Authors: Jillian Leeson
~ Sizzling Summer Romance 2 ~
by Jillian Leeson
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
Ryan McFarlane was by far the most infuriating Hollywood star I had ever worked with. But unfortunately, he was also by far the most good-looking. His handsome face, marked by a square jaw, straight nose, and bright cobalt-blue eyes, coupled with his smooth, bronzed muscular body, had the power to make most women swoon at his feet. Especially here on this tropical beach in Fiji, the set of our latest movie,
Love At Last
I was probably the only woman who was not least interested in Ryan’s good looks. Not after he’d snubbed me without any reason when I first arrived at the set. And definitely not after he’d made me look like a fool in front of the crew when he decided to change his lines and left me speechless.
So here I was, in the middle of filming a scene on the beach where Ryan and I, as the main characters of the movie, were having an argument. When we reached the end of the scene, Ryan took a step towards me and leaned down, ready to give me what the script described as a “smoldering kiss”.
“Ryan, kiss me! Ryan!” A pretty long-haired girl, fourteen or fifteen, in a low-cut singlet and shorts that left little to the imagination, was blowing kisses from behind the beach barricade, egged on by her gang of friends. The commotion caused Ryan to stop his line mid-sentence. He looked away, dazed, with his mouth still half open.
“For Chrissakes, Ryan, concentrate!” I shouted, throwing my hat on the sand. I was so sick of working with him. He might have reached celebrity status with his part in the blockbuster
, but that didn’t excuse him of slacking off.
Ryan glared at me, sneering, “Hey, you’re not exactly inspiring. You’re supposed to show that you’re hurt, but still in love. All you do is bat your eyelashes once in a while. Is that what you call acting?”
I was about to give him a piece of my mind when the director intervened.
“Cut, cut, cut!” Becky came running towards us, her cheeks flushed with anger. “There goes yet another scene. Can you two please stop arguing? You’re just like a bunch of little kids. I don’t care if you hate each other, but leave that behind when we’re filming. We’re already behind schedule as it is. You’re actors, for crying out loud. This is your job. Pretend.”
I stamped my foot on the compact sand. How could Becky put any of the blame on me, when it was Ryan who had slipped up? From the day we started shooting the movie, it seemed he had made it his goal to make my life as difficult as possible. It had resulted in scene retake after retake, not to mention explosive arguments between us.
Turning my back to Ryan, I put my hands on my hips. “For your information, he’s the one who got distracted by his raving teenage fans, not me. It’s just pathetic; he can’t even concentrate on a few little lines.”
Becky walked towards me. “Calm down, Kate. Think of the big picture. Once
Love At Last
is finished it’s going to be spectacular, a box office record breaker, I just know it. And think what it will do to your career.”
“If it’s up to me, I wouldn’t do any more scenes with that idiot. I’d rather—”
Ryan’s chilly voice cut in behind me. “Who are you calling an idiot? Sounds to me like a case of the pot calling the kettle black.”
“I’m not the one who gets off by screaming underage fans.”
Becky squeezed my hand. “Come on now. You’ve only got a few more days to go, then you’ll never have to work with him again.”
“Oh, let her whine. That’s what she does every day. She thinks that throwing those little tantrums makes her look more of an actress. How else would you know she’s one?”
Ryan’s mocking voice caused me to spin around to face him, my eyes blazing. “You think you’re such a big shot with those little girls at your feet. I hate to tell you, pal, but the only thing you have going for you is your pretty face.”
To my surprise, Ryan broke out in a wide smile. “A compliment from Kate. I like it. Aren’t you lucky that you get to kiss my pretty face?”
I felt my body tense, and my hands clenched into fists at my sides. I desperately searched my brain for a witty retort, but however much I tried, I couldn’t think of anything apt to say. So I turned on my heel and stormed off the set, chased by Ryan’s deep-rumbled laughter and applause from his giggling teenage fans.
Flushed and dizzy from being humiliated, I opened the door to the make-up trailer and stepped in. Thankfully, it was empty as most of the crew were still at the set. The cooled air felt wonderfully soothing on my hot eyes and cheeks.
I strode over to the fridge and poured myself a tall ice lemon tea, which I sipped while sauntering over to the padded leather sofa. Sinking down into it, I closed my eyes and tipped back my head.
That jerk Ryan sure knew how to push my buttons. For all I tried, I couldn’t figure out why he was out to get me. What the hell had I done to make him treat me this way? Perhaps it was because I hadn’t, like most women, swooned and fallen to his feet at first sight. Sure, he was good-looking, but I wasn’t the needy and desperate fledgling actress he assumed I’d be.
Usually, when I started a movie shoot, I had my co-stars wrapped around my little finger in no time. It was the story of my life; men were rarely able to resist my charms. They were so easy—and I was more than satisfied to jump from fling to fling, enjoying them for their thrill and excitement.
Once, I’d almost fallen for a co-star who had seemed to be different from the usual good-looking knuckleheads with their one-track minds. He even enticed me with a relationship beyond the movie set. But a couple of weeks after we finished the movie, I spotted a picture of him in a tabloid, lip-locked with his latest conquest at a celeb party.
I was crushed. But it wasn’t because he had broken my heart. It was because he reminded me of my father. My despicable, loathsome excuse for a father who had left my mother in what couldn’t be more of a cliché scenario—he fell for his secretary.
After that, my Mom had never been the same. She’d turned cynical, and urged me and my sister never to put our full trust in men. And true enough, I’d experienced exactly what she had warned me about. From that moment, I vowed never to make that mistake again.
I had actually been looking forward to meeting Ryan McFarlane - he seemed like the perfect material for a fling. But when I arrived at the Fiji set of
Love At Last
, I hadn’t expected his icy reception, in spite of my usual charm. By the disdainful way he looked at me, I was almost considering having the nose job done I’d secretly been dreaming of.
A loud click broke the silence in the trailer, and the door swung open.
“Is Becky in here?” The head of a young bearded man appeared around the door. I shook my head, and the beard quickly disappeared. The hot summer air swiftly found its way in, and blew its warm breath around the confines of the trailer.
Damn, the pinhead left the door open. I walked over and was about to close it when I heard someone say my name outside. I stood right behind the door, my fingertips curled around its edge to ensure it stayed open a crack.
“… wait for Kate to come around to do another take. It’s probably going to take an extra day. As it is, the schedule is screwed. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ll be here till Christmas.”
“Don’t tell me there’s going to be another delay. That Kate is going to be the death of me.”
I lifted my brow. It was Ryan, and the other guy sounded like the beard from before. I pricked up my ears, dying to find out what they’d be saying behind my back.
“Sounds like she’s got you all riled up, bro.”
“Dave, you’d be pissed too if you had to do retake after retake.”
“I don’t get it, man. Normally you have the chicks eating out of your hand.”
“Hey, I’m not even going to try with this one. She’s so full of herself. Who does she think she is? Scarlett Johansson? I’m only playing the game on my terms, not anyone else’s.”
“Yeah? But I’d like to see anyone crack her. Ryan, my man, I don’t think even
“Come on, Dave, ‘course I can. I’ll have her purring like a kitten in no time. Wanna bet?”
“You’re on, bro. Fifty bucks if you can tame her.”
“It’s a bet. Not only will I get her in bed with me, but by the end of this shoot, she’ll have fallen in love with me, or I’ll owe you fifty.”
“How you gonna prove it?”
“She’s going to say the big three words.”
“I love you? Whoa, good luck, man. That’s the easiest fifty bucks I’ll ever make.”
Their ensuing laughter faded into the distance.
The whole time I had been listening intently, my fingertips white from gripping onto the door. A hot anger had been creeping through my veins until it turned into a searing rage that threatened to explode from every pore of my body. I slammed the door shut and crashed my back into it.
Ryan, the bastard! How dare he! Calling me full of myself, placing a bet at my expense, assuming I would yield to him like a smitten groupie. But I should have known—men could not be trusted and were only after one thing. Ryan had just proven that all over again.
It had taken all my willpower to stop myself from stepping outside and setting those two scumbags straight. Maybe I should have; at least it would have made me feel better. Still shaking with anger, I spun around and reached for the door handle. I’d confront him now and show him the pointy ends of my Manolos.
Or should I? Wait, I had a better idea, a much better idea…
Instead of showing him my cards, maybe I should play along with him. It was going to be hard, but I would have to flirt with him, be sweet to him, pretend I liked him, no—loved him. In the meantime, I’d never let him guess how I was laughing inside. I would let him think he’d succeeded in getting me to fall in love with him.
Then, when the smug jerk thought he’d won the bet, I would laugh right in his foolish pretty face, making him the joke of the set.
Yes, I was already looking forward to savoring the sweet taste of revenge.
“Here’s our star now! Do you feel better, darling?”
I walked straight into Becky’s open arms when I got to the set the next morning. Everything looked ready for filming, but there was no sign of Ryan.
“I feel much better, Beck. And I’ve been doing some thinking. It can’t go on like this, with me and Ryan arguing all the time. It’s unprofessional and unproductive. You’re right, it’s only a few more days before filming is finished. So I’ve decided to back off. I’ll try to be civil to him and keep my mouth shut when he tries to provoke me.”
Becky lifted her eyebrows in surprise. “That’s so good to hear, Kate. I had a word with Ryan last night, and he promised me that he’ll also do his best to avoid a fight with you. Speaking of the devil—there he is, finally.”
I wondered if he was late because he had taken his time to look his best for me. And to my annoyance, he had, successfully - he looked the epitome of male perfection. Sauntering onto the set, he wore a grin on his angular bronzed face, which was perfectly framed by his short dark hair, damp from the shower. A tight white t-shirt hugged his broad shoulders and sculpted muscles, right down to his trim waist.
The tabloid photos and even his appearance on the big screen didn’t do him justice. In the flesh, Ryan McFarlane was seriously hot— searingly, scaldingly so—and he knew it; the cockiness in his deep-blue eyes gave him away.
I felt a little pang of disappointment as I realized he would have been an ideal candidate for a whirlwind fling. But I quickly pushed the ridiculous thought from my mind and concentrated on a more interesting matter: how the heck was he going to pull this off? If everything went according to schedule from now on, only three more days of filming were left. He would have to make his move fast.
As if on cue, Ryan widened his smile when he found my gaze and locked it with his. It felt awkward to return his smile after weeks of coldness between us, so I only managed a weak grin. Not good enough, I reprimanded myself. I had to be more convincing. The sooner he thought he had tamed me, the sooner I could have my laugh on him.
I deployed my sweetest voice. “Are you ready, Ryan? Let’s do it better this time. Let’s make this our best scene yet.” Facing him with my right—my best—side, I flashed him my most charming smile.
“You’re on, Kate. I promise you, this scene is going to blow you away.” His honeyed tone offered a sharp contrast to his sneers a day ago. In my heart, I couldn’t suppress a laugh. Ryan’s acting had never been better.