The third sexy novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton’s playful and erotic Redhead series continues the sizzling romance between actress Grace Sheridan and Hollywood’s hottest leading man Jack Hamilton.
Grace has landed the lead in a new TV series—but when the director asks her to lose fifteen pounds, she goes public with her weight struggles and suddenly develops a huge fan club who support her right to have curves. But between that and the public’s continuing fascination with her “are they or aren’t they” relationship with Jack, Grace begins to wonder if anyone’s really interested in her because of her upcoming TV series, or if it’s all speculation about the size of her ass and her bedroom partner.
Meanwhile, Jack is voted the Sexiest Man Alive and becomes a little too enamored with the party-hard lifestyle. Grace vows to give him the space he needs to find himself, but then he begins to spiral down from lovable Brit to Hollywood brat. People are talking, but are Jack and Grace? Her career is on the rise, and his continues into the stratosphere, but will she be able to catch him if he falls? Will they ever be able to just be a couple who can hold hands when they walk
down the street?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the mark of a talented author is one who can make you cry and fret over their characters’ story, even when you already know how it turns out. Because Grace and Jack make cameo appearance in Nuts, I already know where their relationship ends up … and still, I cried, I worried, and my heart broke as I watched Jack implode and lay devastation to his relationship with Grace. Yep, Clayton is a talented author in my book.
Even though Grace had a breakdown that led to them breaking up in The Redhead Revealed, she and Jack found their way back together. The Redhead Plays Her Hand opens to find Grace getting work in Hollywood as the play she was in while in New York has been opted for a cable series. In the meantime, Jack is off to Nevada to film another movie, one carefully chosen by Holly (their friend and agent) to keep his career on the rise. Unfortunately for all, Holly had no control over who was hired as Jack’s co-stars. He’s soon sucked into the orbit of a charismatic bad boy who, everyone but Jack can see, is riding on the coattails of Jack’s rising star to get back into the spotlight – even if it’s at the expense of Jack’s reputation. As the bad boy seems to take Jack under his wing and show him all the delights that come with being a star, he and Grace begin to grow apart because every time she tries to express her concerns, they end up fighting…until Jack walks out and doesn’t come back or call. Adding to their relationship pressure is the continued sniping by some of Jack’s fans and segments of the media regarding Grace’s age and size – and her size has become an issue on the job as well. Grace finds herself at a point in her life and career when she should be overjoyed at where she’s at and what she’s accomplished, but the universe seems hellbent on knocking her down over and over again – and Grace takes some pretty vicious hits in this installment. And as the end of the book neared, I was left wondering how Clayton was going to pull it off – but I shouldn’t have worried because she does so in true Hollywood style.
Even though The Redhead Plays Her Hand is a romantic comedy, and provides plenty of laugh out loud moments just like the other books in the series, Clayton pulled out all the stops to insure that the reader – at least this reader, anyway – shed more than a few tears. Because the story is told from Grace’s point of view, we not only experience the emotional blows she receives from the show’s director, from the media, and from Jack, as they occur, but we also get to hear her try to work things out, fret over them, obsess over them, and worry about the changes in her Brit’s behavior. I appreciated how Clayton was clear about the difference in Hollywood’s definition of plus-sized versus that of the rest of America. As a woman who has spent most of her adulthood as a size 18 to 22, I would love to be a size 8 (actually, I wouldn’t because I am far too hippy for that). The fact is, a lot of women would be beside themselves with glee to be an 8 and would tsk-tsk Grace for thinking she was fat. But it wasn’t Grace saying she was fat, Hollywood was and the author does a wonderful job – through Grace – of showing how unhealthy those attitudes can be and that no matter how perfect someone’s life looks from the outside, it rarely is. I loved this series. I loved this book. I loved that Grace found her way just in time to help Jack find his. And I loved, loved, loved the ending. The Redhead Plays Her Hand was the perfect ending for the Redhead series and I’m so glad I have more of Clayton’s books to read.