Perfect Escape (Family Portrait Series #4)
by Gillian Felix
I am very honored and excited to have the amazing woman and author alike, Gillian Felix, on my site today with her new novel, Perfect Escape – #4 in the Family Portrait Series. Enjoy an excerpt and take a look at my 5* review for Perfect Escape. Before sure to enter the wonderful giveaway at the end of this post!
Seventeen-year-old Zax Banovic was tall, gorgeous and smelled like citrus with a hint of musk. His sandy blond hair, mesmerizing blue eyes, and kissable lips complemented his athletic body perfectly. Leighann DaCosta, like many other girls at Westwood Academy, got an eyeful when he ran out of the boys’ locker room in his underwear chasing some girl down the halls of Westwood Academy. Leighann blushed when she saw his ripped abs, tight ass and generous package filling out his heather gray CK briefs. Since then, he frequented her dreams a million times, but instead of chasing after another girl, he ran to her, pinned her up against the lockers and ravaged her.
In reality, Zax represented the other half of Westwood Academy’s super couple…
Kristin (The Bod) Newman was the lust object of every boy at Westwood Academy. She was the school’s tennis champ and well on her way to going pro. Girls hated her, not because of her killer legs or the way she rocked her tennis outfits, but because she was dating Zax Banovic. They were the Brad Pit and Jennifer Aniston (pre-Angelina) of Westwood Academy. Together they were known as ZaxTin. Together, Zax and Kristin were sickeningly perfect. They walked the halls of Westwood Academy cooing at each other, totally wrapped up in their own universe.
Zax was the first boy who had taken Leighann out on a date. She was so giddy with excitement that she didn’t realize that he’d only ask her out to make Kristin jealous. Their second date (pre-Kristin) was cleverly orchestrated by Zax’s bratty sister, Adriana, who used Leighann’s crush on him as a bargaining chip.
Leighann opened her locker and glanced at the locker next to hers. The locker, which now stood vacant, once belonged to Adriana Banovic. Despite her prickly personality, Leighann missed her, and the school wasn’t the same since she’d gotten expelled, or ‘transferred’ as they were calling it. Adriana was interesting to watch, she had a way of twisting things to make it work in her favor no matter how wrong it was. Leighann admired her confidence and fearlessness as much as she admired her style risks. Adriana wore what she wanted, when she wanted, and however she wanted. Her style was copied by several imitators that had popped up since her expulsion ‘transfer’. The students of Westwood Academy seemed to have a weird love-hate obsession with her. Even though they missed her, no one ever dared come out and admit it.
When the bell to Math class rang, Leighann’s stomach churned. She hated math and failed every test that she’d been given. She desperately needed help, but was too ashamed to ask. When Mr. Wells, the Math teacher, returned her test results, once again he asked to see her after class. Leighann was used to their talks, and while Mr. Wells did his best to help her with extra lessons, it took too much of his time. This time he presented her with a possible solution; the Give Back Program. He explained that the graduating seniors of Westwood Academy who excelled in a particular subject would volunteer to tutor juniors who were struggling in their area of expertise. The program had a 100 percent success rate, and he believed that the success was because students learned better from their peers.
“The list of juniors waiting to get in the program is very long, and we have more juniors waiting to get in than seniors willing to tutor.”
“What are my chances of getting in?” Leighann asked hopefully.
“You’re in,” Mr. Wells replied happily. He had already enrolled her, knowing that she wouldn’t object. He suspected that she wanted to do well.
Leighann was thrilled. She thanked him profusely and received instructions to meet her tutor at the east campus library after school.
Leighann waited outside of the library, where the other juniors were gathered. One by one they paired off with their respective tutors and disappeared. She prayed that her tutor would be patient and wouldn’t make fun of her because she was a slow learner. Leighann often wondered if she had a learning disability. All her life she’d had to fit her academic schedule around her music career, and this was her first foray into institutionalized education.
At the age of ten, Leighann won her first Grammy, and since then, she’d had a career that most fifteen-year-old girls would kill for. But she wasn’t happy and longed for a life outside of stardom. With the support of her sister/confidante, she resigned from the music business at the height of her career and faced scathing backlash from the press, the record label, disappointed fans and especially her mother/manager.
Leighann’s quest for a normal life began when she moved to California to live with her sister, L’Wren. She enrolled in Westwood Academy of Higher Learning, the Rolls Royce of high schools in California and possibly the country. Her father was an alumni, and recently she’d found out that her mother was as well—even though her mother never graduated. Leighann was determined to graduate and possibly go on to college like L’Wren. The thought of that excited her, but she doubted herself. What if she couldn’t cut it? What if all she could do was sing and play instruments? Could she go back to the industry that she’d shut the door on? The thought of that sent shivers down her spine.
Almost twenty minutes had passed, and all the tutors and tutees were paired up. Leighann began to wonder if she had been stood up by her tutor. What if her tutor had found out that they were assigned to her and opted for someone else? Leighann’s heart sank. She wanted to prove to her mother that she was good at something other than singing and performing. Her mother had beaten it into her brain that she would never amount to anything other than a singer, and Leighann began to wonder if she was right. Maybe she should drop out of school and beg the record label for another chance. Her songs were still on the charts, and maybe it wasn’t too late. Leighann left the library disappointed.
“LD!” she heard a familiar voice call out, and footsteps running behind her. She froze; only one person on the planet called her LD.
Oh God, please don’t let it be … she prayed, then turned around.
“Sorry I’m late. Basketball practice went a little long,” Zax apologized.
His eyes … those eyes … mesmerizing, seducing, enticing … pulled her in.
Perfect Escape Review
* * * * *
I’m going to start with the ending of Perfect Escape (no spoilers) with my review because that’s the part that left me so emotional and needing book 5! I was heartbroken, but Gillian Felix left some hope in there – depending on which characters you’re rooting for. The way Ms. Felix weaves such a vast amount of characters together, intertwining their differences in age, personality, loyalty (or lack there of), and desires leaves me in awe – it is a difficult task that she has done to weave the story lines together so beautifully.
The Family Portrait series has the feel of a soap opera full of obstacles each character must face and try to overcome. Leighann is one of my favorite characters, and my heart ached for her throughout Perfect Escape. Savi…I have a lot of words for Savi that wouldn’t be polite to write, so, let’s just say I would love to smack the crap out of her. But, Ms. Felix has a way of bringing out the soft spots in even the most ruthless characters, and I was left feeling sorry for Savi (just a tiny fraction of sympathy) by the end. Being a mom, it was hard for me to read how heartless Savi is with Leighann, and I was thrilled when Leighann’s dad stepped into her life and provided some much needed balance.
Kevin. He leaves me conflicted. Ms. Felix wrote Kevin’s character seamlessly, showing every raw part of who he is. I love Kevin, but not all of him. The way his character is created makes Ms. Felix’s talent shine. She doesn’t pull any punches or try to make the perfect gentleman with him. Instead, she shows his contradictions and how he can be romantic and gentle with L’Wren, but harsh and calculating with the ones who threaten those he loves.
I would love to see these characters come alive on television because I am already so invested in each one. Great job, Gillian Felix!
Take a look at the Family Portrait Series below:
Changes (Book 1)
Ready, Set, Drama
Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.
In this new adult novel you’ll meet Robin Banovic, Adriana’s father; financially challenged, dealing with the death of a family member and his brother’s disappearance. You’ll meet Savannah DaCosta aka Savi, mother/manager; Savi enjoys the life her rock star daughter Leighann has provided. When Leighann makes a choice to end her career, Savi sees it as a personal attack.
You’ll meet college boy Haze Lyndon; New to Los Angeles, Haze soon realizes how quickly money changes hands in the City of Angels. Will he return to questionable ways to survive or go back to the safety of his family in Wisconsin?
Banovic Siblings (Book 2)
Blackmail is a gift that keeps on giving.
College boy Kevin Banovic’s casual affair with Savi DaCosta suited him perfectly. Things change when he finds out that Savi is his mom’s high school bestie. When Kevin tries to end their affair, Savi blackmails him. After Kevin rescues Savi’s stepdaughter, L’Wren, from her abusive boyfriend, he can’t stop thinking about her. He must find a way to handle Savi, protect L’Wren, and keep his sanity.
Bad girl Adriana Banovic is pleased with herself for getting her nemesis expelled from Westwood Academy. As feelings between her and her latest victim Haze Lyndon escalate, an unexpected rival discovers her secret and threatens to expose her. With emotions on the line, will her new rival beat her at her own game or end up another casualty of Adriana’s wrath?
Zax Banovic has it all. Tall and handome, he’s an academic genius, with a killer smile and a heart of gold. When his best friend gets into trouble, he feels responsible and covers for him. But his best friend is not as honorable and has other plans for Zax.
Bastard’s Brew (Book 3)
Everything we touch we destroy.
When L’Wren’s ex-boyfriend Jeff suddenly disappears, she turns to Kevin to help her find him. With one phone call, Kevin makes sure that Jeff stays hidden and that L’Wren’s heart is broken, leaving the door open for Kevin to pursue her. But Kevin is not as free as L’Wren thinks; she is in the dark about his affair with her stepmother, Savi. Savi constantly reminds Kevin of his devious ways and uses their secret to keep him as her toyfriend.
“You don’t deserve to be loved, and you don’t deserve to be happy. You and I are the same … we’re broken inside. Everything we touch, we destroy. We don’t get happily ever after … we don’t get to ride off into the sunset. You know who gets that? L’Wren … she gets it, she gets the guy, and she deserves a decent guy.”- Savi
Kevin desires to be the man that L’Wren deserves, but before he can assume the role of white knight, he brews one last plan to get rid of Savi for good. Will L’Wren, the innocent victim in their twisted game, become a casualty?
Kevin may have sold his body to the devil in stilettos, but he’d be damned if he let her have his heart.
Perfect Escape (Book 4)
One person’s Perfect Escape is another’s perfect hell.
In this coming-of-age story, teen singing sensation Leighann DaCosta tries to find out who she is without her music career. A career that has been part of her life since before the age of ten. When Leighann’s estranged father enters her life, she is caught up in a tug-of-war between both parents. Does she trust the man who abandoned her as a baby, or a mother who is losing her mind?
When heartthrob Zax Banovic is assigned to tutor Leighann, he provides her with the perfect escape from the madness in her life. Enter Kristin Newman, Zax’s super-hot, sickeningly perfect, tennis-pro girlfriend, who dampens any chance Leighann has with him.
After the unthinkable happens, Leighann’s world is shattered, causing her to shut everyone out. Unable to cope, Leighann accepts help from her frenemy, but will the help she accept come with a hefty price?
Changes (Book 1) – http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-changes/
Banovic Siblings (Book 2) -http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-banovic-siblings/
Bastard’s Brew (Book 3) -http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-bastards-brew/
Perfect Escape (Book 4) – http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/excerpt-perfect-escape/
Book links for Amazon:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/gillian-felix?store=allproducts&keyword=gillian+felix
Want to give the series a try? Changes the first novel in the series isFREE on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EADYMCA.
Gillian Felix was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad. She grew up watching night time soap operas by Aaron Spelling with her mother. That’s where her obsession with rich, powerful and devious characters were born. After repeatedly seeing Mr. Spelling’s name on the screen night after night, Gillian knew she wanted to be an Aaron Spelling, before she knew that Aaron Spelling was actually a person.
Gillian pursued drama in high school although it was not taught as a “serious subject”. When asked what career she wanted to pursue after graduation, she told her guidance counselor that she wanted to be an actress, and was told that acting is not a “real job”.
When Gillian moved to the US in 1998, she landed an internship with Spotlight On Theater in New York City, where she learned stage managing, casting and the technical aspect of running a production. Later she branched out into film, and fell in love with the behind the scenes action of film and theatre production. She traded acting and her “real job” for a career in film and theater production. Gillian continued writing novels and scripts but kept them to herself.
When not writing, Gillian can be found volunteering at the New Mexico Children’s Grief Center or hiking the many mountains that surround New Mexico. Gillian can easily get lost in a parking lot and considers herself directionally challenged. She is always grateful for the people she hikes with, because without them she’d be left roaming the mountains like a lost mountain goat.
Media page: http://familyportrait.plaintalkbm.com/
Author Website: http://www.plaintalkbm.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7210783.Gillian Felix
What people are saying about the series
“I see a huge following for this new series! I know I’m going to watch for more!” Di Bylo – Amazon Top Reviewer
“Gillian Felix is truly wonderful in the way she writes and captivates her readers. She has a true gift and I guess anyone who reads her books will be waiting for the next book as eagerly as I am.” Namrata Ganti – Red Pillows
“There are love, lies, secrets, and desires that rival any soap opera out there.” Karen-Anne Stewart, Author
“This series is like the Sopranos meets Nashville. It was gritty and realistic whilst entertaining and dark.” Rachel P