Author Guest Post
A Cut Scene From Unscripted
By: Jayne Denker
I dropped back into my chair. “Eat up, James. We’ve got to get back to the house and dress you up nice.”
My stepbrother looked up from his food in alarm. A tiny drop of syrup inched its way down his chin. “Wha—?”
“You’re going to escort me to the Wa Hei opening.”
“Oh, come on—”
“Body products. Which means lots of models.” Sure enough, a gleam of interest sparked in his eyes. “And that means a lot of douchebags chasing after the models—all those up-and-comers who need an entourage to look like the next Leo. So this is the perfect place to find a new ‘best friend’ who’ll take you globe-hopping, and you’ll get the hell out of my house sooner. No offense.”
“You do know how to tempt me.”
“This means you have to shower.”
He sighed. “Small price to pay, I suppose.”
Ah, Rodeo Drive—equal parts mega-million-dollar shoppers and touristy looky-loos who still thought Pretty Woman was a love story. Or a documentary. Or both. I handed my car keys to one of the valets and let Jamie follow me inside. Our short walk into the new Wa Hei store wasn’t lit up with paparazzi camera flashes; they knew when someone was “somebody,” and we weren’t. I’m sure some of them knew who I was, but I wasn’t worth wasting pixels on, because my photo in a magazine wouldn’t sell issues. Heck, my face on a Web site wouldn’t even generate a decent number of hits.
Even though it was still broad daylight out, everyone in the shop—which was way over the occupancy limit of around fifty—was dressed as though they were attending an Oscar after-party. Suits, sequined mini-dresses, the works. I had made sure Jamie was dressed respectably, and he fit in just fine, his sandy head rising above the crowd, drawing a few eyeballs as people turned to see if they were supposed to know him. I hated to admit it, but he did have a certain “look at me” quality that would do him well if he ever wanted to get into show business. Properly, that is. Not as a hanger-on. But apparently being a hanger-on, with all the benefits of celebrity and none of the hassles, was enough for him.
I had a harder time navigating the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds. All I saw were the backs of people, and occasionally a champagne flute came perilously close to going up my nose. I looked behind me; Jamie was snagging the food off passing waiters’ trays from above, his hand dipping down like a crane’s grabber.
I continued to force my way through the crowd. I knew a fair amount of people, nodded to a few, and air-kissed a few more, but I was on the lookout for specific individuals. People I needed to talk to. People who wouldn’t take my calls.
I paused in my fight upstream as that thought hit home: People wouldn’t take my calls.
Oh my God, my status was slipping already. I’d heard of these falls from grace, and I knew it was sometimes instantaneous (if you pissed off the right—or was that wrong—people), but I had no idea it could happen, almost literally overnight. To me.
But I was not about to go quietly. This was just a fluke, a temporary setback. I was Faith Freakin’ Sinclair, fer chrissakes. Modern Women was still mine, no matter who was calling the shots in the writers’ room or on set at the moment. And yet here I was, resorting to hunting down the rich and powerful at a public event like I was some young upstart with no connections. I had to do some serious damage control and get my career train back on track. Quickly.
I worked hard to get through the crowd without knocking over the narrow display stands shaped like Doric columns stacked with various tubes, bottles, and pots of lotion and other pampering-type stuff that I couldn’t be arsed to use. Dead ahead was one of the main guys from Hollywood PR. Most of the time I did my own public relations, much to everyone’s horrified fascination, but once in a while, when I needed some outside help, I called HPR. However, when I called yesterday, nobody was “available.” And they didn’t return my calls. Surprise, surprise. I ducked behind a small knot of chattering people and came up just behind my target as he stepped up to the makeshift bar in the corner.
He jumped a mile. “Faith. Darling.” I expected the usual one–two air kiss, but none was forthcoming. He didn’t even look at me.
“How have you been?” I pressed him.
“Oh, fine. Crazy. You know.”
The unspoken hung in the air between us like his cologne as Cort fidgeted with the drink the bartender set down in front of him. I studied his meticulously spray-tanned profile as he took a healthy swallow. Oh, he was nervous, all right.
“So Cort.” His eyes rolled toward me as he busily took another sip. “What the fuck.”
He coughed into his glass.
While he was recovering, I decided to dive in. “You didn’t call me back. Nance didn’t either.”
“Well, you know,” he rasped, then cleared his throat of the alcohol burn, “things have been nuts. We’re all tied up with that latest Lohan thing.” And he made a “yikes” face for emphasis.
I wasn’t about to be sympathetic. And I wasn’t going to let him change the subject. “I need you guys, Cort.” He glanced around the room. “Look. I’m not supposed to be talking to you.”
“Are you serious—?”
“As a heart attack. Go . . . go over there for a minute, okay?” And he gestured loosely toward the display shelves on the far wall.
“Just do it, all right?”
Incredulous, I squeezed my way over to the wall, crossed my arms, and waited. In seconds, my phone rang. I answered it and looked over at Cort, who had his phone to his ear as he looked out over the crowd.
“Are you kidding me?” I demanded.
“You want to talk? This is the way we talk, before I get skewered.”
“I’m assuming Randy B.’s behind your bizarro behavior, Cort. But he’s not even here—he’s in New York.”
“But his spies are everywhere.” Cort glanced my way, but only for a second. “Stop looking at me, would you?”
“Oh my God.” But I dutifully turned in the other direction. I saw Jamie in the distance, with a crowd of girls around him, as usual. Well, at least somebody was getting something good out of this evening. “So are you going to help me or what?”
“Come on, Faith. You’re fine. Don’t be a drama queen.”
“Drama queen? Seriously?”
“You know what I mean. You don’t need me. You’re able to control your own communication.”
I sighed. I wanted to relax, to trust someone, to talk with anyone—even Cort—heart to heart. I wished I could stand next to him like a normal person and pour my heart out, share my fears, analyze the situation. In other words, I missed Jaya something fierce right about now. But Cort was not Jaya, and I couldn’t show any weakness. Not in front of him or anyone else who might be keeping an eye on me from the anonymity of the crowd. I just couldn’t let something like that get back to Randy.
So I stayed defiantly tense. “Cort—”
“Faith. You know I can’t.”
“I pay you to help. Frequently.”
“This time other people have paid me more not to.”
“Goddammit! Where’s your loyalty?”
“Loyalty?” He cocked his head like I was speaking Klingon.
I changed tack. “I can’t do this by myself. Not this time. I need someone to speak for me, get my side of the story out there, before it gets stupid.”
He pursed his glossed lips and shook his head slightly. Oh God, was that sympathy I saw in his face? That was bad. That was kiss-of-death bad. Cort had sympathy for no one. Ever. Suddenly I felt like I was terminal.
“Come on,” I wheedled, hating the sound of pleading in my voice. “Don’t you love a challenge? Don’t you want to sneak around, go behind Randy’s back, help a sister out?”
“And have HPR wiped off the map when he finds out?” Cort shook his head again. “Faith, don’t put me in this position. Randy’s said hands off, and I have to . . . I have to,” he finished lamely. Have to obey, he meant to say. Of course he did.
And suddenly I felt bad for him. “All right,” I sighed again. “But you just have to know that I hate you and will haunt you after my untimely demise.”
“You’re planning on offing yourself? I didn’t think it was that bad.”
“Of course not. I meant my plummet–splat off the Hollywood Hundred Most Powerful list.”
“Oh that.” He made a dismissive gesture which turned into a request to the bartender for another drink. “It’s like a game of King of the Mountain. Somebody shoves you off, you just start scrambling back up.”
“I can’t imagine you ever playing King of the Mountain.”
“No, but I know the basic premise. And I always like a good scrum.” Cort leaned his back against the bar and looked out over the crowd. “Hm. I’d like to climb that.”
I followed his gaze. Good grief. “What—Jamie?”
“You know him?”
“Oh sure, now you’re interested in what I have to say.”
“Who is he?”
“You. Have a stepbrother.”
“It’s not unheard of, especially with my mother’s track record.”
“True enough. How many marriages has it been? Five?”
“Only four, thank you very much.”
“Is he single?”
“As far as I know, but he’s straight.”
“Oh honey, please. Straight is a sliding scale.”
“You’re not going to ask me to pimp my stepbrother out just to get you to help me, are you?”
“Not even a date with him could get me to fold, sorry to say. But if you’re offering with no strings attached . . . ”
“Sorry. I don’t get involved in my stepbrother’s love life.”
“At least introduce me. Let the boy make his own decisions.”
“You’re wasting your time.”
“I’m willing to take that chance.”
“I could say you’d owe me.”
Cort actually looked in my direction. “Faith. Any other time. Any other circumstances. Not this one.”
I sighed for what felt like the hundredth time. “You know I hate you, right?”
“Pfft. Take a number, honey.”
About The Author
Unscripted by Jayne Denker
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 270 pages / Kindle - 548 KB / Nook - 779 KB
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Romance / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: Unscripted
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.
Faith “Freakin’” Sinclair probably shouldn’t have called her boss a perv…or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women she’d had enough of his sexist insults. Now she’s untouchable in the industry—not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex the wildly popular wildly demanding former star of her show to come back. But there’s one obstacle in her way—one very handsome broad-shouldered obstacle…
Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way he’ll let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. It’s an offer she can’t refuse—and as it turns out the professor just might end up teaching Faith that there’s more to life than work—and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones…
My Book Review:
If you're looking for an entertaining chick lit romance that will tickle your funny bone, then Unscripted by author Jayne Denker is the book for you!
As the creator and executive producer of a hit TV drama/comedy, Modern Women, Faith Sinclair is at the top of her career ... that is until she gets into a knock-down drag-out argument with her boss and grabs his (ahem) balls ... now she's persona non grata in Hollywood and has to find a way to get her career back on track. Faith embarks on a journey of self-discovery full of trials and tribulations, crazy antics, and a unexpected romance with a hunky college professor who will change the way Faith lives her life.
Author Jayne Denker weaves a fun story written in the first person narrative that has the reader following Faith Sinclair as her journey to regain her career in the Hollywood entertainment industry is wrought with humorous trials and tribulations and an unexpected chance at finding love. From the opening line of the story: "Usually, grabbing a man's balls can take you far in this business," Faith takes the reader on a hilarious roller coaster ride of a journey that will keep them in stitches. From a crazy British stepbrother, a Mother who is a Hollywood legend, to the college professor who is the perfect man to teach Faith a life lesson, Faith's plan to reclaim her career turns into a journey of self-discovery where she rebuilds her family relationships, while teaching her a life lesson that will change the way she focuses on her career and life.
Unscripted was an absolutely fun story to read, it had quirky wit and humor and a subtle romance that will satisfy chick lit fans. You can't help but love Faith, she's sassy, independent and determined to make it on her own in Hollywood, but the journey she embarks on will profoundly change her way of life when she meets up with hunky college professor Mason Mitchell. With the story set in Hollywood, there is enough drama, crazy antics, romance, and laugh-out-loud moments that will keep you thoroughly entertained!
RATING: 4 STARS ****
Book Trailer - Unscripted
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October 28 – Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
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