Living in South Florida, I know what something that might seem mundane like wind and rain can be life-shattering which is what pulled me into this story. Then there’s the step-sister angle, something with a taboo halo all around itself. An interesting story, for sure.
The Van Birch Incident (The Incident Series, #1) by Marla Holt releases today in the Adult, Contemporary, Romance genre.
Van Birch: Pop Star. A-list starlet. Off-limits.
Clay Noble has spent the better part of a decade avoiding his taboo obsession: His stepsister Van. In love with her since the first time he’d heard her sing, even shipping himself off to the army couldn’t stop thoughts of her. Now that he’s lost everything in a tornado, he’s forced to move back in with the only family he has left, Van and her dad. Sleeping down the hall from her is forcing every unwanted impulse back to the surface.
Clay Noble: Gorgeous. Infuriating. Untouchable.
Everything Van touches turns to gold with a side of outrageous. When she accuses her manager of sexual assault, the public thinks it’s just another one of her publicity stunts and the backlash is brutal. Wounded, she dashes home to a tornado-devastated Wellville, Kansas to heal and help rebuild, even though the constant stream of social media doubts and threats won’t let her rest. But there’s another reason for her sleepless nights and fevered dreams. Clay is back, hotter than ever, and his lingering glances and stolen moments have her convinced the feelings she’s fought for so long may not be one sided after all.
The Van Birch Incident marries forbidden romance, bordering on taboo with a little danger and a guaranteed happily ever after, while exploring how social media and real life collide in a post #metoo world where the internet never sleeps.
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Footage of the altercation at the Fox played on the screen behind Van’s head, and she tried not to notice.
“Your brother didn’t hesitate to come to your defense either,” the reporter said as Clay bashed Bishop’s head into the wall
And Van couldn’t help it, it just slipped out. “Clay’s not my brother.”
The reporter just smiled like Van had played right into her trap instead of the other way around. The footage behind Van’s head changed to a photo of Van and Clay making out on his front stoop the day before. The photo had gone live that morning, and Phoenix had shown it to Van on their way to the airport. Butch swore he hadn’t seen anyone else in the area from where he’d been keeping watch from his SUV. It was taken from above, looking down from across the street. It wasn’t great quality, but it was just good enough to tell that Van was on Clay’s lap, and that they were wrapped together like twist ties.
“Do you have any comment about these photos?” They flashed a few more that were more or less the same. “They are causing quite the uproar on the internet right now.”
Van hadn’t looked. She didn’t need to know what anyone was saying about her and Clay. Instead, she felt a blush rise to her cheeks that she hoped her makeup wouldn’t hide. “The thing with Clay is, I’ve had a crush on him since I was fourteen. That was before my dad married his mom. And it turns out he’s had a crush on me too. It’s actually pretty exciting that something’s starting to happen between us. It’s been a long time coming.”
Van heard one of the producers sigh and say, “That is adorable.” Van shot her a grin.
“What exactly is something?” the reporter asked.
Van only shrugged and motioned toward the pictures. “That only happened yesterday. You know as much as I do, but I think whatever it is could be really, really good.” Van looked to Phoenix again, afraid she’d see Phoenix scowling. Instead, her friend was wiping a tear from her eye and motioned for Van to keep going. “But, as much as I’d like to keep gushing about Clay, I agreed to come on this show to talk about the legal drama with my former manager, so let’s get back to that.”
Phoenix nodded and gave a silent slow clap.
The reporter looked shocked, then schooled her face back into her trademark saccharine smile, then continued, asking Van why she kept up with the allegations against Bishop when the police wouldn’t pursue the case—and that was Van’s moment to shine.
“I’m so glad you asked. This is something I feel really strongly about. So many people already feel like they don’t have a voice when they go through something similar to what happened to me. And I think you’ll agree I have a fantastic platform. I have my own show, a gigantic Twitter following. I am working on my third album. Millions of people have access to my voice. People know my name, know my face, and for the most part, they listen when I talk. And I really think it says something that so many people can trust me with so much else, but when it comes to what happened to me, everyone automatically assumes I’m making it up for promotional purposes.”
Van looked directly at the camera instead of the reporter. “I want to be super clear. Sexual assault is not a joke. It is not a stunt. Henry Bishop raped me, and I will not let that slide, and I will fight to be heard, and I will fight for other voices to be heard too. The ‘Me Too’ Movement did so much for awakening us to those voices and those experiences, but the way people have reacted to ‘The Van Birch Incident’ tells me that we still aren’t listening. With all the influence I have, I am still not being heard. My security team is fielding death threats and rape threats daily. I now have round-the-clock, 24-hour security. My dad’s house is locked down tighter than the White House right now, but I will not be intimidated, and I will not be quiet. I will keep talking until we hear survivors and start believing them when they tell us they’ve been hurt.”
AUTHOR BIO:Marla Holt believes in second chances, romance, and the radical notion that everyone deserves a happily every after. She’s living her own fairy tale, writing contemporary romance novels in her Kansas farmhouse with her husband, three boys, three cats, and flock of imaginary sheep. Follow her at marlaholt.com or on Instagram as @marlaholtauthor
GIVEAWAYBlitz-wide giveaway (INT)
- $25 Amazon gift card + ebook copy of The Van Birch Incident