Hollow Dreams by Allegra Grey and Emily Sloan

Heat Level 3
SKU 978-0-3695-0961-1

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Down-on-his-luck Hollywood actor, Vincent Taylor, crashes on a snowy mountain road. He lands in a strangely familiar gothic mansion turned bed-and-breakfast to lick his wounded pride and wait out the storm. Except, when he checks in, he runs into the spiky Danica Novak, who isn’t interested in his problems.

Danica knows Vincent is a spoiled tourist brat with no idea how the real world (or a snowstorm) works. And she’s determined to resist his trademark smolder. But once he discovers that her mother authored his favorite book series, he enlists her help convincing Evelyn to sign the rights over. Knowing her family needs money—and that it’s her fault—Dani agrees. But the closer they become, the harder it is to keep their hands off each other.

Then Evelyn gives her terms. Vincent is left with an impossible choice: his dreams or his heart?


“Vin—um, Mr. Taylor?” Her tone sounded harsher than she meant, though she didn’t expect him to jump like she’d yelled. “What are you doing here? You’re—” She caught herself and forced a hospitable smile. “Guests are not allowed in here.” Which should’ve been obvious from the bare floorboards, and the ragged wallpaper in the hallway outside. This was the old nursery, up too high to be very accessible, and too far from the current amenities to be viable until her father got the pipes, wiring and whatever else updated.

It was why Dani liked this part of the house. The temperamental lights, hissing radiators, and cranky water pipes kept her sanctuary isolated.

Vincent faced her fully, and for a moment she lost her nerve. Until his emerald eyes swept down her body. Her cheeks reddened. She knew what he saw: old, tattered overalls and a hoodie, both items at least two sizes too big and covered in paint. Hands scrubbed raw. Hair a frazzled mess. Mismatched socks.

“You … you did all this?” He sounded impressed, but he also acted for a living. His head turned again, and Dani almost threw up on his shoes. His gaze locked onto the canvas she’d just left, the one by the window.

His head tilted, his shoulders tensed.

At least it gave her time to make up excuses. But she didn’t need to. He turned his back to it, his eyes focusing on the painting he admired before.

“These are incredible, Ms. Novak. I can’t believe you painted these,” he said, gesturing to the multiple pieces around the studio. Dani wrapped her arms around herself, hiding her chipped nails in the hoodie’s massive folds.

“Surprised that a nobody can paint?” She turned on her heel to pull the cover over the painting of his face.

Like closing the barn door after the horse is out. But better than having two of him in here. She didn’t even care if it smudged the paint. That would improve the blasted thing.

His gaze snapped back toward her, brows furrowing. “A nobody? I never … I would never call anyone that,” his voice pitched higher on the emphasis. She wondered if she’d struck a nerve. “Your talent is impressive. That’s all I meant. I’m sorry if it came out wrong.”

“They’re okay,” she said, ignoring how genuine his apology sounded. “Nothing to write home about.” As her mother often reminded her.

He shook his head, and for some reason, that made her angrier. “No. This is a real gift, Dani.”

She nearly snarled. He laid it on too thick for her not to see his game. “Stop.” Dani’s arms crossed again. “Flattering me won’t get you the rights to my mom’s books. I know what I am and what I’m not.”

He held his hands up as if she’d drawn a gun on him only to wince. He must’ve pulled on some hidden bruises. “Whoa! Hold on,” he said, his voice firm. He rolled his shoulder, trying to loosen whatever rippling, gleaming, perfect muscle was twinging. “You think I’m lying to you to butter up your mom? Don’t be so cynical.”

“Cynical serves me well when it comes to salesmen.” She felt a small measure of pride when he bristled. “You need something of Mom’s. I’m a good way to get it. I’m sheltered, not naive, Mr. Taylor.”

“A good way to get it? You don’t even like her books.”

“Who said I didn’t like them?” Besides, it didn’t matter if she liked them or not. She pointed to the canvas he kept looking at. “If you want one, buy one. They’re good for decorating walls, but they’re not art.”

He let out a slow breath, taking another half step back, and even though he tilted his head toward the ceiling, she still caught his subtle eye roll. “I have many flaws, but when I say I like something, that’s because I do.”

“You really think the wide-eyed fanboy act and some smooth city talk is going to sway my mother to the idea of letting you near her babies? Have fun with that.”

“I also plan to offer a great deal of money. And from what I saw, this place is sliding into the red, so I’m sure that might help a great deal more than my genuine interest in her books.”

Dani’s spine stiffened. She wondered why he lingered so long behind her yesterday when she had the spreadsheets open but hadn’t figured he’d understand any of them. Sneaky. Awful. Rude and nosy. All of that. But not stupid. Damn. She stepped closer to him, her folded arms tightening. It felt so tempting to just slap him, but she didn’t want to deal with his army of lawyers that he probably had on speed dial. “It’s truly amazing how generous you are. Buying art from the paupers so you can feel noble about it. Good work, Sir Galahad.”

“That isn’t—”

“But it’s not like you don’t need a win in your career column either. Those last films didn’t get any Oscar nods. But you did get a Razzie for Porcelain Doll…

Vincent’s divine face turned an interesting shade of red. “You’re not wrong,” he said, his voice softer but edged with anger. “I would love this to be a win for my career. What better way to do that than to devote myself to a project I care about? If in the end, that serves to benefit your mother, then what’s the harm? Nobody loses here. Except you, perhaps? For some reason that I can’t begin to fathom—”

“Get. Out.” Dani lost the last bit of temper she held and grabbed his sleeve to nudge him toward the door. It didn’t work. The man stood solid as a brick wall. And she knew better than to shove him. Even though the bastard smirked. He didn’t even look offended at being touched. She wasn’t important enough to worry about.

“Fine,” he said. “But tell me something. Are you so upset because I accidentally came in here, or did I do something before to offend you? Because, if I’m being honest, this feels a bit personal.”

“You think loving that stupid series makes you better, money makes you better, Hollywood makes you better? I’m gagging on the noblesse oblige rolling off you.”

“So, this is a ‘one percent’ thing? Really?” He sounded so bemused she wished she had the kind of artistic temper that let you throw full-size canvases at someone’s head. And the kind of budget that lets you not care about ruining canvases. That too.

“This isn’t a film! It’s people’s actual lives you’re fucking with right now, and you haven’t once considered that. You’re right, we need the money. That doesn’t make us friends. Now, seriously, get the fuck out of my studio and back to your part of the house, Mr. Taylor.”

“I know exactly what is at stake, and I understand there are lives to consider. Maybe before you jump to conclusions, you could stop and listen.”

Listen? Listen! Listen, Dani. Take this, Dani. Do this, Dani. Follow this plan, Dani. I’ve got a story, Dani. Be ready, Dani. Her entire life echoed through those words, eliciting something like a growl in her throat. Her breath hissed out, her lungs emptying so she wouldn’t scream at his retreating back.

Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings)
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Fantastic read
Written by Nicole P on 23rd Mar 2024

If you're wanting a great evening read I highly recommend Vincent & Danica's story. Crashing on a snowy mountain road forces Vincent to wait out the storm at the gothic mansion B & B. Danica is not impressed with the Hollywood actor but how long can she resist his charm before giving in to temptation? Will Vincent choose the rights to a book series over a HEA with Danica?

Great story
Written by PHOENIX96 on 23rd Mar 2024

Danika and Vincent couldn't be more opposite l, and don't get off the best of starts but soon as feelings grow will everything be smooth sailing for the pair? Well written the story is engaging with well developed characters that hold your attention through out

Vincent and Danica
Written by Babs on 23rd Mar 2024

Down-on-his-luck Hollywood actor, Vincent Taylor and Danica Novak meet when he has to stay at her B&B when he crashes his car. their story is well written with a very good storyline that held my interest until the end. I enjoyed seeing them get their happy ending with the ups and downs they went through. I received a copy of this book via Evernight and am voluntarily leaving a review. Private feedback

So many ups and downs
Written by Sarah ES on 23rd Mar 2024

This book was fantastic. I really liked how the authors brought love and a little bit of steam into the storyline! The journey that the couple goes through is very intense and really helps complete the book.