One of Hollywoods hardest working women is about to discover there's a lot more drama behind the camera than in front of it...
Faith “Freakin” Sinclair probably shouldnt have called her boss a perv…or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women, shed had enough of his sexist insults. Now shes untouchable in the industry—not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex, the wildly popular, wildly demanding former star of her show, to come back. But theres one obstacle in her way—one very handsome, broad-shouldered obstacle…
Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way hell let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. Its an offer she cant refuse—and as it turns out, the professor just might end up teaching Faith that theres more to life than work—and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones….
I had no idea what to expect when I was buzzed through the gate at Evie’s house. She lived high up on a hill on the inland side of the Pacific Coast Highway, with a breathtaking view of the coastline. I kind of felt like I was part owner of her incredible house, since it was the paychecks my TV show generated that helped her buy the place. Well, that, and a record number of cleavage-baring magazine covers and cosmetics ads she did in her spare time, along with, it was rumored, quite a few foreign product endorsements.
I found Evie in the living room, draped upside down across a low, wide sofa with enormous square pillows, their neon colors popping against the neutral upholstery. Her head was hanging about an inch from the floor, and one leg was bent at a strange angle.
“Somebody call the paramedics,” I deadpanned. “She’s snapped her neck.”
Evie ignored me and instead adjusted the phone she was holding high overhead so she was framed perfectly on the screen.
“What’s new, Evie?”
“Just a sec,” she said. Once the phone let out its old-fashioned whizz-snap shutter noise, she sat up and shook out her impossibly huge mane of dark hair. “’Sup, Faith?”
“That’s it? No ‘oh Faith, how I’ve missed you, the show hasn’t been the same without you’?”
She gazed at me sleepily, as if her false eyelashes were so heavy she couldn’t keep her eyes open. “Well, yeah,” she said. She checked the photo she’d just taken. “Hey, does this look good?”
She turned the phone toward me. What the hell—of course it looked good. Every photo of her looked good. All the time. Picture in a cell phone? Looked just like a retouched shot for the cover of Cosmo. “It’s great,” I said, holding down my impatience with a virtual boot on its neck. “Look—”
“Just a sec,” she said again, all her attention on the phone. She pushed a couple more buttons. I wasn’t sure how she did that with her two-inch-long nails in the way. It was like watching a gorilla—albeit a very attractive one—do cross-stitch. Eventually she managed it. “’Sup, Faith?”
Before we got caught in a conversation loop, we were interrupted by Chasen, Evie’s boyfriend, who wandered into the room staring at his own cell phone. I was practically blinded by the glare off his Ken doll-shiny waxed pecs and six pack framed by an open cotton shirt; I couldn’t help but wonder if these two clacked when they embraced.
“Babe, that one was righteous.”
“Chasen . . .” I ventured.
He barely glanced up. “Oh, hey, Faith. ’Sup?”
“Did Evie just send you a photo of herself?”
He grinned. “Yeah! So cool. Now it’s my turn.” And he held out his phone at arm’s length and struck the round-shouldered pose so popular with chiseled male models these days—one that made them look vaguely Neanderthal . . . and would have made my mother snap, “Stand up straight!” I shuddered when I realized I wanted to say the same thing. The last thing I needed was to start turning into my mother. I had enough problems already.
Instead, I said carefully, “You’re . . . sending each other sexy photos . . . even though you’re . . . in the next room?”
Chasen broke his pose. “Cool, right?”
I was at a loss for words. I glanced at Evie. She was texting someone. I hoped it wasn’t Chasen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. “You know what?” I said, with an encouraging smile, realizing I was talking to Chasen in the tone adults adopt when they tell small children to go play and let the grown-ups talk. “The natural light that comes in the skylight of the master bathroom upstairs is really . . . righteous.”
His eyes lit up. “You’re right! Babe, I’m gonna get a shot in there. So cool.”
“’Kay,” she muttered, not moving her barely parted, highly glossed pale lips, as she typed out another text with her thumbs.
“Evie.” I waited. No response except the ticking sound of her nails on her phone. “Evie.” I snapped my fingers. “Up here. Don’t make me confiscate that phone like I do when you’re on the set.”
That got her attention. She sighed, put the phone next to her on the couch, and looked up at me. “Sorry, Faith. ’Sup?”
Oh no, no—not the loop again. “You tell me. I got your note that said to come here, so here I am. What’s going on?”
Her glossy lips parted a bit more, showing off the tips of her brilliant white teeth. “Oh,” she breathed in realization. Then she shook her head. “No,” was all she said before she picked up the phone again.
I crossed to her, grabbed the phone, refrained from throwing it at the far wall, and sat down next to her on the couch. “‘No’ what, Evie?”
“I didn’t send you a note.”
Jayne Denker is the author of three contemporary romantic comedies, By Design, Unscripted, and Down on Love, and is hard at work on a fourth. She lives in a small town in western New York, USA, with her husband, son, and one very sweet senior-citizen basement kitteh who loves nothing more than going outside, where she sits on the front walk and wonders why she begged to go outside. When Jayne’s not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when she should be hard at work on another novel), she can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time online.
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