Book Title: Love on Page Six (Entertaining Love, book 2)
Author: Claerie Kavanaugh
Cover Artist: Cath Grace Designs
Release Date: June 26, 2023
Genres: Sapphic Contemporary Romance
Tropes: actor /performer, Celebrity/Socialite/Model, Hollywood, movie set, Friends to Lovers
Themes: Against All Odds, Character w/Disability, Coming Out, Femme/Femme
Interracial/Multicultural Relationship, Slow Burn
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 60 000 words/ 240 pages
It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Desperate to save her family’s dying magazine, love is the last thing on 26-year-old Daphne Fernandez's mind when she agrees to go undercover as a makeup artist to scoop a juicy story on the city’s most popular telenovela star. But a spur-of-the-moment kiss makes it more complicated. A cheating boyfriend might not be Bombshell Bridget’s only secret.
Bridget Blake has only ever wanted one thing in her life: to be herself. But her overbearing momanger insists showing the world who she really is would mean the death of her blossoming career. So when the new makeup artist fights her way under Bridget’s perfectly moisturized, paparazzi-proof skin, it’s everything she can do to keep the façade in place. Until one spontaneous kiss turns her world upside down. With Daphne, Bridget is the brave, fun-loving, take-no-prisoners girl she’s always wanted to be. But embracing her new self may mean leaving behind everything she’s ever worked for. Is love really worth it?
Book two in the standalone sapphic celebrity romance series Entertaining Love.
A movement catches my attention as I hesitantly reach for a shimmering eyeshadow palette young woman with black curly hair and gold-rimmed glasses browses the store with ease. Her hands expertly select items from the shelves as she navigates the space in her manual wheelchair.
She looks up a second later, and her brown eyes meet mine with a flicker of recognition. She freezes, pursing her lips before finally rolling towards me with a warm smile.
“Hi there.” Her voice is soft and melodic with a hint of a Hispanic accent.. “Welcome to the Mystic Beauty. I couldn’t help but notice you look a bit lost. Can I help you find something?”
I adopt an affected Southern drawl. The last thing I need is for my stupidity about something as simple as make-up to be splattered all over the tabloids. “I, um, I’m just looking for some makeup…” Well, duh. I mentally facepalm myself. Why else would I be here? I pluck one from a nearby display and hold it up with an exaggerated flourish. “Clearly, I’m a bit lost.”
“Of course!” she replies, wheeling next to me and holding out her free hand. “I’m Daphne.”
“Nice to meet you, Daphne,” I say. “I’m… Sarah.”
“Sarah” is the first name that comes to mind, and I hope it’s generic enough not to invite suspicion. Daphne’s hand is warm and steady as she shakes mine, and I can’t help but be grateful for her genuine kindness.
“Alright, Sarah,” she says, releasing my hand and gesturing toward a display of eyeshadow palettes. “Let’s find you something that suits your style.”
As we navigate the aisles, Daphne explains different products and techniques easily. After a few minutes, I no longer feel like an idiot for asking one too many questions I should definitely already know the answer to after so many years in the film industry. But rather someone just trying to take the time to learn a new trade. The longer we wander through the aisles, the more. I find myself becoming intrigued by this mysterious woman who clearly has a passion for her craft.
“Can I ask about your makeup?” I ask, admiring the delicate lines of gold and silver that frame her brown eyes. “It’s stunning.”
“Thank you,” A blush colors her cheeks and I bite back a smile of my own. She’s cute when she’s flustered. “I’m an aspiring special effects makeup artist. I love playing with different styles and trying new things.”
“Wow,” I exhale softly. “That’s really amazing.” It’s not just her skill that impresses me, but the genuine joy in her expression. Just saying the word seems to light up the room, and I can’t help craving more of it from her. As we continue our conversation, I slowly lower my sunglasses, allowing Daphne to see my green eyes.
“By the way, if you ever need any help or advice in the future, feel free to reach out to me,” She hands me a small business card with her contact information. “You seem like someone who could use a friend.”
I take the card with a grateful smile.
“I may just have to take you up on that.” I wink, and we share a laugh. My heart skips a bit, and my chest as a blush pinkens her cheeks.
“Great!” Daphne smiles warmly as she expertly navigates her wheelchair down the aisles, pointing out more products and explaining their uses. I listen intently, absorbing every word like a sponge. “Primer is important for long-lasting makeup,” she explains, handing me a small tube to examine. “And don’t forget about setting powder!”
“Good to know,” I muse, turning the tub between my fingers. “You know my makeup artist was recently fired,” I confess quietly, glancing around and relieved to find out the store is mostly empty. “It’s been really frustrating trying to find someone new who understands my style.”
Daphne’s features soften with sympathy. “I’m sorry to hear that. What kind of look were you going for?”
I hesitate, dipping my head down and running my hands along my arms. “I’m… honestly not sure. I don’t know as much about makeup as I probably should.”
Her eyes light up, and she squeezes my hand. That’s OK. We can figure it out together. I actually have some ideas if you’re interested.”
“Really?” My heart flutters with anticipation. “I would love that.”
As we continue to explore the store, Daphne’s passion and creativity spark my own. I can’t help but feel drawn to her, her talent and kindness shining through with every word. The longer we talk, the more amazed I am that this woman barely knows me has already offered me more understanding and support than most people in my life.
“Thank you, Daphne,” I murmur, briefly taking her hand in mine. “You have no idea how much this means to me.”
“Of course.” As we stand between shelves of sparkling eyeshadows and vibrant lipsticks, I watch Daphne’s deft fingers pluck an iridescent shade from its perch. The glittering powder dusts her fingertips as she swipes it gently across my hand, creating a shimmering arc of color. “This would look amazing on you,” she says, grinning. “It’ll bring out the green in your eyes.”
“Wow, that’s beautiful,” I breathe, captivated by the way the light dances across the tiny flecks of pigment. “Do you really think I could pull it off?”
Daphne smiles bashfully and flicks her hand through the air. I’m sure you could pull anything off.” She laughs, and I can’t help but feel a flutter in my chest. The way her eyes crinkle at the corners and her lips curve into a smile… it’s all so enticing.
For the rest of the afternoon, Daphne guides me through the store, picking out different shades and colors for me to try on.
Daphne’s face lights up as we pause by a display of elaborate prosthetics. “I love special effects makeup,” she confesses as she gently fingers one of the masks. “It’s such a powerful way to transform someone and tell a story.”
“Really? Did you study it?”
Daphne nods, but her smile dims. “I did, but finding work has been difficult, especially because of my disability. Some people just can’t see past the wheelchair.”
A pulse of anger flares through me, but I stamp it down. This woman is a stranger. I remind myself. Still, I hate how judgmental people can be. “I’m sorry, Daphne. That’s so unfair.”
“Thank you.” Her brown eyes meet mine and my throat dries up. “But I won’t let it stop me. I know what I’m capable of, and someday, the right opportunity will come along.”
Her determination and resilience never cease to amaze me. Nodding I plant my hands on my hips. “I know it will.” Suddenly, an idea takes root in my mind. A bold, daring idea that could change both our lives. “Daphne,” I begin, my voice wavering with nerves. “I have a proposition for you.”
She tips her head to the side and I grin.
“Would you consider being my personal makeup artist?” The words tumble out before I can second-guess myself. “I know it’s not special effects, but I think together, we could create something amazing.”
The faint scent of lavender fills my nostrils as I watch Daphne’s eyes dart back and forth. Her fingers tap the armrest of her wheelchair, betraying her uncertainty.
“I… I don’t know, Bridget,” she hedges, looking down at her lap. “I’m so honored, but… I can’t I just started down at the warehouse and I can’t just abandon my crew.”
Oh. My heart sinks. “Of course. But if you change your mind…”
“Gracias.” Daphne smiles weakly, the gold rims of her glasses catching the store’s fluorescent lights.
“De nada,” I murmur softly, warmth blossoming in my chest.
“Now, let’s get back to finding the perfect makeup for you, shall we?”
The corners of her mouth lift into a genuine smile, and I watch as her hands deftly select products, her fingers moving with practiced ease despite the tremors that sometimes betray her. Her passion for her craft is evident in every gesture, and it only strengthens my belief that she’s the perfect person for the job.
“Thank you, Daphne, “I say as she bags up all my purchases a few minutes later.
She smiles, and my pulse speeds up again. “You’re welcome, Sarah. I’m just glad I could help.” She folds the last of my purchases into the bag and hands it over to me with a nod.
Daphne’s cheeks flame scarlet as I scrawl my number on her hand. “Here,” I say, trying not to let my embarrassment show. “If you ever change your mind, feel free to call or text any time.”
Her gaze flits between the numbers and me. Finally, she gives a small nod and murmurs her thanks. As I back away, feeling oddly proud of myself for taking such a risk, Daphne watches me go with an intensity that leaves me slightly breathless.
About the Author. . .
Claerie Kavanaugh has spent most of her life telling stories, but she never imagined herself writing romance. In fact, she used to think it should only be reserved for Hallmark movies. It wasn't until college, when she discovered fanfiction, that she learned what romance was truly about: not just fluffy relationships and happily-ever-afters, but human connection, the desire to push one another to be better, and create hope that somewhere, somehow, everyone has someone.
When she's not writing, she loves to travel and explore new cultures, helping other authors polish their works as a freelance editor, and singing while doing so. Broadway musicals are her soul-food, something her mother and sister know well. She constantly blasts the newest soundtrack through the halls of their Missouri home, much to the chagrin of her very sassy and spoiled cat.
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