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Exhausted and on deadline with a story that could make or break her career, investigative journalist Georgia Ross is on the verge of a meltdown when a cancelled flight leaves her stuck in the airport overnight. But when a familiar face appears—the older brother of her childhood friend—and offers help, Gigi seems to have caught a break.

Alec Kim is handsome, humble, and kind—exactly the sort of man that Gigi has forgotten existed after her own painful heartbreaks. An evening of reconnection followed by a night of no-strings-attached passion with Alec feels like a gift—that is, until Gigi finally realizes that their childhood connection isn’t the only reason he seems so familiar to her.

Alec is determined to prove to Gigi that he is truly the man she thinks he is, even if it means coming clean about his fame—and his family’s connection to the story Gigi’s been working so hard to break. But as their feelings for each other grow deeper, Gigi and Alec must navigate a new reality…one where both of their hard-won careers are put directly in the path of an international scandal.


BOOK REVIEW: Scandalized

Ivy Owens

RATING:

“You’re going to make me love you, aren’t you?”
He doesn’t even falter, in step or breath. He says only, “I’m sure going to try.”

In my ongoing mission to discover as many remarkable new voices in Romance as possible, I came across this glorious, sparkling gem of a book that you’ll want to push into the hands of everyone you know. Whether the idea of a celebrity falling for an everyday person is your tropetonite, or you’re just a sucker for the ‘famous life’, there is something about this story that is both wonderfully fanciful, and also completely relatable. What begins as a one-night stand between two old childhood friends—one of them a hugely successful actor, and the other an ambitious investigative journalist on the verge of a career-making scoop—quickly deepens and evolves into something more for them both. But fame and anonymity don’t go hand in hand, and soon, both their lives are thrown into precarious waters as scandal hits home. I rarely read a book cover to cover, twice in the same week, but this one I did.

The glimpse I got of his full face—when he looked up, when he squinted at the monitors and then seemed to let out a tiny grunt of frustration—was like a song that I haven’t heard in forever. Something about his posture makes my heart ache with nostalgic pain.

While waiting on a connecting flight to LAX, Georgia ‘Gigi’ Ross catches sight of a handsome stranger sitting at her gate, whom she quickly recognises as Alec Kim, her childhood best friend’s older brother and her first crush. With an unexpected, overnight layover miles and miles away from home, and only one hotel room between the two of them, Gigi and Alec find themselves first catching up on fourteen years of life and news, and then sharing one night of mind-blowing sex that catches them both by surprise. The chemistry between them is electrifying and unlike anything either of them has felt before, but with one of them living in London and the other in LA, they both know that one night together is all they could ever have. There is also one tiny detail about Alec’s life that he never shared with Gigi, but the hundreds of swarming fans screaming his name at LAX finally tip Gigi off as to who her one-night stand really is—British TV heartthrob, Alexander Kim.

“I’m really happy to be here with you. Exactly how it was last night. Whatever happens after this, I want you to promise to remember that. Okay?”

The sheer intensity of their connection is hard to ignore, so they agree to continue to see each other while Alec is in LA for work. They both know that their every stolen moment together is both a gift and a recipe for heartbreak, yet neither of them is willing to walk away a moment sooner than they have to. When their secret affair is suddenly exposed, however, Gigi’s big exposé stirs up a huge international scandal that puts both their careers at risk, and the only way to minimise damage is to stay far away from one another.

When it comes to my relationship with Alec, it doesn’t matter to me what anyone else says about this. We have a bond that exploded out of nowhere and deepens every time he touches me. I love him in the frantic grip of pleasure and in the soft, yawning light of morning.

By pairing a smart, sensitive, disarmingly self-aware heroine with a sweet, loyal, protective hero, Ivy Owens pens a searing romance that strikes the perfect balance of steam, humour, and angst. There are no tired stereotypes or overdone clichés in this story, just a refreshingly wholesome take on a trope that never fails to make my heart beat a little faster. A truly stunning debut.

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…life will throw curve balls, and things won’t always be this easy or straightforward, but this love—our love—is the rare wonder that comes along once in a lifetime.

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