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Lara Ivory stepped cacool and collected under the crushing weight of a heavy crinolined gown, her slender waist cinched in to an impossible seventeen inches, lush cleavage spilling forth above.
Lara's fellow actor in the shot, Harry Solitaire -- a young Englishman with tousled hair and droopy bedroom eyes -- walked beside her; delivering his lines with an enthusiasm that belied the fact that this was their seventh take.
It was eighty-four degrees in the south of France garden setting, and the entire crew stood silently on the sidelines, sweating, as they waited impatiently for Richard Barry, the veteran director; to call cut so they could break for lunch.
Lara Ivory was, at thirty-two, an incandescent beauty with catlike green eyes, a small, straight nose, full, luscious lips, cut glass cheekbones and honey-blond hair -- right now curled to within an inch of disaster. She had been a movie star at the top of her profession for nine years, and miraculously the fame and glory had never changed her. She was still as likeable and sweet as the devastatingly pretty girl who'd arrived in Hollywood at the age of twenty and been discovered by director Miles Kieffer. She'd come in to audition for a minor role in his new film. Miles took one look and decided she was the actress he had to have to play the lead. Gorgeous and fresh, she'd portrayed a naive hooker in a Pretty Woman-style movie -- beguiling everyone from the critics to the public.
From that first film, Lara's star had risen fast. It only took one special movie to grab the public's attention. The trick was holding on to it.
Lara Ivory had managed it admirably.
At last, Richard Barry called out the words everyone was waiting to hear. "Cut! Print it! That's the one." Lara sighed with relief.
Richard had been a successful director for nearly thirty years. He was a tall, well-built man in his late fifties; he had even features, a well-trimmed beard, longish brown hair; flecked with gray at the temples, and crinkly blue eyes. He also had dry humor and a sardonic smile. Women found him extremely attractive.
"Phew!" Lara repeated her sigh, her smooth cheeks flushed. "Someone get me out of this dress!"
"I'll do it!" Harry Solitaire volunteered with a lascivious leer, flirting as usual.
"That's okay," Lara retorted, smiling because she liked Harry and if he wasn't married he might have been a contender. She considered married men strictly off limits and refused to break her rule for anyone-even though she hadn't had a date in six months, ever since she'd broken up with Lee Randolph, a first-assistant director; who, after a year of togetherness, had been unable to take the pressure of being with so famous a woman. The sad truth was that for a star such as Lara, no relationships were easy. What man enjoyed being background material? Relegated to second place? Attacked by crazed stalkers and fans? Referred to as Mr. Ivory by waiters and limo drivers?
It took an exceptionally strong man to cope with that kind of life-a man like Richard Barry, who'd handled it admirably for the four years he and Lara had been married.
She and Richard had been divorced three years, but they were now good friends-all three of them, including Richard's new wife, Nikki, a costume designer he'd met while shooting a movie in Chicago.
Nikki was dark-haired, feisty and extremely pretty in a gaminelike way. She also knew how to bring out the best in Richard. Early on in their relationship, she discovered that, like most men, he was a lot of work. Before she entered his life, he'd been a smoker; a philanderer and a heavy drinker; plus he expected to get his own way at all times, and when he didn't, he sulked. Nikki had taken stock of his strengths and weaknesses and decided he was worth the effort. Somehow she'd calmed him down, fulfilled all his needs, and now his biggest vice appeared to be work. He was a bankable director; much in demand, whose movies always made money-and in Hollywood that's all that counts.
Lara considered Nikki her closest girlfriend. Right now they were all enjoying working together on French Summer , a beautifully scripted period film that Richard had been passionate about making. The three of them were sharing a rented villa on the six-week location. Lara hadn't wanted to intrude, but Nikki had insisted, which secretly relieved Lara, because she sometimes found it hard to cope with the loneliness of being by herself.
"That last take was magical," Richard said, coming to her side and squeezing her hand. "Definitely worth waiting for."
Lara frowned; she was her own sternest critic. "Do you think so?" she asked, worrying that she could have done better.
"Sweetheart," Richard assured her; anticipating her concerns because he knew her so well. "Seventh take perfect. Nothing to improve."
"You're just being kind," she said, her frown deepening.
"Not kind-truthful," he replied sincerely.
Her disarmingly honest green eyes met his. "Really?" she asked.
Richard regarded his exquisite ex-wife and found himself wondering if her painful insecurity had contributed to the demise of their marriage.
Maybe. Although catching the makeup girl giving him head in his trailer had been the final nail in the coffin of his infidelities -- that was one he hadn't been able to talk himself out of.
For a year after their public and somewhat acrimonious divorce, they hadn't spoken. Then Richard met Nikki, and she had insisted in her usual no-nonsense way that it was crazy they couldn't all be friends. As usual, she was right. The three of them had gotten together for dinner and never regretted it.
Nikki strode over; looking to Lara enviably cool in baggy linen pants and a yellow cotton shirt knotted under her breasts, exposing her well-toned midriff. She was in her early thirties, shorter than Lara, with a lithe, worked-out body, cropped dark hair worn with long bangs, direct hazel eyes and an overly ripe mouth. Nobody would guess that she had a fifteen-year-old daughter.
Richard enjoyed the fact that Nikki was smart and sassy, and most of all that she wasn't an actress. After losing Lara, he had considered never getting involved with a woman again, because there'd never be another woman who could live up to her. Nikki and her fresh upbeat ways had changed his mind.
"Get me out of this dress!" Lara implored. "It's cutting me in half. Worse torture than being married to Richard!"
"Nothing can be worse than that!" Nikki joked, rolling her expressive eyes.
"Wasn't Lara great in that last take?" Richard interrupted, putting an arm around his current wife, trailing his fingers up and down her bare skin.
"He's just being kind," Lara said with one of her trademark deep sighs.
"I know the feeling," Nikki responded crisply. "That's exactly the sort of thing he says when he praises my cooking."
Lara widened her eyes. "Don't tell me you cook for him?" she exclaimed. "I never did."
Nikki pulled a face. "He forces me; you know how persuasive he can be."
"Oh, yes," Lara agreed, as the two women laughed conspiratorially.
Richard frowned, pretending to be annoyed. "It's really irritating that you two are such good friends," he said. "I hate it!" Truth was he loved having both women in his life.
"No you don't," Nikki retorted, looking at him with the kind of expression a woman gets when she's totally sure of her man. "You get off on it."
With an amused shake of his head, he walked away.
Nikki signaled one of her wardrobe assistants to follow them to Lara's trailer. "For a grown man, Richard can be such a baby," she remarked.
"That's why our marriage didn't work," Lara said lightly. "Two giant egos fighting for the best camera angle!"
"And one of them screwing around like Charlie Sheen on a bad day."
"You've cured him of that."
"I hope so!" Nikki said forcefully. "The moment he points his dick in another direction, I'm gone."
"You'd leave him?"
"Immediately," Nikki said without hesitation.
"I bet you would," Laura said, wishing she had the inner strength her friend possessed.
"Hey, listen," Nikki said, wrinkling her freckled nose. "I'd expect him to dump me if l screwed around, so why shouldn't the same rule apply?"
Lara nodded. "You're absolutely right."
Why didn't l do it? she thought.
Why didn't I tell him to take a. hike the first time l suspected he was being unfaithful?
Because you're a pushover.
No. I simply believe in second chances.
And third ones and fourth ones... Richard hadn't known when to quit.
They'd met when he'd directed her in her third movie. Although by that time she was a star; she was still impressed at meeting the great Richard Barry -- a man with quite a reputation. He'd moved in on her immediately. She was twenty-four and by Hollywood standards a total innocent. He was forty-six and difficult. Their wedding at her agent's house in Malibu made headline news, with helicopters hovering overhead and paparazzi lurking in the trees. It was a media circus, which pleased neither of them. The divorce had been even worse.
"We're going to Tetou tonight," Nikki announced. "I hear the bouillabaisse is to die for."
Lara shook her head. "I can't. l have lines to learn and sleep to get, otherwise I'll resemble an old hag in the morning."
Nikki raised a disbelieving eyebrow. The irritating thing was that Lara acted as if she looked like any other mere mortal, even though she was certainly the most beautiful woman Nikki had ever seen. "You're coming," Nikki said determinedly. "I've already checked -- you have a late call tomorrow. It's about time you forgot about this damn movie and had some fun."
"Fun -- what's that?" Lara said innocently.
"Exactly how long is it since you've gotten laid?" Nikki asked, cocking her head to one side.
"Too long," Lara muttered.
"It doesn't have to be a big deal, y'know," Nikki offered. "How about a one-nighter? There's some hot-looking guys on the crew."
"Not my style," Lara said softly.
"You gotta have a man's mentality," Nikki said, with a knowing wink. "Fuck and run.
I used to -- before I married again."
Richard was Nikki's second husband. She'd wed her first -- Sheldon Weston -- when she was sixteen and he was thirty-eight. "I was searching for a father figure," she often joked. "And l got stuck with an uptight shrink." They had a fifteen-year-old daughter; Summer; who lived in Chicago with her dad.
"You're different," Lara said. "You can do that and get away with it. I can't. It has to be a committed relationship, or I'm not interested.
"Whatever;" Nikki replied vaguely, not understanding at all. "But you're definitely coming tonight."
Copyright © 1998 by Chances Inc.
On Sunday, February 22nd, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Jackie Collins, author of THRILL!.
Jackie Collins: Hollywood is such an interesting place. I always find that there is some new scandal or person to write about, because celebrity comes and goes very fast.
Jackie Collins: Well, THRILL! came out two days ago, so I'm pretty excited about that, and right now I'm working on a serial novel called L.A. CONNECTIONS, which will come out in four parts in October/December, and the titles will be L.A. CONNECTION 1)POWER, 2)OBSESSION, 3) MURDER, and 4) REVENGE, and I'm having a great time writing this! I'm also working on a new Lucky book called DANGEROUS KISS, which will be published next year.
Jackie Collins: I started writing as a kid in school, making up stories about an imaginary life as the daughter of an American spy. It was all fantasy, but my friends paid to read my stories!
Jackie Collins: Very much so! In THRILL! you'll recognize many real-life people, or think you recognize them. The fun is in the guessing game. I am writing about Hollywood from the inside, looking out. So these stories I tell are very true to life, and the characters are combinations of real-life people. Have any people out there read THRILL! yet?
Jackie Collins: Strangely enough, I had already finished writing the character of Alison, the strange photographer, before the Princess Di tragedy happened. But I know many characters like her. Lara Ivory in THRILL! is such a nice character that it seems that people become obsessed with her very easily. Her ex-husband is obsessed with her, the man she meets, Joey Lorenzo, a small-time actor, becomes sexually obsessed with her, and of course Alison feels they should be close friends.
Jackie Collins: I love talking to people, and it seems they love talking to me! Many famous celebrities tell me all kinds of outrageous true stories -- I have to tone them down!
Jackie Collins: Yes. Lara Ivory is a very beautiful and nice movie star who can't find a man. Her best friend is Nikki, who's married to Lara's ex-husband, the famous director Richard. They make a fine triangle, until along comes Joey Lorenzo, who is a great guy...or is he? They're all combinations of people and characters in Hollywood. The guessing game is alive and well in THRILL!
Jackie Collins: DANGEROUS KISS will take Lucky all the way to Washington with Steven Barkley, her half-brother, who is a very successful lawyer. It is also about Bridgette Stanopolous, her beautiful ex-stepdaughter, who is now a top supermodel in New York and becomes entangled with all the wrong people. I like writing about Lucky because she is such a strong woman, and my readers seem to love her.
Jackie Collins: I am working on a weekly series called "Hollywood Dreams," about both sides of Hollywood. Write to CBS's president and tell him you can't wait to see it!
Jackie Collins: When I wrote HOLLYWOOD WIVES, there were a lot of angry women in Hollywood. They felt I had exposed their lifestyle, which is usually quite private, because the wives of powerful men are in control, all the way to the White House, or so it seems.
Jackie Collins: I love reading Elmore Leonard, Robert B. Parker, and Tom Wolfe. My favorite book of all time is THE GODFATHER. Great characters! Great excitement! Reading has to draw people into the characters so they can visualize the excitement.
Jackie Collins: I was a loner at school. To me, it was much more interesting to sit in a corner and observe and then write about the other kids. So I started writing stories at a very young age, and it seems to have worked out for me. In THRILL! I enjoy the fact that all my characters have secrets. In life I have found that the most interesting people have secrets, and revealing layers of people's lives is very interesting when you are writing a character. Even Lara Ivory from THRILL! has a startling secret past.
Jackie Collins: I certainly do. I had the pleasure of meeting Harrison, and we had dinner one night. He is a fascinating man and has chosen the lifestyle that suits him best. He also has a great sense of humor.
Jackie Collins: No, I don't think I've written about the Kennedys, but that's not to say I won't in the future. I think John F. Kennedy would be a great character to cleverly disguise in a future book.
Jackie Collins: Well, it's always the book that is just coming out. Books are like children You give them a good time sending them off into the world. I am very happy with THRILL! because it's different than my other books. It starts off slow, then explodes. It is also deeply sexual, and the reader is kept guessing throughout as to whether some of the characters are good or bad. Apart from Lara, there is a 15-year-old wild child, Summer, who creates havoc because her psychiatrist father has been abusing her sexually. I know this a painful topic to write about, but I know it happens to many young girls out there, and the way that Summer handles it can be a lesson. I know I have many young readers, and they can learn a lot from them. Yes, my favorite is THRILL! but I also like CHANCES, LUCKY, LADY BOSS, and VENDETTA.
Jackie Collins: Never! I much prefer the other side of the camera. I wrote and produced my own miniseries, and I had a really great time doing it. Ten hours of prime time for NBC. In the first miniseries, Lucky was played by Nicolette Sheridan, and her mother, who is murdered when she is five, was played by Sandra Bullock -- quite a discovery! In LADY BOSS, Lucky was played by Kim Delaney of "NYPD Blue" fame. So to me, being behind the camera is the best time of all, especially if one can discover new talent.
Jackie Collins: I am very fond of Charlie Dollar, who is featured in several books. He is a kind of Jack Nicholson movie star with a skewed view of life. I like the fact that he is so off-the-wall, but I have to say, my favorite character is Lucky! I receive thousands of letters about Lucky, asking when I am bringing her back again. So she will be back in DANGEROUS KISS next year. I like Joey Lorenzo in THRILL! He's great looking, very sexy, and I think one of my better male characters. He's also dangerous in a way, but you will need to read THRILL! to find out why!
Jackie Collins: Write!
Jackie Collins: It's interesting Lara is perfect, but when you find out her background, perhaps you will be quite shocked that she turned out like she did. Lara is nothing like me. I would like to think that I veer more toward Lucky than Lara!
Jackie Collins: When I was writing the Lucky novels, I did a tremendous amount of research about the gangs in the '20s. When I was writing a book called LOVERS AND GAMBLERS, there was a plane crash in the Amazon, and I researched whether this was possible. If you read LOVERS AND GAMBLERS, you'll find out how to survive in the Amazon. Let's hope you never need this information. When I'm writing my Hollywood books, observation is everything, and I know the characters I'm writing about intimately. Does everyone like the cover of THRILL!?
Jackie Collins: Nobody would believe me if I did! The truth is always so much stranger than fiction. If I invented a 55-year-old President and a 22-year-old intern, everyone would say, "Jackie Collins has gone too far." As I said, true life is always stranger than fiction.
Jackie Collins: Yes, THRILL! will definitely be a movie or miniseries; I'm working on the script right now. For Lara, I would see a young Michelle Pfeiffer. For Nikki, I would see Winona Ryder or one of the girls from "Friends." For Summer I would love to see Alicia Silverstone or Drew Barrymore. For Joey Lorenzo, that is a difficult one, perhaps Robert Downey's good looks and Johnny Depp's character.
Jackie Collins: I always mean to write when I travel, but I find it impossible to concentrate. I prefer to be sitting in my study in L.A. with great soul music playing and a clean legal pad and black felt pen, then I scribble away and am perfectly content.
Jackie Collins: I think that's a little cruel; try two months! I'm under the assumption that there is too much temptation, that it is difficult to stay faithful, especially when one is thrown on location and there is no wife or husband around. Sometimes the characters they play on screen force them into a relationship in real life. Fantasy is quite dangerous, but fantasy is what the movies is all about.
Jackie Collins: Yes, I do. I think the gossip surrounding stars is out of hand. When they're followed home and photographed in their bedrooms, it has gone too far. In THRILL! Lara's stalker tries to catch her making love to Joey by climbing a tree. If she captures the photograph, she would be paid a great deal of money by the tabloids.
Jackie Collins: I love soap opera! And when I made my last miniseries, I used several daytime soap stars, who are not only great actors but very popular as well.
Jackie Collins: I'm happy to say that celebrities seem to love my books, because they feel that I depict their lives and the film industry very accurately. Sharon Stone was pictured in People magazine reading VENDETTA. She informed me that she loved the book and would be very interested in playing Lucky if it was made into a feature film. I must say that I have a lot of celebrity readers, and they all have fun with my books. I want everyone to be able to pick up one of my books and have a good time, because the newspaper headlines don't always give us happy headlines, but in fiction there can be happy endings. It was great speaking to you tonight, and don't forget the THRILL is everything!
Posted June 27, 2007
I found this book around my house, and decided to read it. I must say that this book was excellent. I love the part where Joey first saw Nikki it was so romantic. My favorite couples were Joey and Laura, and Nikki and Aiden even though their relationship didn't last, I was kinda upset about that, but I have moved on. However, I would to read more books like this.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2001
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