Her fake husband is a Work In Progress…
Work in Progress, an all-new romantic comedy from Staci Hart, is available now!
I never thought my first kiss would be on my wedding day.
But here I stand, clutching a bouquet of pale pink roses behind the doors of a Las Vegas chapel, and at the end of the aisle is the absolute last man I imagined would be waiting for me.
Bestselling author. Notorious bad boy. Savagely handsome, dark as sin, chiseled as stone. And somehow, my soon-to-be husband.
Marry him, and I’ll land my dream job. Save him, and I’ll walk away with everything I’ve ever wanted. All I have to do is remember it’s all for show. None of it is real, no matter how real it feels.
But first, I have to survive the kiss.
And with lips like his, my heart doesn’t stand a chance.
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*Review copy provided as a part of the blog tour. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*
Work In Progress is the next in the series of the Red Lipstick Coalition, a series of standalones centering around the love lives of 4 headstrong, ambitious, and amazing girls who’ve been friends for years. This one follows the story of Amelia, a timid, shy, reluctant blogger. She works for the Review column of The Times, and meets Tommy, aka Thomas Bane, best-selling fantasy author at one of the gigs the paper sends her to. She doesn’t like the way Tommy portrays his heroes, and despite being a nervous wreck minutes before, when he makes a snide comment about her continuous trashing reviews of his books, calls him out on it. Thomas, who has always taken her words with a grain of salt, knowing she’s right, offers her a job – help him plot his next book, a critique partner and beta reader rolled into one, and she agrees. But when things go south, Tommy asks for something far more intimate, more personal. A wedding, a marriage. But, will fake give way to the real?
I’m very torn about this book. So torn. Because, it is absolutely well written. It sucked me in so deep that I finished it in one sitting. I loved the characters, their motivation, the writing, the plot. All of it. But then, there were some things that I didn’t like, situations that weren’t dealt with the way they should have.
Let’s start with the good. I absolutely love Tommy. He’s such an amazing love interest, really. He’s nurturing and understanding and caring. So very loving. The way he loves his mother, protects her is absolutely out of the world. I love his family so much – his twin, Theo, and his mom, Sarah. The love and care among the three of them is so endearing and heart-warming. Of course, he’s just as good a friend and boyfriend/husband as he is a son and I love it. He’s always looking out for Amelia, taking care of her, and it’s so cute. He always makes sure to tell her how much he appreciates her, how much he cares for her, how much he loves her. And… The sex positivity he exudes. Wow. He’s so patient and understanding and giving. It’s so great to see just how much he wants to make sure that Amelia is enjoying the physical side of their relationship too. The focus on consent in the intimate scenes won me over. So, yes. Tommy is amazing. I love him.
Then, there’s Amelia. She’s awesome. I love her. She’s so layered and deep as a character. She’s whip smart, but she’s not comfortable speaking to strangers, or going to places with large crowds. She has her people – her parents and her 3 best friends, and then, Tommy – who she loves fiercely and who she would do anything for. She’s hard-working and determined but she’s also naive when it comes to matters of the heart and is always second guessing herself, thinking that she isn’t good enough. I saw a lot of myself in her, I could relate to a lot of her struggles and her thoughts and I love that. Maybe that’s why I adore her so much. :p
Now, as far as stories go, there were a lot of cliched things going on here, but they were handled so very expertly that I couldn’t help but adore them. Especially the climax. The way both Tommy & Amelia recognize their mistakes, apologize, and then move on is so beautiful to read. That entire sequence has my whole heart!!
But then, there’s the bad stuff. It felt like some things were left open ended at the end of the story, some loose ends which should have been taken care of. Then, there was the matter of Amelia’s speech impediment. It’s said in the beginning of the book that her shyness and social anxiety stems out of a speech impediment in her childhood, but it’s only brushed on in the beginning and then forgotten about, as is the fact that Amelia has been seeking therapy. The therapy is mentioned quite a lot in the first 5-6 chapters but then not a word about it. As Amelia settles in her new life as Mrs. Thomas Bane, we don’t see her going to see her therapist, or even think about it even once. Of course, then there’s the fact that at the beginning of the story, she was having issues talking to just one person and being a queue to get a book signed was causing her so much grief, but then suddenly she’s with all this paparazzi and it doesn’t really bother her, in fact, there’s on aha! moment at about 70% where she just thinks she’s not afraid anymore and that’s it. Nothing else. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
So, it had it’s good points and bad, but it was a fun, engaging read!
RATING : 3.75 STARS!
The hall bathroom door opened, consequently stopping the earth’s orbit and flinging me into space for lack of gravity.
Thomas Bane stepped out of the doorway in slow motion, propelled by a cloud of steam that licked at his glistening body like it wanted to taste him. His hair was black, wet, curling and dripping in rivulets down the planes and valleys of his expansive chest and abs and narrow hips. He had that thing, the trough of muscle bracketing his hips that caught sluicing water and carried it in an angle that would eventually reach that unknown terrain beneath his towel. I saw the ghost of that terrain, the long, cylindrical bulge that was substantial enough to clearly state its presence, even through the thick towel.
He smirked, dragging his hand through his wet hair. I salivated, watching droplets of water roll down his forearm and collect on the tip of his erotic elbow.
“You’re up,” he said.
I blinked, not knowing when I’d set my coffee down or how many minutes—hours? years?—had passed in the time I spent ogling his body.
He sauntered into the room like he wasn’t basically naked. I tried unsuccessfully not to stare at his knees, the place where his ropy thigh connected, the angular muscles of his calves, the curve of his ankle, the broad pad of his foot.
He was perfectly proportioned. Michelangelo would have carved him twenty feet tall, and women would have worshipped at his perfect feet.
Gus bounced when he saw Tommy, his toys forgotten. And when Gus took off running, Tommy stopped, eyes widening and hands splayed in front of him.
“Gus, no,” he commanded.
To no one’s surprise, Gus did not listen. He barked once, snagged the hem of Tommy’s towel, and whipped it off him in a single tug that exposed every inch of skin on Thomas Bane’s ridiculous body.
Thank God my coffee was already on the counter. I’d have gotten third-degree burns.
For a split second, Tommy was frozen there in all his natural glory, poised to run after his dog, his face drawn and eyes locked on the sweet, disobedient dog. He wasn’t paying any attention to me.
I, however, gave him my full and undivided consideration.
His thighs were a mass of muscle so hard and defined, the tops were planes that came to a notch at his knee and a point where it met his hip. My eyes caught that trough that had before disappeared and followed it where it pointed—straight to the thatch of dark hair and the member nestled there.
The very thick, very long, mostly limp member.
If I stared at it a second longer, I was going to faint—my vision was already dim, my pulse pumping so hard, I could feel it in my neck, at the back of which a cold sweat had broken.
But he shifted to run after Gus, who was galloping away, trailing the towel behind him.
“Dammit, Gus! Gimme that!”
Then it was the back of him I saw, his hair, the streaming water rolling down all the curves of his shoulders, his back, the valley of his spine, and down to the most perfect ass I’d ever seen in real life.
Well, the only ass I’d ever seen in real life that wasn’t my own, and even that I couldn’t get a good look at without a mirror.
Seriously, that ass. That perfectly sculpted ass, round and tight and curved in the sides, shifting from one side to the other as he ran after the damn dog. My gaze caught a tattoo on one ass cheek, and I squinted at it, trying to make it out.
Tommy bent to snag the end of the towel—I caught sight of his sack and almost dissolved through the floor in an acidic puddle of embarrassment—but when he pulled, Gus spun around, ass in the air and tail wagging as he growled, pulling back.
A string of obscenities left Tommy’s mouth, but I was still gaping and staring at his ass. I realized that I was laughing. It sounded like someone else in a different room.
I wondered absently if this was how it felt to have a stroke.
About the Author
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife, though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey.
From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.
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