Seducing the Star First Chapter

Monday, December 20, 2021

Chapter One

An ideal way to spend New Year's Eve is by drinking champagne and eating chocolates straight from the box in the dark in my jammies while the ball drops.

Instead of that glorious evening, my friends have dragged me to a party at a mini-mansion somewhere in the middle of So-Cal.

To be frank, it’s my fault for allowing them to convince me it would be good to get out of my apartment for the night to celebrate the new year with them. I could’ve said no. I could’ve put my foot down. But no… I let my best friend Goldie give me the puppy dog eyes and somehow I’m standing here among a group of mostly strangers in a tight red evening dress with a dirty martini in hand wondering why I caved.

Thank goodness for the alcohol.

“Violet’s house is beautiful,” Goldie says. “I wish I’d be the one to help design it. It’s too bad Luna already did before I started working for her.” Luna is Goldie’s boss and interior decorator extraordinaire.

“I’m sure if you did, it would be even more beautiful, like you,” her boyfriend Gavin says as he presses a kiss to her forehead.

Did I say thank goodness for the alcohol? I did. Clearly I need more if I’m to get through tonight, so I finish the last bit of my drink and excuse myself to go to the bar.

I love my friends, I do, but tonight feels like they’re throwing me a bone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great hanging out with them. While they would never admit to it, they’ve been extra attentive ever since my long-time boyfriend broke up with me this month. Yes, it was quite the blow since it ended out of nowhere, but I’ve been surprisingly fine. I mean, other than wanting to sit around every night with a spoon in a can of frosting while watching reruns of the cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings.

But I digress.

Seriously, though, I’ve been handling the break up better than I thought I would. I was bitter for the first week, that’s for sure. It’s tough to face the music when a relationship you thought was getting serious is suddenly not. This is probably why my best friend and her boyfriend were so adamant about me getting out of the house tonight.

It’s just hard to be a third wheel on New Years' Eve. There’s not only the whole “new year, new me” thing, but those pesky resolutions that none of us keep. Let’s not forget that come midnight, everyone will be looking for someone to kiss and I’m all by my lonesome.

I may need a stronger drink.

The bar is circular and lit up with blue lights under the counter. Behind it are a couple of bartenders standing in front of rows of bottles of alcohol. I’m sure one of them could come up with something that would fulfill my needs based on the variety.

“Excuse me,” I say to the woman with the short orange hair.

She smiles. “What’s your poison?”

“I’m looking for something strong. Strong like a Long Island Iced Tea, but not a Long Island.”

Before she can recommend something, a deep voice next to me says, “How about a Zombie?”

Turning to the voice, I’m greeted with an extremely handsome dark-haired man in a suit without a tie. The shirt has a couple of buttons undone at the top. He’s standing at an angle, leaning against the bar with a champagne glass in his hand.

Tilting my head, I ask, “Are you an alcohol connoisseur?”

Chuckling, he says, “Something like that.”

Given I have zero knowledge of alcoholic drinks, I might as well leave it to the professionals. Shrugging, I tell the orange-haired bartender, “What the hell, I’ll take a Zombie.”

She nods. “Coming right up.”

As she’s gathering the ingredients, I turn back to the handsome man. “Is it going to knock me on my ass?”

“It might.”

“Thank God.”

“Bad night?”

“I wouldn’t say bad...”

“But you wouldn’t say good either.”

“It’s… complicated.” Hard to get into the details of your life with a stranger when all you’re doing is grabbing a potent alcoholic beverage before heading back to your friends.

“Here you go,” says the bartender as she hands me the drink.

Bottoms up, I think to myself. Raising the glass in the direction of the handsome man, I say, “Cheers.”

“Cheers,” he replies, raising his glass in return.

I take my first sip and it is perfection. I can sense the alcohol, but the flavoring almost covers it up enough that I could easily go overboard if I’m not careful. I hum in appreciation. “Damn, that’s good.”

“You’re welcome,” he says.

“Thank you… uh… what’s your name?”

He seems taken aback at first, but replies, “Phoenix.”

I brush off his surprise and extend my hand. “Maggie.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Maggie.”

His hand is warm in mine, and the slight tingle I feel at his touch almost makes me lose all focus. I manage to say, “Likewise,” before letting go to hold onto my drink with both hands.

“So, how do you know Violet?” Phoenix asks.

“I don’t, but my best friend’s boyfriend does somehow.” All I remember hearing on the drive here is that she’s had a bunch of small parts on movies and TV shows. This place seems a bit out of the price range of a small-time actress. Not that it’s any of my business. “How about you?”

“Some friends of mine did projects with her years ago.”

“Oh really? How about you? Are you an actor, too?”

He pauses before answering. “I’ve dabbled in it a bit over the years.”

“That’s cool.” I smile. “I tried to be an actress when I first graduated from high school. The only cool thing I got to do was a commercial once. Otherwise I might be seen in a background shot as an extra in a handful of movies.”

“Which ones?”

“A couple of indie projects. One went to Sundance. None are well-known.” It took me about an hour to spot myself in the final cut, and even then I wasn’t positive it was me.

“That’s awesome. I’d love to be in a Sundance movie.”

I open my mouth to ask him more about what he’s done when some random guy comes over and puts an arm around Phoenix. Random Guy says, “Dude! I think I can score with the chick you worked with on that movie you did last summer. She’s totally zoning in on me.”

Random Guy is obviously tipsy, probably at least one or two drinks away from passing out. Phoenix realizes this and tells him, “Maybe we should get you off your feet, Josh.”

“Hey!” Josh says, looking straight at me. “Do I know you? Because I don’t think I’ve seen you around here… but I could be wrong.” His words come out even more slurred than before.

“Uh, I don’t think so. My name is Maggie.”

“Hi, Maggie. How do you know The Phoenix?” The way he says his name sounds like he’s a royal or something. “Did you guys work together?”

“Oh, no. We haven’t worked together. I’ve barely done any movies. Mostly been an extra.”

“Oh, an extra, huh? Is that what they call it these days when there’s more than one girl?” Josh laughs like he’s told the funniest joke ever.

Whatever the joke is, I don’t get it. “What’s he talking about?” I ask Phoenix.

Phoenix stays quiet for a few seconds, then says, “Let me find Josh somewhere to sober up a little first.”

“What? She’s not one of your girls?” Josh asks. “Is she one of Rocky’s girls, then?”

“Who in the world is Rocky?” I ask. This conversation makes less and less sense as it continues.

“She’s not that kind of girl, Josh. Can you drop it?” Phoenix hisses out the last part. He seems very perturbed at this point and I still have no clue why.

“Oh, damn, man. I thought I could score with one of your… one of your girls. She’s sexy.”

“Hey!” Phoenix snaps. “Treat Maggie with respect.”

“Phoenix,” I say slowly as my eyes narrow, “what kind of girl does he think I am?”

Sighing, he reluctantly replies, “He thinks you’re in porn.”

My eyes widen. “What?” The word comes out practically as a screech. “Why would he think that?”

Josh replies matter-of-factly, “Because Phoenix is in porn.”


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Maggie Bloom doesn’t know why she’s at this party.

Recently dumped by her serious boyfriend, she would much rather be ringing in the new year at home in her pajamas. If she were there, she wouldn’t have to worry about the dreaded midnight kiss. She has to figure out what to do and time is running out.

Enter Phoenix Westbrook.

He’s sexy, he’s nice… and he’s a porn star? This information may have initially come as a shock, but just makes the idea of kissing him all the more tempting. They make a pact to share a kiss at midnight, no strings attached.

They didn’t count on the kiss leading them to other things.

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