An Invitation to Sin(2)

By: Sarah Morgan


There it was. Just two minutes into a conversation and already the topic was her ‘past.’

There was no escaping it. Her mistakes had been played out so publicly they were branded into her so that now it was the first thing people saw, including him.

Her stomach growled a reminder that it was empty. ‘In a wedding packed full of various members of the Corretti dynasty, I’m sure the press will have plenty of alternative headline options.’ A different version of Taylor might have found him attractive but these days she avoided trouble instead of seeking it out. And she especially avoided the type of trouble that came shaped like a man. She’d learned that lesson and she’d learned it well.

‘Are you blushing?’ His eyes raked her face. ‘Taylor Carmichael, wild child and sex kitten, able to blush when the situation demands it. I’ll take that as a sign of your acting abilities. And I approve. The public loves vulnerability. They might even be prepared to excuse your shocking past.’

‘My past is no one’s business but my own.’ But it was stuck to her, like a dirty mark she couldn’t rub out. ‘So who do you want me to charm first?’

‘Weren’t you bringing someone?’ His eyes scanned the immediate area and Taylor managed to turn clenched teeth into a smile.

‘My friend Zach, but he’s been held up.’ And she was going to kill him.

‘Just remember your job today is to mingle with the people who matter, not nurture your love life.’

‘Zach isn’t—’ She stopped in mid-sentence, wishing she’d stayed silent but already he was nodding approval.

‘Good, because your messy love life has no place on my film set.’

‘My love life isn’t messy.’ She could have told him her love life was non-existent but she didn’t.

‘There are two reasons this film is going to pull in a big audience. The first is because it’s my film—’ his smile was cool ‘—and the second is because you’re starring in it, Taylor Carmichael. People are going to pack out movie theatres to see your big comeback because you’re a train wreck and everyone loves ogling a train wreck. If I’m right about you, they’ll leave knowing you can act. Don’t screw up.’

Despite the heat, she shivered.

This was what she hated. The press intrusion and studios who believed they owned her, not just on set, but in every area of her life. As a young star it had almost broken her, but she wasn’t that naive girl any more.

There was no way she’d let that happen to her again.

There was no way she’d screw it up or let them screw her.

They could fix their damn camera lenses to her ass and they still wouldn’t be able to catch her misbehaving. She was going to be so perfect the press would die of boredom. She was going to rub that dirty mark off her image until she shone like silver in sunshine.

‘So who is the most important person here today? Give me a brief.’ Brisk and professional, she was all business despite the fact the dress was all Hollywood. ‘Who am I supposed to impress?’

‘All of them. Every guest at the wedding is waiting for the chance to talk to you. Taylor Carmichael, finally back from exile. Everyone wants to know the details. The grapevine is buzzing.’

‘You’ve made sure of it.’

‘You’re my biggest asset and I know how to use my assets. Don’t give them details. No interviews until I say so.’

‘No problem.’ She’d pushed her past into a drawer and locked it and she hadn’t opened that drawer for years. The thought that others might be trying to uncover her secrets made her feel sick and his next words didn’t help dispel that feeling.

‘They’ll be persistent. After all, you’re the girl who fired her own mother.’

‘I fired my manager. The fact that she was my mother had nothing to do with it.’ But it should have done. It shouldn’t have been that easy to get rid of a mother, should it?

‘People have a morbid fascination with the way you crashed your own life.’

‘Thanks.’ The pain rose and she pushed it down again, alone with it as she was always alone.

‘So what have you been doing the past few years?’

Taylor watched as a bee hovered over a flower and then carefully landed on the fragile petals. ‘I was keeping a low profile.’

His eyes narrowed at her evasive answer. ‘Just as long as that profile isn’t going to suddenly pop up and hurt my movie.’

‘It won’t.’ She shifted her weight to ease the pain in her feet. She’d forgotten how uncomfortable stilettos were. Still, at least it took her mind off her growling stomach. ‘You can relax. If there is any scandal attached to your movie, it won’t come from me.’

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