by Rachel Van Dyken

  This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.


  Copyright © 2014 RACHEL VAN DYKEN

  ISBN: 978-0-9911273-4-4

  ISBN 10: 099112734X

  Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design


  Present Day

  Every curse word imaginable ran through my mind when I looked into her horror-stricken eyes. There was nothing on God’s green earth that I could say to make it better — nothing. Believe me, I tried. I was the king of pick-up lines, the 007 of smoothing things over.

  And for once in my life I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’d messed up, royally screwed over my entire life — my entire future — all because I couldn’t say three little words.

  Damn, One Direction. Screw them. It’s harder than hell and the minute I was given the opportunity to say exactly how I felt — that the sun literally rose and set on her light brown eyes — she was walking away. Out of my life — forever.

  Granted, her walking was more of a stomp, and she had just mortally wounded my phone by slamming it against the ground.

  But it was my fault.

  All of it was. Story of my life. Oh look, One Direction again. I should call them maybe have them do a soundtrack to my misery. We could call it, “Jack ass.”

  Her heels stomped against the hard floor and I watched her go. I looked down at my phone and froze. When Demetri Daniels, my half-brother, said I would fall, I had laughed in his face. I thought he’d been drinking again or at least smoking something. I’m one of those guys who knows himself. I can tell you exactly how many times I’ve ever been tempted to take it past a one-night stand or even just a quick hookup.


  And I was staring at her pink cowboy boots as they walked in the opposite direction.

  Every click of her heels was like a nail driving into my heart.

  I opened my mouth to say something. I mean at this point even screaming her name would have been better than nothing!

  But nothing was all I had.

  Because in the end, when you screw up this bad. You know it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than words and yelling to get the girl.

  I was going to have to chase.

  Bloody hell, I was going to have to pursue.

  Chapter One


  Three weeks previous

  “You’re a man whore.”

  Not what I expected my manager and longtime friend to say to me after not only starring in three blockbuster hits last year, but successfully pulling off the longest summer of my life in Seaside, Oregon with boy band AD2.

  I know what you’re thinking, boy band AD2? OH. MY. GOSH. Seriously, shrieks aren’t my thing, so if you’re going to go all ape-shit on me, I’m out. Like, seriously out. To be fair, I’m incredibly done with both of them. I couldn’t care less that Demetri Daniels — seriously, stop screaming — is my half brother or that they made my life a freaking hell of a mess this last summer.

  I don’t freaking care if the world is ending and the only place that’s safe is Seaside, Oregon. I’m not going. No chance in hell.

  Wait, back up. Did my manager just call me a man whore?

  “Pardon?” I tossed my cell in my hand and laughed as another text alert went off. Seriously. The girls loved me. Really, it’s not their fault I have an accent. Blame England.


  I hit ignore and stuffed the phone back into my pocket.

  “As I was saying…” Peter cleared his throat. “You’re turning into a—”

  “—whore, got it.” My phone went off again; I held up my hand. “Hold that thought, Peter.” My phone blinked another message. Candy again? Nope, this was from Brit. Ah, Brit. A man could get lost in those giant—

  “—Jaymeson!” Peter snatched the phone from my hand and slammed it against the mahogany desk. “People want to like you, they really do. It’s just…”

  My phone beeped underneath Peter’s hand. With his face turning an interesting shade of purple, he picked up my phone and threw it into the rubbish bin. Seriously? That was my fifth iPhone in three weeks!

  “What the hell!” I lunged for my phone, but he moved to stand in front of the bin and glared. Uh oh. His nostrils were flaring; that only happened when he was royally pissed. Last time they flared, I spent the better part of my day getting lectured on why it isn’t socially acceptable to wear leather pants to a funeral. Shit, call it a culture barrier. I mean, the guy who died was a rocker; I thought I was being respectful. Then again, it was probably the Megadeath shirt I wore along with it that sealed the deal for me.

  Maybe I should go back to England on an extended holiday. Anything to get rid of Peter.

  So what? People thought I was a man whore. At least I wasn’t some drug-addicted madman running up and down Sunset Boulevard with my trousers falling around my ankles. I mean, really, there were worse things in life.

  “We done?” I asked coolly.

  “Not by a long shot.” Peter’s nostrils flared again as he pointed his finger in my direction. “You’ve gotta get your shit together, Jaymeson. I’m not kidding this time.”

  “My shit is just fine. Thank you,” I retorted with a mocking grin.

  He cursed and ran his fingers through his hair.

  I stood and stretched. “Look, I’m the least of your worries. You’ve got celebrities shooting up heroin and snorting cocaine and slapping tattoos on their asses that have misspelled words. Compare me to them and I’m…” I exhaled. “Mother Theresa?”

  Wow, good one. I smirked.

  “And now you’re blasphemous,” Peter muttered. “And if you think you’re in the clear, then you’ve got another think coming. Look.” He threw down a few of the tabloids. Pictures of me littered them, as they always did, but this time it hit me straight in the gut.

  “What’s that?”

  Drugs. It looked like drugs. Holy hell.

  “You tell me.”

  I was lying across a couch with three scantily-clad women. Each of them was taking pills.

  It looked bad. As in bad enough to make my stomach clench and cause me to rethink the whole breakfast burrito with hot sauce idea after our meeting.

  “I don’t do that shit, believe me. I know what it does to a person.” My step-mom being the prime example.

  “I know that,” Peter sighed. “And you know that. But the media? They’ve just labeled you America’s newest English bad boy. They’re calling you the new British Invasion. My phone’s ringing off the hook with irate producers who are thinking very intently about not casting you, only because it appears that you’re not serious about your work. Now. Sit.”

  Really, given no other choice, I sat this time and moaned into my hands. “What do I do?”

  “Stop sleeping around.”

  “Be reasonable.” I laughed. “What can I do that won’t make me want to kill myself?”

  Seriously, was the guy a monk? I had needs. And so did the girls. Was it my fault that I became available every time they needed a little… attention?

  With an evil smile, Peter answered, “Well, I thought you’d never ask.” He pressed a button on his phone. “Yeah, Patty, go ahead and book that trip to Portland for Jaymeson.”

  Patty, what kind of name is Patty wait,
did he just say…

  “Portland?” I repeated, staring in disbelief. “Oregon?”

  As in the large city next to Hell, also known as Seaside?

  Peter folded his arms across his chest. “Nope.”

  I wasn’t sure I wanted to know where he was going with this.

  “Seaside, Oregon. You’re going back to Hell.” At least he labeled it correctly. Was it selfish of me to wish for a plane to crash?

  Okay, I could deal with this. I was just going to be honest. “No.” I shook my head at least five times. “Hell, no.”

  Peter held up his hand and ignored me and my pleas.

  “Right. Okay.” The phone clicked. He lifted his head and grinned. “It’s all settled. Pack your bags, Jaymeson.”

  “This is a joke right?” I stood and placed my hands on the desk. “You’re trying to scare me?”

  “Nope.” Peter sighed heavily. In that moment it was as if I was able to see how stressed he was.

  Was I driving him to that sort of behavior? You know the type where you feel like you have no other choice but to torture those you care about in order for them to get their shit together?

  Was I now… that guy?

  I backed up a step. Impossible.

  Alec, lead singer of AD2, He was that guy. Demetri? He’d been hooked on drugs for years! I was the one who didn’t cause drama. Where the hell was my lawyer?

  “I don’t have to do it,” I said smugly. Wow, I may as well have stomped my foot and yelled ‘you can’t make me.’

  “You don’t. But Daniel Erikson says if you can’t clean up your act, you’re out.”

  Don’t panic, don’t show fear. “I’m not sure I understand? Why would he care about my personal life?”

  Peter sighed. “Because the movie series is about young star-crossed lovers. It’s about the innocence of a first kiss.”

  I grunted and rolled my eyes. Who the hell cared?

  “My point exactly,” Peter said.

  “What?” I looked up at him.

  “When’s the last time you actually kissed a girl before going to the main course.”

  Visions of the latest in my long string of conquests came to mind. Legs for miles, dark and sultry with a willing and quite vigorous attitude, painted a smug grin to my lips “I kiss them plenty…”


  Aw, shit, he was using “the voice.” You know, the one parents magically know how to use when they’re trying to make you feel guilty as hell.

  “You want this movie series? The one they say’s gonna be bigger than Twilight? You have to clean up the image. I’m not kidding and neither is Daniel. This is your one and only chance. I won’t make you do anything. You’re a twenty-two year old adult. You make the choice.”

  I hated it when they pulled the adult card. Freaking hated it.

  The clock ticked in the background as if counting down to my doom. With a curse I rose from my seat and held out my hand. “Where’s my damn ticket?”

  Chapter Two


  First things first, this isn’t me. I mean, seriously, this is not me. I’m not that guy. You know, the one that just does whatever someone tells him to do in order to get his paycheck? Hell to the no. I don’t do that. I don’t play that game, but when it comes to my career? I take it seriously, so if Peter says I need to go to Antarctica and mate with a penguin, I’d do it. Sure, I’d throw a fit the entire time, but I’d sure as hell do it in order to be able to keep doing what I love.

  Making movies isn’t just my bread and butter; its my life, it’s my passion, and anything that stands in the way of that — whether it be a gorgeous girl or even a terrible rep — well, let’s just say I’d do anything to be rid of it. Anything legal, that is. I’m not that crazy. America may be labeling me the newest English bad boy, but I’m scared of my own shadow.

  Case in point, last year Demetri had me convinced my room was haunted when he hid a timed night light to turn on at two a.m. every freaking day until I finally figured it out. I was one week away from calling Ghost Hunters.

  With a sigh, I walked into LAX and tried to play it cool. Aviator sunglasses? Check. Jeans? Check. Passport into crazy land? Check. I took my luggage to the Delta kiosk and sent out a text to both Demetri and Alec.

  Descending into Hell. Your fault.

  “Sir?” a woman asked. “Over here.”

  I wheeled my luggage over to the desk, pulled out my passport and gave her my confirmation number.

  I waited.

  It always took a few seconds for it to click with the commoners. They’d look at me, then back at my passport, then back at me, then back at the passport. This usually went on for about five minutes, all the while with the smile frozen on their faces and the sweat started pouring from their temples.

  “Uh, Jamie Jaymeson?” the attendant said.

  “Yes?” I answered.

  “It looks like…” Click, click, click. Her nails tapped at amazing speed across the keyboard. “You’re in the first class cabin. The flight into Portland will be boarding at 10:55. If there is anything…” Leaning forward, so her breasts seemed to kiss her keyboard, she sighed. “And I do mean anything you need, let me know. I will personally be sure to take care of it.”

  Of course she would — I was a celebrity. I could ask her to clip my toenails and she’d probably save them and sell them on eBay. I tilted my head and examined her.

  She was pretty.

  You know, if you were into fifty year old cougars with lazy eyes. But I was done with making an ass out of myself. So I thanked her, touched her hand, gave her a solid wink, and made my way toward security.

  Airport travel was always a toss up. Either I (A) made it through security without being noticed, or (B) was chased down the corridor and had to hide in the bathroom until someone came and found me.

  Maybe I was feeling lucky, but I was hoping for option A.

  I stood in line for security and checked my cell.

  Demetri and Alec had yet to text me back. Bastards.

  Sighing, I went to text them again just as someone bumped into my arm.

  “Sorry,” the soft feminine voice said.

  I looked up and paused. Her eyes were a golden brown. The type of brown that looked odd against dark skin, it was almost chocolate but not dark enough to blend in with her pupils. I must have been staring because she cleared her throat.

  I shook my head and waved her off. “It’s cool.”

  “Well, as long as it’s cool,” she murmured.

  “Pardon?” I turned.

  “Uh…” Her cheeks stained pink. “Nothing. Sorry, just talking to myself, nervous habit.”

  Grinning, I leaned in. “You have a reason to be nervous?”

  Her eyes left mine as she slowly checked me out, shoes to head, and then very simply said, “Nope.”

  What the freaking hell? I glared, slightly irritated that she didn’t pause or at least blush. She was shitting me, right? Did she freaking know who I was? I jerked off my sunglasses and gave her the stare. You know, the one that literally causes a teenage scream to echo throughout the known universe, making parents want to stab me with sharp objects.

  And nothing.

  Not even crickets.

  “Do you know who I am?” I asked… possibly with more than a little arrogance.

  “You having trouble remembering your name or something?” She put her stuff on the conveyor belt and laughed. Yup, laughed at me.

  “Of course not.” I snorted. “You know what, never mind.” I waved her off again just as I took off my jacket and put it in the bin. I put my new Rolex in one of the smaller trays, took off my Mark Nason boots and stomped through security, only to have the annoying as hell alarm go off.

  Groaning, I stepped back out as the man with the giant torture stick examined me. It beeped when it went across the button of my jeans.

  “Probably my button,” I said.

  The girl who I’d just been talking to sighed and cross
ed her arms. Right, I knew I was holding up the line, I wasn’t an idiot, but I couldn’t control the stupid security guy with a power trip.

  “Sir,” said the TSA dude with a nod toward my waist. “You can either strip here or strip in a private room. Either way, you need to take off the pants.”

  “You’re joking, right?” I laughed. “Am I being Punk’d or something? What the hell?”

  “No, sir, this is not a joke. Take off the pants.”

  I looked back at the man and swore.

  Was this legal? I mean, I flew all the time, I’d never had to take off my pants before.

  “Sir…” The man groaned. “People are waiting. Just take off your damn pants and you can be on your way.”

  My agent’s warnings went off like an alarm in my brain. I had to be the good guy, not the ass. With a smile that felt so cheesy I wanted to shoot myself, I nodded and began taking off my damn pants in the middle of LAX. Ten bucks said I’d make the nightly news.

  Once my jeans were at my ankles. The guy nodded. He scanned my shirt and it beeped. What the hell it hadn’t beeped before? I gave him a helpless look as he sighed and crossed his arms. “Shirt too, I’m afraid.”

  “What the hell, man?”

  He was immobile. Just stared. By now people were going into different lines to avoid my strip tease.


  I quickly pulled the shirt over my head.

  I was officially standing in nothing but black Diesel boxer briefs in the middle of LAX. Really what else could go wrong?

  And then I heard laughter.

  Male laughter.

  A camera crew came flying at me, followed by Demetri and Alec.

  Son of a bitch!

  I should have yelled, but all I could do was laugh my ass off as I pulled up my pants and shook my head.

  “You…” Alec said as he slapped me on the shoulder. “Have officially been Punk’d.”

  I shook my head and looked at the camera saying, “Hi, I’m Jamie Jaymeson and I’ve been Punk’d”

  The crew continued filming while I punched Demetri in the arm and rolled my eyes at Alec. We quickly walked through security as tons of cameras went off.

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