Hott Take by Serena Bell

Hott Take
Serena Bell
(Hott Springs Eternal, #2)
Publication date: April 16th 2024
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

The hard part isn’t acting like we’re falling for each other. It’s pretending we’re not.

Shane: My grandfather’s will has me between a rock and a Hott place. If I don’t score a celebrity wedding, my sister will lose her wedding planning business—and our family’s land. As a playboy movie star, I know Hollywood’s ins and outs. But finding two celebrities in love is tougher than it looks.

Enter Ivy Scofield—the beautiful star of one of TV’s most beloved failures. She’s hiding from her past in Rush Creek, running a community theater for troubled kids. She needs my family’s wedding barn to save her program. So we make a deal: I give her the barn—she gives me her hand in fake marriage. Lights, camera, action—and cut—right?

Not so fast. Planning our fake wedding is way more personal than I was expecting. I’m learning Ivy’s quirks, preferences, and pet peeves—and that’s before I walk in on her enjoying my most infamous on-camera scene. Plus she’s slowly peeling back my layers—the ones I’ve built up to protect myself. If someone doesn’t do something soon, we might discover that the only thing fake about this wedding is the way we keep pushing each other away.

A spicy, movie star, marriage of convenience, fake relationship standalone romantic comedy set in the beloved small town of Rush Creek.

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After Nia told me that Shane Hott is an actor, I watched the first Crown of Spires movies, Lord of Every Sky. It was full of scenes where he was shirtless, badass, and bossy. He’s basically the villain of the first movie—although I get the sense that he’s going to be redeemed later from the way the camera lingers on his…assets.

Even as I watched, I questioned my life choices. I wasn’t at all sure watching the movie was a good idea because in a town as small as Rush Creek, Shane and I were bound to cross paths.

After I watched him in Lord of Every Sky, I wanted to build a small monument to his torso and worship it…with my tongue.

And now, encountering him in the hallway outside of Hanna’s office, my knees feel less solid than I would ideally like.

Never trust a guy so good looking he makes you stupid.

So I do what any self-respecting woman would do in that situation.

I pretend I have no idea who he is.

I can tell he’s waiting for me to recognize him, giving me a beat to say, Holy crap, Shane Hott!

After he got on Bridge and turned into a household name, Anthony used to do the same thing.

Seeing echoes of Anthony in this guy makes me even less inclined to give him what he wants. Another Hollywood fuckboy hopped up on fan worship. It’s the last thing my life needs.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Ivy Scofield,” I say, cool and low key, like I’m introducing myself to the manager at the bank.

Surprise flickers behind his eyes, but he hides it, extending his hand. I take it. It’s big, warm, and dry and, unfortunately for my equilibrium, attached to a toned, muscular forearm below a rolled shirt sleeve. The shirt itself is a soft-looking blue gray that clings in all the right places to his movie star–worthy shoulders, pecs, and abs. He has long-lashed dark brown eyes paired with a blade of a nose, square jaw, and lush mouth. Against my will, I admit that he’s gorgeous.

I thought I had permanently rid myself of men who were too good looking to be believed, but apparently not.

“I think we can help each other out,” he says. Actually, he whispers it. “You, um, mind walking with me?” He gestures toward the exit.

“Should I be worried that you’re a serial killer?”

The corner of his mouth turns up. “I’m not a serial killer. I’m an actor.”

“Even worse.”

He laughs, which is terrible because it makes him even better looking, all eye crinkles and white teeth and genuine amusement. Then he stops—because I wasn’t joking and he seems to intuit that.

“Even so,” he says, more seriously. “Please. Just…let me walk you out and tell you what I’m thinking.”

I give him a shrug-nod, and we walk out of Hott Springs together to the parking lot. Now I know who owns the Aston Martin Vanquish I parked next to. I know nothing about cars…but Anthony coveted that car: fast, expensive, and—his words—a dream to drive.

As we draw even with his car, Shane says, “I know you need our barn.”

I flick him a quick, confused glance as hope buys real estate in my chest. It sounds like he’s implying that it still might be possible. I will do anything to save our theater—not just for me, but for the kids. I know Nia feels the same way.

“I can get the barn for you.”

“Hanna said—”

“Hanna wasn’t looking at the whole picture,” he tells me. “I am.”

I raise an eyebrow.

“You need the barn, and I need you to marry me.”

His too-pretty-for-real-life face is deadly serious now. My mouth falls open.

Author Bio:

USA Today bestselling author Serena Bell writes contemporary romance with heat, heart, and humor. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and you can often find her scribbling in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.

Serena’s books have earned many honors, including an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Apple Books Best Book of the Month, and Amazon Best Book of the Year for Romance.

When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also of how often she changes her hobbies and how passionately she embraces the new ones. These days, it’s stand-up paddle boarding, board-gaming, meditation, and long walks with good friends.

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