You won't want to miss the fourth book in Jen Calonita's beloved six-book Secrets of My Hollywood Life series.
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Secrets of My Hollywood Life: Paparazzi Princess
By Calonita, Jen
PoppyCopyright © 2010 Calonita, Jen
All right reserved.
one: The Great Escape
“Okay, Kaitlin, just relax.”
“I am relaxed,” I insist.
Okay, that’s a lie. I’m petrified.
“There’s no need to be nervous,” Pierre says soothingly. I’m starting to think my Greek God of a para-sailing instructor, Pierre, is a mind reader. He’s sitting in the driver’s seat of a Winch boat that is seconds away from pulling my parasail chair off the back of his boat and hundreds of feet into the air above the waters of Turks and Caicos Islands, where I’m vacationing. Pierre may be used to doing this, but I’m completely freaked out.
Pierre starts the motor. “Ready, Kaitlin?” he yells over the humming. My bodyguard, Rodney, and my brother, Matty, are sitting behind Pierre, their heads bobbing as the boat rocks back and forth in the relatively calm ocean. “If anything goes wrong, just pull your cord and we’ll bring you down,” Pierre adds. “Got it?”
I attempt to say yes, but when I open my mouth, it feels like I ate a fistful of cotton. I fidget in my chair, which is thankfully still grounded on the back of the Winch boat. When the boat takes off, a suspiciously thin tow cable will be my only lifeline as the air catches my parachute and sends me flying.
How did I get myself into this?
I try to calm myself by focusing on my outfit. I adjust the straps on my cute white lace Dolce & Gabbana bikini, which feels itchy under my life jacket.
Oh God. What if this all goes terribly wrong and this is the last piece of clothing I ever get to wear? I can see the tabloid headline now:Teen star Kaitlin Burke plummets to her death parasailing in the Caribbean wearing this season’s sold-out lace bikini by Dolce & Gabbana. grab my straps and prepare to unhook myself.
“Hey, Kates!” my younger brother, Matty, yells over the loud engine. “You look like a ghost!” I glare at him. “Listen, if you wimp out, I won’t tell anyone—except Celebrity Insider,” he adds with a devilish grin. “Rod, hand me my cell. I’m sure Brian Bennett would like to hear that Kates chickened out of parasailing.”
WHAT? Over my dead body. Maybe literally. Ha, ha. Ahem. I will not be tomorrow night’s lead story on Insider! I take a deep breath and close my eyes. “GO!”
I hear Pierre rev the boat to full-throttle and I scream as my chair begins to lift off the back of the boat. Within seconds I feel the wind pick up and my parachute rises into the air. After what seems like an eternity of screaming, I open my eyes and look down.
I am sailing high over the Caribbean! The bright blue water is so clear, I can actually make out rocks and coral below the surface. I can see the beach near our hotel, people jet skiing and swimming, and look! There’s my Winch boat with Matty, Rod, and Pierre. It looks like a Matchbox car from up here. I quickly shut my eyes again.
This. Is. Terrifying.
Yet… kind of exciting too. No one can see me up here, not even the paparazzi with a long camera lens. That’s a parasailing plus, for sure. I’m used to living my life under a microscope, so this ride is pretty freeing—even if only for a second.
Don’t get me wrong—I love being a Hollywood “It” girl. I’ve been playing cotton-candy-sweet Samantha on the hit TV show Family Affair since before I started kindergarten. I get invited to the best parties, I’m on a first-name basis with Zac (as in Efron), and I have Stella McCartney on speed dial for fashion emergencies.
Being a teen star is like winning the lottery, but it does come at a price. When my non-celebrity best friend Liz breaks curfew or fights with her dad, she loses Sidekick, cell phone, and TV privileges for a week. When I screw up, Perez Hilton knows before my parents do, and then when they do find out what I’ve done, they can download my embarrassing moment on YouTube.
The light blond hair on my arms stands on end. It’s sort of chilly up here. The wind picks up, smacking me in the face, and my chair suddenly lurches right. I’m flying high above the exclusive Parrot Cay resort again now, which is where we’re staying. The villas look like dollhouses and I can see the pathways to the pools and tiny people lounging on the beach. I wonder where Mom and Dad are right now. Hopefully they’re not anywhere they can see me. Before I know it, my chair sways to the left and then I’m descending.
Of course! Just as I start to enjoy myself. Within minutes there’s a loud thud and my chair lands on the back of the boat as if I’d never even left.
Ahhh… land, sweet land (well, sort of). I’ve missed you.
“That was awesome,” my brother Matty says as we disembark a few minutes later and walk onto the beach board-walk. His Ralph Lauren bathing suit is completely soaked from the quick jump in the water he just took to cool off. He shakes out his hair and water pelts me in the face.
“Watch it!” I laugh.
“What?” Matt protests. “I want to look good in case we run into anyone.” He slicks back his hair. Honey-blond locks, fair skin, green eyes—looking at Matty is like looking at a mirror, except, well, he’s a thirteen-year-old boy and I’m a seventeen-year-old girl. But still.
“You mean like Maya?” I tease. Matty met this cute redhead at our resort and has been drooling over her all week. The two of us are so busy taunting each other that I don’t realize someone else is talking to me until they’re blocking my sun.
“You’re Kaitlin Burke, right?” a girl asks. She’s wearing oversized Dior sunglasses and a teeny brown Versace bikini. Her long blond hair is pulled into pigtails. She’s holding a tiny, yappy Pomeranian—which is growling at me. I didn’t even know they allowed dogs at the resort.
I suddenly realize I know this girl. She’s Ava Hayden. There’s not a party in Los Angeles that she’s not on the invite list for. Ava had her own reality show on VH1 for two seasons, but her real claim to fame is having an endless stream of money, thanks to her parents’ popular, upscale steak restaurant chain, and her uncanny ability to live her entire life in the presence of the paparazzi.
“Ava, right?” I say. “This is my brother, Matty, and my personal security, Rodney.” Rodney (who hates the word bodyguard, which is why I avoid it) just grunts. Matty is speechless so I keep talking. “How are you?” I ask.
“Hot,” she whines. “This island is way too humid. I’m hoping parasailing will cool me off. I’m not sure Calou is going to like the boat though,” Ava adds, gesturing with her small, wound-up pup.
A girl walks up next to her. “Maybe we should throw him overboard.” Seeing the look of horror on my face, she laughs. “I’m just kidding,” she says. “I love this annoying little guy.” She rubs his head and he tries to bite her. “Calou goes with Ava every where. Even if we have to sneak him on and off the resort every day.”
The girl is Ava’s sidekick, Lauren Cobbs. She’s an heiress too—her parents own a major electronics company—and she’s had her own show on E! She’s also been in a few slasher films, usually playing the part of the girl who dies an awesome death two minutes into the movie.
Ava rolls her eyes. “Of course I take Calou on vacay. He deserves one just as much as I do, don’t you, sweet pea?” The dog yaps in agreement.
“Well, if something happens to you during parasailing, you better not leave your fortune to some dog,” Lauren says as she twirls her long, brown curly hair around a red manicured finger. “I want your four-carat diamond hoops.” Lauren’s wearing an itty-bitty bikini in navy blue with a sheer, long-sleeved cover-up covering, well, nothing.
I laugh. “I wouldn’t count on getting those earrings,” I tell Lauren. “I just finished parasailing and I survived. I was petrified, but once I got over it, it was exhilarating.” The two of them just stare at me and nod.
“I’m sorry,” Lauren says finally. “It’s just, we love you. Seriously, we’re big fans. Family Affair is like the best show ever!”
“I can’t believe it’s going off the air. Fifteen years!” Ava complains. “My mom cried for an hour when we heard about it on Celebrity Insider.”
“Yeah, I was pretty broken up too,” I admit. I haven’t thought about FA much while I’ve been on break, but hearing Lauren and Ava talk about the show’s soon-to-be demise brings the emotions flooding back. “I’ve grown up on that show. I’m really going to miss it.”
“I’m sure you’ll get a new show in a second,” Lauren says. “You’re huge! And not just for Family Affair. I mean, everyone is still talking about you going all Hannah Montana and enrolling at that high school last year. Pretty fresh.”
“And about how you dated two gorgeous guys at once,” Ava adds. “How did you manage both Drew Thomas and that high school hottie?” Matty snorts.
“Oh, I wasn’t dating Drew,” I say quickly. “That was this silly publicity stunt the people on my next movie, Pretty Young Assassins, came up with. I’m dating the, uh, high school hottie.” They nod. “How do you guys know all this stuff?”
“I live for Page Six,” Ava says solemnly. “And I never miss an issue of Sure.”
“Or an episode of Access Hollywood,” Lauren adds.
“You guys watch and read that stuff?” Matty is stunned.
“Of course,” Ava says. “Don’t you?”
Matty and I look at each other. I mean sometimes, yeah, when it has to do with our family, but I don’t live and breathe the rags. “Not every day,” I say awkwardly.
“It’s always good to stay on top of your publicity so you can get more of it,” Lauren says knowingly. Suddenly she notices my bathing suit and squeals. “Where did you get that bikini? Ava, that’s the one I was looking for, wasn’t I? Just last week at Bendel?”
“It looks so good on you,” Ava says admiringly to me. “You can pull off white. I look pasty.”
I blush. “Thanks.” I’ve met both Lauren and Ava before, but I don’t think I’ve ever said more than two words to either of them. Their party girl reputations precede them, but they actually seem pretty nice. “I got it at that cute store on Melrose.”
“The one with all the great bangle bracelets?” Ava asks.
“That’s the one,” I tell her.
“I love that store!” Ava gushes. “One time I spent an hour just trying on bracelets.”
“My sister’s done that,” Matty interjects.
“Hey, have you ever been to—” Ava stops short at the sound of a camera flash.
Everyone turns around and we see a tall, bony photographer in a sand-colored tee and camo shorts hiding behind a nearby bush. Where did he come from? I haven’t seen a single paparazzi all week. Rodney makes a swift move to rustle him up. Even in ninety-five-degree heat, Rodney is wearing a black tee and black jeans and looks completely terrifying in those Terminator glasses.
Before Rodney reaches the photog, Ava screams, “Gary, get over here! Where have you been hiding out? I told you I was parasailing at two sharp.”
“You know him?” Rodney points menacingly.
“Know him? I invited him,” Ava replies. “He’s sending my parasailing pictures to X17, aren’t you, Gary, my love?”
“Anything for you, Ava,” Gary says, as he continues to snap pictures. “Hey, how about one with your friend here?”
Matty jumps in front of me and puts his arm around Lauren.
“I meant the ladies,” Gary says.
“Typical,” Matty mumbles.
“What do you say, Kaitlin?” Ava asks. “One picture?”
“Make it two,” I tell her, looking at my brother. “As long as one includes Matty.”
We’re in the middle of posing for the second shot—which is more like the twenty-second since Gary shoots so fast—when I hear a familiar voice.
“Kaitlin? Matty? Where are you?” It’s Mom and she doesn’t sound happy. Calou must hear her too because he starts to growl again. I look around. My parents aren’t on the beach boardwalk, but they must be close by.
“We should go.” I grab Matty’s arm roughly. “It was good seeing you guys.”
“What are you doing later? We’re having a little party at my cabana,” Ava says, oblivious to the yelling coming from the bushes. Any minute Mom and Dad are going to push through those palms and come face-to-face with us.
“Thanks,” I say hurriedly, “but I have some studying to do. My SATs are in another month and I’m so behind.” My personal assistant, Nadine, who is very pro-education, bought me these practice books and I’ve been lugging them to the beach every day. Even so, how are you supposed to memorize thousands of words for one test?
“Nerd,” Matty mutters under his breath.
But Lauren and Ava don’t look offended. Lauren looks sympathetic. “That’s smart. I have my GEDs next month and I haven’t even opened a textbook yet.”
“We’ll take a rain check.” Ava smiles. “Maybe we can meet up in L.A.?”
“That sounds good,” I say distractedly as my parents’ voices—and Calou’s barking—grow louder.
Ava, Lauren, and Gary make their exit just in time. Two seconds later, Mom and Dad emerge between two palm trees and step onto the boardwalk. Mom’s honey-highlighted hair is hidden under a wide-brimmed straw hat, and her beach cover-up conceals her beautiful, size-four Prada bathing suit. She’s wearing oversized black Gucci shades, but if I could see her eyebrows, I know they’d be raised in annoyance. Dad towers over her in a Tommy Bahama shirt, navy Calvin Klein swim trunks and a frown so sullen I’m afraid it’s been tattooed to his face.
“Your father and I have been looking everywhere for you two!” Mom points a pink manicured finger in our direction. “Are you trying to kill me before I turn forty?”
“Aren’t you forty-two?” Matty asks. I elbow him in the ribs. “OUCH!”
“We were just taking a tour around the island with Pierre,” I tell her in my best sweet-as-pie Sam voice. “We should have told you where we were going.”
“Don’t actor us, Kaitlin,” Mom says coolly. “We saw your limited-edition Dolce & Gabbana bikini flying over the island when your father and I were coming back from our scuba lesson.”
“How did you and Matt get past the waiver?” Dad wants to know.
Matty and I look at each other guiltily. Then Rodney coughs, which makes Mom give him the evil eye as he’s gathering up our swim bags. We silently begin the short walk back to our golf cart, which will take us back to The Residence, the private villa where we’re staying. The Residence is a five-bedroom mansion with two three-bedroom villas that is about a seven-minute buggy ride from the main Parrot Cay resort. The place has a full kitchen with butler ser vice, an indoor and outdoor dining area, a media room with a plasma TV and DVD player, and a deck with a heated swimming pool and beachfront access. Anyone can stay at the world-renowned resort, but it’s usually Hollywood folk and computer geeks with cash to burn that ante up the $16,500 a night price tag. Which leads me to the first of many new secrets I want to spill.
HOLLYWOOD SECRET NUMBER ONE: Where do stars vacation? To be honest, the same places you do. We head to Hawaii or the Caribbean for a good tan, the mountains for the fresh powder and ski action, and Europe when we want a change of scenery. But the reason you probably don’t bump into us is because of how discreetly we travel. While some stars go commercial first-class (Brad Pitt and myself included), many prefer private jets. And as for where we stay, when we want a little R&R and very few autograph requests, we pick high-end resorts known for their zipped-lips staff and guarded quarters to keep the prying eyes of the paparazzi away.
“Parasailing is like driving a Ferrari.” Dad’s tone is strict as he begins to reprimand us, slipping into an analogy from his car salesman days. “Sure, it’s exciting, but if you get in a fender bender, the car will never be the same. Need I remind both of you that you’re under contract with Family Affair whether you’re on vacation or not? I don’t think you’re allowed to do something this dangerous! If one of you got hurt there would be huge repercussions.”
“Sorry,” Matty and I mumble at the same time.
“You should be,” Mom says, sounding exasperated. “At least if I knew, I could have had Laney set up some sort of exclusive with Access Hollywood!”
Matty and I look at each other. Then we look at Rodney and the three of us burst out laughing. Mom and Dad look at each other and start laughing too.
“Mom, I love you, but you’re insane!” Matty hiccups, holding his stomach. “Work is all you think about!”
My mother has been my manager since I started my career. When Matty got into the business a few years ago, she became his as well. Mom says that no one would be able to look out for our interests as well as she does, but Nadine thinks my mom is obsessed with my career and that her managing style suffocates me. I don’t think she’s that bad, but sometimes I do worry my mom is more concerned with whether I win a Kids Choice Award than how I do on a chemistry test.
Mom is still laughing pretty hard. “I can’t help it. My brain is hardwired to be your manager and when I see an opportunity, I have to take it!”
“We’re on vacation,” I remind her. “This is why we confiscated your cell phone.”
“Sweetie, that’s not enough to keep your mother away from Hollywood,” Dad hoots. “She’s had a backup phone on her the entire time.” Mom blushes furiously.
“Speaking of calls, you’ve had a few while you’ve been flying over the island.” Mom holds up my cell phone. I was so nervous about parasailing I guess I left it back in the villa. “Liz called from Hawaii and Austin called and said he’d see you after work on Monday.” She raises her eyebrow again.
“I missed Austin and Lizzie,” I groan. I’ve spoken to Austin every day, but with the major time difference I’ve only spoken to Liz three times. She sounds like she’s having fun, though. She met this girl from Los Angeles the other day and they were going hiking together.
“More importantly, Seth called from Vail. He needs to talk to you.”
Seth is my agent and for him to be calling me from his first vacation in three years, it must be major. Everyone I know is away this week. Hollywood sort of shuts down in late December and Los Angeles becomes a ghost town. Nadine is visiting her family in Chicago; my publicist, Laney, jetted to Cabo with “Drew and Cameron”; and Liz and her dad, my entertainment lawyer, are island-hopping in Hawaii. With no one left to bug, Mom and Dad even let us leave town (especially after they found out the Beckhams cancelled their New Year’s Eve party).
“Did he say what he wanted?” I ask.
“Now that vacation is over, he wants to set up a meeting to discuss your post- FA plans,” Mom explains. “He says we have to move if you want a chance at a new show.”
“Already?” I squeak. I promised to make decisions about my future after this break, but I didn’t realize we’d be diving in so soon. “I can’t believe we have to worry about a new job. I’ll still be taping the show for another few months.”
“Your decade-plus of regular paychecks is running out soon,” Dad jokes. “Where do you think we’re going to get the money for our next luxurious, private villa-style vacation if you don’t find a new project for me to produce, Matty to star in, or Mom to manage you on?”
Mom and Matty laugh, but the joke feels like a punch in the stomach. I never thought about my FA career in that way before, but I guess Dad has an unsettling point. I’ve been this family’s breadwinner for a long time and soon I’ll be unemployed. What happens if I don’t find the next Ugly Betty or a Harry Potter franchise to carry my family for a few years? Will I have to let Rodney go? Give up Nadine? Yikes. Now I’m getting depressed.
“We should probably set something up for next week,” Mom is saying. “I want to find your next project and announce it as soon as possible.” I nod.
“Okay then,” Dad says as we reach the golf cart we’ve been using to get to and from the main resort. “Let’s get back to the villa, wash up, and rendezvous back at the cart at seven PM for our last dinner in paradise.” He smiles at me. “You better enjoy it, kiddo. I have a feeling the next few months are going to be a blur.”
I smile weakly. I thought I’d have time to get used to all these changes, but I feel like I just stepped onto an express bus speeding toward the end of FA. I just hope when I make the final stop, I’m ready to get off.
Friday, January 2
NOTE TO SELF:
Call Seth back.
Look up definition of aerostat. Pack SAT books 4 the plane ride!
Saturday flight home: 4 PM
Monday: FA calltime 6 AM
Movies w/A: after work, time TBA
FA20015 “The Beginning of the End”
12. INT. BUCHANAN MANOR KITCHEN—DAY
The kitchen island is covered with a large breakfast spread. It’s a bright, sunny, Sunday morning and PAIGE, SAMANTHA, and SARA are in high spirits after a round of tennis.
What’s with the lavish breakfast? No offense, but I usually just eat a banana.
I thought it would be nice if the four of us had breakfast together. We’re all running in different directions lately. I feel like I never see you girls.
Same goes for you, you know. What’s with all these secret rendezvous with Dad? I still can’t believe you two flew off last weekend and didn’t say where you were going.
They’re always whispering on the terrace too. What’s up with that?
DENNIS walks in wearing a dark suit and carrying a briefcase.
Good morning, my beautiful ladies. (He kisses each of them.) I guess it’s time we ’fess up. There’s a reason your mom and I have been so covert lately. (He looks at Paige.) I’ve been asked to become the CEO of the Bluestone Group. They’re building an advanced computer technology system for NASA.
(Sam hugs him.) Dad, that’s incredible! This is what you’ve always dreamed of doing!
This is an amazing opportunity for your father, girls, but before you get too excited, there’s something else you should know. The company is based in Miami.
Cool! Can I come with you sometimes? I hear they have great shopping in South Beach.
Well, it wouldn’t be to visit, Sara. If I take this, we’d have to move there full-time. I can’t run a company this size via satellite and BlackBerry.
(shocked) You’re joking, right?
We need a change, girls. Your father and I have felt this way for a long time. After everything that’s happened this past year, and the Buchanan Manor fire a few years ago, we want to make a fresh start and we feel this opportunity is the way to do it.
You can only have a fresh start if you move to Miami?
You girls are going to be off to college in two years and then it will just be your mom and me. We have to think about our future too.
What about the future of Buchanan Enterprises?
Or Granddaddy? He needs your help running the company, Dad. And Mom, what about Aunt Krystal and Aunt Penelope?
We’ve thought about all of these things, girls, but the truth is, sometimes you have to take control of your own life and to do that you have to put your own needs first.
(choked up) That’s it then, isn’t it? This isn’t some big family meeting where we all get to take a vote. You two have already decided!
If this is about Ryan, he can visit whenever he wants. You’ll work it out.
This isn’t just about Ryan! It’s everything! How could make us move during junior year?
It’s not like schools in Miami don’t have a yearbook committee, Sam.
(to Sara) How could you be okay with this? I thought you loved living here!
I do, but South Beach is electric. I could work on my tan, meet some cute boys…
(snaps) You can do those things here.
I’m surprised at you, Sam. If anything, I thought Sara would give us a tougher time with this decision. You’re always up for trying new things.
This is different! I’m not going. Aunt Krystal or Granddaddy will let me stay with them.
Samantha, if we go, we’re going as a family.
Well, then maybe I don’t want to be part of this family any longer!
(Samantha runs from the kitchen in tears. Sara moves to follow her.)
(to Sara) Let her go. She needs time. She can’t hide from the future forever.
Excerpted from Secrets of My Hollywood Life: Paparazzi Princess by Calonita, Jen Copyright © 2010 by Calonita, Jen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I <3 the secrets sieres. Not just because of the cover but because of the realism the author puts into it. It seems like i really am in the know and that i really am reading a biograpghy on a real star. This was one of the best in the sieres because of the plot and many conflicts that occure. It was a really really good book. At parts i laughed and one time i even teared up when she had a panic attack (whoops sorry for the spoiler for anyone who hasn't read it) Anyway, I thought this was a really good book i would reccomend this for girls at teen kinda age. Cant wait for the next one in 2010!
Reading this book takes you on a scenic tour of Kaitlyn Burke's teen star life. In a story of love and deception, of joy and hate, you can't ever tell who you can trust in Hollywood; Kaitlyn finds this out the hard way... This book is exhilarating and exciting, and you never know what comes next. Jen Calonita spins her stories like spiders spin webs. Want to know more? Well, read it and find it all out!
Wonder how many teenage girls dream about being the star of a sitcom, perhaps another Hannah Montana, a "paparazzi princess"? Of course, along with the fame and fortune would come the perfect boyfriend, one with "blond, windswept bangs skimming his gorgeous blue eyes,...." looking "Abercrombie catalog-ready in a navy T-shirt over a long-sleeve while thermal and distressed jeans that make his butt look unreal." Collective sigh.
If those dreamers knew what the life of a young star was really like they'd want it even more.....or would they? Here's Jen Calonita a former senior editor at Teen People, and a journalist for TV guide, Glamour, and Marie Claire to give us the lowdown on a luxe life in the person of Kaitlin Burke, lead on Family Affair, a soon to be defunct popular TV series.
Despite all the trappings of a teen star ranging from Rodney her stalwart bodyguard to vacations at pricey resorts Kaitlin is really depressed about the closing of her show. She has literally grown up on that show, and now there are only right episodes left then it's over, finiti. What will she do? Not only is the show closing but she's had a silly fight with her best friend.
It seems that everyone knows what Kaitlin should do next. That is, of course, except for Kaitlin. She's a bit weary of hearing about her life from others - which may be why she began to pal around with two raging party girls. Being seen out every night at some trendy club doesn't do much for a gal's career. More importantly, what's it doing for or to Kaitlin?
Teens and tweens will relish every sentence of Calonita's latest diary of a young diva and eagerly await the next (which is in the works).
- Gail Cooke
I like the other books better but u have to read this one. Its a great book to curl up with on a rainy day.
I love every book in the Secrets Of My Hollywood Life series because there i love and romance but nothing like the lovy dovy knid of stuff. I also have 14 kids and they are all girls they are 5,5,6,7,8,9,10,1,2,4,3,11,1 month and a 4 month old they are really not that hard to take care of but that was a hole nother story when they were kids.
Kaitlin's good girl status starts to slip and it's a really fun read.