Authors: Rachel Schurig
Lovestruck in Los Angeles
Copyright 2013 Rachel Schurig
All rights reserved.
Kindle Edition, License Notes
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
For Judy and Bob Sheridan.
I am blessed to know you and to call you family.
I love you!
Thank you to Laura Koons at Red Adept Editing Services for all of your help, advice, and guidance.
Thank you, Scarlett Rugers, for the beautiful cover. I am so thrilled to work with you once again.
Thank you to Jon, best travel buddy ever, for not caring that I spent half our cruise working on this book.
Lastly, a huge thanks to Madeline Freeman, for always offering support and advice, helping me with formatting at the last minute, and generally being awesome. I can’t wait for our weekly writing dates!
Since I first fell in love with Thomas Harper I’ve seen some amazing things: the craggy rocks and rolling fields of Scotland, the hustle and bustle of teeming London, even the sheer glamour and opulence of a Hollywood red carpet premiere. But I don’t know if I’ve seen anything quite so breathtaking as the Pacific Ocean.
Specifically, the Pacific Ocean as seen from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the ridiculously large Malibu beach house Blake Scott, our real estate agent, was showing us.
“As you can see, Mr. Harper,” Blake said, joining us at the window, his arms casually crossed over the chest of his two-thousand-dollar suit, “the view is unparalleled.”
rather impressive,” Thomas said, reaching for my hand with a wink.
“Impressive” was one word for it. “Expensive” was another. I didn’t think I had ever been in such a large house before.
It’s only for a few months
, I reminded myself.
And the studio is paying for it
Blake placed his hands on a long white dining table stretching the length of several windowpanes. “The great room was recently renovated, and it’s obviously an open floor plan, allowing you to entertain here.” He pointed toward the end of the room at an open kitchen. “All new appliances and counters. Everything is top of the line.”
He wasn’t exaggerating. The room seemed absolutely massive to me, much bigger than the entirety of the house I had grown up in back in Michigan. And everything in it was so
. As Blake had said, the room was completely open, the living area flowing into the dining area and kitchen. The floors were a gleaming bleached pine and the furniture white, plush, and comfortable looking. The white marble counter tops and sleek cabinets of the kitchen gleamed in the light from the windows.
Light. That was the best way to describe this house. Light reflected off the sparkling blue ocean below and bounced back to us through the vast windows. It almost didn’t seem real. I tried to remember the last time I had seen so much light back in London but couldn’t come up with anything. We’d had a pretty rainy autumn so far.
“The guest bedrooms are downstairs,” Blake said, pointing to a staircase off the kitchen. “There are two, and they’re a good size but without quite the view you get up here.”
“Who cares?” Thomas whispered in my ear. “Our friends will just have to slum it when they come to visit.”
“There are only three bedrooms,” Blake said, possibly misunderstanding Thomas’s whisper. “So it’s a bit smaller than the other houses we’ve seen. But you usually have to give up some space to get closer to the water.”
space? I guess I could see what he meant, the other houses we’d seen had been even more ginormous than this one, but still. There were only two of us, for God’s sake. What would we do with even half this square footage?
“And the master?” Thomas asked, squeezing my hand. I felt a little thrill. I had shared a room with Thomas on countless occasions, but this was the first time we’d actually be
together. It felt a bit like playing house, the make-believe feeling heightened, I was sure, by the Hollywood factor of this move.
“Master takes up most of the third floor,” Blake said, leading us to a second staircase. We followed him up the stairs, and I had to stifle the urge to laugh once we’d reached our destination. The master bedroom was
. A gigantic king-sized bed took up one wall, the white linen bedding looking like so many clouds piled up on the mattress. I wanted to sink into them. And the view. It was even more incredible than the one downstairs. The rest of the level was taken up by a master bathroom and a small office space on the other side of the staircase.
“Would the two of you like to take a minute on the beach?” Blake asked once we’d returned to the great room. He grinned, his perfectly white, perfectly straight teeth practically gleaming in the sunlight. “You really can’t get a feel for the place until you check out that water up close.”
“That’s a good idea,” Thomas said, looking to me. “What do you say, Lizzie?”
I nodded enthusiastically. We’d been in California for two days already, and I had yet to get my feet in the sand. Blake opened the sliding glass door and led us out onto the deck.
“As you can see,” Blake said, “the deck is a little on the small side, but the sensational proximity of the ocean more than makes up for it.”
Thomas sniffed beside me. “It is rather small,” he murmured in his best posh British accent. I stifled a giggle as Blake went into smarmy- salesman mode, totally missing the fact that Thomas was joking—the “small” deck was about the size of his apartment back in London.
“It’s unfortunate, really,” Blake was saying, “because otherwise we have a stellar property. The ocean view really is superb for this price range, however, and this
a rather private beach. Very little public access, and non-residents are restricted to the high tide line. A person in
line of work really can’t put a price on something like that.”
“True, true,” Thomas said mock-thoughtfully, winking at me.
“Why don’t I let the two of you take a walk on the beach,” Blake said, gesturing at a spiral staircase set off to the side of the deck. “Talk it over and let me know what you think.”
The stairs led us down to a small grassy space at the side of the house. The ocean was momentarily obscured by a sandy ridge in front of us, but the crashing waves were loud in my ears.
“I’m losing my shoes,” I said, slipping out of my flip flops.
“Good idea.” He pulled off his leather loafers, digging his toes down into the sand. “That’s better.”
I took off for the ridge. “Come on,” I called over my shoulder. “I’ve heard that the proximity of the ocean is really sensational.”
I heard Thomas laughing and climbing up the ridge behind me. “Wow,” I whispered, stopping dead in my tracks as I crested the top, the full breadth of the sea coming into view. “
“I don’t know, Lizzie,” Thomas said, slipping his sunglasses onto his nose and surveying the white stretch of sand before us. “Something doesn’t feel quite right.”
“Really?” I asked, moving closer to him. He slipped an arm around my waist, and I melted into his side a little. My favorite spot. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s too…I don’t know.
I laughed. “Oh, sure. Way too sunny. And too gorgeous.”
“Definitely, definitely too gorgeous.”
“The problem, Thomas, is that you’re too used to rainy British weather. You have no idea how to deal with things like sunshine and warmth. Palm trees. Ocean breezes.”
He affected a mock shudder. “Stop, please. You’ll give me a fit.”
“Seriously.” I looked up at him. “What do you think?”
His gaze flickered up and down the beach before landing on my face. His lips tilted up at the corners, and I knew he was done teasing. “I think it’s bloody fantastic.”
I felt a thrill of excitement in my chest. “Me too.”
Without warning, Thomas grabbed me around the waist and swung me around, making my hair fly out around my face. “We get to live at the beach!” he yelled.
“Put me down,” I cried, laughing. It was hard to be annoyed at Thomas when he was so jubilant, hair in my face or not.
He ignored my command, pulling my body flush against his so he could bring his lips down to mine. “I can’t help it,” he said, then kissed me softly. “The idea of you in a bikini on a daily basis is more than I can handle.”
still have to work,” I reminded him. “It’s not like I’m just going to wait around here all day while you’re off shooting bad guys in your movie.”
“Stop shattering my dreams, Lizzie.” Thomas waggled his eyebrows at me. “Let a bloke imagine his girl lounging in a bikini. How else do you think I’ll have the will to kill bad guys?”
I slapped his chest, and he finally let me down. “Are you sure about the house? It is pretty far from the studio.”
Thomas took my hand and started walking down towards the water. I was glad we’d kicked off our shoes; I wanted to get my toes into the surf. “It is a little farther,” he admitted as we walked along the water. “But we really weren’t thrilled with any of the places we saw closer to town.”
I felt a little sliver of doubt, hoping I hadn’t been too obvious when we toured the houses in Brentwood or the Hollywood Hills. The truth was, I wasn’t crazy about any of them. They were too close together, too close to the road. And I hated the idea of driving in the traffic in that part of town. Malibu felt so much more chill to me, so much more us.
“Besides,” Thomas said. “How many times in our life are we going to be able to say that we live on the beach?”
I snorted. “You’ll probably be able to say it a lot, Mr. Movie-star. You think this is going to be the last time you have to come out to L.A.?”
I thought he would laugh, but he looked out over the water instead. “You never know, Lizzie,” he said, his voice soft and serious. “This could all go away tomorrow, you know? That’s how this business is. We can’t take anything for granted.”
I shook my head, marveling that he still had any doubts about the viability of his success. “It will be a long commute for you,” I said, determined that he wouldn’t make this decision based on what he thought I wanted.
He waved his hands dismissively. “Whatever. The studio sends a car for me.”
“Right? You better be careful. I’m going to get pretty spoiled soon.”
I slipped my hand out of his so I could wrap my arm around his waist. He copied the pose, pulling me into his side again. “Seriously, Lizzie. I know your instinct is to tell me to do what works best for me with work, but I’m more inclined to base the decision on your daily routine. You’re the one who’s going to be here all day. I’ll feel bad leaving you as often as I know I’ll have to. Knowing that I’m leaving you somewhere like this…” He stretched his free arm out to encompass the beach and the ocean. “That makes me feel better.”
“No, babe, I’m serious. You’ll be working from the house most of the time. We might as well make the house as perfect as we can.”
“Won’t it be hard on Heidi and Imogen, getting out here?” Thomas’s agent/manager, Heidi, was planning on setting up a temporary office in our rental home in L.A. while he worked on the film, bringing her assistant, Imogen, with her from London. I worried they’d be irritated if that office had to be miles away from everything just for my sake.
Thomas shook his head. “They’ll find a place to live close to whatever we pick, I’m sure. In fact, they’ll probably be pumped to have an excuse to be close to the water at work, you know? Imogen in particular.”
“So you’re on board then?” He shook his head, looking a little dazed. “We’re moving to Malibu?”
“Holy crap.” I ran suddenly trembling hands through my hair. “I never thought in my wildest dreams I would hear those words.”
His answering grin was huge. “It does feel fairly surreal, doesn’t it? Riding around L.A. in a convertible, staying at the Four Seasons, looking at real estate.”
“‘Surreal’ is one word for it.”
Thomas stopped walking and turned to face me. “I want you to be happy here, Lizzie,” he said, stooping a little so that his face was closer to mine. “This is important, you know? It’s the first time we’re going to be really living together. I don’t want just any old house.”
I tilted my head back to the behemoth on stilts beside us. “I doubt you could call that thing ‘any old house.’”