This story for once was different in the fact that the woman, Vicky Stone, didn’t want to be saved or taken care of by a knight in shining armor. It rested on her wanting to do so alone yet almost to solo. And at a risk to her safety. Vicky was a totally different than most LA types though. She could never seem to put it into words but she knew what was guiding her sails after her horrible marriage rustling in a divorce to Brandon her ex.
You see she was due to get married to him five years ago when she met her brothers best friend Dante (Inferno) Palladino an ex pro wrestler turned actor. Evan her brother is an actor and that is how they met. When she met him a few months before her wedding when she had gone to visit her brother. Dante had been working with him. They talked for a lot she had been attracted to him and his easy way about him. Then she left, not thinking anything of it.
For a couple of weeks she kept running into him sometimes alone and sometimes with Brandon. That didn’t seem off she just figured she just noticed him more since she would not before. Especially now knowing he was Evan’s. Then Evan had told her to keep her distance that Dante is bad news and because you know what they say about wrestlers. She didn’t but she wasn’t single so she wouldn’t have to worry, she was getting married. Although she did admit to herself that it was nice to receive the adding attention and have stimulating conversation.
Now though she’s divorced from Brandon a year but it had been two years since she had sex. Her friend Jade and she had been besties for a long time and pushed each other to make these milestones so we continue to move on in their lives. Vicky’s most extreme on for her was to have a one night stand to get back in with both feet into the dating world. She had three weeks or she would lose. Vicky really didn’t want to date until she got her live in order and worked in a job where she could support herself. That way if anything were to ever happen in the next relationship she would have her career to fall back on and not be left with nothing like with Brandon.
She was now working with Elegant Entertainment a party planning service. She was starting from the bottom with hopes of moving up one she was off probation. She wanted no handouts from her mom or brother. She especially didn’t want special treatment because her brother is a big ticket actor. Now being at the party she is on a kick thanks to her BFF Jade, to get laid. She didn’t even care if it was a client. So, when Reed Russell comes on to her and asks her up to his room after the party she said, “Okay.” He gave her directions and she waited for all the employees and the owner from Elegant to leave the mansion before she goes back into the mansion after driving her card to a dark spot in the parking area. One minor flaw in the plan. Reed’s room got changed and she didn’t know it. When she got into his room it was dark and figured he had fallen asleep but decided to move forward. You know it was now or never. She stripped part way down just in case it was only going to be a quickie. She gets in bed and decides to wake him up with a make massage on his woody she noticed. She starts slowly handling him but then realized she ended up in a bed with a man with a piercing on his member.
She stopped for a minute because then she remembered that at the party earlier she ran smack dab into Dante her one that got away. He was sparing with her like they always did in that fun way but this time it hurt and scared her as in risking her heart was too scary to risk. Anyway, he had mentioned that he had a member piercing. When all of a sudden Reed wakes up with a start saying her name. Then he says I thought you said you weren’t interested she said he was wrong.
The thought he had of having her and being in her made him roll her over in the bed holding her in his arms above her when he says, “I told you I only showed the piercing to women I really liked.” She paused her movements and then jerked back pushing him away. She did it so fast that she rolled off the bed hits the floor with a thud. Dante turned on the light next to the bed.
See how these two handle this new discover in their relationship. Find out how they maneuver a infatuation long held for one another, a want to be with each other but the fear that it brings, and for Vicky finding how to balance taking care of herself with allowing someone else to care for her too.
I totally enjoyed this story. It take you into the mind of a woman who was take advantage of by her ex and was scared by him emotionally. Coming to terms with the fact that she had let the best man she had ever met get away on here say only to find him again and allowing doubt to guide her. See how this man who never stopped loving this woman want to change his life basically so his could be worthy of her one day even if it never happened but more importantly to do for a man who had taken on the father figure in his life and helped molded him into a man. I give this 5 stars.
Rad-Reader: This was unique storyline how did you come up with it?
Julie: I was a wrestling statistician (aka “Mat Maid”) in high school, so wrestlers hold a special place in my heart. That coupled with an interesting encounter during my online dating insanity led me to realize that Vicky (who was just a side character in the first Gone Hollywood book) needed a wrestler hero. And since it’s the Gone Hollywood series, he needed to be an actor, hence Dante. As far as the storyline and healing post-divorce, a lot of that is my personal therapy. My divorce was final about 2 years ago, and rediscovering myself as a person and learning to make it on my own when I never had to before, has been a challenge and a blessing. I wanted to show both sides of that in Vicky’s story.
Rad-Readers: I understand her and Jade had a challenge for one another but can you refresh it for our readers?
Julie: Jade is Vicky’s BFF and a big-deal Hollywood photographer, and she decided she’d heard more than enough about Vicky’s post-divorce celibacy, so Jade agreed to hook up with one of her regular models (this part didn’t actually make it into the book, I don’t believe). In exchange, Vicky had to get herself laid. It was Jade’s unique way of forcing her friend to put herself back out there, even if she didn’t think she was ready.
Rad-Reader: If she was so unsure about Dante now after 5 years why didn’t she call her brother and ask if he had changed? I mean her brother and sister-in-law were still friends with him.
Julie: Vicky had this whole “I’m going to make it on my own and I don’t need anyone’s help or advice” thing going on. She needed to prove to herself that she could make decent decisions (because of a HEAPING dose of self-doubt brought on by her failed marriage) without anyone else’s help. So she avoided calling her brother, even though that would have been the easy thing to do—actually she did it largely BECAUSE it would have been the easy thing to do. She needed to learn to trust her instincts again, and Dante was her path to that.
Rad-Reader: Why didn’t she truly thought Dante was blackmailing her? Or was it a thrill at the same time?
Julie: For Vicky it wasn’t so much thrill as it was desperation. She knew if she lost her job because of fraternizing, she’d be blacklisted and have a hell of a time finding another position, much less moving up. And in her heart, she DID initially believe he would turn her in because her experiences with her ex colored all of her thinking at that point. Trusting a guy—especially one she’d been warned away from previously—was a big hurdle for her to overcome.
Rad-Reader: If Vicky had fallen so hard back then for Dante why did she not follow her inner voice of doubt and still marry her ex?
Julie: Vicky is a strong believer in following through. She was engaged to be married to a man she truly did love at the time, but she was naïve enough to believe it was the kind of love to last through anything. So when her brother threw Dante under the bus, it was as if he’d given her a way out of her feelings. She wrote Dante off as her equivalent of a wild bachelorette party—he was the last random guy who got to really make her feel good and sexy before she settled down with her husband for the rest of her life. So, initially, it was easy to walk away, but in this case, he was a ghost that came back to haunt her big time.
Rad-Reader: Why was she so set on doing everything herself? No handouts?
Julie: Her ex. That’s the long and short of it. He emotionally beat her down until she felt like nothing. And then he added to that by implying her “superhero” brother could save her. He was a gas lighting pro, and it really messed her up. She’d taken time to pull herself back together, but when the rest of the family left LA, she had to face a choice of how she wanted to proceed, and she was at the point where she wanted to prove to herself (and her ex) that she was nobody’s damsel-in-distress.
Rad-Reader: OMG! The bedroom scene where she has no idea it's Dante. Was so funny. How did you come up with that?
Julie: A long time ago, I was talking to a friend who was writing a wrong-bed book, and we were discussing ways to make that scenario work without it seeming too “out there.” One of our ideas was a house party (like the one in this book). The hard thing with wrong bed scenes though is that they have to stop before they go too far in order not to be borderline rapey. Hence, her moment of “discovery.” Also, I really like funny sex scenes. Sex can be really serious, but for most people I know, it’s sometimes also really funny, so I like to put some of that in when I can.
Rad-Reader: The scene with them and Russell when she got mad at Dante was intense. I felt bad for Dante. Why did she react so fierce and mean?
Julie: Because the one thing she’d asked from Dante was not to play hero with her. When he did that, swooped in and made an awkward moment into something loud and obvious, it wasn’t only embarrassing to her. It also showed her that she couldn’t trust Dante to let her take care of herself. He went back on the one thing he agreed not to do. It was a moment of broken trust, which harkened back to her marriage as well.
Rad-Reader: It was nice to see a woman who was wanting to be independent and make her own way. But a lot of the time she seemed to be standing in her own way. I loved that Jade sits her down to give her the 411. How did you come up with the Valet Parking scene where Vicky finds a new kind of backbone? And Jade too?
Julie: This is a two part question. There’s a line from JK Rowling that echoes in my head sometimes: “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” To me, that’s kind of where Vicky was in that moment. It was the big “screw you” to the world, where she was starting from scratch, but she was okay with it.
Jade, on the other hand… Jade is actually my favorite of all the characters I’ve ever written. She doesn’t believe in filters, other than sometimes for her photos. I see her as the kind of friend and person I aspire to be. What she did was classic Jade, not some revelation from her lunch with Vicky. For me, that’s what makes her awesome.
Rad-Reader: If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play:
Evan: Chris Hemsworth
Julie: Vicky and Evan were easy, the other two required some explanation…
Dante: (This is tough, because in my head, he was the combination of a few guys, but I’ll go with the obvious choice among them) Dwayne Johnson
Jade: EEP! My character model for Jade really only exists in my head, but the closest I’ve found is model Laura Wells (but she’d need to be shorter…)
Rad-Reader: Where can our readers find you? Websites, etc…
Julie: Julie: Website: http://julieparticka.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Particka/188238667871397
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/seleste.delaney
Street Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/518436854888530/
Tumblr (though I don’t use it consistently): http://selestedelaney.tumblr.com
Pinterest (see Tumblr): https://www.pinterest.com/selestedelaney/
Rad-Reader: What are your newest projects that you can tell us about?
Julie: Right now I’m working on a new adult romance for a box set I’m doing with some amazing authors (including Dakota Cassidy and Avery Flynn, among others). The set revolves around a Texas oil family. It should be a lot of fun.
Then, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be working on Jade’s book. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Rad-Reader: I know you have an alter ego you write under what does she write and why 2 yous? Hahaha!
Julie: When there were first two mes, Julie wrote YA and Seleste wrote adult. Then (for reasons I don’t want to get into) my YA series poofed. When I started writing contemporary, it was suggested I might want to use a different name. So I pulled Julie back out of the proverbial closet, dusted her off and put her to work again.
The way I explain it now is Julie writes the contemporary stuff; Seleste writes the weird stuff.
Rad-Reader: Where can our readers purchase your books?
Julie: My books are available pretty much anywhere ebooks are sold. The easiest way to find them is through the Entangled Publishing website.
However, if people prefer print, you can order those from many retailers as well. (Many of my books as Seleste are also available through Entangled, but some are with other publishers, so to make that easier, here’s that website: http://selestedelaney.com)
Rad-Reader: What can you not leave home without?
Julie: My keys. I’ve learned not to even mow the lawn without a house key because I’ve locked myself out more than once…and the cat has figured out how to lock the slider. (Don’t ask…)
Rad-Reader: What 3 words would the young you describe the older you with?
Julie: Sassy (which would make her happy)
Stressed (which probably wouldn’t surprise her because I was always too willing to take on the weight of the world)
Happy (which I think might shock her a little)
Rad-Reader: What 3 words best describes the real you?
Julie: (After answering the previous question, I had to cheat a little on this one…so I asked my best friend.)
So, my bestie said: “Beautiful, smart, and loving.” (She’s way nicer to me than I am.)
Julie Particka was told to get serious about her future in Junior High. Several years after getting a bachelor's degree in chemistry, she realized being serious was over-rated and went back to her first love--writing. Now rather than spending her days in the drudgery of the lab or teaching science to high school students, she disappears into worlds of her own creation where monsters sometimes roam, but true love still conquers all. She can most often be located in the Detroit area with her favorite minions (the ones who know her as Mom) where she is currently hatching a plot for world domination. It involves cookies for everyone, so she's pretty sure there's no way it can fail...except the minions keep eating the cookies.
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