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Caught on Camera
(Hollywood in Muskoka, #1)
Publication date: September 9th 2016
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance
To achieve her dream of working on Hollywood film sets, star struck chambermaid Rachel Lehmann needs $35,000 for film school tuition by the end of the summer. When she’s asked to fill in for a missing bridesmaid at a movie star’s wedding, it’s her big chance to take candid photos of celebrities and sell them to the entertainment media. Then groomsman Mickey McNichol, agent to the stars, sweeps her off her feet.
Mickey’s bitter experience is that everyone in show business fakes emotions. When he falls for the stand-in bridesmaid, he thinks he’s finally met a beautiful woman he can trust. But if Rachel betrays his friends’ privacy, Mickey will ensure she never works in Hollywood.
Caught on Camera, Hollywood in Muskoka series, Book 1
Excerpt Chapter 8: Splash
“Let’s try the dock,” Mickey urged with an outstretched hand.
Rachel accepted his grasp. They walked hand in hand the length of the long wood-plank dock. Overhead millions of pinpricks of light in an inky blanket cocooned them in a private universe.
“I’ve only seen stars like this in Wisconsin,” he said.
“On your fishing trips?”
“That’s right. Of course, I was with the guys. Tonight I’m with you.”
At his side, her strong, slender fingers entwined in his, Rachel’s pale skin reflected starlight. Even enveloped in the preposterously oversized robe, her lean figure radiated unconscious sensuality. He angled his head to press his mouth against hers.
Rachel released his hand, retreated a couple of steps to duck his kiss, and pulled Mopette on a short leash with her. “Mickey,” she began. Mopette deked around her in an attempt to sniff the water, wrapping the leash around her legs in the process.
Given the signals she’d been sending, Mickey wondered at Rachel’s withdrawal. An obvious explanation occurred to him. His gut clenched. He never knowingly poached another man’s woman. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No,” she admitted. “But I can’t get involved with a guest—I mean to say…a wedding guest. At least not in public.”
He dismissed the weak excuse. “One kiss under the stars, Rachel. You’re attracted to me. I know women.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to kiss you, Mickey, truly, but someone might see us.”
Mickey advanced to close the distance between them. “We’re two hundred feet from the hotel. No one will recognize us.”
Rachel retreated. “We absolutely cannot fool around out here,” she squeaked. “Seriously. Mopette needs to do her business and return to Candy. She’ll be waiting.” She lifted her face to the starry sky. A whisper of a regretful sigh escaped. “Although it is romantic.”
Mickey took that as a yes. He advanced another step. At the same instant Mopette tugged on the leash. Rachel teetered on the edge of the dock, then plummeted backward into thin air with a shriek. She body-slammed the water with a splash loud enough to wake the dead. Mopette catapulted airborne at the end of the leash, her surprised yelp and splash an echo.
Mickey rushed to the edge of the dock. “Rachel!”
Her head broke the surface, wet hair gleaming dully, arms thrashing. Mopette paddled at full throttle nearby, too busy to yap.
“Save the dog!” Rachel coughed. Chilling gasps pierced the night air before the heavy weight of the sodden robe dragged her down into the black depths.
To hell with the dog. Mickey leaped off the dock, landing leather-shoe-shod feetfirst into cool water next to the last spot she’d surfaced. He filled his lungs, dove deep, and swung his arms in blind searching arcs. Precious seconds slipped by until frantic fingers penetrated a forest of slimy weeds rising from the bottom of the lake and encountered cotton. He fisted the fabric and, kicking with adrenaline-fueled energy, lunged for the surface.
Rachel’s head bobbed above the surface for the second time. She sputtered, hacked up water, and sucked in air. Relief along with welcomed oxygen flooded his aching lungs. He inserted arms under her shoulders and clutched her heaving chest to his, thereby supporting her head and shoulders above water. Heart pounding, his legs scissored like strokes of an engine. He’d never been so scared in his life.
The wet robe, as heavy as a cement overcoat, threatened to force them both down into a watery grave.
“The robe has to go.” As she gasped for air, he fumbled for the belt knot, loosened it with frantic fingers, and managed with difficulty to strip off the deadly soaked fabric. Under it, his hands encountered nothing but wet skin.
She was naked.
Madelle completed four novels before Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc. contracted to publish her debut romantic suspense, Diamond Lust—republished as Diamond Hunter—and a sexy, short free read, The Next Big Thing, in 2010.
When Madelle realized her author voice is more suited to light, humorous contemporary romance, she went waaaay back to her teen years for the Hollywood in Muskoka series setting. Madelle, her sisters, and assorted pets enjoyed idyllic summers at a lake in the District of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, named by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their top 20 Best of the World Must-see Places.
The Muskoka lakes’ forested shorelines are dotted with palatial properties owned by wealthy families and Hollywood celebrities. At sixteen, being neither rich nor famous, Madelle worked briefly as a chambermaid at the now-closed Delawana Inn, a local resort.
Madelle is retired from an engineering career in the federal public service and lives in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, with her husband. She tries to keep fit with cycling, Pilates, and yoga, and dreams of owning a waterfront cottage. Or at least a pool.
She tweets and posts on Facebook and Goodreads about Hollywood, filmmaking, Muskoka, and, of course, writing. She blogs the second Tuesday of the month at romancingthegenres.blogspot.com and occasionally on her own website.