Saturday, August 17, 2013

When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak

Title:   When Lightning Strikes
Author: Brenda Novak
My RatingA



Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Whiskey Creek #1
Main Characters: Simon and Gail
Release Date:  August 2012
Publisher: Mira
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: mild



Story Overview:
Simon O'Neal's causing trouble again. And it's up to Gail DeMarco to stop him.Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has accumulated a roster of A-list clients, including the biggest box office hit of all—sexy and unpredictable Simon O'Neal. But Simon, who's just been through a turbulent divorce, is so busy self-destructing he won't listen to anything she says. She drops him from her list—and he retaliates by taking the rest of her clients with him.

Desperate to save her company, Gail has to humble herself by making a deal with Simon. The one thing he wants is custody of his son, but that's going to require a whole new image. He needs to marry some squeaky-clean girl who'll drag him off to some small, obscure place like Whiskey Creek….

Gail's the only one he can trust. She agrees to become his wife—reluctantly. But she isn't reluctant because he's too hard to like. It's because he's too hard not to love!

My Review:
Wow...this was seriously one of the best contemporary romances I've read this year. Everything about it was just perfectly executed. The story was completely engaging. The characters were awesome...and that's saying something when you can make your reader love the hero who is a cheating drunkard. This was one of those books that made me sad the closer to the end it got because I loved reading it so much. I didn't want it to end. 

When the story opens, Gail and Simon are at each other's throats and in the process they are destroying each other's lives. Simon is an actor. Gail was his publicist, but when his marriage imploded, so did Simon. She refuses to dig him out of another bad-boy hole again so she quits. He doesn't handle it well and as Hollywood's favorite son, has the clout to ruin her agency which he does. She's on the verge of closing her doors, but he has his own issues. He's trying to win custody of his son which isn't very likely to happen with his awful reputation. They need each other, so enter a marriage of convenience. 

It sounds like a tried/true trope doesn't it? But that little description doesn't touch the depths where this story goes. Honestly, it was just so well done. Simon...gah, my heart hurt for him. He's a good guy who got royally screwed. He turned to alcohol just to numb the pain. As Gail gets to know him, she quickly discovers just how wrong she was about him and the facade he puts up to the world. She moves him to her hometown, simply to get him to decompress. He's literally at the breaking point and she's worried that he's not going to recover if they don't do something drastic. So she pulls him out of Hollywood for three months.

There's a great evolution between these two characters. At the beginning of the book, they don't even have the simplest respect for one another. It was nice to see that perception of the other person grow and change as they became friends and then much more. Even when everything between them became difficult, they maintained that new respect and it made their story that much better. 

I loved this book and am excited about the fact that I have three more in the series sitting beside me just waiting to be read. If they are even half as good as this one was, I have several days of amazing reading ahead of me.

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