Contemporary Romance, NA Romance, Clean Romance,
NA Fiction, NA Contemporary, Sweet Romance
After her ex writes a song about her that goes viral, publicist Skye Holland has to work with him or get fired, while trying not to fall for his boss...
LA-born Skye Holland comes from a family of artists, musicians, and actors. Unfortunately, she’s the black sheep without a creative bone in her body. Working as a publicist, her life doesn’t get better when her ex-boyfriend (who she thought was going to be a loser in a band forever) makes it big on America’s Got Talent and bad-mouths her for the world to see. As Skye is pushed into the tentative limelight of Hollywood notoriety, she finds herself in over her head.
Meanwhile, record exec Leo Perez has just signed his newest star: Skye’s ex, Ryder. When Leo and Skye meet at an office party, sparks fly. Both burned by past heartbreak, they agree to keep things casual. But will their connection survive tabloid gossip, the ghosts of relationships past, and family drama as they face the music?
“Wait, Leo…” She steps closer, kissing my cheek. The scent of vanilla and orchids tickles my nose. “I’m here for you. You know that?”
Real-life celebrities? Ehhhhh, it just depends (Although, I think most everyone knows about my love for Kpop 👀). Fictional celebrities? Oh. Yessssss. I'm a sucker for movies, TV shows, and BOOKS that feature the "celebrity trope." So, when I found out that Nicole's debut novel was going to be a Hollywood romance...I was READY FOR IT.
However, the fun twist about this book was that neither Skye or Leo were technically celebrities (well, kind of, it's COMPLICATED). I really liked seeing the "rich and famous" world through the eyes of characters who worked/lived in the background (and WANTED to stay in the background); it was such an interesting take that didn't disappoint! 🙌
H I G H L I G H T S
“But did she still threaten to use the flip-flop on you?” I say, smiling at the memory of my own childhood punishments, which were few.
Note: The chanclaaaaaa
“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone play the piano with so much technical skill and so little emotion,” Leo says.
His presence hovers behind me where I sit on the piano bench like a shadow, a ghost, barely real yet all too present. All too real.
Despite his features, which Tumblr calls “e-boy aesthetic” mixed with “pure cinnamon roll,” the guy can throw a punch.
Note: Such a good aesthetic lollll
“I’m talking about going on three dates with a new guy. Leo Perez. I have to say, Skye, he didn’t strike me as your type.”
“What do you mean?” I say warily, taking a bite of my blueberry pancakes drenched in syrup. “I don’t have a type.”
If I do, it’s apparently guys who are intent on breaking my heart.
My eyes follow the movement of her fingers as my mind wanders back to Ryder’s party. The same question plagues me: should I have kissed her? Skye gazes straight ahead, brown eyes fixed on the metal doors, oblivious to my internal conflict. Which is probably a good thing considering we’re in an office elevator that anyone could get on, and we left things between us on a completely friendly basis. Well, somewhat friendly.
I loved him. Something about him, at least. The idea of him. The vague, hazy outline of him, with all the components in all the right places: guitar, leather jacket, slicked-back hair. Bad-boy attitude. Heart of gold. Love for his sister and mom. A passion for music that consumed his whole soul and being and left no room for anything or anyone else.
I loved the bits and pieces of him that I saw, but I didn’t love the whole. Yet I gave everything—sacrificed myself on his altar—because I thought that if I was close to him, maybe his talent would rub off. Maybe I could be something, someone other than who I was. Maybe he had seen me, seen something in me that I had never been able to find by myself.
I try to let his words sink in. He pulls me against his body, one hand stroking my hair. Clutching the soft linen of his shirt, I rest my cheek against his chest and do my best not to cry. Not because I’m wistful, remembering the past, but because I think I’m falling in love with him, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
“I did accept your apology, you know,” I say. “You don’t have to look so glum.”
He shrugs. “I don’t tell a lot of people about my family.”
Translation: you’re special, Skye Holland. Is that what I want to be? Someone who’s important to him? Someone whom he trusts with all these secrets? It feels like a burden, like an honour.
Skye nods, more hair slipping free from her messy braid and tangling in her earring. She tugs gingerly at it, wincing. “Can you…”
“Of course.” I pull lightly at the strand, removing it from the clasp of her feather earring, and tuck it back in place. My fingers skim the underside of her jaw, feeling her pulse flutter, before pulling away, remembering that there are other people in the elevator. I’m almost tempted to say, we have to stop meeting like this, but the lie about her necklace I told Ryder was just that. A lie. Just like the promise of us being something more than casual.
“I know I messed up,” I say. “I said I wouldn’t let the whole ex thing interfere with my job, and I didn’t do a good job of that. But, Leo, if this…”
He sighs, running a hand over his hair. “I said I wasn’t firing you, Skye. But I don’t want to see you here until I’ve figured out what to do with you.”
What to do with me. As though I’m a poorly trained puppy who just ruined his white rug. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me,” he says. Calm. Unruffled. Like nothing in the world could shake him, and certainly not me.
“No, you heard us,” I say, my hoarse voice rising. “You heard how he attacked me and accused me, and you’re sending me away while he’s going to the green room. Do you know what you are? You’re jealous. You can’t stand that I ever dated him, and you’re punishing me for it.”
“No, I’m not,” he says, his green eyes like chips of jade. Flinty. Stronger than steel. Impossible to break. “Because unlike the two of you, I don’t bring my personal life into my professional one.”
“I know.” I swallow something in my chest that feels like a falsehood. “You don’t need to say it.”
“I do.” Leo’s tone is firm, as the sound of his voice vibrates against my cheek. “I will. After… after all of this is over.”
“Oh, well, you know, I just…” To my surprise, the usual playboy charmer is silent. Naoya rubs the back of his neck, where a temporary tattoo of a dancing bear rests. Part of his image is that he only has temporary tattoos, always causing fans to speculate about where and when he’ll put his next one. It’s good publicity, I guess, but to me, it just seems like a hassle to constantly put on and remove them. “I’ve heard good things about this place. I guess my friends weren’t wrong.”
HE IS SO CUTE. I loveeeeee the temporary tattoossss.
“I already have an album name,” he says. “I don’t even know why you’re bringing this up.”
I would be shocked if steam wasn’t pouring out of my ears by now. We broke up six months ago yet I feel like I never stopped dating and arguing with him. “Okay, then what is it?”
“For The Record,” he says, standing still. “Since somebody has to get their facts straight around here.”
And this is one of the reasons I want Ryder to have his own book.
Poppy just smiles, checking her phone for a text. I frown. I know that smile: secretive, giddy, and utterly dreamy. “Are you texting a guy?”
She quickly drops her phone facedown onto the vanity table. Her answer is too quick for me to believe. “No.”
BUT WAS IT A GUY?!
“Really?” My mother’s delight and desire for a grandchild—shine in her bright eyes and beaming grin. Though, I have no idea why, since she’s barely fifty and still has one daughter living at home. “Who is she?”
Behind her eager question is anxiety. I can practically hear her saying: Not that gringa.
“It’s fine. You’re more important. Family is the most important.”
I. Loved. This.
“But you have to admit that sometimes, Skye, you don’t need to be good at something to enjoy it.”
This got to me tooooo...
As far as content goes: Some language. Suggestive material/innuendos. Drinking/getting drunk (a physical fight happens, not between main characters, but it's brief and not overly descriptive). There was no on-page sex, but it was talked about/implied between different characters. Sexual harassment was addressed (regarding side characters). Leo had past/present struggles with his biological father. Skye had past/present struggles with her family, in general (mostly her mom though). Grief, along with sadness, and anger are some of the major feelings that are experienced and talked about. None of this was triggering for me, but it possibly could be for other readers. I would describe the book as a mild "PG-13 romance movie."
Okay, let's roll out some IMPORTANT points!
1: I’m obsessed with Naoya...is that wrong? (Seriously, I want him to have his own book.)
2: Gahhhhh I love the “celebrity life” trope, even if Skye isn’t a “technical” celebrity.
3: I keep having mixed feeling about Ryder. (I alsoooo want him to have his own book lolll.)
4: Leo and his family are wholesomeee. (As someone with Cuban background, I really appreciated how the representation was more natural...and didn't feel forced.)
5: Their flirting is adorable.
6: Those kissesssss.
7: The parking garage.
Honestly? This book had a little bit of everything. There was humor, drama, sadness, music, fashion, romance (OBVIOUSLY), foodddddd (I like food, okay?), etc. Oh, and plot twists! There were some definite plot twists. (No spoilers, here...but OH MY GOSH). And can I just say that I loved how similar Skye and Leo were, even though they were so different at the same time? Despite everything, they understood each other SO well, and it was beautifullllll! I know I mentioned loving Leo's family, but I reallyyyyy adored the sibling dynamic between him and Raina! It was so flipping precious. 😭🥺
Also, I don't know if Nicole is planning on turning this into a series (are you, Nicole?? 👀) but I would be ABSOLUTELY fine with that because Poppy also needs her own book...and Raina too!
If you're a fictional celebrity fanatic like me, you need to add this book to your TBR. 👏
PS: Thank you for the acknowledgements shoutout, Nicole! 💕 (Want to know what she said? Now you have ANOTHER reason to read the book. 😏)
About the Author:
Nicole Lam is an English major by day and an author by night (or you know, whenever she’s finished studying and makes time to write). Her interests include playing the piano, dressing up with nowhere to go, and of course, reading a good book. She is a Christian who lives in Canada. You can find her on Instagram @nicole_lam_author and on Wattpad @ntlpurpolia or on her website, www.nicolelamauthor.com