Hearts in the Spotlight

Title: Hearts in the Spotlight
Published by: Snarky Heart Press
Release Date: May 1st, 2018
Genre:
ISBN13: 978-1-7752233-2-0
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Synopsis:  

When a country and western superstar runs smack dab into an introverted innkeeper sparks fly in more ways than one. He adores the spotlight, she fears it.

Former Stampede princess and teacher, Stephanie Alexander retreated to the country to escape the media circus hounding her since the death of one of her students. Although she’s content with small town peace and quiet, she’s thrilled that someone has booked her entire bed and breakfast.

Brett Wyatt is nearing burnout from years of non-stop touring as a country music superstar. After a personal tragedy leaves him unable to compose, he arrives at the Wild Rose Inn, determined to spend the three weeks leading up to the Calgary Stampede getting his head back in the game. He’s not expecting to get tangled up with a semi-reclusive woman with a wagon-load of baggage and a devastating secret.

When a life-changing turn of events forces Brett to abandon his independence, he must learn to rely on others, including Stephanie. But can she overcome her issues to help him battle his demons? Can they find a balance and build a life together?

Reviews: 

"Hearts in the Spotlight" is a heartwarming read about love, past mistakes, and forgiveness. Infused with humor and heat, it's a must-read!

- Lexi Lawton, author of the Collins Brothers Series.

 

Hearts in the Spotlight, as written by my colleague and close friend, Katie O’Connor, illuminates the song or winsome ballad that Brett Wyatt and Steph Alexander explore from the opening passages to the happily ever after conclusion. It seems a fitting title for a novel that squeezes a reader’s heartstrings, reaching inside her chest, almost forcing the cessation of breath. It gripped me.

As a past singer, I’ve had moments in the spotlight when my vocal cords cracked, or my singing voice slipped away, so the moments where the hero and heroine struggle with the threat of losing a natural talent, really touched me.

I beta-read this book, pleading with the author inside the novel’s sidelines, to give a fictional character hope. A voice. A song. A career.

I cried. I’m crying now… remembering.

This is a work of Romance. A story I feel privileged to have read.

 - Shelley Kassian, the author of the Women of Stampede novel, The Half Mile of Baby Blue.

Excerpt: 

This had to be her favorite song of all time. The entire CD was gold. She’d downloaded it onto her phone, her computer, her MP3 player. Wherever she went, Brett Wyatt’s sexy, soothing voice was right there with her. She must have played his latest disc a hundred times. She knew the lyrics by heart, well most of them; she stumbled on occasion, but nobody was around to hear it, so who cared?

She’d love to see Brett in concert again but hadn’t been able to work up the courage to buy tickets. He was an enormous celebrity, and the media would be all over his events. Lord knew she hated the spotlight; so, she’d miss the concert and avoid the risk of being recognized. Listening to his music at home would have to suffice. Maybe someday she’d work up the courage to attend another show; but not this time.

She should be cleaning, she had a full booking for the next three weeks. Some enormous, faceless corporation had booked her entire B&B for a retreat. All six individual rooms in the main house and all ten rooms in the bunkhouse. She’d had to hire extra staff, but the money they’d offered had been irresistible. She wasn’t avaricious by nature, but damn. Who could resist? She’d make enough off this group that she might even be able to close for a few days and take a vacation—if she worked up the courage to leave her sanctuary and head into the public eye.

She belted out another line of lyrics. Yeah, she should be getting ready for guests, but they weren’t due to arrive for hours and all she had left to do was finish sweeping, mop the floor and prepare for supper. With her bestie, Penny, doing most of the cooking, she had tons of time to enjoy herself. She was happy and depression-free for the first time in months and she was going to enjoy herself.

Now for the chorus.

As she belted out lyrics, the volume of the singer amped up; it was like she was singing along with Brett Wyatt himself, though he’d probably cringe at her awful rendition. Meh. Who cared? She loved this song. She jacked her voice up to match the weirdly increased vocals.

Whoa!

Wait. She was home alone. Nobody else here to jack up the volume. Her eyes flew open, she stumbled to a halt and stared slack-jawed at the man standing outside the screen door on her front porch. Holy-Mary-Mother-of-God. Backlit by the sun, the mystery singer was barely more than a silhouette. Even so, he was every girl’s fantasy. Clinging, faded denim jeans, a tight T-shirt, cowboy hat pulled low over his eyes and a singing voice like sin. Damned if he didn’t sound just like Brett Wyatt.

Oh no! Hell no!

She’d been booked by B.W. Enterprises. It couldn’t be. She closed her eyes and his velvet voice stroked over her skin like a fantasy. Even unassisted by editing and sound-board tweaking, she knew that voice. Fudge! It was him. She opened her eyes and blinked stupidly at him.

“Can I help you?” She meant to sound polite and accommodating, but the words grated out like an accusation. Oh great, that’s the way to make a good impression.

“Hi. I’ve got a booking for today.” His sexy singing turned into muted laughter.

Fudge. Fudge. Fudge and strawberry shortcake, too.

“B.W. Enterprises?” Dear God, tell her she hadn’t booked her B&B out to the hottest country sensation in a decade. She’d been fantasizing about him since she saw him in concert two years ago, since before her life turned to crap and she’d retreated to her grandparents’ ranch and turned it into a B&B. Brett Wyatt was not on her front porch and he hadn’t just caught her murdering one of his songs. Had he?

“In the flesh.” He opened the old-fashioned, wooden screen door, stepped through and offered his hand. “I’m…”

Don’t say it. Oh, sweet heaven, don’t say it. The words ran prayer-like over and over in her head in the scant seconds it took him to finish his sentence.