Happy Monday!!! I’m kicking off the blog tour for Laura Chapman’s upcoming release PLAYING HOUSE with a guest post and excerpt! When Laura asked for a topic for the guest post, I wanted to have some fun, so I gave her this…
YOU AND SOME OF YOUR CHARACTERS MEET FOR DINNER. DESCRIBE THE EVENING. WHO WOULD ATTEND? WOULD PERSONALITIES CLASH?
…and I must say that she completely exceeded my expectations with the amazing scene below!!! After that, you’ll find the links to pre-order (or buy if you’re reading this after March 21), an excerpt, and giveaway! If you don’t want to read PLAYING HOUSE after this post…I’ve got nothing. You’re crazy!
I can’t believe I landed what might be the greatest interview of my journalism career. Forget that I quit being a journalist years ago to go into public relations, because I am officially back tonight.
After another busy week of filming their hit TV show on the Design Network, the stars of Playing House with Wilder and Waverly have agreed to meet me for dinner. We’re dining at a bar and grill on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, which happens to be one of my favorite towns and where they’re filming this season. I’m so excited I arrive at the designated restaurant a few minutes early. I don’t mind the wait because it gives me ample opportunity to watch two of my favorite on-screen personalities arrive. I hope they’re as quirky and funny—not to mention, talented—in person as they are when I binge-watch episodes of their show.
About ten minutes after the appointed time, I spot Wilder walking through the door first. Oh, he’s good looking. Maybe not in the same way as Ryan Reynolds or Chris Pine, but definitely in an “I would totally be tempted, even though he’s taken” way. He’s wearing his trademark five o’clock shadow and a flannel shirt over his broad shoulders. Yeah. I’m tempted. I strain my eyes to find Waverly, but instead he guides another woman toward our table. Clad in a complimentary plaid shirt—did they plan this?—and jeans, her honey blonde hair is pulled away from her face in a messy ponytail.
“Hey, sorry we’re late,” Wilder says, shaking my hand as I rise to greet them. “Filming ran long today. I can’t say much more until the episodes air, but we’ve had a major setback with one of our houses.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Hope everyone is okay.”
I wait, exchanging a nervous grin with the unknown woman and hoping Wilder takes a hint and introduces us. It only takes a moment—and a light nudge in the ribs from his guest—for him to catch on.
“Forgot my manners. Laura this is Bailey. She’s a local designer working with us this season. She’s . . . helping Waverly out.”
“Nice to meet you.” We shake hands and I glance at the door again. “Will Waverly be able to join us too?”
“No, she’s in New York this weekend. Working on her new book.”
“That sounds exciting.”
“Yeah, well . . . Bailey has been a Godsend. Helping us figure out what to do and how to do it right. I don’t know what we would do without her.”
We take our seats and place our orders with a server. Once we’re settled, I turn on my recorder and pull out a notebook and pen.
“So Wilder,” I begin. “How has it been working in your home state after all these years away?”
“Great. I love the experiences I’ve had in New York, Toronto, and everywhere else we’ve been. But my heart is here in Texas—more than ever now.” He clears his throat and tugs at his collar. “I mean, it’s been nice to see my parents. Especially for Virginia. They’re having a lot of fun spoiling her.”
“And how is your daughter?”
“She’s a pistol. Like usual.”
“She must keep you and Waverly busy.”
“Yep. But we’re enjoying it. She’ll be going to school, soon, and we won’t see her around set as much.”
“Wow. I can’t believe how fast she’s growing up. It seems like she was a baby five minutes ago. Where will she go to school? Will you film around it?”
Wilder sighs and shakes his head. “We’re still figuring it out. I never dreamed we’d still be doing this after so many years.”
“Gotcha.” I scribble down a few more notes then turn my attention to Bailey. “Tell me about yourself. How did you end up on the crew?”
“The usual way. I saw an ad. Applied for a job. Got it.”
“Okay . . . and what has it been like joining the team?”
“It’s a lot of fun. They’re a talented group and I’m learning a lot.”
“And what’s it like working with Waverly?”
“Great. She’s so talented.”
Hmm. This interview isn’t going how I planned. First, Waverly is a no-show and her sub isn’t much of a talker. Actually, Wilder isn’t either. I haven’t worked this hard to get sources to talk since I was in journalism school. It’s like they’re hiding something.
Our food arrives giving us a short reprieve from the awkward Q&A session. My tuna melt looks and smells mouth-watering, as does Bailey’s cheeseburger platter. Wilder’s cobb salad—sans bacon and dressing—looks . . . edible.
He catches my stare. “The camera adds ten pounds, so . . .”
Bailey rolls her eyes, which is the most reaction I’ve had from her since the interview began. “He worries way too much about his weight. So vain.”
“You look good,” I add.
“Yeah, well . . .” he trails off and peeks at Bailey.
We both notice a bit of ketchup on her chin. I’m about to tell her when Wilder reaches over and wipes it off. Then he strokes her chin in a gesture way too intimate for co-workers.
Wait a minute. Oh. My. God. “Are you guys—”
They face me in unison. Bailey’s jaw falls open, but she remains silent. Stricken. Wilder recovers first and narrows his eyes.
“We’re going to have to go off the record or you need to change the subject. Fast.”
Off the record. That would mean no more inside scoop for you, dear reader. No big interview or scoop for me. No return to journalism. But going off the record means satisfying my own curiosity.
“Okay.” I close my notebook and turn off the recorder. “We’re off the record.”
It’s not like I wanted to revive my journalism career anyway. Sorry, readers. You’ll just have to check out Playing House when it comes out on March 21 to get the details for yourself.
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?
Read an Excerpt from Playing House
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.”
Enter the Giveaway!!
This month, during the Playing House blog tour, you can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 1 free Audible copy each of The Marrying Type, First & Goal, Going for Two or 1 $20 Amazon gift card.