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A Swan's Sweet Song by J. Arlene Culiner

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  • The instant Sherry and Carston meet, there’s desire and fascination in the air…but they’re complete opposites.

    Smart-talking Sherry fought her way up from poverty to stardom as a country music singer. Now, she’s ever in the limelight, ever surrounded by clamoring fans, male admirers, and paparazzi, and her spangled cowboy boots carry her all across the country, from one brightly lit stage to the next.

    A renowned but reclusive playwright, Carston cherishes his freedom, the silence of his home in the woods, and his solitary country walks. Any long-term commitment is obviously out of the question: how about a quick and passionate fling?

    But when their names are linked in the scandal press, Sherry’s plans to become an actress are revealed. Is their budding relationship doomed?

    Excerpt:

    He was just the way she’d always imagined a successful playwright should be: cool, intelligent, strong, and sexy.

    As if aware she’d been watching him, Carston turned slightly, caught her eye. She tried forcing herself to look away. And failed. For an eternity, their gaze held over the space separating them. Then detaching himself from the surrounding group, he headed in her direction.

    She commanded herself to pretend indifference, but her pulse accelerated, and her heart thumped a sensual jungle beat. Was this supposed to be pleasure? Something closer to pure panic. She swallowed, tried to summon up some zen-like calm…then realized she didn’t have any available. She needed help. Fast.

    “Charlie?” she gasped. Looked around. Damn! Where had that man gone now that she needed him? The only thing left to do was run. Except she was incapable of movement. Fool. The reprimand didn’t get escape muscles into moving order.

    Why come over here anyway? What would they talk about? They had nothing, absolutely nothing, in common. She had to stop staring at him like this.

    Here he was now, tiny inches away, his jaw a hard definite line, his body that tight, sinewy stretch she’d thought about too many times during the night. But it was the expression in his eyes, warm eyes, humorous eyes, that confirmed her instinct: the immediate, deep reaction was mutual. Try as hard as they could to avoid it, something would happen. It was inevitable.

    And for once, she, Sherry Valentine, a woman with a smart answer, a flippant remark for everything, everyone, and every occasion, was tongue-tied.

Reviews

Grade 
03/13/2015

Review

I have been a fan of Ms. Culiner's writing for a very long time, and have read her previous romances as well as other non-fiction works. What a talented writer--and, she has changed what I thought of "romance" novels. "A Swan's Sweet Song" is a pleasure--her characters are complex, smart, and believable. Best of all the book is filled with wit and good, sound writing. I have to ask her to write faster because I need more romance in my life!

    Grade 
    01/29/2015

    Review

    If you're looking for a good solid love story with all the necessary and humorous twists and complications, this is the book to read. There's humor throughout, a few strange characters, and many fun changes of scene: a small town cultural festival, a Hollywood film set, a live theatre production, and life in the country starring a pregnant pig. As soon as the hero and heroine meet, it's love at first sight, but neither one of them recognize the signs because they're too busy denying what's happening. The heroine, Sherry Valentine, a woman in her late forties or fifties, is a country music star who has been in the business for too long and wants out. She's tired of being pursued by fans, she's tired of the limelight, the makeup and the cowboy gear but for some reason, she thinks an acting career in Hollywood might be fun. The hero, Carston Hewlett, also in his fifties, is a successful playwright and a loner. The things he hates are crowds and people who want to use him for his influence. Put together those complications and you know the path to true love won't be an easy one. But it will be fun, I can guarantee that.

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      A Swan's Sweet Song

      A Swan's Sweet Song

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