Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police--no, she wasn't a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer's capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. Kristina writes contemporary romance with a smattering of sass, sex and (of course) drama, and she loves hearing from readers. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she's living her own happily ever after.
Lily MacIntyre needs to shed her sitcom teen-queen image if she's going to carve out a real career in Hollywood. A tabloid-worthy fling with rocker Nate Lansford--her childhood friend and new cohost of a reality talent show--should do it. As long as she can accept that the notorious player will be moving on to the next eager conquest when the season wraps.
Long before Nate's hard-hearted image took hold, he and Lily were each other's protectors and allies. No one knows him the way she does--and he doesn't want his messed-up past to muddy up her potential. For once, the bad boy is trying to be good. Not easy when the good girl is getting wicked with him in the back of his limo and every white-hot kiss proves they can never be "just friends" again…
Nate Lansford watched the red carpet closely from the shadowed corner while he waited for his turn before the paparazzi and entertainment journalists. He hated this part of his job. Writing songs, entertaining arenas filled with people? That was the fun part. Standing on a red carpet while someone asked about his latest breakup or when he planned to settle down? Too invasive for his taste.
Especially when he had no plans to settle. There was only one woman who might make him consider it and she was fifty feet down the red carpet. His best friend’s little sister. His friend. Two Grand Canyon–sized reasons to keep up the playboy, bad-boy rocker image he’d perfected over the past ten years.
Lily MacIntyre posed, tilting her head down and smiling that crooked smile she’d never grown out of. He’d lost count of how many etiquette and poise instructors had tried to unhinge that smile from her, but Lily never changed. Tonight, her dirty-blonde hair was pulled up in a neat French twist, and while he knew the four-inch stiletto sandals had to be killing her pretty pink-painted toes, she didn’t show it. Her navy dress plunged just a little too low in the back, giving the photographers too much access to the cute dimple just above her curvy ass.
Nate crossed his arms over his chest, watching as she answered another question. She turned, giving him and the rest of North America a glimpse of one firm, tanned breast before sashaying down the carpet, completely at ease despite the fact that one slip would give the photogs a whole other image of her.
Damn, but he needed to get over this newfound infatuation with Lily. Marriage and kids destroyed relationships. He had to only look to his parents for confirmation of that. He wouldn’t risk the friendship he had with Lily—or her brother—for a few fun nights in the sack. Because felonious dress or not, Lily was a forever kind of girl.
It was so much simpler when she was still playing the part of Rayna, so much easier to pretend Lily was still seventeen. That she was only his best friend's younger sister. Nate couldn't put his finger on it, but somewhere between her show being cancelled and tonight everything changed. She wasn't just his best friend's baby sister. She had become the woman he couldn't stop thinking about. Lily meant more to him than she should.
So damned much more.
Glancing over at Lily now, he caught the hesitation as one more question was tossed across the velvet rope barrier between the paps and the stars. She looked back, her complexion turning pale. Another question was heaved across and the slight pallor grew. Nate clenched his fists.
He knew what they were asking, and Lily didn’t deserve it. They’d been looking for a reason to tear her down for months. Since the cancellation of The Rayna Show. The press liked nothing better than to build up a celebrity and then bring them back to mere human level.
The event manager motioned toward him, letting him know he had a few more minutes to wait.
Two more questions were peppered across the barrier. They had her rattled and knew it.
Before he could talk himself out of it, Nate pushed past the manager and started down the carpet.
“Come on, Lily, one more smile, show Trey how little you miss him,” one of the photographers coaxed.
So he was right. Trey Williams, Lily’s former costar, had been hinting that she broke his heart and that was why he wouldn’t re-sign for another year on the show. Teenage girls across the country were up in arms that their favorite show was cancelled, and instead of putting the blame on the person who thought he could do better than a weekly sitcom, they preferred to heap their anger on Lily. The victim of Hollywood lies.
Nate put his arm around her shoulders and whispered, “Keep smiling, you’re almost through.”
The photographers turned their attention to Nate. “What gives, Nate? Are you the reason Lily dropped Trey?”
He grinned and dropped his arm from Lily’s shoulders to her waist, squeezing gently. “From what I heard, there was nothing to drop. Trey wanted off the show, so he didn’t sign the contract. You can’t fault Lily for his actions.”
“So you’re playing publicist now?” The photographer, a balding man who had reported for a number of Hollywood magazines over the years, wouldn’t give up.
“Nah, I saw a pretty lady on the red carpet and couldn’t stay away.” He turned his attention to Lily and shot her a come-hither look. “How you doin’, Lil?”
Light My Fire: Copyright © 2014 by Kristina Knight used with permission of author/publisher
Runs from 1 AM (est) on 29 Sept through 11.59 PM (est) on October 3rd, 2014
Reader giveaway is for a $5 Amazon or Barnes gift card and 1 eBook title from Kristina’s backlist (does NOT include Light My Fire)