Title: Heads Carolina
Author: Grea Warner
Genre: Women’s Fiction/New Adult
How did a sheltered girl from Carolina end up in a national scandal involving one of Hollywood’s most powerful music couples? When want-a-be singer Bethany Opala tries out for a TV talent show, she is rejected. But then comes an amazing offer … a songwriter’s dream. Bethany has the opportunity to learn and develop her skills with top music manager, Ryan Thompson. With a mutual passion for music and words, Bethany and Ryan’s writing partnership develops into something more … something love songs are written about. And while it isn’t wrong, it isn’t right, at least in the public eye. Surrounded by secrecy and half-truths, Bethany doesn’t know how much she should put up with. Especially, when one more rejection could scar her for good. Will her decision to leave not only Ryan, but the music business and California, come down to the toss of a coin?
It was going to happen. I was going to have to meet Ryan in person. And I knew it was better to get it over with and not agonize longer and let things fester. I just hoped I wasn’t going to have to face another disappointment in my life. I hoped it wasn’t going to mar the friendship and professional relationship we had built.
Okay, I agreed. In about an hour? I wanted to at least look presentable—put on some basic makeup to cover the dark circles under my eyes and wear clothes that didn’t look like I had just crawled out of bed.
That’s good. Do U need me to send a car?
No, I answered right away. I got it.
He didn’t argue or push. He didn’t tease that I could just bring some grub in exchange. He didn’t say anything at all. And I knew whatever he was going to say once I got there was going to be different than any of the normal, easy-going conversations we had happily been accustomed to.
The poor Uber driver probably thought I was a manic drug user. I was as jittery as heck in the car, and I’m pretty sure I was mumbling to myself. Not knowing what I was going to say or what Ryan was going to say, I wanted to vomit right there in the back seat. Geez, it hadn’t even been that bad when I auditioned for the TV show.
Luckily, I was greeted by the perfect little ice breaker. “Hi, Bethany!” Sallie opened the front door to welcome me.
“Hi, Sallie.” My smile was natural on her friendly greeting.
“We’re watching a princess movie. Joel doesn’t like it, but I do. Daddy says he has to because it’s my turn to pick.”
“What princess movie?” I asked.
“Belle,” she announced. “You wanna watch with us?”
“Sallie, at least let Bethany in the door before you bombard her with stories and requests.” That was Ryan’s voice.
When I lifted my eyes away from the six-year-old, I found her father propped against the staircase banister as if he had been casually standing there watching our entire interaction. He probably had been. But was he doing it because he was a protective father being absolutely sure who was at the door, despite the guard at the gate announcing my arrival? Or, was he doing it to keep his distance from me?
Our eyes only met for the slimmest of seconds before we both took refuge in looking back at Sallie. Yes, it was a good thing we had a buffer. Just spotting his intense deep blue eyes on me was enough to make my body tighten.
“Daddy, can Bethany watch with us?”
“Let her in,” Ryan said a little more succinctly that time.
As Sallie stepped aside, I more properly entered the residence and shut the door behind me. I normally would have instantly shrugged off my shoes and started walking further into the interior of the home. But my sandals remained fastened as did my stance.
Ryan, who I noticed was barefoot, answered his daughter’s question. “Bethany isn’t here to watch princess movies, Tink.” Her lower lip stretched out in the cutest little pout as Ryan continued, “You better go make sure your brother doesn’t change the channel. He’s the slyest four-year-old I know.”
With her eyes seemingly growing wide at Ryan’s suggestion, she belted, “He wouldn’t dare!”
My belly bounced at the little girl’s dramatic exit. Ryan actually laughed out loud and shook his head. And then … there we were. Alone.
“So … uh, about recording …”
Despite all the conversation starters I had internally scripted on the ride over, that was what came out. It was not even close to being as melodic or smooth as I had hoped. In fact, it was like a stuttering, old vinyl. I suppose anything was better than the silent tension that had invaded the foyer in the matter of seconds, though.
“Can we deal with the elephant in the room first?”
“There’s nothing—” I tried to just move past the fictional, ugly, gray mammal who wasn’t only occupying the room but also my brain.
But Ryan denied me. “Bethany, we have to talk about the fact that we kissed.”
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
How many of us have pursued our dreams only to have them crushed by rejections or circumstance? It’s easy to relate to Bethany’s tale, as she tries to get her first big break in the music world. By trying out for a TV talent show, similar to The Voice or American Idol, she meets Ryan Thompson, and discovers there is much more to him than the “Mr. Mean” persona he emulates as one of the show’s judges. He is a caring father who is caught up in the shadows and lies of the Hollywood world.
If you like a contemporary, character-driven story, HEADS CAROLINA is a must-read. It will lead you on an emotional journey where you feel for all the characters. You will ache at the choices and decisions they feel they need to make and hope that they come out stronger in the end.
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Grea Warner wants you to cry. She wants your heart to break a little, too. Why? Because that means you feel her characters as if you were one of them. With a background in daytime dramas and a realistic approach to life, Grea writes novels that blur the line of Women’s Fiction and Romance. If you’re a fan of binge-watching a TV series or have a passion for the arts like Grea, then you’ll love her fictional serials. Follow this best-selling, award-winning author on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, and BookBub.
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YouTube trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrz9DjROoIM