Title: Queen of the Universe
Genre: Chick Lit
Can a charismatic TV writer convince a reclusive handyman to become her show’s leading man in time to save her career?
Savvy Hollywood writer Lola Scott is about to get fired from the TV show she created because she still hasn’t cast the role of the dark, brooding bounty hunter. But then HE walks in … Arlen Black. And he’s perfect for the part. But he’s not an actor there to audition. Nope. He’s the handyman Lola hired to renovate her historic Hollywood house. No problem—Lola gleefully offers him the dream job of a lifetime. But the stoic recluse-in-a-tool-belt wants nothing to do with Lola and her show. What?! Really?
So Lola goes after him with everything she’s got. But as she draws Arlen into her chaotic world of TV production, Hollywood gossip sinks its claws into him. And when one paparazzi photo threatens to destroy everything he holds dear, Lola’s got to move heaven and Earth not to save the show … but to save Arlen.
This novel reads as a stand alone story within the In Love in the Limelight universe: Los Angeles, where the stars and paths of different characters might cross, and where the paparazzi is always ready to sink in its glittery talons.
Ray looks daggers at me from across the desk. “Do you know how much trouble we could be in? Our careers are at stake.”
“You’re overreacting,” I say.
“Really?” he barks. “Did you or did you not convince Tom Glenn – the head of the freaking STUDIO – that Arlen Black is going to play Sam?”
“Yes, I did,” I answer.
“And Tom doesn’t know that Arlen is actually a handyman.”
“And Arlen still hasn’t agreed to play Sam?”
“STILL?!” Ray shoots up from the chair and starts pacing maniacally around the office. He claws at his hair and breathes deeply and loudly.
Just then the door flies open and Tom Glenn breezes in. “Good morn—” He stops mid-stride when he sees Ray. “What’s wrong with you?”
Ray turns, hands still clutching his hair.
“What’s going on?” Tom looks to me then back to Ray. “You look seriously spooked.”
“It’s just too embarrassing,” Ray squeaks out.
My heart drops to my shoes. Ray is going to rat me out.
“Lola …” Ray splutters. “She …”
“Lola …” Ray continues, “she just told me what she’s thinking of wearing to the Upfronts next month. In New York.”
Tom’s Colgate smile returns. “Well, I know you’ll make sure she looks presentable,” he tells Ray. Back to me. “So, Lola, let’s talk about Arlen Black.”
Ray stands stiff as a toy soldier just behind Tom’s right shoulder.
“Okay,” I say innocently. My insouciance throws Tom a hair off his game.
But he starts talking anyway. “Well, uh, for one thing, the contract isn’t signed.” Tom huffs in a big breath and gains momentum. “And Ray tells me he can’t get a hold of Black’s agent.”
“Well,” I confess, smiling sheepishly, “I kind of discovered him. He doesn’t even have an agent.”
“No agent?” Tom’s eyes light up like a dragon’s when he’s just spotted the sacrificial virgin chained to the rock. “Well, get him in here! Let’s get the contract signed.”
“Can’t,” I say, twisting my mouth into chagrin. “He’s … in Vancouver this week. Shooting pick-ups.”
“Shooting pick-ups?” Tom echoes. “He’s in a movie? I thought you said you discovered him.”
I see Ray wince.
“Well,” I explain. “I …uh … discovered him in America.”
Ray’s face gets more contorted but I forge on.
“And this movie,” I say, “who knows if it’ll ever see the light of day.”
“But does he have his SAG card yet?” Tom asks. “That makes a big difference in the contract.”
“No, no. No SAG card. He’s not in the union yet. This isn’t even a speaking part.”
Tom furrows his brow. “But he has to go back up to Canada for pick ups? When he’s just an extra?”
Jesus, why does Tom Glenn have to be paying attention today of all days? But I stick with my story.
“He’s not an extra,” I insist. “His role is central to the plot.”
“But it’s not a speaking part?”
“Right,” I say. “It’s … well, it’s … a Sasquatch movie. He plays Sasquatch.”
“Sasquatch?” Tom squawks. “You mean Wendy Hunter’s new leading man is Bigfoot? You paired America’s Sweetheart with Bigfoot?!”
My heart thumps as Tom turns purple. “It’s really a sweet story,” I assure him. “Bigfoot, in love from afar, with uh … an ice skater.”
“An ice skater?!”
“Yes,” I say. “She skates on this frozen lake every day and he watches her, and then one day she falls through the ice—”
“Ray,” Tom snaps. “Go look up this Canadian Sasquatch ice skating project on iMDB. Let’s see how screwed we are and if we can possibly kill this thing.”
“We don’t need to kill it, Tom,” I interject. “I’ve already spoken to Arlen about playing the part uncredited. Lends such a mysterious finesse to the project. And the producers jumped on board with the idea.”
“Oh,” Tom said. “You’re sure this won’t leak out?”
“I’m sure. But it will if suddenly the Hollywood Reporter is asking why Tom Glenn is killing some Canadian indie movie.”
“Mmm,” he said, considering. “Here’s what we’ll do. Nothing for now, but get Arlen to sign the second he gets back to Cali.”
“Good plan!” I beam at him. “I’ll get right on it.”
The moment the door closes behind Tom, Ray turns on me. “CANADIAN BIGFOOT ICE SKATING MOVIE?”
When she was a kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to rescue animals and constantly pick up litter. At home, she loves to kick back by watching black & white movies, British mysteries, and the New York Giants. Corcillo lives in a drafty old house in Hollywood with her husband TV writer Ron, a guy who’s even cooler than Kip Dynamite.
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