For Pippa Turner there’s only one place to go when her life self-destructs on national TV—home to Ghost Falls, and her heavily perfumed, overly dramatic, but supremely loving grandmother, Philomene. If anyone will understand how Pippa’s hit makeover show was sabotaged by her vengeful ex, it’s Phi. But she’s not the only one who’s happy to see her—and Pippa can’t help but wonder if Matt Evans, her gorgeous high-school crush turned Phi’s contractor, is game for a steamy close-up…
Matt owes his whole career to Phi and her constant demands to embellish the gothically ridiculous house he built for her. Getting to see red-headed, red-hot Pippa is a bonus, especially now that she’s no longer the troublesome teenager he remembers. He’s willing to stay behind the scenes while she gives her own life a much-needed makeover, but not forever. As far as he’s concerned, their connection is too electric to ignore. And the chance to build something lasting between them—before she can high-tail it back to Hollywood—is going to the top of his to-do list.
“No.” Not anymore she wasn’t. Pippa snatched her boarding pass from the check-in attendant and tugged her baseball cap lower over her eyes. Couldn’t Kim Kardashian help a girl out and release another sex tape or something? Anything to get Pippa away from the social media lynch mob. She kept her head down until she found her gate, and chose the seat farthest away from the other passengers waiting to board the flight to Salt Lake City. Latest copy of Vogue blocking her face, she flipped through the glossy pages.
Peeping over the top of her magazine she slammed straight into the narrowed gaze of a woman three rows over. Shit! Pippa dropped the woman’s gaze and went back to Vivienne Westwood bucking the trend.
Across the airport lounge the woman’s glare beamed into the top of her head like those laser tracking things you saw in spy movies. Pippa buckled under the burn and slouched lower into her seat.
Look at that, Fendi was doing fabulous separates this season. And really, Ralph Lauren, that’s your idea of a plus-size model? Stuff like this made her job so much harder.
Her former job.
Losing her show still clawed at her. Losing? Like she’d left the damn thing at Starbucks as she picked up her morning latte. More like her jackass ex with zero conscience had knocked it out of her hand. Framed, stitched up, wrongfully accused—judged, found guilty, and sentenced to a plethora of public loathing wiping out all the years spent building her career. Burning sense of injustice aside, she was stuck in this thing until it went away.
Angry Woman lurked in her peripheral vision. As sweat slid down her sides, Pippa tucked her elbows in tight and risked another glance.
Under an iron-gray row of rigidly permed bangs, the woman’s mouth puckered up.
Back to Vogue. The knot in her stomach twisted tighter, and she checked her cap. What the hell? A baseball cap and shades always worked for other celebrities. Why not her?
Angry Woman squared her shoulders and huffed.
This could go one of two ways. Either Angry Woman would come over and give her a piece of her mind on behalf of women everywhere, or she’d confine her anger to vicious staring and muttering. Maybe some head shaking. Please don’t let her be a crusader for women. Please, please, please. After two weeks of glares, stares and condemnation, Pippa had gotten the message:
Pippa St. Amor, the woman America loves to hate.
Right now, all she wanted was to sneak home and stay there until someone else topped her scandal. God, didn’t Vogue have anything fresh? She’d make a list. Lists were good. Soothing. Item one, run away from Angry Woman and hide in the bathroom. Item two, get your career back. She moved item two up to first place, where it had been since she left home at eighteen, and gauged the distance between her and the bathroom door. She’d never make it.
Angry Woman lifted her phone and snapped a shot of Pippa.
Damn, she’d forgotten that option; this one by far the worst. God, she hated Twitter. And Facebook. And Instagram, and Snapchat, and whatever-the-hell new social torment site some asshat was thinking up right this minute. The ongoing public derision chipped off bits of her until she felt like an open nerve ending.
A friend huddled next to Angry Woman, long hair that was totally the wrong shade of brown and aged her by ten years at least. If Pippa had her on the show, Long Hair would be wearing a cute, hip cut, a fresh new makeup look, and mile-wide smile with her new sense of self.
The reveals never got old. There was something about a woman finally seeing her own beauty that made all the other crap that went with a television career worth it. Ray had ripped that away from her too.
Pippa was getting it with double barrels now. Lips tight, matching twin spots of outraged color staining their cheeks as they whispered over Angry Woman’s phone. They both wore mom jeans. Up until two weeks ago it had been her mission to deliver moms everywhere from jeans like that. Along with those nasty, out of shape T-shirts they sold in three-packs of meh colors that had no business existing on the color spectrum. Angry and Long Hair were so her demographic. They’d probably seen the original episode live and watched it over and over again on demand or something. Maybe even watching it right this minute on YouTube.
YouTube! She hated YouTube, too.
Why didn’t they call her flight already and get her the hell out of here?
You didn’t sleep with the boss, and especially not in television. For four years. Ray had always been a bit sneaky, but to annihilate her career to boost his own? She hadn’t seen it coming. But you couldn’t rely on a man. How did she not get this by now?
Three minutes until boarding.
Ah, shit, shit, shit, double damned shit in a bucket. So close, two minutes and fifty-five seconds. Smile and look friendly. “Yes.”
Try not to look like you.
“You’re that woman, aren’t you?” Angry Woman narrowed her eyes, and Pippa leaned back in her chair, out of striking range.
“It is you.” Long Hair planted her legs akimbo like a prizefighter. “I watched every single one of your shows. I can’t believe you said those things, and I—”
Two minutes, thirty seconds.
“—should be ashamed of yourself. What you said is a crime against women everywhere. You made that poor woman cry.”
Of course they cried. They were supposed to cry. The shows were edited to make them cry even more, but not the time to point it out.
“Shocking. And cruel. You’re just a . . . a nasty bitch.” Angry Woman got the last word in. She’d been called worse. Recently, too, and it still stung.
A man in the row opposite turned to watch the action. The three teens beside him openly stared and giggled.
I didn’t say it, people. Okay, she’d said it, but not like that. Editing, people. Creative editing—the scourge and savior of television celebrities worldwide. She could shout it across LAX and it still wouldn’t do any good. Until the next scandal broke and hers was forgotten.
“This is a boarding call . . .”
Thank you, Jesus!
“I’m sorry, that’s my flight.” Pippa creaked a smile and gathered her things. Handbag, phone, iPad, and coat. Her hands shook under the combined weight of several sets of eyes and she nearly dropped her phone.
No cabin baggage, not on this flight. Nope, this flight she’d packed just about everything she owned into the two heaviest suitcases on the planet. Paid extra weight without an argument. Anything to get the hell out of LA and home to Philomene.
Phi would know what to do.
Enter Giveaway Here:
Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.
Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.
She currently lives in Colorado with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.
Sarah is the recipient of the 2015 EPIC Award for Historical Romance.
She is represented my Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates.