Are You Sure You Want To Delete This Contact?
He hesitated. Maybe he was overreacting. Just because his parents hadn’t worked out…
“Christ, Brad, divorced?” Stu said into the phone. Until now, Stu hadn’t said much and his sudden outburst drew Micah’s attention. “I knew that chick was just after your money.”
Stu paused. “Look, I’m real sorry to hear that. I’ll get Pam to spin it to the press however you want me to. It’s funny, I was just saying to another client that relationships in Hollywood are tough.”
Stu gave a knowing wink and Micah’s mind was made up. He looked back at his phone. Are You Sure You Want To Delete This Contact?
Micah pushed Yes. And Maddie from the party was erased from his phone. Erased from his life.
Seven Years Later
Maddie stepped off the escalator at Denver International Airport and followed the crowd in front of her to baggage claim. She’d never been to this airport, but she easily found carousel four, where the monitors showed her flight’s luggage would arrive soon. While she waited, she pulled her phone from her purse and turned off the airplane mode. Immediately it buzzed with a text.
Tell me when u get in. Meet ur driver by the West Terminal doors.
It was from Bree. Maddie responded. Just arrived. She pushed send and wondered for the hundredth time that morning, how did she get talked into this again? She mentally replayed Bree’s frantic call from the day before.
“We need you, Maddie,” Bree had said. “The assistant camera operator broke his tailbone and needs surgery so we need another assistant pronto for location. We’re already six weeks into the shoot. I know you swore off working with Beaumont, and I’d never ask you, but Adam only wants you. You can totally name your price and you’ll get it.”
Even though more than six years had passed, Maddie still felt the sting of the Joss Beaumont disaster that had effectively ended all her hopes of being a Hollywood director. Thank goodness she had mad skills in other areas of film, though he never treated her with respect again. On set, he acted like she was his own private valet and coffee runner and then blamed her for not being around when he needed her. He might be one of the country’s top directors, but, as far as she was concerned, he was an ass.
But Maddie was very fond of Adam LaForgeon, one of Beaumont’s occasional camera operators. Old enough to be her father, Adam had taken her under his wing on the first film she’d done as an intern seven years before. He’d stood by her through what Maddie liked to now refer to as the Beaumont Fiasco. Soon she was working as Adam’s main assistant, joining him on all his projects. She would have been on this shoot from the beginning if Beaumont hadn’t been directing.
Adam respected Maddie’s hatred of the pompous director and would have never requested her unless he was desperate. He’d stuck by her when she was desperate. How could she turn him down?
And she owed Bree too. Maddie was the main reason Bree worked as Beaumont’s personal assistant. Bree shared Maddie’s detest of the ass**le, but belonged to the camp of keep your enemies closer. She claimed that working for “the f**ker” might help Maddie. Besides, since sleeping her way to the top hadn’t worked as well as Bree’d planned—a series of nude photos and an accidental adult film ended that—working for a big-time director seemed a great way to get into the Hollywood scene from another angle. Unfortunately, several years later she only had P.A. on her legit resume and Maddie remained a camera assistant.
So here Maddie was, less than twenty-four hours after Bree’s phone call, at the Denver airport waiting to claim her hastily packed suitcase with absolutely no information about the movie she’d be working on except that it was midway through production.
The carousel whirred into motion and Maddie’s burgundy suitcase with the rainbow ribbon on the zipper pull was the first bag to sail down the ramp. She grabbed it, pulled up the handle and wheeled it behind her while she looked for her transportation. She spotted her driver near the doors to parking, holding a flimsy white piece of paper with the name Madalyn Bauers scrawled across it. He had short, clean-cut blond hair, a baby-smooth face and was built like a wrestler. Young. Definitely an intern or production assistant.
“Hey,” Maddie said as she approached him. Her phone buzzed in her hand—probably with a response from Bree—but she ignored it. “You’re looking for me. I’m Madalyn Bauers. Well, Maddie.”
“Then you are correct; I am looking for you,” the young man said. He held out his hand in greeting. “I’m Sam, and I’m your ride.”
“Awesome.” Maddie didn’t miss the innuendo. “I can’t believe you went to this much trouble. I could have taken a cab.”
“Honestly, I’m here to pick up one of the actors. He landed about fifteen minutes before you. You just got lucky with your timing.” Sam gave a sly smile. “Or I got lucky.”
Oh cute, he was flirting. She responded with a hesitant smile.
“I just gotta let the crew know I got you and then I’ll grab your bag.”
While Sam made his phone call, Maddie read Bree’s text. And all is good?
So far, Maddie replied. Pretending to still look at her phone, she covertly checked out her driver. Hmm, not bad. Good-looking, but too young. And blonds weren’t usually a hot button for her. But still, there was possibility.
“Okay, all set. I can take your bag for you.” Sam pocketed his phone and reached for Maddie’s suitcase.
“Oh, thanks. Where’s the actor?”
“He’s around here. Went to get a coffee or a newspaper or something. He should be easy to spot.” Sam craned his neck, looking around the terminal. “Yeah, there he is. Looks like he got noticed.” He motioned with his head toward a group of people a dozen or so yards away. “You know talent, they always have an entourage.”
Maddie followed Sam’s gesture. She could only see the actor’s backside—he wore tight jeans and a casual blue sports jacket. Damn, the jacket obscured any ass-checking, but she’d bet money his booty was capital-F fine. He was signing autographs for four women surrounding him. Nearby she saw a muscleman, arms crossed, wearing sunglasses, jeans, and a T-shirt. He appeared aloof, but Maddie noticed he watched the crowd. So this guy warranted a bodyguard. “Who is it anyway?” she asked.
Before Sam could answer, the actor and his bodyguard turned and started toward them. Maddie’s heart began to race and her stomach dropped. She knew that wavy dark brown hair, those deep-set blue eyes, and those perfectly formed lips.