Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review & Blast: Playing House by Laura Chapman


Title: Playing House
Author: Laura Chapman
Genre/Age: Contemporary Romance/Adult
Series: None
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook via Tasty Tours
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisShe's a work in progress . . .

Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true. 

He's a fixer upper . . .

Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her. 

With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about, are either of them willing to risk it all for love?


Keeping a close distance, she followed Waverly up the cracked path to the house. Bailey took quick mental notes of her surroundings. The exterior needed a lot of work. The sagging roof missing gutters made her think they’d find the inside in similar disarray. They stepped through the front door, nearly tripping over Wilder Aldrich, who was measuring the entryway.
“Hey!” He sprang to his feet and out of their way. “What did I tell you about waiting until I gave you the all clear?”
“You were taking for-frickin’-ever, and some of us were freezing our tits off.” She pursed her lips and took on a warrior stance, seemingly daring him to say something else.
Conceding victory to her, Wilder turned and flashed an apologetic grin at Bailey. “Hey.” He offered a hand. Warmth permeated through the thin material of her glove. “Welcome to Casa de Waverly.”
Giving him a smug grin, Waverly sipped her coffee and faced Bailey. “Do you have a smart phone?”
Bailey stared blankly for a second, still dazzled by seeing Wilder up close. But she quickly snapped to attention and dug her phone out of her coat pocket.
“Good,” Waverly said after inspecting it. “While you’re on the job, I’d like you to snap some photos for our social media accounts. I’ll want to vet everything before we post it, but we need to start building the buzz for the next season while we’re filming. In exchange, we’ll cover your phone payments to take care of your data usage. Understood?”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Now . . .” She pulled out her own phone. It was the latest model that had come out on the market a month ago. With all of its reported bells and whistles, it put Bailey’s poor phone to shame. “I’m going to make a quick call. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can get started on,” she gestured around her, “this mess.”
She spun on her heel and waltzed out of the room, cooing into the phone.
Wilder cleared his throat, and Bailey turned to give him her full attention. She estimated he was only a couple of years older than herself—maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked younger in real life than he did on TV. He was leaner and a little shorter—though she still had to crane her neck a little to meet his gaze.
He was also more handsome. Not the GQ model, your tongue-sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth kind of sexy. But he was hot in the same way the guy you sat next to in Chemistry was. It was enough to distract you from formulas and Bunsen burners every so often, but not enough that you’d ever set the lab on fire or forget to finish your final exam.
So far, he seemed much more serious. Where was the guy who scared Waverly with a stuffed dummy in a closet in the last episode she’d watched before calling an end to the marathon?
He was, she realized, studying her every bit as closely, with those hazel eyes speckled with green. Noting that, she didn’t feel quite as rude taking mental notes on the man in front of him.
At least she looked good. She’d laid out three outfits that morning in the hotel room. The first was a long, silky turquoise tunic that she’d paired with a pair of black leggings and knee-high boots. It was similar to the clothes Waverly favored on screen—only hers weren’t name-brand knockoffs. Then she had the casual jeans, a gray T-shirt that she could dress-up with a navy blue blazer. And there was option three: dark-wash, fit jeans, a chambray shirt, and a scarf. It was an ensemble that fell somewhere in the middle. It was the one that looked the most like her when she inspected herself in the mirror.
It was the one that felt most like her now in the middle of the foyer.
She wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see a confident young woman ready to tackle major projects adeptly? Or did he see someone who was desperate to create, no matter what happened? Both were correct, but which one shone through right now?
Like a light switch, that triggered something in her. She offered her hand again. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Bailey Meredith.”

Laura Chapman is the author of First & GoalGoing for TwoThree & Out, and The Marrying Type. A native Nebraskan, she loves football, Netflix marathons, and her cats, Jane and Bingley. Connect with her online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her website.
Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS
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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

Is that a hammer in your tool belt or are you just happy to see me?

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You'll have to forgive me for the dumb jokes. I'm running on little sleep because I stayed up late to finish this book!

Bailey is stuck in a job that is going nowhere and isn't putting her design aspirations to good use. Looking for something that will give her a chance to show her talent, she applies for a job with a mysterious employer. After a few rounds of phone calls, she's been asked to come in for a live interview. Little does she know, but she's being considered for a spot on a reality television home design show.

Wilder is also stuck between a rock and a drywall. Get it? *snicker* I already warned you that I'm a sarcastic zombie here. He's the co-star of a tv show but he's also carrying around a big... secret. (You thought I was going to make a joke there, didn't you?) Well, there is definitely nothing funny about being a part of a fake celebrity couple which means every day of Wilder's life is essentially a lie, put on for the cameras.

Continuing this sham of a marriage has worked so far. However, once Bailey enters the picture, sparks fly between her and the handyman Wilder. And they aren't the only ones to notice. But giving in to the temptation means keeping yet another secret and eventually even the best kept secrets come to light. Who will be left standing when the walls come tumbling down? *chuckle* I'm really liking these home improvement jokes...

This book had a couple of new themes for me. One, I have read a few books that featured a reality show, but none with a home design theme. As someone who actually used to watch these flip-this-house sort of shows, I really liked reading about the tv show portion. 

Two, I can honestly say that I don't think I've read a story with a couple who were so effectively faking a relationship until now. I mean, Wilder and Waverly have a daughter together and it actually took me a few chapters to realize that they were not really together. Kudos to the author for making me pay attention to the clues. I had my reservations at first, but I was happy to see that there wasn't any cheating in this book.

As for our couple, they were a great pair. Bailey was a hard worker and a take-action gal. Wilder was no slouch, either, and the two of them had a natural chemistry together. Their road to happiness was littered with troubles, though. Surgeries, conceptions, contracts, and even flames stood in their way, at times. The romance had some spice and the secondary characters added humor to the mix.

In closing... 
In all, this book was a nice read with a few twists, a couple of surprises, and a pair of bruised hearts who need each other's strength to heal. Four suns!