Smith, Sarah. In Love with Lewis Prescott. Carna Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), 2023.352 pp. ISBN 9781335984883 $8.99
Architect Harper Ellorza is renovating her grandparents home in San Francisco as a love letter to her family, but an unscrupulous contractor did a shoddy job without her oversight and she can’t afford to lay out her renovation on repairs too. She forms an unlikely alliance with disgraced actor Lewis Prescott when she not only doesn’t fangirl over him, but helps him hide from crazed fans. He conveniently did contracting work before his big break, and in return for a place to hide out, he will right the wrongs and finish the job with her help. It has to be a secret, due to the paparazzi stalking him — he was abruptly fired from his tv gig and no one knows it’s for being a whistleblower on the director’s sexual harassment of female cast and crew members. He offers to pay her, and she urges him to give his million dollars to the charity she works for.
Forced proximity is always a device to build physical and emotional intimacy; theirs is heightened when Lewis goes along with Harper’s suggestion to control the narrative with a nude calendar charity fundraiser and scantily clad teasers on social media. The drama comes when Hannah breaks her promise not to tell anyone her contractor and roommate is a celebrity.
Smith channels Olivia Dade in a press conference scene near the end, and also in some ways through the commentary on fame, celebrity, immigration, race, and the #metoo movement. Deeper discussions such as these always add depth to story for me. The details of the renovations, Filipino culture, and California setting are delicious. The sex is consensual, smutty and detailed, and the characters move past their trauma and insecurities to make their relationship work.
I received a free advance reader’s review edition of #InLoveWithLewisPrescott from #NetGalley.