Jackson's Press Screw Up (Acting Counsel Epilogue)

Jackson's Press Screw Up (Acting Counsel Epilogue)

Eight months later…

Jackson

Lights blinded me as I stepped out of my limo. The crowd roared and I waved, smirking when the lasses along the front of the barrier screamed. 

Just the way I like it.

Some actors hated to walk the red carpet. Something about the noise and the clamour of both fans and paparazzi set them on edge. Me? I fucking loved it.

I’d take a crowd of screaming lasses over my quiet house any day. Even the paparazzi shouting questions and demands didn’t bother me. As long as they kept me focused and in the moment, I’d pose however they wanted.

Here, I couldn’t hear my thoughts even if I wanted to.

Bliss. Pure fucking bliss.

Ahead of me walked Shaun and Finn, each of them holding their wives’ hands as they worked their way down the press line. All of them done up to the nines and rightly so. This wasn’t just another premiere.

Tonight, we launched the first film we’d ever created as Kings of Screen Productions.

Eleven months had flown by since Finn and I talked Nathan into ditching his plans to purchase a studio. Why he’d gone that route when we’d always talked about opening a production company none of us could understand, but we let it go and got on with the task at hand.

It had been a lot of work, some of it really bleeding miserable with Nathan moping over Cat, Finn stressing over his vow renewal ceremony and Shaun freaking out over becoming a dad. At times, I was the only voice of reason. 

A weird situation I’d like to never repeat.

Thankfully, Nathan won Cat back, Shaun realised he was not his dad and wouldn’t screw up his child — as if Mona would let him even try — and Finn’s vow renewal went off without a hitch. We all returned from Bora Bora with a new determination to get shit done. No more distractions, we decided. Just Beautiful Lies and Rogue Squad 5 for us. 

We came home, hired the best team we could get our hands on and set them to work. I’d never spent so long poring over scripts and questioning every tiny decision. The process had been both fascinating and eye-opening. We’d disagreed at times, but we’d always found our way to a middle ground and the film was better for it. Or so you believe. 

Nerves twisted in my gut, a foreign feeling these days and one I morbidly enjoyed. I’d thought I’d experienced everything I possibly could in this industry. It was nice to feel something new. 

The crowd roared again while I worked my way down the carpet. I glanced over my shoulder as a new car pulled up at the entrance. Nathan’s name filled the air like a chant. I stopped myself from rolling my eyes or shouting at them to focus their adoration on me. They didn’t know how sickeningly serious Nathan and Cat were about each other.

Honestly, the pair of them were inseparable. Much like Finn and Shaun with Abi and Mona. Only more amusing.

After Nathan’s failed proposal in Scotland, he’d been tiptoeing around the question for months. Anyone with half a brain cell could see through Cat’s hints, but Nathan just kept second-guessing himself. Serves him right, I fucking told him it would be a bad idea to propose with that ring.

 The driver rushed around the car, opening the door. Nathan stepped out, all smiles and windswept but styled in a tailored black suit. He nodded his head to the screaming fans before quickly turning back to help Cat out of the car.

She emerged, fitting right in among the glitz and glam of our Hollywood premiere in her sparkly dress. The screams intensified with hundreds of fans calling out her name. She smiled, hesitant at first, her grip on Nathan’s hand tight. Then she stubbornly pushed her shoulders back and lifted her chin, waving with more confidence as she clung to his arm. Nathan whispered something in her ear and she laughed, the sound carrying over the roar of the crowd.

As much as I gave Nathan shit, I could appreciate the change in him. He’d worked his ass off to win Cat and she made him a stronger, better man. One actually capable of commitment. I smiled at the thought, giving him a nod as they started down the carpet.

Even so, sandwiched by happy couples was not a place I wanted to be. I could hear the reporters’ questions already.

Jackson, how does it feel to be single when all of your friends are settling down with wives and babies?

I should have arrived late.

Not that I begrudged them their happiness. Not even slightly. 

I loved the bastards. If the wife, two-point-five bairns, and the picket fence made them happy so be it. I just didn’t need that in my life, and I really, really didn’t want to spend my night fielding questions explaining my vehement determination to stay single.

Somebody has to keep the lasses of Hollywood entertained, and I volunteered as tribute.

Yeah, I couldn’t see that answer going down well either, so instead, I’d either dodge the question or make up some bogus line about looking for Mrs Right.

Even though the first woman I thought was Mrs Right threw a ring in my face after cheating on me, and the second can’t stand me, won’t even agree to one date.

“Jackson! Over here! Sammy Miller claims you’re the reason for her marriage breaking down. How do you respond to her claims that you're a homewrecker?” A pap shouted, breaking through my thoughts.

My smile froze in place. What the fuck are they talking about? I’d never fuck a married woman. I had always been extremely careful. 

“She claims you promised to marry her if she left her husband,” another shouted. “Were you involved with a married woman, Jackson?”

Who the fuck did I piss off enough to make up complete bullshit like this? 

My jaw clenched as I forced another unaffected smile and kept moving. The second I got off the carpet, I’d call my agent, get him to track down the source and threaten legal action. No, that might make me look guilty. 

Fuck, think. I needed to fix this without making it a bigger deal. 

“Why were you involved with a married woman?”

I forced myself to keep moving down the line as I scanned the sea of reporters, trying to pinpoint the source of the accusations. Who the fuck said that and why are they trying to stir shit up tonight of all nights? 

Tonight was supposed to be about the film, not some scandal. If it got enough traction it could derail all the good publicity. 

Just keep walking, get to the end of this fucking carpet. 

But if I didn’t put it to rest, it would overshadow the entire launch.

“Do you make a habit of leading women on, Levi?” 

A sharp stab of anger hit me. I would never. 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, pal, but I’m in a relationship, and it’s not with a married woman,” I said, somehow keeping the vehement disgust from my voice. Then my words caught up with my brain and my stomach hit the floor. 

Why the fuck did you say that?

The paparazzi went crazy, the questions intensified as did the noise, all of them pushing and shoving to break their line and get closer to me. 

“Who is she?”

“How long have you been together?”

“Why have you never been seen together?”

“Is she real?”

I scoffed. “Of course, she’s bloody real.” 

“Then what’s her name?” 

My gaze tracked to Jimmy’s white-faced assistant. I’m not sure my agent planned very well sending his brand new assistant to chaperone me down the carpet, but then who could have predicted this clusterfuck?

She stared at me, her eyes wide and silently begging me to fix it. But how? The words were out.

My eyes found Shaun and Finn up ahead, both of them looking back at me with furrowed brows and concerned frowns. Great, the last thing I need is them worrying about this shit right now.

I shook my head quickly, hoping they’d get the message to ignore it, then turned my attention to the reporters again.

“Her name is Roseline Butler and we’ve been together for the last six months.”

I’m going to pay for this.

Ros had refused to even date me. How the fuck was I going to convince her to pretend to be my girlfriend?

 

Loved Nathan and Cat? Dying to spend a little more time with the pair? Then join them for a night at the premiere and read the bonus scene. Sign up for my newsletter and read it now.

 

If you enjoyed Acting Counsel, please consider leaving a review on your preferred platform.

 

Next and last in the Kings of Screen series is Fashionably Fake following the fallout from Jackson’s lie. Will Ros bail him out or will he be forced to face the music?

Pretending to be his girlfriend is a decision tailor-made for disaster.

Ros 

Falling for a movie star is every fangirl's wildest dream, but in my world, celebrities like Jackson Levi don’t fall for broke fashion designers.

But disaster has a way of stripping away illusions. 

He wants me to pretend to be his Hollywood sweetheart and save his reputation.

I barely survived the summer without falling into his arms. How am I meant to hold onto my heart while playing his doting girlfriend for a year?

Because I have no doubt, with stolen kisses and secret moments, the lines between pretend and reality will blur until all I see is a man whose magnetic charm might just spin our fake affair into something more. 

Jackson

Every Hollywood player knows there's one role you'll never win — husband. 

Blinded by panic, a slip of the tongue might just earn work in my favour. 

I have one year to convince Roseline Butler what we have is more real than gossip rags and adoring fans. 

One year for this wild Scot to prove that his playboy days are over… and a forever kind of love is just getting started. 

She's always thought of me as a star, out of reach. Little does my darling Ros know, she's the one woman I was born to make shine.

Fashionably Fake is a fake dating Hollywood romance with a Scottish hero, set in the Kings of Screen world. It can be read as a standalone.

Preorder Now

Back to blog