What the Paparazzi Didn't See (Harlequin Kiss Series #23)

What the Paparazzi Didn't See (Harlequin Kiss Series #23)

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by Nicola Marsh

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The secrets behind Australia's most famous smile

Liza Lithgow has her reasons for living life in the spotlight, and they're all to do with protecting her little sister. Now she's finally saved enough money to leave the red carpet behind, what better way to celebrate than with a martini and a man?

The only problem is, the man


The secrets behind Australia's most famous smile

Liza Lithgow has her reasons for living life in the spotlight, and they're all to do with protecting her little sister. Now she's finally saved enough money to leave the red carpet behind, what better way to celebrate than with a martini and a man?

The only problem is, the man in question turns out to be a publisher wanting her kiss-and-tell autobiography! Wade Urquart's company wants a story? Fine. If scandal will sell more copies, she'll give them exactly what they want! But what will Wade see—the glossy facade or maybe, at last, the real Liza?

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Harlequin Kiss Series , #23
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Read an Excerpt

Liza Lithgow's Style Tips for Maximum WAG Wow Impact
The Lashes

The eyes have it. Whether attending a grand final at a stadium packed with one hundred thousand people, a glamorous nightclub opening or a BBQ with the team and their partners, bold eyes make a statement.

1. Prep with a hydrating cream.

2. Apply foundation over your lids.

3. Draw the perfect line with pencil then trace with liquid eyeliner.

4. Apply shadow of choice. Go for sparkle at night.

5. Finish with lashings of mascara.

If you need a little help in the lash department, extensions are the way to go. Individual fake lashes are pasted to your own, giving you a lush look that turns heads.

A full set of extensions takes about an hour. They last 3-6 weeks and will require refills at this time. Refills take 30 minutes. The great thing about lash extensions is you choose whether you want natural or glamour. Though be warned: the longer-length 'glamour' lashes may result in questions like, 'Have you been to a fancy dress party?' or, 'Is there a Priscilla: Queen of the Desert revival at the local theatre?'

If you prefer au naturel, the key to luscious lashes is prepping with a good serum. Many cosmetic companies have them.

To open up the eye in preparation for mascara, eyelash curlers are essential. Best to heat them up slightly before applying pressure to the lashes for thirty seconds.

For more dramatic impact with mascara, wiggle the wand from side to side as you apply, ensuring good coverage at the base of the lashes. It's the density and darkness of mascara at the roots that gives the illusion of length.

And always, always, opt for waterproof. (You never know when your sport star 'other half' may shoot the winning hoop to win the national championship or kick the goal to break a nil-all draw in the World Cup.)

For a real wow factor with mascara, the darker the better. Black is best unless you have a very fair complexion, in which case brown is better.

Similarly with eyeliner. Stick to black at night and softer, smudged brown during the day.

For eyeshadow shades, stick to neutrals or soft pinks. Let your lashes do the talking!

If Liza Lithgow had to attend one more freaking party, she'd go insane.

Her curves resisted the control-top underwear constriction, her feet pinched from the requisite stilettos and her face ached from the perpetual smile.

The joys of being a WAG.

Technically, an ex-WAG. And loving the ex bit.

The reportedly glamorous lives of sportsmen's Wives And Girlfriends were grossly exaggerated. She should know. She'd lived the lie for longer than she cared to admit.

'One more pic, Liza?'

Yeah, that was what they all said. Not that she had anything against the paparazzi per se, but their idea of one last photo op usually conflicted with hers.

Assuming her game face, the one she'd used to great effect over the years, she glanced over her shoulder and smiled.

A plethora of flashes blinded her but her smile didn't slip. She turned slowly, giving them time to snap her side profile before she cocked a hip, placing a hand on it and revealing an expanse of leg guaranteed to land her in the gossip columns tomorrow. Hopefully for the last time.

Being a WAG had suited her purposes but she was done.

Let some other poor sap take her place, primping for the cameras, grinning inanely, starving herself so she wouldn't be labelled pregnant by the media.

With a final wave at the photographers she strutted into the function room, pausing to grab a champagne from a passing waiter before heading to her usual spot at any function: front and centre.

If this was her last hurrah, she was determined to go out in style.

She waited for the party peeps and hangers-on to flock, steeled her nerve to face the inevitable inquisition: who was she dating, where was she holidaying, when would she grant the tellall the publishers had been hounding her for?

Her answer to the last question hadn't changed in twelve months: 'When hell freezes over.'

It had been a year since international soccer sensation Henri Jaillet had dumped her in spectacular orchestrated fashion, three years since basketball superstar Jimmy Ro had broken her heart.


The truth? She'd known Jimmy since high school and they were the quintessential golden couple: king and queen of the graduation dance who morphed into media darlings once he hit the big time.

He'd launched her as a WAG and she'd lapped it up, happy to accept endorsements of clothes, shoes and jewellery.

For Cindy. Always for Cindy.

Everything she did was for her baby sister, which was why a tellall was not on the cards.

She'd grown apart from Jimmy and when reports of his philandering continued to dog her, she'd quit the relationship when he wanted out.

The media had a field day, making her out to be a saint, a very patient saint, and the jobs had flooded in. From modelling gigs to hosting charity events, she became Melbourne's latest 'it' girl.

And when her star had waned, she'd agreed to be Henri's date for a specified time in exchange for a cash sum that had paid Cindy's carer bills for a year.

Being tagged a serial WAG had stung, as people who didn't know her labelled her money-hungry and a camera whore.

She tried not to care, though.

The only people that mattered—her and Cindy—knew the truth.

And it would stay that way, despite the ludicrous sums of money being dangled in front of her for a juicy tellall.

Yeah, real juicy. Readers would be distinctly disappointed to learn of her penchant for flannel PJs, hot chocolate and a tatty patchwork quilt.

As opposed to the rumoured lack of sleepwear, martinis before bed and thousand-thread sheets she slept on.

She had no idea why the paparazzi made up stuff like that, but people lapped it up, and judged her because of it.

What would they think if they knew the truth?

That she loved spending a Saturday night curled up on the couch with Cindy under the old patchwork quilt their mum had made—and one of the few things Louisa had left behind when she'd abandoned them—watching the teen flicks her sister adored?

That she'd prefer to spend time with her disabled sister than any of the able-bodied men she'd dated?

That every word and every smile at events like this were part of a carefully constructed, elaborate mask to ensure her popularity and continued work that would set up Cindy's care for life?

Being a WAG meant she could spend most of her time caring for Cindy; a part-time gig as opposed to a full-time job that would've taken her away from her sister.

It had suited their lifestyle, putting in infrequent appearances at galas or launches or openings in exchange for days spent attending Cindy's physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions, ensuring the spasticity in Cindy's contracted muscles didn't debilitate her limited mobility completely.

She'd sat through Cindy's Botox injections into specific muscles to ease the pain and stiffness and deformity around joints, followed by extensive splinting to maintain movement.

She'd supported Cindy through intrathecal baclofen therapy, where a pump had been inserted into her sister's abdomen to deliver doses of baclofen—a muscle relaxer—into her spinal fluid to ease the spasticity and relieve muscle spasms in her legs.

She'd been there for every session of speech therapy, muscle lengthening and strengthening, splinting, orthotics, mobility training and activities of daily living management.

Putting on a facade for the cameras might have been a pain in the butt but it had been a small price to pay for the time she'd been able to spend supporting Cindy every step of the way. The financial security? An added bonus.

Cindy's care hadn't come cheap and if a magazine wanted to pay her to put in an appearance at some B-list function, who was she to knock it back?

She almost had enough money saved… After tonight she could hang up her sparkly stilettos and leave her WAG reputation behind. Start working at something worthwhile. Something in promotions maybe? Put her marketing degree to use.

Cindy had progressed amazingly well over the years and Liza could now pursue full-time work in the knowledge she'd put in the hard yards with her sister's therapy when it counted.

Cerebral palsy might be an incurable lifelong condition but, with Cindy's determination, her amazing sis had reached a stage in her management plan where the spasticity affecting the left side of her body was under control and she maintained a certain amount of independence.

Liza couldn't be prouder and could now spend more hours away from Cindy pursuing some of her own goals.

Though she wondered how many interviews 'serial WAG' would garner from her sketchy CV.

A local TV host laid a hand on her arm and she faked a smile, gushing over his recent award win, inwardly counting down the minutes until she could escape.

Think of the appearance money, she mentally recited, while nodding and agreeing in all the right places.

Another thirty minutes and she could leave her old life behind.

She could hardly wait.

Wade Urquart couldn't take his eyes off the dazzling blonde.

She stood in the middle of the room, her shimmery bronze dress reflecting light onto the rapt faces of the guys crowding her.

With every fake smile she bestowed upon her subjects, he gritted his teeth.

She was exactly the type of woman he despised.

Too harsh? Try the type of woman he didn't trust.

The same type of woman as Babs, his stepmother. Who at this very minute was doing the rounds of the room, doing what she did best: schmoozing.

Quentin had been dead less than six months and Babs had ditched the black for dazzling emerald. Guess he should respect her for not pretending. As she had for every moment of her ten-year marriage to his father.

A marriage that had driven the family business into the ground. And an irreversible wedge between him and his dad. A wedge that had resulted in the truth being kept from him on all fronts, both personally and professionally.

He'd never forgive her for it.

Though deep down he knew who should shoulder the blame for the estrangement with his dad. And he looked at that guy every morning in the mirror.

He needed to make amends, needed to ease the guilt that wouldn't quit. Ensuring his dad's business didn't go bankrupt would be a step in the right direction.

Qu Publishing currently stood on the brink of disaster and it was up to him to save it. One book at a time.

If he could ever get a meeting with that WAG every publishing house in Melbourne was clamouring to sign up to a tellall biography, he might have a chance. Her name escaped him and, having been overseas for the best part of a decade, he had no idea what this woman even looked like, but he could imagine that every one of her assets would be fake. However, it seemed Australia couldn't get enough of their home-grown darling. He'd been assured by his team that a book by this woman would be a guaranteed best-seller—just what the business needed.

But the woman wouldn't return his assistant's international calls and emails. Not that it mattered. He knew her type. Now he'd landed in Melbourne he'd take over the pursuit, demand a face-to-face meeting, up the ante and she'd be begging to sign on the dotted line.

At times like this he wished his father had moved with the times and published children's fiction. Would've made Wade's life a lot easier, signing the next J.K. Rowling.

But biographies were Qu Publishing's signature, a powerhouse in the industry.

Until Babs had entered the picture, when Quentin's business sense had fled alongside his common sense, and he had hidden the disastrous truth.

Wade hated that his dad hadn't trusted him.

He hated the knowledge that he'd caused the rift more.

It was why he was here, doing anything and everything to save his father's legacy. He owed it to him.

Wade should've been there for his dad when he was alive. He hadn't been and it was time to make amends.

The bronzed blonde laughed, a surprisingly soft, happy sound at odds with the tension emanating from her like a warning beacon.

Even at this distance he could see her rigid back, the defensive way she half turned away from the guys vying for her attention.

Interesting. Maybe she was nothing like Babs after all. Babs, who was currently engaged in deep conversation with a seventy-year-old mining magnate who had as many billions as chins.

Yeah, some people never changed.

He needed a change. Needed to escape the expectations of a hundred workers who couldn't afford to lose their jobs. Needed to forget how his father had landed his business in this predicament and focus on the future. Needed to sign that WAG to solve his problems.

And there were many. So many problems that the more he thought about it, the more his head pounded.

What he needed right now? A bar, a bourbon and a blonde.

Startled by his latter wish, he gazed at her again and his groin tightened in appreciation.

She might not be his type but for a wild, wistful second he wished she could be.

Eight years of setting up his own publishing business in London had sapped him, sucking every last ounce of energy as he'd worked his butt off. When he'd initially started he'd wanted a company to rival his father's but had chosen to focus on the e-market rather than paper, trade and hardbacks. Considering how dire things were with Qu Publishing, his company now surpassed the one-time powerhouse of the book industry.

He rarely dated, socialised less. Building a booming digital publishing business had been his number-one priority. Ironic, he was now here to save the business he could've been in competition with if his dad had ever moved into the twenty-first century. And if he'd been entrusted with the truth.

Not that saving Qu mattered if Babs had her way.

The muscles in his neck spasmed with tension and he spun away, needing air before he did something he'd regret, like marching over to stepmommy dearest and strangling her.

He grabbed a whisky from a passing waiter and downed half of it, hoping to eradicate the bitterness clogging his throat. Needing a breather, he made his way to the terrace that wrapped across the front of the function room in wrought-iron splendour.

Melbourne might not have the historical architecture of London but the city's beautiful hotels, like the Westin, could hold their own around the world.

He paced the marble pavers in a vain attempt to quell the urge to march back into that packed function room and blast Babs in front of everyone, media be damned.

Wouldn't that go down a treat in tomorrow's papers? publishing ceo bails up socialite stepmother, a real page-turner.

He wouldn't do it, of course. Commit corporate suicide. Qu Publishing meant too much to him. Correction, his dad had meant everything to him, and Wade would do whatever it took, including spending however long in Melbourne to stop Babs selling his legacy.

Qu Publishing needed a saviour. He intended to walk on water to do it.

Meet the Author

Nicola Marsh has always had a passion for reading and writing.  As a youngster, she devoured books when she should've been sleeping, and relished keeping a not-so-secret daily diary.  These days, when she's not enjoying life with her husband and sons in her fabulous home city of Melbourne, she's busily creating the romances she loves in her dream job.  Readers can visit Nicola at her website: www.nicolamarsh.com

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What the Paparazzi Didn't See 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought i wasnt going to like it but then the book pulled me in and made me feel what the characters felt. Great book