Hi there! Today I’m reviewing a New Adult Romance From Lauren Blakely. STARS IN THEIR EYES features a young paparazzo ekeing out her college tuition by following where the stars go–and the young private eye who up-ends her world.
A sexy and swoony new adult romance…
Celebrity photographer and college senior Jess Leighton desperately needs to crash the wedding of the year. Snapping just one pic of the A-list Hollywood couple tying the knot will pay her way through grad school. But with security tighter than the bride-to-be’s corset, she’ll need more than her camera and smarts, she’ll need help from her biggest rival–hot, British, motorcycle-riding William Harrigan, whose sexy accent can melt the panties off any woman. He’s the last person Jess should trust, but he’s her only ticket in.
William Harrigan wants one thing – to stay in L.A. past college graduation. With a student visa set to expire, the clock is ticking. When he lands a gig that pairs him with the beautiful blond spitfire Jess, he’s scored his best shot at living out the American dream. Winning her trust would be a whole lot easier, however, if he didn’t have ulterior motives…
But there’s no faking the intense attraction between them. Try as they might to resist each other, soon sparks are flying, as they devise a plan to sneak into the ceremony. But when Jess’ new celebrity client raises the stakes, she starts to smell blackmail, and soon she and Will are chasing down cheating directors, staking out clandestine trysts, and making fake IDs, all while sneaking scene-stealing kisses and hot nights together.
The audience loves a happy ending, but in a town where everyone’s acting and no one’s playing by the rules, can Jess and William find their own ever after in time?
**Stars in Their Eyes is the start of the sexy, swoony and scandalous new adult series Wrapped Up in Love, which is a spin-off of the NYT and USA Today Bestselling Caught Up in Love series. You don’t need to have read Caught Up in Love to follow this new series, but you’ll likely enjoy those books!*
The review copy I read contained the novella A STARSTRUCK KISS, which introduces us to Jess Leighton and William Harrigan. Jess is a college senior and has been a paparazzo for the past few years. Her family’s fortune disappeared in her high school years leaving her without a college fund, but this didn’t stop Her. She’s got a regular contact who feeds her tips and she returns the favors with photos for cash as she slowly builds her money up to pay for medical school. She is driven and focused, and fears she has new competition from her tipster in the for of sexy, British college student William.
William is a terrible paparazzo. He knows virtually nothing of celebrities, and seems more interested in tracking down Jess than a good pic, but he needs a real job in the US if he wants to stay here. And BOY does he want to stay–especially after meeting acid-tongued Jess. She pushes all his naughty buttons. Jess rebuffs William, at first. She’s had serious problems losing herself in a guy before–and she won’t sacrifice her grades to spend time with William. Problem is, the more time they spend staking out star sightings, the more their camaraderie builds and the more her attraction grows.
Jess has a lead on the Wedding of the Year pic, one whose sale would yield enough money to cover a good bit of med school, but blows it in favor of saving the dog of uber-famous sister-of-the-bride, Riley Belle. Riley’s gratitude is palpable, and Jess is sure she has an in on the wedding shots, if she treads carefully. Unfortunately, she discovers William to be a sham of a paparazzo about this time, right when she started falling for him.
What William has going for him, however, is an invite to Riley’s sister’s wedding, and he’ll bring Jess if she’ll divulge her secrets to paparazzo-life. It’s kind of a no-brainer proposition.
STARS IN THER EYES picks up with Jess and William planning the bust into Riley Belle’s sister’s wedding, and Jess selling down-and-dirty shots of Riley canoodling with her director. Jess has a serious crisis of conscience that William solves with a bit of his detective work. The romance between William and Jess sparks and it gets mostly-down-and-pretty-dirty, too.
The complications are real, and portrayed realistically. William struggles to land a permanent job to support a work visa while Jess struggles with her feelings, and her disappointments–especially questioning if William is honest with her, or not. Does he really care for her, or is he playing her? If so, at what cost? Jess has suffered from bulimia in the past, and she’s afraid it will re-trigger if she gets attached to William only to find he’s using her…
Jess suffers a mini-breakdown over her relationship with William while having lunch with Riley, even confessing her whole sordid double-life as a paparazzo and the results? True Hollywood. The book is an HEA at the very, final end, but the getting there is fraught with tension. I really enjoyed both Jess and William, though I felt their connection was a bit rushed. Also, as a mother of a child with ED-NOS (eating disorder, not otherwise specified) I had issues with Jess’s bulimia. She has a seriously unhealthy relationship with food, even if she isn’t binge/purge at this time; I wouldn’t want any reader to mistake Jess for “cured,” or even managed.
The smexytimes are good. Because this relationship develops in a compressed timeframe, the “slower build” of their intimacy is kinda misleading. Still, it’s well-written with plenty of emotional grounding.
Interested? You can find STARS IN THEIR EYES on Goodreads, Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble. A STARSTRUCK KISS is also available, FREE, and it should be read first, in my opinion. Grab it off Amazon, B&N, iBooks or Kobo.
Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In Us, Pretending He’s Mine, Playing With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.
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