Tuesday, August 12

@GoddessFish Review & Giveaway: Heart of Design by Ellen Butler

Heart of Design

Love, California Style, #1
Ellen Butler

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Date of Publication: July 7, 2014
Number of pages: 260
Cover Artist: 123FR/nyul

Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN     Kobo     ARe

Sophie Hartland has recently turned 30, and is five years out from a confidence crushing divorce. She’s sworn off men in favor of making her interior design business a success when her best friend introduces her to LA Heat’s hot, new star, Ian O’Connor. He’s one of Hollywood’s beautiful people, with an Irish accent that makes Sophie’s toes curl. Ian hires her to renovate his home, and at their second meeting he initiates a scorching kiss that knocks her socks off. Even though she would love to drop down and go for it on the funky kitchen floor, Sophie sticks to her guns and enforces her “no dating clients” rule.

The tabloids portray flirtations Ian as Hollywood’s latest playboy who has women falling at his feet, and Sophie refuses to be another notch on his bedpost. But Ian isn’t the type to take no for an answer, and he finds Sophie a refreshing change from the actress wannabes trying hop aboard his new gravy train of success. Using his charm, he tries to persuade Sophie to break the rules.

Can Sophie ignore her traitorous libido and hold Ian off for the next five or six weeks until the renovations are finished? Or will she cave in to his pull on her heartstrings, and end up doing the knicky-knacky on the new velvet sofa? More importantly, can she protect her heart in this game of wills?
The peace was interrupted by my cell phone ring, and I answered automatically without looking at the caller ID. “Hello, Hartland Interior Designs.”

“Sophia, luv, is that you?” The sexy Irish accent played across the phone lines, sending shivers down my spine. My chair slammed back down onto four legs, and I promptly dropped the phone.

Crap! “Ian! Just a minute!” I fumbled, shoving the chair back, and scrambled to get the cell, which had skidded along the hardwood floor underneath my desk. Sirius, my black Lab, sensing a game, jumped up to get in on the action. Tail wagging and barking, he thrust under the desk next to me in search of the toy. “Ian, I’m coming! Minor technical difficulties. Don’t hang up!” I shoved Sirius back, taking a few excited licks along the way, and finally found the red mobile in the far corner behind the wastebasket. “Hello, are you still there?” I held it to my ear. Fortunately, it hadn’t landed upside down and hung up on him.

“Still here, luv.”

As I clambered out from underneath the desk, I came up too early and cracked my skull on the underside. “Oof!”

“Is everything okay? Maybe I should ring back later.”

“No, no. It’s fine.” When did my life turn into a Lucy skit? Rubbing my head, I gave up trying to play it cool and decided to level with him. “Sorry about that. The phone slipped out of my hand and slid into the deepest dark corner under my desk, and I’m such a klutz I whacked my head crawling out from underneath it.” I sucked in a breath and worked to get my act together. “Enough about me, what can I do for you, Mr. O’Connor?”

“Why so formal, Sophia? I prefer you call me Ian.”

I swore I heard laughter in his voice. Great, he probably thinks I’m a total dork. “Okay, Ian, then please call me Sophie. Only my mom calls me Sophia, and when she does, it usually means I’m in trouble.”

“Are you trouble, Sophie?”

The opening was the size of a Mack truck, and I drove on through. “I can be trouble. Are you looking for some?” I said in a sultry voice.

“Are you flirting with me?”

I sat up straighter. What was I thinking? This is a potential client, not a date! An actor for crying out loud.


Sophie is working hard at making a go of her interior design business. She knows that if she could just get the chance at one top tier name in Los Angeles, she could easily break into the upper echelon's circle. Until that time, she occasionally assists her friend Poppy with setting up for and even working at, Poppy's party planning business. It is at one such party she is introduced to Ian O'Conner, a hot new actor on a hit cop show.  He was admiring a painting she had done, and so the introduction was made.  It's not long before Ian is hiring Sophie to decorate his new house.

I know what you are thinking, "Bah, same old, same old". But it wasn't, trust me on this. Ian doesn't have that "Hollywood" vibe that is seen so often. He is a down to earth guy who meets a woman he is interested in and works to get to know her, it just happens that his day job is that of an actor. Sophie was cheated on in the past, and is leery of trusting men. However when she tries to tar Ian with this same brush, he calls her on it, and she listens and actually works to not do it again. Shocking, right! This book is full of similar type situations, like Sophie telling Ian she won't go out with him until she is finished with the job and then sticking to it. Or when Ian is concerned about her well being due to a certain situation (not going to spoiler), she doesn't just rush off and ignore his concern. They discuss and compromise. Have you ever read one of those books where you go, 'What the hell was she/he thinking?' Yeah, this isn't one of them. The characters make smart choices, because the drama is generated from actual events not manufactured from emotional outbursts. Plus, the dialogue and characters were spot on. I will read more of this author in the future. 4 stars.


Ellen will award a $20 Amazon GC & an eBook copy of Second Chance Christmas a Romance Novella

Book Tour Info: 
Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Book Tour:

August 5th:

August 12th: 

August 19th: 

August 26th: 

Author Bio:

Ellen Butler lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, and is new to novel writing. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing and editing for dry but illuminating professional newsletters, and windy papers on public policy. The leap to novel writing was simply a creative outlet for Ellen’s over active and romantic imagination to run wild.

Heart of Design is her third release in 9 months. You can find her first two releases, Poplar Place and Second Chance Christmas at Amazon and other major eBook retailers. Professionally, she belongs to the Virginia Writer’s Club, the Northern Virginia Writer’s Club, and is a founding member of the Tempting Romance blog. When she’s not writing, Ellen is either, running around after her children, decorating a neighbor’s house, or holed up in her favorite lounge chair reading. Ellen is an admitted chocoholic and confesses to a penchant for shoe shopping. Book club questions for Ellen’s novels can be found on her website.

To connect with the author online:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. A great review thank you. Always glad to get away from the same old, same old.

    1. Exactly! Hope you get a chance to check it out.

  2. It would be refreshing to read a book where characters make good decisions about their relationships, a lot more books need to show these type of standards.

    1. I agree. I liked the fact that Ian called Sophie on her transference of her ex's cheating to him. He demanded that she treat him with the same respect he gave her. When she first listened to him and agreed, I was like, Yeah okay. But then later, we see her take a step back and actually follow through with that I was shocked. I don't know how many books I have read where the woman keeps making the same mistake over and over. It does get old.

  3. A really good review. I love a review that really lets you know what to expect.

    1. Thanks. I try to write my reviews as if I am telling my sister or best friend about the book.

  4. Replies
    1. I hope you get a chance to read the book then. :)

  5. Congrats on the release of Heart of Design, Ellen. I really like he cover.

    Thanks for sharing the excerpt and your thoughts on the book, Judith.

    1. That is a great cover, even if that particular scene was never in the book. There was, however a great scene with the two of them on a ladder holding up a chandelier style lamp waiting for it to finish being installed. Probably wouldn't have looked as sexy on this one though, lol.

  6. Heart of design sounds like a great and fun love story. This would be a good read. Thank you

    1. It was. I hope you get a chance to check it for yourself.

  7. This sounds good. I love the excerpt.

    1. This was a great excerpt. The two played well off each other. With Ian being a bit more laid back and Sophie being a bit more straight laced. They continue is a similar vein throughout the book.

  8. Great review...definitely piqued my interest!


Thanks for taking the time to comment.

back to top