Extract from chapter 20 – Hollywood Dreams fancy dress fundraiser‘Seb. You’re here.’ Angel blinked hard, trying to focus.
‘Are you okay?’ His voice was gentle and she was aware of his hand still resting on her shoulder. She should probably brush it off. That’s what Emily and Leo would say. But they were back at the flat, probably listening to Barry White and doing the no-pants dance by now. She shot a dazed grin up at Seb, stifling a little giggle.
‘How much champagne have you had, Angel?’ he asked. ‘Can I get someone for you? Leo?’
She shook her head from side to side, whipping her hair about her shoulders in an effort to sober up a bit. It wasn’t like she’d had enough to be fall-down drunk – well, okay, not quite. But the headache that felt like it was nutting her between the eyes was making the room’s dancing disco lights into a solid, buzzy blur.
‘I’m okay, Seb, really. Just a few glasses. Got a splitting headache, that’s all.’
She blinked again, bringing him into soft focus. She could see one powerful arm in front of her while he leaned on the table, still staring with that worried expression into her face. His tight t-shirt really did leave nothing to the imagination.
‘You’re really bringing the gun show tonight,’ she said, running her eyes along the sleek ripple of his muscles. Okay, so it seemed she’d definitely had enough wine to send her inhibitions on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Nowheresville. If she didn’t know herself better, she’d think she was almost flirting. ‘Who are you supposed to be, anyway? Rebel Without a Cause James Dean or Streetcar Named Desire Marlon Brando?’
Seb let his face loosen into a grin. ‘Brando, of course. That’s the first rule of fancy dress in the Wilchester book. If you can be Brando, always be Brando.’
‘Couldn’t agree more.’
‘Bit slutty though? Cheapening myself by showing too much arm?’ He gave the muscles a comical flex, making her giggle.
‘View looks good from here.’
Seb laughed, deepening those gorgeous dimples. Angel remembered the last time she’d seen him, his face stained with tears while he’d struggled to tell her the story of his childhood. She was glad she could make him laugh.
‘And now I have to guess who you are, don’t I?’ he said. ‘I’m thinking someone who goes by the name Bond, James Bond? Unless you’re one of the penguin waiters from Mary Poppins and that bulge under your jacket means you’re just pleased to see me.’
Angel giggled again. She pulled out the plastic gun from the waistband of her trousers and placed it on the table. The throbbing had subsided a bit now and she was starting to feel more like herself. She put one hand on his arm, smiling up at him. ‘I like you when you’re funny.’
Seb cast a look of surprise down at her fingertips on his skin. Wincing, she jerked her hand away, embarrassed by what she’d just heard herself say. Okay, so it turned out her inhibitions hadn’t quite gone…
‘Hey, are you sure you’re okay?’ The note of concern had crept back into his voice. ‘You seem a bit out of it, Angel. Where are your friends?’
‘Well, Emily took Leo home over an hour ago. Hopefully by now they’re at least at third base.’
‘Leo?’ Seb looked confused. ‘I thought he came with you.’
‘With me?’ she said, looking at him with surprise. ‘Seb, I told you. We’re not together like that, not any more. Just friends.’
‘Oh. I thought… well, you guys seemed so close that day at the studio. Sorry. I had no right to assume.’
‘No. You didn’t.’ She pushed the bridge of her nose into her fingers again and screwed up her eyes to shut out the juddering haze of disco lighting, trying to relieve the thump-thump pounding in her brain. It was getting worse, and this conversation wasn’t helping. It was all… confusing. And she had to remember Carole. Carole was his wife. Carole was ill and getting help. Mustn’t forget… mustn’t let myself forget.
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Journalist Angel Blackthorne is looking for her next big scoop. When her sleazy editor asks her to use her charms on super successful – and married – film director Sebastian Wilchester for a juicy exposé, Angel thinks what the hell? There’s a staff job on the horizon, and, let’s be honest, no one can make a cheater cheat if they don’t want to, right?
After the scandal breaks, Angel tries to put the story – and Seb – behind her, but fate seems to have other ideas. A near miss at a premiere after-party and a shared love of vintage film brings the honey closer to the trap.
But what happens when pretence leads to passion, and a ‘kiss and tell’ becomes something real?
Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she's
still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature in 2003, she dallied with living in cities including London, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales.
She lives with him in a little house with four little cats and a little rabbit, writing stories about girls with flaws and the men who love them. You can usually find her there with either a pen, some knitting needles or a glass of wine in hand. She goes to work every day as a graphic designer for a magazine publisher, but secretly dreams of being a lighthouse keeper.
More information can be found about MJ on her website at www.maryjaynebaker.co.uk. You can also follow her on Twitter, @MaryJayneBaker, or like her Facebook page by going to Facebook.com/MaryJayneWrites