~ About the Book ~
Everyone thinks Katriona McLeod is living the dream. Her professional career as a make up artist sees her traveling the world working with the stars and she’s got no shortage of men wanting her affection. Only problem is she’s never gotten over Caleb Murphy, the one guy she’s ever loved. When she accepts a job on the latest looking-for-love reality TV show, Falling for the Farmer, she discovers to her horror that Caleb is the leading man and she’s cast as one of his harem. But she hides a secret that means that even if she wanted a second chance with the guy who broke her heart she could never have it.
Caleb Murphy couldn’t care less about C-Class celebrity fame or reality TV and he certainly doesn’t believe it could lead him to love. The one thing he does care about is fulfilling his mother’s last wish. Kat’s presence on the show seems to offer up a solution that will make both the network and his mother happy. It might have been almost ten years since they split but he knows he can trust her with his plan. Just as long as he doesn’t fall in love all over again with the woman who will never stay.
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Release date: 28 September 2018
Publisher: Bellbird Press
~ Excerpt ~
“Okay. You’re on.” He gave her a tap on the small of her back. Any lower and he would have lost the use of those fingers for a few weeks.
Time to get this over and done with. Striding out of the dim flower-covered tunnel, she was hit full force in the face by even more and brighter lights than had met her outside the car. Trying not to squint, she focused on keeping her steps smooth and even.
Footsteps tread beside her. More cameramen no doubt. Lifting her gaze, she looked for the steps the producer had mentioned but couldn’t see beyond the glare hitting her eyes.
After four more steps the outline of a man appeared from the haze. Tall, broad shoulders. Hi, I’m Kat. I’m a makeup artist and I live in Sydney. Two sentences. Then he’d say something equally inane and that would be it. She could escape into the house and waste about eight hours of her life on idle chitchat and watching women fight over a man they didn’t even know.
At least she’d have some good stories for Paige and Allie. Her cousin and best friend would be thrilled she could keep them updated in real time on the shenanigans. One of the perks of not being a real contestant: instead of being confiscated, her phone was safely stashed away in the borrowed clutch that waited inside for her.
There had better be some good catering. She was starving. And not stupid little hors d’ourvres. A decent buffet with carbs and—
One spindly heel caught on the sidewalk while the rest of her kept going. Arms flailing like a baby chick tossed from its nest, she nose-dived toward the cobblestones.
So much for confident.
Just before her nose went from pert to button-mushroom-shaped, a pair of black dress shoes appeared beneath her and her fall was arrested by the sensation of being scooped out of the air.
“I’ve got you.” The reassuring words whispered in Kat’s ear and set the hairs on the back of her neck at attention. She knew that voice. She knew the broad chest she was nestled against. Knew the neck her hands had instinctively flung themselves around. The full lips that lingered hauntingly close, five o’clock shadow dotting the familiar jawline that she hadn’t seen in over nine years.
She lifted her gaze and locked eyes with the only man she had ever loved.
God, help me.
~ Review ~
I have to be honest with you: reality TV shows like The Bachelor give me the heebies. So it’s no reflection on Kara Isaac’s writing when I say that I felt like I had ants crawling all over me at some points in this story. In fact, it’s confirmation of just how much I love her stories that I was not only willing to subject myself to the twitching and the shudders, but also able to come out the other end saying, ‘It was all worth it.’ Because it was. Beneath the thoroughly contrived set-up (oh, the irony of ‘reality TV’!) there is a deeply personal emotional journey these characters must make that was handled with wisdom and sensitivity. In fact, the soul searching Caleb did right before the final resolution was one of the most memorable parts of the story for me, and was one of those moments when I found myself examining my own responses in a new light.
Putting aside my dislike of all things The Bachelor for a moment, this story had all the things I’ve come to love about Kara Isaac’s writing. The mix of light-hearted and heart-felt, that wry, slightly self-deprecating humour, the crackling romantic tension (and some swoony kisses), and snappy writing. And just when I began to wonder whether this story stretched the bounds of believability even for a reality TV show, Australia’s real-life 2018 bachelor went and laid all my qualms to rest by ending the series the same way he started: a bachelor. Talk about making news headlines! Sheesh. You’d think he announced he was starting a society for maiming kittens. I guess the lesson there is never underestimate ‘reality TV’.
My opinion of ‘reality TV’ may not have changed, but I’ll take Kat and Caleb any day!
I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Kara Isaac is a romantic comedy writer who lives in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand. Her debut romantic comedy, Close To You, is about a disillusioned academic-turned-tour-guide and an entrepreneur who knows nothing about Tolkien who fall in love on a Tolkien themed tour of New Zealand. When she’s not chasing three small hobbits, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand.