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Friday, February 25, 2011

Tinseltown by Stephanie Taylor

Tinseltown by Stephanie Taylor
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Lights, Camera…Sparks!

A-list actress Deb Atkins hasn’t allowed her glamorous lifestyle to go to her head. She owes this to her wonderful family, who keeps her grounded. So, for Deb, not just any man will do, especially if he’s part of the Hollywood elite. Most actors have one thing on their mind, and happily ever after isn’t it.

Until she meets Zach Sparks, her new co-star.

Zach Sparks is famous not just for his acting skills, but his quick wit and good looks. One glance at Deb, and he's smitten. After a drunken night at a Vegas premiere after-party, one thing leads to another. The result: marriage.

Deb is appalled by her actions. So much so, she and Zach can't get along on the set. Their director demands they spend Christmas holidays together to work out their differences or they're both fired. Driven by selfish motivations, they don't expect to fall in love over Christmas or for their marriage to turn into a real one. But can their tenuous relationship withstand a bigger test than either of them ever imagined?

Tinseltown kicks off with sparks all right.

Deb Atkins, actress, falls for ... what a surprise: her leading man. And, with all honesty, we have to wonder just how she managed to fall for Zach Sparks. He may have looks, but he's angry, resentful and obnoxious. He's also all too ready to blame her for all his problems. From Deb's first conciliatory remarks, we really just want to suggest a sharper pair of spiked heels and a boot up the ...

However, he's got it all: looks, charm, intelligence, and better - he's attracted to her. We certainly establish that. So, what could be better? Well... this reader would suggest a little more heartfelt romance right at the start, but the power of sexual attraction is definitely believable here and no one could complain that Tinseltown suffers from a dull moment.

Gradually, we sort out how it all started: with Deb's comment about her "nightmare" mistake, following their first big date and drunken decision. I have to admit she was pretty unfeeling with her comment - so it's hardly surprising that things go bad. In light of this, perhaps we must soften a bit about Zach... and certainly it becomes clear that they both "rushed it" and had their whole deal turn into what will apparently be just another "Hollywood Romance."

Or will it? There are moments that give us hope, then moments when we feel they are both too shallow for words. Their mistakes 'make them even' as if love were some sort of competition...and yet we cannot deny that a certain feeling continues to exist between them -- even if that feeling is what fuels the conflicts! At no moment does this story become predictable.

The cast of characters is limited, but important - film director Stephen lays down a challenge that neither of them may be able to rise to, and the dialogue throughout is strong and interesting. Semi-friend Brad provokes strong emotion as well.

This is a fun and fast paced read, and tension certainly builds as the story progresses. The odd light-hearted moments might have brought some contrast, but overall this is a solid read and Ms. Taylor manages to deliver a few surprises, too. Do add this one to your reading list.