Too Hot for TV

( 20 )

Overview

Her Fantasy And His Reality. . .

Classically trained actress Imani Gilliam is gifted, beautiful—and broke. Facing eviction, her only hope of staying afloat is to do the reality TV show, "Let's Get Married. " The show pairs up single strangers, and viewers vote for who should be united in wedded bliss. Imani is only looking to be united with a paycheck—until she locks eyes with a fellow contestant. . .

Are ...

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Overview

Her Fantasy And His Reality. . .

Classically trained actress Imani Gilliam is gifted, beautiful—and broke. Facing eviction, her only hope of staying afloat is to do the reality TV show, "Let's Get Married. " The show pairs up single strangers, and viewers vote for who should be united in wedded bliss. Imani is only looking to be united with a paycheck—until she locks eyes with a fellow contestant. . .

Are About To Create A Buzz. . .

Dr. Raymond Thomas is determined to keep his struggling free clinic running—even if it means appearing on "Let's Get Married. " He can't imagine finding love on TV—but when he spots Imani, he definitely finds lust. And their attraction isn't lost on the producers. But as the cameras start focusing on them, Raymond wonders if he's just a tool in Imani's career. Only time—and a life-changing choice—will tell. . .

Praise for More Than He Can Handle

"Hodges delivers a sizzling romance. . . " —Publishers Weekly

"A wonderful read. " —UrbanReviews.com

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hodges (A Love of Her Own) keeps this streamlined contemporary romance tightly focused on the beautiful couple of Raymond Thomas, a doctor running a free clinic, and Imani Gilliam, an underappreciated Juilliard-trained actress. He's tired of gold diggers, she's tired of men who want her to jump into bed before she's ready, and neither wants to marry. They join the Let's Get Married show anyway—Raymond looking for funding, Imani for fame and exposure. Hodges misses big opportunities for humor and development of secondary characters, instead giving Imani and Raymond instant chemistry and a smooth trip into money and success with an easy exit strategy. The awkwardness between experienced Raymond and sexual novice Imani is never explored, though Raymond gets excessive credit for not being (very) pushy. The tension-free gushing is fun wish-fulfillment, but poor storytelling. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758265715
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 1,031,438
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Cheris Hodges

Cheris Hodges was bitten by the writing bug at an early age and always knew she wanted to be a writer. She is a 1999 graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and a staff writer at Creative Loafing magazine in Charlotte, North Carolina. A native of Bennettsville, South Carolina, Cheris loves hearing from her readers.

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Read an Excerpt

Too HOT For TV


By CHERIS HODGES

DAFINA BOOKS

Copyright © 2011 Cheris Hodges
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-6571-5


Chapter One

If looks could kill, Edward Funderburke would have been dead under Imani Gilliam's icy stare. Her agent must have been losing his mind along with his silver hair for suggesting such a thing. A reality TV show?

Imani was a serious actress, not someone seeking fifteen minutes of fame, like those people who signed up for those shows. Obviously, Edward must have forgotten that. Imani was Broadway, feature films—not reality TV. Instead of getting her a part in a cheap reality show, he should have worked harder to get her the role in the reprisal of the hit play Kiss of the Spider Woman. According to Edward, the producers were looking for someone with more of a recognizable name, even though she had wowed them at her audition. But how did anyone think Imani would become a bankable name if she couldn't get a big role that would make her a star?

What Imani lacked in name recognition, she made up for in talent. She was the classic triple threat—she could sing, dance, and act. That should have been enough, or at least that's what Imani thought. But in this industry, sometimes it didn't matter how talented you were, which was why so many rappers and singers had lead roles in so many movies, yet only a few of them were actually good enough to pull it off.

She'd do a film with Common, but he was the only rapper who she felt deserved the screen time he received. The rest of them needed to stick to their day jobs and studios needed to put their faith in actresses and actors—people who trained to do the job.

Imani wasn't naive enough to think that the studios weren't in it for the money. That's why 50 Cent and T.I. starred alongside Denzel and Samuel L. Jackson. And if it wasn't the rappers, it was the stars who stayed in the tabloids who got all of the plum roles. Imani would've loved the chance to play the lead in Salt. Of course, she didn't have the name recognition of Angelina Jolie or the headlines.

Folding her arms, she glared at Edward, letting him know that she wasn't warming to the idea of doing a reality show.

"It's a really good concept, and think of the national exposure," Edward added, hoping to open Imani's mind to the notion.

"Eddie, I know you don't really expect me to say yes. I'm a real actress," Imani said indignantly, flipping her curly locks behind her ear. "These shows are for has-beens or wannabes. Maybe if you would get out of the office more often, you'd find a script for me that would give me the name recognition that I so badly need."

"All right, Imani," he said, leaning across his desk and looking her directly in the eye. "Let's be real here. You haven't worked in months, no one has sent you a script since you did Fearless Diva and, need I remind you, that wasn't the best vehicle that you could have taken. Monster's Ball could have been your breakthrough role. Halle won the Oscar for that role. You would've been great in that role and I tried to tell you that. You just think that you can do anything you want to do and you can't. It's about building a career, a portfolio that people identify you with. Those regional plays you've done, most of them have been for free and no one, not a soul, is trying to put them on Broadway. You have to do something to shake the stagnant off your career."

Imani rolled her eyes. "I didn't want to do a drama. I had just come off a dramatic role on Broadway and I needed a break," she said. "And if you gave me better advice, then maybe I would listen. You weren't too happy about the Monster's Ball role either; now all of a sudden it was the best thing that I ever passed up?" She folded her arms underneath her breasts and pouted.

Unfazed by her temper tantrum, Edward leaned back and propped his feet up on the desk. "You gambled and we lost. Now, Imani, I like you and I believe in your talent, but you're not one of my most profitable clients. If either of us has a plan to make any money, we have to get you out there and make your name stand out in a crowd. This is a start. I don't want to have to drop you, but you've got to do something. This show can build your image. Look at how famous lots of people who have no acting ability have gotten—all from the exposure of reality TV. We can turn that fame into big movie roles and those Broadway shows that you want."

Imani chewed on the end of her sculptured nail, pondering what he'd said to her. It had been hard for her to get signed by a reputable agent. Before meeting Edward, she'd been scammed by so-called talent agents who wanted to put her in B-list movies and soft-core pornography films.

At least Edward had done his best to get her roles in blockbuster movies and hit stage productions, even if she didn't agree with him at the moment. He'd steered her away from the typical chitlin' circuit plays that young actresses found themselves acting in and from becoming typecast as a neck-rolling, finger-wagging stereotype.

But now, he and Imani were desperate.

"Eddie, I'm trying, but these reality shows are just so beneath me, and the images that they portray are not the best. Sometimes the women on these shows are just dumb looking, slutty, or bitchy. I'm none of the above."

"It pays fifteen thousand dollars up front. It's only ten weeks and you might even get voted off before the show is over. The concept is simple. You get teamed up with a bachelor, do some physical challenges, and America votes to see if you and your partner should get married. Just make a splash and watch the scripts and offers come rolling in."

"No," she said, and then stood up. "I'd rather starve." Imani turned to her left, ready to walk out the door.

"Aren't you doing that already?" Edward called out.

Imani slammed the office door behind her. The gall, she thought as she headed for the subway terminal. She wanted to take a cab, but with only three dollars in her pocket and a box of raisins for dinner in her apartment, a taxi trip was a luxury that she couldn't afford. Besides, a taxi trip from Manhattan to Brooklyn would wipe out her savings in the bank—if you could call it a savings account. She barely had a hundred dollars in her checking and savings accounts combined. Calling her parents for a loan was out because the first thing her mother, Dorothy, would say is that she needed a real job and acting was a dream she needed to give up. Her father, Horace, would tell her that it was time for her to join the family business of home restorations.

She could be in charge of the interior design aspect of it, even live in a historic home in beautiful Savannah, Georgia. Imani wanted no part of it. Her dream was to act, sing, or dance. Her career of choice was considered an insignificant pipe dream by her family. She'd graduated with a degree from the Juilliard School and hadn't asked her parents for a penny, despite the fact that she went into major debt paying for the expensive performing arts college.

Frowning as she headed to the subway entrance, Imani tried to figure out how she was going to take a free trip on the subway because she wasn't sure if she had the money to make it home. When she saw three New York City Transit officers arresting a group of teenagers who were also trying to get a free ride home, she knew she'd have to walk. She was only about two miles from her place in Fulton Ferry and she could use the exercise. Besides, the walk would give her a chance to think about the reality show.

"I'm not doing it," she mumbled to herself. By the time she had walked five blocks, her feet were throbbing like a heartbeat. "Maybe I should do it. The Apprentice made Omarosa a star and she's not even an actress. But then she did that stupid dating show on TV One," Imani said to no one in particular as she unsnapped her Steve Madden sandals, took them off, and flung them over her shoulder. "But," she continued musing to herself, "I trained at Juilliard. I shouldn't be subjected to this."

Imani was half a block away from her home when she decided that she wasn't going to go on the reality show. She held her head high and walked up to the door of her building, ready to prop her feet up and relax with her Variety magazine. Before she could put the key in the lock, reality sucker-punched her in the stomach. A pink note with big red letters was tacked to her door. "Eviction," it read. Imani snatched the note off the door. She pulled her cell phone out of her tote bag, pressed speed dial number three, and waited for Edward to answer.

"Funderburke and Associates, Edward speaking," he said.

"It's Imani. I've done some thinking," she said as she read the eviction notice for a second time. "I'll do the stupid show."

"Well, don't sound so excited about it," he replied. "What made you change your mind?"

Imani made a mental note of the thirty-day deadline she'd been given to come up with the back rent. Then she balled up the notice. "Let's just say I know this is what I need to do right now."

Storming into her place, Imani decided to watch a little television to take her mind off her current situation. But that was the wrong thing to do. As she flipped through the channels, lamenting her career, she stopped on a sitcom that she'd auditioned for.

"LisaRaye is not a better actress than I am," she exclaimed as she came across a rerun of All of Us, and then flipped the channel.

Next she landed on a Lifetime movie about an abused wife who'd killed her husband. As she watched the unknown actress overdramatize her lines, Imani knew that she would have done so much better in the role, had it been offered to her. She remembered that she'd once told Edward that the last thing she wanted to do was a Lifetime movie. Now, she wished that she'd never made such a crazy statement.

Then she came across her movie on the FX channel. Fearless Diva was a bomb, but it wasn't J. Lo in Gigli or Halle's Catwoman. If she was honest, she'd admit that it was worse. But she wasn't practicing honesty right now.

That role should have led to something, she thought as she watched herself prance across the screen in a skintight leather catsuit. At least my clothes were fierce. Twirling a lock of hair around her finger, Imani critiqued her performance. She was pretty awful in the movie, but it wasn't her fault. The script was horrible and the cameraman, who also called himself the director, didn't know how to operate the camera because every scene looked as if the wind had gotten hold of the equipment.

Maybe Imani did deserve those Razzie award nominations she'd gotten. But someone had to see her potential, didn't they? As tears welled up in her eyes, Imani wondered if her family had been right about her career. Were they right to have no faith in her? Was she chasing a pipe dream that had no chance of coming true?

The phone wouldn't stop ringing at the Palmer Free Clinic in Harlem. And that was the least of their worries. The receptionist had left for lunch three hours ago and never returned. That left Dr. Raymond Thomas juggling answering calls with seeing patients, writing down appointments, and taking messages. What he didn't have time for was a game-playing prankster. "Look," Raymond said, a frown darkening his handsome face, "this is a place of business. No one here has time to play with a lowlife small-timer like you."

"Sir, this isn't a joke. I'm Elize Harrington, a producer with the WAPC Network. You're a candidate for our new reality show, Let's Get Married. Your name was submitted to us and we reviewed your qualifications and we want you on the show," she said, her voice in a near plea.

"Ms. Harrington, who put you up to this joke?" Raymond dropped his pen on the desk and held his finger up to the patient in front of him waiting for her prescription.

The woman sighed. "Again, sir, this isn't a joke. Our show is going to air later this year, but the ten weeks of filming starts in a few weeks. We just need you to come in and take a screen test and sign a waiver."

A rush of people were vying for Raymond's attention. All at once, he had a patient trying to make a follow-up appointment, a nurse questioning him about his orders for a different patient, and the same woman who'd been waiting for ten minutes still wanting her prescription. As Raymond's head began throbbing, he silently wished he could write himself a doctor's note and go home.

He mumbled yes to the producer, told her to call his cell phone, leave the details about the show on his voice mail, and he would call her back. Raymond hung up the phone and, putting his composed doctor face back on, turned to his patient. When things calmed down, Raymond was going to get to the bottom of this reality TV show mess. It was already pushed to the back burner.

"Mrs. Wentworth," he said, taking the elderly woman's hand, "can you come back in two weeks?"

The caramel-colored woman smiled at him. "I can do that and my grandbaby, Emma, can bring me. She's real pretty and she can cook, too. Our family is originally from the south and southern women know how to do one thing better than anyone else does, and that's cook. Dr. Thomas, you don't get many home-cooked meals, do you? You're not married, are you?"

"No, ma'am," he replied with a smile, even though he wanted to push her out the door. If Raymond had a penny for every elderly woman who wanted to fix him up with her granddaughter, niece, or daughter, he would be rich enough to fund the clinic himself.

Mrs. Wentworth shook her head. "That's a shame. You need a good woman to take care of you. You're way too skinny. I like a man with a little more meat on his bones, but my grandbaby would love you."

Nurse Karen DeSalis dropped a chart in front of Raymond. "Mrs. Wentworth, I've been telling him that for years, but he doesn't listen."

Raymond rolled his eyes. Who had time for love or romance? He and his fraternity brother, Keith Jacobs, had opened the Marion Palmer Free Clinic, named for their favorite first-grade teacher, three years ago in Harlem. They'd gone to Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, together and did their residency at Grady Memorial Hospital. When their residency was over, the native New Yorkers returned to Harlem ready to make a difference. Luckily for them, they had help. Keith and Raymond received a three-million-dollar grant from the Harlem Revitalization Group to buy equipment. The city donated the building and donations from businesses helped the men with the first year's operating costs. Then September 11 happened and everything changed. As donations began to dry up, Keith and Raymond poured their savings into the clinic. They could barely pay the staff, which was why they were on their fourth receptionist in a month.

"Karen, have you seen Keith?" Raymond asked as Mrs. Wentworth walked out the door.

"He's eating lunch in the doctor's lounge," she replied. "But what about these orders?" She placed her hand on his sculpted arm, preventing him from leaving the front desk.

Raymond picked up the chart. "Discharge Loretta, give her meds for the pain, and have her come back in a month. What's the question?"

"Sorry, doc, I'm not fluent in chicken scratch."

Raymond playfully sneered at her and then broke out laughing. "Watch the door and phones for me. Five minutes, okay?" She nodded, and then Raymond took off for the doctor's lounge, which was more like a storage closet with a dingy window.

Keith was sitting at the small table, more akin to a TV tray, eating a salad and a roast chicken sandwich. "What's up, Ray?" Keith asked, catching his partner's stare.

"You tell me, brother."

Keith stood up, stuffing the last of his sandwich in his mouth. "The only time you call me 'brother' is when you're pissed off. What did I do now?"

Raymond raised his eyebrow. "You're going to stand here and pretend that you don't know what you did? I got a call that I'm sure you know all about. Some TV producer called me about the show Let's Get Married."

"Finally! I'm glad they got to my letter," Keith said excitedly. "I thought all of my writing had been in vain."

Raymond was tempted to grab his best friend by the throat and choke him like a chicken ready to be plucked and fried.

"Keith, have you lost your mind? First of all, I don't want to get married, and second of all, I'm not reality TV material."

"Think about it Ray. This show guarantees people will hear of the Marion G. Palmer Free Clinic over and over again. And I'm sure the ladies will swoon over tall, muscular Dr. Ray-Ray, just like they did in college. We can't pay for this kind of publicity. It's not as if we can afford it anyway. Bro, we're in trouble. At this point, we need to do anything to keep these doors open."

Raymond shook his head. "Why don't you go on the show?" he snapped.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Too HOT For TV by CHERIS HODGES Copyright © 2011 by Cheris Hodges. Excerpted by permission of DAFINA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Everyday we dream of what our lives would be like if we could ha

    Everyday we dream of what our lives would be like if we could have the job of jobs - financial stability, worry-free life, prestige and notability.  How would you handle life if you got the dream job AND the man of your dreams, is that too good to be true?




    Imani Gilliam is a beautiful woman and an actress who can't seem to find the right role to fit her style, whatever that is.  Imani has starred in one movie that was a horrible blemish on her already non-existent resume of acting credits and if she could get that one big break she just knows that she can show the world that she has talent and is more than just a pretty face.  Imani moral standards are admirable but her diva like qualities might just keep her from reaching that dream that she is trying to obtain.




    Dr. Raymond Thomas has a struggling clinic in Harlem that he and his partner are keeping open so that the less fortunate seniors who can not afford to travel uptown can have quality health care.  Dr. Thomas is looking for something that can help him and his patients keep the doors open beyond the next couple of days, it looks the donations and funding is running out and he doesn't know what they are going to do.  There has to be a silver lining somewhere and soon!




    Cheris Hodges writes this novel with a very smooth flow.  The characters work well together like you can actually see it happening in real life, Imani could actually be your best friend because we all have dealt with HER before.  It is something that we want to see and believe can happen and therefore we reach for in our personal lives and that makes for a great read.  This is my first read by Hodges but definitely not my last.  Great job, keep up the good work!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

    Cam

    Say something im giving up on you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Heather

    Hey Alec if ur on!!!:)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    Codey to Mia

    Res 5

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    To codey

    Locked out - mia

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    Jade

    First result.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2013

    Bane

    I am

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    Alec

    Ok theirs a fake their but i am wearing a cowboy hat

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Too hot for tv

    Okay i have mixef feelings about this book. It kept me on edge the whole time. I was expecting a totallydifferent ending maybe someone fying ( buy glad that didnt happen) then i thought more drama or msube a baby but nothing. Gor some reason i still liked it. I guess i was glad no one died.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    Wonderful!

    Well written story, with well written characters, interesting plot.
    Raymond and Imani were attracted to one another from the first meeting,then he saves her life ,later that same day. Setting the stage for what was coming later.
    Great read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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