WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES
Novak delivers a lively, sparkling series debut, proving that a timeworn plot and stock characters can be alchemized into romantic gold by a superior novelist. The love story blossoms naturally, which is rare nowadays, when so many writers contrive to dump their lovers into bed by page 30. Additionally, by populating Whiskey Creek with realistic characters — instead of “quirky” caricatures — Novak ensures that readers will eagerly await their next visit.
Driven PR exec Gail DeMarco can’t believe she’s been forced to save her business by entering into a sham marriage with her most infuriating client, self-destructive movie star Simon O’Neil. Simon can’t believe he’s agreed to a “marriage” — even a fake one — without sex. But to salvage his reputation and regain custody of his son, Simon will do anything, even take a conspicuously un-Hollywood honeymoon in Gail’s charming hometown. As they use every artifice to convince her disapproving family, her loyal friends and a skeptical public that their marriage is legit, Gail and Simon begin to suspect their love isn’t an act after all. (MIRA, Sep., 441 pp., $7.99)