Shay: You think I’m beautiful?
Shay: You’re not so bad yourself.
Jared: I know I get that a lot.
Since I’m always looking for something fresh and new, a different storyline from the usual contemporary romances I usually pick up, I thought one where two soap opera stars falling in love and finding their HEA might be fun. There was the added bonus that this was a debut author. I’ve had tremendous luck lately finding new authors. Love in the Afternoon turned out to be a fun, sweet easy read.
Kayla Maxwell and Sean Barrett are actors working on the daytime TV show A New Dawn, when their characters Shay and Jared are written new storylines as each others love interests they really start to work together for the first time. Sean Barrett is the long time cast member with the Hollywood background, whose father is a well-known actor. He has always grown up in the public eye and, despite his father’s influence, has settled into his role as Jared. He has sworn off actresses because they always seem to want to get in good with his connected father instead of having a real relationship with him. Kayla Maxwell is the newbie, her only real roles have been in slasher flicks and now on the soap opera A New Dawn. Kayla hasn’t been corrupted by Hollywood yet, she is still down to earth, unsure of her talent and isn’t afraid to befriend her fans when they come to see her. She has sworn off actors because the last one she dated turned out to be a cheater, who while be overly possessive of her, didn’t mind knocking boots with everyone else.
When word comes down from the higher ups that these two will be working together Jared isn’t in the least bit thrilled, he’s been around the block enough times to know that a lot of actresses play on their looks while having minimal talent. Kayla on the other hand is overjoyed to be working with the much loved and talented Sean. When they start to go through rehearsals and read scripts they both realize that they have smoking hot chemistry on and off the camera. Each one is still gun shy and hesitant about the other, but when Kayla starts receiving threatening notes and appears to have a stalker, Sean becomes her protector and they become closer than just co-workers or friends.
I really enjoyed myself while reading this one, the set up of soap opera stars falling in love on and off camera was one I haven’t seen before. It was fun watching them have scenes together while trying to keep their emotional distance in their real lives. You could tell they had both been burned and this causes them to take things very slowly. Very slowly. They get to know each other for quite awhile before they fall into bed with each other. This made me a bit impatient to get to the good stuff. Sean soon realizes that Kayla is pretty down to earth, and he’s intrigued by her openness and kindness towards her fans. She is the real deal, an actress with both talent and beauty. Of course, he acts like an idiot towards the end, mistaking a real chance for her to further her career for using him for connections. His animosity towards his father interferes with his relationship and nearly causes him to miss being there for Kayla when she needs him the most.
I’m intrigued by the set up for Ms. Packard’s second book, The Winning Season. Kayla’s sister Kelly is a PR person for a baseball team that Sean’s best friend Matt has just been traded to. It was clear when they met they don’t care for each other overly much and they both seem to be struggling with issues that they can’t seem to get over. As much as I enjoyed Love in the Afternoon, I’m even more looking forward to picking up her next book, which should be releasing in July. Final Grade: B
“Would you kiss me?”
Another heart-stopping grin curved his lips. “Sweetheart, that is one question where my answer will always be yes,” he said, then leaned forward to capture her mouth with his.