Series: Image Series
Author: Lily Alexander
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 8, 2020
Nothing in Hollywood stays a secret for long.
Nora Chase is the good girl of the small screen.
Her carefully cultivated image is under lock and key – the price to keep it that way has been steep. One misstep in a relationship early in her Hollywood career cost her dearly – and she’s still paying the price.
When she meets Maxwell Caine through mutual friends, her emotions pay no attention to the moratorium she’s put on relationships. She never meant to fall in love again, let alone so quickly. His steadfast presence gives a comfort she didn’t know she was seeking and isn’t sure she deserves.
Will he stand by her when her past is exposed?
“So, yeah. You and Maxwell.” Devon’s eyebrow lifted as he showed her the screen of his phone. He playfully hummed the ‘sitting in a tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g’ melody.
They had just been allowed to vacate their chairs in the make-up trailer and were on their way across the back-lot to wardrobe.
The picture was of them leaving Cleo after their date, both of them smiling. Maxwell had his hand on her lower back and she appeared to be leaning into his touch. They looked comfortable and familiar. Happy even.
They definitely didn’t look like they were on a first date, either, which was strangely satisfying and also just a little bit strange.
Remembering how his warm hand felt on her body made her lips curve upward. It was just seconds later they had encountered the paparazzi near the parking lot. That particular shot appeared to have been taken from across the street.
“Dinner,” she said simply.
Devon grunted in frustration and followed her into wardrobe.
“Obviously. How’d it go?”
Nora shook her head. Devon was enjoying this entirely too much.
“Why are you so anxious to get the two of us together? I don’t understand why it matters so much to you.”
Devon clucked his tongue at her, eyebrows drawn together as he tsked. He gathered the clothing meant for him and she did the same. They efficiently changed in small curtained cubicles next to one another.
“You’ve dated, but you haven’t had a real, serious boyfriend since that weirdo in college. What was his name? John? Jack? James?”
Nora knew he was being ridiculous on purpose. He was also wrong. It was one of the few secrets she’d ever kept from him.
“Jacob. You know that.”
“Ah yes, Jacob the art history major.” Devon pulled a face and gave an exaggerated half-gag.
“He was nice.”
Devon’s arm flew out, pointing directly at her as she adjusted her blouse and wiggled around in the leather pants she had been assigned. She could swear that the wardrobe ladies were only making her wear them because they hated seeing her enjoy food. Though they really did make her ass look good. She shrugged at herself in the mirror as she looked over one shoulder at her backside.
“Exactly. Nice.” He looked like he’d sucked on a lemon. “We’ve already had this conversation.”
With that, he turned on his heel and strode quickly out of wardrobe, Nora hustling to follow him to set.
“At least he wasn’t a huge jerk. Or have constant onion breath. Or another girlfriend.” Those things may have been just a few of the things she’d encountered on dates since graduating and moving to Los Angeles.
None of those were the big bad ugly either. Devon knew about the man she’d seen for an extremely short amount of time named David, but he didn’t know what he’d done. What he was still doing. Devon had him classified in the three dates or less category which to him didn’t count. In reality, they’d dated seriously for a few months.
Keeping a secret like that from Devon had been no small feat, and she was beginning to feel like the clock was ticking for how long she could keep it up.
“True, but still not worthy of you, my dear.” That smirk appeared and Devon slung his arm over her shoulders. “Tell Uncle Dev all about it.”
Nora sighed, knowing she was going to be trapped with him for a while as they finished shooting a different scene. There was no getting around her best friend or his nosiness.
“We met for dinner. It was amazing Greek food and reminded me of Yiayia Lou. Paps were waiting when we left. That was less than awesome, but he used his body to block them for me.” She inclined her head, knowing this tidbit would please him.
Devon’s eyebrows rose up, and he smiled. “Good man.”
Nora’s head nodded shortly. “Yes. He’s very nice,” she teased.
He growled. “Don’t make me text my wife. I will.”
A laugh rose out of her chest. “You text her all day long, anyway. And I think you just love calling her that. Simply saying the word wife brings you joy. It’s weird. You know that it’s a little weird, right? Based on your ‘three dates and done’ history?”
Lily is a Colorado native enjoying the fantastic climate of Southern California with her family and cranky cat after surviving more than a decade in hot, humid places where hurricanes get their own season and Winter is a myth.
The written word is her favorite thing – reading or writing, she doesn’t discriminate. Left to her own devices she can read about a book a day; that HEA is a powerful drug!
As an only child she grew up inventing elaborate stories for her dolls to act out. She started word processing on a computer around age 10 and never looked back. After suffering the heartbreak of catastrophic drive failure a regrettable number of times, she has finally learned to back things up appropriately and often.
Follow her antics on social media! (If she disappears for a bit around late August, don’t worry, that’s just her wanderlust kicking in. She’ll be back soon.)