Nestled at the heart of the French Alps, Charlotte Young and
her five closest friends ring in the New Year on a ski vacation in Chamonix
With the same idea in mind, many of the world’s celebrities are in town.
Including the King of Romantic Comedies, Des Bannerman. Charlotte and friends
join forces to help her realize her lifelong fantasy, to meet Des Bannerman.
Using bait in the form of her Sophia Loren lookalike friend to blaze a trail to
Des Bannerman, Charlotte finally meets her man. His girlfriend, the latest Bond
Girl, proves an insurmountable obstacle. Unexpectedly, Charlotte finds herself
happily reconciled to an innocent evening of drinking champagne, gambling, and
chatting to the celebrity of her dreams.
With the wave of her well-manicured hand, lighthearted banter turns into
tabloid fodder. Lewd headlines and suggestive photographs provide worldwide
entertainment. It also leaves Charlotte saddled with a restraining order.
Des Bannerman flees, leaving Charlotte to cope with the paparazzi and feeling
very wronged! With her entire life impacted, Charlotte sets about dealing with
the fallout of her fifteen minutes of fame. The only problem is, how does a
mere mortal make contact with a celebrity god?
Girl meets boy. Boy disregards girl. Girl tracks down boy to get some answers!
Along the way and with the help of her friends, Charlotte finds the answers to
life’s biggest questions!
After having completed
the mundane task of unloading my suitcases and sorting laundry, I hunkered down
on the leather sofa in an old sundress with my hair knotted on top of my head.
While perched in front of the TV, I sipped a glass of iced tea while flipping
through the channels, finally finding a sappy movie that inevitably gets aired
on Sunday afternoons. I was crying at the death of the leading lady when Taylor
walked in the door.
“You’re already here?
When did you get home? What are you watching?” Taylor asked anxiously as she
crossed the room. Glancing at the screen, she looked at me with disgust,
grabbed the remote control, and turned off the television.
“What are you? A
masochist? Who watches a movie designed to make them hysterical the day their
boyfriend leaves? Why not at least watch something romantic or funny?” She gave
me a pathetic look.
After sizing me up, I was
ordered into something presentable and told to get ready for an evening out.
“Make sure you wash your face. You look like a raccoon.” She continued to order
me about even though I repeatedly moaned that I didn’t want to go out. “Too
bad,” was her response.
An hour later, we arrived
at one of the latest and greatest trendy bars in Manhattan. I was perched on a
shiny chrome barstool at a glass-topped bar sipping on a brutally cold gin and
tonic, trying to pretend I was happy, when Taylor smiled and waved to someone.
The next minute I was gasping into the faces of Marian, Kathleen and Hillary.
“Oh my god! How perfect
is this?” I gushed in amazement. It was hard to take in such an unexpected
“Well, we couldn’t leave
the mopping up to just one poor woman,” Marian responded. Her glance darted
around the room. “Where in the name of Jaysus is the waiter? We’ll be needing a
few bottles to sort this one out,” she pronounced as she took in my pathetic
While I dreaded the state
my head would be in tomorrow, I was speechless with delight.
“Now, isn’t this better
than an iced tea and some sad movie?” Taylor asked. The lot of them groaned and
moaned at me, wondering how I could be so cliché. Just about then, my phone
“Just a minute,” I
shouted over the friendly harassing,
“Ciao, bella, how are
you?” It was Tiziana! After a minute of chatting, she apologized for not being
there and advised, “Don’t let Marian dance on any tables. You know her legs aren’t
her best asset! Take care of yourself, remember to drink lots of water.” We
hung up with the promise to talk tomorrow.
Miraculously, a waiter
arrived to tell us that a table had opened up and took our cocktail orders.
Marian, in a low-cut, figure-hugging green dress, leaned into him while perched
on her own chrome barstool, batting her big green eyes, and said, “Bring us two
bottles of the best white wine you have, and don’t stop until you close!”
“Certainly,” he said,
maintaining eye contact.
After he left, she said,
“He had to be gay! There isn’t a straight man alive that can resist this
dress.” Clearly Marian knew what her best assets were.
“Alright, tell us all
about him. Get it out of your system! Bring it on,” Kathleen demanded.
Since I’d barely chatted
with her since the trip to France, she knew the least about Liam. I rambled on
and on about how wonderful he was, how kind, and handsome. After a few return
trips from the waiter, I had segued into how sexy he was, how perfect his bum
fit into my hand, how gorgeous he was. At some point we sat hunched over my
cell phone so the girls could see pictures of Liam.
After having passed the
phone between themselves, Marian, was back to lamenting. “How the feck is it
that she met him here, this fine Irish boy? God’s truth, there aren’t any like
this left in Ireland. I’d know. I’ve been actively searching for years!” she
continued, straight-faced until the wine glass had returned to her lips.
Hillary, having just
drained her glass, suggested, “Have her take you out. Clearly she knows where
to look. Did you see those arms? That chest?” Hillary was referring to a
picture I had taken of Liam while he was rowing us around the lake in Central
Park. I felt quite smug.
“Alright, Kathleen, let’s
have it. Rumor has it that you’re trying to woo a certain Danish prince or
something,” I said as I returned my cell phone to my purse.
“Well, he’s only a
distant relation to the Danish royal family. He’s 278th in line for
the throne, or something like that. While he may not have the same raw
manliness that Liam has, he has his own appeal. He’s elegant and, refined!” And
with that, Kathleen whipped out her cell phone and proceeded to show us
pictures of, Frederick.
“Frederick? What kind of
name is that? There isn’t anything masculine about that. Wasn’t that the name
of the fat one on The Flintstones?”
“Are you saying Liam
isn’t elegant and refined?” I challenged Kathleen. I felt very Tammy
Wynette-ish (Stand by Your Man, and
I looked to Taylor to
defend Liam’s refinement. She gave me a look that clearly stated she wanted to
be left out of this competition. As Kathleen and I were comparing our men
digitally, I heard Taylor shout to the passing waiter, “Two more bottles,
please!” I looked at her with a grin. This was far better than sitting at home,
crying my eyes out.
At some waning hour,
closer to morning than night, we stumbled, more than a little tipsy, to the
curb to hail cabs. While we stood there, I had the sudden realization that I
had never asked how they came to be in New York or where they were staying. I
was surprised to find out they were staying at the very hotel Liam had just
“How amazing is that?” I
said when I found out, swaying with the summer breeze.
About the Author
Celia Kennedy was born in Wurzburg, Germany on an American
military base. Her parents' penchant for traveling the world, via a Volkswagen
Minibus with a Porsche engine, sparked her imagination. Staring out the window,
sometimes through fog and rain, at other times at sunny blue skies, she began
to make up stories for the places and spaces they passed by. The in-between
time, the most fascinating to her.
The imagined world has always fascinated Celia. She has studied Landscape Architecture,
Architecture, Interior Design, and pretty much every other subject matter. Like
her childhood, it was the ride that was the most entertaining, arrival at a
degree, not anywhere as important.
Mark Twain said, "Write what you know." When combining this concept
with her unusual life experiences (working at a nuclear submarine base when
Chernobyl blew, testing software Bill Gates kept close tabs on, travelling
extensively while quite broke, or falling in love with her boyfriend's close
friend) thinking of what to write about isn't challenging; there just needs to
be more hours in the day.
Celia published Charlottes Restrained in December of 2012 and Venus Rising in
August of 2013. Look for Kathleen's Undressed, a companion novel to Charlottes
Restrained, to be published in 2014.
Currently she lives in Washington State with the loves of her life.
Five women make up a very entertaining and unique *clutch of friends in Charlotte’s Restrained. Since publishing the book, I’ve been asked many times if one of the characters in the book is me. I was inspired by many women, and like many authors, the characters in my book are an amalgamation of many people. Two very important life experiences led me down the path to creating these international heroines.
Years ago I worked in the International Department at Microsoft. The women I met there had just finished college and were in the US to work hard and play hard. In addition to being intelligent people, most possessed a highly tuned flirtatious banter, and were sexy as sin. One of the women, whose name shall remain anonymous, was learning to drive. She took the wrong exit ramp off the freeway, and attempted to back down and re-enter traffic. The guy that rear-ended her (or was she front-ending him) was dazzled by her, and instead of calling the police, he took her to dinner! These scenarios happened all the time!
The second experience was a bit of a reversal. I had always wanted to be a foreign exchange student and finally at the ripe age of twenty eight my dream came true. I was in the middle of studying Landscape Architecture, and decide to participate in a study abroad program. After finishing my program in England, I backpacked through Europe for several months on a shoe-string budget and with a gaggle of women. There was a natural ebb and flow to the journey. We met up with people, entertaining experiences followed, we divided to travel to different places, where more entertaining experiences followed.
One of my personal favorites happened during the summer in Cadiz, Spain. We were stumbling around on a Saturday morning and saw this beautiful man in a small boat not too far off shore. We sat and watched him for quite some time. He waved, we waved back, and let him get to work using all his rippling muscles. As destiny would have it, we walked into his restaurant later that day, hoping to find some free tapas. He immediately recognized my friend (whose quite lovely), and offered us food. His menu was quite expensive, so we order a drink and sat at the bar. A fair amount of time passed, and no one (literally) showed up. He flipped the open sign to Closed and offered to cook us dinner. While we ate mouth-watering food and drank incredible wine, with him, we entertained him with stories of our travels. Just when you thought the story would end – no! In the summer in Spain, flamenco guitarists and dancers gather everywhere to perform and compete. It turned out our new friend, the Gambadoro (our made up word, taken from Matador, meaning prawn killer), was good friends with an incredible flamenco guitarist. So, he called him up, he came down, ate some good food, drank some wine, and gave us a private concert. It was a magical night…
So who are Charlotte, Hillary, Tiziana, Marian, and Kathleen? These women meet at the Oxford, while doing graduate work at the Said School of Business. They’ve made their way in the world of corporate finance and have achieved success. Some more than others. Now in their early to mid-thirties, they can relax a bit and think about the rest of life. To be fair, the rest of life has been on Hillary and Marian’s mind for quite a while.
Hillary Cavendish can trace her family name back to the days of Henry VIII, and much of her family wealth and connections begin there. Hillary brings to bear all her skills and rights of birth to the philanthropy foundation she works for. Steeped in etiquette, Hillary is quintessentially proper, but wants to break free from these confines every now and again. As a member of the quintet, she is the hub, keeping the women informed, connected, and under control.
Marian Connolly is from Dublin, Ireland. Looking for the man of her dreams, she is convinced that all the “good ones” have been exported from Ireland. A brash, wise-cracking woman, Marian’s banter is often the source of aggravation, hilarity, and vulnerable discourse.
Tiziana Caputo, our group’s siren, heavily resembles Sophia Loren. Tiziana jiggles and purrs her way through life. To be fair, she is an intelligent woman who has worked harder than most to prove that it isn’t her curves and cleavage that have opened doors for her. Thankfully, Tiziana doesn’t have a bitter bone in her voluptuous body. Quintessentially herself, she lets the pheromones and poetry flow in abundance.
No village is complete without an aloof, hard to pin down, personality. This is Kathleen Ehlers. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, after college she transplants herself in Paris, working for L’Oreal at the corporate headquarters. A business acquisition lawyer, Kathleen has some serious brains in her very beautiful head. With a flair for fashion and art, Kathleen’s life is complete. The ladies often tease her about chasing Prince Charming, but as you’ll learn in Kathleen’s Undressed, she is aloof for a reason.
Charlotte Young. Our heroine (and the person I’d most like to be). Described in the book, by Hillary, as the North American version of Penelope Cruz. Charlotte is a hard working CFO at a large and expanding Public Relations firm in New York City. Having worked hard at life, to be able to move away from the small town in Maine where she was raised, she is in many respects the quintessential girl next door. Except that her door opens to a fabulous apartment in Manhattan, and her closet is full of designer labels.When anything but average events begin to occur in her life, she is a little out of her depth on how to handle them. Fortunately, she has the support of her friends.
The plot? While on a ski holiday, in the Rhône-Alpes (Chamonix, France)with this vivacious group of women, she meets her favorite celebrity, Des Bannerman, the King of Romantic Comedies. During one of their accidental (or not) encounters, there is a miscommunication which lands Charlotte is hot water.
Can Charlotte’s friends get her close enough, regardless of a restraining order, to Des Bannerman to unravel the mystery? With the help of her new found beau, Irishman Liam Molloy, they get her closer.
*Clutch – a group of poultry chicks
In addition to having written Charlotte’s Restrained and Venus Rising, Celia Kennedy is currently working on a sequel to Charlotte’s Restrained, called Kathleen’s Undressed. In addition to writing, Celia is a mom, wife, friend, and a practicing Landscape Architect. She resides in Redmond, Washington, where she lives a spectacular life. If you’d like to learn more about her, visit www.celiakennedy.weebly.com, follow her on Twitter (@KennedyCelia) on Facebook (Celia Kennedy, Author) or Goodreads. If you want to see the actual locations that she writes about in her books, check her out on www.Pinterest.com.