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Nicole Callahan is an up-and-coming movie star. When she gets her big chance, the role requires her to get romantic with her co-star on screen. But there’s only one man she can picture herself kissing…even if she’s never met him in person.
Austin Hayes has been a household name since he hit it big as a child actor. His refusal to so much as kiss a woman on screen hasn’t stopped him from having a successful career in Hollywood. But when Nicole wants him as her co-star, he throws all the rules out the window because this starlet is meant to be his.
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“I’m telling you, Austin. Eventually, people are going to get tired of casting you in the side-kick role.” Tyson Grant, my agent, runs a hand through his curly blond hair then takes swig from the beer in his other one.
I sit back in my chair, my arms crossed over my chest, glaring. I’m not budging on this topic and he knows it, so why is he bringing it up, yet again?
“We’ve been friends since we were kids and you know I respect your position”—he smiles wryly—”It’s not like I’m really qualified to lecture you since I have no love life to speak of.”
I snort, earning myself a scowl. I’ve never even seen Ty go on a date in all the years I’ve known him. I’m almost positive he’s still a virgin. I can’t judge him on that though since I’m one myself. However, at least I made an attempt to find “the one.” Granted, none of my dates had gone past a conversation. The night always ended before we even got to dessert. Although, I can’t even remember the last one I went on. I’ve been burned by all the money-grubbing fakes out there.
“But,” Ty continues, “it’s my job to protect your career so I’m just being brutally honest.” He reaches into his briefcase and pulls out a sheaf of papers, sliding them across the table to me. It’s the two scripts he’s been after me to consider. I know both contain some small love scenes, so I’d adamantly refused to even look them over.
The truth is, I’m a hopeless romantic, something my brother constantly gave me shit about. Until he met his wife. Now he has what I’ve been looking for my whole life. And, I’m not willing to do sex scenes that could jeopardize my future relationship. I don’t want her to be faced with knowing the world has seen parts of me that belong to her. Or seeing me give affection to another woman that should only be hers.
I’ve been lucky in my career. At seven-years-old, my funny personality and charisma had landed me a role as the comedic side-kick in a television show. Since then, I’ve encouraged being type-cast in similar roles. The funny friend, or a lead in a comedy with no romance, etc. Besides, I’ve earned enough Best Supporting Actor awards to prove that I’m damn good at it. I’ve even snagged the lead role in a few period movies which, true to the era, have no physical intimacy. One of them actually landed me a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar one year.
It’s not that I don’t have the looks to be the next Hollywood heartthrob, with the tall, dark, and handsome thing I have going on. And that’s not vanity, it’s just the truth. I have the magz and rags to back it up. But, I’m happy in the path I’ve chosen. I get to do what I love without compromising my morals. I’ve never regretted my choice, even when I’ve walked away from roles that would have landed me among some of the richest actors in the world.
Lately, Ty has been pressuring me more than normal to consider even just the smallest romantic roles. “Are you trying to tell me that these are my only two offers, right now?” I ask with narrowed eyes.
Ty sighs. “No, but the others aren’t nearly as likely to be as successful and are a lot less money.”
I tap a finger on the stack of paper and raise an eyebrow. “When have you ever known money to sway me, Tyson?”
He rolls his eyes and points a finger at the scripts. “For the love of all that is holy, would you just fucking read them? As a favor to me? Then you can throw them at me and tell me to fuck off, once again.”
I huff and mimic him with a roll of my eyes. “If reading them will get you off my back, I’ll do it.” I grin. ”Call me tomorrow so I can tell you to fuck off then.”
“How fucking gracious of you.” Ty’s voice drips with sarcasm as he snaps his briefcase shut and stands. “I’ve got the contract for your guest spots on those two TV shows with the lawyer. I’ll bring them by your shoot, and you can tell me to fuck off in person.”
I laugh this time and get to my feet to see him to the door of my trailer. “Thanks, Ty.”
He lifts his chin, then steps out into the bright California sun. I’m about to shut the door when he swings back around. “Take a look at the list of actresses being considered for the lead in The First Time. Their first choice will only agree if you sign on for the film.”
Seems like an odd request but I nod and close the door without comment. I don’t know why he thinks she would affect my answer. None of the currently popular actresses have ever caused me to have even a spark of interest. Given my reputation, why would this actress make that stipulation? She’d better prepare herself for disappointment.