When new teen TV series ‘Bittersweet’ begins shooting in Dogwood, Virginia, the small town is abuzz with excitement. But local waitress Cathy Johnson has too much on her plate to waste time being star-struck. To Cathy, “bittersweet” is just the word that sums up her love-life after her high school romance ended in disaster. Since then she’s hardly had time to brush her hair, let alone think about relationships. Certainly not the kind being played out in front of the cameras by impossibly beautiful actors posing as teenagers…
But all that changes when tall, dark, blue-eyed stranger Greg Moran arrives in Dogwood along with the ‘Bittersweet’ cast and crew. Cathy and the devastatingly sexy New Yorker have instant chemistry. But Greg blows hot (STEAMING hot) and cold with her romantically, leaving Cathy’s head in a spin. She has a feeling he’s keeping something from her… If Cathy is willing to drop her emotional walls, why is Greg still so intense and mysterious? What is it in his past – or present – that means he’s keeping Cathy at arm’s length? How badly has his heart really been broken before?
Cathy and Greg are magnetically drawn to one another, but they’ll have to fight to keep their relationship from turning sour. Will they make it? If it’s hard to let go of the past, falling in love can be BITTERSWEET…
Cathy Johnson is in her early twenties and her life is pretty much the way it always has been and always will be. She lives in the small town of Dogwood, Virginia and since her mother abandoned the family when Cathy was just a kid, Cathy has cared for her father and younger brother. Cathy waitresses in her dad’s diner, lives with her best friend Maxine and, has a dating pool that consists of the same local boys she has known her whole life. While most twenty-somethings would be all but dying to get out of town, Cathy is perfectly content with her life in Dogwood and can’t ever imagine being anywhere else. If only the dating pool would get a little deeper . . .
Greg Moran is a Broadway actor who has recently been tapped to star in the new TV series, Bittersweet. Though he was born and raised in New York, Greg is all but dying to get out of town and move on to something different. His arrival in Dogwood, Virginia is smooth and easy with no fanfare, no grand reception and, very little hospitality thanks to Cathy Johnson. Greg’s intention is to keep his head down, work hard and, make sure Bittersweet is a success. Consequently, Greg decides it is in best interest to keep to himself, only mingle with the locals when he has too and, above all else, protect his recently broken heart. Greg’s plans seem to backfire the minute he steps off the train from New York. His first encounter in Dogwood is with a very surly Cathy who leaves him both a bit confused and more than a bit interested.
For Cathy, the filming of Bittersweet in her hometown is nothing more than an inconvenience. The only bonus as far as she can see is the increased income her dad’s diner stands to make thanks to the increased population. Her first meeting with Greg rubs her the wrong way and though she absolutely doesn’t want to like him, she can’t deny her attraction to him. In the coming days, it seems like every place Cathy goes or looks, Greg is there. He’s polite, charming, definitely sexy and, seems totally into Cathy . . .sometimes. Nearly every encounter with Greg leaves Cathy desperate for more and totally confused. Half the time the sexual tension is as thick as a dense fog and the other half the environment is frigid and bordering on Arctic. Greg is clearly struggling with something (OK, a lot of somethings) and rather than dealing with those somethings he ignores them and takes his anxiety out on Cathy. When Cathy and Greg are in synch, they are good together and happy to be in each other’s company but when they fall out of synch, both are fairly miserable and tough to be around.
The Bottom Line: Bittersweet is one of those reads that started out really well for me but fell flat in the end. I like the concept of the TV show being filmed in the small town, I like the idea of the big-time actors mixing with the locals and, of course, I like the idea of a good, steamy romance. I like Cathy, Greg’s not bad and, the minor characters that make frequent appearances are fine too. In all, everything is OK. The back and forth between Greg and Cathy is kind of fun in the beginning but as it wears on to rounds three and four and so on, it becomes a bit repetitive and you want to choke the life out of one or both of the characters. The big reveal related to Greg and his issues isn’t nearly as big I would have liked for it to be after all the secret-keeping and, the issues aren’t even resolved by the end of the read. For me, the book just went on a bit too long and I found myself looking forward to the end. To be completely fair, I never considered DNFing this read because I just felt like it was going to pick up at any time and things were really going to get exciting. With all of the build up about Greg’s past and his secrets, this should have been far more exciting than it turns out to be. I feel like there were some lost opportunities for some real excitement with this read which left feeling like Bittersweet is just an OK read.
Sunday James is the pen name of author Sareeta Domingo, when writing the New Adult contemporary romance series BITTERSWEET. She lives in London and works as an editor at creative book packager Hothouse Fiction, squeezing writing into her mornings, evenings and weekends – but promises she has a life… She loves all things American – literature, history, popular culture – so much so that she even lived and studied in California, but somehow missed out on being swept off her feet by a devastatingly handsome but mysterious actor while she was there. Luckily, writing BITTERSWEET has allowed her to live that dream.