A twist of fate proves wildly explosive in New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss’s smart and sexy Hollywood romance about the cost of running from your past to get to your dreams.
LEAD ME BACK is out now!
Cutting all ties, Kayla Montgomery drives cross-country to Los Angeles. New start. New life. And an unexpected new job: assistant to Justin Beckett.
The Justin Beckett.
The boy band rebel with the cocky attitude and dreamy bed head who casts a spell over his fans and tests the patience of his handlers.
Now at the peak of Mount Adulthood, he has to build a clean-cut, movie star image. It’s in his contract. No partying. No attitude. No groupies.
To tie it together, he needs a normal girl.
Suddenly, Kayla’s swept up in Justin’s glamorous world, and his arms. But the most dizzying thing is Justin himself. Sweet, generous, reliable, and as eager to shed his past as Kayla is hers.
Those ties she thought she’d cut? They’ve followed her across the country with her secrets in tow, and they’re about to test Kayla’s courage, Justin’s loyalty, and a love that wasn’t part of the deal.
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Every time I read a CD Reiss romance, regardless of the tropes, I know that I’m in for a unique story line and strong, independent characters who willingly fight for what they want, even if they do it in rather unorthodox ways. Reiss’ latest release, Lead Me Back, is a celebrity romance with a bad boy musician in need of an image makeover in order to move into films and a heroine who is ready to start a new life, in a new place on her own terms. And while she may be considered a ‘normal’ girl by Hollywood standards, there’s nothing ordinary about her, which is exactly why Justin falls for her.
Leaving New York and cutting all ties is what Kayla needed to do to put herself first and focus on her wants and needs, instead of everybody else’s, but things don’t quite go the way she expects due to a single encounter with a guy and an offer she can’t seem to refuse. I loved Kayla. She is a strong, determined, and real heroine – one who had lived a life that was more so living her instead of her living it. Doing a complete overhaul of one’s life is risky on a number of levels, but Kayla willingly takes those risks and while it leads her down a path that she might not have chosen, it’s one that shows her where she belongs.
As the story moves forward, it becomes clear that Justin is more than his image…more than his missteps and bad behavior and he can thank Kayla for bringing that out of him and for helping him prove to the naysayers, his critics, and movie executives that who he was in the past is not who he is now and he’s ready to do the work in order to be seen as a quality celebrity, which is a good thing since he had more than a little damage control to do, but it wasn’t just his career that he worked to change his ways – when he figured out what Kayla meant to him, he willingly did what he needed to to prove himself to her and to allow her to understand that he was worth the risk, worth putting her trust in and he wouldn’t let her down.
The dynamic relationship that Kayla and Justin form and then build-on is one filled with sparing words, electric chemistry, and amusing banter.
She stood her ground with Justin and didn’t let him get away with treating her poorly or ordering her around and that’s exactly what Justin needed.
She challenges him, doesn’t make a big deal of his fame, and gives as good as she gets, which made for one entertaining, steamy, and heartfelt read.
4.5 Poison Apples
Standing right there in bare feet, white tattoo-exposing tank, white basketball shorts with an orange stripe down the side, with his blond hair so precisely bed-headed it had to be on purpose, and a gold chain that was the icing on the cake of a look every fashion and celebrity magazine called “douchecore” was Justin Beckett.
From the band Sunset Boys. That Justin.
From the cover of GQ. Twice before age twenty-two.
I considered myself too much of an adult to listen to his music, but I wasn’t dead. The Sunset Boys breakup that spring had drowned Twitter in sobs and DMZ in clicks. Justin Beckett, with his ghostly pale-blue eyes, had been the front man who’d thrown it all away for a crazy night at the Roosevelt Hotel. There had been a party at the pool. He’d beaten a bandmate bloody, gotten caught with another bandmate’s wife and a bunch of drugs in a hotel bathroom. It was impossibly salacious. Like watching a car wreck where everyone was fine except the one guy who deserved to get hurt.
The clean-cut, silky-smooth boy in the band wasn’t so silky smooth anymore. Maybe it was the rough night at the Roosevelt. Maybe it was just adulthood, but he’d transformed into a fully muscled, square-jawed man. His size and presence dazed me.
“Weeze,” he said to his grandmother. “Who is this person?”
Louise gathered the smooth stems into a bouquet and put on her glasses.
“You’re such a big deal you don’t even know your own assistant?”
He shot his gaze to me.
“All right.” He snapped his fingers and pointed to the door. “Get the hell out.”
“Wait,” I snapped. I didn’t want to stay, but I wanted my money.
“I mean it. You got this far. Now get out.”
“You don’t have to be so rude,” Louise said, inspecting a stem.
He grabbed my upper arm and pulled me out.
“Don’t touch me!”
Ignoring me, he opened the door and pushed me outside, joining me in his bare feet and closing the door behind us.
“How did you find me?” he demanded, letting me go.
“I wasn’t looking for you!”
“You one of the ones who parked on Laurel Crest?” He pointed to some street over thataway that I was supposed to know. “Because you’re violating an order of protection.”
“No! You stupid jackass!” With my finger pointed and an insult hurled in a decisively unfannish tone, his face softened for a moment. I almost lost my resolve and smiled.
But he was still the guy who’d gripped my arm so hard it hurt, and that guy could suck it.
“You’re from what paper?” he asked.
“I just got a new phone, and your grandmother dialed the wrong number. She insisted it was you. And I was like, here’s a nice lady who’s not going to have a present for her boyfriend, so I went to get the flowers, which cost seventy-five dollars after I already got a hundred-and-sixty-two-dollar ticket for talking to her in the first place.”
“I like your accent,” he said. “New York?”
“Round it up to eighty.” I held out my hand. “The receipt’s on the kitchen counter.”
His mouth twisted, and he looked at me from shoes to hair. I wished I’d showered after the drive from Vegas.
About CD Reiss
CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up she’s at the well hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
She’s frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.
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