Playing the Part
Cole Daniel is a blind farmer with no patience for divas, especially one who mercilessly teased him as a young boy. When Anthea shows up using a fake name and pestering him into letting her stay, he can't pass up the opportunity to torment her just a little.
But Anthea won't let the stubborn farmer deter her from her goal, even if he is hotter than any man she's ever met. Cole finds his form of payback less than satisfying when Anthea keeps turning the tables on him, proving her mettle and gaining his respect. Will Anthea's research land her a man, as well as the part?
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"And how's my beautiful star holding up?"
Anthea Cane froze as Marshall Brand jostled in beside her at the crowded bar, his strong aftershave engulfing her in an invisible cloud of eye-watering fumes. Blinking, she fought the urge to shy away when he placed a hand on her lower back. As the producer of the three movies she'd starred in, Anthea refused to let Marshall's sleaziness get in the way of their professional relationship. Tonight, she wanted to bask in the glow of success, not deal with his oily come-ons.
Avoiding eye contact, she glanced around the crowded cinema foyer. Ten minutes earlier, the VIP guests had watched her star as Alex Stark in the Australian premiere of A Kick to the Heart. A Kick to the Head, the first film in the action-parody franchise, had done great box-office business, as had the sequel, A Kick to the Guts. How successful this third and final installment would prove to be was anyone's guess.
Thinking about all three ridiculous titles brought an embarrassed flush to her cheeks. Although grateful to the Kick movies for shooting her to instant fame, what she wanted more than anything was a serious, meaty role. Something more than Alex Stark's cold assassin could offer. Something with meaning.
Marshall Brand's clammy fingers drifted down her back. Eager to escape the unwanted attention, she leaned in close to be heard over the crowd. "Would you excuse me?"
"Don't tell me you're leaving already?" he said, moving in even closer.
"I just need to use the little girls' room."
Marshall's eyes brightened, no doubt believing she wanted to freshen up for him. Right.
"By all means," he said, and gave her a wink that made her skin crawl.
Was it any wonder she no longer dated? After the success of the first Kick movie, she soon discovered men only wanted one thing: To bed her screen persona, Alex Stark. No one seemed interested in getting to know Anthea Cane. And so had begun the habit of accompanying her brother Ethan, who also acted as her manager, to these events with the hope of warding off any unwanted advances.
She squeezed through the throng of producers, studio executives and agents, and scanned the crowd for Ethan. As usual, he'd managed to disappear when she needed him most. Though how could she blame him? Being seen with his little sister probably didn't do much for him in the dating department.
Safely ensconced in a ladies' stall, Anthea fished her cell phone from her purse. With the intention of asking Ethan's help in escaping Marshall Brand, she navigated to the contacts screen. Just as she was about to press the dial button, two sets of stilettos clicked across the bathroom tiles.
A high-pitched woman's voice said, "That was even more absurd than the second one."
Anthea frowned as their stall doors banged shut.
A deeper female voice responded, "Marshall intends to screw her tonight. If you ask me, she'd better leap at the chance. After the dismal performance we just witnessed, no one in their right mind would ever hire her again."
Anthea's mouth dropped open. Not because of Marshall Brand's intentionswhich came as no surprisebut because of the brutal critique of her performance.
"I agree," said the high-pitched voice. "But really, Marshall shouldn't waste his time with an absolute D-grader like her." Both women chuckled as their toilets flushed.
Anthea's grip tightened on her cell phone. She'd starred in three movies, for heaven's sake. Okay, they were parodies, but the box-office takings didn't lie.