Hi there! Today I’m excited to share a review and giveaway for a contemporary lesbian love story from Lilah Suzanne. BURNING TRACKS is the second book in a series and probably best enjoyed after reading BROKEN RECORDS. This story centers on a young, married stylist, who’s not sure she’s ready for motherhood, and is tempted by a sexy client.
Catch a bonus interview, an excerpt, and enter the $25 GC and ebook giveaway, below.
About the book:
In the sequel to Broken Records, Gwen Pasternak has it all: a job she loves as a celebrity stylist and a beautiful wife, Flora. But as her excitement in working with country music superstar Clementine Campbell grows, Gwen second-guesses her quiet domestic bliss. Meanwhile, her business partner, Nico Takahashi and his partner, reformed bad-boy musician Grady Dawson, face uncertainties of their own.
How about a taste?
“There’s a reason you two aren’t allowed to hang out alone.” Arms crossed, one impeccable eyebrow raised, lips twisted, hair artfully tousled, and dressed to the nines: Alexander Wang black-on-black tropical-printed board shorts, a slim fit black-and-white chino and matching black lapel jacket, black boots, and a black and white scarf to tie it all together. “Nico,” Gwen says.
“Nico?” Grady is up in a flash. “You came?”
Nico’s face softens into his Grady look. “Of course I came. Did you really think you were getting rid of me that easily?” Grady comes closer, and Nico brushes a spiraled lock of hair from his face. “I’m sorry it took me so long. There were storms over Dallas, and I got stuck on the tarmac with a dead phone. I barely made my connection, and the clusterfuck of morons known as the United gate at JFK could not get its shit together, and I may be banned outright from Charlotte-Douglas International, can you believe they flag you as a security risk and hold you in a room with no phone signal or Wi-Fi just for threatening one person with shoving that goddam intercom up their—” He opens his arms for Grady; his look of annoyance slips away the moment they touch. “Anyway, I’m here.”
Grady sighs, crowds into Nico’s space, and tucks himself into Nico’s body. Much better, a perfect fit. “God, I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Nico sinks one hand into his hair, strokes the nape of his neck with other, breathes him in, and closes his eyes. “I’m so sorry. About the apartment and taking off and not being here yesterday, I tried to so hard to make it because I know how difficult it is for you. You shouldn’t have been alone.”
Grady sniffs and holds him tighter. “It’s okay. We’re okay. I’m sorry, too.”
Still ensnared in the sheets and duvet and barely awake, Gwen presses her hands to her cheeks and awws. “You guys,” she coos.
Grady lifts his head from Nico’s neck to smile at Gwen. “I wasn’t alone, though.”
“Mmm” Nico says. “And how much trouble did she get you into?”
“None,” Gwen says, defensive. Here she kept Grady safe and sound, searched all over Nashville and Las Vegas while he was off burying himself in work and what thanks does she get? None.
But then Grady smirks and says, “Kind of a lot.”
“Grady.” Gwen throws a pillow at him. “You’re such a tattletale, gosh.”
He bends to whisper something in Nico’s ear, and Gwen doesn’t miss the way his lips drag and linger on the shell of it, or the way Nico’s breath catches and his eyes roll back. When Nico lifts Grady’s shirt and traces around the tattoos with reverent fingers, Gwen takes that as her cue to extricate herself from the bed, put on some pants and a bra, and go fetch her luggage.
“‘Kay you guys have fun and make sure to change the sheets when you’re finished.”
“Wait.” Nico tugs Grady’s shirt down. Then he goes to the case he always has nearby. “You have trouble of your own, Gwen. Thought you might want to know about this.”
Gwen catches the magazine and folded-up papers he tosses her way: screen grabs from a few entertainment websites printed out in black and white.
Is This Clementine Campbell’s Girlfriend? Our source says, “It wouldn’t surprise me.”
Clementine and Gal Pal Definitely More Than Pals Sunning On Vegas Pool Deck.
Our exclusive source and close confidant of both says: Clementine’s married girlfriend “would cheat for sure. She was always touching her. There’s been an energy between them from the very beginning.”
There are pictures: her rubbing sunscreen on Clementine’s bare back, which looks far steamier in a fuzzy long-range picture than it actually was; a picture of them from the back at the store in the Venetian with their hands clasped and Clementine curled in close and her lips on Gwen’s cheek; and most damning of all, grinding together at the VIP club at the Bellagio just last night.
“I don’t—” Frantic and confused, she flaps the magazine and printouts in the air. “What is this? This isn’t— Nico, I didn’t, I swear.”
Nico holds both hands up. “Hey, I am well aware of the slander of tabloids. I get it.” He gives her a sympathetic look. “I’m just not sure Flora is going to.”
Some thoughts on writing from Author Lilah Suzanne:
Tell us something no one else knows about your characters.
Gwen thinks that Flora’s group of teacher friends is nice, but a little boring. And that’s okay, Flora has plenty of fun with book club and wine and cheese nights no matter what Gwen thinks, but sometimes Flora and her friends will go to a burlesque show. Sometimes Flora’s teacher friends will join in. Teachers aren’t always boring.
Have you ever had writer’s block? How did you overcome it?
I do, often, but now I try to identify what’s blocking me instead of giving up and deciding the story just isn’t meant to be: Does the chapter need to go in a different direction? Do I need to let an idea sit for a while? Am I insecure about the story and letting that discourage me? Am I too worried about other’s expectations and letting that discourage me? There’s almost always a good reason for writer’s block that isn’t “I’m terrible and everything I do is terrible.” Almost always.
What book you’ve written would you like to see made into a movie?
Well, I happen to think this series would make an excellent movie. Or a television series.
Do you work on an outline or plot or just let the story takes you where it wants to go?
I do both. I outline but not in detail. I need to know where I’m going and what happens next, the basic story arcs, but otherwise I let the plot and characters flesh out as I go.
Always nice to get some insights on how authors approach their work!
This is an interesting and complicated love story for a married couple that may be having some problems…and how it all gets back on “track.”
Gwen is a stylist living in Nashville with her wife, Flora. They’ve had some bumps in their road, but have been together for ten years. Newly settled in a nice house and neighborhood, Flora is ready for a baby. And Gwen isn’t, exactly. She wants Flora to be happy, and loves her wife, but she’s scared, and afraid to talk about it, in case it upsets Flora.
Meanwhile, her business partner, Nico and his partner country music singer Grady, are having trouble. Grady wants a big commitment, and Nico’s a little nervous. He style Grady, and Grady’s best friend, Clementine. If things go bad, then Nico and Gwen are in big financial trouble. Plus, the culture shock of staid Nashville compared to wild Hollywood is a difficult transition for both Gwen and Nico to make. As Nico and Grady struggle, Gwen has to step up her work hours, something that Flora understands, but doesn’t always accept. It’ll be way harder to be flexible once they have a child. For a woman who’s been a huge disappointment to her parents, Gwen is sure to also disappoint Flora, right?
And, it’s sure not easy for Gwen to keep her focus when gorgeous, driven, and talented Clementine seems to be making moves on her. They spend a lot of time together, as Nico steps away to clear his head, and Gwen takes on the responsibility of dressing both Grady and Clem for their events–and tracking down manic Grady to prevent him falling off the wagon. Meanwhile, Flora. The baby that may come. Their lives seemingly stalled.
Just want to say this one ended up being really emotional, without being angsty. Most of the story is told from Gwen’s POV in the present, but there are several chapters from Flora’s POV that detail periods of their lives together, in the past. How they met, fell in love, and filled one another’s lives. Instead of cutting the tension, these sweet recollections raise the stakes when we experience Gwen in the moment with both Flora and Clementine. No one wants to watch a love die, and that includes Gwen. She’s got a ton of insecurities, due to her non-relationships with her parents, and always feels that she’ll fall short at being a good wife and mother. Clem’s interest is tantalizing, and scary. It’s nothing like Flora’s patient and constant affection.
For people who hate cheaters in stories, I’ll go so far as to say: you won’t be riled. Gwen learns the real truth of her life, and makes it all work in a way that only settled, married people can. There’s a bit of heartbreak, but it’s not due to romantic difficulties. There’s a lot of sweet moments, and I was glad that Nico and Grady seemed to hash out their confusion. The end is totally HEA-swoony and give a sense of closure on the series, though I imagine we’ll see more books. And, that’s a good thing. Expect lots and lots of sexytimes for Gwen and Flora, and I liked that bunches. Even though lesbian fiction isn’t in my wheelhouse, I was fully able to connect with the characters and their passion.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link below for your chance to win a $25 Interlude Press gift card or one of FIVE ebooks.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer, she has also authored a children’s book and has a devoted following in the fan fiction community. She is also the author of Interlude Press books Spice, Pivot and Slip, and Broken Records, which was named a Top Pick by RT Book Reviews Magazine.