“...Well I've found my one and only like the long, lonesome river finds the sea and I can't believe how lucky I was that you and your love were waiting around for me...You're my darling one and only...” ~ Gladys Knight (The One and Only)
When Ethan, of 'Civil War and Broken Hearts by Julie Lynn Hayes, shows Vinnie an article about a civil war movie they are shooting in town in which actress Caroline St. Clair is staring, it starts an argument between them. They have met her before and Vinnie can't stand her. He is still convinced that she is after his man. Ethan keeps trying to tell him that he is overreacting but Vinnie is sure he's right. Assuming that there is little chance they will run into her, Ethan and Vinnie set out to enjoy a rare day off. However, their plans are rudely interrupted by their boss, Anderson Riley, calling with a new case that needs immediate attention. Anderson asks them to come and to pack a bag. Neither are very happy about it, but when Vinnie learns what their assignment involves - guarding Caroline St. Clair - he is very unhappy.
St. Clair has been receiving death threats and Ethan and Vinnie are there to flush out the culprit before any harm comes to her. Vinnie hates the idea of being so close to someone who so obviously wants his man, but knows he has to remain as professional as possible. But, when Vinnie hears the details of the undercover operation, in spite of the effect it will have on his and Ethan's careers, he almost loses it. St. Clair has arranged for Ethan to play her boyfriend, which also means he will have to sleep in her suite, while Vinnie poses as a personal assistant to Troy Garrett, her very handsome and very gay co-star with whom Vinnie will share accommodations. Before the assignment even begins, St. Clair has found a way to “divide and conquer” by separating Vinnie and Ethan.
As the investigation continues, so does St. Clair's attempted seduction of Ethan as well as her efforts to humiliate and hurt Vinnie. But she's got an ulterior motive being so “cozy” with Ethan. She doesn't really want Ethan; she's trying to make her ex-fiancé and current director, Gordon Daimler, jealous. It doesn't work. In fact, it seems that Gordon and his new woman try their best to rub their being together in. When Gordon makes the announcement that his new girlfriend is now his fiancée, St. Clair fights back by claiming that she and Ethan are engaged as well. By this point, Vinnie has had it. But when Ethan gets a call from their boss he has to tell Vinnie that St. Clair told him that Vinnie is distracting Ethan and wants Vinnie off the case. But it gets worse. Vinnie is not only dismissed from his current investigation, he's suspended with orders to stay away from Caroline St. Clair.
These stories are exceedingly entertaining and well written. Stories written in first person are tricky, at best, and sometimes difficult to pull off, but Julie does a terrific job using Vinnie as narrator. He's such a complex character that seeing a situation through his eyes makes everything more emotional - from his joy and love for Ethan to his heartaches and sorrows when he's feeling down, inadequate, and undeserving of Ethan's love. Being privy to Vinnie's thoughts had a powerful impact on my connection with what was happening. A pleasant and unexpected surprise was Troy's personality. I was expecting a spoiled, privileged diva and was introduced to a generally nice guy who comforted Vinnie when times got rough and did what he could to make things easier for Vinnie and Ethan. I'm certain that after this escapade, Vinnie and Ethan will not be saying “Hooray for Hollywood” anytime soon, if ever again. If you like stories involving movies set during the Civil War, Hollywood stars, filmmaking, jealousy, and suspense, you may enjoy this book. Thanks, Julie, for letting me visit with Ethan and Vinnie again. I'm looking forward to book three!