“Links” by Lisa Becker
Blurb: In high school, Charlotte Windham was a typical student going through an awkward phase — glasses and all. She harbored a crush on Garrett Stephens, the teen heartthrob everyone can’t help but fall for during that unfortunate ugly duckling phase of one’s teen years. Flash forward fifteen years later, and Charlotte and Garrett have a second chance encounter at a Los Angeles restaurant. However, this time around, Charlotte has leveled the playing field. She’s a bestselling novelist and no longer “Glasses,” the humiliating nickname Garrett called her in high school. In short, she’s a catch now and, thanks to corrective eye surgery, it’s not just her eyes that see better…so does her heart! Garrett hasn’t fared poorly either, transforming from teen heartbreaker to adult lothario. A now successful professional golfer, he’s recently suffered a major setback in the form of a possible career-ending injury. With the upper hand, can Charlotte forgive Garrett for his past ways, and for his more recent Don Juan lifestyle? Will she even want to? And, can Garrett change his ways for a second chance with Charlotte, who may just be the perfect fit for him?
I stand but hesitate when I see Tamika’s disapproving look. Fi notices as well. “It’s okay, T. I got this,” she says, motioning for me to follow her back. When we get to her small office, she closes the door and gestures for me to sit on a red vinyl chair, circa 1972. She stands in front of me, leaning against the desk, and crosses her arms in front of her chest. “Spill!”
“Where should I start?”
“At the beginning.” She walks around to her chair behind the desk and pulls out a yellow legal pad.
For the next half hour, I go over my encounter with Garrett, from the moment we bumped into each other and he didn’t recognize me, to the embarrassment of being called ‘Glasses.’
Fi takes notes furiously on her pad and grins, nods, and cringes at all the appropriate times. When I finish, she puts her pen down and asks, “Do you want the ‘best friend experience’ or the ‘brilliant legal mind experience’?”
I can’t help but laugh. “Are they mutually exclusive?”
“They are,” she says nodding.
“Okay. I want the best friend experience.”
She rushes around from behind the desk, wraps her arms around me soothingly. “I’m so sorry, hon. That sounds just awful. Let’s go get margaritas tomorrow and drown our sorrows in tequila and lime wedges.”
“Thanks, Fi. You’re the best.”
“Anytime,” she says, rubbing my back. She pulls away and walks around to the back of her desk. She sits down and puts the legal pad to the side. I can’t help but notice the writing scrawled across it.
“Just for kicks, what would you have said if I had asked for the ‘brilliant legal mind experience’?”
“You sure you want to know?” Her lips pull into a grim line. Honestly, I’m not sure I do want to know, but curiosity gets the better of me.
“Lay it on me,” I say.
“You need to get laid. Not the kind of bland, missionary style sex you had with Alex. You need hot heat, sweating up the sheets, crazy animal sex.”
I bust out laughing. “That’s your brilliant legal advice. Crazy animal sex?”
“Yes. That’s my brilliant legal advice,” she says with complete seriousness. “Listen, hon, it’s been a year since that insecure jerk Keane dumped you. I have no doubt it’s been even longer since you’ve, well, you know.” She wags her eyebrows up and down. “Before that, you only seriously dated Travis the cheater and Alex who, let’s face it, despite being completely gonzo for you, was a cold fish and a bore. It’s time to stop comparing every man to this fantasy of Garrett Stephens and just do it with him to get it out of your system. He asked you out for Saturday night. Go! Enjoy!”
“I don’t compare every man to Garrett,” I snap at her.
“Don’t you?” she asks, looking down at me sternly.
“I’m offended you even suggested that.” She looks at me, her sharp eyes boring into me, like she can read my every thought and knows I’m full of it. I imagine this is how she bears down on witnesses on the stand. I don’t like being on the receiving end of that look.
“Even if that’s true,” I start and she nods her head, “and I’m not conceding it is.” I point my finger at her. “Even if he did mean to ask me out, there’s no way it’s a good idea. He’s a total player. It would only be one night of fun and I don’t think I could get over that kind of hurt.”
“Then you need to get over it now. Sorry for the tough love, hon, but you need to move past the fantasy of this man and find someone passionate and amazing who is deserving to love you for all of the great things you have to offer including your messed-up childhood and your incredible success today.”
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Tell us about your newest release: A light-hearted, second chance romance, Links explores what happens when nerdy girl Charlotte Windham reconnects with her unrequited schoolgirl crush, star athlete Garrett Stephens, 15 years after high school.
Did you have an unrequited crush in high school? I’m not too ashamed to admit I had such a fierce crush on a boy, I willingly sat with him in the bathroom at parties while he puked up wine coolers, just so I could spend time with him. Thankfully, that soul-crushing time in my life in over, but I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I came upon that secret crush today as a confident, successful woman.
Can you tell us more about the main character(s)? Charlotte Windham was a typical ugly duckling in high school — glasses and all. Highly intelligent and immensely talented, she’s become a breakout success with her best-selling novel, The Crossing Guard. In school, she harbored an unrequited crush on Garrett Stephens, the teen heartthrob and star athlete who’s gone on to become a professional golfer suffering a possible career-ending injury. The book explores what happens when these two former classmates have a chance encounter in a Los Angeles restaurant, 15 years after high school. With the upper hand, can Charlotte forgive Garrett for his past ways, and for his more recent Don Juan lifestyle? Will she even want to? And, can Garrett change his ways for a second chance with Charlotte, who may just be the perfect fit for him?
Imagine Links would be turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters? I would love to see someone with the emotional range and depth of Maggie Gyllenhaal to play Charlotte. I think she could make her come across as vulnerable, successful, intelligent and passionate. For Garrett, we would need someone who is classically handsome and oozes charm. Matt Bomer, who pulled that off perfectly on White Collar comes to mind. If he’s not available, let’s just say, I would love to be at the casting call for that role.
You have also published other books, can you tell us more about them? I’m most known for the Click trilogy comprised of Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. The series follows a young woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles with the entire series unfolding in emails between our heroine, her friends and her hilarious dates. Fraught with BCC’s, FWD’s and inadvertent Reply to All’s, readers will cheer, laugh, cry and cringe following the email exploits of Renee and friends. And ultimately, they will root for Renee to “click” with the right man.
What do you have in the works? I’ve just wrapped up a contemporary romance called Starfish, which examines the unlikely relationship between a regular girl and a touring guitarist in a band. When it comes to romance, you just can’t pass up the idea of falling in love with a rock star.
**About the author: Lisa Becker is a romance writer whose previous novels include Click: An Online Love Story, Double Click and Right Click. The books, about a young woman’s search for love online in Los Angeles, have been called, “a fast read that will keep you entertained,” “a fun, quick read for fans of Sex and the City,” and “hard to put down.” The first in the series was optioned for a major motion picture.
Lisa’s writings about online dating have been featured in Cupid’s Pulse, GalTime.com, Single Edition, The Perfect Soulmate, Chick Lit Central and numerous other book blogs and websites.
As Lisa’s grandmother used to say, “For every chair, there’s a rush.” Lisa is now happily married to a man she met online and lives in Manhattan Beach with him and their two daughters. So, if it happened for her, there’s hope for anyone!
**Contact Lisa: Website Facebook Goodreads Instagram Goodreads