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"Quiet on the set! "Take one! "Action! "
The director's voice blared from the bullhorn and the words sent a pleasurable thrill up Rachel Wellesley's spine. She had known before she'd uttered her first words as a child that she had an overabundance of artsy bones in her body.
The only problem was that as she got older, her choice of an artistic career would change from week to week. First she had wanted to become a painter, then a writer. Later on she had considered becoming a fashion stylist. But at the fine arts college she'd attended, after she took theory and practicum classes on beauty, she had finally decided on a career as a makeup artist and wardrobe designer. This was the life she lived for and what she enjoyed—being on the set of a movie. Or in this case, the TV set that was taping the popular prime-time medical drama Paging the Doctor.
It was day one of shooting for the second season. All the cast members from last season had returned except for Eric Woods, who'd played Dr. Myles Bridgestone. No one had been surprised to hear his contract was not renewed, especially with all his personal drama last season. The well-known Hollywood movie star had evidently felt it beneath him to do TV and to play a role other than a leading one. But the ratings of his last few movies had plummeted. Everyone who worked with him last season had been aware of his constant complaints. Eric was an egomaniac and a director's worst nightmare.
Rachel had managed to get along with Eric, but she couldn't say the same for others who considered him a pain in the rear end. But then, her older sister Sofia claimed Rachel could get along with just about anybody, and she would have to agree. It took a lot to rock her boat. She was easygoing by nature and was an all-around nice person. She figured some things just weren't worth the hassle of getting high blood pressure and stress.
A slight movement out of the corner of her eye made her shift her focus to the actor she'd heard would be added to the show this season in the role of Dr. Tyrell Perry. His name was Ethan Chambers.
He had been in Hollywood only a couple of years and already, at twenty-eight, he had taken the town by storm. And most noticeably, over the past few months, he and his playboy behavior had become quite the talk in the tabloids and gossip columns.
She gave him an appreciative glance. The only thing she had to say was that if the producer added Ethan to the show to boost the ratings, then he had hit the mark. Ethan was definitely eye candy of the most delicious kind. There was no doubt in her mind he would stir the interest of their female viewers, young and old, single or married.
And she couldn't help noticing he had already stirred the interest of several of the females on the set. He seemed oblivious to the open stares as he talked to a man she assumed was his agent. Although she found Ethan extremely attractive, she was too much of a professional to mix her private life with her professional one. And the one thing she detested above all else was being in the spotlight, which was something he evidently enjoyed since he'd managed to garner a lot of publicity lately.
She thought that his flashing white smile was as sexy as they came and figured he would be perfect for any toothpaste commercial. He was tall, probably six foot two, and powerfully built with broad shoulders, muscled arms and a masculine chest. He did a whole lot for those scrubs he was wearing. The company that manufactured the medical attire should be grateful, since he practically turned them into a fashion statement.
And last but not least was his cocoa-colored face with those striking blue-gray eyes—a potentially distracting pair for any woman fool enough to gaze into them too long—and his ultrasexy dimpled jaw. She had to hand it to him, he was as handsome as any male could get in her book, hands down.
A soft smile lifted the corners of her lips as she thought that this was bound to be an interesting season. Already a number of the women on the set were vying for his attention. The show's director, Frasier Glenn, would just love that.
"Cut! Good scene, everyone. Let's move on!"
Frasier's words had Rachel moving quickly toward the producer, John Gleason, and Livia Blake, a model and budding actress who would be guest-starring on the show for a few episodes as Dr. Sonja Duncan. The scene they had just filmed was an emotional one in which Dr. Duncan had broken the news to a devoted husband that his wife had died of cardiac arrest.
Livia would be in the next scene as well and it was Rachel's job to refresh her hair and makeup. And since Rachel was also the wardrobe designer for the show, she needed to verify John's request for a change in the outfit Livia would be wearing in the scene they would be shooting later today.
Rachel flashed a look back to Ethan Chambers, and her gaze raked over him once again. The man by his side was doing all the talking, and for a quick moment she detected a jumpy tension surrounding Ethan. She had been around enough actors on their first day on the set to tell he was nervous. That surprised her. If anything, she would think a man with his looks would be brimming over with self-confidence, even arrogance. If he wasn't, than he was different from Eric Woods in more ways than one.
Ethan Chambers took another sip from the water bottle, wishing it was a cold beer instead. He couldn't believe he had finally gotten his lucky break and was here, on the set of Paging the Doctor, playing the role of a neurosurgeon. He wasn't a hospital maintenance man or a victim who needed medical care but a doctor. He had landed the role of a lifetime on what was one of the most top-rated shows.
He would even go so far as to pinch himself if there weren't so many people around, and if his agent, Curtis Fairgate, wasn't standing right next to him, smiling, gloating and taking it all in. And of course, Curtis was ready to take credit for the whole thing, as if Ethan hadn't worked his tail off to get where he was now.
He thought about the three years he had studied acting abroad while doing some well-received but small theater gigs. He could finally say he was now building an acting career. Even his older brother, Hunter, who had tried pressuring him to stay in the family business, was happy for him now. And that meant a lot.
"You do know your lines, don't you?"
Ethan lifted a brow, not believing Curtis would ask such a thing. "Of course. I might be nervous but I'm not stupid. I'm not about to screw up my big break."
Ethan pulled in a slow breath, wondering how he and Curtis had managed to survive each other for the past two years. Hollywood agents were known to be pushy, cynical and, in some cases, downright rude. Curtis was all three and then some. Ethan only kept him around because they had a fairly decent working relationship, and Curtis had managed to land him a spot on this show by talking to the right people. But Curtis probably would not have managed that if the sister of one of Ethan's former girlfriends hadn't been the current lover of one of the show's writers.
Curtis began talking, rambling on about something Ethan had no desire to listen to, so he glanced around, fascinated at how things were going and what people were doing. He had been on the set of a television show several times, but this was his first time on one that Frasier Glenn directed, and he couldn't help but admire how smoothly things were running. The word around Hollywood was that Frasier was a hard man to work for, a stickler for structure, but he was highly respected in the industry.
Ethan was about to pull his concentration back to the conversation he was supposed to be having with Curtis when his gaze settled on a gorgeous petite woman wearing a cute baby-doll top and a pair of wide-leg jeans. She was gorgeous in a restrained sort of way. He figured she was an actress on the show and wondered what role she played.
She couldn't be any taller than five foot two, but he thought she was a sexy little thing with her short dark hair and exotic looks. And she was smiling, which was a change of pace since everyone else seemed to look so doggone serious.
Curtis snapped his fingers in Ethan's face, cutting into his thoughts. "Don't even think it, Ethan," the man warned.
Ethan blinked, and an annoyed expression showed on his face as he met Curtis's gaze. "Think what?"
"About getting involved with anyone on this set, especially that hot little number over there. I know that look."
Ethan frowned. He liked women. He enjoyed sex. He did short-term affairs better than anyone he knew. The women he was involved with weren't looking for long-term any more than he was. "Why?" he finally asked.
"Frasier usually frowns on that sort of thing on his set, that's why."
Ethan took another sip of his water before asking, "Are you saying that he has a fraternization policy?"
"No, but a workplace romance isn't anything he gets thrilled about, trust me. It can cause unnecessary drama, and Frasier doesn't like drama since it can take away from a good day's work."
Ethan didn't say anything as his gaze found the object of his interest once again. For some reason, he had a feeling she would be worth any damn drama that got stirred. He shook his head, thinking he needed to put his player's mentality in check for a while, at least until the end of the season. Making his mark on this show was his goal, and now that he was in the driver's seat and pursuing his dream, the most important thing was for him to stay focused.
Although the urge to hit on the sexy pixie was strong, he would keep those longings in check. Besides, she probably wasn't even his type.
"I have a feeling you're going to be a big hit this season, Ethan."
Ethan glanced over at the woman who had introduced herself earlier as Paige Stiles, one of the production assistants. "Thanks."
"And like I said, if you ever need help with your lines after hours, just let me know. I will make myself available."
"I appreciate that, Paige." The offer seemed friendly enough, but he recognized it for what it was. The woman had been coming on to him ever since they had met earlier that day. She wasn't bad looking, in fact he thought her rather attractive; but she hadn't stirred his fire the same way the sexy pixie had.
Once the show had begun taping one scene after another, the petite brunette had all but disappeared. If she was an actress on the show then her segment was evidently being shot later. He was tempted to ask Paige who she was but thought better of it. The one thing a man didn't do was ask a woman who was interested in him about another woman.
"So where are we headed?" he asked as they moved away from the set toward an exit door.
"To the makeup trailer. That's also where wardrobe is located since the same person handles both."
He lifted a brow. "Is there a reason for that?" he asked, since that wasn't the norm, especially for a show of this magnitude. It was a lot of responsibility for one person.
"None other than that she wanted to do both, and Frasier obliged her. But he would since her last name happens to be Wellesley."
Ethan immediately recognized the last name. The Wellesleys were the brilliant minds behind Limelight Entertainment Management, one of the top talent agencies in the world. Their clientele consisted of some of the best in Hollywood, although in recent years they had expanded to represent more than actors. The firm now represented an assortment of talent that included big-name singers, set designers, costume designers, writers and makeup artists.
"Wellesley?" he asked.
"Yes, the high-and-mighty."
Ethan had the ability to read people, women in particular, and had easily detected the scorn in her voice. And because he knew about women in particular, he decided to change the subject. "How long have you worked for Paging the Doctor?"
She began talking and just as he'd done to Curtis earlier, he nodded while he tuned her out. His thoughts drifted back to the woman he'd seen earlier and he wondered if and when their paths would cross again and they would finally meet.
Finally a break, Rachel thought, sliding into a chair that was now empty. She had been in the trailer for the past five hours or so. She had sent one of her assistants out on the set to do those second-by-second touch-ups as needed while she hung out in the makeup/wardrobe trailer, making sure those actors shooting their scenes for the first time that day went through their initial makeup routine.
A couple of the scenes being shot today showed the doctors out of the hospital and in a more relaxed atmosphere either at home or out on dates, which called for a change from medical garments to casual wear.
John had approved her choice of outfits, and she felt good about that, especially since the outfit she'd selected for Livia hadn't been on John's preapproved list. And some of the artwork being used as props were her own creations. Other than Frasier and John, few people knew that when she left here at night she became Raquel, the anonymous canvas artist whose work was showcased in a number of galleries.
Her sister was worried that with being a makeup artist and wardrobe designer by day and a painter at night, Rachel had no time for a love life. But that was the least of Rachel's concerns. She was only twenty-six and wasn't ready for a serious involvement with any man.
In her early twenties she'd dated a lot, but to this day she couldn't admit to ever falling in love. She would like to believe such a thing could happen for her.