Elizabeth Thornton hates her job playing one of TV’s most-hated villains on a medical drama, far from where she started out in the UK. Her mood doesn’t improve when a perky, younger blonde joins the show and immediately inconveniences Elizabeth with her clumsiness.
Summer Hayes has had a crush on Elizabeth for years and can’t believe she’s finally working with her idol. When Elizabeth saves Summer from tripping over her own feet and a photo of them gazing at each other ends up in the tabloids, she’s crushed because Elizabeth’s solution is to cut off all non-essential interaction between them.
Unfortunately for Elizabeth, the director of an indie film she wants to be a part of sees the photo too and insists on meeting her with her girlfriend, Summer. Can Elizabeth convince Summer to help her get the role? And can Summer protect her heart from the one woman it can’t seem to shake?
No ice queens here
If you’re anything like me, you expect to find a great ice queen whenever you pick up a Lee Winter book. But guess what? Not this time, and it totally works.
Now, some people might try to argue that Elizabeth is an ice queen, so hear me out. Sure, she gets called “the British Bitch” by colleagues and gossip sites, but she’s not acerbic or prickly like Catherine Ayers from The Red Files or Elena Bartell from The Brutal Truth. Instead, when we see Bess, the real woman behind the actress, she’s more reserved and introverted than anything else.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, however, that even though she’s not an ice queen, she’s still made warmer by the presence of Summer in her life. Summer is vibrance itself and she draws people to her with her kindness, thoughtfulness, and her belief in doing what’s right. She was an absolute joy to read, and while she doesn’t have the same kind of arc that Bess does, that’s fine because she’s essential to Bess’s growth and she’s perfect just the way she is. She’s also no pushover and I loved every time she showed that she shouldn’t be underestimated.
Clear off your calendar
Consider yourself warned: if you’re going to read Breaking Character (which you absolutely should), you’ll want to block off some time because once you start, you won’t want to put it down. This book is directly responsible for two nights of not enough sleep because it really is that good and I kept saying “just a few more minutes”.
Breaking Character is not only one of my very favourite books by Lee Winter (don’t make me choose between Elizabeth/Summer and Catherine/Lauren, because I refuse), but it’s one of my favourite books of 2018. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, you won’t want to miss this one because it’s just wonderful. I will definitely be reading it again and again, and I hope it comes to audio soon!
Excerpt from Breaking Character by Lee Winter
Elizabeth regarded her. “You smile a lot, don’t you?”
“I can’t help it. I know some people think it’s annoying.”
Summer’s expression fell.
“Usually. However, dare I say, it suits you. Besides, girl-next-door types who don’t smile don’t get jobs, do they?”
“I guess not. Although I don’t want to do those roles forever. I’d rather be diverse, like you.”
“Me.” Elizabeth studied her. “I’d have thought you’d been told by now to avoid me.” Her tone slid into playful. “Aren’t I supposed to be clubbing seals in my downtime or something? I’m sure I read that somewhere.”
Bursting out laughing, Summer said, “Can’t picture it. Hunt, maybe…on a bad day.”
Elizabeth gave her an inscrutable half-smile. “You laugh a lot, too. Careful. People will think you’re a pushover.” Her expression darkened. “Although the only thing worse than that is actually being pushed over. You don’t want that. Trust me.”
“Another reason to be more like you.”
“Isn’t that a risk? You don’t know which rumors about me are true. To quote Oscar Wilde, ‘It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things behind one’s back that are absolutely and entirely true’.” Elizabeth reached for the top button on her blouse and began to unbutton it.
Summer’s gaze swan-dived into the rapidly appearing soft, white skin.
Pausing at button four, as though suddenly aware she couldn’t complete her ritual with Summer there, Elizabeth gave her a pointed look.
“Oh, sorry! I’ll leave you to change.” Summer spun around, feeling the tips of her ears burning. As her hand reached the door, she glanced back. “You know, you talk a good game, but I don’t believe the rumors about you for a second. To quote Bertrand Russell, ‘No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues’.” She turned back to leave.
Behind her came a soft snort.
Smiling from ear to ear, Summer exited.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9783963241130
- Publisher: Ylva Publishing
- Lee Winter Online
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