Thursday, December 7, 2017

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: S’more to Lose by Beth Merlin @bethmerlin80 @XpressoTours

S’more to Lose
Beth Merlin
(The Campfire Series #2)
Publication date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary

Four years after her life-changing summer, Gigi Goldstein thinks saying goodbye to Camp Chinooka means saying hello to a brand new life. Now faced with a second chance at her career, she is filled with more hope than she’s felt in a long time. Her design house is taking the fashion world by storm, even attracting notice of Victoria Ellicott, the fashionable British socialite who just happens to be engaged to the future king of England. When Gigi is chosen to design the royal wedding dress in London, she is forced to confront her ex-fiancé, Perry Gillman, now a successful composer with a hit show on the West End.

But when Gigi learns Perry’s been dating Victoria’s sister, who rivals her in looks, style and sophistication, Gigi can’t help but feel inadequate in everything. Her world begins to crumble as she develops a creative block so debilitating, she fears that a wedding dress of royal proportions is never going to happen. Even a budding relationship with the handsome, wealthy, and rich Viscount of Satterley can’t make her forget about Perry and her inability to get over him. As the world gears up for the wedding of the century, Gigi is on the brink of buckling under the immense pressure of the uncertainties of her future and failures of her past.

Will she be able overcome her creative paralysis to design the dress of Victoria’s dreams, or will she break down now that she has even s’more to lose?


I joined Group One as they were making their way up the main staircase to some of the bedrooms off the first-floor gallery. The docent took us through the bedrooms no longer in use by the family because of their historical significance. The first and most impressive was the room Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn had supposedly stayed in on their honeymoon tour. The walls were a deep crimson, and the four-poster canopy bed was draped with the most beautiful gossamer fabric. I snapped a picture of it on my phone for the inspiration board Jamie had put together for the royal wedding.
The docent led us back downstairs while reciting information about the servants’ hall. Gideon had told me before Downton Abbey, nobody was particularly interested in viewing the downstairs quarters of these grand houses. After the airing of the show, it was the most requested tour. Gideon recently oversaw a full historical renovation to bring the kitchen back to its more original state, hoping it would be an additional draw for the house. I knew he was looking forward to showing off his achievement.
As we filed down the corridor, I could hear someone playing piano on the main floor of the house. I knew immediately it was Perry. Like the Sirens of Greek mythology who lured sailors to nearby shipwrecks with their enchanting music, I found myself called to him. I turned down the hallway and into the music room. Perry was alone, seated at the Baby Grand Steinway, head down, his fingers flying over the keys.
I slowly tiptoed into the room. “Debussy? Brahams?”
He stopped playing and looked up at me. “Gershwin, Gigi, always Gershwin.”
“Seems like sometime soon the world will be saying that about Gillman.”
He pushed his hair back and out of his eyes. “I don’t know about that.”
“I do,” I said softly. I leaned down and touched his face. “It’s been a long time since I saw you with your hair and beard this long.”
“It’s for Dudley—and with the transfer to Broadway, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to cut it anytime soon.”
“I like it. Reminds me of when you played The Fiddler at Chinooka.”
He closed his eyes and sighed. “Chinooka.” Then, as if snapped right back into reality, he said, “Annabelle told me we were going to dinner at her close friend’s home. I didn’t know this was the home until we pulled past the sign for Badgley Hall.”
I walked to the far window. It looked out onto a large hedge maze that stretched far across the property. Even from this distance, I could see the maze was huge, dense, and complex. I wondered how long anyone had spent lost in it before they found their way to the center and eventually out the other side.
I turned to face Perry. He was still seated at the bench, his eyes firmly on my face.
“Back at Chinooka, you pleaded with me to be honest with Alicia about everything that had happened between Joshua and me. You said there’d be no closure for any of us without it. It’s the same now, isn’t it? You need to tell Annabelle who I am, so we can all move on.”
“Is that what you want? To move on?” He stood up from the bench. “Never mind. The returned engagement ring answered that question for me ages ago.”
“I just admitted what you were too much of a coward to say. We were done. There was no reason to keep pretending otherwise.”
“No. You gave up on us,” he growled.
“You gave up on us. With every unanswered call and each day that passed, you retreated farther and farther into your work. You forgot about the life we were building together, or maybe you decided along the way you wanted a different one. Well, congratulations. Annabelle told me she’s moving to New York to be with you when the show opens on Broadway, so it looks like you two are all set.”
From the far corner of the room, someone cleared their throat. We both squinted to make out who it was. Gideon emerged from the shadowy doorway and stepped into the moonlit room.
“I heard voices. I wanted to check to make sure nobody strayed too far from their tour,” Gideon said.
“Sorry, mate. I saw the piano and couldn’t help myself,” Perry said.
“It’s fine. We’ll attach a plaque that says, ‘Perry Gillman once played here,’ and we can charge more for the tour of the staterooms.”
I appreciated Gideon’s attempt to bring some levity to an awkward moment.
Gideon looked at his watch. “The docents should be wrapping up. I’ll go check on the other guests and let the two of you finish up in here.”
“Seems like a good guy,” Perry said after Gideon was out of earshot.
“He is,” I answered.
“And this place suits you, Princess,” he said, using his provoking nickname for me from when we first met at Chinooka.
“No, I guess you’re right. Countess is probably more appropriate now,” he said, brushing past me as he walked out of the room.

Author Bio:
Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.



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