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Star Crossed (MF)

Hollywood Heat

Etopia Press

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 34,141
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When Hollywood's sexiest secret explodes, stars are born.

Music mogul Kate Garrison's husband is a leading Hollywood director. He also happens to be a cheat. When he's caught having an affair with an actress, Kate becomes the talk of the town—and not in a good way. So when she stumbles into Hollywood's new golden boy, Chris Cavanaugh—in the men's room, of all places—the gossip mill starts working overtime. Especially since Chris is starring in her husband's next film.

Chris Cavanaugh couldn't imagine a woman would have such an effect on his life. But amid the gossip and Hollywood politics, his only option is to ride out the media storm and play house. He never expects to actually fall for her, but when illusion begins to look more and more like reality, Chris has his hands full keeping his career intact and his eye on the target of making the Hollywood A-list. So why does spending time with Kate suddenly seem more important?

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Excerpt

Chapter One



The trendy new restaurant, Coriander, was having a busy night, but when the hostess heard that Kate Garrison, President of Atlantis Records and most recent Hollywood scandal victim, was coming to drown her sorrows, she happily made room for her entourage in a private dining room. They filed in and formed a circle around Kate to block the paparazzi from snapping her photo.

After everyone was seated, Kate grabbed the bottle of wine that was sitting in the middle of the table and poured everyone a glass. “Thank you, ladies, for dropping what you were doing to come here tonight.”

“We love you, Kate. Of course we would.” The woman at the end of the table had to yell to be heard.

“A toast.” Sabrina, Kate’s executive assistant, raised her glass.

Kate lifted her wine glass in anticipation of what Sabrina was going to say. But what was there to say about her failing Hollywood marriage? Three weeks prior the news broke that her new husband, film director Jack Pierce, had had a brief fling with one of the actresses of his latest film while on location. Two weeks and six days ago she’d thrown him out of her Malibu beach house and filed for divorce. Barely wed for three months, Kate counted her blessings that her impulsive decision would be undone fairly quickly.

Jack had tried to deny it at first, but his hookup, Brianna Sage, gave full disclosure to a news magazine show, making it a moot point.

He shifted to lavish apologies. Each day he would come up with a new and atrocious way to woo Kate back, and each day she would have a messenger redeliver the divorce papers.

“May that rat bastard rot in hell.” Sabrina took a sip of wine.

Leave it to Sabrina—so brazen and untraditional though nonetheless an excellent assistant and friend—to tell it like it was. Kate looked around the table at the showing of support. Her girlfriends tried to cheer her up, devising evil plots to exact vengeance on Jack and Brianna.

The scandal and the minute-by-minute news coverage didn’t really bother her. But she had ignored that voice inside her that was screaming at her to run the day she married him in Vegas. Jack was a handsome and passionate man driven by his desires. He brought out raw emotion in people and manipulated that energy to make outstanding films. Unfortunately, the same qualities made him a horrible husband. Kate wanted to put it all behind her.

“I heard Brianna has been after Jack for years.” Caitlyn, an actress, patted Kate’s hand.

“Then why did he let her catch him on that shoot? Brianna’s partly to blame, but this mess was Jack not thinking with the head where his brain is housed.” Kate ran her finger along the stem of the wine glass. “Maybe he was rebelling against marriage. Why did he bother proposing to me in the first place?”

“Honey, you’re a hot commodity. In the last three years everything you’ve touched has turned to gold.” Caitlyn gestured toward Kate. “And people are dying to have Jack work on their projects. He probably thought you two would become a Hollywood power couple.”

“He won’t get that with Brianna. She has the look, but she couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag. I bet she’d fail mime school.” Sabrina smirked, looking around the table, and then landed her gaze on Kate’s hand. “Where’s your ring.”

“That ring is expensive fish food by now.”

“You didn’t?”

“I did. Walked out onto the beach and threw it in.”

“Shut up!”

“Technically, I polluted the ocean. I was sorry about that.” Kate cocked an eyebrow.

“Bravo.” Sabrina clapped. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

Caitlyn leaned toward Kate. “At least you got the first marriage out of your system.”

“The first?”

“You’re bound to get married at least two more times.”

The women around the table nodded their heads in agreement.

She didn’t know if it was the chardonnay or the spicy shrimp appetizer, but Kate was beginning to feel ill. She really hadn’t eaten in days. She put up a brave front when she went out, but when she got home, she curled up on the couch in the living room and watched the waves rolling to shore through her big picture window.

She excused herself from the table and asked a waiter to direct her to the restroom. When she reached the end of the corridor Kate muttered a curse. The words Out of Order on the sign on the ladies’ room door read like an epitaph to her bladder.

The gallon of wine she drank wouldn’t wait until the situation with the ladies’ room was resolved. Kate eyed the men’s room door, took a deep breath, turned the handle, and prayed being cheated on would be the only scandal she was involved in this month.



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