Home > Protecting Her Heart (Baytown Boys #16)

Protecting Her Heart (Baytown Boys #16)
Author: Maryann Jordan

 

 

1

 

 

“Harder! Harder! I want to hear it! Feel it! Give me more! Hell, give me something!”

Camilla Gannon winced. Closing her eyes for a few seconds, she steeled herself for the next round of pounding. A drop of sweat rolled down the side of her face, and she was grateful her professional makeup kept the moisture from ruining her looks. Pale blonde hair cascaded down her back. Her white shirt was ripped although taped strategically so that her breasts weren’t spilling out.

She wanted to scream, not because it was expected but because fear and anger were rolling up from her gut. But then, that’s what he wanted. Opening her eyes, she focused straight ahead. If that’s what he wants, that’s what he’ll get.

Curling her fingers into a fist, she lifted her hand and pounded against the glass door again. The vibrations reverberated from her hand up her arm, sending shockwaves throughout her body, making her nervous. But the bruises forming under her fist infuriated her.

“Cut!”

She refused to drop her chin, looking over her shoulder as she stepped away from the glass door instead.

Richie Tallon, director extraordinaire and equal opportunity asshole, threw his headset down onto the chair. He stomped toward her, but she refused to yield an inch and lifted her gaze to hold his as he approached.

“The camera needs to see your fear,” he growled. “You’re being chased by a psycho, for God’s sake.”

It was on the tip of her tongue to quip that she was directed by a psycho but knew better than to let that opinion slip. “The glass is vibrating under my hand when I hit it. I can feel it.”

He waved his hand in front of her, dismissing her concerns. “It’s fine, for Christ’s sake. You’ve got to pound on the heavier glass so the scene is realistic. We’ll switch it out to the resin one when we’re ready for that scene.” He leaned forward, his voice slithering past her ear. “You’re the golden one, Camilla. The one the studio wanted. But don’t forget, you’re mine now.”

Shivering at his tone, she swallowed her sigh of relief when Richie’s assistant, Teresa, stepped toward them.

“Richie? Porter McManus and David Robertson are here for your lunch meeting.”

Camilla recognized Teresa’s practiced soothing tone, used to maximize her chances to tame the beast. But, whether it was her words or voice, it didn’t matter as she watched the dollar signs flash in Richie’s eyes at the mention of David, one of the biggest money backers of Richie’s projects in Hollywood.

“Yes, yes! Thank you, Teresa. We’ve wasted so much time this morning on this scene, and I didn’t realize it was lunch.” Glancing over at his directing assistant, he barked, “Call lunch. I want everyone back here in two hours.” Lasering Camilla with his hard stare, he added, “And you’d better be fucking ready to beat that door with everything you’re worth.” Turning sharply, he walked off the set, Teresa trotting right behind him.

Shoulders finally slumping in relief, she jumped when another set assistant rushed over with an ice pack.

“Ms. Gannon, keep this on your hand and wrist while you’re having lunch. It’ll help keep the swelling down and make it easier for the afternoon shoot.”

She nodded, offering a slight smile as she reined in her frustration. “Thank you. I will.”

A soft shawl was draped over her shoulders, and she turned to smile at Penny, her assistant. “Thanks,” she said as she wrapped the comfortable material over her ripped blouse. The two walked off the set, soon joined by a few others as they made their way to her trailer. Samantha, her makeup artist and friend, and Portia Sabelle, another actress, came with them.

Just outside, she nodded to the huge man standing next to her door, his thick legs apart and his bulging arms crossed over his chest. Even in her heeled boots, she barely came to his chest. “Leo,” she greeted. Lionel Parker, former military now working for a security company, had been assigned to her for the duration of the movie.

He dipped his chin, his eyes hidden behind his sunglasses. “Ms. Gannon.”

She turned as another man, younger, fit but not quite as large, came bounding toward them, taking a stance near Leo. “Ms. Gannon,” he said with a smile, his twinkling eyes not hidden by sunglasses.

“Hello, Aaron,” she greeted, returning his smile as she climbed the steps to her trailer.

He glanced down at her wrist and frowned. “Are you okay, Ms. Gannon?”

“Yes, I’ll be fine. Just a small problem on the set, but nothing to worry about.”

Aaron nodded and leaned a little closer, grinning. “If you need me to take anyone out for you, just let me know.” He winked as he flexed his arm muscles, and they bulged underneath his tight t-shirt. Wiggling his brows, he quipped, “It’ll be no problem to take care of anyone bothering you.”

Shaking her head, she chuckled as she patted his shoulder. “I can handle things myself, but thanks for the offer.”

He leaned past her and opened the door, dipping his head as she walked inside before he called out greetings to the other women. She caught Leo’s snort of derision as he growled, “Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut, Aaron. And most of all, your mind on the job.”

She used to think security for a celebrity was overkill until the first time she faced a mob of cameras when leaving a store after her first hit movie. Her agent had hired several bodyguards, but Leo was the one she appreciated the most. He accepted her need to have an everyday existence whenever possible, therefore, he didn’t hover over her every move.

As soon as she entered her trailer, she felt the stress of the previous hours melt slightly. She’d decorated her trailer for maximum comfort and peace of mind. Pastel pillows piled on top of the denim-covered furniture. Vases of flowers sat on the counter, dining table, and end table. But, unlike what many would expect Hollywood’s Sweetheart to have delivered each day, they weren’t expensive roses or lilies. Wildflowers that grew in her garden filled her vases.

Camilla sat at the table, placing the ice pack underneath her hand as she leaned back in her chair.

Portia slid into the chair next to her. “I feel like I say the same thing every day, Camilla. He’s a dick. You know this, I know this. Hell, everybody knows this. I just can’t believe he’s getting away with treating you so shabbily.”

Penny went to the refrigerator and pulled out a fresh salad topped with grilled chicken. Placing it on the table in front of Camilla, she then turned and grabbed several more pre-made salads, enough for each of them.

“I know exactly what he is, Portia.” Camilla stabbed a cherry tomato, chewing it after she popped it into her mouth. Penny had provided just the right portion so that she would not bloat, making her painted-on jeans even tighter. “He is a dick, but he’s also one of the top directors right now. And, as long as he’s got the backing of David and Porter, he’s going to keep being a dick.”

“What I don’t get is why he’s so nasty to you,” Samantha said. “You’re the big name that signed on to this movie. If it wasn’t for you, I’m not even sure David would have backed it fully.”

Camilla continued to eat, knowing she needed the energy to get through the afternoon shoot. Richie might be considered a dick, but there was no denying his movies did well. While she hated his dictatorial directing and mercurial personality, his name as director and her name as a lead actress would automatically guarantee blockbuster status.

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