L.A. Cinderella
by Amanda Berry
(Silh. Spec. Ed. # 2052, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-65534-2
***
Category romances are often set up like fairy tales – you have a rich man and poorer woman who find love and have to overcome some type of obstacle. Most of the time, the readers are faced with two deserving people and want all those barriers to be swept away.  In L. A. Cinderella, we have a rich man who is known for his beauty and his charm…after all he is a movie star. Then we have a shy, nervous, very young woman who is an accountant by trade. She is a self-described nerd and has never felt attractive, even though she is. Sadly, she is often a ninny, making it hard to root for her a lot. And the barriers are self-made – the man is in the limelight and the woman hides from it. While the story was enjoyable, it was barely that. And while the tale was acceptable, it was just that, no more.

Chase Booker is the movie star. He was raised in the business, having been born to two stars in their own right. He is single and has a reputation for dating only the beautiful, the tall and the fabulous. But Chase is bored with that. He is tired of the women who want something from him, even as he understands it is how the game is played. He wants someone who can see who he is behind the scenes and love him for it. 

Natalie Collins is fresh out of college and has just landed a job at Pandora Productions, Chase’s company. She is thrilled to have a job as assistant to the CFO and knows that she can do well with her accounting degree. She is slightly in love with Chase just from watching his movies. He is tall, handsome and charming. She and her roommate Rachel, who is enthralled with all the gossip mags, have all of Chase’s movies and often watch them over and over. Natalie is embarrassed when she first meets Chase; she is tongue-tied and fantasizes as she watches him walk down the hall. Natalie is deeply intelligent but socially inept.

Natalie is assigned a full audit of the movie expenses for their last production which is an Oscar nominee and a box office hit, but apparently has lost a ton of money. As she explores the books, she begins to suspect the CFO was “paying” extras cash and lots of it. She takes her concerns to Chase, almost by accident. They work late nights trying to gather all the evidence without the CFO getting wind of it.  One thing leads to another and they end up sleeping together and falling in love. Now the question is, can Natalie accept Chase and his world – a world she doesn’t feel comfortable in?

I struggled with Natalie. She would blush, stammer and generally act the idiot. She would get tongue-tied just because Chase touched her hand. But when they kissed and made out, all the bets were off and hot sizzles leapt from the pages. They shared a little with each other, but mostly they had sex. I never saw a relationship really build. It was hard to imagine that they could build the trust they needed in order to have this public type of relationship. But they were hot in bed.

Beyond that, it was hard to see what Chase really saw in Natalie. Yes, she was nice. She cared, and she liked him. But she never talked to him, never opened up and rarely tried to see his side of the story. They had a lot of starts and stops and even when it seemed like they were going to make it, there was one last wall that Natalie put up to extend the story.

L.A. Cinderella is a well-written story. It is engaging for the most part and moves quickly. I just didn’t personally like the heroine, so I didn’t really care if the glass slipper fit or not. 

--Shirley Lyons 


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