Brenda Novak's When Lightning Strikes, and Beach Photos!

Can't find a summer read? I've got one for you!
Simon O'Neal's causing trouble again. And it's up to Gail DeMarco to stop him.
"Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has accumulated a roster of A-list clients, including the biggest box office hit of all — sexy and unpredictable Simon O'Neal. But Simon, who's just been through a turbulent divorce, is so busy self-destructing he won't listen to anything she says. She drops him from her list — and he retaliates by taking the rest of her clients with him. 
Desperate to save her company, Gail has to humble herself by making a deal with Simon. The one thing he wants is custody of his son, but that's going to require a whole new image. He needs to marry some squeaky-clean girl who'll drag him off to some small, obscure place like Whiskey Creek... Gail's the only one he can trust. She agrees to become his wife — reluctantly. 
But she isn't reluctant because he's too hard to like. It's because he's too hard not to love!"
(Warning: slight spoilers ahead!)

It's always exciting to read a back cover blurb that promises an outlandish scenario, and then to start the book and see how the author makes that scenario believable. Novak doesn't disappoint; she sets up Gail and Simon's situation from the first page - they're forced to wed, and then have to begin learning about each other and justifying their actions to their friends and family, a completely realistic scenario. And tantilising too!

As the reader, it's easy to see that these two characters belong together - but those inside the story have to find out the hard way. The one criticism I have is that there's a lot of tell in some places, especially in the scene where Gail and Sophia reconcile (though I'm hoping there'll be more details once we get to see Sophia's side of the story), and in the parts where Gail dwells on her feelings for Simon.

As the first book in the Whiskey Creek series, When Lightning Strikes also drops teasing hints of where other characters' stories might lie - whether between Gail's best friend Callie and Matt the football player, Sophia and her hardly-there husband, or Cheyenne and her mysterious loneliness.

Fast-paced and lively, with a feel-like-you've-always-lived-there setting, When Lightning Strikes is an ideal weekend and beach read: you want to know what happens next, but don't mind setting the book down for a dip in the pool/ocean. And when you come out, you can dive (sorry!) back in to Gail and Simon's adventures.

Here's me doing just that at Myrtle Beach:

And here's my nephew... hmm, yes, I think I agree...

You might have heard Brenda Novak's name before - every May, she runs the Brenda Novak For the Cure of Diabetes Online Auction. If you're an author, why not donate an item?

 When Lightning Strikes will be released on 28 August. The first chapter is up now on the website. And on 1 August, look out for the free (!) 150-page digital prequel, called When We Touch.

Meanwhile, a few more photos from our trip:

A store in North Carolina, looking eerily familiar

Conway, South Carolina

Conway, Independence Day weekend

Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

Lord of the Rings LEGO. Want.

Myrtle Beach LEGO!

Ah, the beach...

ROW80 is going well, sort of. I've not begun entering the edits for Rome, Rhymes and Risk, but Fred and Lyne's story is moving along - I've gotten to the first high point, the kiss that turns him from beast to man.

Don't forget about my Show me the Words! editing contest!
Send in or post your photos and share your editing progress.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend!

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