CASTING CALL NOTICE:
Seeking actress for role of ditzy former Vegas showgirl Sugar Dupont. Must possess strong vocals, outgoing personality and great gazongas.
Well, two out of three ain't bad.
A showbiz veteran, Evie Parish knows she has the chops to sing and dance with the best. A Wonderbra should take care of the rest. YOUR SCENE PARTNER:
Arch, aka Charles Dupont, a doting older husband.
Eight days of smooching, fawning and otherwise making a PDA spectacle of yourselves on a Caribbean cruise.
AND THE CATCH:
Arch is one of a team of former con men staging a sting to catch a grifterand, under his stage makeup, he's the sexiest hunk ever to don a fake mustache .
This will either be the roll of a lifetime or the end of her career!
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
It finally happened.
I, Evie Parish, snapped.
At an audition no less. Me, the ultimate professional. In front of several peers and a table of entertainment and marketing executives.
Bad enough I even had to audition.
I'd performed in this casino on a number of occasions throughout the years as a singer, an emcee, a dance motivator and a character actress. Not just this casino, but every casino in Atlantic City. I was known as the poor man's Tracy Ullman. I had versatility out the wazoo. A stellar reputation. A kickbutt résumé. I had more experience in entertainment than any one of the six stony-faced executives who'd insisted upon this live demonstration.
I also had sequined bras older than any of the people deciding my fate.
It wasn't their youth I resented. Okay. That's a lie. It was their inability to afford the performer their respect and attention. In between memorizing the script that I'd been handed on arrival and checking for the umpteenth time to make sure my blush and lipstick hadn't faded, I peeked out from the wings to gauge the reaction of the powers-thatbe to the actress on deck. I watched those suits yawn, mumble and fidget through five seamless auditions. The only time they showed interest was during a giggly, stilted presentation from a bigbreasted twentysomething-year-old. Granted, Britney was young, stacked and beautiful, but she was as green as the bagel I'd found this morning in the back of my fridge.
I traded a disgusted, knowing look with two friends who were also auditioning for this gig, both in their late thirties. Talented, experienced and equally ignored by the Gen-X execs. Nicole and Jayne were already slipping into day clothes and trading their heels for flats.
I should have cut my losses then and there and followed suit. I should have collected my purple fake fur coat and I Love Lucy travel tote and vacated the showroom in a dignified manner. But no. I was stubborn, desperate and, dammit, hopeful. Hopeful that they'd see something in me that they didn't see in my friends. Hopeful that talent and experience would win out.
Talk about idealistic.
When my time came I strode onstage with confidence and grace wearing a turquoise bikini top, flowered sarong, three-inch heels and a dazzling smile. I hit my mark and launched into the poorly written promotion intended to wow casino patrons. Me, Evie Parish, a mild-mannered, small-breasted, fortysomething.
Normally I excel when reciting monologues and pitches. I can sell camp like Liza Minelli. Unfortunately, I was distracted by an overly loud conversation from the vicinity of the "judges" panel. I stopped midsentence. Did I mention that instead of reading off of the page like Britney, I'd memorized the copy? But I digress. No one instructed me to continue, so I didn't. Instead, I shielded my eyes from the bright wash of the spotlight in order to pinpoint the commotion.
I'd endured a lot of humiliation in my twentyfive year careerincluding a crotchety patron yelling, "You suck!" three inches from my face while I was performingbut this took the cake. Instead of watching me, the executives were scanning a menu, arguing over what to order for lunch. Three of them, anyway. Another yapped on his cell phone, while the remaining two studied me with bored expressions.
For crying out loud!
Seething, I tugged at the hem of my midthigh sarong. Michael, my agent, who also happens to be my ex-husbanddon't askhad told me the theme was tropical. Show some skin, he'd said. Then again he always says that.
"Should I wait?" I asked. "Start over? Pick up where I left off?" Go tell it on the mountain? "Are you wearing bikini bottoms under that skirt?" This from the bored, clean-shaven man who looked young enough to be my!younger brother.
Certain I knew where this was leading, I shifted on my strappy heels and cocked a recently waxed, perfectly shaped eyebrow. "Yes."
"Would you mind losing the sarong?" This from the bored woman sitting next to him. At least she knew it was a sarong.
My heart pounded with fury. The last several months, months of being rejected solely on my advancing age, weighed on my shoulders like an unlucky slot machine. "Yes, I mind."
I heard a collective gasp from the wings. I knew without looking that Nicole and Jayne stood side by side, shocked by my defiance. I didn't cause scenes. I was the calm one, the logical one, the one who sucked it up and took the high road no matter how low the blow.
Up until now, that is.
Now this final injustice compelled me to raise a verbal sword in defense of belittled entertainers everywhere!
I stepped out of the spotlight, allowed my eyes to adjust to the low-lighted house and gave thanks that this was a closed audition. No casino patrons to witness this humiliating debacle. No bartenders, cocktail waitresses, dealers or slot attendants to instigate gossip. Just the six executives and two stage technicians. Oh, and seven performers, including my two closest friends. I glanced toward the left wing and sure enough, Nicole, the rabble-rouser of our clique, was giving me a thumbs-up while Jayne's horrified expression shouted, Are you mad?
"Mad as hell," I thought, my inner voice mimicking the deranged anchorman from Network, "and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
In that same instant, the woman who'd asked me to remove my sarong said, "Thank you for your time, Mrs. Parish."
Since a gigantic vaudevillian hook didn't emerge from the sidelines to yank me off stage, I stood my ground. Hands trembling, I tucked my processed blond hair behind my ears and faced the enemy. "Look, I'm auditioning for the role of an emcee, not a beach bunny." Amazingly, my tone did not betray my inner frustration. Then again, I am a damn good actress. Too bad I seemed to be the only one aware of that.
The entertainment coordinatorwas she even twenty?crossed her arms over her chest and angled her head. She didn't look happy. "As an emcee you'd be representing this property, Mrs. Parish."
She might as well have called me ma'am. I curled my French-manicured nails into my sweaty palms. "It's Ms. Parish and I realize that, but"
"What does specialty performer mean?" This from one of the marketing dudes.
My left eye twitched. I tried to wet my lips, but anxiety had robbed me of saliva. I clasped my trembling hands and twirled my funky chrysoprase ringa gift from Jaynearound my middle finger. She claimed that the mint-green stone would ease emotional tension and stress. I'm beginning to think she bought me a clunker. Even though I knew full well that, for the sake of my untainted reputation, I should swallow my anger, sarcasm tripped off of my fat, bone-dry tongue. "Excuse me?"
"On your résumé it says specialty performer. What, like an exotic dancer?"
They snickered, turned to one another and traded unfunny quips like the local news reporters at the end of a broadcast. What's up with that? Laughing heartily over something that wasn't clever or funny to begin with.
As I stood there, white noise roaring in my ears, I flashed back on all of the times Iand a slew of other entertainershad lost a gig because of an unenlightened directive from a higher-up bean counter. A person with no background whatsoever in entertainment. A person who hired and fired acts based on personal taste.
I know amazing female singers who've been passed over because a casino president deemed their hips too big. One even cited a vocalist's ankles too thick. Can you imagine? Never mind that she sang her butt off. Did you even notice that the audience, your patrons, were thoroughly enjoying themselves, Mr. President? If the ankles bothered you that badly, what about suggesting she wear pants instead of a dress? Wouldn't that be a simple, creative solution? But wait, you're not creative. You're not a visionary. And neither, I concluded sadly, were the execs seated in front of me.
Heart pumping, I hopped off the stage and approached the long table, demanding everyone's attention with a shrill whistle. Career suicide, my logical self warned. Only I wasn't listening to my logical self. I was listening to the injured woman who'd endured a particularly rough year, personally and professionally. There comes a time when a person needs to speak up, to demand common courtesy, respect, no matter the cost, and for me that time was now. Why I hadn't felt this righteous urge when Michael had dumped me for another woman, I couldn't say. Maybe I'd been too stunned, too hurt to speak up. But now I was angry. Angry and insulted and really, really pissed.
I climbed up on my soapbox. If this were a TV sitcom, patriotic music would swell in the background.
"Listen up, kids. On behalf of all the other women who auditioned today, we are professionals and expect to be treated as such. Secondly, although the harem girl and French maid costumes stored in my closet might be considered exotic and although I do dance, I am not, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. Those costumes, by the way, hang right alongside my fuzzy bumblebee fat-suit and mad scientist lab coat. It's all part and parcel of being a character actress. Translationan actress with excellent improvisational skills who can represent any given character on any given day at any given private or corporate themed party. And that's just one of my God-given talents. I also sing and dance. Hence the term specialty performer."
"Thank you, Ms. Parish. We'll be in touch." That was it? That was the payoff to my heartfelt tirade? An expressionless don't-call-us-we'll-callyou?
I nodded. "Got it."
Actually, I hadn't. It was the second time I'd been dismissed and yet there I stood, trembling with fury!and fear. Life as I'd known it was fast swirling down the toilet. Again, I twirled the ring. "Just so you know, I'm perfect for this job."
One of the young turks straightened his tie then coughed into his hand. "Yes. Well, thank you."
I didn't budge.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
excellent series. it was funny and had romance. this isnt my normal type of book to read, (im more of a j.r ward, shannon mckenna, suzanne brockmann fan) but im so glad i read it. the characters are well developed and it has a good pace to it, as well as a interesting story plot. i groaned in the beginning, until the story got underway but when it did, i truly enjoyed it. then of course i had to read the rest of the series. so if you want something a bit different, (more comedy) this is a wonderful book to pick up.
All About Evie is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud, fun book! With a refreshing plot that stands out among ho-hum novels, Beth Ciotta gives us characters to really care about, especially the heroine, Evie. This lively story will stay in your mind long after it's finished. I can't wait to read more books about the adventures of these characters!
Interesting story line, moved at a nice pace and liked the different stories of the characters. I would love to read a follow up to see what is happening with the different people and follow up on Evie and Arch! Hated to see it end!
Need a follow up
A cute novella.
The set of three Evie books were a fun read, starting with the 40+ Evie Parish meeting the Chameleon group of Anti Scamers through Everybody Loves Evie, and ending with Evie Ever After. Your going to love Arch, Milo, Nic, Tabasco and the rest of the gang.
All About Evie is a humorous contemporary romance with a dynamic hero and heroine that grew on me as the romance progressed. The action is fast-paced and suspense abounds as the reader and the characters try to identify the con artists. The choice of first person narrative is a bold and daring chice in romance --- and the perfect choice for this comedy romance. Evie Parish is a 40 year old singer, emcee, dance motivator and character actress. After several rejections due to lack of youth appeal, she finally loses it at an audition. She opens her shirt and bares herself in a last ditch act of defiance. Thinking her rashness has jeopardized her career, Evie seizes the next job opportunity that suddenly opens up, all without asking too many questions. She plays Sugar Dupont, ditzy former Vegas showgirl Sugar Dupont to Arch now known as Charles Dupont, aging writer and doting husband. Who is Charles Dupont underneath the disguise and will his mysterious past exposure her to danger of the deadly kind? Evie jumps for the job and signs up for eight days on a Caribbean Cruise and without knowing it, also signs up to play a role in sting to catch a grifter (con artist). One sexy leading star (at least underneath the make-up) might just lead to romance --- if she can only survive the unfolding disasters. Imagine that television classic Scarecrow and Mrs. King (one of my favorites even in reruns) updated for today's audience with gutsy offbeat Miss King as a former character actress instead of a housewife. Imagine Scarecrow as a con artist turned good. Make it mildly hard-boiled, parboiled or just plain heated up and modernized with scandalus comic situations. There you have Beth Ciotta's All About Evie. The role of Sugar Dupont could not be more different than Evie but in playing it, Evie begins to risk it all and in doing so discovers herself. The Sugar Dupont/Evie Parish split magnifies the already humorous tone of the bold first person narrative. A wonderful zany contemporary romance riddled with light suspense!
Unique, quirky, funny, sexy -- Those are only the first of a long string of adjectives I could use to describe All About Evie. I was thoroughly entertained by the unique storyline and the incredibly memorable characters. Evie will win the affections of every reader -- not just those of us of an *ahem* slightly more mature age who will definitely identify with her dilemmas. Arch is one s-e-x-y man and a smart, confident charmer. The two of them are a terrific match for this exciting adventure on the high seas. This book is easily one of my favorite reads of the year. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!
Name Evie looks dark brown hair almost blak blue eyes that turn silver when emotions are over the top. Parents Athena and Posidon friends James is my best friend along with never the rest know who they are relationship status taken by Saph history dont ask . Age sixteen baiii im done
Fortyish actress Evie Parish knows she is at the breaking point of her career as she is getting fewer parts since most casting directors prefer younger women. Adding to her feeling that she is getting old is being dumped by her now former husband for a younger female. --- Evie is desperate as even the few parts she was offered seem to have dried up. Knowing how low she has gone, Evie accepts a job she would not have considered just a couple of years ago. On a cruise ship, she is to assist novelist Arch Reese by pretending to be Sugar Dupont, a former ditzy Vegas showgirl who he just married. The objective is to con a con artist. However, neither the writer nor the actress expected that their performance would be real. --- ALL ABOUT EVIE is a terrific contemporary romance starring two interesting protagonists. Readers will cherish the ¿discussions¿ between the actress and the author as their exchanges are humorous and often filled with double entendres whether they are themselves of in character. Beth Ciotta provides an amusing romantic suspense with the emphasis on a sea cruise romance that will continue if Evie has her way long after the ship docks. --- Harriet Klausner