★ ★ ★ ★ ★
BLURB: Closeted mechanic Joey Nichols' life is good. His boyfriend landed a major Hollywood role, and is well on the way to superstardom. Joey's bags are packed and soon he'll leave small town Georgia and join the man of his dreams in California, to live out, proud, and together. Days before his planned departure, his lover outs Joey during a televised interview and announces that they've broken up, leaving Joey to face the bigotry of the locals alone.
Bestselling author Troy Steele knows all about having life turned upside down by the media. Now a recluse, Troy shuns all the trappings that come with writing books made into blockbuster movies. He spends his time exacting revenge on a former flame via his novels and hiding out in rural South Carolina, watching celebrity gossip shows. Joey's fifteen minutes of fame bear an eerie similarity to the plot of Troy's latest work in progress. What if Joey could be transformed into everything the fickle ex wanted, as Troy is writing for his fictional hero, and secretly wishes for himself? Once polished, could a diamond-in-the-rough good ole boy confront his ex, then walk away, pride intact? These are Troy's questions, and he's counting on Joey for answers.
MY REVIEW: I wanted to wait a few days before writing this review, because I had a feeling Joey and Troy were the kind of characters who would stick with me, and I was absolutely right. I could go back and read that book again right now. I found myself pulling for those two even before the real fireworks started. They were both hurt in the same kind of way. They both needed someone to pull them out of the sludge and give them something to look forward too. They were both absolutely memorable and lovable. But the love didn't stop with the MCs. The supporting cast came to life for me. The family was real. The haters were real. I was lost in the world she created I vocalized the things I felt. My husband would look at me and he would ask what I was awwwwing or what I was laughing at.
Beyond that, Eden's writing style is EXACTLY what I love. She leaves the right amount to imagination, but gives the kind of detail a reader needs to be fully seated in the world she's creating. I could smell the grease in the garage and hear the clanking of tools. There was a scene where they were walking, and I could hear all the creatures you hear in southern wooded areas. It was amazing. This book has garnered Eden so much respect and admiration from me. I think I can honestly situate her high on my favorite authors list.
Now, excuse me while I make a mad dash to buy all the other books she has out...