Pleasure Island (MF)
[BookStrand Romantic Comedy, HEA]
When Jackson Moore and Allie Read are paired up for reality show Pleasure Island, the challenge is simply to outlast their opponent. Both believe they will win with ease. What they do not realize is that they are about to face the greatest challenge of all—falling in love.
Jackson Moore is a typical Hollywood bad boy, and millions of women would love to be stranded on a desert island with him. Not every woman finds him irresistible, though.
Allie Read is an uptight documentary filmmaker with no tolerance for men like Jack. It does not take long for the sparks to fly between this mismatched pair, and no one is more surprised than Allie when she becomes attracted to him.
As their physical attraction heats up, Jack and Allie struggle to control themselves in front of the cameras, while at the same time dealing with their growing feelings for each other.
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
5 SWEET PEAS: "Francene Carroll’s PLEASURE ISLAND is a delightful story about opposites and compromises. A new reality show has been hatched that proposes to pair two people with opposite personalities on a deserted island in the Pacific and whoever can stand to stay the longest wins $5 million. Jack is an actor who is on his way out of the spotlight due to his inability to control his addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, and women. He reminded me quite a bit of Charlie Sheen, as a matter of fact. Allie is a documentary maker who is a vegan environmentalist. People just don’t get much more opposite than Jack and Allie. The back story on Jack is he needs the prize money to get out of debt because he has squandered all of the money he made in the movies. Allie’s friends have urged her to go on the show because they think it would be fun for her and fun for them to bask in the near-celebrity glow. PLEASURE ISLAND could have been a cliché – enemies to lovers. However, Ms Carroll created a character-driven story that is so much more than that. Jack and Allie both evolve while marooned on the island, and like a pendulum their swings move closer and closer to the middle. This is a reality show, though, and there are cameras everywhere to record every movement, every whisper, and nothing is as it seems. While Jack and Allie are tentatively deciding whether to trust each other, they really should be focusing their questions about trust on the greedy producers of the show. When the show abruptly moves back to Los Angeles to liven things up, the producers throw temptation in Jack’s path. I was shouting, “No, Jack!” at a Kindle, for goodness sake. I was so wrapped up in the story and characters I not only couldn’t put the book down I couldn’t distance myself from what was happening. I loved the twists and turns that in hindsight were as they should have been but surprised me at the time. There were no easy answers for either Allie or Jack, and the end is less HEA and more HFN. I would really love to read more about Jack and Allie, and I hope this becomes a series of their stories. We need to hear more about Danny, Pam, and Ty, too. Stories about other people who come to the island to change their lives would be great, too. PLEASURE ISLAND is a fun read but it might kick your butt with lessons learned, too." -- Becky Condit, Miss Condit & Friends Read Books
After swimming around the lagoon for a while, Jack climbed back up onto the deck to sun himself, stretching out to his full length with every bit of his body glistening in the afternoon sun. Allie’s resolve not to think lustful thoughts was tested immediately, and taking a deep breath, she pulled herself onto the deck to join him. Now that this issue had come up, they needed to set some ground rules, and this was as good a time as any to clear the air. He grinned like a Cheshire cat when she lay herself down next to him.
“Don’t go getting any ideas, Jack. That was a one-off occurrence. It definitely will not be happening again.”
“How can you be so sure of that? I mean, you’ve already tried to rip my shirt off, and now you’ve jumped me in the lagoon. It’s you who needs to learn some self-control, Allie.”
“Come on, I’m serious, Jack. It’s only natural that we start to feel like this toward each other when there’s no one else around. In our normal lives, we wouldn’t even look twice at each other, but this is not a normal situation, it’s very abnormal, and so it’s leading us to behave in abnormal ways. We can’t get physical with each other again, under any circumstances.”
“Okay,” said Jack with a sigh, “but just to be one hundred percent sure that we’re on the same page, is it this that we can’t do ever again?” He rolled over and kissed her, pinning her to the deck, and once again she was sucked straight into the maelstrom and it took all her willpower to pull herself back out of it and push him away.
“You’re unbelievable, Jack. What is the point of kissing and fooling around with each other?” she said angrily. “You know where it will inevitably lead, and that’s somewhere we can’t go, so we should just leave it alone. I wish that you had just kept your feelings to yourself because now you’ve let this genie out of the bottle, and it’s making me very uncomfortable.”
“Who says that we can’t do whatever we want to on this island? It’s only your fear stopping you from doing what you really want to do. God, what did they expect when they put two adults together in this situation? The cameras might be on us all the time, Allie, but that doesn’t mean they can show all of the footage. There’s such a thing as editing, you know. Haven’t you heard of people getting together on reality TV shows before? It happens all the time, and nobody thinks twice about it. Why do you think they gave you a whole drawer of sexy lingerie to wear if they didn’t want this to happen?”
Allie snorted in disbelief. “You’re not serious. Are you telling me that you’d actually have sex in front of the cameras for the whole world to see? They might not be able to show all the footage on TV, but it’s there forever. Who’s to say it won’t get leaked one day, and I, for one, am not going to become an Internet porn star for anything. It’s bad enough just having this conversation on film.”
“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being a porn star. It’s a lifestyle choice, and as a matter of fact, I used to date one. We even made our own video once. Look it up when the show finishes, and I guarantee you’ll kick yourself when you see what you’ve missed out on.” Allie stared at him openmouthed before shaking her head and laughing.
“You know what, Jack? I’m so glad we’ve had this conversation because suddenly I am feeling so much less attracted to you.”
“Sex is a natural and beautiful thing, Allie. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and anyway, there’s probably a whole lot of footage of you taking care of your needs already judging by the amount of time you spend in that spa bath.”
“I beg your pardon,” she said. “I can’t believe you would think that. I don’t even shower naked, if you must know, so I’m sure as hell not going to put on a show of pleasuring myself in the spa. Please don’t tell me that you, well, you know…do that right in full view.”
“Of course I do. I’m a man. You don’t expect me to keep it all bottled up now, do you, and it’s a bit hard to do it discreetly.”
“Well, there you go. You’ve just gone and confirmed what people have been saying about you for years, Jack, and now they’ve got the footage to prove it.” With that parting comment, she got up and moved to the other end of the deck.