Book 1 of the Loving Ashe Trilogy
"She brings to this adorable, yet serious, yet light-hearted romance a deep humanity that defines the novel..." - Mary L. Tabor, author of The Woman Who Never Cooked
It's been three years since Riley Eames' childhood friend and first love left her without any explanation, three years since she's watched him rise to Hollywood fame wondering what she did wrong. So when he asks to meet her for what can only be a booty call, Riley agrees, only to find herself stuck in the hotel elevator with charming British heartthrob, Ashe Hunter.
But even as sparks fly between them, it's not that easy to let go of the past and move on, for the ex-boyfriend is back in town, and Riley's older sister will do anything to stop Riley's new celebrity romance from happening - not when the last one almost killed her.
"So I guess this is where I ask you if you're famous," Riley said. "It's not every day that my dinner companion gets photographed on the streets of Manhattan by passing tourists, or approached at a restaurant while he's slurping a noodle."
"Does it bother you?"
"There you go again," Riley said. "Answering my question with a question."
He smiled. "But you didn't ask a question. You were wondering out loud if this would be the time to ask me if I'm famous."
He shrugged his shoulders. He'd stopped eating, and Riley wondered if being recognized had somehow ruined his appetite. "Fame is relative. That woman may have recognized me, but then many others in this restaurant haven't."
"So you are famous," Riley said. "Does it bother you that some people don't recognize you?"READ MORE
He shook his head. "No, and in fact, I prefer they didn't. That way, I get to eat my noodles in peace and not worry about somebody taking unflattering pictures of me as I eat. Hopefully not with a noodle hanging from my mouth."
"I'm sorry," Riley said.
"It's not your fault that some people can't help themselves."
Riley took a deep breath. The conversation seemed to drag his mood down. The smile was completely gone. "So, do you like it? Acting?"
"I do, yes," he replied, the smile returning to his face. "I've been doing it now for the past ten years or so."
Three giggling teenagers walked past them, and Riley thought they were about to line up in front of him and ask for autographs. But the teenagers were more engrossed in what was on their phones than the people around them and had settled themselves at the next table.
"Is this the part where I'm supposed to ask you what shows you've been on?" Riley asked.
He chuckled. "This is the part where you get to ask me whatever you want."
Riley took a deep breath and thought for a moment. What would she ask, she wondered? She wondered if it bruised his ego, meeting someone who had no idea who he was. Perhaps Gareth felt the same way when someone didn't recognize him. Back then, no one did.
"People usually answer questions more truthfully when they're under pressure," Riley said. "So now it's rapid-fire question time. I'll take the first answer that comes to mind. Ready?"
Ashe frowned as if he didn't understand what she meant. But Riley didn't want to give him time to think. He could improvise if he had to, lie if necessary.
"Morning person or night person?"
"Night person," he replied, a smile forming on his lips.
"Are you funny?"
"Do you consider yourself serious then?"
"Unfortunately, yes. In fact, tonight, someone just called me an old fart."
"If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be?"
"Pepe La Pew."
Riley giggled, imagining him batting his eyes like the lovable skunk.
"You've got to keep going, Riley, or it's my turn to ask questions," he warned. "And I have to warn you — I don't take prisoners."
"If one song were to describe your life, what would it be?"
"I Don't Want to Miss A Thing."
"Aerosmith! That's my favorite band! And did you know that they're playing in Atlantic City-"
"Next question or it's my turn," Ashe warned, arching an eyebrow.
"What do you like best about your job?"
"Being someone I'm not — for a time."
"What don't you like about your job?"
"That you're only as good as your last movie."
"When did you last get laid — No! I mean, when was the last time you lied? Lied! Lied, not laid!"
Ashe chuckled, then forced himself to be serious. "Just before I got into that elevator with you."
"Was that an answer to the first question or the second?"
"Second," Ashe replied, his eyes never leaving her face.
Riley blushed. Goodness gracious, his eyes. And his voice. She focused and cleared her throat, serious again. "Do you see yourself in ten years' time still doing the same thing you're doing now?"
"Yes, but I'd like to produce more, too. Even direct. After all, what's hot in Hollywood right now may not be so hot next year, or in five, or ten years."
"You never know," Riley said. "You could still be hot. I mean, look at you! You're hot right now, so why not in ten years?"
"If I'm really that hot, then how come you don't know who I am?"
"Just because I don't know who you are doesn't mean I don't know real-life hot from not."
This time, it was Ashe who paused before his face broke into a broad grin, his blue eyes twinkling.
"You're good — even though you did get distracted for a moment - though that was entirely my fault," Ashe said, taking a sip from his beer. "Debate team in school?"
His eyes narrowed. "Auctioneer?"
"Definitely not," Riley replied, laughing.
"I give up. What?"
"I have three smart-aleck nephews and, whenever they're around, you need to have your game face on all the time. They're relentless. And you?"
"I've only got one niece, so obviously I can't compete with three."COLLAPSE
If you love well-written, beautifully conflicted chic-lit, you're gonna love Liz Madrid's book. I read it serially on the fabulous Wattpad where I discovered this lovely, warm-hearted writer. She brings to this adorable, yet serious, yet light-hearted romance a deep humanity that defines the novel and its author. Discover Ashe and fall in love with him the way I did and then see how hard it is to find that love, trust it and fall in love again.