Flipping His Script

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Sure, I swooned over him. But everyone did. He was only Flynn Archer, the swashbuckling, brooding bad boy who starred in the biggest movie production on the planet.

But me? I'd known him before all that, when Flynn had gone by a different name in a different place. We hadn't been friends. But I owed him, bigtime. And now, he'd come to collect.

Not my body. And not my soul. Just a favor. For money. Lots of money.

The only problem was, my body and soul were sliding dangerously close to the line. And if only he weren't so annoyingly similar to the character he played on screen – smoldering, fearless, and just a little bit crazy – I might've stood a chance.

But I didn't. And now, like a total idiot, I was falling for him, hard. And just maybe, he was falling for me, too.

There was only one problem. We totally hated each other. Really, we did.

***This new adult contemporary romance is a full-length standalone novel with a guaranteed happily ever after!***

Sneak Peek

Chapter 1

From inside the bathroom stall, the reporter yelled, "What the hell are you doing?"

If this weren't so awful, I might've laughed. The guy wasn't yelling at me. He was yelling at Flynn, my so-called date, who crossed his muscular arms and replied in a voice of quiet menace, "I'm waiting."

"For what?" the reporter demanded.

Flynn gave the stall's door a cold smile. "Guess."

I felt myself swallow. I knew that smile. Cripes, everyone knew that smile. My date wasn't just a guy I'd known in high school. He was also Flynn Archer, the brooding, sword-wielding bad boy who starred in the biggest movie production on the planet.

And that smile? Well, let's just say it was usually followed by the lopping of someone's head – on the big screen, anyway.

Still, I said a silent prayer of thanks that his infamous sword was nowhere in sight.

From inside the stall, a second male voice hissed, "I thought you said it was cool."

"It was cool," the reporter insisted. "I mean, I put up a sign."

"Yeah," the other guy said. "And he ignored it. I told you he's fucking crazy."

I gave Flynn a sideways glance. He was tall and well built, with dark, wavy hair and dark, dangerous eyes – the kind of eyes that saw too much and revealed too little.

But was he crazy?

We were three months into our arrangement, and I still wasn't quite sure. He was definitely making me crazy. Did that count?

From inside the stall, the second guy spoke again. "If you ask me, your sign sucked." He gave a snort of derision. "Dumb-ass."

I knew which sign he meant. It was that stupid "closed-for-cleaning sign" that the reporter had slapped onto the restroom's main door.

And why?

It was because the guy didn't want any company – well, other than his current bathroom-buddy, that is – as he ambushed me alone in the women's room.

The second guy was a photographer.

And how did I know this?

It was because I'd heard the click and seen the flash upon exiting that very same stall. Maybe I should've felt lucky that he hadn't crawled under the door to catch me in mid-stream.

I snuck a quick glance at his camera, lying in several pieces near the far wall. At least it hadn't been shoved up his ass.

That was good, right?

That had, after all, been Flynn's original threat.

Still, I couldn’t help but worry. The restroom was located in the most expensive restaurant in the city. I hadn't picked it, because I wasn't the one paying. Good thing, too. The place was well beyond my budget, now and probably forever.

Unlike Flynn, I was no superstar, not even close. My name, Anna Burke, would never grace any movie poster, which was fine by me. I hated drama. I hated being the center of attention. And I hated the fact that I couldn’t tell anyone the unvarnished truth.

I didn't belong here.

I was a total nobody. Or at least, I had been until just three months ago when I'd been lifted from safe obscurity thanks to a whole series of implausible events.

I hesitated. No. That wasn't quite right.

None of this was by chance. Rather, it was all because of him, the guy standing next to me. He was still eyeing the stall, looking like he wanted to rip that flimsy door right off its hinges.

In truth, I was half-surprised he hadn't already.

Was he toying with them?

Probably.

I felt my jaw clench. Enough was enough. I leaned closer to him and whispered, "Let's just leave, okay?"

He turned and gave me a long, cold look. His eyes were hard, and his mouth was tight, like he was holding back a whole bunch of profanities.

On the upside, at least he wasn't smiling.

No head-lopping for me.

For now, anyway.

Still, his answer wasn't encouraging. "Forget it."

I wanted to scream in frustration. "But why?"

He flicked his head toward the bathroom stall. "Because I'm not done."

"With what?"

A new edge crept into his voice. "Them."

I gave the door a quick, worried glance. "What are you gonna do?"

"Hard to say." His gaze drifted to the ruined camera. "I could still shove it up his ass."

I almost rolled my eyes. "No, you can't."

"Why not?"

"Because for one thing, it's like in three pieces." Thanks to you.

"So?" He looked toward the stall and said loud enough for the guys to hear, "Two guys, three pieces, works for me."

What could I say to that? Honestly, I had no idea. Like, who'd get the extra piece?

And besides, this whole conversation was utterly ridiculous. No one was shoving anything anywhere. I bit my lip. Or at least, I sure hoped not.

From somewhere outside the restroom's main door, I heard the murmur of the crowd and the clink of dishes. Vaguely, I wondered how long we had until other women made their way into the restroom.

After all, a generic sign wouldn’t keep them out forever, especially in a place this packed.

I hadn't seen the sign personally, because it hadn't been there when I'd come in. In fact, I only knew about it now because the reporter had actually bragged about it.

To me, of all people.

And when had he done this? Like thirty seconds before Flynn had burst in, looking ready to slaughter someone – or rather, two someones, who'd scrambled into the stall and locked the door behind them.

As if that would save them.

Beyond eager to end this, I called out to the guys, "If you apologize, maybe he'll just let it go."

Next to me, Flynn gave a low scoff.

The reporter hollered, "I heard that!"

Damn it. Forcing a smile into my voice, I replied, "Heard what?"

"That scoffing sound."

"Yeah," the photographer chimed in. "As soon as we come out, he's gonna kick our asses."

It belatedly struck me that these guys weren't like the other reporters I'd been dealing with lately. Most of them had been slick coastal types who knew their way around a story.

But these guys? They practically screamed amateur hour.

On impulse, I looked toward the stall and asked, "Who do you work for, anyway?"

After a long moment, the reporter muttered, "No one."

I gave a confused shake of my head. "So what are you? Freelance or something?"

"No." He cleared his throat. "I'm, uh, gonna start a blog."

I frowned. He was going to start a blog? As in, he didn't even have one yet? I gave Flynn a sideways glance. If anything, he looked more irritated, not less.

From behind the door, the photographer called out, "And you owe my uncle a new camera."

His uncle?

Seriously?

I turned and gave the camera another look. It definitely wasn't the latest and greatest, because for one thing, it was an actual camera, as opposed to some sort of digital thingy that was so popular with the regular paparazzi.

Sadly, I'd seen more than enough of them to know the difference.

I turned back to the stall. "So, Camera Guy, who do you work for?"

Sounding distinctly peeved, he replied, "Myself."

I just had to ask, "So, are you gonna start a blog, too?"

"I might," he mumbled.

The other guy sputtered, "But you can't."

The photographer practically snorted, "Wanna bet?"

The reporter shot back, "But you're gonna work for me, remember?"

"Yeah, well…" The photographer hesitated. "…that was before you got him all pissed off."

He didn't say who he meant, but it was beyond easy to guess. Slowly, I turned to Flynn, who hadn't said a single word during this whole exchange. Funny, he still looked pissed off.

But really, none of this was as bad as it had seemed just five minutes ago, when Flynn had strode into the restroom to find me shrinking away from two beefy guys in ill-fitting suits – one of whom had been clicking away on that camera.

I gave Flynn another pleading look. "C'mon, let's just leave, okay?" I summoned up a shaky smile. "No harm, no foul, right?"

He didn't smile back. "Wrong."

I made a sound of frustration. "But why?"

His jaw tightened. "You've gotta ask?"

Oh, so that's how it was? I straightened to my full height, which sadly, came barely to his shoulders. "Yes. I do." I crossed my arms. "Because it just seems to me that you're blowing this way out of proportion."

From the inside stall, the reporter called, "Yeah! And just so you know, she wouldn't tell us dick."

Oh, for God's sake. I turned and glared toward the stall. "You're not helping!"

But the guy did have a point. I hadn't told them a single thing, and not only because I'd been too busy trying to regain my composure. No. I'd kept quiet because a deal was a deal.

And I'd made that deal with Flynn, before I'd known how truly awful he could be. For someone so pretty, he was absolutely ruthless.

If I wanted him to live up to his end of our arrangement, I knew better than to falter on mine.

Still, the thought did give me an idea.

I turned back to Flynn and said, "Remember that favor?"

He frowned. "What favor?"

"The one from yesterday. You said you'd owe me, remember?"

In a carefully neutral voice, he said, "I remember."

"Well…" I hesitated. "This is the favor."

His frown deepened. "This?"

From the look on his face, he knew exactly what I was asking. But fine, if that's what he wanted, I'd spell it out. I pointed toward the stall and said, "Let them go."

He looked toward the stall and then to me. He made no reply, but his expression said it all. You've got to be kidding.

On impulse, I added, "And, uh, pay for his camera too, okay?"

His jaw tightened. "Fuck the camera."

Slowly, I turned and gave the camera another long look. Technically, it was already fucked, and that was only half of the problem.

We weren't in New York or L.A. We were in Sugar Falls, Michigan – my hometown. And Flynn's, too. The economy thrived mostly on seasonal tourism, which meant that good-paying jobs were hard to find.

The cost of a camera would be nothing to a bigtime movie star. But to the guy in the stall, who'd had to borrow a camera from a relative, it might be worth several weeks' pay – assuming the guy had a job at all.

I was still studying the camera, and not liking what I saw. I was no expert, but even I could see that the thing was well beyond repair.

I turned and gave Flynn another desperate look. "But it's his uncle's."

Flynn looked utterly unmoved. "Not my problem."

I felt my gaze narrow. "So what are you saying? That you're not going to pay up?"

Flynn gave me a long, hard look. I'd seen that look plenty over the last three months. By now, I should've been immune to its effects.

But I wasn't. Under his steady gaze, I started to squirm. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realized that he'd done all of this on my behalf. He'd barged in to the women's restroom. He'd destroyed the camera. And he'd even made a pretty good show of looking concerned for my safety.

But none of this was real.

I was no one's love interest. And soon, I'd be gone. Hell, the press release was probably already written. In the meantime, all I could do was grit my teeth and play along.

I tried to think. What would I do if Flynn and I were truly an item? And then it hit me. With a sigh of resignation, I lifted my chin and said in the snottiest voice I could muster, "If you really love me, you'll let them go."

It was a funny thing to say. Forget love. Flynn barely liked me. But even aside from that, it was the kind of thing I'd never say to a real boyfriend.

It was too manipulative, too silly, and too prone to cause hard feelings later on. But Flynn and I? We had plenty of hard feelings already.

We'd hated each other for years. Or more accurately, he hated me.

And with good reason – or so he thought.

But I wasn't going to back down, not with this. The truth was, I could relate all too well to the guys in the stall. I'd done desperate things for money, too. Nothing illegal or immoral. But still, the embarrassment lingered.

Was I too soft? Probably. But that didn't change the fact that I didn't want to see anyone hurt on my account.

Finally, after a brief, but tense negotiation, Flynn gave in – letting me claim the favor in spite of his obvious reluctance. At my insistence, he'd even handed me the camera money from his own wallet – ten crisp hundred-dollar bills – which I'd wrapped in a paper towel and slid under the stall.  

Paid in full.

Or at least, I sure hoped so, because it was pretty obvious that Flynn wasn't happy.

(End of Sneak Peek)

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