB:
CAN AN AVERAGE GIRL SURVIVE HOLLYWOOD?

Ally Valenti doesn’t belong in Hollywood. Not like her friend and actress, Lena Lyons. Lena’s convinced Ally to pursue her dreams of fashion design, starting with some gowns for the awards season.

Which Ally will get around to creating as soon as she can stop looking at Jacob Swan, Lena’s latest co-star. Not that she’s staring. Ally’s skeptical of anything celebrity and it’s not like she’d be pathetic enough to fall for a Hollywood heartthrob.

Then Ally learns there’s more to Jacob than his good guy, all-American persona. She finds herself torn between the desire to get to know him better and her determination to stay out of the limelight.

 Of course the media has other ideas—and someone doesn’t like all the attention Ally’s getting. When threats aimed at destroying her fashion career go too far, Ally’s convinced she’s living in crazy town.

The sensible thing would be to retreat home before it all ends in spectacular fashion. But will Ally be leaving more than her dreams behind if she says goodbye to Hollywood?

This glamorous, fast-paced contemporary romance that will make you smile, is perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Victoria Dahl, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Liliana Hart.
 

Buy Links:      AmazonB & N | iTunes | Kobo

 


Unfortunately, no amount of warning would be adequate to prepare me for Jacob Swan in a suit. Dear God. There had to be laws against tailoring that good. The suit molded to every inch of his muscled body like it had been sculpted on. It was a dusky blue and I knew without looking it matched the color of his eyes. Even as my heart stuttered in my chest, I recognized superb tailoring when I saw it.
 
“Talk to me, Ally,” Lena suggested. “You’re staring.”
“Can’t help it.”
 
And I really couldn’t. His ensemble was perfect. Crisp white shirt, a simple matching blue tie, and brown boots. Most people would have worn a black tuxedo for an event like the Golden Globes, but not Jake. The brown boots were a perfect contrast to the blue suit and hinted at a man comfortable with himself. But I guess when you were considered the sexiest man in Hollywood, that kind of came with the territory.
“Still staring,” Lena said in a singsong voice.
“Don’t care,” I sang back.
“Makes you seem desperate,” she continued the tune, her voice heightening to a soprano.
Finally I turned to her. “I am. Desperate to know his stylist.”
Lena’s expression morphed into one of disbelief. “Are you serious?”
“Absolutely. I mean, look at the guy. Dressed to perfection.” I waved my hand in Jake's general direction, but my arm ended up hovering in mid-air as our eyes met through the crowd.
My heart continued to thump erratically in my chest, feeling as though it was about to give out completely.
Alright, so it wasn’t just his ensemble. It was him. One hundred percent pure Jake. It was those blue eyes of his. They were so alive, so expressive, a woman could drown in his gaze and enjoy the experience. They danced with amusement at me in the dim light.
To ensure my demise, he flashed me a cocky grin.
 
 
Belinda Willliams is a marketing communications specialist and copywriter who allowed an addiction to romance and chick-lit to get the better of her. She was named a top ten finalist in the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Award in both 2013 and 2014.
Her other addictions include music and cars. Belinda’s eclectic music taste forms the foundation of many of her writing ideas and her healthy appreciation for fast cars means she would not so secretly love a Lamborghini. For now she’ll have to settle with her son’s Hot Wheels collection and writing hot male leads with sports cars.
Belinda lives in Sydney and blogs regularly about writing and reading at www.belindawilliamsbooks.com
 
Author Links:   Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads
 
Top 3 Scenes with Mini Excerpts

Thanks so much for hosting me today. I’ve been asked to share the top 3 scenes from my new release, HEARTTHROB, a contemporary romance set in Hollywood. It’s a fish out of water story, with my lead character, Ally, joining her childhood friend, Lena, in Hollywood, so she can pursue her dreams of fashion design. Lena is a famous movie star, so from the first page we find Ally questioning the sanity of her big move, and there’s a lot of fun moments while Ally comes to terms with her new life.
1.     Bella, the crazy cousin
The first scene I’m sharing with you happens at the start of the story when Ally gets in Lena’s chauffeur-driven car when she first arrives in L.A. As well as dealing with a new city, Ally also has to deal with her big Italian family. They might live back on the East Coast, but they’re very much a part of her life, as we see during this conversation with Ally’s younger cousin, Arabella:
I turned to Lena. “Bear with me, please?”
“Of course. You know I love your family.”
“That makes someone,” I muttered as I scrolled through the contacts in Facetime. “OK, here goes.”
After a brief wait, Arabella’s face came up on the screen of my cell phone.
Upon seeing me, she crossed her arms and shot me an unimpressed look. She had the same shoulder-length dark loose waves I had, but was one of the few members of our family blessed with Uncle Tony’s bright blue eyes.
“Ooh, you’re in a cab,” she drawled.
“It’s not a cab.” Tired of her sass, I pointed the phone at Lena.
Lena waved and her perfect red nails glinted under the car’s interior light. “Hi, Arabella. Nice to meet you.”
 In the split second it took for all the color to drain from Bella’s olive complexion, she managed to draw another breath.
“Oh my fucking God, it is you!”
I jolted in my seat at her crystal-shattering pitch and quickly lowered the volume. Alright, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Her eyes rounded in a sort of mad haze. “When Aunt Rosa told me Ally had a model friend in high school, I didn’t believe her. You’ve got to admit it is pretty hard to believe because Ally’s not the popular type. I mean, as if! Ally’s one of the most boring people I know—no offense, Ally.”
I saw Lena’s lips quirk and I opened my mouth to put a stop to my youngest cousin’s observations, but I was already too late.
 She continued with the force of a freight train. “I don’t know if you know this, but all Ally ever does is work and I’m pretty sure she hasn’t been out with a guy in like forever. Even Aunty Rosa says Ally needs to get out more. So it’s pretty hard to imagine someone with your talent hanging out with her, but then I guess she can be kind of fun. I mean that’s why everyone asks her to babysit all the time, the kids just love her and—”
“Bella!” I managed to interrupt finally. “Thank you for the honest character assessment but I think you might be boring the most famous actress in Hollywood.”
 
2.     Hollywood reality
Ally is new to Hollywood, and she’s not sure what to make of good-guy actor, Jacob Swan. He seems genuine enough—until Ally hears something to make her think otherwise. For an average girl, it’s hard to figure out her feelings when she’s not sure what is and isn’t real in Hollywood.
 
I closed my eyes, wishing I was anywhere but here. “I’m an idiot.”
“No.” Jake reached over and took my hands. “You’re the first real person I’ve met in a long time.”
I sucked in a breath and opened my eyes, not sure what to make of the way his blue eyes flared at me.
“A real idiot,” I joked, uncertain whether to remove my hands, look away or run altogether. “I thought you were a good guy. Then back there, I thought it was all an act. And now I don’t know what to think. Nothing in this goddamn town seems real.”
With one small tug he pulled me to him. “Trust me. This is real.”
Then he kissed me.
This wasn’t happening. But as his warm lips brushed mine it felt like I’d never experienced anything more real in my entire life.
 
 
3.     Dressed to perfection
There’s no questioning Jacob Swan is the Sexiest Man Alive, but when your best friend is a movie star, Ally isn’t swayed (too much) by good looks and reputation. What she does have a soft spot for, however, is good tailoring. And as she discovers on the night of the Golden Globes, Jake is more than just a pretty face—the man has style and good taste, too.
Unfortunately, no amount of warning would be adequate to prepare me for Jacob Swan in a suit. Dear God. There had to be laws against tailoring that good. The suit molded to every inch of his muscled body like it had been sculpted on. It was a dusky blue and I knew without looking it matched the color of his eyes. Even as my heart stuttered in my chest, I recognized superb tailoring when I saw it.
“Talk to me, Ally,” Lena suggested. “You’re staring.”
“Can’t help it.”
And I really couldn’t. His ensemble was perfect. Crisp white shirt, a simple matching blue tie, and brown boots. Most people would have worn a black tuxedo for an event like the Golden Globes, but not Jake. The brown boots were a perfect contrast to the blue suit and hinted at a man comfortable with himself. But I guess when you were considered the sexiest man in Hollywood, that kind of came with the territory.
“Still staring,” Lena said in a singsong voice.
“Don’t care,” I sang back.
“Makes you seem desperate,” she continued the tune, her voice heightening to a soprano.
Finally I turned to her. “I am. Desperate to know his stylist.”
So there you have it, my Top 3 scenes from HEARTTHROB. I hope you’ll join Ally and Jacob in Hollywood!