Authors: KE Payne
Sparks fly when twenty-year-old Holly Croft, star of the UK soap Portobello Road, meets Elise Manford, the actress who’s going to play her on-screen love interest in the soap’s first ever lesbian storyline.
Enigmatic Elise’s super-confident attitude and unwelcome advice drives Holly to distraction at first, but as fans go wild over the storyline, and the pair start to spend more and more time together, Holly begins to see another side to her costar. Liking what she sees, Holly slowly finds herself falling in love, but can she ignore her growing attraction to Elise when the lines between fact and fiction begin to blur?
The Road to Her
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The Road to Her
© 2013 By KE Payne. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 13: 978-1-60282-926-8
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First Edition: July 2013
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Editors: Lynda Sandoval and Ruth Sternglantz
Production Design: Susan Ramundo
Cover Design By Sheri ([email protected])
Another 365 Days
The Road to Her
Creating a book doesn’t just happen by magic, and so I have some fabulous people to thank for getting this, my fourth novel, through the publishing process and onto book shelves. Firstly, the lovely people at Bold Strokes Books who do such a brilliant job: Radclyffe for welcoming me to the BSB family in the first place, to Lynda Sandoval and Ruth Sternglantz for guiding me through the editing maze, and to Sheri for going with my choice of cover and turning it into something even more amazing. I’m also truly grateful to each and every other person who works tirelessly behind the scenes at BSB and who made publishing this book such a pain-free journey for me. Thank you all.
I’m indebted to Sarah Martin, for not only being an awesome beta reader and giving up her precious time to read my work, but also for her constant encouragement and support. I’m always telling you how grateful I am, Smartie, but seriously—thank you! A massive thanks also to Emma for your funny and encouraging e-mails over the last few months that have all driven home to me just how important it is to never let the buggers get me down and to always persevere with my goals. PS: Tell your gran to keep reading the PFs too!
To BJ—no words will ever be enough to let you know how much I appreciate everything you do for me. Without your constant love and support, I would never be able carry on with what I love doing, so thank you.
Finally, a huge thank you to all the readers who continue to buy my books, and who take the time to contact me to say how much they enjoy them. I greatly appreciate every e-mail, Facebook comment, and Tweet that you send me, and your continued support is immensely important to me. Thank you all so much.
“So, Holly, what do you think?” Kevin Driffield sat back in his chair, his small speech over. “We reckon having a lesbian character is going to really bump up the ratings this year.” He steepled his fingers and looked at me from across his desk, the flicker of a smile on his round, nondescript face.
“We’re thinking this could be the most popular gay storyline since Martin and Dexter in
two years ago.” Kevin’s assistant producer, Susie Abecassis spoke before I’d had the chance to answer Kevin’s question. “Are you up for it?”
“And Jasmine Hunter’s been chosen to be that character?” I met Kevin’s continued look and mirrored his smile.
“Having an already-established character such as Martin fall in love with a newcomer like Dexter was an instant hit with the fans,” Kevin said. “People are still talking about it, even now.”
“And now we want to recreate that success in
with you.” Susie spoke animatedly.
My name is Holly Croft, and I guess if you’re older than twenty-five then you’ll possibly never have heard of me, but I’m an actress in a well-known early evening soap opera which half of the UK’s teenage population go absolutely crazy for. It’s set in and around the Portobello Road area of West London and is called, appropriately enough,
Well, over the years,
has totally changed my life. I’m twenty now, but I’ve been in it since I was just twelve. I play a character called Jasmine Hunter, and fans of the show have followed her through thick and thin: through her school years, all the way through her parents’ long and bitter divorce, to her first day at university, and right through to her now apparently falling in love with a girl.
“We thought it was time Jasmine came to the fore,” Kevin was now saying, tilting back on his large plush leather chair—the sort that executives are fond of using—and leaning back so far I was convinced he’d topple over backwards and clatter to the floor. “She’s been too long just in the background, but we feel she has potential…”
“More potential than she’s being given at the moment,” Susie said, cocking her head to one side and smiling so much her eyes crinkled. “We think
have potential, too, Holly.”
I looked down at the sample script on the table in front of me and chewed at the inside of my lip. Jasmine was being taken in a totally different direction, and to be honest, I couldn’t decide whether I was nervous or excited at the prospect of her having such a major storyline after years of just being “that Hunter kid.” Just recently, the most exciting thing that had happened to Jasmine was her passing her driving test and her parents divorcing last year after her father was caught in flagrante delicto with his secretary. But this? This was something else.
“Well, I’m flattered,” I began, “uh, flattered that you’d give me such a huge storyline, and that you think I can handle it.” I looked down at the script again.
“We want this storyline to run for at least the next year.” Kevin leaned forward in his chair. He placed his arms on the table and looked at me intently, then picked up his copy of the script and ran his eyes over it. “It’s going to be a terrific love story, a real heart tugger. We don’t want it to be just a token piece, shoved in somewhere between Shane’s hair transplant and Hazel’s nervous breakdown.”
“Casey Fletcher—Jasmine’s love interest—is a brand-new character,” Susie said, reading from a printed sheet in front of her. “She’s eighteen—the same age as Jasmine—and they’ll meet at university.”
“They’ll be friends to begin with,” Kevin continued, “but then they’ll both begin to realise that they want something more than just friendship.”
“We want Jasmine to struggle with her feelings, deny she likes her, all that sort of stuff,” Susie said, glancing up at me then looking back down at her sheet of paper, circling something on it with a pen. “We’ll keep the viewers hanging on a good while with the classic
will they, won’t they
scenario before they both confess their feelings for each other.”
“And Casey certainly won’t just be a flash affair for Jasmine,” Kevin added. “It’ll be a proper, long-lasting, and loving relationship.”
“The Martin and Dexter storyline will pale into insignificance compared to what we’ve got in store.” Susie nodded in agreement.