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TAYLOR BOUDR AIN, HOLLYWOOD HUNK , WANTED A CHALLENGE; TESSA PAT TERSON NEVER SAW LOVE COMING.
Taylor Boudrain is bored. He's the media-proclaimed King of Hollywood-a successful movie star and womanizer. He has everything he could ever want-fame, fortune, and popularity- so why is he so ... bored? In a world where everything is handed to him, Taylor wants a challenge. He wants everyone to forget his name, but it's hard to do in a city filled ...
TAYLOR BOUDR AIN, HOLLYWOOD HUNK , WANTED A CHALLENGE; TESSA PAT TERSON NEVER SAW LOVE COMING.
Taylor Boudrain is bored. He's the media-proclaimed King of Hollywood-a successful movie star and womanizer. He has everything he could ever want-fame, fortune, and popularity- so why is he so ... bored? In a world where everything is handed to him, Taylor wants a challenge. He wants everyone to forget his name, but it's hard to do in a city filled with his face.
Taylor decides to leave Tinseltown and head out on a cross-country adventure, with nothing but his motorcycle and the cold, hard pavement. Following a collision with a tractor trailer in Western, New York, Taylor wakes up in the ICU. His nurse is Tessa Patterson-a beautiful single mother, raising her son, Andrew, who suffers from autism-and she isn't impressed by Taylor's Hollywood charm. Or is she?
Taylor and Tessa just might be perfect for each other, but nothing is easy when caring for a child with autism. In order for them to live happily ever after-just like in the movies-Taylor and Tessa must go on emotional and spiritual journeys, learning to support Andrew and support one another.
"Taylor, I don't think you really get it! People in this town don't like you. Now I know to you that might not be a big deal, but when casting directors don't call you anymore ..."
"Ah, come on, Frank," Taylor interrupted. "You know as well as I do that ain't gonna happen. Not for a long time." Taylor wondered briefly how many glasses of champagne he had had. At last count, he thought it was three.
Frank Zimmerman sighed in frustration. "Yeah, I know you got it all, Taylor. Looks." His gaze traveled up and down the man in front of him. Taylor was tall, lean and muscled. He had a beautiful head of golden blond hair and deep teal eyes. He had been compared in the press to a Greek God on more than one occasion because of his fantastic looks. "Money. Lord knows you make enough of that. But your ego is getting in the way here. If you make enemies in this town, you make them for life and they have a way of getting back at you, buddy."
"Frank, you worry too much. You really do." Taylor lightly pinched the arm of the blonde and she squealed in reply, batting her fake lashes at him. She wasn't drop dead gorgeous, but she had one helluva body and that was all he was interested in anyway. To get away from this boring party and screw her brains out. But first there was Frank to deal with. He tuned back into his conversation.
"Why won't you let me release the information that you donated five million dollars to the new children's cancer hospital? It would go a long way to soothe some ruffled feathers and paint you in a more benevolent light. I could have the publicist release a statement—"
"Nah, you know I don't want to do that. Listen, I ain't worried about egos in this town. I'm not in this business to win a fucking popularity contest. I'm in it to make money. And I've made a helluva lot and as a result, so have you, Frankie my friend." Taylor sipped at his champagne, teal eyes sardonically studying his agent.
"Taylor everyone knows you're king in this town. Your movies consistently are box office smashes. Hell, you've even won an Academy Award. You're gold in this town, but barracudas abound in Hollywood and I'm telling you to watch your back. As your friend and as your agent." Frank's dark eyes studied Taylor carefully, hoping he was getting through to his biggest asset, Taylor Boudrain, the Texan that blasted Hollywood away six years ago and still ruled.
Taylor sighed. "Frank, they're all jealous. Jealousy also abounds in this town. Fuck 'em. If they can do better, let them try. I ain't holdin' anyone back. I'm just doing my thing."
"Taylor, your publicity is bad right now. Hell, last week some rag caught you having an orgy in your hot tub, right out in the open where they could splash pictures all over the place! How do you think that looks to your fans? And—"
"Frank, there ya go. Exaggerating again. I had three women in there, it was hardly an orgy. And the pictures they managed to snap hardly showed anything but four people's heads. So don't lecture me about the damn press. They are, as you say, barracudas."
People waved and smiled and tried to gain Taylor's attention. He waved back perfunctorily, flashing his dazzling smile. Everyone in the room was trying to get his attention, which belied his agent's words.
"And then there was the affair with a married actress. Really Taylor, none of this looks good ..." Frank continued.
"She wasn't married at the time. She was separated."
"Says who? Certainly not her husband."
"Yeah, she neglected to tell me that little detail until after I ended the affair. Who knew?" Taylor snorted, but Frank was not amused.
"Am I getting through here, Taylor? Are you even listening to me? That's what you pay me for, to give you my advice."
"I'm listening, Frank. Ya know, I'm thinking of taking a little sabbatical anyway. I've been working six years non-stop and I'm thinking of taking a vacation. Go off on my own for a bit. Blow this town and travel around. Get a different perspective on things."
"Oh honey, no!" the blonde protested.
Frank's silver brows rose. "Oh, really? How long are you thinking of being away?" This news greatly surprised him. Taylor lived to act and he was damn good at it.
"Six months. Just hop on my bike and ride around, see the great U.S. of A. up close and personal."
"Six months! That's way too long to be away from this town, kid. They forget about you in weeks if you don't have a movie out. I can understand wanting a break. Maybe two, possibly three months, but six is way too long."
Taylor flashed his famous grin. "Don't worry, Frank. I'll keep in touch. In the meantime, you can live off of the commission royalty fees. You'll hardly go broke," Taylor joked.
Frank sighed again. Taylor was one of his most difficult and hard to predict clients, but he also made him the most money. For now. "Taylor, reconsider. Please. That's way too long to be away—"
"My mind's made up, Frank," Taylor said adamantly. "Been thinkin' about this for awhile and I need to do it. Ya know, fresh air, nothing but me and the bike and the endless highway. Should be heaven."
"What about me, Taylor? Are you gonna take me?" The blonde looked up hopefully, squeezing Taylor's bicep.
"Sorry, darlin'. It's just gonna be me and my mean machine." He squinted and pointed off into the distance. "Heading east and keep on going until I see the other shoreline."
The blonde pouted as Frank scowled. "Taylor, this is a hare brained scheme. Think about this some more."
"Sorry, hoss. Ain't gonna happen. Made up my mind."
The blonde sighed. "Oh, Taylor. I just love that southern drawl."
"You're about to love something else a whole lot more," he leaned down to whisper in her ear.
"I'll leave you two alone," Frank interjected sarcastically. "Keep in touch, Taylor."
"Will do, Frank."
Taylor took the blonde outside. The glitzy ballroom of the hotel glittered with lights behind them. The valet drove Taylor's black sleek sports car up, but Taylor waved him off, flipping him a one hundred dollar bill.
"Not yet, buddy. We're gonna take a little stroll."
The young guy grinned as he caught the bill adeptly. "Yes, sir."
Taylor pulled the blonde around the corner of the building, down a pathway leading to pretty tended shrubs and a gazebo off to the side. Walking casually down the path, he pulled the blonde along. She was wearing a sequined skimpy black evening gown which should come off very easily. Taylor silently thanked the fashion gods for little favors. Taylor was wearing a collarless black tux but that wouldn't present any problems either.
"Taylor, where are we going?" the blonde huffed, trying to keep up with his loose limbed walk, tottering along in spike heels.
"Oh, just for a little stroll. Yeah, this looks about right." Taylor surveyed the long granite wall of the hotel only partially concealed by shrubs.
The blonde tried to tuck her hair behind her ear, it was coming loose from her carefully upswept style. "Right for what? Taylor, let's go back inside. They rented the penthouse suite for you. That would be SO romantic!"
"I ain't into romance at the moment, darlin'. I want something and I want it now."
"What?" she asked innocuously.
"Why, to fuck. What else?" His teal eyes grinned down at her.
"Here?" she squeaked.
"Yeah, right here." He picked her up bodily and gently placed her back against the building. Quickly he put on a condom, tossed up her dress and nailed her against the building.
Taylor had his customized Harley up to 100mph, the wind shearing around him as the endless highway ribboned in front of him. He decided to be smart and wear his helmet, the patriotic one with the flag and stars emblazoned on it. He figured it would impress any local yokels and he wouldn't get into too many bar fights. Being tall and strong Taylor usually never lost any bar fights because he could be a nasty son of a bitch. Men read that in his eyes and left him alone. But Taylor tried to avoid fights if he could. Messing up his pretty face wouldn't help his career, although he did bear a slight scar on his right cheek below his eye. It was small and crescent shaped but visible. Women said it only made him look sexier.
As he rode along he recalled how he received that scar and other nasty beatings from his dear old dad. Taylor grew up in bumfuck Texas, Beaumont to be exact. Oil refineries employed most of the town and his father worked there until his dying day. The prick used to beat all his siblings and mom too. Taylor had three older sisters and a younger brother. He was smack dab in the middle of the passel. One day Taylor got big enough and smacked his dad down hard when he was beating on his mom. The old man never touched her again but he did everyone a favor and died of cirrhosis of the liver a few years back. Taylor was the only one in the family born with the looks of an angel. The rest of the brood were pretty plain. He also inherited all of the height in the family, which his mom claimed came from her side. Taylor sent her money every few months (heck, he was worth 3.3 billion, he could afford it) but he dusted his boots of that Texan town long ago. He lit out at sixteen and never looked back. He went to Holleeywood to become a star and damned if it didn't happen.
He was waiting tables one day and a producer came in for lunch, told him to go audition for his studio. He showed up for his screen test and wowed 'em. Who knew he could act? He certainly didn't. But he wasn't an uneducated hillbilly. Taylor was a voracious reader. He read everything he could get his hands on. Thus, though he barely had a high school education, Taylor's native smarts and book learnin' made him smarter than some people with several degrees.
Taylor shook off thoughts of his past. He never thought of his family much. The only one he had any use for was his mother. His siblings came with their hands held out long ago and he told them all to get jobs. Hadn't heard from them since, which was just fine by Taylor. He was free, he had a great job and he answered to no one. He had women in his life when he wanted one, and didn't when— well, when he didn't want one. Like now. Just him, the open road and his awesome bike.
It took Taylor about five days to cross the country and that was with stops along the way. He camped out briefly with his gear here and there, but if there was a town with a decent hotel, he stayed. People recognized him and he dutifully signed autographs. Taylor was smart enough to show appreciation for his fans. They got him where he was and he wanted them to keep him there. But it was secretly tedious to him. Even though he came across as a guy with an ego the size of Antarctica, Taylor was basically a humble guy who just wanted to act. The whole Hollywood ego thing was to keep people at a distance and it worked. He didn't want anyone getting too close, not even Frank. Taylor was the original Solitary Man. Thank you Neil Diamond for giving me a moniker. Taylor grinned under his helmet.
He was wearing jeans and a white tee shirt and black cycle boots. He didn't need his shades right now, the sun was setting on good 'ol Western New York. Taylor had decided to drive up to Niagara Falls to check it out and it was an awesome sight for this Texas boy, even from the American side. He could see the Canadian side was more magnificent and bigger, but he didn't want the hassle of crossing the bridges into Canada. Right now he was on a highway taking him by the large cement hydro electricity power grids on the New York side. He recalled seeing a sign a little ways back saying he was in Lewiston, New York— wherever the hell that was. He was thinking about stopping for the evening and finding a place to stay and eat. Head out tomorrow for New York City, then his coast to coast journey would be complete.
As Taylor was ruminating on these thoughts, his attention shifted to the huge cement barriers down below through the gated barricades. He only shifted his attention for seconds but it was long enough for Taylor not to see the huge semi that swerved into his lane.
Taylor acted instinctively to save his life as his Harley was shaved alongside the huge metal behemoth.
Everything went dark and black and the last thing Taylor recalled was flying through the air and terrible pain. Then it was lights out.
Taylor became aware of a slight beeping noise. Slowly he opened his eyes and saw more white, this time a white ceiling. Okay, for some reason he wasn't dead.
Then the face of an angel came into view. A woman. Her hair was an abundant mane of brown with gold and red glints, her eyes were a whiskey brown color and she was the most beautiful woman Taylor had ever seen. Surely he was dead and this WAS heaven! Then the apparition spoke.
"Mr. Boudrain? How are you feeling? Do you have pain?"
Taylor tried to wrap his brain around the moment. Gingerly he turned his head to take in his surroundings. He was in a hospital bed, and looking further, he could see he was alone in a room with glass walls at the far end where he could see nurses and doctors and NA's busily scurrying around. The beeping he had heard was an IV hooked up to his arm which was feeding him fluids. So, a hospital. He focused his attention back on the woman. He could see she was dressed in white (white again, when he died he probably would see only white. The thought scared the beejeebers out of him). He read her I.D. tag: T. Patterson. He tried to speak but only managed a weak croak.
"Here, this should help," the soft voice said. A hand held out a small paper cup. She helped support his shoulders a bit as he took a sip of the water. It hurt like hell to move. She eased him back and he looked up into that beautiful face again. What lush lips. Kissable lips.
"Where am I?" he finally managed to say.
"You're at Lewiston Memorial Hospital, Mr. Boudrain. You were in a very bad motorcycle accident. Do you remember?"
Taylor frowned and just that movement had him wincing in pain. "Yeah. I was driving along ... a semi. I think a semi hit me." He closed his eyes, sighing heavily. "Oh, God. How bad am I?"
He opened his eyes to see her golden eyes smile down at him softly. "You were very lucky. Wearing your helmet saved your life. You have a slight head concussion and your ribs are very badly bruised. Nothing is broken, but you are in ICU to monitor you for the next several days. A cat scan has been administered and the doctor can tell you more about that. But your biggest injury was to your ribs. They will hurt badly for a while, but they will heal up."
As she spoke, Taylor looked down at his ribcage and could see it was heavily bound and restricted his breathing. And breathing in and out hurt like a bitch. He looked back up at Nurse Patterson.
"Fortunately for you also, there was a doctor who witnessed the whole scene and called 911 promptly and the quick response probably also saved you."
"And my bike?" he asked.
Tessa looked down at the gorgeous man in the bed. Even as banged up as he was, she had never seen a finer specimen. But his question seemed strange to her. He was worried about a motorcycle when he was in the ICU?
"Your bike was pretty mangled. It ended up under the semi. You were thrown clear. Another event that probably saved your life." She continued to study him as he took stock of his injuries. She knew he was that famous movie star. His gear and effects had survived the crash too, landing nearby him. He was just as terrific looking in person as on the big screen. What kind of person was he? Would he be a difficult patient, or was he a good man? Tessa had no clue from their conversation so far.
"So, again Mr. Boudrain. Are you in pain?"
"Yeah. My head hurts pretty bad and my ribs, when I breathe—"
"Okay. I'll be right back. The doctor has prescribed some pain medication for you." She turned to go.
"Wait." His word stopped her and she turned to him with brows raised in question. "What is your name?" he managed to say.
"Tessa. My name is Tessa." She turned and left him.
Excerpted from To Be a STAR by Kimberly K. Fox Copyright © 2010 by Kimberly K. Fox. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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