Home > Escorting the Actress (The Escort Collection #2)

Escorting the Actress (The Escort Collection #2)
Author: Leigh James

The Escort Collection Series

Escorting the Billionaire (The Escort Collection #1) 
Escorting the Actress (The Escort Collection #2)
Escorting the Player (The Escort Collection #3)
Escorting the Groom (The Escort Collection #4)

Silicon Valley Billionaires Series

Lauren (Silicon Valley Billionaires #1)
GABE (Silicon Valley Billionaires #2)
HANNAH (Silicon Valley Billionaires #3)

 

Prologue

 

Eleven Years Earlier

 


"Don't you dare do it, Kyle Richards," I said, my tone a warning. It was a fake warning, of course. I felt tears like pinpricks in my eyes, burning, threatening to come out and humiliate me even further.

"Why? Will the little-wittle bookworm cry?" he asked. My stepbrother's arrogant, handsome face mocked mine.

"No," I said, my voice getting thick. "Just give it back."

Kyle looked at the heavy textbook he was holding, the one he'd ripped out of my hands only moments earlier. He grinned wickedly as he bent over it and read in a fake-clinical voice, "'First menstruation, also known as menarche, can start as early as age ten.'"

"Y'all don't have any manners," I said, my voice shaking. I only let my Texas out when I was livid—I hoped he recognized it as a warning sign and backed off.

"Y'all?" Kyle asked, raising his eyebrows. "There's only one of me here, Lo. See, this is why people think Texans are dumb."

Fury bubbled inside my chest.

"'Female maturation begins at age nine,'" he continued. "'Many girls will start to experience breast development at this time.'" He peered at me from over the book. "Present company excluded, of course."

Don't you dare cry, Lowell Barton. I dug my nails into my palms. Don't you dare let that boy see you cry.

He went back to reading aloud. "'If you're self-conscious, you might want to start wearing what's called a training bra,' which is another word for a bra for girls with absolutely no boobs." He laughed at his own joke, little snorts erupting from the back of his throat.

"Give. It. BACK!" I roared, and lunged at him. I grabbed the heavy book from his hands and started beating him with it. "And this is not a training bra, I'll have you know!"

There was a look of shock on his handsome face. I wasn't sure if that was because he really thought I wore a training bra—or if he was surprised that I was hitting him with a thick textbook. It was entitled Human Development and Human Sexuality, and I'd smuggled it out of the local library without checking it out.

I smuggled it out because I was embarrassed. That was the last thing I thought before Kyle tried to swat the book out of my hands and I whacked him in the face with it. Bright red blood spurted from his nose.

I watched for a second, frozen, as blood ran in rivulets down his face. He dabbed his fingers in it then examined his bloody finger pads as if they belonged to someone else.

"For the record, y'all can be used in the singular," I said, my chest heaving.

Then, before he could come after me, I ran.

 

 

Lowell

 

 

"I shouldn't be drinking this," I said through a mouthful of delicious tequila and salt. "Too many calories."

"Do not let those assholes get to you," my best friend, Tori, said. She pushed one of her dark-brown curls off her face, fuming. "You're not fat. I don't care what the stupid director said."

"He didn't say I was fat—he said my ass looked like it might weigh too much. Not that it did weigh too much, but that it looked like it might weigh too much," I said and took another rebellious gulp of my drink. "And he's not just a stupid director. He's a stupid successful director. Lucas Dresden is a Hollywood god. And he told me that my ass needs to look like it weighs less before we start shooting those chase scenes on the beach."

Tori looked as if smoke was about to pour out of her ears. It was good that we were in a crowded bar in Venice or she would probably have started yelling a litany of obscenities about Lucas Dresden, my dick director.

"What did you say?" she asked, showing remarkable restraint.

"I said okay." I didn't tell her that I'd gone into my trailer and cried afterward. I was worried I was going to get fired from this film, then my career would be over.

I couldn't let that happen.

I grimaced and took another sip of my margarita. "The thing is, my ass is my ass. It likes to be a certain size. Starving myself for the next two weeks won't make it a whole lot smaller."

"Your bum is perfect," Tori said. "I'm so tired of the people you work with. And the press? It's sick, the things they say about you. If I thought you would, I'd tell you to quit."

"I'm not quitting." First of all, I wasn't a quitter. I wanted to be a successful actress, and when I wanted something, I pushed everything else to the side, worked hard, and got it. Second, I had to support my mother, and she was expensive.

Still, after the past few weeks, I would have taken a long vacation to Cabo if I could've. Just the other day, my photo had been on one of the gossip websites. In it, I was heading into the gym with a scowl and a big bag thrown over my shoulder. The headline read: Lowell B Takes Fight Against Fat to LA Gym.

I groaned inwardly, remembering all the remonstrative texts I'd gotten from my agent when that went viral.

My problems were mounting. There was my ass to deal with. The press were hounding me, and I was apparently unable to smile at them.

On top of that, I had a new movie, Hearts Wide Open, coming out at the end of the summer. With the recurring pictures of me heading to the gym, the producers had reached out. They wanted me to "slim down, tighten up, and dress appropriately sexy" for our upcoming promotional events.

I'd had a few things to say about that. Then the producers had a few things to say back, which included phrases such as "breach of contract" and "never work with this studio again."

I'd called my agent, Shirley Feener, who'd advised me to shut my mouth immediately. And to hit the gym with a smile and buy some appropriately sexy clothes. So I had a press junket coming up, and I wasn't happy about it.

"It's been a rough couple of weeks," I mumbled.

Tori pushed another margarita toward me.

"I really shouldn't," I mumbled again. After a nanosecond of hesitation, I changed my mind and chugged some of it.

"I'm driving," Tori said, holding up her seltzer in salute. "Drink up, girl."

I did as I was told. I was practicing that, and I needed all the practice I could get.

 

* * *

 

"Oh, fuck me," Tori said an hour later. She pulled the car over.

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