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#1 MUSE by T. Gephart (#1 Series, #5)
Landing a writing gig in Hollywood was just as difficult as becoming an actor, and something Claire Becker had learned the hard way.
Sure, she didn’t have to conform to ridiculous beauty standards and give up her love for raw cookie dough, but the sting of rejection burned all the same. The only things that kept her sane were her two amazing roommates and her guilty pleasure—writing fan-fiction.
Getting lost in her own world, she’d forget that she had yet to land her dream job, and instead spent time with her dream man—Nick Larsson. Well, at least in the literary sense. Too bad he wasn’t aware or an active participant—her fictional love life, outstanding.
Tall, good-looking and sexy beyond comprehension, Nick Larsson not only had a famous last name—and four equally smoldering brothers—but was talented beyond belief. A star on the rise with a critically acclaimed series, his body and face were what fantasy scripts—and dreams—were made of. Made for some pretty steamy writing opportunities too.
And yes, it was probably “wrong” for Claire to objectify him, but it wasn’t like anyone knew about it. Just her, and her two amazing, supportive roommates.
Or at least they were amazing and supportive, and bound to be missed after Claire killed them.
In a moment of unexplained insanity, one of them —or both, each as bad as the other—sent her latest installments to the man himself.
Cue panic of epic proportions.
All Claire needed to do was sneak into his apartment and retrieve the misappropriated story before Nick, or anyone else, read it and mistook her for a creepy stalker. Although, breaking and entering probably wouldn’t convince anyone to the contrary either.
Claire was going to get the best material of her life, or end up with a restraining order. Either way, the story was getting a hell of lot more interesting.
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There’s no better story to tell than your own, especially if it’s fan-fiction, and there’s a gorgeous, intelligent, and talented man written into said plot line – one who allows you to experience all the sexy goodness in a whirlwind romance…of the fictional variety. And, even though Claire Becker may not have made it in show business yet, she sure has one hell of an imagination and quite the storytelling prowess, so much so, that her roommate takes it upon herself to send Claire’s muse – the real man who plays Claire’s male lead in her stories, Nick Larsson, a few of Claire’s most recent chapters to show Nick exactly how big a role he plays as the star of Claire’s ambitious fantasies.
I couldn’t get enough of Claire’s internal musings and diatribes; she definitely has a flair for the dramatic and that shows in both her personal and fictional life, but she’s also creative, passionate, and honest, and it’s those qualities that make her an endearing character – one who readers can’t help but like due to her quirkiness, her ramblings, and her less than stellar plan to retrieve her manuscript before a certain heartthrob gets his hands on them.
Larsson brother 5…just when readers thought T. Gephart couldn’t give them another swoon worthy Larsson male, Nick’s story is told and everything that his brothers were, he is as well, and its his intelligence, wit, and good nature that stands out and makes him an atypical star, which is also why Claire is so drawn to him and uses him as her fictional hero. I loved how authentic Nick seemed…he had a good head on his shoulders and he’s not an arrogant actor who believes everyone should bow down to him, which will also go a long way with characters and readers alike.
I have to say, though, that I do wish readers were privy to Nick’s perspective; I’ve found lately that I prefer to get inside the heads of both the heroine and the hero because it offers a complete picture of what these two are up against when it comes to their self recriminations and the real reasons behind their words and their actions. Despite my desire for Nick’s point of view, not having didn’t take away from my appreciation of this funny, steamy, and entertaining story; I just feel like it would have added further insight into why and how everything played out between him and Claire the way that they did.
I’ve been on a good run of romantic comedies lately and #1 Muse is in that collection because Claire and Nick’s book has the perfect mix of humor, sass, steam, and supporting characters who make it a worthwhile read.
4 Poison Apples
Those words sent a shiver down my spine every time I wrote them. Usually they were preceded by FADE OUT, but every once in a while, those last two little words were just for me.
Writing fan fic was never going to win me an Academy Award. It wasn’t going to earn me the respect of my peers or give me the recognition I craved in the industry I loved. It didn’t even pay the bills. But when I opened up that blank document—without the limitations of a script—it was like hitting a reset button.
It was my dirty little secret.
My guilty pleasure.
Just for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved writing screenplays. I loved the feeling of molding an idea and playing God with all the characters. Controlling their destiny with the ultimate goal of seeing it play out on a screen, but that wasn’t as easy as it sounded. The pressure sometimes made it worse. Which was why my “private” writing felt soooooo good. Zero pressure, and I still got to play God.
And if I thought there was any chance I could parlay my pages of nonsense into anything remotely resembling a book, I’d have hit the publish button months ago. Lord knows I could use the money. But a novelist, I was not.
My characters weren’t mainstream enough, and my storylines often ridiculous—who cared, not like anyone else was going to read them. But more to the point, most, if not all of them, were literary daydreams that allowed me to fantasize about the hottest guy on earth.
The man was so hot it was absurd. He was tall—six-foot-something delicious—with a body better suited to an athlete than an actor. Even his hair was hot; a rebellious mess of just-fucked-tresses that looked like a perfect mix of I-don’t-care and I’m-on-the-cover-of-GQ. And those eyes—luminous pools of warm wood brown that had the power to make you forget your first name.
I chuckled, feeling my skin heat at just the thought of him. He didn’t even seem to know how hot he was, striding through life like he hadn’t appropriated more than his share of sexiness from the rest of the male population.
I’d had the pleasure—and really, there was no better word—of meeting Nick when I was a writer’s assistant five years ago. He’d played a bartender on an episode of the series I was working on and never had “what can I get you to drink” ever sounded as good as it did coming out of his mouth.
Of course, I introduced myself, smiling slightly inappropriately while trying to think of a good way to ask him out. Suggesting a drink seemed cheesy, and I was attempting to think of something witty and clever to say when he was whisked off by the director. I was gutted by the loss of opportunity, scouring the call sheets to see if he was going to make a reappearance. And thankfully, I was given a second chance, Hot Barman bringing sexy back, two episodes later.
I’d spent the morning following one of those ridiculous YouTube makeup tutorials that used fifty different types of beauty products just to make you look fresh faced and natural. Quick, flawless routine—my ass. Tamed my long hair into a cute messy bun that had taken me almost an hour to perfect and thrown on a dress and heels that were bound to get a raised eyebrow when I waltzed into work.
There wasn’t a chance in hell I was walking away this time without at least a number, a date—the ultimate objective. Of course, that was before I found out the studio had cancelled the series overnight. So not only was I not going to see Nick reprise his sexy—despite not being integral to the script—role, I was also out of a job. Oh, and the phone number and date were probably not going to happen either.
Fast forward to the present day where I had moved from shitty writing gig to shitty writing gig—nothing noteworthy or monumental—treading water and needing to write copy ads to make ends meet while Nick Larsson’s career had exploded.
Heading up an all-star cast in their second season in an Emmy award-winning series, he was the next hot thing. I had yet to go a full twenty-four hours where I didn’t see his astoundingly handsome face staring at me—that billboard on West Hollywood made sure of that.
So even if our paths were to cross again—either through the intersection of mutual projects or at a social function around town—I was almost positive he wouldn’t know who I was, have any recollection of meeting me, and have almost zero interest in “hanging out.”
No, he was lost to the beautiful people, gripped by the clutches of fame and success, and nestled at the bosom of the “it” crowd. Conversely, I was the weirdo with my face pressed against the glass, staring at him and writing him into fictional scenarios like I was a medieval conquering queen requesting his talent at her majesty’s pleasure. I wasn’t much into historical, but putting the man in a sexy-ass coat of armor sounded hot as hell. My fantasies weren’t genre specific; paranormal, historical—I was an equal opportunity creator.
But there weren’t any vampires, kings, or warriors in tonight’s installment. Instead I had kept it close to reality, blurring the lines enough, so it seemed believable he’d end up with a girlfriend that happened to be me.
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T Gephart is a USA Today and International bestselling author from Melbourne, Australia.
With an approach to life that is somewhat unconventional, she prefers to fly by the seat of her pants rather than adhere to some rigid roadmap. Her lack of “plan” has resulted in a rather interesting and eclectic resume, which reads more like the fiction she writes than an actual employment history. She’d tell you all about it, but the statute of limitations hasn’t expired yet. But all those crazy twists and turns have led her to a career she loves—writing romantic comedy.
When she isn’t filling pages with sassy and sexy characters with attitude, she’s living her own reality show in the ‘burbs of Melbourne with her American husband, two teenage children, and her fur child—Woodley.
She loves adventure, to laugh, travel, and strives to live her life to the fullest.
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