Title: Playing House
Author: Laura Chapman
Release Date: March 21st, 2017
Genre: romantic comedy
She’s a work in progress . . .
Bailey Meredith has had it. As an assistant at a prestigious interior design firm, she’s tired of making coffee and filing invoices. She’ll do just about anything to get out from under the paperwork and into the field for real experience. Then she sees an ad for a job that seems too good to be true.
He’s a fixer upper . . .
Wilder Aldrich knew she would be perfect for the crew the moment he saw her. His hit home improvement show only hired the best, and Bailey had potential written all over her. It isn’t just her imaginative creativity and unmatched work ethic that grabs his attention. There’s just something about her.
With chemistry on screen, it’s only a matter of time before sparks fly behind the scenes as well. But with Bailey’s jaded views on romance and a big secret that could destroy Wilder and everyone he cares about, are either of them willing to risk it all for love?
*keep reading for an interview with Laura, an excerpt from the book & a giveaway*
Say Hello to author Laura Chapman!
Laura Chapman is the author of Going for Two, First & Goal, The Marrying Type, and Hard Hats and Doormats. Her short fiction also appears in the collections A Kind of Mad Courage and Merry & Bright (Simon & Fig).
A native Nebraskan, Laura holds a journalism degree with minors in English and history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Before pursuing a career as a novelist, she reported for local and regional newspapers and traveled the country as a corporate journalist. Though she always knew she wanted to write books, these experiences taught her that every person has a story worth telling. (It also gave her plenty of time behind the wheel to fantasize about all of the stories she wanted to make up.)
Laura serves as a municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month, is a member of the Romance Writers of America, and was appointed to the board of the Nebraska Literary Heritage Association as its 2016-2017 author representative. She previously served on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association.
When she isn’t penning her next novel, Laura enjoys watching football, traveling, crocheting, binge-watching Netflix, and hanging out with her cats, Jane and Bingley.
What are you reading right now?
Like Rory Gilmore, I usually have a small pile of books in progress on my nightstand. I recently re-read Nora Roberts’s Bride Quartet. Other books currently living on my reading shelf include The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher, Failure of Justice by John Ferak, Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt, and Building Fiction by Jesse Lee Kercheval. I’m trying to read a more diverse mixture of fiction and non-fiction this year. This also includes books from the Nebraska 150 Reading List to support my state’s sesquicentennial, which we celebrated March 1.
If you’re a TV watcher, what are you addicted to?
I don’t watch a ton of TV these days, because I’m balancing a couple of writing projects, but lately I have been pretty obsessed with binge-watching The Crown on Netflix and Sherlock and Victoria on PBS. All three are fantastic shows and feed my inner Anglophile. During the past year, I’ve regularly re-watched random episodes of Frasier, because I think it’s one of the funniest shows ever made and I frequently wish I lived in Seattle.
What hobby do you have that doesn’t include books?
One of my favorite ways to spend an evening is crocheting while watching a classic musical from Hollywood’s Golden Age. I’ve been on a major Judy Garland and Gene Kelly kick lately. The music tends to carry over into other parts of my life. I serenade my cats on the regular, and it’s not unusual for me to belt out a favorite show tune while I’m driving. For my crocheting, I made about 20 stocking caps to donate last fall and now I’ve turned my attention to creating my first full-size afghan. I love the color combination. Though I hadn’t intended for it to happen, the look kind of reminds of the zebra gum my friends and I chewed when we were kids. Here’s a look at the progress I’m making on the blanket lately:
What is your favorite season?
My 17-year-old nephew would say this makes me so “basic,” but I adore fall. I love the foliage, football games, apple picking, and pumpkin patches. That’s about as outdoorsy as I get ever in my life. I also love breaking out my boots, sweaters, and scarves. I feel my most comfortable and most like myself in autumn.
Tell me your favorite part of the writing process.
I love the beginning—when a new idea hits. It’s exciting and a lot like the adrenaline rush of riding a rollercoaster or seeing your favorite band perform live. It’s also a lot like falling in love at the start of a relationship. It’s your chance to meet and get acquainted with the characters.
Tell me your least favorite part.
If the development is my favorite, then what I like least is actually putting my butt in the seat and getting something going. I kind of get performance anxiety looking at the screen or a sheet of paper. But once I get over that and my fear of sucking, it can be a beautiful thing.
What are you working on now?
I’m starting a new contemporary romance series focused on all new-characters. I’ve been mulling over this concept for a few years. It’s thrilling to see the characters and stories finally come to life. This also marks my first series where each story will center around a different couple. As part of the development process, I’ve created a series bible to ensure the people and places remain consistent throughout. This was a lot of fun to make.
What are your favorite scenes to write?
I enjoy writing about the first time a couple meets in a story. I’m a big fan of a good meet-cute, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the process—throwing those crazy kids together. That said there’s nothing I love more than tying it all up and writing that happy ever after at the end. I’m a sucker for those HEAs.
What’s been your favorite line in a review of one of your books?
“I love reading Laura’s books because she has such a great, off-the-wall sense of humor that I get and enjoy so much.” That was something Susan at The Book Bag wrote about The Marrying Type, and it meant the world to me. I like to think I’m funny, so it’s always nice when I find someone who agrees. I also really appreciate when someone says they stayed up late reading one of my stories. I consider loss of sleep to keep turning the pages the greatest compliment a reader can pay an author.
What was the last movie you saw in a theater and what did you think of it?
My sister and I saw Fifty Shades Darker and I have lots of thoughts. Tons. But I’ll limit it to the highlights for the sake of space. Overall, I thought Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan had better chemistry this time around. They seemed more comfortable and their relationship was accordingly more believable. That particularly showed itself in the sex scenes, which I admittedly struggled to watch. I was seated next to a man who reminded me of my father. It accordingly interfered with my ability to get into the scenes. But . . . the script and dialogue—and even at times the acting, which is weird given the chemistry—felt weaker this time around. It wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, but I was entertained. I’d also love to get deeper if any of you readers have seen it and want to obsess. Just hit me up on Twitter and we can discuss.
Keeping a close distance, she followed Waverly up the cracked path to the house. Bailey took quick mental notes of her surroundings. The exterior needed a lot of work. The sagging roof missing gutters made her think they’d find the inside in similar disarray. They stepped through the front door, nearly tripping over Wilder Aldrich, who was measuring the entryway.
“Hey!” He sprang to his feet and out of their way. “What did I tell you about waiting until I gave you the all clear?”
“You were taking for-frickin’-ever, and some of us were freezing our tits off.” She pursed her lips and took on a warrior stance, seemingly daring him to say something else.
Conceding victory to her, Wilder turned and flashed an apologetic grin at Bailey. “Hey.” He offered a hand. Warmth permeated through the thin material of her glove. “Welcome to Casa de Waverly.”
Giving him a smug grin, Waverly sipped her coffee and faced Bailey. “Do you have a smart phone?”
Bailey stared blankly for a second, still dazzled by seeing Wilder up close. But she quickly snapped to attention and dug her phone out of her coat pocket.
“Good,” Waverly said after inspecting it. “While you’re on the job, I’d like you to snap some photos for our social media accounts. I’ll want to vet everything before we post it, but we need to start building the buzz for the next season while we’re filming. In exchange, we’ll cover your phone payments to take care of your data usage. Understood?”
“I can do that.”
“Good. Now . . .” She pulled out her own phone. It was the latest model that had come out on the market a month ago. With all of its reported bells and whistles, it put Bailey’s poor phone to shame. “I’m going to make a quick call. I’ll be back in a few minutes, and we can get started on,” she gestured around her, “this mess.”
She spun on her heel and waltzed out of the room, cooing into the phone.
Wilder cleared his throat, and Bailey turned to give him her full attention. She estimated he was only a couple of years older than herself—maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. He looked younger in real life than he did on TV. He was leaner and a little shorter—though she still had to crane her neck a little to meet his gaze.
He was also more handsome. Not the GQ model, your tongue-sticks-to-the-top-of-your-mouth kind of sexy. But he was hot in the same way the guy you sat next to in Chemistry was. It was enough to distract you from formulas and Bunsen burners every so often, but not enough that you’d ever set the lab on fire or forget to finish your final exam.
So far, he seemed much more serious. Where was the guy who scared Waverly with a stuffed dummy in a closet in the last episode she’d watched before calling an end to the marathon?
He was, she realized, studying her every bit as closely, with those hazel eyes speckled with green. Noting that, she didn’t feel quite as rude taking mental notes on the man in front of him.
At least she looked good. She’d laid out three outfits that morning in the hotel room. The first was a long, silky turquoise tunic that she’d paired with a pair of black leggings and knee-high boots. It was similar to the clothes Waverly favored on screen—only hers weren’t name-brand knockoffs. Then she had the casual jeans, a gray T-shirt that she could dress-up with a navy blue blazer. And there was option three: dark-wash, fit jeans, a chambray shirt, and a scarf. It was an ensemble that fell somewhere in the middle. It was the one that looked the most like her when she inspected herself in the mirror.
It was the one that felt most like her now in the middle of the foyer.
She wondered what he saw when he looked at her. Did he see a confident young woman ready to tackle major projects adeptly? Or did he see someone who was desperate to create, no matter what happened? Both were correct, but which one shone through right now?
Like a light switch, that triggered something in her. She offered her hand again. “We haven’t officially met. I’m Bailey Meredith.”
This month, during the Playing House blog tour, you can enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win one of 1 free Audible copy each of The Marrying Type, First & Goal, Going for Two or 1 $20 Amazon gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thank you, Laura, for allowing me to feature you and your fab new release Playing House on For the Love of Chick Lit. Your cover is just darling and I’m adding it to my TBR pile, the excerpt sucked me in!