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Copyright © 2013 by JS Taylor.

All rights reserved.


35 Cambridge Road, Hove


First Edition January 2013

The characters in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

ISBN: 10 1484854152

ISBN 13: 9781484854150

Printed in the United Kingdom

Chapter 1

“Natalie!” I race out of the chalet, letting the door slam behind me.

Part of me is frightened at what she may have just seen. Another part is furious. Natalie has made things difficult since she arrived. What business did she have, spying through my chalet window?

The idea of what she may have deduced is racing through my mind.

Natalie is walking away, towards her own chalet. Her back is to me, and she doesn’t change her pace, as though she hasn’t heard me.

My mental images whirl over how James and I might have appeared. Director and actress. Alone together in my chalet.

“Natalie!” I shout after her more forcefully, breaking into a faster stride. This time she noticeably picks up the pace. She’s heard me then. But she’s pretending she hasn’t.

I call her again, and when she doesn’t answer, I sprint the last few paces towards her and grab her tiny wrist.

I use more force than I mean to, and Natalie whirls around in alarm. Her eyes glance anxiously to where my hand is holding her arm.

“Why didn’t you stop?” I ask, letting her wrist drop from my hand.

She looks a little frightened, but doesn’t reply.

“What were you doing?” I demand, “looking through my window?”

I don’t bother to disguise the anger in my voice, and Natalie’s eyes blink in confusion.

“There’s no need to get so mad,” she manages finally. “I just wanted to know what got loaded into your chalet.”

I stare at her.


“There was a big truck,” she says. “Outside your chalet. Earlier today. I wanted to see what you had delivered.”

A big truck? I let the words compute. James had filled my chalet with flowers. Likely they needed a large vehicle to drop them off.

“What business is it of yours?” I say, still angry.

Steady, Isabella. Keep your temper in check.

After the last few days, I’ve reached the end of my patience with Natalie. But I realise I’m treading a dangerous path. If she’s figured out James and I are involved, I need to stay friendly. It’s my only chance of stopping her running to the press.

“I mean,” I add, aiming for a kinder tone, “you’ve got plenty of nice things in your own chalet. Why the interest in mine?”

Amazingly, this seems to strike a chord with Natalie. She lets out a sigh.

“I didn’t realise you and I were so similar,” she says, her cute beach-bunny lilt coming to the fore. “I like to decorate my own place too. We should be able to have expensive things delivered. James shouldn’t be trying to stop us.”

Natalie pouts and tosses her hair. Her mouth twists.

“I know you’re mad because you’re embarrassed,” she adds.

My stomach tightens. I eye her warily.

What exactly does she think was going on?

“But it’s cool, really,” she says. “James told me off too, for having big deliveries. He can be a real pig sometimes.” She rolls her eyes.

A little of my uneasiness fades away.

“We should stick together,” adds Natalie, “so he can’t bully us.”

To my surprise, she reaches out her little hand and pats my arm.

“I’m glad it’s not just me he picks on,” she says, conspiratorially. “I thought those flowers you ordered were nice. Who cares some people might think they’re too extravagant? If you like flowers, you should be allowed. Same as I should be allowed to have my nice furniture from LA.”

I try not to let my mouth fall open in amazement. But I’m piecing together what Natalie thinks she’s seen.

It seems as though she thinks James was balling me out for having my chalet filled with flowers.

On reflection, this shouldn’t be so bizarre. After all, Natalie Ennis is so completely self-absorbed. It makes sense she can only understand my experiences in relation to her own.

I vaguely remember the influx of huge furniture delivered to Natalie’s chalet. James must have told her she was being too extravagant.

“Yeah,” I manage, keeping my tone steady. “Well, I’m not used to this actress thing. But I thought it would be cool to order in flowers.” I aim for a light laugh. “Shame James didn’t agree,” I add.

Natalie nods vigorously. “People don’t realise how important the environment is to an actress,” she says. “We’re sensitive. It’s important we get what we want, so we can create.”

She waves her hands expansively at this last part.

“Think of all the joy we bring to people,” she says. “Well,” she moderates, remembering it’s me she’s talking to. “You have that to come, with the fans and everything. But really. People love actresses. We should be rewarded for that.”

“Um. Yeah,” I agree, not really sure what I’m saying. The relief flooding through me is intense.

She doesn’t think she saw anything incriminating.

Then I remember what a good actress Natalie is.

What if she’s not telling the truth? I weigh this up, wondering how I can test it.

“I don’t think the director should come to our chalets,” I say, keeping a careful track of her expression. “The crew might get the wrong idea.”

Natalie’s eyes keep their perfectly vacant expression.

“They might think,” I press, “that there’s something romantic going on.”

Her face frowns in understanding.

“Oh no,” she says breezily. “You don’t need to worry about that. James never gets involved with actresses. Ever. It’s one of his rules. All the crew know it.”

She lowers her voice to a whisper.

“I think maybe he’s gay.”

James Berkeley. Gay. It’s as much as I can do not to laugh out loud.

“Really?” I don’t keep the surprise out of my voice. I can hardly imagine anyone less camp than the dark and brooding Mr Berkeley.

“Yeah,” says Natalie, nodding her head with certainty. “We were at a party one time, and I made a move, you know.”

She draws a finger across her throat. “Nothing,” she says. “No interest. And,

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