Dr. Calla Roberts has seen too much death, destruction and betrayal to ever believe in fairy tales or men who are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Which is why LA Lawyer Alex Hardy irritates the crap out of her. He's a lawyer who practices radical honesty in a city famous for make believe. When an actor who thinks he can buy or cheat his way out of anything attempts to discredit Calla, Alex (with a crooked nose for trouble) champions her desperate cause. She slowly begins to think that good guys do exist, until she discovers Alex has lied about who he is, and who he loves.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)|
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Dr. Calla Roberts stared down at the newspaper in her hands, a frown creasing her forehead. How the heck had the papers gotten these photos? The four published on page one were post-surgical pictures that shouldn't have gone further than the patient's file. All of them were images she'd taken, their only use to document the reconstructive surgery she'd performed.
Anger and disgust churned her gut, making her wish she hadn't eaten lunch. When she got her hands on the scumbag who was leaking photos from Seacliffe Cosmetic Surgery & Spa she was going to ... Well, she wasn't sure what she was going to do. Something not nice, certainly. Humiliating would be good. Publicly humiliating would be better.
She closed the newspaper and threw it on the table in the spa's employee lounge.
She picked it up, crumpled it into a ball, dropped it on the floor, jumped on it a few times, and then hurled it into the trash.
"Um, Dr. Roberts?"
Calla glanced over her shoulder. Seacliffe's receptionist, Selena Harris, stood in the doorway.
"Sorry to interrupt your lunch, but Alexander Hardy is here to see you."
"Alexander Hardy? Mr. Perfect booked an appointment with me?"
Selena winced. "He doesn't have an appointment."
He thought she was a hack for what he called pasting permanent lies onto otherwise perfect faces. He made it clear when he called her a glorified makeup artist the day they met. "Why does he want to see me?"
"Something about taking advantage of the downtrodden of LA?" She shrugged. "I'm not really clear on what he meant. He's sort of ranting."
"Ranting?" Alex Hardy, the spa's lawyer on retainer, with offices next door and a nose for trouble, was capable of many things, but ranting? When he spoke it was with perfect diction and deliberate intent. So not a ranter.
Calla had only met the man a couple of times, but the impression he'd made on her was one of sharp intelligence coupled with a strength of will rivaling her own. Which was probably why they'd disagreed vehemently both times they'd spoken to each other.
He also represented the owner of the spa, Helen Ridgeway, on legal matters. That meant Calla had to be polite to him, though there were times when she'd rather poke him in the eye. Or worse.
In her current mood, verbal thrust and parry would be welcome.
"I'll deal with him, Selena."
"Thanks, Doctor." She gave Calla a smile. "I wasn't sure if I should try to shove him out the door or charge a ten-dollar cover for everyone in the waiting room."
"Why not both?"
Calla must have looked as vicious as she felt because a frown creased Selena's face. "Is something else bothering you?"
"Another leak of photos in the paper."
"Again? I hadn't heard."
"I just saw them." Calla angled her chin at the garbage can.
"Oh, that's what you were jumping on."
"I prefer stomping. It makes me feel like I've done something productive."
Selena shook her head. "Helen is going to have a heart attack if this keeps up."
"Let's hope not." Calla headed out of the lounge and toward the reception area. "I'll go take care of our lawyer problem."
Selena followed at a trot. "He's not really a problem. Helen likes him."
"Helen isn't going to tolerate her lawyer turning our waiting area into a place to practice his courtroom drama skills."
"Oh, one more thing. Jeff MacKay left another message for you. Wants a return phone call."
Calla snorted. "I've already said everything I intend on saying to him. Would you mind calling him back and giving him that message?"
"I used to think he was cute," the receptionist said with a rueful shake of her head. "But not so much anymore."
Jeff MacKay, voted the sexiest man in the world by the tabloids, had become persona non grata to Calla. He'd hit a woman with his car and then left the scene without waiting for police or an ambulance.
If bystanders hadn't taken a bunch of pictures and video of him and his car with its personalized ACTOR plates, he might have gotten away with it. But the photos and video uploaded to the internet clearly showed what happened.
Calla had been called in to Helen's House, a free clinic run by Helen Ridgeway, to operate on MacKay's hit-and-run victim, Alicia Deleon, a recent immigrant to the USA from Mexico. Alicia would walk again, but not for several weeks and many hours of physiotherapy.
Jeff MacKay had contacted her shortly after Mrs. Deleon's surgery to ask how he could help Calla's professional interests. He claimed to love supporting charitable organizations like Helen's House. She'd asked him what he wanted in return. He said all he wanted was her friendship.
Ha. She told him her friendship wasn't for sale and hung up on him.
"I've always thought there was something plastic about that man," Calla said. "Fame isn't good for everyone."
She left her office and entered the waiting area. It was airy, decorated in soft colors and comfortable chairs, and had a small coffee bar for the comfort of their patients.
In his mid-thirties, Alex was a tall man, an inch or two over six feet, with the slim, fit build of a swimmer. He moved with the same power and liquid grace of a black panther on the hunt. It was impossible to not watch him cross a room. Her fingers itched to play with the dark hair he let grow a little too long. His face could have been classified as handsome, except for his nose.
It was a bold, slightly crooked blade turning his face into one of compelling character. He must have broken it at some point, but had never had it fixed. In a city known for its drive for perfection, his nose made an interesting statement about him.
And Calla liked that more than she'd care to admit.
At the moment, Alex was chatting animatedly with two aging, daytime soap actresses.
"You need to work on your intensity," one of them said. "Make sure you use it judiciously. You don't want to come off like you're trying too hard."
"Yes, and enunciate in the correct places. Right now you sound a little like Sylvester Stallone with a cold."
It seemed she'd missed an interesting performance.
"A cold?" Alex said with a sneer. "I was going for pneumonia."
"Catastrophic pneumonia?" Calla asked. "The kind that kills in about forty-eight hours?"
"Exactly, Doctor," Alex said, turning toward her, a wide smile on his face. The expression had her heart rate rising and her feet eager to move closer to him. Something about the man drew her like a magnet to iron.
Another reason to be annoyed with him.
She didn't want to be attracted to anyone. Attraction led to dating, love, and having your heart broken while the man you trusted with all your heart cleaned out your bank account. Just like last time.
"Thank you for your excellent suggestion," he said.
Suggestion? "Indeed." Calla sighed. "You wanted to see me? Or would you prefer to come back tomorrow?"
He grinned like a five-year-old who'd caught his first fish. "Today. We have important matters to discuss." He made his bow to the two actresses. "Thank you, ladies."
Alex preceded her to the elegant room she called her office, and she had to force herself to not stare at his taut butt. His slacks were definitely tailored to fit.
She shut the door, sealing herself in a small room with a man who made her feel things she wanted to avoid more than the plague.
He sat in the chair in front of her desk, the oddest expression of anticipation on his face. As if he were preparing to say something that might, or might not, blow up her office. "You're willing to talk. Excellent."
"It must be something urgent for you to create such a production," she said.
"That was not a production. I was warming up."
"Right." She slid behind her desk, sat down, and stared at him. "So?"
He stared back, waiting, expectant. "You wanted to talk to me?"
"Indeed." He leaned forward and she got a whiff of his aftershave. Yum. She sat back deliberately. Sniffing at the man, no matter how much she wanted to, would only get her into the kind of trouble she desperately wanted to avoid.
"I'm curious about what you're selling."
The question was so strange it distracted her from her daytime fantasies of wallowing in his scent while nibbling on his neck. "Selling?"
"And where you're getting it, because I can tell you right now, the law looks harshly at doctors who are also drug dealers."
Calla knew her jaw was hanging open. Knew it, but couldn't do a damn thing about it.
Alex returned her gaze with a serious one of his own and very helpfully told her, "You're going to catch flies."
"I need all the protein I can get, because I couldn't have heard you correctly."
His expression didn't change. "I think you heard me fine."
He'd lost his mind. The butter had slid off his noodles. He'd recited one too many soliloquies and was now living in a fantasy world. "Why on earth would you think that? I write prescriptions for medications as they're required. Nothing more, nothing less."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure." She got up, walked to the door, and opened it. "I think it's time you left."
"Not a good idea." He didn't even get up. "I need to understand you, Dr. Roberts. I need to know if you're a liability to this clinic or not."
He was serious. Whatever he was talking about, it was no joke.
She closed the door, crossed her arms over her chest, and contemplated her guest. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Really?" He tilted his head to one side.
She gritted her teeth. "Not a clue."
She waited for him to tell her more. Ask questions or provide details, but he just looked at her like he was waiting for her to confess to sins she hadn't committed. He might be cute and smell better than her mother's pumpkin pie, but he was also nuts.
Finally, she gave in and asked the obvious. "Why do you think I'm selling drugs?"
"I saw you." His mouth a hard line, his eyes unsmiling.
"Saw me? Saw me do what?" She moved back to her desk and sat down again. If she didn't, she might do something she would most likely regret, like punching him in the mouth.
"You met with a teenage boy at the back of the parking lot and gave him some pills, which you showed him, then put in a small brown paper bag and handed to him. He, in turn, gave you something you pocketed. It looked like money to me. I would have confronted you about it then, but an urgent situation had come up, and by the time I had a couple of minutes free, you were gone."
She blinked, then groaned and covered her face with her hands.
"Doctor, are you all right?" He sounded worried.
He should be, but not about her.
"No." She pulled her hands away. "The stuff in the bag wasn't drugs."
"Well, yes they were, but not the kind you think. That boy is the son of one of my patients from Helen's House. The drug is an antibiotic for his mother, who couldn't make the trip to see me. I didn't charge him a cent. The antibiotics were free samples."
Alex Hardy's face smoothed out and he stared at her. "I see."
"Since I last saw her, she's developed an infection that's made it painful to walk."
"You operated on her?" Alex sat up and stared down his crooked nose at her like she was a particularly ugly cockroach. "What kind of plastic surgery did you do on this woman?"
Calla shook her head. "Stop with the dramatics. You sound like I'm doing backroom nose jobs on members of the mob. I performed reconstructive surgery on her right leg and hip."
"Reconstructive surgery?" His voice went up. "Like making-it-possible-to-walk-again surgery?"
At her nod, he frowned. "I thought you were a plastic surgeon."
"I am. But until I came to Seacliffe, I specialized in reconstructive surgery for accident victims at a public hospital in Chicago. Some of that was making-it-possible-to-walk-again stuff. Some of it was plastic surgery for people who were disfigured in fires or some other accident. I've done a couple of Doctors for the World trips to South America to do cleft palate surgeries and other facial deformities as well."
Alex contemplated the top of her desk for a moment. "Can you prove it was innocent? Because if the press gets a hold of this, they're going to roast you alive and the clinic can't have that. There are enough pictures circulating as it is."
She studied him with narrowed eyes. "How would the press find out about it?"
"They're finding out about a lot of things they shouldn't when it comes to Seacliffe."
Was that a threat or a warning?
He gave her a nod, got to his feet, but paused as he put his hand on the doorknob. "A word to the wise, Doctor. I won't be the only one who thinks you're dealing drugs if you continue to dispense your antibiotic samples in brown paper bags at the back of the parking lot. It looked damned suspicious. What if someone without my scruples saw you? I suggest doing it in this facility or Helen's House in front of witnesses."
Scruples? The majority of lawyers she'd encountered wouldn't know a scruple from a screwdriver. "Should I interpret that as an order?"
He considered her question for a moment, then said, "Yes." He left, closing the door behind himself.
"Next time, make an appointment," she said, wondering if she could get him to come back in so she could throw some paper balls at his head.
Damn that man.
If something were to happen to her medical license, she'd be in hot water up to her neck.
Medical school, and her brother Richard's mounting medical bills meant she had to stay out of trouble, work hard, and hopefully, hopefully, everything would be okay.
Having her nemesis point out her idiocy only made things worse.
She buried her face in her hands and called herself and Alex every name for stupid in the book.
Alex Hardy entered his law building from the back door and headed to his private office. His top private investigator had emailed a file of information on Dr. Roberts. He opened the document and discovered that even though she'd only been working for Seacliffe for a few months, she was already putting in a lot of hours at Helen's House.
Huh. So she hadn't lied. She hadn't tried to hide her feelings or opinions, either, and had shown surprising candor throughout their chat. No excuses or empty promises. Her anger at his accusation was genuine and so direct he'd had a physical reaction to it.
He liked it. A lot.
He'd never been turned on by a woman's anger before. It was almost as attractive as the rest of her. Around thirty with short auburn hair, blue eyes, and alabaster skin, she was a delicate, curvy-looking woman, but beneath her gorgeous exterior was a spine of steel.
His phone rang and Alex had to jar himself out of a fantasy where he got to find out how delicious the good doctor's luscious mouth tasted.
It was his investigator. "Want me to do any follow up on Dr. Roberts?"
"Look into the kid the doctor gave the medication to and his mother. Are they as bad off financially as they seem? They have to be pretty hard up if their doctor is giving them free samples."
"Okay. Will do."
"And do a little snooping into Dr. Roberts's finances. I want to be sure the clinic's newest star doctor doesn't have any skeletons in her closet."
"I'll get on it right away."
Alex ended the call only to have his phone ring in his hand.
His mother. Calling him at work?
"Mom, what's wrong?"
She sighed. "I hate it when you do that."
"Assume I'm calling with bad news."
"The only time you bother me at work is when you have bad news. So what is it?"
She grumbled something unintelligible, and then asked, "Are you going to Grandma Maddy's Sunday for dinner?"
"Catherine is back in town," his mother told him in an ominous tone. "And your Aunt Gerri has decided to come to dinner. She wants to support you in your time of need."
Alex frowned. "Why do all my female relatives think I'm pining over my ex-fiancé?"
"Maybe because you wore black for six months after she left you?" his mother asked.
"I did that to piss Aunt Gerri off, not because I was in mourning."
"Yeah, well, she seems to think you're still grieving."
"That old bat is going to drive me to drink."
"I completely agree. That doesn't change the fact that Gerri and your grandmother are going to smother you with love."
Alex grunted. Why couldn't his family leave him alone? "Tell them I'm bringing a friend."
Excerpted from "Hollywood Scandal"
Copyright © 2014 Julie Rowe.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An arrogant & panties dropping lawyer verses a curvy sexy female doc! Who will win? Dr. Calla Roberts was highly skilled reconstruction surgeon in Chicago, but now works in Hollywood at the Seacliffe Cosmetic Surgery & Spa because she is in debt up to her children's eyeballs. With a brother who is a quadriplegic in 24/7 medical care & an ex-fiancé who cleaned out her bank account, she needed to go to where the money was. On the plus side, her boss, Helen Ridgeway, runs Helen's House which is a free clinic & Calla gets to use her extensive skill to help make a difference to the ones who need it the most, like Alicia Deleon, a hit & run victim. Alex Hardy is a high powered LA lawyer know for his ruthless honesty. His Grandma Maddy was a famous 50s star & he knows the ins & outs of Hollywood. Alex just tossed his money hungry, cheating with his ex-friend & fame starved ex-fiancée to the curb. He has a kooky family trying to baby him & boost his confidence, but really they love to jerk his chain. Will he ever find a truthful woman without stars in her eyes & her hands out? Calla's life sucks with all the patient's photos & info being leaked left & right to the media & also has an actor, Jeff MacKay, stalking her because he was the hit & run drive that almost destroyed Alicia leg & hip. So why is the most arrogant, tactless & panties dropping Alex Hardy, the spa's legal rep, sitting in her office? Alex asks her if she is selling drugs to kids, because he saw her handing pills to a kid in the parking lot. As far as misunderstandings go this one is a whopper, but she explains her poor hit & run patient's son came for antibiotics. Alex is so turned on by her righteous anger, so he decides that he needs explore this white-hot need of lust, for the little curvy doc. Since his family is driving him crazy, he decides to ask Calla to go to his Grandma Maddy's kooky, squabbling, insults flying & sometimes knock down drag out fights family dinner. He offers her a deal, free legal consul for one night of pretending to be his GF! Calla is so stressed that having dinner with a famous movie star says like a HOOT! What she doesn't expect is the driven need to crawl into the sexy lawyer's lap & let her hormones go into hyper drive! Soon all their passions are like a out of control tsunami, Calla's is accused of dealing drugs, paparazzi everywhere, a mysterious romantic admirer, more media leaks, creepy actor still stalking & a meddling famous Grandma & quadriplegic brother join Fairy Godperson powers to slap some sense into this hopeless couple. Is a few days enough time to fall in love? When will Calla learn to trust love again? Will Alex honesty bite him in the a$$? Can he save her medical career & heal her heart? Who will play who in the movie? Julie Rowe is a new author to me & I am a true historical romance geek, so I really enjoyed this contemporary romance because it had a historical flavor to it. Calla played a brilliant surgeon, but doubted herself as a desirable woman, a bluestocking. Now yummy Alex is a lawyer with a famous family & just wanted to be loved for himself, a Duke. Ms. Rowe wrote fantastic scenes up against the walls, a headboard & on the bed for Alex & Calla. These two would have problems, if they stayed in bed. Fairy Godfolks are a favorite of mine, whether they are furry, 4 or 2 legged, male or female, so long as they are determined to throw, slam, collide & mix up the lovers' world! Why? Because it makes the story unique, kookier, ROF"hyperventilating"L & UNEXPECTED! Ms. Rowe is a new author discovery for me & plan to SHOUT (insert pompoms here) IT OUT! This contemporary romance with a historical flair get my score of 4 fingers up & 8 toes. NetGalley ARC was given for my honest review.
This series started off a little slow - but each book has gotten better (just check out the reviews going from 2 - 4 rating). The characters in Hollywood Scandal are really what made this one work so well for me. She had an amazing attitude and was incredibly intelligent. She seems to have the ablility to put anyone in their place when they decided to verbally spar with her. Those very traits are what attracts Alex to her - Alex, the brutally honest lawyer who just doesn't know what to do with the amazing and beautiful woman. The way these two characters played off of each other was absolutely brilliant. Now toss in a couple really great side characters and an actor that thinks he owns the world and you have a great well-rounded cast. I just wish the actor would have gotten a little worse than he did in the long run. There is also the persisting problem of leaks out of Seacliffe Medical - causing all sorts of problems throughout all three books so far. I think I know who it is and want to shake them all so bad because they can't figure it out. This series really seems to be growing on me and going someplace interesting. I wish more of the characters from previous books had a small part in the current ones. I love when that happens. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
I found Hollywood Scandal to be a fast-paced read with well-developed characters. I loved the bits of humor in the book and watching the characters grow closer together. All and all, it was a great book.
Hollywood Scandal by Julie Rowe was a great book. This is the third book in the Seacliff Medical series. Being that this is first book I read in the series it can be read as a standalone. I look forward to reading the first two books in the series. I really enjoyed Calla Roberts. She is strong yet so innocent. She always looking to help others. Alex is the truth telling lawyer. I love the interaction between both characters. I love that the storyline that has more than just the romance. I enjoyed the book from beginning to end.
Dr. Calla Roberts works at Seacliffe Cosmetic Surgery. The clinic has been targeted by the media. How the press was able to get confidential patient information is a mystery. Now they have zeroed in on Dr. Roberts. The Clinic's lawyer, Alex Hardy, comes to her defense but things keep getting worse. Is Hollywood actor Jeff MacKay behind this vendetta against Calla? Is he afraid of her testimony in his hit and run case? Alex and Calla always argue but now they join forces to find the truth. Their attraction grows as they work closely together. Can their relationship survive the glare of the spotlight? This is an enjoyable story from start to finish. The characters are well written and determined people. Their emotional intensity and caring make for a compelling story. The twist and turns never stop. The emotional connection between Calla and Alex tugs at the heart. The Hollywood setting adds glamour to the story and the sassy secondary characters provide humor. I enjoy the Seacliffe Medical Series. I needed to know who the leak is! Julie Rowe has done an excellent job. Hollywood Scandal has it all - romance, suspense and a HEA. A perfect book to take to the beach.