Read an excerpt from The Critic by Joanne Schwehm

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Andrea Jordan dreams of acting on Broadway, and she is at the cusp of achieving success. All her sacrifices start to pay off when she lands a role that will catapult her to stardom. 

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Award-winning theater critic Bentley Chambers possesses the power to make or break a career. Theatergoers consider his reviews to be gospel, and actors cringe at the thought of him in the audience. His words possess power. 

A heart’s not made of stone

More than one actor has been sent packing after Bentley’s bad reviews, and Andrea could be next. She won’t stand by and let him shatter her dreams, but she never thought giving him a piece of her mind would also mean giving him a piece of her heart.

Will Andrea discover on her own the passion Bentley claims she lacks, or will he be the one to draw it out of her?

Words… choose them wisely.



Andi’s POV

“I can’t apologize for my reviews. You know that right?” he said. “I can’t write a great review when I don’t witness a great performance. I know you have it in you. Why do you think I came all this way to see you? I anticipated being astonished. I’d heard all about you and this role, and yes, it was slated to be your true breakout role. I’m not saying it won’t be, but that didn’t happen on Saturday. I wanted it too, maybe for my own selfish reasons, but—”

“Really, Mr. Chambers? You wanted it to?” I didn’t want to take in his beautiful eyes glaring at me, but I couldn’t help myself.

“Look, it’s my job to leave critiques of the plays I attend. I have to write with honesty, or my reviews won’t be worth the paper they’re printed on. Understand?” His brows furrowed.

I turned away to avoid him because even though I was upset, he still affected me. “Yes, of course I understand, and you keep reminding me what a horrible actress I am, so why are you here exactly? Maybe you just shouldn’t go to the shows I’m in.” I spun around and saw his expression turn grim as he lowered his head. “I’m serious, Bentley. If I’m that bad of an actress, then why torture yourself? You came to Jersey, for Christ’s sake, to see a way, way, way off-Broadway play, and for what? So you can write another negative review? Does it make you feel better doing that?” I shook my head. “This was a bad idea. I don’t feel like running lines anymore. Please leave.”

He placed his hand on mine. “Andrea—”

I stood and went to the door. The hand he’d just touched sent a shiver through me as I turned the handle. I opened the door and waited for him to get up, which he did. He faced me, and I tried to keep my composure. As much as I hated to admit it, he made me feel things I’d never felt before, and it wasn’t all anger. But at the moment, I was sad and completely embarrassed, and he needed to go.

“Good-bye.” I swung my hand toward the hallway.

Instead of leaving, he brought his hand to my cheek and ran the backside of his knuckles from the top of my cheekbone to my chin. “I come to see your shows because I know you have it in you to be fabulous, and you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. There’s something about you. I can feel it, and to be quite honest, I’d hoped that we’d meet someday and you’d feel it too. When you came to the restaurant, I was surprised and thrilled.” He stared at me as I tried not to flinch. “Call me if you change your mind.” 

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About Joanne Schwehm

Author of Unexpected Chance, My Chance (The Chance Series), Ryker and The Critic.

Joanne was born and raised in Rochester, NY and currently resides near our Nation's Capital with her husband and two sons.

Romance is one of Joanne's favorite things and thankfully, she is surrounded by it.

Joanne firmly believes when that unexpected chance comes, take it. Don't let it pass you by - you never know what you could be missing.

You can connect with Joanne via: Author Page | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Facebook