It’s Hollywood in the seventies...
Tamela Pearson came up from nothing and now sits on the verge of super-stardom. While her outer persona is that of a tough-as-nails-hell-bent-on-revenge kind of woman, only one man knew her true heart...
As Hollywood’s newest Golden Boy, Eric Garza had it all - the career of a lifetime and the woman of his dreams until, without warning, she all but disappeared.
Time waits for no man or woman, and neither does love. Especially when life rolls around full circle - the past has yet to be faced. Can two lovers torn apart by outsiders and misunderstandings find their Happily Ever After or will the curse of Hollywood claim another couple?
Los Angeles 1973...
The ballroom was huge, filled from wall to wall with the crème de la crème of the Hollywood elite. Hundreds of people were in attendance for the awards after-party. In between the false smiles and petty gossip, business deals were made and broken while the most expensive champagnes flowed like lava. The band at the far end continued with their lively set. Women dressed to the nines and their partners, equally impressive in tuxedos, moved about the dance floor, their faces turned to their best angles
whenever they spotted one of the many photographers granted access to such an event.
“What a group of vultures. Look at them.”
Tamela Pearson turned at her sister’s snide comment. She arched a perfect eyebrow. “Whatever do you mean?”
Carmen licked her lips. “You know exactly what I mean. How can you stand to be around such a bunch of fake-ass people?”
“Car, you didn’t have to come—”
“Only because you would’ve shown up alone and that would not do, baby sister.”
Tamela nodded her thanks as a server appeared and held out a tray between them. She reached for a flute and took a delicate sip as her sister did the same. She waited until the server moved away before glaring at the other woman. “Try and keep
your comments to yourself, okay? I’m glad to have received the invite at all.”
Carmen affected a bored expression. “Whatever you say, Tam.”
Tamela blew out a breath and turned her attention elsewhere. John Sullivan, her manager, was nowhere in sight. Not that she expected him to show up, but it would have been nice to be on the arm of someone who had some kind of connections. She’d
only asked Carmen at the last minute, after Sully called to say he couldn’t make it after all. She held out some hope that Sully would arrive, but since it had been a couple of hours since the party had begun, she didn’t think he would bother.
Tamela fingered the stem of the flute, troubled. Filming for Skintight, the seventh of an eight-movie deal Sully had worked out with the Kiefer Brothers, was due to start next month. Her lips twisted in disgust. Another role where she was, again, playing a
prostitute. Only this time her character was on the run from a group of crooked cops who had gang-raped her.
Every movie she’d done with Sully had her as either a junkie or a hooker, and to be quite honest, she was beyond sick of it. Every role left her more and more unfulfilled. Her requests for different roles fell on deaf ears. “Why mess with the money train?” Sully
would ask every time she’d brought up the subject. She didn't want to be stereotyped throughout her career, plain and simple. She’d been in the business for close to six years and it was way past time for a change.
Tamela froze, the flute of champagne midway to her lips.
What was he doing here?
She slowly lowered the glass, unable to believe she was looking at her ex-husband less than ten feet away. His eyes were fixed on her while he conversed with several people. She couldn’t pull her eyes away. Her heart leaped into her throat while heat rushed through her veins, pooling low in her belly. She swallowed, memories of his hungry kisses and wild caresses sending shivers through her.
Tamela turned, her movements casual while her heart pounded in alarm. Carmen, having caught her expression, gripped her arm in concern.
“What is it?” She glanced over Tamela’s shoulder before looking into her eyes. “Are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I have. Tam pressed a hand to her chest. Never in all the years since they’d been together had she ever expected to run into Eric Garza again. She licked her lips. “Eric’s here.”
“Eric?” Carmen’s pretty face flattened. Her green gaze flitted around. “Where?”
“Car, please.” Tamela pleaded under her breath. “Don’t be so obvious.”
Her sister glared into her face. “What do you care? After what he’s done to you, you’re lucky I’m not raising the alarm.”
Tam swallowed, the truth on the tip of her tongue. She’d held the secret for so long it would have been a relief to let it out. “Please don’t. I don’t want us to get tossed out of here.”
Carmen straightened, her expression fierce as she hissed, “Shit, look normal, here he comes.”
“What?” Tamela blinked, caught herself in mid-turn before turning back to her sister. She drew in a deep breath, prepared to run when she felt his familiar presence behind her.
His voice, deep and sexy, still sent thrills along her flesh. She met her sister’s eyes before she put on her “greet-the-fan” smile and turned. Whatever words she wanted to say dried up in her mouth as she looked up at the man she’d run from years before.
Tall and broad shouldered, he towered over her, even with the high-heeled sandals she wore. Thick, dark brown hair curled about his ears and the back of his neck. Upon closer scrutiny, she saw faint silvery threads woven through it now. A dark mole,
a la Robert DeNiro, adorned his upper right cheek. His deep blue eyes, framed by ridiculously long eyelashes, bored into hers while his smile stretched his full lips into a feral grimace.
She slid a nervous hand over her hair, and then silently berated herself for fussing about her appearance.
“Why, hello, Eric. It’s been a long time.” Her voice sounded shrill to her ears and she winced.
He bent and brushed a kiss on her cheek, sending further chills through her.
“Yes, it has.” His gaze flicked behind her. “Carmen.”
Her sister’s voice was terse. “Eric.”
Tamela could just imagine Carmen’s face. The crowd pushed in around them, cocooning them in a sphere alone. The lights dimmed further, the music suddenly too loud. She glanced over her shoulder but Eric suddenly gripped her by the arm. “I’m
sure your delightful”—his lip curled on the word—“sister wouldn’t mind if I spirited you away for a dance now, would she?”
Tam barely had a second to give her glass to her sister before she was hauled away, Carmen’s furious expression following them. She pasted on a smile and deliberately paused to greet and play kissy-kiss with other actors and actresses.
Once they reached the dance floor, Eric swung her about, pulled her up close and gripped her hand tightly enough to make her wince. He kept a fake smile on his lips but his tone was deadly soft.
“So, my darling wife—” he started but she quickly cut him off.
“Don’t you mean ex-wife?”
He laughed as he twirled her out before bringing her back in. She fell against his chest with a soft gasp. His blue eyes met hers before his gaze dropped to her mouth. Tamela licked her lips and stifled a moan when his eyes darkened. She felt his heat and,
against her will, swayed closer. When his head tilted toward hers, she turned away, his breath a soft brush against her face. Her eyes closed as his lips rested on her cheek for a precious moment. Inexplicably, she felt close to tears.
Memories of their time together came back, blotting out everything she’d tried to do to forget him, to forget his touch, to forget the feeling of what it was like to be loved...really loved. She shook her head, angry at the whimsical thoughts that refused to disappear. That crazy week in Acapulco...
Without thinking, she slid her hand up to cup the back of his neck. His hold on her tightened in response, his voice suddenly hoarse.
She pulled back slightly. “Eric, please...”
“Please, what?” he demanded, his expression fierce. “You walk out for no reason and—”
“Eric, can we not do this here?” Tamela pleaded, aware of the curious stares. He snapped his mouth shut and complied. They continued to sway to the lazy jazz ballad, Nancy Wilson’s seductive voice teasing them into a familiar rhythm. She breathed in his
scent, silently reveled in the firmness of his hand on the exposed skin of her lower back.
After what seemed like an eternity, he pressed a kiss to the sensitive skin of her neck. She clutched his shoulders, a soft moan escaping her lips.
“You’re right.” he whispered against her ear. “Let’s go.”
“Go? Go where?” she blurted out but he didn't answer—instead just pulled her along behind him, making his way through the cluster of dancing couples. Tamela hurried to keep up with his long strides, breathless with both fear and anticipation. Girl, what the hell do you think you’re doing? She didn't want to answer, didn't want to stop and think, afraid she’d talk herself out of something she should have no business doing.
Something she shouldn't be wanting.
Tamela kept her gaze locked on his back, the thought of breaking free never entering her mind. This was Eric...her Eric...
Ren is currently writing her next story in between munching popcorn, stealing yellow highlighters and waiting for the Tardis. Oh, and she blogs every now and then here: Ren's Corner