Declan Murphy has just made his big career move, going from little-known European cinema to Hollywood blockbuster awards-bait in the blink of an eye. One actor’s highly public arrest for possession of narcotics is another actor’s lucky break, right? Declan’s eye is on the prize, and no one will keep him from proving to the producers that he’s a consummate industry professional.
No one, that is, except Fiona O’Brien. After a time in the spotlight that nearly destroyed her, Fiona wants nothing more than to fade into the background and do her job as part of the studio’s hair-and-makeup team. The last thing she needs is a hotshot actor with a panty-melting Irish accent and killer smile messing up her careful plans.
There’s nothing careful about the immediate attraction between Declan and Fiona, and soon that initial spark of lust is sizzling out of control. But when things get complicated behind the scenes, they’ll have to decide if their movie magic should stay on set…or if their love can survive away from the silver screen.
Recently, I had a bad run of books which were either DNFs which put me in a book reading funk. But I remembered the buzz Stripped had on twitter a few weeks back from some trusted friends. I have had previously read and enjoyed a couple of Edie Harris’ books in the past. I also really liked the sound of the premise so I decided to give it a go before I try my next review book.
I have to say I am so grateful that I did because this was a sexy, and funny contemporary with well drawn out characters and a very breezy read that left me sighing over the ending.
Fiona O’Brien was expecting Hollywood star, Christopher Lunsford, to grace her make-up trailer. Instead, Fiona got a jet-lagged and facially hair-challenged, Declan Murphy, on her make-up chair the morning of the first day of a Hollywood shoot. Declan is the replacement after Christopher was caught in the midst of a drug scandal, and sparks of attraction is ignited between a reluctant Fiona who is scarred emotionally and physically from events in her past. However, Declan is determined to win over Fiona who may have captured his heart.
Within the first few pages of the book, I was instantly hooked and charmed over the introductory scene, and I adored Declan and Fiona’s banter and flirty action. Edie Harris also added some fantastic touches of humour when Fiona privately thinks there is a lumberjack sitting in the chair which had me giggling over the imagery. Things get heated between them when they almost kissed, which I found to be very hot and tense. When this occurred, I knew this book was going to be pure fun.
This is a book which has Declan chasing Fiona who is reluctant to embark on an affair due to her own fears of letting herself being vulnerable, and because of her past. I loved every minute of their build-up because he was so charming and sweet and Declan was a wonderful beta hero. I loved that he had such a huge crush which made him confused and insecure, although he was very determined not to let her slip away. But I did laugh with his thought processes, like this one:
“Totally Mature And Absolutely Has Had Sex Before What Are You On About Declan. Then, miraculously, he had realized Teenage Declan had the right idea. He wanted to know why she didn’t ever engage with him, on a personal level. It couldn’t just have been the almost-kiss. It was only an almost kiss, after all. People almost-kissed all the time and still managed to be friends, he was sure of it, and friends was what he and Fiona ought to be, working with one another day in and day out. They had whole weeks ahead of them in just this sort of proximity, and if he had to spend it on the receiving end of sharp looks and sharper words…. The tone of voice that stung the boy with the crush— and revved up the man with the fantasies— revealed an until-now hidden streak of masochism he wished he didn’t know about. Even recognizing how idiotic it was, he liked her, the way a boy who knew nothing about a girl other than that she smelled nice and had pretty hair liked a girl. Why didn’t she like him back?”
The tension between them was so tangible and I really enjoyed seeing Fiona accepting her scars and letting go of the past. Although I wished more time was spent on Fiona processing her feelings. I also felt that their big issue, which was Fiona’s need of stability and Declan’s ambition for his career, was glossed over, and while they did work things over, I wished more time was spent on how they dealt with those issues.
But I was cheering inside when they finally got together, and Harris wrote some fun and very sexy love scenes filled with great dialogue and sexual tension. I was so engrossed into the story that I was caught by surprise on how fast I had read and finished the book–and that is a good sign. While I was sad I clicked on the last page, I was left very satisfied, and I am eagerly awaiting her next book in this series.
Edie Harris has a fabulous contemporary voice and her characters were very memorable and Stripped is a total gem of a romance!
I give Stripped a B+