Seaside Pictures Book 3
by Rachel Van Dyken
Copyright © 2017 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 © 2017 RACHEL VAN DYKEN
Cover Art by Jena Brignola
Formatting by Jill Sava, Love Affair With Fiction
Table of Contents
About The Author
Also By Rachel Van Dyken
ZANE WAS BACK. Thank God.
His memory. His snarky weird-ass attitude and love for all things sugary and sticky.
At least that problem had solved itself.
And now I was back in Seaside, where Hollywood single rockstars and actors go to die—also known as the place where every single one of my clients end up in love, married, or with kids.
My gut twisted.
I twirled the stick between my hands over the fire. I was exhausted.
I love my job.
I love my job.
I love my job.
I freaking hated my job.
I was thirty, and I wanted to retire.
I was an agent, partially because I was good at it, partially because when my boy band broke up, I didn’t really have a choice. I needed a purpose, and it was easy to go into the business side of things.
I had an ear for talent.
I loved managing musicians.
I loathed actors.
I wanted to strangle them with my bare hands, give them a little shake, then take them for a long drowning swim in the ocean.
“You look like hell.” Lincoln sat down next to me and sighed. “And you’re burning your marshmallow.”
Zane shot me an evil stare from across the fire, I held up my hands in surrender. “I wasn’t paying attention.”
“She coming?” Linc whispered.
“Hell if I know.”
I let the sound of laughter float around me. It was nice, the laughter, seeing Zane dance around the fire with his girlfriend. Out of all of my clients — I loved him the most.
I wasn’t supposed to pick favorites.
Our clients were our children — God knew they acted like them most of the time, but Zane had always been different.
More of a brother than a client.
And watching him grow up in the industry had been a pleasure, a privilege.
But as if the universe needed to remind me of the current hell I was residing in, the sound of a car door slamming jolted me out of my happy place.
And Angelica Greene marched toward me, her tiny hands clenched into fists, her face one of beautiful fury.
We weren’t supposed to pick favorites.
And we sure as hell weren’t supposed to sleep with them.
Granted, our history was just that — history.
And I was her last hope. The only guy willing to work with her.
Her final shot at stardom.
“Sis,” Linc coughed into his hand while the gang around the fire grew quiet.
Zane shared a horrified look with me. Yeah, I might have forgotten to mention that she was the new client.
Jay held out his hand. “Glad you could make it, Angelica. Guys,” he grabbed her by the shoulders. “Most of you know Linc’s sister. She’s graciously agreed to star in the final movie — as you know, Jessica had to pull out due to her pregnancy.”
Alec made a cross motion over his chest while Demetri looked like he was about five seconds away from throwing her in the fire.
I wasn’t the only one who had history with her.
She was known for burning bridges almost as much as she was known for her drug problem and inability to get over Alec Daniels.
Hell, I was in over my head.
“Hi.” Angelica found her voice and addressed everyone with a haughty expression that had me groaning out loud.
Lincoln winced and then patted the sand. “Angelica, why don’t you sit, I know it was a long drive back from Portland.”
Her eyes penetrated mine with ferocity.
“Well…” Her voice always did remind me of sex, damn it. It was low, controlled, raspy. “I would have gotten here a lot sooner if my jackass of an agent wouldn’t have dropped me off on the side of the road with nothing but a twenty dollar bill and a cell phone.”
Jay glared at me.
I crossed my arms. “Well, maybe your agent wanted you to remember who’s in charge of your career. The same career hanging on by a thread. I’ve heard walks are good for dogs, you know, clean air and all that.”
She gasped in outrage.
Zane shot me a “really man?” look across the fire.
But I was over it.
So over it.
I was over it the day Angelica Greene walked out of my life and into my band mate’s arms.
I was over it then.
And I was over it now.
The only reason I was even involved in it was because she had about just as much shit on me as I did on her — and most days I loved my job.
She kicked sand onto my marshmallow.
I loved my job.
I loved my job.
I loved my job.
I hated Angelica Greene.
New York City — Madison Square Garden
I FIXED THE earpiece and slowly grabbed a stool to sit on while the crowd of ninety percent girls went completely wild, losing their minds, sobbing, screaming my name. The signs were littered with marriage proposals and glitter. Some were decorated with bras while others were flung onto the stage.
“We’re going to slow things down a bit.” I chuckled into the mic as the screaming intensified. I always loved this part. The part
I refused to be that person.
Maybe that was why I was the lead singer. I was the only one smart enough not to get caught up in all the shit that my bandmates found it impossible to stay away from. Like all the amazing sex I wasn’t having and the drugs I wasn’t taking because why ruin a good thing? And our band? The biggest boy band the world had seen — trust me, we were a good thing just waiting to get brought down a peg or two. Already we’d lost one member to rehab, and I’d be damned if we let it happen with the others.
It was our last tour stop, then I had a cameo in a movie soon after that. Who knew?
A young teen caught my eye. She couldn’t be more than twelve or thirteen, though the way she wore her makeup and short skirt told me that her parents better put her on a tight leash before she ended up in trouble.
God, just listen to me!
At nineteen, I felt like I was pushing thirty.
I finished the last set with the guys, hardly remembering anything above the shrieking screams as security ushered us off the stage.
I was exhausted, but I knew what was expected before I could sleep. Autographs with every single tween who’d managed to beg their parents to pay the steep price, and there would be at least a hundred of them.
I inwardly groaned while Trevor gave me a look of disgust. He hated it as much as I did — but he faked it better than any of us. Maybe it was because he was a cocky piece of work and people expected him to be a bit rude, who knew? If I was the frontman he was a close tie, more second frontman than sidekick though he hated the label.
Andrew jerked off his headset and cursed. “Let’s just get this shit over with.”
My thoughts exactly.
It had been fun when we were fourteen.
It was a blast when we were sixteen.
But now that we were all pushing twenty and twenty-one, we wanted more to life, I knew that the lifestyle was getting to everyone, and I could see it in their eyes when they talked to friends back home, friends who were in college, friends who actually had lives.
Friends who wanted ours.
Without having any idea, the sacrifices made to have it.
We were basically shoved toward the dressing room and the backstage area where we were at least given snacks and something to drink while we waited for the screaming to erupt again.
The first girl that came through was quiet.
The second sobbed.
I gave her a tissue.
I think it made her cry harder.
It went on like that for two hours, until finally, the last girl walked through.
I narrowed my eyes.
She was older than thirteen — that same girl I’d seen from the stage, too pretty to be by herself and too damn innocent to be wearing such a short skirt.
Feeling like a total pervert, I looked away.
Only to see Andrew’s eyes bulging out of his head.
I elbowed him.
He coughed and elbowed Ty who in turn elbowed Trevor, yeah so all of us were elbowing, nobody was talking.
“Hi!” she said, her voice lit with excitement. “Not sure if that’s your guys’ way of saying hi or if you’re being weird.” She thrust out her hand. Her fingernails were covered in pink nail polish, bangles clanged against her wrist, and a small bird tattoo covered the expanse of pink skin just below the last bangle. My fingers twitched with the sudden alarming need to trace the black edges. “I’m Angelica—”
“Greene!” The girl who’d just walked out of the room shouted and then more shouts came with, “OMG! IT’S ANGELICA GREENE!”
And suddenly it hit me.
Why she looked so familiar.
She was the actress I was supposed to be working with on set next month.
With a smirk, she locked eyes with me.
And I knew, in that moment.
I was screwed.
THE COOL SEASIDE breeze picked up, whipping my tight leather jacket around my biceps, making me squeeze my arms across my chest. Annoyance surged through my body, making my blood hot despite the cold weather.
Angelica fucking Greene.
I gritted my teeth and flashed an irritated glance at my Rolex.
Make that an hour late to set.
Jaymeson waved at me from the beach and lifted his arms up in question. Of course, Angelica gets the second chance of a lifetime working for Jamie Jaymeson — one of the biggest names in the industry, not to mention the youngest — and she’s late.
An hour late.
A pulsing headache throbbed behind my eyes; I pulled off my prescription sunglasses and blew out a breath between my teeth.
“Sorry!” Angelica’s melodic voice interrupted the very vivid daydream I’d just been having: the one where I was chasing her with my car and she tripped, and I accidentally ran over her phone and ruined her life just like she was ruining mine. “Hey, I said I was sorry!” She stopped in front of me.
I didn’t waver.
Just stared her down like the stranger she was.
No longer was she the girl I loved.
The girl I broke up my freaking band for.
The girl I swore I’d marry and move mountains for.
That girl had never existed.
The bitch in front of me?
My freaking reality.
“I thought you were dead.” I lifted my chin.
With a scowl, she shoved her black Gucci sunglasses away from her eyes and into her hair. “Very funny.”
“I wasn’t joking.”
She sighed, bracing her hips with her hands as the wind whipped her dark hair around her sharp cheekbones. God, the girl needed a cheeseburger. “Can we not do this right now, Will? Or ever?”
“What’s the excuse this time.” I grabbed her by the elbow and hauled her toward the set. “Coke not doing its job anymore?”
She jerked away from me, nearly stumbling onto the ground. “You know I quit that shit.”
I grunted in response. “Next time you’re late, I’m pulling you off the project.”
“You can’t do that.” Her voice fell, weakened, made me doubt the irrational anger I almost always felt whenever I was in her presence. “Will, please this is my last—”
“You’re late!” Jaymeson shouted.
I shoved her in the direction of the makeup trailer. “Get your skinny ass to makeup before I find a replacement, and don’t think I won’t do it, Angelica. God knows I’m the only one stupid enough to take you on as a client, and I am literally your only hope.”
“That’s a lie and you know it.” She scowled.
“I own you,” I whispered it roughly, and her body jerked in response. “Never forget that. Your pathetic career is in my hands. One more mistake, Angelica, and this is gone. All of it.”
“Why?” she choked out, tears filling her eyes. “Why do you hate me so much?”
I exhaled in disbelief. “Hate isn’t a strong enough word for how I feel about the woman I gave everything to — the woman who took it all away from me. Must suck to have the tables turn, to lose all the power you used to have.” I nodded toward the trailer. “Go.”
She started to walk away then stopped, giving me one last glance over her shoulder. “We used to be great.”
“No.” I swallowed. “We used to be a lie.”
HE HATED ME.
I hated me.
The world hated me.
The only person that actually tolerated me was my mom, probably because my paychecks made it possible for her to live the life of a rock star. Plastic surgery, new cars, houses in Mexico — she had it all because of me.
Because of the
My first word was commercial.
My second was hotdog.
Mainly because that was the commercial I starred in, it was the first big paycheck my mom cashed.
“You’re gonna be famous, baby!” Mama hugged me tight, squeezing me until my lungs almost popped from the force. It was the first hug she’d given me in weeks. The first time she’d smiled in what felt like forever. And even at that age I knew, that if I could just keep her happy — that would be enough.
“Fun!” I giggled. “Fun, mama!”
“Mama will always be fun for you.”
It was a lie.
She was only fun when I did what she said.
I closed my eyes against the sting of tears as my lead-filled legs took me to the makeup trailer.
Luckily, Jaymeson hadn’t stayed to continue his rant, and Will was too pissed to follow me.
My chest clenched.
It wasn’t like I was tardy on purpose. I had trouble sleeping at night so often hid my cell under my bed. I’d relied on the hotel alarm.
And suffered for it.
You love your job. You love your job.
I hated my job.
My shoulders deflated.
But I literally didn’t know how to do anything else and was too afraid to say something to my mom — my drug-using, over-the-top, dramatic mom. The one whose psychotic ways nearly destroyed me a few years ago.
“There you are!” Gem, a makeup artist I’d worked with not long ago pulled me in for a tight hug then pointed to the chair, “So Jay wants us to go pretty light on the makeup today, you okay with that?”
In a daze, I simply nodded.
She’d hugged me.
My body was still in shock.
Buzzing from the contact.
Starving for more of it.
I hated the weakness that accompanied that hug, the little taunting voice in my head that said I wasn’t good enough for a simple caress.
The rapid beating of my heart that readily agreed.
Or the empty look in my reflection that I’d always believed it.
“You okay?” Gem started swirling colors on her palette then dipped her brush in and swiped it across my jaw in an effort to match the shade of my tan skin. “You seem a bit off.”