Her chance to write a whole new ending…
Hollywood screenwriter Samantha Dekker spent the last year picking up the pieces after her husband’s suicide. Along with grief, guilt, and tabloid hell, she’s had to watch helplessly as the film industry slammed its doors in her face. Now Sam has the rarest of Hollywood opportunities – a second chance…working with the one man she swore never to see again.
Hunktastic A-lister Gage Cutler knows that Sam blamed him for his part in her husband’s death. Still, Sam is the one woman he can never forget. All he wants is a second chance of his own – to prove he’s not the player she remembers. And Malibu is the perfect backdrop to make a girl swoon.
Except they’re not alone. Someone is watching Sam and Gage’s steamy off-screen romance with the most dangerous of intentions…
Source: ARC from Entangled Select Contemporary via NetGalley
On the whole I really enjoyed this tale of second chances and love amongst the intrusive parts of fame. There’s plenty of Hollywood glitz and glamour, but likewise lots of human moments that made this an engaging read. However, it’s not perfect and there were times when the pacing was a bit off.
Such as the beginning. Sam is angry and embarrassed about meeting up with Gage again – because several years ago they met up and talked and formed a connection that made Sam realise her marriage was dead and she needed to leave her husband. Well, I think that’s all that happened. The actual details of their first meeting are sketchy, so it would have been nice to have found out just what did happen there to make Gage fall head-over-heels for her. Anyway, Sam walked away then because she was still married. Then, just as she was about to leave her husband, Ethan, he’s in a terrible car accident that left him disfigured and finally led to his suicide. And Sam blamed all of it on Gage because the paparazzi were chasing him when they hit her husband – or at least so the press think. In truth Sam blames Gage for stopping her from leaving her husband.
So things are complicated between them and she feels guilty that she heaped blame upon Gage’s head that he didn’t deserve – but she’s never been able to apologise. Except now they’re working together and things are awkward. Not least because Gage wants to get closer and Sam has a rule against dating famous guys, let alone ones with so much bad press history with her.
Yet despite all these complications, the pair of them are jumping into bed with each other within the first few chapters. That just came out of nowhere. Yes, Sam is attracted to him, but she’s also seriously conflicted – and so she sleeps with him anyway. The reason why this was a problem for me is that because their relationship kicks off so early, Sam spends the rest of this (quite long) book going around and around with her feelings and issues, back tracking and repeating herself in a way that gets pretty tedious towards the end. If things had started a little slower between them it might not have become so repetitive and irritating.
Then again I might have ended up annoyed with her anyway because Gage is lovely, really lovely, and he doesn’t deserve Sam’s flip-flopping emotions. Yes, he’s sexy and successful, but he’s also sweet and caring and the way he lets Sam know she matters is wonderful. I also loved his interactions with his family (and Sam’s). He’s just a lovely guy. Yet every time he seemed to get somewhere with Sam and she seemed to have addressed a particular issue, within pages it would all be undone and she’d go back to hurting him now to save him pain later. Argh!
Not that Sam’s issues are minor, because she has excellent reasons for feeling the way she does, and I hate magic-fixes, so it was nice there weren’t any here. It was just the way everything was locked in a constant downward spiral of angst and lack of trust. Gage isn’t entirely innocent here, especially as he knew what he was signing up for and knew what would happen when he pushed, but when things were good between them everything was so sweet and lovely that I wanted more of that and less of the push-pull moments.
As for the other side of the plot – that was interesting. Sometimes very menacing and other times almost forgotten. I did really like how, despite everything seeming so obvious from early on, a series of misdirections, twists and interesting encounters left things a little more open and undecided right until the end.
So overall this is a good read, with interesting characters and a sweet romance laced with plenty of heat. If you like tales sprinkled with Hollywood glamour and touched with a spark of suspense, you’ll definitely find that here. You’ll also get some lovely family moments, plenty of emotional turmoil and potential for lots more. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for the next book from this author.
Malibu Betrayals is out July 28th!
Visit MK Meredith for more details.