One punch took him from Hollywood"s Golden Boy to Bad Boy Brody.
The media didn"t care he was grieving his brother"s death. They descended on him, but to change his reputation, his manager got him a deal.
Act in an indie film, one that already had Oscar buzz, and he"d get the movie roles he needed to secure his future.
He took the deal.
Yet he wasn"t prepared for the real-life people behind the script. He wasn"t prepared for the murder the movie was based on. And he really wasn"t prepared for her, the biggest secret of all.
She was wild. She was beautiful. She defied gravity.
But was she the leading role that would tame him"Books by Author:Tijan Books
Seven months earlier
There was press everywhere. The camera lights were flashing. Glitzy people were all over the room, but I looked around, watching from the back corner.
I frowned at my publicist, who was heading over to me. Before Shelby could say anything more, I asked, "Have you seen Kyle""
"Kyle"" She pretended to be confused, patting her hair.
I cut her another look. She didn"t like my brother, never had, but she could suck it. Honestly. This was my big movie premiere, and I wanted my fucking brother there. He promised to show.
"Shelby, don"t fuck with me."
Her confused look melted into a sultry one as she pressed her body against mine, her hand playing on my arm. "But I"d love to fuck with you. You know that." She made sure to rub her breast against my arm before standing away from me.
This was Shelby"s game. She was one of the best publicists out there, and most of the time she acted as my manager too, but she"d never made it a secret how much she wanted my dick. To her credit, she"d had it. I"d been acting for two years. She got my dick on a regular basis for the first six months of our relationship, but then we started a professional one, so I ended things. I wasn"t a goddamn idiot.
I knew where I wanted to be, and being single would help.
That made me sound like a manipulative asshole, but I didn"t give a shit.
I had been an extra on movies before moving to small parts. Supporting actor roles had been next, and finally, I landed the movie role that was already promising to launch me into the type of movies I needed.
I was going to be a goddamn A-list actor, but my fucking brother wasn"t anywhere he was supposed to be.
"He said he"d come tonight."
We had no parents. They both died too young from cancer, so it was just Kyle and me, and he had always been supportive.
Something was wrong.
I couldn"t shake this feeling. It was nagging me, and I couldn"t shake it. It was growing more by the minute. Something was off.
A waiter passed with a tray of champagne, and I reached out, snatching one of the glasses. I threw it back, still straining to see around the filled movie lounge. People were looking over at us. I saw the interest, and that was fine with me.
I knew I commanded it. I wasn"t an actor who put my life out there for the magazines to know. I kept the interviews to a minimum. I did the press junkets only when I needed to. I showed up on time. I knew my lines before walking into the studio. I rarely flirted. I shook hands with whomever I needed to. I played golf with them too. I did just enough so people knew my name, but not enough for them to know me.
And no one knew about Kyle, but this night was for him too. It was a celebration of the hard work and sacrifice we"d both gone through to get me here. He and his wife put me up so many times that there was a permanent indentation on their couch. Countless nights I"d eaten spaghetti or ramen noodles, until Cheryl wouldn"t take no for an answer and demanded I join them and their two kids for dinner.
God. A wave of nostalgia rose in me.
I loved his family.
Ambrea and Alisma were like my own little girls.
One day, I promised myself, one day I"d do an animated movie and they"d be my dates for that premiere. I might have to do it sooner rather than later since they were both drawing past eight and ten years old. They"d be adults in the blink of an eye.
I glanced at my phone again. It was still blank"no calls from him. Kyle was supposed to have been here forty minutes ago.
"Something isn"t right." That sick feeling wasn"t going away.
"Come on." Shelby"s hand curled over my arm. She indicated a couple drawing close to us. "That"s the president of Dreamepics Productions. They want to meet you. They already sent an email about working on a project with you later in the year."
I glanced up. Edward Branch and his wife were almost to us. I saw the keen look in his eyes, but that wasn"t what I was preparing myself for. It was the wife. She had the same stark hunger in her eyes so many other females in my life had. Catching my gaze, she smiled coyly and licked her lips.
Yeah. She was going to be a problem.
Fuck this. I pressed Kyle"s number and murmured in Shelby"s ear, "Stall for me."
"Bro"" Edward Branch started to say, but I ducked out from behind Shelby.
It was rude. And stupid. Okay, it was ridiculously stupid of me, but I had to check on Kyle.