Emerson Sterling has been in showbiz since childhood. Her latest role in the most anticipated movie of the year is causing a lot of buzz and is on track to transform her image from volatile bad girl to serious actor. She just needs to contain the damage that’s being thrown her way by former co-star and America’s sweetheart, Rachel Blanche, who’s slowly dripping out information about their time on set (and in the trailer, and… well… you get it).
Hayley Carpenter’s dreams of being a screenwriter are mostly on the backburner, after taking up celebrity gossip reporting to pay the bills. It might be way down her list of favourite subject matter, but a job’s a job, so she keeps her head down and gets the necessary soundbites and stories so she can keep living in LA.
Rachel’s first bombshell about Emerson hits the same day Hayley is filling in at a red carpet event. When she sees the two stars clashing backstage, Hayley lets her morals come ahead of the opportunity to make the most of their scandal, drawing the ire of one of the most reviled columnists in the business.
Hayley’s rewarded well for following her gut when Emerson reaches out with an offer that’s impossible to refuse: full, exclusive access to tell Emerson’s story to the world. Now if Hayley could only do something about the crush that grows every time she’s around Emerson and avoid falling too hard… even as Emerson seems to be falling right back.
Hayley and Emerson are so easy to like, making it a total joy to watch them fall in love. They have different challenges as they navigate their attraction alongside the garbage thrown their way by Rachel Blanche and the paparazzi, and yet it all works and each of them are better because of the presence of the other in her life.
The Writing Style
I really dig the way Fiona Riley writes contemporary romances because they’re sexy and flirty with a whole lot of feelings, and Media Darling is no exception. Celebrity romances are also my jam, so I was sold on the premise even before I picked up the book and was totally hooked all the way through.
Great characters in a lovely romance—what’s not to love? If I were to pick out my favourite element, though, it would be all the one-on-one scenes between Emerson and Hayley. I adored their chemistry as they get to know each other and how vulnerable they were able to get as they grew closer.
This is really difficult to talk about without spoilers, so I’ll just say that there’s a part of Emerson’s story and arc that I wish we’d seen addressed more directly. It’s an important part of her, so it would have been interesting to see that explored in more depth.
If you’re a fan of Fiona Riley’s books, you’ll be sure to love this one (and if you’ve never read anything by her before, it would be a great place to start). Media Darling is a totally enjoyable celebrity romance that’s well worth checking out.
Excerpt from Media Darling by Fiona Riley
Emerson emerged from behind the screen with a small smile on her face. Her tight black tank top was rolled up, exposing her firm abdomen, while a woman with her hair in a messy gray bun struggled to keep a tape measure loosely around her hips.
“Sorry for the delay. It turns out I have a dress fitting that is happening in my room at the moment.” Emerson winced when a pin scratched across her skin as the seamstress adjusted her glasses and stumbled, jerking Emerson back by the tape measure.
Hayley laughed and then clamped her hand over her mouth when she noticed Tremont glaring at her. “Uh, it’s okay.”
Emerson cocked her head to the side and replied seriously. “No, it’s not. But unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence. You should know that up front.”
“Up front of what?” Hayley adjusted the strap of her bag and made every attempt to maintain eye contact with Emerson while her stage of undress continued to change—the tank top appeared to be up higher now.
Emerson raised her arms at the gentle nudging of the seamstress, clasping her hands behind her head and leaning back slightly. Hayley didn’t miss how the loose pants along her hips slid down with the motion.
“I need you to write an article. There will be frustrating delays. I just wanted to warn you,” Emerson replied. Her tone was sincere, her voice calm.
Oh, right. She had asked a question. “An article about what?”
The seamstress whispered something to Emerson. She nodded and pulled her tank top off completely while slowly stepping out of the pants that barely encased her hips. She returned her hands to their clasped position behind her head, standing only in matching black lace underwear as she playfully rolled her eyes at Hayley. “About me. The naked truth, so to speak.”
Hayley knew she was blushing. Astronauts in space could see she was blushing. She might spontaneously combust. It was that serious. Emerson Sterling was just about naked in front of her, standing in an oddly suggestive position, asking her to write about her naked truth. Naked. Also, truth. Right, truth. She was there for the truth. You can do this. Get it together, Hayley.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781635552782
- Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
- Fiona Riley Online http://www.fionarileyfiction.com/
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