TITLE: Laguna Nights (Laguna Nights, 1)
AUTHOR: Kaira Rouda
Adult Contemporary Romance
Cover designer: Okay Creations
Madison Alcott left her Laguna Beach childhood in the past as soon as she could, never imagining she’d be forced to return. Caring for her ill mother and holding down a high-pressure position at the best resort in town, Madison’s life is as good as it could ever be in Laguna Beach. And blissfully, nobody knows her as Holly anymore, the name she used on television. Everything changes when her high school boyfriend appears in the lobby. He was the reason she’d left Laguna in the first place when he humiliated her on national television.
Josh Welsh’s star has been dimming ever since he shot to fame as the high school heartthrob on the reality TV series Laguna Nights. Hoping to reignite his career, he agreed to host a travel show, with the first episode shooting in his old hometown of Laguna Beach. Of all the negative scenarios associated with filming in Laguna, Josh hadn’t calculated a run-in with Madison, or that the same deep connection he felt for her in high school would still be there.
Madison and Josh’s reality TV relationship exploded years ago but when the new series forces them together, they must face Laguna Nights past and present.
“Welcome to the Mondrian,” said a teenage kid who reminded Josh of himself at that age, an age that seemed so long ago now. “Right this way gentlemen. We have been expecting you.”
There were two other guests and about fifty staff waiting for them as they walked into the lobby. Josh focused on the view of the ocean beyond, keeping his sunglasses on and baseball cap pulled low over his face just in case.
“Look at that view,” Marty said joining him at the edge of the lobby and pointing to the expanse of windows across the room added, “We gotta go over there.”
Josh smiled. “Yes, we do,” he said, leading Marty across the lobby. A couple sat in comfortable overstuffed chairs enjoying an afternoon cocktail. Neither of them paid any attention as the men walked past them to where doors opened onto the majestic balcony he remembered. Below them, the mosaic tile pool beckoned.
“And you’ve never gone swimming in that? Gorgeous,” Marty said, although Josh wasn’t sure if the man was referring to the pool or the two women in bikinis.
“Not legally,” Josh said. “Most of us locals didn’t really hang out down here. This place used to be a trailer park, can you believe that? Anyway, once I joined the show, I had to be careful about doing crazy things like sneaking into resorts. Cameras were following me everywhere, it seemed.”
“Well, you better swim in it this weekend,” Marty said as he turned to go back inside. “We need to get the rights to film at this place. It’s gorgeous.”
“No way they’d allow it, but I’ll be swimming for sure,” Josh said to the empty balcony, before following Marty. To his left was a bar and a baby grand piano, to his right, a fireplace with comfortable furniture. And straight ahead, between him and his manager, stood his high school girlfriend, arms crossed in front of her, glaring at him. Even though he could tell she still hated him, and she had good reason to, she looked beautiful. It had been almost fifteen years since they’d seen each other and she’d changed. In high school, she’d been sweet and kind, a little plump but he’d overlooked that because she had been his best friend first. Now, she had grown into a gorgeous woman.
A very angry woman.
He should never have agreed to come back here. He should never do another reality TV show, he knew. But he also knew he had no choice.
He took off his sunglasses and held out his hand. “Hi Holly,” he said.
“Don’t call me that. What are you doing here?” she asked, ignoring his attempt at a handshake, her beautiful blue eyes darkened, glaring. She was making him nervous.
“Just coming home to Laguna,” he said. Why couldn’t he use her name, he wondered.
“Oh right,” she said, shaking her head. “I’m sure you’re up to something. Just keep this property out of it, OK?” And then she turned and walked away.
Kaira Rouda is an Amazon #1 bestselling, multiple award-winning author of three women's fiction novels including HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE and IN THE MIRROR.
Tule Publishing Group's Southern Born imprint is publishing her new contemporary romance series set on INDIGO ISLAND: WEEKEND WITH THE TYCOON, Book 1; LINES IN THE SAND, Book 2; THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS, Book 3; and THE BILLIONAIRE'S BID, Book 4. Three more books in the series will be out in 2015.
Her nonfiction title, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, continues to inspire women internationally.