Lance Holder lives life the way he wants and makes no apologies, regardless of what anyone thinks. All everyone sees is the tattooed, motorcycle riding, reckless movie star, preventing anyone from looking beneath the surface. And that’s just the way Lance likes it.
Brea Richards is America’s sweetheart. She’s spent years honing her current reputation as one of the leading stars of a prime time television show. It’s a long way from her humble beginnings, but no one knows she’s lived worse than most people see in a lifetime.
Thrown together when Lance joins the cast of Brea’s show, everyone is watching to see if America’s bad boy will influence the sweetheart. But Lance seems to be one of the only ones to see beyond her current façade of pretending to be something she’s not. When a blast from the past sends Brea right back to the place she swore she’d never go again, maybe America’s bad boy is just what America’s sweetheart needs…
That wasn’t so bad,” Lance said as they walked in the green room following the conference. The others had scattered soon after, but Brea had followed him to express her displeasure. She simply stared at him; he had clearly been hit in the head if he thought that press conference went well.
Brea tried for calm but failed miserably. Her temper didn’t flair up often, but when it did she tended to lay waste to everything in her path. “Easy for you to say grabby hands,” she hissed. “And what the hell were you doing insinuating that we had a relationship?!”
“First of all, I wouldn’t have had to say shit if you didn’t try to eye fuck me on the way in.”
Brea narrowed her eyes, gritting her teeth so she didn’t rise to his bait. “I didn’t try to eye fuck you. And who says shit like that?”
He leaned in so close she could feel his breath, causing a tingle in the base of her spine. “The guy who you were about ten seconds away from pulling into a back room.” She pulled away, needing the distance, before glaring at him.
“And don’t touch me again without permission.”
He chewed on his bottom lip, looking her up and down like he knew exactly where he wanted to touch her. “What pisses you off more? The fact that I had to squeeze your leg to prevent you from spouting off at the mouth…or that you wanted me to squeeze much more than your leg?”
Her nostrils flared, from desire or anger she didn’t know. They say there’s a thin line between love and hate, and she never felt it more acutely than she did today, as though ever nerve ending was on fire. She didn’t know why this man did it for her, but he did.
“You are obnoxious as hell.” It was pretty weak as far as comebacks went, but she couldn’t think straight. All she wanted to do was feel, but she wasn’t about to give in to shit when it came to Lance.
“That all you got? You really are…nice.” When he said it like that it made it seem like she had the plague.
“One of us has to have manners,” she replied in a way that would have made Emily Post proud.
“Yeah, and one of us had to preserve your reputation in the media. Will they speculate about us? Yes. Did I play it off so they think there’s nothing serious about us? Yes. Just wait and see what they write about you, I guarantee you will be the victim of my evil clutches.” She shifted from side to side, knowing he was probably right. They would be much more forgiving of her, but if she said anything they would have circled like vultures around new prey. She should probably thank him for his foresight, but he had been such an ass about everything.
“And as far as the other stuff- the shit between you and me? You look at me like that again, and I guarantee we’ll be doing a lot more than playing grabby hands under the table.” And just like that, he walked away, slamming the door on the way out. She plopped down on the couch, trying to pretend like she didn’t want to call him back for more.
Raquel Adams is in desperate need of a media makeover. Her already floundering reputation is made worse by her recent antics, and she doesn’t seem to care. Raquel lives life on her own terms and doesn’t answer to anyone, least of all Clayton Cox, the guy charged with making her a media darling. His take charge attitude is a problem for strong-willed Raquel, but she can’t deny the attraction she feels toward him.
Clayton Cox is the boss, and damn good at his job. He’s hired to improve your reputation and does so by swooping in, saving the day, and moving onto the next one. But he can’t move one from his newest client. Raquel is maddening, and gorgeous enough to make him forget his rule of never getting involved with a client.
Raquel wants Clayton, and nothing is going to stand in her way, not even Clayton himself. He doesn’t know what hit him, and soon finds himself juggling between having to improve her reputation and feign off her advances. But Clayton’s determined to show Raquel who’s in charge at any cost, even if that means thwarting her seduction efforts. And will a series of mishaps mean Raquel is tied to her nickname forever?
“But that’s just the latest thing, the tip of the iceberg you’ve been creating for years. Shall we go through some of the other stuff?” Clayton clearly didn’t expect her to answer, because he picked up the magazines he’d brought from the desk and put them down in front of her. It was bad, but Raquel refused to hide despite how much she wanted to cringe. Rumors of hard partying, cocaine use—even though she had never used it—infidelity, orgies, stripping. And that was just the rumors. As a finale he had a list of the names she had acquired—bitch, whore, slut, jezebel, home wrecker, and her moniker, Man-Eater.
This is embarrassing, Raquel thought, seeing everything in black and white. It was something she hadn’t thought about; hell, half the time she cultivated it, but now she was left with regret. David was the final straw. He took her already fragile reputation and pummeled it to the ground. And what was his response when she asked him about it? “I just wanted a piece of the Man-Eater, but you didn’t even put out. Hope it was worth it.”
“That’s not all true,” she said. Great, Raquel, way to sound like an intelligent, self-assured woman.
He shook his head, looking at her as if she was crazy. “No one cares. I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that, but you need to get it through your thick skull. Your reputation is in the trash, and your job is on the rocks. You need me, which is why you called me. Because I am the best, and the only one who can repair your current reputation. You may not want to need me, but you do.”
Raquel reached for the pitcher full of water in the middle of the table, pouring a glass and taking a long drink, wishing it was tequila, while she composed herself. “What happens now?”
He raised his eyebrows, acknowledging that she ignored his statement. That was the best he was going to get from her, so he just needed to chill. “Right now? You are going to go the hell home and stay there. Don’t go out, because I can’t trust you to go anywhere. Even your local family restaurant isn’t safe when you’re around. Read over the contract,” he passed her a manila envelope that contained a bunch of paperwork, “carefully, because you are basically signing yourself over to me for the next six months. If you agree to the terms, then let me know and I will tell you where we go from here.”
She opened the folder, noticing how thick the contract was. “What is your strategy?”
“I’m not telling you before you agree. If you want it, you’ll sign it. And if, God forbid, anything else comes up, call me immediately.”
Clare Martin has spent the last ten years in the spotlight, becoming Hollywood’s It Girl. On the surface her life looks perfect, but in reality she’s faltering. And the last person she expects to provide any relief is her best friend’s brother, the man who’s been tying her in knots for months.
Alexander Richards has paid the price for every single mistake he’s made. He makes no excuses for what he’s done, and wants nothing more than to find some peace. But that may be impossible since he has to help the woman who’s been driving him crazy since he moved to California.
Thrown together in the middle of nowhere, there’s no way to deny the attraction that burns within them. But how can they build a future if they can’t address their own insecurities? And what happens when secrets and lies from the past threaten to pull them apart?
“Wait!” He caught up with her, kissing the back of his neck as they walked toward the shed. She angled her neck, allowing him greater access, while he nibbled his way up the side.
“What?” came out breathlessly, “are you saying you don’t want to go to the shed and get naked?”
He pressed into her, letting her feel just how much he wanted to get naked. He pressed his lips to her ear. “I think you know that’s not true. Are you sure we can go in that shed?” He wasn’t far off. It looked like a horror movie prop, where people ran when they were trying to escape a murderer only to find they’d discovered his workplace. The wood was a dull gray, worn almost white in spots. The circular window, centered at the top of the wood, had a hole that had never been repaired. One of the doors stood proud, while the other was falling off the hinge. A couple of the boards looked loose, and he ventured to guess that he could push it over with a couple of good kicks. “That’s not what I pictured for the first time.”
“Ohh, the first time,” she wiggled until he let her go so she could face him. “Who knew you were such a romantic?” It suddenly became a lot hotter, and he didn’t need a mirror to know his face was red.
“I’m not a romantic,” he grunted. “I just want to make sure I don’t get bit by any animals. Or murdered,” he muttered, when she laughed off his worries and ran toward it. The door creaked before she disappeared, calling for him to come on. He cursed under his breath, wondering whether any woman was worth following her into the dark, creepy shed. Who was he kidding? A hot, sexy woman wanted him, and all he had to do was meet her in the shed? He hot footed it lest she change her mind. He became enveloped in darkness, the only light the sliver from the broken door and mirror, and it was dusk outside.
“Clare, this shit is creepy. No amount of sex is worth dealing with this.” He screamed like a girl and jumped about ten feet when the fingers tapped him on the shoulder. He grabbed for her outline, lifting her as she continued to howl with laughter. “I’m gonna get your ass,” he promised. “And withhold whatever pleasure I would have given you.”
Marie Garner is a North Carolina girl who grew up in piedmont and attended college in the mountains of Cullowhee, NC. She graduated with a degree in Social Studies education, and spent several years spreading her love of history and political science to young minds.
Her nose was stuck in a book since she was little, and she spent years writing down all the crazy ideas floating in her head. She has published the first two books in her trilogy, The Misses Trilogy, with Miss Hollywood slated for release in Fall 2016. Her writing explores the complexities of relationships, something she’s all too familiar with as part of a large, crazy family.
When she’s not locked in her writing cave she can be found cheering on the Washington Redskins or watching The Walking Dead, and thinks there’s nothing sweeter than a cold Diet Coke.