Honest Synopsis: Courtney, a shy, buttoned up Hollywood financial researcher with a speech impediment and mommy issues tries pole dancing at a bachelorette party and loves it so much she starts taking classes in secret; becoming an star pupil. In a work meeting, she catches the eye of a potential client, Trey a talent agent from an old Hollywood family who is embroiled in a public battle with his director father. There are sparks, but she has a stammer, poor fashion sense, and Trey is a client, so she runs off to class before learning she ticks Trey off by uncovering undisclosed information about some of his business dealings. Her instructor suffers a broken ankle or something in a horrible pole dancing mishap the night she is supposed to try out for a lucrative full-time gig. Courtney knows the routine inside and out and is guilted/talked into dancing in her place, provided she has a wig and a mask on; she could lose her job if she is found out! The experience empowered her so much she flirted hard with Trey who happened to be at this exclusive strip club. Not exactly being a master of disguise, it takes exactly one day for Trey to figure out it was Courtney shaking her groove thing in the club. He is crazy attracted to Courtney as well and they embark into a clandestine relationship. Lust and dancing gives Courtney confidence. She doesn’t stammer as much, she gets a promotion managing Trey’s account, she feels good about life, and thinks she has a real shot with Trey. But, like any good junkie, she needs her fix, just one more dance… Will she lose everything as a result? Probably not.
Our gal du jour in My Double Life, by Joanne Rock is Courtney Masterson who works as financial researcher for an asset management company in Hollywood. Courtney has a stammer, which has caused her to be rejected by her mother and therefore caused her to retreat into shyness and low-esteem. My guess is she one of those “pretty but doesn’t know it” types. She apparently has poor fashion sense which must make her look like Quasimodo next to the beautiful account executive Fawn, who is (pun intended), “fawning” all over her new potential client Trey Fraser. Trey is described as, “Hollywood royalty and son of the most famous independent producer of the last decade.” Sadly for Fawn, Trey only has eyes for shy, pretty-but-doesn’t-know-it Courtney. He asks her to join them in the meeting and she literally runs away. So this is funny to me, and maybe to you too readers because Trey is described as being, “handsome in that George Clooney, gorgeous-even-when-he’d-be-eighty way.”
If I Met George Clooney and he suddenly had the hots for me, I would probably run as well. I would also think that I had died, and this was my purgatory life having Clooney be interested in me and me being unable to do anything about it, or that I was on a regular folks version of Punk’d, or that I was on a stupid reality dating show like I Wanna Marry Harry and he wasn’t Clooney at all. Either way, I kind of agree with Courtney.
The other funny part was that she literally ran out of work and to her pole dancing class because and I quote, “There was nothing like a little pole dancing to bring out the tigress in a woman.”
I laugh as I touch a bruise on my thigh from pole dancing class! Yes, I am currently taking an Intro to Pole Dancing class at a local studio (a girl needs options should this romance novel blogger thing doesn’t pan out 🙂 ). I can say with certainty that I in no way feel like a tigress. I feel more like a newborn baby tiger (aka, cub), blind and uncoordinated, and like someone is beating the sh!t out of me with a bag of oranges every Sunday.
I digress (ha ha! rhymes with tigress), Trey and Fawn get down to the business of his finances and our gal Courtney uncovered some undisclosed insider intel about Trey wanting to expand is talent agency and start up a film production company putting him in direct competition with his dad. This infuriates Trey who wants to talk to Courtney and get to the bottom of how she learned this info. I mentioned earlier, she ran off to pole dancing so he would have to wait until the next day. Back at pole class, Courtney’s instructor Natalie Night, breaks her ankle demonstrating a trick to the class. Turns out someone had lotion on while working the pole before her and she slid off of it. Now, being in a pole dancing class myself, I can tell you that this is true. We are told not to wear any lotion 24 hours before coming to class because it can cause accidents. My instructor said she will throw people out if they have lotion on. It must be a serious thing, which I get, but my other issue with this scenario is that Natalie didn’t wipe her pole down before jumping on. That is the first thing I do because ew!
Who knows what was going up and down that sucker before me?! We have alcohol and vinegar that we can use to wipe the poles down before we use them. I would think that would get rid of the oils from lotion and prevent infections…ew.
Natalie is injured and cannot audition her burlesque act at a posh strip club called, Backstage which was later that night. She asks a member of the class to fill in for her, if she nailed the audition, it would be a lucrative gig for her. The class nominates Courtney because she is a pole prodigy and knows the routine well. Feeling like she owes Natalie for finding her inner tigress, Courtney goes against her better judgment (she could get fired if her job found out) and agrees to perform in Natalie’s place, provided she wears a wig and a mask. Trey is at the show with a client who needs to be seen coming in and out of a strip club for his reputation. He is captivated by Courtney’s sweet moves instantly. He thinks he knows her, but can’t place her for sure. Meanwhile, Courtney, in full tigress mode starts dance-flirting with Trey. She feels empowered and just goes with the dance seduction. Of course Trey wants to meet her, so they get ushered into the “champagne room” where Trey tries to be Mr. Protector, telling her she doesn’t want to work there because not all of the dudes are nice like him. He also asks her to meet him in his car because he is such a “gentleman”.
Courtney agrees, but tricks him and basically just runs to her car, wondering what would have happened if she had met him…
The next day Trey meets Courtney sans mask and figures out it was her at the club the night before and asks her to lunch the next day where he tells her he knows it was her then seduces her picnic-style (they had a picnic). Trey does something interesting I think we should all try next time we are in tigress, or tiger mode with a romantic interest. Take their pulse. Then you will know how excited they are! If you get a flatline, run, it could be a zombie. They take the picnic back to his place where they get their sexy on. Both feel lucky to be in this particular circumstance, especially Courtney because…duh, it’s Clooney!
After one night, Courtney had become his fantasy woman, “smart, and savvy, sexy and seductive.” I guess I should give pole dancing class another try :-). They have more sex and learn about one another, as it goes in dating. Courtney is coming out of her shell. She doesn’t stammer when she is with Trey, she is uber happy and not thinking clearly because she agrees to dance in Natalie’s place again. She’s hooked on the feeling (pun intended!) of Trey watching her dance. She’s becoming a pole dance-aholic.
While Trey and Courtney are moving from lust to love. Trey and his father are deep in battle. His dad threatens to call TMZ on Trey if he goes back to Backstage. Trey thinks Courtney is brilliant and requests that she manage his account instead of Fawn changing their relationship to business with a side of personal. Then Trey learns that Courtney is going to perform at Backstage again and he’s a bit put off because now he is in love with her and doesn’t want his lady shaking it fast in front of ogling strangers. He knows she can’t do it without him since he was the reason she was so fearless the first time.
He also realizes that her confidence and esteem are tied into dancing and he doesn’t want to discourage her, so he agrees to watch her one more time. This time, Courtney’s work colleagues are in the crowd, cheering “Natalie” on. Trey tries to run interference so they don’t know it is Courtney bumping and grinding on stage. They are able to make a get away with Courtney’s identity in tact only to run into Trey’s father, Thomas outside. After some family drama talk, Trey and Courtney go back to her place and discuss her rut. Yes! Who would have thought ruts would be back so soon after Shifter’s Destiny. I guess we can infer that this “rut” was monotony in the workplace and a sexual one (see review of Shifter’s Destiny). Courtney gives herself a weird test to see if she could hang in Trey’s high-powered Hollywood world. She asks him to take her to a black-tie gala that his father will be at the next night. Which is funny because she would be going with a client which seems to me to be against company policy, what do I know, I am just a reader.
Anyway, Courtney gets into heated discussion with Trey’s dad about him not accepting Trey on his own terms, and his constant public undermining. Thomas, Trey’s father basically lashes out at Courtney who is unfazed and tries to finish her point when Trey interrupts and out’s Courtney’s dancing secret to the entire party thinking he is protecting her. Both Fraser’s are basically busy posturing and kicking up dust to notice Courtney’s gone.
They break up, but Trey is determined to win her back. He realizes he was a jackass and has a come to Jesus talk with his dad who also realizes he was being a jackass. Courtney, who has shed her insecurities, confesses her dancing to her boss who literally laughed at her and gave her a pat on the back instead of the pink slip. In true Hollywood romance fashion, Trey and his father devise a dramatic plan to win Courtney back which works and they live happily ever after…pole dancing and all.
Head Spinning Quotes:
- “Watching him watch me was a turn-on like nothing I’d ever experienced.” (page 26)
- “I need us naked.” (page 90)
- “Today is like a dream,” she whispered. “I don’t want it to end.” “So we’ll keep on dreaming,” he whispered back to her.(page 93)
Best quote and life lesson: “Don’t accept anything less than you deserve. Ever.”
My Double Life is probably the best Harlequin romance I have read thus far (so what if that is only 4!). It is a “perfect-world” adult romance where we two people with issues meet, get frisky, get to know one another, work out their issues and fall in love. There wasn’t much I found fault with in terms of the story. I think it could be possible to be a regular person and meet a Clooney type and fall in love. I think that actually happened to George Clooney once or twice..there have been so many ladies! It happened to Matt Damon for sure! If the cover was more awesome, this would have been a five-starer. If you like a bit more realism with your sexy storyline, I would recommend My Double Life. If you like the ugly-duckling-turn-swan type of romance, this is also up your alley.
Rating: 4 out of 5 trashy roses