At what point do you stop wishing on stars?
Hannah Mills was content in her life. She was the personal assistant to best-selling author, Melissa Loring. But now Melissa was engaged to the famous actor, Will Martinsson, and they were traveling around the world based on his filming and interview schedule. Hannah loved traveling with them, but she didn’t want to run into Royce Rivers, Will’s co-star and friend. The same man she called friend, until one night, things went too far. She tried as hard as she could to keep him out of her heart and body, but she knew if she saw him again, she’d lose the battle, and she couldn’t allow herself to fall for him.
Royce Rivers grew up in the spotlight, a second-generation actor. When he was younger, he did everything and anything to rebel, becoming a typical Hollywood statistic on bad behavior. It took many years, but he cleaned his act up and was at a point in his life when he could try and enjoy it. Then one Miss Hannah Mills walked into his life and nothing was the same. He knew she was keeping something from him. If there was one thing he was familiar with, it was demons, and she had hers. What started as fun and games with a new friend, soon changed to something more. Royce wanted nothing more than to slay the demons which kept her away from him so they could have their happily ever after.
When two people battling demons meet and can no longer deny their feelings, there is nothing they can do but see if their wish comes true.
Hannah Mills hated to admit it, but even with all the cold damp weather of London, she secretly loved whenever they had a chance to visit. It was going to be a short trip for one of Will Martinsson’s movie premieres; then they’d be back in warm Arizona for a couple of weeks before heading back to London for filming on Will’s next movie.
She sat curled up in a chair by the fire, an open book on her lap and her cold hands wrapped around a warm cup of tea. This was something else she loved; the British sure knew how to properly brew a cup. Melissa, Lissa Loring, her boss, was a lost cause as she hated the stuff.
Staring into the flames, Hannah couldn’t help but think of the last time they were in London. Royce Rivers was with them. Royce with his good looks, love of life and wicked, sarcastic sense of humor had shown them such a good time, always on the go with his endless energy. She smiled at the fun they’d had. Months later, as she looked back, she was aware she was falling for him, regardless of what she’d told Lissa. From their very first meeting in Los Angeles, when she’d walked the red carpet at the movie premiere both he and Will were in, that was the precise moment she knew she was a goner.
Both she and Lissa had crushes on Royce and Will all those months ago. They’d send each other pictures from the internet or interesting facts, giggling like best friends would over gorgeous guys. Then when Lissa’s book, which featured Will as her muse, was published, everything changed. It went to the top of the bestseller lists and soon, they wanted to turn her book into a movie. The trip to Los Angeles was a dream come true for both of them, movie deals and movie stars. Now just eight months later, Lissa and Will were engaged. As for Hannah, well, she was happy for her friend. Hannah had given up on happily ever after for herself years earlier, and even with Royce hovering around in the background, she couldn’t allow herself to give in, even if deep down, she secretly wished for it.
“There you are.” Lissa entered the room, headed toward the fire and sat next to Hannah in a comfortable chair. “Why aren’t you ready?”
“Wow, you look amazing, Lis.”
Lissa smiled and looked down at the purple dress. “Another beautiful dress. I tell you, Hannah, I feel like a princess. Wonderful clothes, traveling the world, excellent food. Really, almost anything I want, we can somehow get.”
“That’s because you’re my princess, darling,” the very British and proper Will said from the doorway. “Your every wish is for me to fulfill.”
“And that you do.” Lissa smiled at him before turning back to Hannah. “Now, answer the question. Why aren’t you ready?”
“I’m not going.”
“There are a lot of reasons, but the main one is you two should go and enjoy yourselves, get out. You’ve both been busy the last month finishing up filming. Go and act like a couple of teenagers out on a date for the first time, something…anything.”
Lissa squinted her eyes, attempting to make Hannah break and tell her exactly why she wasn’t going, but she couldn’t. Hannah knew every trick Lissa had, and over the years had become immune to them.
“Darling, we must go.”
“Fine.” Lissa waved a finger in Hannah’s face. “Don’t think you’re getting off so easily next time.”
Hannah watched as Lissa rose and walked over to Will. He leaned down and kissed her cheek as she placed her hand on his arm. They made such a perfect couple; they understood each other, and just loved each other. It was so easy for them and had been from the very beginning; they both embraced falling in love with open arms.
Looking back at the fire, Hannah knew the real reason she didn’t want to go. She was afraid Royce would make an appearance. She tried to find out what Beau, Will’s assistant, knew, but either Royce really wasn’t coming, or Beau was told to keep his mouth shut. She was going to have to find a way to bribe him to get information on Royce. There was no way she was going to stop being Lissa’s assistant, but she needed to know when she might run into him.
She closed her eyes and remembered their one night together. She’d felt weak. The four of them had been sharing a house, and Will’s whole family had come for a surprise visit, and was staying with them. The whole damn family was so happy and in love. She and Royce were the oddballs, the only ones not in a relationship with anyone. Naturally, they’d been paired up. That night when Royce asked her to dance, she couldn’t say no; she didn’t want to. For the first time in years, she wanted to be carefree, like she used to be. To just feel. No walls.
They were the last ones to go to bed. He walked her to her room in the house Will had rented. She’d forgotten what it felt like to want someone to kiss her. The nervous, butterfly feeling started as she leaned against the door looking into his dark brown eyes so close to hers. Keeping her hands clenched behind her back, she swallowed, but didn’t break eye contact with him as he slowly moved closer.
When his lips finally met hers, she was lost. There was nothing she could do to stop the pure feeling of joy, of finally coming home that flowed through her body. For once, her brain was quiet as she simply enjoyed Royce. They spent time discovering each other’s bodies, fighting to give each other more pleasure. Hannah felt so beautiful or fulfilled as the way he treated her that night.
The next morning, frustrated by her weakness, she had tried to keep him at arm’s length for the rest of their stay, but when it was time to say goodbye to him, she had left a piece of herself with him. Since then, she’d done everything she could not to talk to him or see him again. She knew there was no way this was going to work out, better to cut her losses now.
Setting her book on the table, she picked up her phone and searched for Royce on the internet, hoping she’d find out where he was. Logging onto a group on Facebook, she learned that the last time he’d been spotted was a week earlier, and in the states and nowhere near an airport. Closing her eyes, she wasn’t sure how she truly felt about it. Part of her wanted him to come to her, sweep her off her feet and have the happily ever after. The other part, the larger part knew she could never give him what he deserved.
It had been a week since he had last called her and almost two since his last text. She was used to seeing something from him every day, even if it was just to say hello and tell her some short story. Granted, she never texted him back, but her heart leapt every time her phone dinged with a new text, hoping it was from him. She looked around, she knew she was the only one in the house right now, but she didn’t want anyone to overhear Royce’s last voice message, she kept them all.
“Hannah, honey, please call me… I need to talk to you… I… I can’t keep doing this, I need to hear your voice.”
Closing her eyes, she tapped the play button again, letting his voice wash over her. She could picture exactly what he looked like as he said each word. His brows would be pulled together and he’d have his head resting in his hand.
She stood up and walked over to the window. Placing her forehead against the cool glass, Hannah looked out onto the dark street and watched as a bundled-up couple hurriedly walked past. Briefly, she wondered who they were, how long they’d been together and what they had to overcome to be together. Glancing up to the sky, she noticed she couldn’t see the stars from her position. She sighed and backed away. It was probably for the best. She should have never started wishing on them again.
“Did you see her?” Lissa asked Will. “She’s miserable. We need to do something.”
“Come on, you said you’d help.”
“Yes, I did. But we tried to get them together here, and it didn’t work out.”
“That’s because Royce already had other plans. Otherwise, you know he’d be here. Besides,” she narrowed her eyes at him, “don’t tell me you’re going to give up that easily? William Martinsson, if it were me, would you? Hmmm?”
“Now, darling, you know better than that. I’d move Heaven and Earth just to be able to breathe the same air as you.”
“See! All I’m asking is for you to help me move Heaven and Earth so the two of them can breathe the same air.”
“You do know there might be a good reason why they are avoiding each other. Maybe they aren’t in love like you seem to think. Are you ready to deal with the outcome of pushing them together if they aren’t? The heartbreak Hannah will surely go through?”
“I’m not wrong about this, and if Hannah wasn’t so damn stubborn, they’d already be together, and just as happy as we are.”
“Oh, see now, there you go, playing hardball.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
“Oh, really? Well, maybe we should play a game or two, and see who wins.”
Lissa wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear, “Set it up with Royce and I’ll make sure you win.”
“I like how you think. Hold that thought.” Will dug his phone out of his pocket and dialed Royce, as Lissa started kissing his neck.
Lissa giggled when she nipped at his neck and he moaned and he left a hurried message for Royce to call him back. He quickly disconnected the call, lay her back on the seat and ravished her.
M. Stratton is an International Amazon bestselling author in the romantic suspense and mystery suspense categories for her debut novel After the Storm. She is a self-proclaimed dork that loves to make people laugh and can trip over nothing. Her inner rock star is always on stage performing to a sold out crowd but is quiet and shy on the outside.
She lives with her husband and son in Arizona, which is a big difference from where she grew up north of Chicago Illinois. As an only child she learned to tell herself stories to make the long winters go by quicker while dreaming of summer vacations. Now as an adult she still makes up stories to pass the time, but now she writes them down to share with other people.
When not writing you can find M. watching football (Go Bears!), NASCAR, or classic movies, watching her husband and father restore classic cars, and seeing who can be sillier, her or her son, and of course reading.