Authors: Alexx Andria
|Falling From Grace|
|Alexx Andria (2014)|
What happens when the person you need the most -- is the one you left behind?
Actress Dani St. Claire crushed Miles Lassiter's heart in pursuit of her film career. Now, she's drowning in her own fame, unable to shake free from an endless blur of parties, drugs and sex, with no end in sight. Her friends in Tinseltown are no help -- everyone wants a piece of her and watching Hollywood's hottest new star fall from the sky is the best entertainment in town.
Living a quiet life on an isolated island resort, Doctor Lassiter doesn't want anything to do with a certain red-headed actress. But, just when he believes he's finally gotten over Dani, his good friend Lindy, an acclaimed actress in her own right, asks for a favor.
A big one.
In order to greenlight a movie project near and dear to her heart, Lindy needs Dani on set and cleaned up or the insurance company will bail and financing will disappear. Lindy knows Miles is the only person who can help Dani -- even if helping Dani is the last thing Miles wants to do after she broke his heart.
Will Miles be able to put aside his pain to save Dani or will the painful memory of their shared past ruin any chance of a future? Find out in Alexx Andria's sensually sweet sequel to the LEVERAGE series in FALLING FROM GRACE.
"Does this feel bad?"
"Depends on your definition of bad." His arms tightened around her drawing her close. He stared down at her, losing himself for just a moment in her gaze. "Jesus, Dani, what are you doing to me?"
"The same thing that you do to me," she admitted in a breathless whisper before sealing her mouth to his for a kiss that electrified every nerve ending and sent her brain scuttling for shelter. His tongue gently met hers in an exploratory journey that was both reluctant and urgent as if he were fighting his own desire and that was just fine with her because she understood his dual tendencies and matched it with her own. "I've missed you, Miles," she said against his mouth, fighting the tears that immediately sprung to her eyes. His grip tightened and a small groan escaped as she felt the hardened ridge of his length pressing against her groin, igniting a small fire inside her belly. Her hand crept into the lazy waves of his hair and caught a grip, drawing him even nearer to her. She wanted to devour him, to make him a part of her so she'd never feel alone again. Their kiss changed in tempo and went from gentle to urgent and Dani lost all sense of reason. She wanted to feel him inside her, to know his touch again, and no amount of good sense was going to intrude on her most ardent desire. With her free hand, she rubbed the thick bulge through his board shorts, delighting in the familiar feel of him against her palm. It was as if time hadn't passed and they were as they'd always been, except that tingling sense of discovery was still there. Their tongues danced, sliding along each other, tasting and teasing in a sensual tango that fired her blood and served as a stark reminder that every moment without Miles had been lacking in soul. But too soon, Miles began to put on the brakes, slowing his sensual attack until finally, they were apart, both breathing heavily and wondering what the next step would be between them. Dani could only hope that he would sweep her up in his arms and make love to her the way he used to but she knew in her heart of hearts that she was hoping for the impossible.
(Contemporary romance, steamy romance, HEA, Hollywood, exotic locations, 34,000 word novella)
Author's Note: While FALLING FROM GRACE is a great stand-alone, you might also enjoy the LEVERAGE series, where Miles is first introduced.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE ONE PERSON YOU NEED THE MOST —
IS THE ONE YOU LEFT BEHIND?
Actress Dani St. Claire crushed Miles Lassiter's heart in pursuit of her film career. Now, she's drowning in her own fame, unable to shake free from an endless blur of parties, drugs and sex
, with no end in sight. Her friends in Tinseltown are no help -- everyone wants a piece of her and watching Hollywood's hottest new star fall from the sky is the best entertainment in town.
Living a quiet life on an isolated island resort, Doctor Lassiter doesn't want anything to do with a certain red-headed actress. But, just when he believes he’s finally gotten over Dani, his
good friend Lindy, an acclaimed actress in her own right, asks for a favor.
A big one.
In order to greenlight a movie project near and dear to her heart, Lindy needs Dani on set and cleaned up or the insurance company will bail and financing will disappear. Lindy knows Miles is the only person who can help Dani — even if helping Dani is the last thing Miles wants to do after she broke his heart.
Will Miles be able to put aside his pain
to save Dani or will the painful memory of their shared past ruin any chance of a future? Find out in Alexx Andria’s sensually sweet sequel to the LEVERAGE series in FALLING FROM GRACE.
FALLING FROM GRACE
By Alexx Andria
Copyright © 2014 by Alexx Andria. All rights reserved.
The following novella is approximately 34,000 words and an original work of fiction.
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Danielle St. Claire rose blearily from the tangle of naked limbs in her expansive California King bed and stumbled away from the stale smell of bad choices and questionable judgment, needing space and a fucking Excedrin to still the pounding in her head. She grabbed her robe and tucked it around her, banging her toe on the stupid day sofa as she passed by. Who the hell put a sofa in a bedroom? Well, when the bedroom was as big as her entire house growing up, you might as well throw a sofa in there, she supposed grumpily. This house, this place, she didn’t know any longer who it belonged to because it sure as hell didn’t feel right for her. The parties, the sex, the drugs…it was too much for the small town girl she’d once been.
Stop being a damn cliché
, she thought as she grabbed a bottle of Excedrin and popped the top, shaking out a few to toss back with a bottled water. The entire house was dead silent even though it was close to noon and there were at least ten people scattered about in various rooms. People, she didn’t even know, she might add. Everything was spinning out of control. Fame — money — endless nights spent at the clubs…what day was it? Monday? Saturday? She didn’t even know anymore.
Needing something healthy to balance out the terrible damage she’d done to herself last night, Dani grabbed a banana and choked it down, her stomach threatening to launch whatever she had in it but she managed to keep everything down by force of will. So much had changed in a year’s time. Once
had come out, her world had tipped upside down in a dizzying whirlwind of change. Suddenly, everyone had wanted a piece of her and it’d been intoxicating but now, she just wanted some peace and quiet. Was that possible? People had warned her that fame was a mixed bag but she hadn’t believed anyone because she’d been so damn hungry for the spotlight. Now it was fucking blinding her.
She returned to her bedroom and stared at the three people sprawled there, snoring in oblivion. Two guys, one girl. Had she had sex with a woman? Her cheeks crawled with shame and revulsion because she couldn’t remember
, or maybe she didn’t
to remember. She vaguely recalled bits and pieces of last night, and her snippets definitely included getting railed by at least one of the guys. Which one? Hell, she couldn’t say even if her life depended on it. One of the guys opened his eyes and raised his head to grin lazily at her, beckoning her to come to him but she turned away, fighting the urge to vomit that banana. He wasn’t even her type. The dark-haired guy was all beefy muscle and cock-sure laziness wrapped up in one over-privileged package. Trust fund baby, most likely seeing as she’d picked him up at Crimson last night. Probably never worked a day in his life. Nor would he.
“Come on, baby…I got breakfast right here for you…full course meal.”
“Go away,” she muttered, needing to get away this very instant before she started freaking out and landed herself in the gossip rags — again — for everyone to pick apart. Her agent was constantly squawking at her to clean up her act and she’d tried but somehow, someone always dragged her back into the wild and crazy. The word rehab had been floated past her but she’d scoffed at the very idea. She wasn’t a drug addict; she was just having a good time. Right? Funny, nothing seemed all that fun right about now. She grabbed a pair of jeans and the first shirt she could find and then hustled out of there as if the devil were on her heels.
Tears burned at the back of her eyes as she ground them out. Somehow her life had spiraled out of her own control and she didn’t know how to put it straight again.
What could she do? Everyone expected her to be the life of the party, the one with the bright smiles and infectious wit and it was important to protect the illusion of who she was or else her fame might dry up and then where would she be? She rubbed at her eyes, trying to put her thoughts on a straight course but her brain wasn’t actually cooperating. Raina kept dragging her to the clubs, insisting that the right people were watching. Watching what? The entertaining freak show of starlet Danielle St. Claire…
Jesus, help me. I’m so lost…
Miles had just finished off the world’s best hamburger and was reaching for his beer when his cell went off. Lindy, an actress he’d met when he still lived in Los Angeles, was on the other line.
“Hey what’s up?” he asked, pleasantly surprised to hear from the jet-setting celebrity, who also happened to be part owner of the resort, Larimar, where he’d been holed up since fleeing Tinsel Town over a year ago. They’d struck up an unlikely friendship back in L.A. and it’d been Lindy who’d suggested a little R&R in St. John where her family owned an upscale resort. His R&R had turned into an extended stay that he’d been reluctant to end. And with good reason. St. John was paradise with its powder white beaches, lazy, azure waters, and never-ending supply of sunshine. He’d even found a job at the local clinic, so his cash flow hadn’t been interrupted. Like he said, paradise. “I thought you were in San Francisco doing that theater gig?”
“I was but my agent had me reading for this part that I couldn’t pass up so I’m
L.A. for a few days. Hey, the reason I’m calling is — and don’t hate me — but I think Dani needs your help.”
Danielle St. Claire
? Just hearing that name was enough to suck the joy out of his otherwise glorious day. “What do I care about Dani? She’s the last person I could be persuaded to give two shits for.”
“C’mon, I know you don’t really feel that way. She’s in a bad way.”
“That’s her problem.”
“Miles, the only reason I’m telling you this is because I think you’re the only person who truly cares about her well
being. She’s being hounded by paparazzi, and she’s been seen hanging with the wrong crowd as of late. Parties, drugs, too much of a bad thing, you know what I mean?”
“She made her bed, she can sleep in it,” he retorted, refusing to feel even an ounce of sympathy for the woman who’d eagerly busted his heart into a million pieces for the sake of her career. “Sounds like she got exactly what she was craving all along.”
“You can play the hard ass but I know deep down, you still care about her.”
For argument sake, what makes you say that?” he asked in a bored tone, pushing at the remaining French fries on his plate.
“Because I know how hard you fell for her and those kinds of feelings don’t just go away like a fart in the wind.”
“A fart…that’s an apt description for what I felt I had with Dani. Smelly, insubstantial waste product. Good one. I totally agree.”
“That’s not how I meant it,” Lindy growled. “God, you’re being such a prick about this. Listen, Dani is spiraling out of control. If something isn’t done, she’s going to end up dead. How are you going to feel about that?”
“And why do you care about Dani?” he countered, not eager to face the answer of Lindy’s question. Of course he would care if Dani ended up on a slab but he wasn’t ready to admit that. Not to Lindy, not to anyone. “I didn’t know you were tight.”
Lindy admitted, then came clean. “All right, here’s the brutal truth: I need Dani to get her head on straight because she’s become uninsurable.”
“And that affects you, how?”
“David Konswolsky is ready to attach himself to
Falling From Grace
— a project near and dear to my heart — but he’ll only direct the movie, if Danielle St. Claire plays the part of Hattie.”
“Which has become a problem because
the insurance companies won’t touch her with a ten-foot pole now that she’s become the poster child for wanton Hollywood debauchery?” Yeah, he knew a little bit about Dani’s exploits, not that he wanted to. Even though St. John wasn’t exactly a mecca of entertainment news, every now and then, he happened to catch a tabloid with Dani’s face plastered on its front page to get looks and likes. “And insuring her has become a bad investment?”
“Pretty much. Listen, you know Hollywood’s all about appearances. You can be a raging lunatic with a million dollar coke habit as long as you keep up appearances that you’re still professional and Dani doesn’t know how to play that game yet. She got too famous, too fast and now she’s drowning. If someone doesn’t help her, she’s not only going to end up without a career, but dead, too.”
A moment of disquiet filled him. An angry, brutally cruel part of him wanted to shrug and say,
that’s her problem
, but there was another side to him, probably the part of him that’d taken the Hippocratic oath, that couldn’t quite ignore the fact that someone he’d once cared about was nearing the edge. But what could he do to help? He was in St. John and Dani was in California. “I don’t know what I could do to help. Frankly, I might make it worse,” he admitted. “It’s not as if we ended things on a nice, amicable note.”
“I know. But I think you’re the one person she’d listen to. She’s young and out of control. She needs someone. And I think that someone is you.”
Miles didn’t want to care. He wanted to laugh at Dani’s problems because honestly, her problems were of her own making, but as much as he wanted to be an insensitive jerk, he just wasn’t hardwired that way. Maybe if he were more like Boston Kincaid — no, forget that. Good Lord, what was he thinking? — hell, maybe Lindy was right. He did care because the thought of Dani riding a bullet train to self-destruction was more than he could handle. “So what am I supposed to do?” he asked, cursing himself for being a damn sap. “Fly back to L.A. and rescue her from her life?”
“Or just kidnap her. Oh wait, that’s illegal, huh? I don’t know but whatever you do, do it fast beca
use that girl is disintegrating and if I can’t deliver a sane and sober Danielle St. Claire to David within the month, the deal is off and you know it’s taken years to get a glimmer of funding for
Falling From Grace.
This is my
Miles withheld an irritated sigh at being dragged into the crazy life of Danielle St. Claire, once again. Just when he’d started to piece himself back together again, that girl blew
back into his life like a fucking hurricane. But Lindy had been there for him when no one else was, offering him sanctuary when his own life imploded — how could he turn her down? Technically, he wouldn’t be doing it for Dani…he’d be doing it for Lindy, somehow that made the proposition a wee bit more palatable. Not much, but enough to get it down his throat.
“Fine,” he gritted out, unable to believe he was about to jump feet first into a disaster. “I’ll get someone to cover my shift at the clinic and take the first flight out. Do you have an address for this train wreck?”
“I sure do. I will text it to you. You’re a doll and I totally owe you!”
Miles grumbled but accepted Lindy’s gratitude and hung up. He would do anything for Lindy and her family. Guess it was time to get his hands dirty.
He’d help Dani — in a clinical, professional manner — but there was no fucking way he’d let that redheaded piranha anywhere near his tender parts — that being his heart