Review: Manda Olie – Love Vs The Limelight

loveAuthor: Manda Olie
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: MM Rockers

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Rick Campbell is the Hollywood Heartthrob who has it all: a great career, an excellent agent, and fantastic friends. Unfortunately, he also has a secret that could potentially ruin his success. His reputation as a lady-killer is completely fabricated in order to ensure he keeps getting work.

His silence when it comes to the truth may cost him Christian, the love of his life, who’s grown tired of being a dirty little secret and has issued Rick with an ultimatum: tell the truth or lose Christian. Heartbroken and afraid, harassed by reporters and adrift in a world that’s slowly changing, Rick has to choose between the life he’s worked hard to build and the man he doesn’t want to live without.
Review: Rick is the stereotypical “It” boy. He has success as an movie star, loyal friends, a beautiful girl on his arm at every turn and a huge secret. One that is tired of being hidden like something to be ashamed of. Christian, the secret, is an entertainment lawyer and he’s familiar with all that is involved with being Hollywood’s Golden boy. But he doesn’t feel Rick’s career will tank if he’s honest and truthfully he knows the “relationship”, if they can even call it that, will sink. Despite his best efforts, the media has gotten wind that everything is not rosy in Rick’s world. They believe his heart has been broken, and so it has. Just not by the person they think
Rick feels, “…he’d always thought keeping his private life out of the media was about keeping things to himself.” But really, it isn’t just that. It’s more complicated. He fears losing his career and worries about what the fire storm coming out will unleash on his boyfriend, well, ex-boyfriend now. Christian has repeatedly told Rick he’s ready and willing to face the paparazzi and the public right at Rick’s side but Rick feels, “I couldn’t let him make that kind of decision, not knowing what it does to a person’s life.” But Christian has an idea, he’s been Rick’s best friend for years and he works in the industry. Rick had to know the inevitable would happen – Christian is dragged into the mess regardless of their breakup and now he doesn’t even have Rick by his side to make it worth it.
When Christian’s life becomes hellish due to paparazzi (one Keith Lenk in particular) Rick finds out some devastating news about Christian’s future plans. His world just keeps getting worse. He brought it on himself, really, but that doesn’t make it easier. It isn’t easy for Christian, either. He’s been hidden, kept a secret and when it came down to it, “And you were the one who didn’t pick him”, as Rick’s agent Bella (who I loved) is there to point out. It’s funny that what Rick wants “…his old life back – the one where he balanced his private relationship with his public persona, and no one had to know about his boyfriend. The one that Christian had grown tired of, because he wasn’t anyone’s dirty secret”. He feels hurt that Christian reminds him they are broken up, “You don’t get to be that person for me anymore” but I’m not sure why he’s surprised.
He’s antagonized and bullied by Keith Lenk and it makes everything so much worse. It really is a look at how much of your life you don’t own when you are a public figure. Things start to get out of control in regards to him. Advice from the few people who know about Christian, that he’s worth it, fall on deaf ears. Rick doesn’t want to give up what he’s worked hard to earn and he’s sure that the public will turn on him. It’s not worth it, even for love. Right ?
You end up pulling for Rick and wanting him to make the right decisions and do the right things. I liked Christian and Bella and Andrew added solid supporting characters to the line up. This is my first book by Manda Olie and I was pleased with the writing and the flow of the story. The emotions, particularly Rick’s fear, seemed realistic. I’ll be looking for more of Ms Olie’s work.
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