After years of burning the midnight oil, Rebecca Carter finally hits the jackpot and lands an agent. Her book skyrockets to success and when the movie rights are sold, she flies to Hollywood to be a consultant. It’s a dream come true until she meets Cory, the Hollywood heartthrob who’s playing the lead role in her movie…
Cory Hudson has it all; striking good looks and amazing talent. Yet fame comes at a huge cost, and as the pressures of his stardom mounts, Cory resorts to alcohol and drug use to ease the burden. It’s then, at one of his lowest moments, that he meets Rebecca—or more like confuses her with someone else. The encounter is disastrous and should result in nothing short of the two becoming mortal enemies, yet each are drawn to the other, Rebecca determined to help Cory overcome his drug and alcohol problems, and Cory drawn to Rebecca’s kindness even when he’s at his worst. A friendship soon blossoms, and everyone is watching, including one of Cory’s biggest fans . . .
Penelope Fitzpatrick is a woman with a passion for the dark arts, and she doesn’t take kindly to Cory’s new friendship. At first, she watches from the shadows, waiting for her Dark Father to intervene, but when she begins to lose hope that she’ll ever get what she deserves, she decides to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost...
Release Date: April 5, 2022
Genre: Romantic Suspense
A Pink Satin Romance
The final stop of the day for our charity event is at the Los Angeles branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I’ve always liked animals, but when I was growing up I always made sure to keep them as far away from my house as possible, otherwise my father would beat them mercilessly just for the fun of it. I know, because aside from my mother, I was his favorite punching bag.
As the cast of Copper Creek exits the huge tour bus the studio had rented for our day-long charity event, I catch glimpses of nearby buildings as I head down the aisle. If I remember correctly from the “briefing” we had this morning when we met up at the studio, I’m sure they said the spcaLA is next door to the Long Beach Animal Care Services.
For a shelter, it’s pretty ritzy, though I hadn’t imagined that the studio was going to send us into the ghetto. Copper Creek is a cheesy teenage romantic drama, but the ratings are promising enough that the studio signed us for a second season—and rumor has it that my character, Ethan Green, has garnered enough attention to warrant an upgrade to potential lover status with the female lead.
It’s still all so surreal and unbelievable.
I mean, I’d like to think of myself as a man’s man, but I still get a little choked up when I think about it. This is some real-life Cinderella shit, though. I’m still so mind-blown by it that I can’t wrap my brain around it. But I did it. I made it big. Me. Cory Hudson. The used and abused child of an alcoholic asshole. The orphan who bounced from foster home to homeless shelters all over the middle of nowhere New York. I made it. I’m a Hollywood heartthrob.
As I step off the bus, I watch the press swarm after Dee Armstrong, the female lead who my character is going to get involved with in season two. She’s definitely the star of the show, no doubt because she’s an adored child actress who’s from an elite Hollywood family, but she’s also a good actress, and I’m actually a little nervous about working with her. As of right now, we’ve only had one scene together, and it was of her fantasizing about being with my character. It was beyond awkward to film, but she had been graceful about it, and apparently our on-screen chemistry is what convinced the powers that be to bump up my status—that, and the fan response to Ethan Green. Apparently my character is the underdog—the poor stable boy who would never have a chance with the beautiful heiress of a horse farm.
It’s all so damn cheesy, but it’s paying the bills, and while I haven’t really experienced the fame part yet, my agent keeps telling me it’s coming. Once all the episodes air, people will really start to recognize me. Until then, I just watch as reporters and paparazzi yell questions at the other cast members. My time will come. I can feel it. So until then, I’ll just enjoy the perks, like the star-studded treatment we get inside the animal shelter.
The director is there to greet us, as well as a slew of other staff members and volunteers. We take pictures and sign autographs, and then we talk about wildfires, which is how this whole “Good Samaritan” thing got started. Some big-wig at the studio thought it was the perfect opportunity for the show to get some good PR if we tag-teamed with the major nonprofits in the Los Angeles area. Apparently, he was right, and so we go through the motions of caring—again—and make our rounds through the facility.
In one room, I play with puppies. In another, with senior dogs. In the next area, there are a ton of dog runs, and each of the cast members is assigned a dog we walk outside. My dog is cute; an old fella by the name of Liam who has a bit of a limp. He’s easy going and photogenic, so we take lots of pictures together. Then I’m shepherded into a cat room. It’s a huge space with lots of free-roaming cats who have ample trees and condos to climb. I’d like to think of myself as a dog kind-of-guy, but after a long day of visiting with veterans, seniors, and disaster victims, the cats are a welcome respite, so I linger behind to play with a few.
When I notice a lone volunteer waiting to guide me back to the group, I start to make my way over to her, but I stop short when I notice a small room tucked off in the corner. The door has a large window so there’s a clear view of a woman sitting in a rocking chair. She’s bottle feeding the smallest kitten I’ve ever seen. Intrigued, I walk that way. At first, the woman is so focused on stroking the little kitten and holding the bottle just so that she doesn’t notice me or the volunteer, but when she finally looks up, her eyes go wide.
I have to say, it’s a little flattering.
I push open the door with a smile. The woman is speechless, so I walk over and kneel beside her, though my attention is on the kitten.
“How old is it?” I inquire.
“I...” she stammers, clearly caught off guard, which thankfully doesn’t hinder her ability to continue feeding the hungry kitten. “Ah...”
It’s my first time with an awestruck fan, but I get the sense it’s best to help in moments like these.
“Was it rescued during the wildfires?” I hedge, hoping to get her talking.
The woman, who’s probably in her early twenties, nods, because apparently she’s still speechless. At this point, it’s getting a little awkward, especially because the woman’s long, dark hair and big, light brown eyes are sort of mesmerizing. She’s hot, and definitely not the kind of chick I’d expect to find nursing kittens at an animal shelter, though I remind myself that not all people are so set on survival mode or jaded that they can’t naturally be altruistic. And hot chicks can volunteer too. They aren’t all airheaded bimbos.
“Are you a fan of the show?” I ask as I move close to a row of nearby kennels. There are a bunch of equally tiny kittens tucked away in each.
“The show?” the woman asks.
I peer over my shoulder and study her face. She seems genuinely confused. “Copper Creek,” I say, sure that given her reaction, the title will help snap her out of her stupor.
The woman, though, shakes her head. “I...I don’t have a television...”
“Oh...” I say, since now I’m speechless too.
“A-hem,” the other volunteer chimes in. “Penny is one of our devout volunteers...” the woman pulls the door open and motions to a sign beneath the window. “And these kittens are actually under quarantine, so this room is usually off limits.” The volunteer, whose name I can’t recall, is motioning in a clear sign that indicates she wants me to get the hell out.
I gladly oblige. “It was nice to meet you,” I say to the silently sexy and strange volunteer, and then I follow the other volunteer through the building until we regroup with the cast. We gather in the parking lot for another photo op and on my way back to the bus, a reporter stops me. She’s cute, and she asks me a bunch of very specific, on-point questions about my character and my future with the show, because she suspects that I’m going to become a key player in the Copper Creek saga. Her enthusiasm is contagious and somehow, in the midst of our conversation, I try to convince her to adopt Liam. The reporter, who’s name I discover is Chelsea, is nearly about to cave and go inside when the silent and sexy volunteer walks over to us.
“Hello, again, Ethan.” Her voice is low, yet smooth like velvet. With trembling hands, she extends the headshot photo that the studio had handed out to each organization we appeared at today.
I pull a Sharpie out of my inner jacket pocket and take the picture. “And whom shall I make it out to?” I inquire, a bit lightheaded and giddy for the request.
“To Penny,” she says as she runs her finger along the top of the photo. Then she slides her finger to the bottom of the image. “Love always, Ethan.”
For a fraction of a second, I hesitate, not sure if it’s normal to autograph a picture of myself with my character’s name, but then I do as she asks, and I’m rewarded with a dazzling smile.
Penny stares down at the picture for a long moment before she looks back up at me. “Ethan...”
She’s at a loss for words beyond that though, and thankfully I don’t have to personally deal with the second awkward moment on my own because the intern who’s been shepherding us around all day starts screaming for us to board the bus. Relieved for the reprieve, I wave a goodbye to Penny and then I set my sights on Chelsea.
“You’ll adopt him, won’t you?”
“I’ll think about it,” she says, but there’s a bit of a glimmer in her eye that makes me hopeful. “See you around, Hollywood.”
“Hopefully at the dog park,” I say as coolly as I can, the nickname giving me that heady, intoxicating feeling again.
Chelsea just laughs and walks off. Penny continues to stand there, staring after me. I give her a curt wave and then hurry to board the bus. With so many cast and crew members, it takes a few minutes for me to finally get settled back in. When I do, I drop back against my seat and recount the day. It all seems like a blur now, but this last leg of the trip made it feel like it was all worth it. The one fan and reporter somehow validating all the hard work I’ve put into my career. I think this is really it. The start of the fame and fortune I’ve sought for so long.
As the bus begins to pull away from its spot, I glance out the window and notice that Penny is still standing exactly where I left her, except now she’s turned toward the bus. The windows are tinted, so I’m sure she can’t see me, per se, but she stands there and watches us for at least as long as I can see her, which is a bit unnerving, but something I’m sure I’ll eventually get used to.