Hi and welcome to our stop on the Picture Perfect Blog Tour hosted by Ink Slinger PR. There is an excerpt to enjoy, our review, and a giveaway to enter. Thanks for stopping by.
Picture Perfect by Alessandra Thomas
New Adult contemporary romance*Paperback/eBook, 306 pages
Published March 26th 2013
Fashion design major Cat Mitchell has a closet full of gorgeous clothes - and not a single thing fits. After two years of runway modeling for easy cash, an accident shattered her lower leg bone and her self-esteem in just one swift fall. Ten months of no exercise, prescription steroids, comfort eating and yoga pants meant returning to campus as a size twelve instead of her former size two.
When her gorgeous long-time friend with benefits sees her for the first time after her accident and snubs her in front of all her friends, Cat’s self-image hits rock bottom. Her sorority sisters all insist that she looks gorgeous, but all Cat sees is the roll of her stomach when she sits down, or the dimpling at the back of her thighs that wasn't there last year. Cat’s therapist prescribes something radical to stop the downward spiral - nude modeling for a nearby college's human form drawing classes.
When Cat faces her fears and bares it all for the class, she realizes that she's posing naked in front the most gorgeous, buffest guy she's ever seen in her life. He asks her out after the class, and after one steamy night together, Cat's absolutely smitten.
Nate’s pretty close to perfect – he takes Cat rock climbing when he discovers that it makes her feel strong and becomes a great chef after he learns that the perfect pesto sauce makes her swoon. Cat starts to feel like her old self again - confident and beautiful - as long as Nate's around. Even when he discourages her from entering the Real Woman Project, a design competition for plus-sized apparel, she reasons that he's just trying to prevent old body image wounds from splitting wide open again.
But when Cat goes home with Nate for Thanksgiving, she discovers something shocking from his recent past that proves that he hasn’t always been so encouraging of women of all shapes and sizes. Cat has no idea what to think, but she does know one thing - this might destroy their relationship before it's even had a chance to get off the ground.
Before Cat can figure out whether the real Nate is the sensitive, adoring guy she fell in love with, or an undercover asshole, she'll have to finally feel comfortable in her own skin - even if it means leaving him forever.
"I’m really glad I got to spend some time with you, while you had your clothes on. Not that I mind it when you have your clothes off. I mean...oh shit” He ran his hand through his hair again and gave me one of those heart twisting smiles. “I'm sorry."
Sorry was the last thing he should have been. The more bumbling he did, the wider my grin got. I snuck glances at him as he stood there, fidgeting trying to shake off the sharp autumn cold that was just starting to curl through the air. The space between our shoulders was just the right distance to make me think he wanted to be closer to me, and at the same time, to make me question everything.
I glanced up at the house - not a single light on. The girls must all have gone out or crashed early – not too difficult for a small sorority with only 40 girls in the house.
A footstep would have closed the gap between us, and the clouds of our breath mingling between us reminded me of that. Something had changed from a few seconds ago, the feel of the space between my beating heart and his. I looked up to find that Nate was looking down at me - down at me- and into my eyes.
I'd never seen eyes so full of want before. And they were fixed right on mine. Not on my boobs, or even my lips. On my eyes. On me.
"Well, Thanks for -"
"I'm so glad we -"
Our words collided, just like our breath, ending in a cluster of soft, nervous laughter.
His eyes still met mine with so much intensity, more than I'd ever seen before.
"I'm glad you were crying. I mean, I'm glad I met you. After class. And in the class was great too, I just..."
"You're welcome." I grinned, capturing my bottom lip in my teeth for a moment. "Thanks for...making me smile. It's been awhile, and I appreciate it."
"Well, if that's what I'm good for." He cracked a grin.
"Oh, I'm sure you're good for much more than that." Nate's left eyebrow darted up for a split second, just long enough to know that he'd heard the double meaning in my words. And maybe thought I meant it.
I definitely did mean it, even if I didn’t mean to say it.
That intensity was back in his eyes. His voice was perfectly steady and so sexy-husky when he said, "Please tell me you're going to let me kiss you."
A grin flooded my face before I could hold it back. I closed that gap between us with a half a step, and held my face up to his. He reached up, cradling my jaw in his warm hand. And then, his lips captured mine, moving against them cautiously and like he’d been desperate to do it all at once. The kiss was warm and soft and let me taste enough of him to drive me absolutely crazy. I’d never felt like this with Jake. With anyone, and it made me wonder if even knew who I was anymore.
That was just it. I had no clue who I was anymore. And I loved it.
His fingers threaded back through my hair as he pulled away and pressed back in for more. His breath was the best thing I'd ever tasted, and I'd be damned if the pain in my leg as I pushed up on my tiptoes to get even more of him would stop me. I whimpered as I let my hands rest on either side of his face, and flicked my tongue against his lower lip. His right hand dropped, and for a split second I thought he was going to stop kissing me, and that I'd probably die. But then it slipped down to my waist, clutching me there, pulling me so close that I could feel the telltale hardness right through his jeans, telling me just how much he was enjoying this. With a low groan, he pressed in, letting his tongue stroke mine, each movement making me want more.
I didn't know whether I wanted to go weak in the knees or tackle him and strip him right there on the sidewalk.
Neither was a particularly great option, so I kissed him even harder, tugging his bottom lip between my teeth. He sighed into my mouth, and I was in heaven and hell at the same time. His lips drifted down my jaw and kissed a hot trail down my throat, and I whimpered, pressing my body into his even more.
But then, suddenly, inexplicably, it ended, and he pulled away from me. I rested back on my heels, keeping my forehead pressed against his, gasping for breath.
"That was....Jesus, Cat. You're gonna kill me."
I didn’t know if he was asking to come up to my room with me, but suddenly, it was all I could think about. I wanted to feel his skin against mine, everywhere.
That was, until I actually thought about what that meant. Nate, the sexiest guy I’d ever kissed, made of hard muscle, touching my flab.
But there was something stronger, an undeniable need to be closer to him, that quickly covered that thought. I wanted him, even if it meant I had to keep the lights out and the covers pulled up. With the way he made me feel when he kissed me, I’d do pretty much anything to be closer to him.
"Don't die on the street," I managed between breaths. "Come upstairs."
About the author:
Alessandra Thomas is a New Adult writer who swears she was in her twenties yesterday. Since she's not, she spends her time looking back on her college years fondly, and writing sexy stories about guys and girls falling in love and really living life for the first time. When she's not writing, you can find her with a spoonful of ice cream in one hand and the newest New Adult release in the other.
Self image has been an issue so many females have to deal with throughout their lives. Magazine covers, tv, movies, and store displays are always touting what others think are the perfect image of a beautiful woman. It is refreshing to see an author take this universal theme and problem by creating a poignant love story. Picture Perfect is a New Adult contemporary romance featuring a junior in college who used to be a thin model until a horseback riding accident sent her into a year-long series of surgeries, bed rest and therapy. A year later Cat returns to school and her understanding sonority sisters but others don't view her sixty pound weight gain as something of beauty. Until Nate.
Cat obsesses about her weight and image until her closest friend takes her to the college counseling center for help. Dr. Albright, a specialist in body dismorphic disorders, talks to her and advises her to do something to make her feel powerful. At first, Cat is hesitant but she listens to the doctor and begins her recovery by becoming a nude model for an art class at another college. From then on, life undergoes some changes for Cat. She meets Nate and begins a passionate relationship with a hot guy who accepts and appreciates her body and mind. But can she fully trust Nate? Is he too good to believe?
Picture Perfect poses some interesting questions about society's view on women and weight. What is beautiful? Like reading a book, it is subjective. Author Alessandra Thomas turns the tables on her perfect model Cat when she gains weight and sees how she is treated differently. Her boyfriend turns out to be a selfish womanizing idiot and her modeling career does a turnabout. In her own head, Cat has to become comfortable and accept her new body in order to heal and move on. Not able to be as physically fit as she once was, she now lives with pain from her injury. As she grows more comfortable with herself, with help from Nate, a few curve balls are tossed in her way as a test of her strength.
As much as I enjoyed reading the story--no one can deny Cat has a wonderful voice--I had difficulty trying to picture her in my mind. I hoped to see Cat return to modeling for the art class and felt there was more to be explored with this aspect of accepting body size and beauty through art than through her dependence on Nate. I would have liked to have seen a female of a similar weight inspire Cat (perhaps a plus size model) before she found validity in her new boyfriend. As much as Nate showed her he appreciated her body, much of this acceptance became of a sexual nature through their relationship. The dinner/dance and rock climbing dates showed their relationship blossoming before it quickly eclipsed into the bedroom. This jump seemed too quick and the characters didn't develop into fully dimensional people for me.
I applaud the author for bringing light to such a topic so many grapple with everyday. Hopefully Cat's story in Picture Perfect may empower others to view themselves with accepting eyes and not let outside powers influence them. Beauty is not about size, it's about being comfortable with oneself and the power derived from this acceptance which shines forth for others to see.
I received a promotional copy in return for my honest review.