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One Night with an Obsession
Unforgettable Nights (Book 3)
Neither beautiful like her sister, nor athletic or smart like her brothers, Tish Varner grew up plain and pudgy on a farm in Oklahoma. But at eighteen she inherited some money and used it to remake herself and start fresh in Los Angeles. Now shapely, and beautiful, aspiring actress Tish is a heartbreaker who can have any man she wants. But, disillusioned with shallow, charming, guys who only want to get in her pants, she’s sworn off good-looking players. So when she lands a leading role in a movie with a sexy leading man known to be a womanizer, she’s determined to resist him--until she realizes that he has stopped chasing her.
Brady is obsessed with his gorgeous co-star, but he bet his buddy that he could resist her for the duration of the film. And he’s never lost a bet. But this time… As he and Tish banter movie quotes off screen and engage in torrid love scenes onscreen, Brady realizes that this time he could lose not only his bet, but his heart.
“Third door on the left.”
Letitia Varner nodded her thanks, but the brown-suited security guard wasn’t looking at her face. Tish was used to men staring at her chest, but she didn’t normally wonder if they could see her heart pounding through her blouse.
Breathing deeply to control her erratic pulse, she moved down the concrete hallway to the indicated sound stage, her rubber soled shoes squeaking against the floor. Auditions didn’t usually unnerve her. Since moving to L.A. three years ago, she’d been to at least a hundred. Makeup commercials, cat food commercials, walk-on parts in B movies. But this was the first time she’d gotten this close to a speaking role in a major motion picture. The female lead. If she blew this, her big chance, she might as well move back to Oklahoma, marry Billy Ray Jones, and raise pigs, chickens, and a brood of kids with runny noses and dirty faces.
“Hello?” Gingerly she opened the door to Sound Stage Three. Inside the big, unfurnished room, there was already a bustle of activity. Cameramen were setting up to tape the auditions. Callback auditions. Tish tried to calm her excitement but she felt so lightheaded she could barely stand.
Whatever you do, don’t faint. The role of an army nurse in World War II called for a strong, capable, woman. In short, it was a role to die for. Swooning and fainting were definitely off the table here.
The director caught her eye and motioned her toward the folding chairs arranged in rows at one end of the airplane hangar-like room. A dozen other hopefuls were already seated. A couple of older gentlemen. Several men of military age apparently applying for roles as soldiers. And three young women around Tish’s age, undoubtedly her rivals for the part of Rose.
The director’s text had said he liked her first audition, but wanted her to come back and read with the actor who was playing the leading man, to see if they had ‘chemistry.’ Tish studied the other women, each more beautiful than the next. A few years ago, that would have intimidated her. Not so much anymore, but this wasn’t an objective contest of face and figure. ‘Chemistry’ was subjective, something the director hadn’t been able to describe to her but would ‘know when he saw it.’
A man seated in the back row moved forward, almost stealthily, until he stood in front of her chair. Tish looked up at a magnificent example of masculinity. Not your standard Hollywood pretty boy. A bad boy if she’d ever seen one, his dark eyes brooded and his face had a rough, dangerous edge to it. As if he knew what he wanted and was used to getting it. Her gaze dropped lower and then quickly rose again. Yep, a magnificent example of masculinity.
Dark and Dangerous spoke. “Don’t I know you?”
Tish sighed, hiding her disappointment. This was the first man who’d interested her in--well, in a long time, and she’d been secretly hoping for a more original opening line. “Is that the best you got?”
He chuckled. Somehow without even approximating a smile. “No, I mean it.” His steely gaze raked down her body, lingering over her boobs and zeroing in on her slim pencil skirt. “I never forget a body.”
Tish rolled her eyes. “The nineteen sixties called,” she said in a bored tone. Though she’d spoken softly, her words echoed off the acoustic tiled ceiling. “It wants that corny pickup line back.”
Still no smile, and no verbal response, but his cool brown eyes twinkled, warming like melted chocolate. And he didn’t move away.
She propped a hand on her hip. “Seriously, do you get much action with that approach?”
This time, his face lit up with a smile that started with those engaging eyes, and ended with a jovial, almost embarrassed laugh. “Surprisingly, I do.”
Whoa. Now she could see why. That ingenuous grin broke the mold on smiles. And offered a glimpse of little-boy vulnerability hiding behind that mask of arrogance. Tish caught her breath. Over and done with cocky California playboys, she was determined not to like this one. But that smile could be her downfall.
Not that she’d let him know that. She affected a yawn. “Well, some women have undiscriminating taste.”
She’d expected that retort to send him slinking off with his tail between his legs, but he just peeled off another blast of that megawatt grin and said, “You may be right. My buddy Matt tells me all the time he doesn’t know what women see in me.”
Matt? Tish glanced over at the slim hipped, dark haired man exchanging words with the director. Matt Owens, her friend Lisa’s boyfriend, had written the screenplay for this movie and invited Tish to audition for Rose. She looked back at the sexy hunk to find him focused in the same direction. “You know Matt?”
And then it hit her. And apparently hit the hunk as well.
“Now I know where I met you,” he said. “At Matt’s girlfriend’s place.”
Tish recalled the party Lisa had thrown when this screenplay got green-lit. Blonde bimbo on his arm, this guy had strolled into the place like he owned it. Tish couldn’t remember his name, but the body definitely rang a bell. An alarm bell.
His eyes did another once-over, this time starting at her feet and working their way back up to her face. “You were with some cowboy type,” he said.
“And you were with that blonde who couldn’t keep her hands off you.”
“Guilty. I like blondes, what can I say?” He threw up his hands in an innocent gesture, his gaze skyward. At least he had the grace not to gawk at Tish’s breasts again.
“Cut.” The director’s voice came out of nowhere. Well, actually it came from six feet away, but Tish had forgotten, momentarily, that she and Hunky weren’t the only people in the room.
Mr. Buchanan walked over and shook her hand. “Thanks for coming back in, Ms. Varner. That’s all for now.”
“But--” That was it? She looked down at her scriptless hands. “I was supposed to read for Rose again. You wanted me to audition with the leading man to see if we had chemistry.”
“And you obviously do. I don’t need a script reading to see that. We got it all on tape.”
Oh my god. He’d been filming this?
Royce Buchanan cocked his head toward the hunk. “Tish, meet Brady, who plays John Callahan. Brady, this is Tish Varner. She’ll be your leading lady.”
Leading lady? “I...” Tish’s throat closed up. “I got the part?”
The director nodded. “See Beverly on your way out for your paperwork and script. Be here at six a.m. Wednesday. Sharp.”
“Thank you sir. You don’t know how much this means to me.” Tish stumbled toward the door in a daze. She’d gotten the part. A good part. A great part. She was the leading lady.
She glanced back at the director who had just become her favorite person in the world. Then stole another look at the dark and dangerous hunk with him. The man she’d be playing against for the next several weeks, or longer. Dramatic scenes. Intense scenes. Tish swallowed hard.