Hollywood Scandal – Louise Bay

 

This is the classic trope of a Hollywood actor who goes to an itty bitty town in Maine to film a movie and finds that the natives don’t know him.  He’s ecstatic because he can do his running with no fear of a fan or paparazzi stalking him.  He’s running during a storm and gets a phone call from his agent, so he shelters below a gazebo to take his call.  From out of nowhere appears this goddess yelling at him; he thinks it’s a rabid fan and turned out she sees him as a crazy idiot and is moving him from the metal roof of the gazebo so he’s not struck by lightning and screws up the town’s tourist season.  So these are Matt Easton and Lana Kelly.

Lana was born and raised in Worthington.  She dreamed of leaving for New York to study and make it big with her jewelry designs.  But something happened when she was in college, which we don’t know until later, and she came back home, a little broken. She continues with her jewelry designs, but with a town store and online shop and makes a decent living.  When Lana’s father died, she sold her childhood home and bought two cottages; she lives in one and rents the other one, right next door.  Her BFF Ruby, who left town with her, stayed in New York and is living her dream.  She’s now co-managing the cottage rental with Lana and they’re doing very well.  Ruby is all the time encouraging Lana to go back to the workshop and make her one-of-a-kind great designs.  But now Lana lives a safe life, content with her cottage, small shop and the people from town that she knows so well.

Matt has some fences to jump.  After his third movie went blockbuster, his success went to his head and he went crazy drinking, doing drugs and women.  He arrived on set drunk, partied too hard and almost ruined all that he had worked for.  It took a visit on set from his father, and seeing the disappointment in his father’s face, to set him to rights.  Nevertheless, the damage was done and he now had to walk a straight line.  He’s very ambitious and he wants to go far in his career, like winning a franchise.  He’s near so he has to be relentlessly working towards that goal.  To this end, he hired a publicist in addition to his agent, to help him achieve his goal. And here I learned that in Hollywood they have hired girlfriends; that is, he had a contract with another actress to pose as his girlfriend and to appear in places together.  The contracts are mutually advantageous, they promote their movies and serve to clean up reputations, such as Matt’s.

When he realizes that the goddess at the gazebo lives next door, he strikes an acquaintance with her.  Invites her to drink wine, chats her up, etc.  He’s delighted she doesn’t recognize him.  She’s a little reluctant because she thinks he’s beautiful but dumb.  But he’s good at wooing and wins her over.  Right after they make love for the first time, his publicist bursts into the room, and starts yelling stuff about his girlfriend, Audrey, and NDA’s.  She runs scared and then gets really mad because once again she trusted and was betrayed.  Now Lana’s mad and Matt’s determined to win her over, again.

Thus starts their relationship.  He wants things from her that she cannot give. She shuns any kind of publicity, so they hide from paparazzi, other people, town gossip.  There are two great secondary characters, Mrs. Wells, who is the town psychic and Mr. Butcher, who used to be a big name in the fashion world in New York, and now walks around with a Pomeranian who wins the best dressed dog award anywhere.  There’s also a lady who walks her cat with a leash.  All are seen as normal people and loved by the community.  Lana says that you meet with these two characters, you are caught up with all town gossip. Mrs. Wells predicts that she will meet a guy and go through a storm; Mr. Butcher urges her to submit her design to the big stores in New York because her talent is wasted in this little town.

I found Lana to be a little stubborn in wanting to hide, a little paranoid in fact.  She’s frozen into her little world that she has trouble trusting and venturing out of her bubble.  Matt shows his stuff by being constant, concerned and compliant with Lana’s needs.  They helped the other grow in their craft. Matt pushed Lana into making an original piece of jewelry and showing it to develop her market beyond Worthington. Lana in turn convinced Matt that he isn’t just a pretty face and he can option a book he liked a lot and turn it into a movie. Since Matt used to be a model, he doesn’t feel he has the chops in the business to move on to producing. This part of the book I liked a lot.

The storm that Mrs. Wells predicted does arrive yet Lana moves in little steps.  The rest of the book is classic trope, Lana is stubborn, Matt is understanding, Ruby would kick Lana’s ass every time she went paranoid.  It was entertaining, even is somewhat predictable.  I liked the dual POV which allowed me to see what he thought and she thought.  You get more insight into the characters and understand where they come from.  Characterization was great in this book. And even if a little predictable, it was full of romance and feeling.

About Luisa Rivas-Martinez

Newly retired, lover of romance novels. I've been reading since early childhood, loved those fantasy tales with Princes and Princesses. As I grew, my love for romance blossomed into romance novels, beginning with Harlequin romances. I hope that through this page, I can share my experience and joy on reading my romance novels and make friends.
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