Book: Need You Now
Author: Emma Douglas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Welcome to the small island town of Cloud Bay, where it’s never the wrong time to find a love that’s oh-so-right. . .
Caleb White knows what he wants out of life—and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest’s gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .
The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren’t meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can’t resist, but she’s not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?
So maybe that was the wrong thing to think about.
She steered the car through the familiar bends of the road from Salt Devil to Danny’s place, not needing to really pay much attention to what she was doing. She could make the drive with a bag over her head. Could probably drive all around Lansing that way and never miss a beat.
Unlike her heart, which was bumping just that little bit too quickly to let her fool herself into thinking she didn’t have a rapidly developing case of, to quote Ivy, “flaming panties,” when it came to Caleb White.
Well, her panties were just going to have to cool it a little longer.
She let her left hand drift out the open window, fingers spread to catch the night air rushing against her skin so one part of her body had a chance to feel cool. “My mom would tell you that’s a terrible habit,” Caleb said. His voice sounded lower in the darkness.
Engine vibrations. That was it. Blame it on the roar of whatever supercharged monster engine Will had put into the Mustang. That was what was making his voice sound so good.
Note to self: Drive the Prius if you ever have to share a car with this man again.
“I know this road. There’s nothing I could possibly catch my hand on.” She turned her head slightly to look at him for a second. He’d lowered his window too, his elbow resting on the window frame, his fingers gripped around the top. “And hello, pot, kettle, black. You do not have all limbs inside the vehicle, Mr. White.”
“My hand isn’t sticking out,” he said.
“And what would your mom say about that response?” “She’d tell me not to be a smart-ass.”
“I think I like your mom. What does she do?” “She’s a doctor. I think she’d like you too.”
Faith shook her head. Nope to him getting any kind of wrong idea. “I’m not really the kind of girl mothers approve of.”
“Rock star dad. Tattoos. Not interested in settling down.”
“You have tattoos?” he said, sounding intrigued. “I hadn’t noticed.”
“That’s because so far you haven’t seen any parts of me where they’re noticeable.”
“I see.” He sounded even more intrigued. “But they’re somewhere a mom might see them?”
“I think it’s more the alcoholic-rock-star–womanizing- dad thing than the tattoos. My family’s reputation precedes me. They think I’m going to have my wicked way with their precious boys and break their hearts.”
“Are you meeting these moms via time travel? That all sounds very nineteen fifties to me,” he said. “And just so you know, I am on board with wicked ways.”
She laughed at that. “In my experience, most men are.” “Maybe the men you meet are smarter than their moms.”
“Oh no.” She pulled her hand back in the window as the approached the turn-off to Danny’s drive. “The moms have my number. I’m not the marrying kind, as they used to say.”
“Really?” He sounded skeptical. “Trust me.”
“I take it this is you telling me that if I ever get to sample your wicked ways, I should beware?”
She tried to ignore the way the rumble underscoring “wicked ways” made her want to invent some very wicked ways on the spot. Dammit. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” She pulled into the drive, rolled the car to a stop outside the gate. “And, not to change the subject or anything, but we’re here.”
Caleb blinked. “So I see. Any point in me asking you in for a nightcap?”
As much as part of her wanted to say “hell yes,” she shook her head. “Not tonight.”
“Rain check on that too?” “We’ll see.”
“All right,” he said. He didn’t sound that put out. She didn’t know if that was good or whether she should be a little insulted. Caleb undid his seatbelt and turned to face her. “Then I’ll say good night. And I’ll tell you one more thing.” He slid a little closer along the seat and leaned toward her. Not too close. Giving her plenty of time to tell him to back off. To say no.
She stayed right where she was. Pinned in place by the weight of that blue gaze and the pounding in her chest and the heat suddenly burning through her again. She tried to sound casual. “What’s that?”
“The same thing I tell my mom when she’s butting into my love life. That I’m a big boy and I can take care of myself.” He leaned in close, until his mouth was hovering only a couple of inches from hers. “Also, that I believe that when you’ve beaten a girl at pool and hitched a lift with her in a Mustang that it’s only polite to kiss her good night.”
“Oh,” was all she had time to say before he closed his mouth over hers.
She couldn’t pretend she hadn’t thought about what it might be like to kiss him over the last few hours. What sort of kiss it might be. Most of her first kisses had been the hot, fiery, let’s-get-naked-fast kind.
Caleb White was undeniably hot but this kiss was . . . different. His mouth coaxed hers, gently, his hand cup- ping the back of her neck. Each tiny change in angle he made seemed to connect with a different nerve. First her lips were tingling, then hot, and then the heat spread out and down from there in a molten rush.
She opened her mouth and tasted him, tasted whiskey and man and heat. He groaned but he held her there, suspended with him in the dark, focused just on him and the places their bodies touched. She wanted more. Wanted closer.
But as she swayed toward him, tried to slide around in the seat so she could get nearer, he pulled back, leaving her startled by his sudden absence.
“Good night, Faith Harper,” he said. And then he was out of the car walking away from her, vanishing into the night when he stepped beyond the reach of the head- lights, leaving her wondering exactly what the hell had just happened.
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What can I say? When you put the words small town anywhere, I’m sold. When you double that with island, then I’m there. So NEED YOU NOW by Emma Douglas was just the kind of read I could enjoy in this summer heat. Maybe fantasizing about sipping margaritas facing the water, with a light breeze on my gradually tanning skin? Ah, the beauty of summer..
Before getting too carried away with the fantasy, let’s say NEED YOU NOW brought together that relaxing feel of the island and the comfort only a small town makes you feel. I enjoyed my time in Cloud Bay. It was an extra joy to be presented with a music festival that was the heart of the town and the story. The heroine, Faith, is the daughter of the rock star who founded the festival, and she carries on with the tradition even after her father’s death-who, by the way, seems like a colorful character albeit just as much difficult. I liked that Faith and Caleb’s story revolved around the festival. It was a nice stage for their romance.
As much as I enjoyed the setting and the main attraction, I liked the characters as well, especially Caleb. Somehow, he was the one I could connect with the most compared to Faith. With Faith, I felt like there was an arm’s length between us. Caleb though, he was charming and not overly persistent. His way of charming into Faith’s heart was through, well, his easy charm. He was the kind of hero who didn’t possess the pages, but subtly became a favorite character, without trying too hard.
Faith, on the other hand, was much harder for me to bond with. I read every necessary information about her, everything to do with her choices-not much drama here- but somehow I still lacked that one final step into clicking with her.
The romance was well paced as well, except for, perhaps, the last minute-and I mean that literally- back and forth about Faith’s reluctance for a romance. If her background with having a father who was a rock star was examined a bit more, and integrated into the story, then she could’ve been more reachable for me.
Those who like small town romance will still like this, I believe. A nice summer read, and as the first book of the series, I have a strong feeling it’ll only get better in the coming books. I already found myself looking up the next couple and the one after that, and excited to read those stories after all.
I’m adding three spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge.
Welcome to the kitchen, Emma, it’s a pleasure to have you here. First things first, would you like tea or coffee?
Coffee makes me sick, sadly, so I’ll have to say tea. Either English Breakfast, mint green tea or something fruity. Though actually, I get my caffeine fix from Coke Zero.
Let’s dive right in. For those who may not be familiar, can you tell us a bit about the small island of Cloud Bay and its legendary CloudFest that brings music and love together?
The Cloud Bay series is set on Lansing Island, which is my fictional island off the coast of California which is a cross between expensive beach towns like Malibu and Sausalito and some of the small beach islands and towns I’ve known over the years. A place that has a mix of money and people who rely mostly on tourists to make a living. It has one small town, Cloud Bay and is the place where a band called Blacklight recorded the album that propelled them to superstardom. After that the band members all bought houses on the island and started a musical festival, CloudFest, which has grown over the years to be big. These days, CloudFest is run by Faith Harper, the daughter of Grey Harper, who was Blacklight’s lead singer.
In NEED YOU NOW, the hero Caleb is a tennis player, and the heroine Faith is the daughter of a famous rock star. We can’t wait to meet with them in the book, but before we do so, can you tell us a bit about them? Any quirky character background that may not have made into the book for those two?
Caleb is a jock on the surface but he’s also a bit of a geek. He likes superhero movies and science fiction. I’m sure he has a comic book collection (though these days he probably buys them electronically…all that time to fill on planes). If he hadn’t been so good at tennis, maybe he would have been a scientist…
Faith is a musician who didn’t get her dream. She’s channeled a lot of energy into running the show instead of being the show. But her mom, Lou has also been a huge influence on her so she likes a lot of homebody things like baking and gardening but doesn’t have time to do much of them.
Did you have any struggling moments writing Faith and Caleb’s story?
I always find it hard to write the big black moment where the characters have to face their big fears and make the wrong choice and run in the face of that. I understand it but it’s always pretty intense to write. Other than that, this one was fairly smooth other than the odd inevitable moment of getting stuck with my plot (I don’t plot in advance so I always get stuck at a few stages of the story) and having to whine a lot to my writing buddies that everything is terrible and I can’t write!
We know Faith is the daughter of famous rock star Grey Harper, and he seems like a colorful character to say the least. Did you think up a history for him?
Grey was a character who popped into my head mostly fully formed. I guess he’s a mix of a lot of the rock stars I’ve followed over the years, a bit of Jagger, a bit of some of the grunge guys like Kurt Cobain, a bit of Robbie Williams. He was immensely talented but always chasing that next thing to make himself feel good, so there’s a fair bit of insecurity mixed up with the talent I think. He and the other guys in the band came from fairly ordinary backgrounds and all had to deal with the problems that fame and wealth in the music scene can bring. They didn’t always handle it well. Grey loved his kids but he loved music more so he wasn’t always the greatest dad.
Speaking of small islands, do you have a favorite vacation spot?
I was very much a water baby as a kid. We had a pool and I grew up in a town about twenty-five minutes from the beach. My grandparents had a holiday house on a small island off the coast of Victoria, so I spent a lot of time there too. I still love the beach and will usually pick somewhere beachy for a holiday (not that I get a lot of time for holidays). I love the beach in summer or winter. Though I’m also super pale (my ancestors are Irish, Scots, English and Scandinavian so not a lot of melanin going on in my gene pool) and burn at the drop of a hat these days, so I have to be careful in the sun. So not one particular favorite spot but somewhere with a beach and good umbrellas and not too humid!
Last but not least, what is your favorite food? We are in a kitchen after all 🙂
I am a sucker for cheesecake (plain or with a few berries) and for fresh baked bread (my Dad’s dad was a baker, so I’m blaming genetics for that).
Thank you so much, Emma, for coming over and being my guest. It was a pleasure having you here!
Thank you for having me! And for the tea 😀
Emma Douglas would love to live in a world where professional napping was a thing. But until then, she thinks writing books is a pretty awesome alternative. When not writing about imaginary people, she can be found reading, doing something crafty, binge-watching TV, playing her latest song crush on repeat, or singing badly in her car. She lives in Melbourne, Australia in a tiny house stuffed full of books, too many craft supplies and two cats who take up more space than you would expect.
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