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When Lightning Strikes

(Whiskey Creek #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  6,363 ratings  ·  663 reviews

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak welcomes you to the heart of Gold Country for the first heartwarming story in the critically acclaimed Whiskey Creek series.

Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has accumulated a roster of clients, including the biggest box office hit of all—sexy and unpredictable Simon O'Neal. Bu

Kindle Edition, 445 pages
Published March 14th 2016 by MIRA (first published August 28th 2012)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is going to be short and sweet.

I ended up really enjoying this one. I wasn't sure I would because early on it was just a bit ho-hum for me. But at about 30% things changed and I'm so happy they did.

I think the best way to describe this book is that it was one of those feel good stories. The heroine Gail was very likable and never once did she drive me batty with unnecessary drama. And the hero Simon was that asshat you hated to love but loved anyways. And in the end
Until about the last ten percent of this book I was without a doubt giving this one a five star review. I was getting ready to make posters of this bad boy. Hang them up in my room to swoon over them. There I was, starting it soon after dinner, and then it was two in the morning and I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading. It has been so long since a simple romantic contemporary did that to me. And those are the ones that stick, because those are the ones that got me started. My first loves were Susan Eliz ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

Simon O'Neal is a hard drinking, womanizing Hollywood superstar. He surrounds himself with people who fawn over him and won't call him on his reckless behavior.
Gail Dimarco was his PR consultant until she sacked him as a client. But after an over-zealous employee intimated that Simon sexually assaulted Gail, they need to get together and do some serious damage control.

Simon is in a bitter custody battle for his son, and any more bad press will destroy his already shaky case. To re
Tessa Teevan
LOVED this book! Sweet, heartfelt, and even though there was potential for it, no unnecessary angst or drama. Just a great feel good romance!
Jacob Proffitt
I'm only an hour from the end, but I give up. Even giving it the premise that he's the most famous actor ever and she's a hotshot PR exec the beginning doesn't work. Both have underlings who are incompetent, if not malevolent, and thy make choices that are convenient for the plot but make no other sense. Like Simon not giving his lawyer the emails and texts from his ex-wife. Dude, that's the guy you are paying to know how to use it best to achieve your goal of getting your son back. Pretending y ...more
Ⓐlleskelle - teamSøren♗ ⊲I like big b00ks⊳
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐4.5 STARS⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am hooked on this series. HOOKED. I can't seem to depart with it, now reading book 5 already!
5 books in a row! And the worst is that I wouldn't have open this book if not for a friend putting it right under my nose!
I love contemporary romance, I don't mind the lack of steam if the story is worth it. In that case, Brenda Novak lays out it all so cleverly, capturing the reader's attention within the first chapter.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️4.5 STARS⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am hooked on this series. HOOKED. I can't seem to depart with it, now reading book 5 already!
5 books in a row! And the worst is that I wouldn't have open this book if not for a friend putting it right under my nose!
I love contemporary romance, I don't mind the lack of steam if the story is worth it. In that case, Brenda Novak lays out it all so cleverly, capturing the reader's attention within the first chapter.

I could really appreciate her writing, the care she gave to built her characters, they all had a story to tell.
Whiskey Creek reminded me of the "feel good" vibe I had reading Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series, where you find yourself wondering what would it be like to actually live in this specific small town, meeting that very same group of friends... And that's when I can tell she did a great job at it. She made me project myself in this little place called Whiskey Creek.

"When Lightning Strikes" opens the series beautifully, with a fake marriage trope, mixed with an enemy to lovers one, and a Cinderella one!
Gail DeMarco is a great PR in Los Angeles, one of her former clients being THE Simon O'Neal, the huge movie star... Disheveled movie star, he's having a hard time and is well on his path to self destruction. Unfortunately for Gail, a misunderstanding is going to cost her the business she worked hard for, and put big movie star O'Neal's chances to get his son back at jeopardy... They HAVE to team up!

Somehow they're going to come up with this deal of fake marriage, (the idea is a bit OTT, but if you can get past that, the rest of the story is worth it) and Gail is going to do everything to make it work, even bringing Simon O'neal back to her home town : Whiskey Creek.
Sexual tension was a guideline throughout the whole story and led to some very sexy times, a little angst, and some really sweet moments.

All in all I really enjoyed this one, as well as the 4 following books, you get to know a little more each member of the "friday coffee" group, and you'd think you've seen everything in a little town like Whiskey Creek, but Brenda Novak keeps coming up with great, great ideas, keeping her little golden place anew.
If you like a good contemporary romance novel : THIS IS IT!
Jane Stewart
This is not romance frippery. It’s a good story with good conversations and interesting relationship development.

I was pleased and engrossed and enjoyed the whole journey. Gail was being with Simon to help him and she was sticking to her principles. I loved her Attila the Hun protectiveness over Simon when he was in the hospital. I liked the slow build up of their relationship and how Simon falls for Gail, a less attractive woman than the beauties he had in the past.

One t
Lisa - (Aussie Girl)
Fairly run of the mill small town contemporary, just okay in comparison to other series I've read. Stereotypical characters and situation (bad boy actor saved by homely small town girl), lots of obvious set up for other characters and I just didn't get the feel good vibe from Whiskey Creek.

This ones a miss for me.
Rating: 3,5 stars.

I seem to be quite nitpicking about romances lately, which is why I took 1,5 stars from the rating, but to be fair I really enjoyed this one.

The plot: Gail (the owner of a successful PR firm that is about to suddenly take a nosedive) and Simon (a world famous, filthy-rich movie star who’s been on a self-destructive path since his publicly scandalous divorce that may cost him the custody of his son) decide to make a “business deal” that they hope will solve all their problems, even if theyone.
Gail DeMarco created a successful PR firm with many A-list clients, including Simon O'Neal,one of the most successful and gorgeous actors in Los Angeles. When she decided to cut him loose after his umpteenth self-destructive act, his business manager retaliated by taking all of her clients with him. Simon is in the middle of a nasty custody battle with his ex-wife and needs to clean up his image so he and Gail make a deal: he'll get her business back in order if she'll agree to marry him and giv ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, fiction, series
This would really be a 3.5, if we were allowed to give half stars. (GoodReads, I'm looking at you.) But as much fun as I had reading this small-town romance, which is admittedly not my usual type, there were some things about it I just could not get past.

For starters, what begins as a business-arrangement marriage quickly turns into the heroine trying to saaaave her alcoholic (supposedly he's not actually an alcoholic because it was easy to give up the booze when he put his mind to it...caus
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook-arc
I am so glad that Brenda Novak has started a new series, and I loved this first full length Whiskey Creek book. When I saw that the new series appeared to be contemporary romance, I was afraid that I would really miss the suspense that she generally puts in her novels. This book worked for me so well that I didn't even notice that it wasn't a romantic suspense. I loved the characters and the storyline, and I can't wait to read the next installment.

Gail DeMarco has done very well with
Originally posted at

PR firm owner Gail DeMarco finds herself in hot water when her A list client retaliates against some bad PR she gave him and as a result, Gail has been dropped by her other clients. With her business going downhill quick, Gail has to swallow her pride and convince Simon to call a truce and to take her back.

Hollywood bad boy, Simon O’Neal only wants one thing; to see his little boy. He agrees to forgive Gail and help her out for a price. He needs to clean
Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms
Lovely and unlikely love story. I loved every single word on the page. Gail and Simon started their relationship for all the wrong reasons, but what a wonderful story!

This and other reviews can also be found on my blog: (un)Conventional Bookviews

When Lightning Strikes is book 1 of the Whiskey Creek series, and I have already read the prequel – and I loved that, too!

From there, a merry-go-round is taking both Simon and Gail on a wild ride. And it ends up with Gail telling Simon he should marry an/>When
4.25 stars. I've had this on my To-Read for the longest time. I am so happy I was able to read it! I really enjoyed it but I wish we had gotten to hear more about Olivia, Brandon, and Kyle from the first story. All I know is Kyle is now divorced...what happened to the baby??? That's frustrating but I still liked the book :).
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, own
This was a really good read. I loved the characters, the personalities, the ups and downs, emotions, the plot, and the great ending. This one definitely got me interested and ha me wanting to know what would happen next when I wasn't reading. A great beginning and has me wanting to read more in the series! Written well and had hating/loving the characters. Enjoy!
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance-contemp
Listened to on audio. Narrated by Amy Rubinate.

3.5 stars for the book. 4 stars for the narration.

I liked the narration on this. Evenly paced, well performed, there is literally nothing I can complain about! The reason for 4 stars rather than 5 though, is that whilst nothing stood out as irritating or offputting, neither did anything make me want to rush out and see what else this narrator has done.

As for the book, I really enjoyed it. Very well written. I enjo
If you like daytime dramas, this is your catnip. It was an entertaining story that I couldn't put down. However, certain subjects should not be brought up if not handled correctly; in this book's case it was domestic violence (side character who may end up as main character in later in series) and date-rape (heroine's past). I liked Simon (hero) much more than I did Gail (heroine); he really made an effort to change his life for the better. Gail was decent, but I wanted her to be a stronger woma ...more
Lisa Kay
★★★✩ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Amy Rubinate does a nice job of narrating this book. I thought this was definitely going to be a three star book for me. I wanted to feel happy while out doing my errands, or maybe even hopeful... or enthralled. Alas, I frequently felt sad. However, the last fifth of the book came in with better feelings between the main characters, and saved the day. ...more
Jacqueline J
3-1/2 stars
I liked this more than I thought I was going to. Somehow it was just really readable. The relationship between the two of them was the entire thrust of the story with not a lot of attention paid to secondary characters although they were there, the author didn't jump into any one else's POV. I just really enjoyed watching them fall in love.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gail is a Hollywood PR guru. She is so frustrated with Simon's refusal to listen to what she says that she finally drops him as a client. He goes to another firm and takes most of her clients with him, leaving her company in deep trouble. In order to save her company she goes to Sam with a plan to help them both. She'll help him repair his image and he'll come back to her firm. She comes up with a plan for him to marry a squeaky clean girl and behave himself. She doesn't expect to get roped into ...more
I liked this book better than I thought I would however I wasn't expecting much in the first place.
In the beginning the hero is a huge jerkface and I'm not saying this lightly he actually (not intentionally) ruins the heroine's business and carries on like it's nothing. Bro!!! You just ruined someones livelihood and everyone that works for them??!! Holy crap his ignorance made me mad....however you do like him eventually and he changes in to a better guy blah blah blah.

The heroine is a pr
This wasn't bad but it wasn't mind blowing either. The first half of the book is slow. There are many things going on, but instead of actions that move the story forward, the characters spend way too much time in their own internal dialog. It didn't hold my attention and it was a struggle to get through. There was so much analyzing and thinking, I think it limited what could have been a fun and engaging story arc.

The narrator is pleasant enough. If this had been in print I'm not sure
Suzie Quint
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the marriage of convenience troupe, but it's rare to find it done well and believably in contemporary romance. Brenda Novak pulls it off here in a compelling way. I also like that while her hero is movie star rich (because he is one), the focus isn't on his money but on the misery of being in the media spotlight when your life is unraveling and how, no matter what you do, some people will never believe you can pull yourself back up. On top of that, Simon and Gail are such a well-matched c ...more
I wasn't a big fan of how this one started out. I don't really like the enemies to lovers trope, because of that I wasn't behind the farce that Gayle and Simon dreamed up to help him out. But with that said, I liked how each of them learned to see the other person in different ways, I really liked how Gayle became a bulldog with Simon to protect him. When the story shifted to Whiskey Creek things picked up for me. The slow pace was just what Simon needed.

I liked how this one ended, l
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*sigh*. Just what I needed. A sweet but very well-written get-away. I'm not usually enamored by Hollywood bad-boy tropes, but this one kept my attention and allowed the perfect diversion into happily ever after!
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 This was such a good book. Yes its been done before. The whole marriage contract and so forth but the writing was so crisp and the characters were so likeable that I was instantly drawn in. I cant wait to read more from this series.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brenda-novak
For some reason this series has really pulled me in. I like the books I have read so far, enough to actually purchase them! Which is saying something when most of my books are either free or from the library. Yes, I am cheap!
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Lorelei James & O...: When Lightning Strikes~Buddy Read 90 17 Dec 29, 2014 10:40AM  

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It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda s

Other books in the series

Whiskey Creek (10 books)
  • When Snow Falls (Whiskey Creek, #2)
  • When Summer Comes (Whiskey Creek, #3)
  • Home to Whiskey Creek (Whiskey Creek, #4)
  • Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek, #5)
  • Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek, #6)
  • The Heart of Christmas (Whiskey Creek, #7)
  • This Heart of Mine (Whiskey Creek, #8)
  • A Winter Wedding (Whiskey Creek, #9)
  • Discovering You (Whiskey Creek, #10)
“Respect is more important than anything else. Respect will create a foundation. But, just so you don’t walk into something you aren’t prepared for in the future, you need to be aware that he has his limits.” “So” 1 likes
“At least she recognizes a good love scene when she sees one.” “That” 0 likes
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