Samantha Lytton, foiler of evildoers and roller-skate enthusiast, is back! What has she been up to since the events of THE DIMPLE OF DOOM? No big whoop—just being a movie star.
Samantha has just arrived in London to film her first leading role. Sam, would-be Picasso thief and lover, joins her to rev up her engine in the bad-boy way only he can. Life is full of sexy good times, money, and prestige galore! What could go wrong?
After a kidnapping attempt, Sam nobly dumps Samantha for her own good, the jerk. No matter, for Samantha is a successful woman of the world now and (after only spending one day lying on the floor and sobbing on her cheeseburgers) she jumps back into actress-mode with her sexy co-star Daniel Zhang. Hot movie star = best rebound ever. She barely even thinks about what's-his-name—until his evil ex-girlfriend shows up and gives Samantha an ultimatum she just can't refuse: steal a priceless artefact from the museum or die.
Is Sam in cahoots with the wicked ex? Can Samantha rob a museum and film a movie simultaneously? And why isn't a lady allowed to marry both a gorgeous Oscar-winner and an equally alluring criminal?
About the Author
That's why she writes funny books, because goodness knows we all need to escape the real world once in a while.
She believes in red lipstick, equality, and the interrobang. Lucy daydreams in Los Angeles with her husband and a very fat cat who doesn't like you.
Read an Excerpt
You Can't Spell 'Happiness' Without 'Pain'
No one would suppose, looking at me, little Samantha Lytton, that I am a sophisticated movie maven with an illicit thief for a lover. But that hypothetical lookie-loo would be wrong, and not just because I'm shorter than the average actress and/or gangster's moll.
Outside the oval window beside me, clouds floated by on the vicious air currently bouncing my airplane to and fro. And taking my cocktail with it. "Shit!" I hissed. I swiped at my lap and accidentally splashed the puddle of vodka I'd dribbled there onto my seatmate's sleeve. The businessey dude frowned at me and patted the offending liquid with a napkin.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I hate flying. But I love vodka! And talking when I'm nervous!" A too-long peal of laughter floated out of me from parts unknown. I took a deep breath and fought for calm. "Okay, I'm done now." I beamed him the smile that Entertainment Weekly called 'charming and dorky'.
I'd like it noted that they totally put 'charming' first.
My fellow first-classer didn't seem impressed by me. No matter — I was suspended over the ocean, high on Xanax and whatever booze I'd managed to get into my mouth, on the way to London to shoot my very first starring role in a film. A bona-fide film-film — not one of those budget shoots where the catering is a Happy Meal thrown at you after filming illegally in an alley while you wear Goodwill clothing all night.
In the last year, People magazine had called me 'Clara Bow two-point-zero', and declared me the only entertaining part of my first movie I Cried Lavender Tears in Paris. Well, except for the bit when Justin Bieber exploded.
After that, I'd won a small but memorable scene in a Judd Apatow flick, a sidekick part in a Tina Fey movie and a recurring arc on a TV show soon canceled for being too clever for anyone to watch. I was an underground darling in that I was a funny actress who looked like an average woman — with better-than-average teeth. I'd accepted any project offered to me, and as they began coming out, I got noticed by the Powers That Be.
The Powers That Be are a group of male studio executives who base an actress' worth on a calculation that goes something like ... fuckability + sexiness * (hilarity + popularity on Twitter) + (blonde * 10)
I score highly enough in the tits and hilarity departments — even though I am no longer blonde, but redheaded — that they have taken a massive risk on me with this new movie. Not for the first time, I clutched my stomach, terrified that I'd outpaced my abilities. In a few days, I'd begin shooting What Could Go Wrong?, a heist spoof about a down-on-their-luck couple who rob the British Museum with a group of misfits.
Now, Sam would tell you that he was instrumental in getting me this movie. He's my illicit thief lover and yes, I had indeed learned about skulking and running and lying and truly superior oral sex from him. And about how you can drown in hazel eyes whether they're mossiest green or deepest brown.
He also taught me that the dimple is the most savage of facial features, causing everyday ladies 'brain paralysis' so they throw off the shackles of their boring, secretarial lives and embrace an existence on the lam from cops and robbers alike. He'd used me to steal a Picasso. I'd turned the ensuing notoriety into the acting career I'd always dreamed of.
"Yup." I slashed the air with my vodka cup. The dude beside me ducked and cowered. "Life is good," I told him with a pat on the arm. "Sometimes storm clouds assemble and piss rain all over your head, but other times — ouch!"
My other seatmate had woken up. Captain Taco's claw still clutched my ankle, his mournful feline cry echoing throughout the elite cabin. I tapped at his paw until he released me, then I pulled his carrier out from below the seat. My human friend muttered, threw down his Wall Street Journal — a paper one! Perhaps he was from the past — and stalked to another part of the airplane.
I stuck my head above the seat, periscope-style, to search for flight attendants. The coast was clear. I released Taco from his prison and took his bundle of feline black fluff into my arms. He actually did comfort me, the little bastard. He was an ex-pet of Sam's, and it had taken some time for us to form a solid relationship, but we had finally meshed. I loved Taco to bits and cuddled him at every turn. He agreed not to murder me in my sleep as long as I fed him. I cradled him, belly up, while he gave me a glare of wild condescension.
The last year had been surreal, going from depressed secretary comforting herself with roller skating and Pizza Rolls — often together — to respected working actress. I considered pinching myself to make sure life was real, but Taco took care of that with a bite to my hand. I hissed and sucked on the already flaming pink wound.
"Ma'am, I'm afraid you cannot have an unrestrained animal out during flight."
I smiled at the polite, frowning flight attendant whose pasty skin reminded me I'd soon be on an island where clouds battled the sun and often won. She offered to help me put Taco away, but I did it myself. No reason for the innocent to be mauled by eleven pounds of adorable rage. I'd given him kitty sedatives, but he didn't seem to enjoy them the way I did.
The lady hung around, a smile creeping into the corner of her mouth. She leaned forward. "I'm a big fan, Ms Williams. Love your new hair color."
Le sigh. "I'm not Michelle Williams. I get that a lot, though."
"Wait — are you the lady from the Tina Fey movie? What was it ... The World's Worst Wedding? You are! You're so funny!"
She got me on the second try — I couldn't have stopped the grin that split my face if I'd tried. "Hi. Thanks. Hi."
"Meeeewwwwrrrrr," said Taco. My resume left him unimpressed thus far.
She put one knee on the empty seat beside me. "I'm sorry, it's just in case the cat gets free, you know? I don't want her to get hurt."
Taco hissed and swiped. I jerked my leg to safety. "Captain Taco is a he. He's sexist, that's why he thinks being called a girl is demeaning."
The flight attendant laughed. "Can I get you some champagne? Perhaps a magazine?"
I held up the now-slightly-soggy-from-vodka script in my lap. Very professional. "I should probably keep studying this. Although champagne would definitely help."
She sucked in a breath and gawked to read the title page. "Is that the Daniel Zhang movie? Oh, my goodness, he is so unbelievably hot."
"I know! They're gonna pay me to kiss him!"
"Jammy devil!" She giggled more and whipped off to get me bubbly I didn't really need.
I didn't know what a jammy devil was, but I generally approved of both jam and devils. "Am I bovvered?" I asked no one.
"Hhhhhhhssssssss," replied Taco.
"Oh, you're always taking the piss." I settled back, my glittering bubbly in hand. You're going to be brilliant, I told myself. And you'll have a killer British accent any minute now.
Yes — I felt much, much less terrified. No more fear of plummeting into the cold ocean like Kate Winslet in Titanic. Although she'd won an Oscar for her icy plunge. Hadn't she? Leo DiCaprio sure hadn't. Always a bridesmaid, never a golden statue for Leo. Poor Leo. Only his millions to sustain him. I would absolutely win an Oscar, though. Someday.
I blinked away some of my brain haze, pulled up my script and read the title aloud. "What Could Go Wrong?" My case of the yawns reached its zenith after the flight attendant handed me even more champagne. I decided to catnap before I studied my script. A powerful yawn overtook me. Yes, I'd already memorized the thing, anyhow. Super professional ... yawn ... respected actress ... burp. "Excuse me," I said before I nodded off.
What Could Go Wrong?
by F. Langley Draft 2 — Shooting Script Int. The British Museum — night
Chase Dakota, disbarred barrister (played by Daniel Zhang), crouches in the doorway of a dark gallery of the museum and blows powder into the air. Ghostly streaks of laser light appear, criss-crossing everywhere. The way forward is blocked. His partner in crime, unemployed museum curator Jayde Loving (played by Samantha Lytton), pokes her head up from where she's been skulking along the floor.
Angle On: Jayde tucks some of her red hair into her black skull cap.
Jayde Loving: Daniel Zhang, I loved you in Mission Extremely Difficult III.
Chase Dakota: Thank you, lesser-known actress from America. I wanted Kerry Washington for your role. You're just so ... pasty and short.
Jayde Loving: I know. It's not even genetic.
Chase sneers and turns away from Jayde.
Chase Dakota: Sad. But my star power will guarantee box office success, especially in Sweden. They love me there.
Jayde Loving: Really?
Chase Dakota: Why wouldn't they? You think blonde people can't like actors of Chinese descent? That's racist.
Jayde Loving: What? No, I didn't mean it that way! I just don't know anything about Sweden! Except that they made Alexander Skarsgård which, you know, bravo.
Chase glares. Jayde pulls the script from her back pocket.
Jade Loving: I — I'm confused. None of this is in the script.
Chase Dakota: It's called 'improvisation', you hack. If you can't act, can you at least lose ten pounds?
A shadowy figure slinks in and crouches beside Jayde.
Illicit Lover Sam: I don't think you should lose ten pounds, my love. Your boobs might shrink, and then where would I lick food off of?
Jayde Loving: You can't be here! You're a thief!
Chase Dakota: This film is about thieves, idiot. I can't work with this Yankee trash!
Chase storms off set.
The Director: You're fired, you bargain-basement Emma Stone.
Jayde Loving: What? No, I — what is happening?
Illicit Lover Sam: Everything seems to be going wrong.
Jayde Loving: No shit, Sherlock.
Illicit Lover Sam: Remember when you didn't get cast in that episode of Sherlock? That was a pathetic day.
They are joined by the executive producer, Captain Taco.
Captain Taco: When she lost the role, she cried all over me. I was licking salt from my fur for a week.
Illicit Lover Sam: Disgusting. Hey, do you have Ms Washington's number? I'd rather illicitly lover her.
Jayde Loving: I thought you cared about me!
Illicit Lover Sam: We are now beginning our descent into London Heathrow Airport.
Jayde Loving: I swear by this tray table, I love you, Sam! Don't leave me!
Illicit Lover Sam: I'm sorry, but you must turn off all romantic attachments in preparation for landing. All penguins to the cockpit.
Angle On: A procession of human-sized penguins begins waddling their way down the aisle of the set, which is now dressed as the inside of an airplane. The last one leans over Jayde's seat. He whispers in her ear.
Giant Penguin: They've stopped manufacturing Cheez-Its.
"No!" I yelled, bolting up only to be whipped back into the seat by the belt. Both my seat mate and the once-friendly flight attendant were grimacing as if I were a madwoman.
"Ma'am, please prepare for landing."
I nodded and shifted from butt cheek to butt cheek, but both were numb as bricks of, well, bricks. My head pounded like a ... pounding ... lump of ... pound cake. I squeezed my eyes shut. Wow — Xanax and champagne do not mix. It was far too early in my career to need rehab — that was the sort of thing you saved for when you slipped to the D-list.
I squared myself away and squeaked as the plane made one of those swooping, steep banks that makes you feel like you're gonna die.
In ... out. In ... out. My heart rate slowed with my breathing, and I glanced at the script I'd half-crumpled. I'm okay, I told myself. Life was heavenly, after so long a struggle. I was a smart, strong, capable woman with bright red hair at the top of her game.
Not a damn thing would go wrong.CHAPTER 2
Reunited and He Feels So Hood
I hopped off the plane at Heathrow and grabbed a coffee post-haste. Caffeine was exactly the chemical I needed to counteract all the other chemicals floating around my arteries.
I have come to realize some of the perks of being a kind-of-somebody — one of them is that you can travel with six suitcases and people smile instead of frown at you. What? I was going to be there for two months, and Momma needs her leopard print. My wardrobe used to come almost exclusively from thrift stores, but since I'd made a few bucks, I'd indulged my inner fashion goddess. I am a five-foot-tall lady built like Betty Boop, and it's a truth universally acknowledged that body-con dresses inspire strange men at baggage claim to spontaneously help you.
My passport stamped, and my luggage loaded precariously on a cart, I surveyed the immediate area for a person in a suit holding my name on a card. I spied Hill, Platter and Souphanousinphone, but no Lytton.
I leaned against my vanity mountain for ten minutes. Nothing and nobody, save an attempted pickup by a guy in the Marines. I told him that while I was grateful for his service to our country, no, I wasn't keen on humping him in the airport bathroom. Finally, I took a gander at my phone to see if the travel plans had changed. I saw an email from my studio liaison confirming the cancellation of my pickup. I smelled a rat.
I saw a rat, too. He was the most beautiful rodent I'd ever seen.
"You cancel my ride, and you can't even be here on time?"
Sam flashed a cheeky grin from underneath his shades and truly goofy beige sun hat. With a rush of pure joy, I silently greeted his dimple, only one, on the left side. It was just for me, that damnable dent. I hadn't seen it in a month, and the hole it left felt like a missing limb.
"Samantha Lytton, party of one?" He halfheartedly showed me the pathetic sign he'd made on notebook paper. "Or party of seven? What the hell is all this? God, woman. At least my cat is on top."
"Mawr," Taco agreed, his furry face pushed against the slots of his kitty jail.
I shoved the cart into Sam's knees. He made ostentatious being-hurt noises that I ignored. I clapped my hands. "Come, come, underling. Direct my luggage to your vehicle forthwith." I sailed past him toward the automatic doors leading to Ye Olde London Towne. Or at least the Ye Olde Suburbs. When he followed me into the cloudy afternoon, grumbling profusely, I added, "And stop breaking into my email!"
"On my honor, I would never read your ridiculous inbox. Much, anyway."
"'Honor among thieves' is a phrase."
I stopped dead in the parking lot, and he tumbled straight into me. Catching his arm as he headed unceremoniously toward the deck, I said, "I think ... the entire idiom is 'there is no honor among thieves'."
"Well" — he stood and brushed dust off his knees — "everything's bad if you look at the whole thing."
I had to laugh. Selective observation is what made our 'relationship' work.
"Chauffeurs don't wear such tight pants, mister."
He glanced at his painted-on jeans and turned around to present his butt to me. My heart leaped, and my lady parts ... let's just say they weren't numb from the airplane seat anymore. I tugged on his hand. Its strength flowed into mine. "Get the car, Sam. I have some jet lag for you to treat."
"How inebriated are you, scale of one to ten?"
I kicked him, and he sauntered off with the luggage cart, laughing, that tight butt promising a delightful evening ahead.
* * *
Kissing and groping, we fell into the door of my apartment, and subsequently onto the floor. I'm certain my new neighbors were clutching their Queen Elizabeth anniversary tea sets in shock.
Personally, I was delighted — his warm, gorgeous mouth on mine, his hands everywhere at once and my skin on fire for him to devour me. He kicked the door closed and hauled me up into his arms, over his shoulder. Is there any better feeling than a manly man carrying you, consensually of course, to his cave of love —
He dropped me. Okay, he didn't quite drop me, but my butt still smarted from its too-quick meeting with the hardwood floor. And what had caused my lover to suck in a breath, splat me and run away?
"Meowr! Meowr! Meowr!"
Sam opened the carrier, scooped up a freaking-out Captain Taco and rubbed his face in the cat's black belly. I couldn't hear everything, but the words 'wuv,' 'miss my widdle baby' and 'fluffy wuffy stuffy foo' were uttered, to the horror of my ears and all right-thinking people. I leaned on my arms and waited for them to finish, like a mortified college freshman whose dorm mate has brought back a lover to fumble with in the shared space. There were even slobbery sounds as Taco pushed the stupid hat off Sam's head and began eating his hair.
I took the opportunity to explore my new digs, a charmingly-furnished place in creams, browns and mint greens. It was vintage — maybe thirties from the lovely rounded door arches. I rose to explore the rest.
"Where are you going?" Sam asked, the syllables clipped in annoyance.
"Who, me?" I kept going about my business. Ooh! A cute pantry. And the studio had left a gift basket of fruit in the kitchen! How thoughtful, although it's not surprising that they didn't leave me what I really wanted — Pizza Rolls. But starlets aren't supposed to eat fatty foods unless a reporter is present, in order to pretend that they aren't being forced to diet. "Do you remember my name, Sam? I'm the one not named after tacos."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Dimple Strikes Back"
Copyright © 2013 Lucy Woodhull.
Excerpted by permission of Totally Entwined Group Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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