Shooting Stars

Shooting StarsWhiskey Creek Press
On Sale: July 2010

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Hunter Stone, former Hollywood A-lister, is the last person Joceyln York expects to save her from an avalanche on her ill-fated Wyoming vacation. She snaps some photos of him, but he won’t let her leave his ranch with them. Since she won’t give up the photos that could get her out of the paparazzi life for good, she’s a prisoner—albeit in a mansion on 400 acres with a gorgeous movie star.

Hunter can’t look at his new “house guest” without remembering his wife’s death in an accident caused by paparazzi. But Jocelyn isn’t like the others. She’s artistic and smart, and just plain gets under his skin. Will she ruin his carefully guarded privacy, or will she accept a bargain that will get them into the limelight—and her into his bed—on his terms?


“Like, Fame is cool and stuff, but sometimes it totally sucks,” Sunny Jean expostulated to her gaggle of followers.

Jocelyn York shook her head and snapped another photo. She wouldn’t get much for these. Everyone had pictures of Sunny Jean walking from her favorite club to her Lexus, tossing her golden weave over her shoulder. Jocelyn had to get something new. She circled around the crowd to get a better shot through the windshield of the Lexus.

Sunny Jean slid into the long bench seat in the back an instant before her two bouncy friends. That instant was what Jocelyn had been hoping for. She clicked away like crazy until the driver honked and she jumped out of the way to let him by. She’d seen paparazzi run over before and didn’t care to have it happen to her.

As the crowd dispersed, Jocelyn moved away and leaned against the outer brick wall of the trendy new Hollywood club, Fame. She punched the back button on her camera until her display showed the picture she was looking for. Sunny Jean’s weave fell forward, but you could see about half of her face. Jocelyn squinted at the small screen. It was hard to see, but the blush had faded from Sunny Jean’s cheeks. Her wide blue eyes looked straight into the camera and an expression of despair turned down the corners of her lips.

Jocelyn squelched the pang of sympathy for Sunny Jean and told herself this picture would sell great. Mara would be stoked. Everyone knew the starlet was in a downward spiral. She’d just announced she was headed to rehab. Jocelyn snorted. Apparently she’d needed one last night on the town to tide her over. She could see the headlines now. The public loved nothing more than to watch their one-time heroes fail.

She packed up her camera and started her walk home. She’d email the pictures off to Mara (highlighting the special one, of course), take a quick nap and a shower, and in a few hours she’d be on a plane to Jackson Hole. Well, okay, Jackson Hole via Salt Lake City. But still. The two-leg flight would be worth it to get far, far away from Hollywood.

She almost envied Sunny Jean. She’d have an excuse to spend some time in a cushy celebrity rehab center for weeks, maybe months. Jocelyn only had a week and a half, but it was better than nothing.

Jocelyn pushed open the gate to the outside courtyard of her apartment building and climbed the steps to the second floor. She tossed her keys on the table and opened her laptop. As always, her fingers tingled with excitement. She couldn’t wait to get these shots off to Mara. She hooked her camera up and opened a blank email message. When her cell phone rang, she pressed the silent button. A minute later, it rang again. She swore and looked at the caller ID.

She sighed and flipped open the phone. “Adam.”

“ Carrots!”

Jocelyn gritted her teeth and tugged at her short red pony tail. “I’m kind of busy, Adam. What do you want?”

“ What, I can’t just call to say hi?”

“ You usually don’t,” she said. “You’re visiting Mom and Dad this weekend, aren’t you?” The short pause was all the answer she needed. “No, Adam, I am not going with you. I’ll be on vacation, away from you and them and everything. Deal with them yourselves.”

“ Damn.” Adam sighed. “Without you there, I’m the only one they can pick on about career choice.”

Jocelyn leaned back in her chair, Mara and the photos temporarily forgotten. “Come on, Adam, you know they don’t mean to pick on us. They just want what’s best for us.”

“ You’re too nice to them. If they really wanted you to be happy, they’d support you in your career decision.”

“ I don’t support me in my career decision.”

“ Well…true,” Adam admitted. “But if it makes any difference, I do.”

Jocelyn smiled. Her brother had his moments, even if he was a pain in the butt most of the time.

“ So when do you leave for the big trip?” he asked.

She checked her watch and swore. “Really soon, Adam, and I have a lot to do between now and six a.m. Hey, why are you up calling me at this hour anyway?”

“ It’s five a.m. already here, Carrots. We Wall Street types get up early.”

“ Ugh, I forgot. Well, go be monetarily successful and yet emotionally depthless, then. I have to finish packing and get to the airport.”

“ Yeah, thanks. Later, Carrots.”

“’ Bye.”

Jocelyn flipped her phone closed and set it on the table. She stared at the camera next to her laptop for a long moment. She’d all but decided not to take the camera with her. After all, this was supposed to be a vacation. But talking with Adam… She could easily imagine the disappointment in her father’s face back at Christmas when he’d asked her to show him some of her recent photography and all she’d had was celebrities. Wyoming was picturesque. Maybe she could get some nice shots while she was there. Maybe she could enter a real photography contest with some of them. Maybe sell a print or two.

An hour later, Jocelyn stood in the doorway with her suitcase and carry-on in hand and stared at the camera case on the table. Finally, she rolled her eyes at herself and slung the camera over her shoulder.

“ I’m sure I’ll regret this,” she muttered as she locked the door behind her.


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