I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Playing House by Laura Chapman
Published by Self-Published on March 21, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
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She's a work in progress . . .
Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.
He's a fixer upper . . .
Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.
With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about, are either of them willing to risk it all for love?
Author Laura Chapman takes readers behind the scenes of a popular home improvement/design show, Playing House with Wilder and Waverly, which airs on the fictional television channel Design Network (DN). Local designer Bailey Meredith, cautious by nature, decides to take a risk and accept the offer to join the DN crew for their months-long project in Austin, Texas. When Bailey weighed the pros and cons of the temporary career move, she certainly never expected her heart to be what she would be risking the most. She certainly thought it would be safe from her boss, series’ affable, sexy, and seemingly unavailable co-host Wilder Aldrich. Bailey has enough to juggle with her workload as assistant to the mercurial designer and host, Waverly, without adding lusting over Waverly’s partner.
After years of catering to diva Waverly’s demands, all-around good guy Wilder Aldrich is knocked off his feet by talented and easy-going Bailey. As an easy friendship develops, so too does a strong mutual attraction. Wilder’s personal life is both simpler and more complicated than Bailey realizes. He and Waverly share a past and a present, including a TV show, a successful business, and a four-year old daughter! Finally tired of being a doormat for Waverly and her ambitions, Wilder decides to make his desires a priority, and Bailey is definitely high on his list. Wilder and Bailey share an honest and respectful relationship which is jeopardized by the Network’s machinations and Waverly’s ego. Please note, fear not: View Spoiler »There is NO CHEATING at all involved in this story! NONE! No reason to worry. « Hide Spoiler
The romance takes place over several months while the Bailey and Wilder live and work in close proximity, so when the potential for sacrifice occurs, the relationship has a solid enough foundation to give the circumstances and consequences some weight. As enjoyable as this story is, I couldn’t help but wish for deeper exploration of Wilder and Bailey, both individually and as a couple. Maybe the passing of weeks at a time outside the narrative gave the relationship enough foundation but not enough color and detail. After all, as any designer knows, it’s all in the details.
Enjoy Wilder and Bailey renovating homes and their hearts, Playing House by Laura Chapman is a fun escape — especially when you can’t watch your favorite design shows since your TV has been commandeered for March Madness!
P.S. LOVE the cover!
Keeping a close distance, she followed Waverly up the cracked path to the house. Bailey took quick mental notes of her surroundings. The exterior needed a lot of work. The sagging roof missing gutters made her think they’d find the inside in similar disarray. They stepped through the front door, nearly tripping over Wilder Aldrich, who was measuring the entryway.
“Hey!” He sprang to his feet and out of their way. “What did I tell you about waiting until I gave you the all clear?”
“You were taking for-frickin’-ever, and some of us were freezing our tits off.” She pursed her lips and took on a warrior stance, seemingly daring him to say something else.
Conceding victory to her, Wilder turned and flashed an apologetic grin at Bailey. “Hey.” He offered a hand. Warmth permeated through the thin material of her glove. “Welcome to Casa de Waverly.”
Giving him a smug grin, Waverly sipped her coffee and faced Bailey. “Do you have a smart phone?”
Bailey stared blankly for a second, still dazzled by seeing Wilder up close. But she quickly snapped to attention and dug her phone out of her coat pocket.
“Good,” Waverly said after inspecting it. “While you’re on the job, I’d like you to snap some photos for our social media accounts. I’ll want to vet everything before we post it, but we need to start building the buzz for the next season while we’re filming. In exchange, we’ll cover your phone payments to take care of your data usage. Understood?”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Now . . .” She pulled out her own phone. It was the latest model that had come out on the market a month ago. With all of its reported bells and whistles, it put Bailey’s poor phone to shame. “I’m going to make a quick call. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can get started on,” she gestured around her, “this mess.”
She spun on her heel and waltzed out of the room, cooing into the phone.
Wilder cleared his throat, and Bailey turned to give him her full attention. She estimated he was only a couple of years older than herself—maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked younger in real life than he did on TV. He was leaner and a little shorter—though she still had to crane her neck a little to meet his gaze.
He was also more handsome. Not the GQ model, your tongue-sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth kind of sexy. But he was hot in the same way the guy you sat next to in Chemistry was. It was enough to distract you from formulas and Bunsen burners every so often, but not enough that you’d ever set the lab on fire or forget to finish your final exam.
So far, he seemed much more serious. Where was the guy who scared Waverly with a stuffed dummy in a closet in the last episode she’d watched before calling an end to the marathon?
He was, she realized, studying her every bit as closely, with those hazel eyes speckled with green. Noting that, she didn’t feel quite as rude taking mental notes on the man in front of him.
At least she looked good. She’d laid out three outfits that morning in the hotel room. The first was a long, silky turquoise tunic that she’d paired with a pair of black leggings and knee-high boots. It was similar to the clothes Waverly favored on screen—only hers weren’t name-brand knockoffs. Then she had the casual jeans, a gray T-shirt that she could dress-up with a navy blue blazer. And there was option three: dark-wash, fit jeans, a chambray shirt, and a scarf. It was an ensemble that fell somewhere in the middle. It was the one that looked the most like her when she inspected herself in the mirror.
It was the one that felt most like her now in the middle of the foyer.
She wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see a confident young woman ready to tackle major projects adeptly? Or did he see someone who was desperate to create, no matter what happened? Both were correct, but which one shone through right now?
Like a light switch, that triggered something in her. She offered her hand again. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Bailey Meredith.”