TITLE: Laguna Nights (Laguna Nights, 1)
AUTHOR: Kaira Rouda
Adult Contemporary Romance
Cover designer: Okay Creations
Madison Alcott left her Laguna Beach childhood in the past as soon as she could, never imagining she’d be forced to return. Caring for her ill mother and holding down a high-pressure position at the best resort in town, Madison’s life is as good as it could ever be in Laguna Beach. And blissfully, nobody knows her as Holly anymore, the name she used on television. Everything changes when her high school boyfriend appears in the lobby. He was the reason she’d left Laguna in the first place when he humiliated her on national television.
Josh Welsh’s star has been dimming ever since he shot to fame as the high school heartthrob on the reality TV series Laguna Nights. Hoping to reignite his career, he agreed to host a travel show, with the first episode shooting in his old hometown of Laguna Beach. Of all the negative scenarios associated with filming in Laguna, Josh hadn’t calculated a run-in with Madison, or that the same deep connection he felt for her in high school would still be there.
Madison and Josh’s reality TV relationship exploded years ago but when the new series forces them together, they must face Laguna Nights past and present.
“Hey Holly, it’s Josh. I think we should talk. I can tell you’re still angry,” he said. And despite herself, her heart thumped in her chest as she pictured his dimple, his smile, his sparkling blue eyes. Stop it.
“Look Josh, my name is Madison now, got it? I’m not that girl any more so there’s really nothing to talk about,” she said. She realized she had begun pacing her office and told herself to sit. She wasn’t about to let him get to her, not again, not ever.
“Holly, I mean Madison, just meet me for coffee. I don’t have anything going on today, and we could catch up. I don’t want it to be awkward all week, you know?” he said. His voice was soft and calm, just like it had been on the show, when he’d known he was being recorded by the little microphone they had attached to their bodies every day of filming, anytime they weren’t at school it seemed, as she thought about it now.
“I’m working, Josh,” she said.
“I’m your customer. I’m work,” he said.
Madison took a deep breath. “You’re a piece of work. Meet me at Mosaic Bar and Grill, by the pool, in half an hour. But I’m warning you Josh, I’m not the same person I was in high school.”
“Neither am I, Holly, neither am I,” he said before hanging up.
“My name is Madison now,” she said into the receiver, but all she heard was the dial tone. She and her mom had agreed that she should go back to her given name as soon as she started applying to colleges in the middle of her senior year. While many of the “stars” of Laguna Nights like Josh already had offers from high-profile colleges that wanted a dash of celebrity in their freshman class, Madison hadn’t. And she had decided not to even mention her two seasons on the show on any of her college applications.
For work experience on her resume, she had listed helping her mom at the nail salon and babysitting. She had used Madison on the applications, instead of her middle name Holly that she’d gone by since she could remember. She’d been Holly on the show and a name change further distanced herself from that poor girl in high school. She had started her reinvention on paper before she could do it in real life. She had been, like the rest of the cast members, under contract for the whole year. Even after episode four aired the producers wouldn’t allow her to break the contract, even as she grew heavier and more miserable with each passing shoot, even as her humiliation played out on televisions across the country.
Josh was and always would be the one responsible for her pain and humiliation, she reminded herself now, pulling on her jacket in case the ocean breeze had picked up. And she would have one cup of coffee and tell him to leave her alone. This was her new life and he would never be a part of it.
About the Author:
Kaira Rouda is an Amazon #1 bestselling, multiple award-winning author of three women's fiction novels including HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE and IN THE MIRROR.
Tule Publishing Group's Southern Born imprint is publishing her new contemporary romance series set on INDIGO ISLAND: WEEKEND WITH THE TYCOON, Book 1; LINES IN THE SAND, Book 2; THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS, Book 3; and THE BILLIONAIRE'S BID, Book 4. Three more books in the series will be out in 2015.
Her nonfiction title, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, continues to inspire women internationally.
She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel. Connect with her on Twitter, @KairaRouda, and on Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books. For more about Kaira and her books, please visit wwww.KairaRouda.com.