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Praise for Acting Up - Book 1 in the Center Stage series

Remember what it feels like to put on a show? Whether your experience was in high school, college, community theatre or pro, there’s nothing like joining a found-family, inclusive community of like-minded and quirky people to create live theatre. Adele Buck’s Acting Up, the first book in her Center Stage series, captures the very essence—the warmth and heart—of that world in this charming friends-to-lovers story. I can’t wait for more!

Suzanne Brockmann, New York Times bestselling author

With wry humor and innate warmth, Acting Up pulls you into a world of rapid-fire banter, relatable challenges, and very human reactions—and a gorgeous romance that you'll still be thinking about long after the final page.

Lucy Parker, Author of Act Like It and The Austen Playbook

Method Acting

Book 2 in the Center Stage series

Adele Buck

Quiet Confidence Press

Copyright © 2021 by Jill A. Smith

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Ornamental scene break: Clapperboard by Studio Fibonacci from the Noun Project.

Edited by Jennifer Johnson-Blalock of HYPHEN.

Cover design by Marika Bailey.

For my Miss Fisher gang, especially Rosemary, who always knew Alicia was up to something.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23


Enjoyed Method Acting?


Author’s Note

Chapter 1 of Acting Lessons

About the Author

Chapter 1

Alicia hustled into her charge’s room, urging the girl to wake, get dressed, and greet the day. Bustling about, she opened the curtains and chattered about the events to come. She marveled that the girl still slept.


Alicia bent over and shook her—then froze, her heart thudding, nausea crawling up her throat. The young woman did not move. Did not breathe.

Angels and ministers of grace…Grace… Her mind stuttered and spun for what seemed like an age, time slowing almost to a standstill, then rushing into double time.

Screaming for help, Alicia almost ran into the girl’s mother, who was racing in to see what was wrong. Unable to do more than point at the still form of the girl on the bed, Alicia spoke barely intelligible words, tears sliding down her cheeks as the other woman gripped her in a vain attempt at understanding or comfort.

The girl’s father entered, seeming to dismiss both weeping women at the same time as he demanded why his daughter was not already at the wedding.

Useless man. Alicia didn’t bother to keep the sneer from her face, despite the fact he was her employer. What did she care, now that the child she had raised, nursed, comforted and corrected, was gone?

Pointing at the bed with a shaking hand, Alicia swiped at her tears. “She's dead, deceased, she's dead.” Punctuating each mention of death with a stab of her finger, her mouth crumpled as she saw the realization finally flow across his face. “Alack the day,” she choked out, a lump lodging in her throat.

The priest and the bridegroom entered on the heels of the father’s next flowery, pointless words.

His fault. All of it. Love and insistence on blind adherence to duty. This is what comes of it.

Colin leaned back in his chair, his brows coming together in a slight frown as he watched the play unfold in front of him.


Most actresses playing The Nurse broke down here, wailing and helpless at the sight of the apparently dead Juliet. This one was different.

She was angry.

Specifically, she was furious with Lord Capulet, her face contorted in a rage-filled sneer at his next lines. The actor playing Juliet’s father seemed nervous of her, as if he was afraid she would grab the sword from Paris’ hip as he entered and run the older man through.

Her dark eyes practically glittered with malice as she spat her final speech in the scene, a lament for the lost Juliet, her proclamations of the horror of the day seeming to contain more rage than grief. And when she intoned, “Never was seen so black a day as this,” she pointed a long, shaking finger at Capulet, threatening him, her subtext clear to Colin.

Today may be my blackest day, but yours is yet to come.

Colin was disappointed when the final act of the play didn’t bring further surprises. He half expected a new plot twist added to the old story—The Nurse murdering Lord Capulet. When the cast filed out for their curtain call, he found his eyes straying to the woman who had startled him. The position where she took her bows was at the opposite end of the stage from where he sat and he couldn’t make out her features clearly. He wondered if the actress was as interesting as the character she had created.

Her performance had been the only thing to distract him from the empty seat next to him for the entire production.

To: Alicia Johnson

From: Susan Vernon

Subject: Ugh.

Sorry about the radio silence, sweetie. Thanks for coming up to see the show. You left before you saw the real show—the cast party was completely, idiotically hijacked by Paul proposing marriage to Cath. The stupidest, most vulgar thing I’ve ever seen. He didn’t even get her a real diamond or anything. It was like that hippie-dippy ring Emma Thompson wore in The Song of Lunch. Not that I saw it closely. They were mobbed by everyone who wanted to say how incredibly happy they were for them.


Anyway, you guys must be getting close to previews. Or have you already started

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