British author Charlotte Howard has written an entertaining, sometimes humorous and often heartbreaking, chic lit debut novel, "Seven Dirty Words."
A tough, flawed and cursing heroine graces the pages of this refreshing, hot page turner as readers race to the end to discover the truth about her secrets and the hero she'll choose to love.
Paige Holmes, living in the UK, plays rugby, does martial arts, works out to an extreme and uses dirty words — much to her mother's chagrin. Paige is from a wealthy family but is trying not to live as a trust fund baby.
She also has a secret, one that basically put her out of work, caused her to go to a psychiatrist and not to date for more than a year. From the first page of this novel, readers will love Paige, who has a few of the same wonderfully charming characteristics as Bridget Jones.
At the start of the novel, Paige is trying to survive day to day after the worst year of her life ... and then enters TDS, which stands for Tall, Dark and Smoldering — he's 30 years older, used to getting his way and richer than maybe her own father.
He's also not used to hearing no, but that's exactly what Paige attempts to tell him time and again.
Her parents are sure he's not the one for her, and so are her brother and best friend. Nobody likes TDS, but Paige can't seem to stay away from him. And he definitely wants her.
Then sweet, handsome, young and rich Matt Jackson enters her life as a client for the body repair shop where she works as a receptionist. They quickly become friends, and she shares her secret past with him — well, at least some of it. He soon wants more than just friendship and confesses his love for her — way too soon for her liking. Now she's just confused.
The tagline for the book states: "Which will she choose? The one who appears to be the most perfect or the one who makes her use all Seven Dirty Words?"
This book is not just about trying to choose love, however, it's also about a strong, attractive, independent woman trying to find herself again after a terrible tragedy.
Readers beware: There are some hot love scenes, a couple graphic, upsetting sex scenes and plenty of four-letter words, which all lead to a satisfying and joyous ending.
One or two questions remain unanswered in this debut novel, but luckily, Rocking Horse Publishing in St. Louis just released the sequel, "Four Letter Words," which is currently available from the publisher at rockinghorsepublishing.com/upcoming-release.html.
In the sequel, Paige is living with her decision from the first book and hoping she made the right one.
Howard lives in the UK with her husband, children and pets. She works as a makeup artist, freelance writer and chic lit author. She is active on Facebook and Twitter and has a blog at choward2614.wordpress.com.
As we learn throughout our lives, appearances are not always what they seem, and first impressions take a long time to mend. Howard explores both of these themes in her first novel, and personally, I can't wait to see where she takes us in the next one. Howard is a new author to watch.
Margo L. Dill is the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle grade historical fiction novel. She often reviews books as a columnist for "WOW! Women On Writing" e-zine and her blog, "Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them" (margodill.com/blog/). She lives in St. Louis with her family.