Cameron Dakota is the L.A. Informer's staff photographer and paparazza extraordinaire. Her latest subject is Trace Brody, top-shelf actor and half of America's favorite Hollywood couple. Trace is about to get married in a blow-out wedding, and Cam's editor, Felix Dunn (from the High Heels Mysteries), has assigned her to get the first shots of the bride and groom. But when Cam takes pictures of what looks like Trace being threatened at gunpoint, she suddenly finds herself smack in the middle of a scandal more sensational than even she could invent. On the run, under fire, and in serious danger of falling in love with one leading man, Cam must get to the bottom of this story... before she becomes tomorrow's headline.
The Hollywood Headlines Mysteries:
Hollywood Scandals - book #1
Hollywood Secrets - book #2
Hollywood Confessions - book #3
Hollywood Holiday - short story
Hollywood Deception - book #4
Hollywood Homicide - book #5
What critics are saying:
"The latest in the Hollywood Headlines series is 320 pages of pure fun. Halliday has created yet another laugh-out-loud whodunit. She breathes life into her mystery with a rich cast of vivid, pulp-fiction type characters and a heroine worth rooting for. 4 1/2 stars!"
~ RT Book Reviews
"Gemma Halliday's witty, entertaining writing style shines through in her new book! I look forward to seeing lots more of Tina as this series continues. A fun read!"
~ Fresh Fiction
"Halliday writes the kind of books that just make you smile and put you in a great mood. They're just so enjoyable and I would without a doubt recommend this book to romance and mystery readers alike."
~ Enchanted By Books
"Very well written with smart and funny dialogue. It is a well-paced story that is thoroughly enjoyable with a mystery, a little romance, and a lot of laughs. Readers are sure to enjoy this delightful tale which is highly recommended."
~ Romance Reviews Today
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The Perfect Shot
By Gemma Halliday
Dorchester PublishingCopyright © 2010 Gemma Halliday
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Come on, baby, just an inch to the left ..." I shifted, feeling my feet go numb. "That's it," I coaxed. "Right there, that's the spot ... yes!"
My finger hit the shutter, and I popped off five shots in rapid succession before my subject ducked back behind the curtain of magnolia trees shading his property. I lifted myself up onto my elbows, checking the digital window to see my handiwork. Hot. I'd caught Trace Brody shirtless, a beer in hand. I was too far away, even with my telephoto lens, to make out the label on the bottle, but I knew he always drank beer when the temp rose above ninety. He was too manly for those fruity wines, not pretentious enough to drink the trendy martinis his other Malibu neighbors enjoyed.
I'd been watching Trace for weeks now, ever since his publicist had finally confirmed rumors that the hot young actor was engaged to America's sweetheart, Jamie Lee Lancaster. Think Angelina and Brad ... without the tattoos and horde of kids. You'd be close. Then imagine if they suddenly announced they were going to have a blowout wedding on a cliff above the Malibu coastline. The press about peed their collective pants. My boss, Felix Dunn, editor in chief of the L.A. Informer, included. He'd pulled me from Britney watch and immediately put me to work documenting Trace's every move between now and the big day.
Not that I minded. I'd much rather spend my days laid out on the hillside above Trace's multimillion-dollar spread in Richie-Rich-ville than chasing Brit on her latest Starbucks run. At least here I got the shirtless view.
I stretched out again on the grass, ignoring the way it tickled the exposed skin at my midriff between my too-low jeans and my too-high T-shirt. (The curse of being a nearly six-foot-tall woman-nothing was ever long enough). I wiped a bead of sweat from my upper lip and put the lens to my eye again, slowly sweeping the tree line for another glimpse of my subject.
"Come on, Trace. Play nice."
Miraculously, he walked right into my line of vision. I could swear sometimes he actually heard me.
"That's my boy. Now turn this way, give me a smile, honey."
I watched him set his beer down on a table. He reached both arms up to the sky, stretching, letting out a catlike yawn.
"Tired? Being a movie star must be such tough work, huh?" I clicked off a couple shots.
Trace moved his head side to side, working out the kinks in his neck. I lost him for a moment as he crossed the patio toward his Olympic-size swimming pool, complete with faux rock waterfall and hot tub painted to look like a bubbling lagoon. But my lens caught up with him again as he approached the diving board.
"Fancy a little swim?" I asked the deserted hillside.
As if in answer, Trace dipped a toe into the water. Apparently satisfied with the temperature, he shrugged and walked out onto the diving board.
I hit the shutter, taking three quick shots. He bounced a little, staring down into the crystal clear blue water. But he didn't jump. Instead his hands strayed to the waistband of his trunks and, in one swift movement, they fell round his ankles.
I froze. My eyes glued to the lens, a small bead of sweat trickling down between my breasts. I think I might have even forgotten to breathe. The only part of me that seemed to still be working was my trigger finger, clicking off shots like mad. Felix would have a heart attack when he saw these.
Then give me a raise.
Trace kicked his shorts away, then walked his gloriously naked self out to the edge of the diving board.
"Good God, you're beautiful," I whispered. Not that I expected anything less. He was, after all, a movie star. But this was one man who needed no airbrushing. How he managed to avoid that white-butt-tanned-torso thing, I had no idea. Lord knows I would have known by now if he were a nude sunbather. But he was a smooth, warm, honey color from his perfectly hardened six-pack abs to his perfectly hardened ... other parts.
"Jamie Lee must be one happy woman, huh, Trace?"
He ignored me. Of course. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew it was weird to talk to him out loud. Almost worse than talking to myself. But I couldn't help it. He had no idea I existed, but he'd been my constant companion for the past six weeks. At a safe distance, of course. If I ever actually came face-to-face with the movie star, I'd probably wet my pants. With a telephoto lens and a football field between us, I was cool as a cucumber at a day spa. In person? Well, let's just say I've never been one of those people-persons. I liked people fine, but my gift has never been an ability to carry on clever conversations with the opposite sex while looking suave and sophisticated. My conversations with guys usually included lots of blushing and really smart comments that came to me only after the cute guy had moved on to the sophisticated brunette at the next table.
So, some people talked to their plants, I talked to movie stars who didn't know I existed.
Naked ones, currently.
I watched as he reached above his head, bounced once on the diving board, then cut cleanly into the pristine blue water with hardly a splash.
Sweat slid down my spine, and I could almost feel the sweet, cool water washing over my own skin. I shivered, goose bumps breaking out on my arms as I popped off a few more shots of Trace resurfacing.
"Baby, that was amazing," I told him, suddenly feeling like I needed a cigarette.
I watched as he pulled himself from the water, shimmering droplets clinging to his gym-sculpted body, and wrapped a towel around his waist before picking up his beer again and heading inside.
I sat up and peeled the lens from my eye. The distance between my secluded hillside and his fancy pool was immediately apparent, and I let out a long breath as his French doors shut behind him.
I'm not sure how long I watched his closed doors, reliving my glimpse of Trace au naturel, before my phone rang from my pocket. Shifting in the grass, I slipped it out.
"Cameron Dakota," I answered.
"Cam," came my boss's voice. "Where are you?"
"We got a tip that Jamie Lee's trying on wedding dresses in Beverly Hills," he said, his British accent giving his words a lilting rhythm. "How fast can you get there?"
I bit the inside of my cheek. "If I get caught speeding, will the paper cover the ticket?"
I could hear Felix's wallet squeaking in the silence in the other end. Finally he relented. "Yes."
"Give me twenty minutes."
Felix rattled off the address of the boutique where Jamie Lee had been spotted. Then he added, "If she settles on a dress today, I want to be the first to run with a photo, got it?"
"Aye, aye, chief."
"You get any good pics of Trace today?"
I pulled up my view screen again, checking out the series of nude shots that even a tabloid like the Informer would have to censor parts of. I couldn't help a grin.
"Did I ever."
What can I say? Being the paparazzi's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.
Excerpted from The Perfect Shot by Gemma Halliday Copyright © 2010 by Gemma Halliday. Excerpted by permission.
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