Thursday, March 19, 2020

Lucy Parker - Headliners

For years, rival TV presenters Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have traded barbs on their respective shows. The public can’t get enough of their feud, but after Nick airs Sabrina’s family scandals to all of Britain, the gloves are off. They can barely be in the same room together—but these longtime enemies are about to become the unlikeliest of cohosts.
With their reputations on the rocks, Sabrina and Nick have one last chance to save their careers. If they can resurrect a sinking morning show, they’ll still have a future in television. But with ratings at an all-time low and a Christmas Eve deadline to win back the nation’s favor, the clock is ticking—and someone on their staff doesn’t want them to succeed.
Small mishaps on set start adding up, and Sabrina and Nick find themselves—quelle horreur—working together to hunt down the saboteur…and discovering they might have more in common than they thought. When a fiery encounter is caught on camera, the public is convinced that the reluctant co hosts are secretly lusting after one another.
The public might not be wrong.
Their chemistry has always been explosive, but with hate turning to love, the stakes are rising and everything is on the line. Neither is sure if they can trust these new feelings…or if they’ll still have a job in the New Year.

Comment: This is the 5th installment in the London celebrities series by author Lucy Parker. I liked reading this book, but as it has happened with the previous two, I didn't feel marveled as I did with the first two stories, which felt close to perfection to me.

In this story, which starts right after the fourth one ended, we follow Sabrina and Nick, tv presenters in different networks whose animosity in person has evolved to a professional one too. Recently that animosity has escalated and culminated in a situation that might be bad for the two of them but the networks they work for have fused which means they are in trial for their jobs.
The way to see if their careers can be salvaged is a morning show where the two of them need to work together and this way, the network can gain on both of their charisma and known enemies relationship.
The thing is, the more they are forced to talk and be together, the more that animosity is finally revealed to come from another kind of feeling, one both Nick and Sabrina must accept and deal with and, thus, choose if they want to be enemies or something else...

One of the best things this author manages to do very well is the slow path from an unlikely pairing/enemies to lovers. This happens, I think, because she allows her characters to talk, to communicate, the angst comes from natural feelings and thoughts and not from contrived choices she adds on an obvious way to force the characters towards a situation.
This means that for me it's a pleasure to read because I'm always eager to see what the characters will do after.

The plot of this book is quite simple, it basically show cases how two different people, who have seen each other as enemies for so long and who have caused the other some hurt in the past now need to work together.
The great part of this book is the scenes in which the characters have to interact, how funny some o them are, how seriously they talk and even at a moment when it feels as if the author set up things for them to have a fall out, they talk, they wait to hear the other person and they solve things in a very simple but mature way.

I liked Sabrina and Nick together, they obviously had a lot more in common than what they thought and I even liked how they meshed quite well with each other's families. Everything is pointing out for them to be  good couple.
Sabrina is a very sweet woman underneath her professional facade and I felt for her when personal issues started to bring her down. It was really sweet to see her hold on to Nick in some moments, it was a god way to let us know they were starting to trust each other.
Nick is fascinating, I think his personality is a little more complex than Sabrina's but the author has kept his development a simple one. It was very good and easy to read about him.

So, with so many well done details, why didn't this book have a higher grade for me? I liked the romance but that was it: it was so easy, it was so mature of them to discuss things, to apologize, to see each other's side of things that the sort of antagonism I expected, that would lead them into a powerful but sexy (and sensual) path towards true love just fizzled out.
It was great they acted like grown ups but then the relationship seemed to be settled (even if they had some doubts, of course) and the enemies to lovers situations I thought would let us see how perfect for one another they were turned out to be rather simple and without the amount of emotion I expected.

Don't get me wrong, they revealed their attraction to one another yes, and it could be obvious they were falling in love but.... I'd have liked a bit more struggle from them to accept this, a few scenes where sexual tension would be stronger...perhaps I'm not explaining well but it did feel as if their romance, which wouldn't be a given, considering the previous book, was actually quite...leveled up and too smoothly achieved.

All things considered, though, this was a very good read, I loved spending time with these characters, seeing them analyzing personal issues but having the support of the other person made things easier.
I also liked seeing beloved characters have a presence here and there and the "villain" of the series have a set down.
I'm curious to see what will be next by this author!
Grade: 8/10

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