By Jane Harvey- Berrick
Amazon UK / Amazon CA
Miles Stephens is a young actor from London. Out of work, unemployable, and fired from his last job, he unexpectedly gets the chance to star in a big-time Hollywood movie.
The film is a great success, propelling him to worldwide fame – but when the dream doesn’t match the reality, he turns to Clare, lifelong friend and girl next door.
Clare knows two important facts: when you break chocolate, the calories fall out; and that she’s totally in love with clueless Miles.
* * * * *
with scenes only suitable for 18+
Mum and Dad were out at Aunt Paula’s party, so I had the house to myself.
I was glad of that, because I wanted to wallow. Preferably with chocolate. I got lucky when I found a Black Forest gateau that Mum had bought to celebrate with Prue, and proceeded to stuff my face. I ate well over half of it. A generous half. The kind of half that a miserable sod might call three-quarters. Whatever. I felt full and nauseous.
All I needed now was a sappy love story on the TV, and I was all set for a classic wallow in the time honored tradition.
The evening had been a complete and utter nightmare. From the moment Lilia had arrived, everything had gone wrong. And then she’d dragged him off to her lair, and when he came out again his shirt and tie were undone, and he had lipstick on his cheek. It was soooo obvious what they’d been doing. Especially when she followed him out, a smug smile pasted across her ugly trout pout.
She’d told me she’d get him back—it looked as though she was right. I really didn’t think he would have succumbed that quickly. I hated being proved wrong.
So I was as irritated as all hell when some bastard rang the bell and knocked on the door.
The last person I expected to see was Miles waiting on the other side, looking ridiculously beautiful and debonair in his tailor-made tux.
I, on the other hand, had changed into sweatpants and an old t-shirt. One of his. Oh, and I had crumbs down my cleavage.
The cold air rushed in as I stood in the hallway, my mouth open more widely than the front door.
“You left,” he said.
“You were busy.”
He frowned. “Can I come in?”
“If you want.”
I let the door hang open, then turned my back and headed into the warmth of the cozy living room.
I heard him close the front door and follow me inside. It had been a long time since we’d been in this house together.
He stood awkwardly while I gestured for him to come in, my eyes fixed on the TV.
After a moment’s hesitation, he pushed the living room door shut and hovered near one of the armchairs. We were alone together at last.
“I missed you,” he said, softly.
And I didn’t know if he meant tonight, or the last few days.
I folded my arms tightly in front of me and tried to smile.
“Yeah, me, too.”
He rubbed his head as if it ached, and took a step toward me.
I backed away, knowing that I’d crumble if I let him touch me. And I couldn’t go back to living like that.
He looked hurt and bewildered as I moved to the other side of the room, and slumped down onto the couch.
“You didn’t wear your bracelet,” he said, quietly.
The pain in his voice tore my eyes away from the TV screen that I was pretending to watch.
“The bracelet I gave you—you’re not wearing it.”
I couldn’t meet his eyes.
“Clare, I know I’ve been an idiot…”
“Yeah, you have. But that’s okay, I’m used to it.”
I was letting him off the hook, and he knew it. He gave a small smile.
“Around you I just seem to open my mouth to change feet,” he agreed.
There was an awkward silence. We’d never been uncomfortable sharing the same space, but everything had changed.
“So,” he said, shoving his hands in his pockets, “how’ve you been?”
“Bloody hell, Miles! You make it sound like you haven’t seen me for a year. I saw you a couple of hours ago.”
When I didn’t respond, he sighed heavily and went to lean against the wall by the window, staring at the wintry street outside.
I fiddled nervously with the hem of my … his … my t-shirt.
I didn’t want him here.
Except I did. And I didn’t.
“Why did you leave like that?” he said, his voice soft and a little husky.
So fucking clueless!
I felt a spike of anger. “You don’t get it, do you?”
He shrugged helplessly.
“No, I don’t. Not really.”
In that moment, I realized we were never going to square this circle. There was no point prolonging the agony.
“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. I just … I think you should go now.”
I hated saying the words and Miles looked stunned, but a tiny germ of self-preservation was forcing its way to the surface.
“What? Now? But…” his words ended abruptly, and he rubbed the back of his neck in a familiar gesture of frustration. “Please, Clare, I’m trying here.”
I held back a sigh.
“I know. It’s just … better if you go.”
His expression morphed into one of anger.
“Why did you even bother coming tonight if you don’t want to talk to me?”
Fury, long held back, flared inside me, and I pointed an accusing finger at him.
Dazzled by Jane Harvey- Berrick is a charming friends to lovers and Hollywood romance. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was not the standard Hollywood type romance because this book starts at the beginning of stardom and how difficult the climb to the top is.
Miles and Clare have been friends all of their lives. They are completely different types of personalities. The yin and yang to one another. When Miles has a downfall in the London Theater scene it looks like his acting career is at an end. As the old saying goes, when one door closes another one opens, applies to Miles acting career. He is offered to read for a part in an upcoming Hollywood teen movie.
Miles lands the part and has to leave London and Clare behind. He’s sucked into the Hollywood world and is trying not to drown in a world of sharks. When he brings Clare across the pond to help him maneuver his way in the new world, the dynamics of their relationship begins to change. When Miles finally opens his eyes and sees Clare as a woman rather than his best bud, it may be too late.
Clare has finally taken her blinders off where Miles is concerned. Going to Hollywood as his assistant was a huge mistake. It’s not her world. Miles is no longer her Miles. She has finally realized it’s time to wrap it up and head back to London to build her own life.
It takes a huge Hollywood scandal and two meddling mothers to bring these two back where they belong.
I thoroughly enjoyed Dazzled. It was a fun, witty, and sexy Hollywood romance. I loved the English charm and dry humor that was prevalent throughout the book.
Jane Harvey-Berrick always delivers a good romance book.
About Jane Harvey- Berrick
I lived in London for over 10 years and have a love affair with New York. It’s only since I have moved to the countryside, that the words have really begun to flow.
I live in a small village by the ocean and walk my little dog, Pip, every day. It’s on those beachside walks that I have all my best ideas.
Writing has become a way of life – and one that I love to share.
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