Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Him

Contest First!

Eternally Yours Contest

What could you spend an eternity doing? What is your passion? Your hunger? Your deepest desire? Each day beginning February 5 and running through February 14 one of the ten authors will complete the line:

"My darling I could spend eternity…" on either their blog or website.

Collect all ten answers and e-mail them to anny@annycook.com with Eternally Yours in the subject line to win some hot, romantic books. There will be three lucky Valentine winners.

The prizes –
1st prize--5 books
2nd prize--3 books
3rd prize--2 books

Entries must be in by February 16 at midnight EST. All books and prize winners will be drawn randomly.

Sandra Cox
Silverhills
Mona Risk
To Love a Hero
Brynn Paulin Tribute For the Goddess
Bronwyn Green Mystic Circle
Cindy Spencer Pape Stone and Earth
N.J. Walters Seduction of Shamus O’Rourke
Elyssa Edwards Mating Stone
Amarinda Jones Shades of Gray
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Anny Cook Honeysuckle


Now, back to my guys.

Up next?

Him (or whatever you want it to be)
Human
Profession: Actor
Age: (as old as you want him to be)
Story: Seeing Me by Elyssa Edwards from Ellora's Cave

Yep, that’s right, Him. No, that isn’t his name, but that’s all you get as you read this story.

He is an actor. He has paid his dues and now makes the big bucks and rakes in the offers since he started playing the lead in a series of films based on the books of a famous scifi/fantasy writer. The blockbuster films have made the writer, the studios and everyone else a great deal of money. And he’s not doing too badly himself. His face and the luscious body it tops are used to sell. Sell tickets. Sell books. Sell whatever anyone wants to sell. But he’s not a pretty Ken doll. He has a mind, a soul and a heart just like any other man. Only sometimes the world forgets and he doesn’t fight them on it.

Now he’s been booked by his studio to appear at a conference. The largest scifi/fantasy conference in the Southern United States. It’s all a part of the biz. As long as they pay the room, the speaking fee, the limo and the plane ticket, he’s fine with it. Until it starts. The same sanctimonious shit he’s used to hearing again and again from self righteous writers who think they are writing the classic tomes of the future. They denounce the “Hollywood Machine” and staunchly declare they’d never sell out. And as usual, he sits there with his frozen smile until a lovely young woman at the end of the table suddenly blurts out:

“Are you crazy? You’d sell your left testicle if someone wanted to make a movie from one of your books with that kind of budget.”

And when he finds out who she is, this conference takes on a whole new importance.


Excerpt:

[Cara] shook her head, “It’s an honor to be asked to meet you, it was an honor to be on the panel with you. But…” Her words fled her again. You’re a writer for Chrissakes, get a hold of yourself. You are supposed to be a wordsmith, you make your living with words.

“But?” When she didn’t continue his smile broadened encouragingly, “Come on over and sit down. Let me take your bag.” He moved toward her quickly, then stopped and reached hesitantly for the large canvas bag she carried. She pulled it from her shoulders and he took it from her hands. He smiled down at her almost shyly and moved away to place it on a nearby chair. “Please, won’t you sit?” He backed away and sat down on the edge of the large overstuffed white sofa. “Is it Ms. Ellison, or may I call you C.J.?”

“Cara actually,” she had no idea where the answer came from as it sounded in her own voice. “My agent suggested my initials so it wasn’t mistaken for a girlie book.”

She saw him roll his eyes, “Agents, can’t live with them, can’t do business without them.” His gaze shifted quickly back to her and he suddenly seemed to be examining her face intently. “Cara,” he rolled the word off his tongue as if he were tasting it. “It’s Italian, but you don’t look Italian.”

“I’m not.”

“It means expensive,” he grinned at her, “did you know?”

“No,” she looked up at him puzzled. “I thought it meant darling or something like that.”

“No. It’s often used that way,” his eyes seemed to almost sparkle with mischief, “but it means expensive, like a fine bottle of wine. Something to be treated gently, reverently.” He paused and she felt his gaze move over her, “Something to be savored.” He patted the seat next to him. “I promise I don’t bite.” The wicked grin on his face spoke the words his lips didn’t. Unless you want me to.

As she walked toward him she tried not to notice him. Well not so much not notice him, as not notice how he looked. The white shirt had been traded for a black one and the heat rising in her face betrayed the fact that she noticed he hadn’t buttoned it. It was tucked in and only the first button or two above his waistband was closed. A healthy expanse of golden skin, nicely detailed pectoral muscles and a hint of the washboard abs he was famous for were visible. He must have followed her eyes because he began to apologize.

“I’m sorry, it was hot in the ballroom earlier and so I changed shirts, and,” she watched the side of his face as he bent his head forward and started fastening a few more of the buttons. He’s blushing! She realized in amazement. His face was filling with color. She further realized he was stammering a bit. She had embarrassed him. Great, just great. He caught you looking at his chest now he thinks you’re as big a freak as some of those women out there holding signs offering to have his baby. Yet again he had proven himself right, things could get worse.

His hands stilled and he turned his head to look at her. It was still bent and his dark hair was falling in his face, he smiled as if testing to see if she would smile back. She did. The smile widened and his head rose. “Speaking of hot, it suddenly seems a bit warm in here, too. Can I get you something cool?” He stood and moved toward the wet bar at one end of the room. “I did a stint as a bartender, believe it or not, I can make you anything you like.” The mischievous grin swept up over his face lighting up his eyes.

“Really,” she drew the word out to show her mock skepticism. She was quite certain almost anything he wanted to make her she was definitely going to like and like a lot. “Anything I’d like?”

“Yes ma’am, anything you like,” his voice had dropped slightly and his eyes were no longer smiling. The temperature in the room seemed to shoot up several degrees. Or was it just the heat he seemed to be very adept in stirring inside of her?

“White wine is fine,” she turned her head away from him. Breathe. For God’s sake don’t forget to breathe. One thing was certain; she still had no idea why she was here. The look and the innuendo, no those were just games he played, tools of the trade she told herself. He was an actor. His life was about convincing you to like him, to feel comfortable and intimate with him. That he could do it so easily is what made him so good. That he was so damned good at it is what had him infiltrating the dreams of a good number of women in this world.

He returned to where she sat. She took the glass by its thin stem without looking up at him. Instead she looked at the long fingers that held the bowl of the glass, cupping it. Fingers that slid along its surface as she took hold, fingertips dragging through the already building condensation as if they didn’t want to surrender it to her. Her heart rate had jumped and he had said nothing to her, done nothing to her. Again she began to regret her choice of undergarments. The thin lacy bra she’d chosen that morning was definitely making things a lot worse. She didn’t dare look down, guessing was bad enough, she didn’t want to know just how obvious certain things were at the moment.

He didn’t sit immediately but sat his own glass, scotch of some sort she guessed, down on the end table. Maybe she should have opted for something harder than white wine, perhaps the burn of whiskey would have settled her nerves. Or come right back up, she thought ruefully. That was one indignity she definitely didn’t need. He excused himself and went through a side door. He returned before she even had a moment to register his absence. He carried something in his hand. It was a book. It was her book.

He sat down next to her and lifted his glass. He took a swallow of the contents then leaned back. “I asked you up here because I wanted to ask you to sign your book for me.”

“You’ve really read my book?” The words and the accompanying incredulity landed between them with an almost audible thud.

He frowned. “Yes. Didn’t my assistant tell you that you were being asked up to sign your book?”

“Yes, but...”

“But you didn’t figure someone like me had read it.”

“No. I never dreamed someone like you would have read it,” she admitted. She was pulling a large sip from her own glass when he stood up and walked away toward the windows.

“I see. You’re surprised that someone like me would even attempt to read such a work. I might muddle through a script alright, but real books are something else.”
She stared at him in shock. “I didn’t say that. That’s not what I meant.”

“Right.” He turned to face her, the orange rays of the sun backlighting him, a golden corona forming about him. His face was blank, a calm practiced look of boredom, but his eyes seemed to be alight with something more. His voice, when he spoke again, betrayed the bitter edge of anger. “It’s fine. I’ve heard it before. Actors are just parrots, right? They look pretty and showy and repeat whatever lines they are taught but understanding those lines is beyond them. We’re just a bunch of ridiculous boys and plasticized bimbos who drink too much, party too much and make way too much money for standing around playing pretend like a bunch of preschoolers. Look, I’m sorry I got you out of your reception.”

“Wait a minute,” she stood up. “That isn’t what I meant and I certainly never said those things. It seems to me that if anyone is jumping to stereotypes here, it’s you. I’m a writer so I must be self-important and egotistical? I must be absolutely certain that every word that falls from my pen is pure genius? Someone’s ego is involved here but I don’t think it’s mine.”

He just looked at her, his brow creasing, slight confusion etched on his face. The hurt was still in those dark eyes, and it was as if he wasn’t entirely sure he was really hearing the words she was saying.

“Look when I said I didn’t expect someone like you to have read my book I meant I didn’t expect it would even be noticed by someone like you. It’s an obscure piece of drivel by an unknown author who only got invited today because she’s a local girl. Hell, if I hadn’t been a volunteer for this convention for the last few years no one here would have given me the time of day.” She wanted him to believe her. Wanted it badly. For some reason it mattered a great deal that he believe she hadn’t been demeaning his intelligence. “I can’t believe any of those people today actually took time out of their lives to read my book, let alone someone like you who has people pulling him in a hundred directions every minute of the day.”

He pursed his lips and his head dropped. Silence filled the room for a long moment as he stared down at the floor. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I’m a bit raw from that confrontation downstairs. You might be surprised how often I get that. Not just what that guy said, but the whole thing. I was a marketing tool today. A new and improved product. Bright and shiny, tell your friends. I was being used to sell this conference, to sell the books of every person on that panel. When you first start out it’s sort of cool, look at me and the power my face has. But after a while it gets old.” He lifted wary eyes to hers. “I’m sorry. I made assumptions that were incorrect.”

She simply nodded. The truth in what he was saying was overwhelming. He was right. Every person there today had treated him like the leggy, breasty bimbo who points to the new model of car and says, “Pretty.” Her included. All she had seen was Him. Her first thoughts, if she were honest with herself, had been about the exposure and the attendance this panel was likely to get. Okay, not really. That was her second thought. Her first thought had been that of a giggling fourteen-year-old teenager who was just told she was going to meet her idol. The great movie star whose presence seemed to turn something inside her to jelly. No, not jelly, lava. Red-hot, cascading, chocolate flavored, lava. Sudden thoughts of the possible uses for warm liquid chocolate filled her mind along with the image of herself lapping up said chocolate. Her face, and everything else, grew even warmer.

5 comments:

Sandra Cox said...

Darn good writing, Ms EIUer:)

Anny Cook said...

Oh, that's good. Ymmm.

Molly Daniels said...

Hey...I like this:) Great excerpt!

Sandra Cox said...

Ooh, looks like a great contest.
Sandra

Bronwyn's Blog said...

This is AWESOME Jae!