by Lori G. Matthews
Samantha Cassidy, award-winning actress, up-and-coming Hollywood “It Girl”, is missing three things in her life: an Oscar, a special someone to share her life with, and a baby goat in pajamas.
Alex Novato married her college sweetheart, but tragedy struck and the love of her life was ripped from her arms. Now she refuses to open her heart again, choosing casual sex over deeper commitments, until a not-so-chance meeting with her favorite Hollywood starlet turns her world upside down.
Will Alex give love another try? Will Sam find the courage to follow her heart, Hollywood be damned? Will anyone get a baby goat in pajamas?
#CassiNova is a sweet, funny, fun romp through the Hollywood Hills.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"If you ask me what my favorite movies are, I guarantee you I’ll name every great romcom from the last thirty years. Pretty Woman? Yep. Notting Hill? Of course. Trainwreck? Yes, please. The list goes on and on. So it was only natural that when I took my first stab at writing, the end result would turn out to be lighthearted and fun.
#CassiNova was that first stab at writing, and it started out as a Clexa fanfic. Four years ago, I had stumbled across Archive of Our Own, a website dedicated to fan fiction. As I was reading the stories, I asked myself, “Why can’t I write a story?” Followed by, “How hard can it be?” Which is my wife’s favorite line by the way, used mostly in reference to some household repair job that will eventually go awry.
Well, it turns out I could write a story, but it was a lot harder than, say, refinishing hardwood floors. The process of taking a fanfic and molding it into a novel took three years of painstaking rewrites and editing, but the end result was well worth it, and I hope you have as much fun reading this story as I had writing it."
—Lori G. Matthews
Bookshop Santa Cruz
MJ's Reviews - Lori G. Matthews had me laughing in public—exactly what I needed in these stressful times. She completely sucked me in! The characters were almost familiar, like friends I already have. The romance felt real, and I never doubted the motives behind Sam and Alex’s actions. I spent many years so hungry for representation that I’d read anything you threw at me, but I’m happy to say this book set the bar so much higher for me. A flirty, fun romp through Hollywood.
The Lesbian Review
#CassiNova is such a fun read. I pictured this title making its way into my beach bag for a fun, upbeat read in the sunshine. The language is trendy and at times edgy, giving the book a youthful, modern Hollywood vibe. The slow burn romance is tempered with humor that keeps the pace until the romance peaks. Keeping with great timing, there are also well written genuine and sincere moments. #CassiNova is a cute, funny, light read. I’d recommend it for any of my friends looking for a sweet, easygoing RomCom.
R. Swier - #CassiNova was the debut novel for this author and it was a rom-com. There were many comedic episodes throughout the story involving the mains and the secondary characters. I actually enjoyed the scenes where all the characters were together. Besides all the comedy involved, there were some serious moments concerning Alex’s past and Sam’s relationship with her father. Those were the tender and serious scenes.
I liked the way the author used the title, #CassiNova, at the beginning of the story and then wasn’t mentioned until it re-emerged near the end in a very sweet, and of course, fun way. I really enjoyed these characters and their zany antics. This was definitely the right book to read with many laughable moments, and I look forward to any future books from this author.
nutmeg - The book is hilarious. I showed a lot of teeth while reading, could not contain my giggles and was laughing out loud deep into the night. Family and friends on both sides will amuse you to no end, the characterizations make them all lovable, dorks, bimbos or whatever. A solid 5 stars based on the entertainment value of the book, perfect for times like this.
Kaye C. - Delightfully funny. I read this with a grin and outright laughter. I will look for future books from the author.
Carol C. - I understand this is a first published book for this author, and all I can say is please, Ms. Matthews, keep them coming. This was just a wonderful story around: actress meets writer/landscaper—I'll keep it quiet on who stalked who first.
The main characters are relatable and the author really gives them great background that you understand why they are the way they are. I love this author's style of writing in that it is page after page after page of dialogue—I love a book brimming with lots of dialogue—it is both laugh-out-loud funny and at times very serious (Alex's past sent me to tears) and I could not put the book down. There is plenty of bantering moments both between the MC, family and friends, and also some rather steamy moments with the MC.
Bottom line, I gave this 5 stars not only for the well written story line, the lovable characters but also, cause again, I LOVED that it was 3/4 dialogue.
Phoebe M. - #CassiNova is funny. You will have to hold your belly because it will be cramping from laughing so hard. Lori G. Matthews has produced a rom-com for the season.
I do not even know who I love best in this book. Alex’s relationship with her sister is hilarious. Are there even words better than “hilarious” for Jade? Does Matthews even write an unfunny character? Holy sugar just remembering them makes my belly ache (laugh). I am straight-up giggling now and I can’t tell you why because, hello, spoilers.
I definitely want to sleep with Alex because, damn, the girl got skills. She is funny, suave, and can laugh at herself. I adore how she is with Sam who at times has no skills (laugh). Matthews gives both characters a chance to redeem themselves, sometimes with laughter, show us some steam.
Kat W. - Omg, this was an amazing, funny and sweet book. You will laugh and cry and laugh some more. The main characters are meant for each other from the first meet. They are both goofy, with ideas out of this world. They make their relationship hot, and happy and don't stop playing around. It looks so easy when you read this one and you root for their happy ending. Excellent book in my opinion.
It was a crime scene.
Flecks covered the cabinets. Dots peppered the ceiling. The spatter had made it clear across the room. The only thing missing was the chalk outline of the avocado that had met its untimely end in the Cuisinart Pro food processor. And in the middle of it all stood Samantha Cassidy, Emmy-award-winning actress, nibbling on her bottom lip. Chunks of green goo perched in her blond hair, and pea-colored fragments stuck to her cheeks. “Shit.”
The front door slammed. “Sami! Where you at?” Jade called.
“In the kitchen.”
“What’s cooking in there? Hopefully not your cookbook.”
In the annals of kitchen disasters, the cookbook incident ranked right at the top. Sam’s Emeril Lagasse recipe book had gone up in flames during the maiden voyage of the Viking gas stove a few months ago. It had been propped on the back burner, making it easier to read while sautéing on the front burner. The wrong knob was turned, and poof!
As Jade walked into the kitchen, Sam hopped up from the floor, sponge in hand. “Hey.” She wiped her forehead, smearing green goop through her dark brows.
“Huh.” Jade stood with hands on hips. “Forget the lid?”
“Gah. Can you believe it?”
“Yes, Sami. Yes, I can believe it.”
Jade placed her car keys on the counter and tiptoed around puddles of gunk to grab a beer from the fridge. “I’m gonna pitch an idea to the network. It’ll be a cooking show called What Not to Do in the Kitchen. Starring you, of course. We’ll bill it as a comedy.”
Sam grimaced. “I’m not that bad.”
“Well, you almost burned the place down with your little cookbook adventure.”
“Oh please. It was just a small fire.”
“Tell that to the fire department. Now, c’mon. Clean that shit up later. Your show’s coming on.” She hurried into the living room.
Sam spent every Sunday night from February through April with her best friend and manager, Jade Ramos, watching her hit sci-fi series, Gemini. Well, Jade watched. Sam usually had her earbuds in listening to music and checking fans’ reactions on social media. Neither she nor their friend Emma, who also starred on the show, could stomach watching themselves on-screen. However, tonight was the season finale, and a quick peek may not be out of the question. Sam’s character, Commander Calleah “Callie” Jenkins, was consummating her relationship with fan-favorite Ophelia Beck. #Calliope had been trending for a season and a half.
Jade grabbed the TV remote. “I think a lot of people are going to lose their shit tonight, my friend.”
Sam hunkered down on the couch next to Jade. “I don’t think it’ll be that bad.”
“Ten bucks says it’s a shitstorm.”
“You’re on. Jackson and the other writers think everyone will love the fact that they hook up.”
“Oh, they’ll love the hookup. They ain’t gonna love what comes next. The fan base is gonna go fucking ballistic.”
“I’m getting you a swear jar,” Sam threatened, “and it’s gonna be a buck for every f-bomb. And then I’m donating it to charity.”
“A buck? What happened to a quarter?”
As the opening credits started to roll, Sam’s phone rang. “It’s Emma.” She hit the speaker button. “Hey, E.”
“Hey, bitches, I’m at the gate. Open up.”
Jade hustled over to push the gate button and returned to the couch. “After six months, you’d think she’d remember the damn code.”
“I love her, but she barely remembers her lines.”
A minute later the door flew open, and a breathless Emma ran in. “Did I miss the sex?”
Jade cocked an eyebrow. “Well, somebody’s excited. Hurry. It’s starting.”
“I need a drink.” Emma jogged into the kitchen and froze. “Whoa! What happened in here?”
“Sam made dip.”
“Why’s it on the ceiling?”
“Because Sam made dip.”
“I think this is it!” Alex Novato sat on the floor in front of the couch with her dog, Yogi, nestled in beside her. “You guys are gonna miss it.” She cranked the volume on the remote.
Alex’s older sister, Lenna, and her wife, Sophia, hustled in from the kitchen and plopped onto the sofa behind Alex.
“Finally, after two seasons,” Lenna said.
All eyes locked on the screen as Ophelia tugged Callie closer and kissed her softly on the lips. They ripped at each other’s clothing, and soon their naked bodies pressed against each other on the hard ground inside the cave.
“Yeah, baby!” Alex and Lenna shared a high five as the show went to commercial.
Sophia sighed. “The actresses have such great chemistry. You don’t see that much with two women on TV.”
“Sam Cassidy is my favorite actress,” Lenna gushed. “Goddamn, she’s hot.”
“I wouldn’t kick her out of bed,” Alex agreed.
“I guess not. She’s just your type. All blond haired and blue eyed.”
“And she’s got curves in all the right places—”
“Okay, you two, stop drooling,” Sophia said. “And stop objectifying her. Now, be quiet. It’s coming back on.”
The sisters exchanged a sheepish look.
“Sorry, babe, you’re right,” Lenna said.
The mood at the Novato house changed dramatically as the next scene unfolded, their euphoria over the kiss short-lived. Lenna and Sophia gawped at the screen as the ending credits rolled.
“Wow, no more shipping Calliope,” was all Alex could manage.
Sophia finally found her voice. “They had sex, and then they killed her? How could they do that?”
Alex slumped against the couch. “Assholes. ‘Bury the gays’ trope strikes again.”
As the episode ended, Sam and Emma sniffled and wiped their eyes while a stoic Jade checked her phone.
“Well?” Sam asked.
“Holy hell, it’s Armageddon. Twitter’s blowing up. Would you like to hear from your fans?”
“Oh God. Go ahead.” Sam’s stomach muscles clenched.
“Let’s see. @calliopeforever says, ‘What the hell was that?’ And @calliopeshipper wrote, ‘Why are they always killing the lesbians?’ @ishipcalliope tweeted, ‘I will never watch this show again!’ It goes on and on and on. You owe me ten bucks.”
Sam slapped the arm of the couch. “I knew it! I told them not to kill her off. I begged them not to do it.” She collapsed against the back of the sofa and pinched the bridge of her nose as uneasiness settled in her gut. The next few weeks would be challenging. An angry fan base could damage the show.
Jade continued to scroll. “What a fucking nightmare.”
Sam cleared her throat and extended a hand.
Glaring, Jade sat back with crossed arms. “Fuck that.”
Sam put both hands out and wiggled her fingers.
Jade sighed as she reached into a pocket and grabbed a five-dollar bill. “Change?”
“No. I’ll keep a tab.”
“Why does she owe money?” Emma asked.
“I’m charging a buck for every f-bomb,” Sam said.
“Oh. She’s gonna need more than a five-dollar bill.”