Genre: Romantic Comedy
It doesn’t take much to become the laughing stock of reality television. Just ask Theodore “Theo-Dog” Legend. Once you’ve pissed on a fire hydrant in front of the paparazzi, no one ever lets you forget it.
Hadley Holiday is on her way to being America’s sweetheart, thanks to her dog training routine on a national talent show. Although she didn’t win first prize, she snagged Theo’s attention and he’ll do just about anything to make her his—even if it means being the butt of everyone’s joke once again.
Hadley wants a career in showbiz. Theo needs to get rid of that doggone nickname—pun intended. Pairing the two together on a new show sounds like a disaster waiting to happen... or it could be the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
Theo Legend, 24, has a tabloid bad rep and a crush on an up-and-coming talent show star.
Hadley Holiday, 22, has found that the limelight on her dog training routine is more career inspiring than accounting, but will she still feel the same way when she sees the destructive side of the paparazzi?
Unlike so many contemporary romances that start out with the heroine down on her luck, here we find the hero down and out. Theo’s practically broke and definitely lonely, but he isn’t broken and the tone is never angsty; it’s just heartwarming and in a place or two heartbreaking, but that just makes you root all the more for Theo to go from underdog to top dog. And the romance leads the way.
“Years from now, I’d be able to pinpoint the exact moment I lost my heart completely for the first time. Hopefully the only time, if I had anything to say about it.” —Theo
Theo is sweet, flirty, dedicated, and unfiltered. It was easy to see why Hadley was attracted to him too.
“Being turned-on was way better than having a panic attack, and I was fully prepared to keep her in a constant state of frustration if I had to.” —Theo
Their entertaining banner flowed smoothly:
“My cock twitched three times in quick succession, her close proximity causing an ill-timed happy dance in my pants.” —Theo
“For the sake of my sanity, I really hoped he was planning to wear jeans for the show. And maybe some underwear with crotch-confining support. Like a girdle, but for penises.” —Hadley
And when it came time for their sexy times they left any cheesy lines behind as the writing captured the tenderness between them alongside some seriously steamy moments and moves.
This is romance through and through. Theo and Hadley complement each other well, an important quality to a lasting relationship. They really did bring out the best in each other and knew how to inspire one another.
“My entire life, I’d been shown greed and selfishness. It was familiar to me. It was what I knew. I didn’t like it, but I understood it. I didn’t understand this. Sacrificing so much without something to gain was unfathomable in the world I grew up in.” —Theo
Told via their dual, alternating first person POV, these little touches of humanity and moments of joy not only added substance to the story, but also make it a perfect feel-good holiday romance. I usually don’t care to read about “celebrities” but Theo and Hadley were such real people that it was easy to relate to them.
Speaking of Hadley, she’s sweet and genuine, and I seriously appreciated how she stood up for herself and took charge when she needed to. But her taste in Christmas music? *shakes head, closes eyes, and tries to pretend I didn’t read that*
Now her parents and their Christmas traditions are a riot! I’d watch a reality show of them and I don’t even watch reality TV. Speaking of future shows…I mean books, I’m definitely interested in Aiden’s but also can’t help but hope that Hadley and Theo get the opportunity to meet Estelle and Emery [from Untamable]at some point. Till then, this is definitely going in my re-read pile. Romance reading is about relaxing and escaping, and this tale accomplishes just that.
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“Okay. Change of plans—pie first, cleaning later. I get weepy when I’m hanky.”
“Hanky?” Theo followed me to the kitchen.
“It’s a portmanteau.” Walking over to the table, I removed the foil from the dish. Steam billowed up, carrying the heavenly scent of apples and cinnamon with it.
“I’m sorry, a what?” Sounding utterly confused, Theo went over to a small white coffee maker next to the sink and punched a button. It sputtered for a few seconds before the aroma filled the room.
He grabbed two mismatching mugs from the cabinet. Setting them down, he leaned back against the counter while he waited for me to explain.
“Blending two words to make one,” I said. “Hungry and cranky equals hanky.”
“Isn’t the term ‘hangry?’”
“No, I don’t think that fits. I don’t get mad,” I clarified. “Just irritable.”
“It’s kinda like my nickname, huh? Putting Theodore and dog together.”
“Yeah, kind of like that.” I grimaced because he obviously wasn’t a fan of the combination. “I’m sure whoever came up with that thought they were being very clever.”
“They probably got promoted.”
“Well, I’m feeling mighty humpy myself.” When he said the word ‘humpy’, I could’ve sworn I saw his pelvis do a slight thrust.
I almost fell over. “Excuse me?”
He sent me a grin that did funny things to my stomach. “Portmanteau. Hungry and grumpy. Humpy.”
That was inappropriate but also correct. I couldn’t knock him for coming up with his own word, even if it did draw my attention to his groin.
I tried to force myself to look away from his lower half, but it was really difficult.
Because now that I wasn’t scrutinizing his living quarters, my thoughts went elsewhere: straight to the gutter.
The gray fabric of his pants stretched over his crotch, and he probably wasn’t wearing underwear because I could see a very distinct outline of his dick.
I didn’t mean to stare at it, but it was just right there. Out in the open. And alarmingly large. It was like spotting a rare animal in the wild. The thing practically needed its own Australian accented voiceover.
Inexperienced as I was when it came to actual sex, I wasn’t completely innocent. I knew what a semi-erect penis looked like. The length of it rested against his thigh and the definition of the thick head was impressive.
I swallowed hard.
“Hey.” Theo’s voice startled me, and my eyes snapped up to his.
My cheeks were on fire. I’d been caught, and I wanted nothing more than to sink under the table and hide.
“Hi,” I squeaked, lowering myself into the chair.
“Let’s just blame the rough start to the day on low blood sugar. Deal?”
Well, that wasn’t what I’d expected him to say, but it was a lot better than him calling me out for eye-balling his junk.
“Deal,” I responded. Then for my own benefit, I added the reminder, “I’m looking forward to being coworkers and friends.”
His left eyebrow arched on the word ‘friends.’
Dang it. Maybe he did see me checking him out after all.
For the sake of my sanity, I really hoped he was planning to wear jeans for the show. And maybe some underwear with crotch-confining support. Like a girdle, but for penises.
Jamie Schlosser grew up on a farm in Illinois surrounded by cornfields. Although she no longer lives in the country, her dream is to return to rural living someday. As a stay-at-home mom, she spends most of her days running back and forth between her two wonderful kids and her laptop. She loves her family, iced coffee, and happily-ever-afters.