Heart of Design
Love, California Style, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Date of Publication: July 7, 2014
Number of pages: 260
Cover Artist: 123FR/nyul
Sophie Hartland has recently turned 30, and is five years out from a confidence crushing divorce. She’s sworn off men in favor of making her interior design business a success when her best friend introduces her to LA Heat’s hot, new star, Ian O’Connor. He’s one of Hollywood’s beautiful people, with an Irish accent that makes Sophie’s toes curl. Ian hires her to renovate his home, and at their second meeting he initiates a scorching kiss that knocks her socks off. Even though she would love to drop down and go for it on the funky kitchen floor, Sophie sticks to her guns and enforces her “no dating clients” rule.
The tabloids portray flirtations Ian as Hollywood’s latest playboy who has women falling at his feet, and Sophie refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. But Ian isn’t the type to take no for an answer, and he finds Sophie a refreshing change from the actress wannabes trying hop aboard his new gravy train of success. Using his charm, he tries to persuade Sophie to break the rules.
Can Sophie ignore her traitorous libido and hold Ian off for the next five or six weeks until the renovations are finished? Or will she cave in to his pull on her heartstrings, and end up doing the knicky-knacky on the new velvet sofa? More importantly, can she protect her heart in this game of wills?
The peace was interrupted by my cell phone ring, and I answered automatically without looking at the caller ID. “Hello, Hartland Interior Designs.”
“Sophia, luv, is that you?” The sexy Irish accent played across the phone lines, sending shivers down my spine. My chair slammed back down onto four legs, and I promptly dropped the phone.
Crap! “Ian! Just a minute!” I fumbled, shoving the chair back, and scrambled to get the cell, which had skidded along the hardwood floor underneath my desk. Sirius, my black Lab, sensing a game, jumped up to get in on the action. Tail wagging and barking, he thrust under the desk next to me in search of the toy. “Ian, I’m coming! Minor technical difficulties. Don’t hang up!” I shoved Sirius back, taking a few excited licks along the way, and finally found the red mobile in the far corner behind the wastebasket. “Hello, are you still there?” I held it to my ear. Fortunately, it hadn’t landed upside down and hung up on him.
“Still here, luv.”
As I clambered out from underneath the desk, I came up too early and cracked my skull on the underside. “Oof!”
“Is everything okay? Maybe I should ring back later.”
“No, no. It’s fine.” When did my life turn into a Lucy skit? Rubbing my head, I gave up trying to play it cool and decided to level with him. “Sorry about that. The phone slipped out of my hand and slid into the deepest dark corner under my desk, and I’m such a klutz I whacked my head crawling out from underneath it.” I sucked in a breath and worked to get my act together. “Enough about me, what can I do for you, Mr. O’Connor?”
“Why so formal, Sophia? I prefer you call me Ian.”
I swore I heard laughter in his voice. Great, he probably thinks I’m a total dork. “Okay, Ian, then please call me Sophie. Only my mom calls me Sophia, and when she does, it usually means I’m in trouble.”
“Are you trouble, Sophie?”
The opening was the size of a Mack truck, and I drove on through. “I can be trouble. Are you looking for some?” I said in a sultry voice.
“Are you flirting with me?”
I sat up straighter. What was I thinking? This is a potential client, not a date! An actor for crying out loud.
Sophie is working hard at making a go of her interior design business. She knows that if she could just get the chance at one top tier name in Los Angeles, she could easily break into the upper echelon's circle. Until that time, she occasionally assists her friend Poppy with setting up for and even working at, Poppy's party planning business. It is at one such party she is introduced to Ian O'Conner, a hot new actor on a hit cop show. He was admiring a painting she had done, and so the introduction was made. It's not long before Ian is hiring Sophie to decorate his new house.
I know what you are thinking, "Bah, same old, same old". But it wasn't, trust me on this. Ian doesn't have that "Hollywood" vibe that is seen so often. He is a down to earth guy who meets a woman he is interested in and works to get to know her, it just happens that his day job is that of an actor. Sophie was cheated on in the past, and is leery of trusting men. However when she tries to tar Ian with this same brush, he calls her on it, and she listens and actually works to not do it again. Shocking, right! This book is full of similar type situations, like Sophie telling Ian she won't go out with him until she is finished with the job and then sticking to it. Or when Ian is concerned about her well being due to a certain situation (not going to spoiler), she doesn't just rush off and ignore his concern. They discuss and compromise. Have you ever read one of those books where you go, 'What the hell was she/he thinking?' Yeah, this isn't one of them. The characters make smart choices, because the drama is generated from actual events not manufactured from emotional outbursts. Plus, the dialogue and characters were spot on. I will read more of this author in the future. 4 stars.
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