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Between Takes: An Enemies-to-Lovers Movie Star Romance (EBOOK)

Between Takes: An Enemies-to-Lovers Movie Star Romance (EBOOK)

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“So I’m clear: you want me to babysit an off-the-rails actor for six months?”

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.

Or, at least, that's what I'm telling myself.

My family moved, my ex took my friends when he left, and my job is suddenly uninspiring. There's a silver lining in here somewhere, I'm sure...

It comes, eventually, in a strange package; a last-minute job that's slightly outside my comfort zone, a long way away. Dealing with a movie star can't be that hard, can it?

He's hot, of course. And a mess, no doubt. Hates me and wants to be left to self-destruct alone, apparently. But it's my job to turn it around, turn him around and when I find myself falling for more than just the job, it gets tricky.

The lights are better here, more magical, and I'm not sure if it's his lack of charm or the prospects for the future but I can almost taste that lemonade... or can I?

Between Takes is a slow burn steamy enemies-to-lovers, boss-assistant romance. It is the first book in the Kings of Screen series. If you enjoy irresistible damaged heroes and take no-nonsense heroines caught in a workplace romance, you'll love Between Takes.



✓ An actor who needs a babysitter
✓ An assistant who’s out of their depth
✓ A workplace romance
✓ and off the charts chemistry


“Mona? Are you there?” An American voice asked, desperation leaking into her cheery tone.
I couldn’t have heard her right.
She couldn’t have actually offered me a job as an actor’s assistant. Because why would she do that? I’m not even remotely qualified. My sister was an agent too, and I’d learnt plenty from her drunken rants when one client or another got a bit out of hand. But that didn’t equal experience.
But what if I hadn’t misheard?
“So I’m clear: you want me to babysit an off-the-rails actor for six months?” My light Scottish accent deepened with my confusion.
Sherry chuckled. “That about sums it up. But if he asks, you’re his assistant.”
Fuck! She was serious.
I let my head fall back against the sterile white wall behind me. The jolt of my scalp lightly scraping against the brick stung, but it did nothing to ease my racing heart.
“And my sister thought I was qualified?”
“I know this would be your first assistant job, but Isla was certain you were my girl, and frankly, based on the tales she’s told me, I agree with her.” Her words ran at a mile a minute, stressed but still cheery as she tried to reassure me.
Isla, my talent agent sister, had abandoned both me and Edinburgh for rival Glasgow almost six months before. Why would she think I could wrangle difficult stars? It still didn’t make sense.
My background was in marketing. Although, I must have sucked at it because no way should I still be struggling to enjoy the job after two years and three attempts with different companies. I didn’t know the first thing about managing an actor.
Logically, I knew that was a huge issue here. And yet a stupid thrill continued working its way into my brain.
It would be something different, something challenging.
“What tales?” I asked, remembering Sherry was still there.
“She told me how you got MJ Harris on the stage during your college Freshers Week.”
My eyes fell shut, trying to suppress the memory of an itchy rapper who wanted to do nothing but snort his freshly delivered coke and skip out on a room full of drunk first years screaming his name.
He didn’t get the coke, and he didn’t skip out.
Only because I snapped a photo of him with the bag before snatching it and racing into the bathroom with it. He hadn’t been prepared for a fresh-faced second-year Fresher’s Helper stepping in and swiping his precious drugs. I’d dangled that tiny bag over the toilet with my phone in my other hand, poised to post it all over social media. His eyes had bugged out, but he gave in.
When the show ended, I was there, waiting at the side of the stage to return his prize. I didn’t care if he destroyed his brain cells with it. My job had been to get him on that damn stage. After that, he was someone else’s problem.
“I really need a repeat, Mona. Shaun is trying to dig himself into a hole. I’ve spent too much time making that man, and I won’t let his sorry attempt at self-destruction ruin it now.”
Okay, but a drug-addict rapper wasn’t the same as an award-winning TV star. Falling from grace or not, he was a big fish, and I was a tiny minnow. He’d stomp me into the ground without breaking a sweat.
“I need you, Mona. I’m desperate,” Sherry whispered, the words strangled with disgust. “He’s going to tank Mystery Lines, his latest TV project, and destroy my reputation. There’s an eye-watering amount of money riding on him getting to wrap, and I need a badass who won’t take his shit.”
Silence fell between us as I let her words sink in.
I’m a badass? Funny, I didn’t feel like one these days. I felt like a floundering failure who couldn’t figure out which way was up half the time.
“Please say you’re in on this!”
Despite myself, I grinned. Someone thought I could whip the golden boy of television into shape. Who cared if that person was my sister? Someone believed in me.
“Did I mention that I’m desperate and there’s a hefty pay cheque waiting for you?”
“How hefty?” I asked, pursing my lips to hold in any rash responses.
Pay at my current job wasn’t great. It was enough to cover the day to day, but I didn’t want to live pay cheque to pay cheque. I hadn’t been able to save very much and that wouldn’t change, not even with my frugal ways. Thankfully, I didn’t have student loans to worry about – one pro of being born Scottish: university was free. Even a slight increase would be huge.
My eyes bulged at the figure she quoted. If I planned it right, I could buy a house outright at the end of the contract with that kind of cash. “When do I start?”
“Oh, thank fucking god!” She sighed, and I could easily imagine her slouching down in an insanely expensive swivel chair. “Monday. You start Monday.”
It was on the tip of my tongue to agree when my brain connected the dots.
My eyes widened. Today was Friday. I would be giving only a few hours’ notice.
True, I’d had a lot of trouble finding a job I actually liked, but I’d never up and quit with no warning before.
“Mona?” Sherry’s cheery voice pulled me out of my panic spiral. She’d been talking, and I’d zoned out.
“Sorry. I missed that.”
“I said, because you’re coming to my rescue at the last minute, I’ll include a relocation bonus.”
I stared at the white wall above the stairs, frowning.
Relocation bonus. Why did I need a relocation bonus?
“The job’s not in Glasgow?” I asked, my words slow and measured as I tried to put the pieces together.
“No, dear. Shaun’s in Cardiff. I need you in Cardiff.”
Silence met her clarification. Quitting a job I hated with a shit supervisor was one thing. But packing up my life and moving four hundred miles down the country without notice? That needed a bit more thought.
And I had to do it all in a weekend.
“On Monday,” she repeated, concern diluting her upbeat tone. “Is that a problem?”
Was it a problem?
Isla had clearly given her stamp of approval. She wouldn’t miss me. My brother was in London and my parents had retired to Cornwall nearly a year ago. In Cardiff, I’d be closer to all of them. The fact was, there was nothing holding me in Edinburgh. I didn’t need to worry about leaving anyone behind. My life here was boring and predictable at the best of times.
“No problem at all. I’ll get everything sorted at my end.”
Once the words left my mouth, a heavy weight lifted off my chest. That is until I realised that I now needed to walk back into the office and give my dickhead of a supervisor three hours’ notice of my departure. I was nervous – hands-shaking nervous. I had no idea how he would take it. He’d either be gleeful or downright mean about it.
“I’ll arrange everything here too,” Sherry said, the edge in her voice raising my eyebrows. “I’m going to contract you with the agency rather than Shaun directly. If you run into any problems working for him, let me know immediately and I’ll jump in if you need help.”
What problems should I be expecting?
“By the time you arrive on Monday, the production team will have your passes ready. I’ll text you the details you need and send over the contract by the end of the day.” She cleared her throat, hesitating over something. “Do you have questions for me?”
Aside from what the hell am I getting myself into?
“What exactly does an assistant do?”
“Keep him on track, dear,” Sherry said, some of the tension draining from her voice now. “He’s in a weird place and following through with his commitments is sometimes challenging for him. Keep his schedule up to date, make sure he’s attending all his meetings – especially with the producers – get him to set on time, remind him to memorise his lines, manage his communications, run errands. Try not to piss him off.” Sherry chuckled at that. “But that’ll be nigh on impossible, so I’d ignore his complaining if I were you.”
The process sounded easy enough on its own, but throw in a volatile actor and it might not be as straightforward as it appeared.
I swallowed hard. It would be fine.
Besides, I was a badass now. I could handle anything.
* * *
“Congratulations!” Isla cried a couple of hours later.
I jumped as she popped the cork on the bottle of champagne she held. I pulled my short pink hair back into a small but messy ponytail and sighed. I had two days to pack up my life and move. There was no time for hairbrushes or showers or make-up.
There was also no time for champagne and getting very, very drunk, but Isla wore a huge grin I couldn’t refuse. The pride shining in her eyes was my undoing. It had been a while since I’d felt deserving of it. Besides, a move like this was huge. Why shouldn’t I celebrate a little?
Despite my frazzled state, I accepted the glass with an answering smile of my own.
I’d found Isla in my flat with packages of flat-packed cardboard and alcohol when I got home. Now, we stood surrounded by boxes, most of them empty. Assembling them had been a sweaty feat that came with a lot of swearing and one too many paper cuts. Who knew you could get a paper cut from a cardboard box!
“How did quitting go?” Isla took a seat on the arm of my sofa.
I pulled a face and stuffed a wrapped plate into the box.
“Did he blow up?” Isla chuckled. “Oh, please tell me he made an absolute fool of himself?”
“Is, get real.” I rolled my eyes and continued wrapping kitchenware. “He was gleeful, belittling me and my life choices. I bit my cheek and waited through it. It was all pretty smooth sailing after that.”
Isla blinked at me, a frown forming between her brows. “No comment on the work you’d be leaving unfinished.”
“I offered to do a handover, but he didn’t want me to finish up any of my projects because, and I quote, my ‘work ethic would make a mockery of his highly respected clients’.” Read: tiny pet shop fronting a puppy mill.
Isla leaned back, absorbing the surprising turn. I’d been expecting a lot worse too.
“I’m just relieved to be free of such a mind-numbingly boring job.” I smirked, remembering how I’d exited the building. “I might have skipped through the foyer.”
Amusement twinkled in Isla’s gaze when she met mine. “You didn’t?”
I nodded. “My feet left the ground and everything. Security watched me go with a bemused smile. All I needed was a dye job, a pair of killer red heels and a yellow brick road, and you could call me Dorothy.”
But alas, I was rather attached to my pastel-pink shoulder-length cut. It stood out in stark contrast to my sister’s more conventional long honey-blond tresses. We shared our mother’s sharp features, which made us look younger than we actually were. Isla was two years older than me at twenty-seven, and even she got ID’d half the time.
“I’m so proud of you.” Isla raised her glass to the air in toast.
Funny, I thought I’d packed the glassware already.
“I’ve done nothing yet.”
“Nonsense. You’re taking a brave risk and I couldn’t be happier for you.” Isla took a seat on my sofa and sipped her bubbling glass. “You watch. This will be just what you need.”
I didn’t doubt I needed a change of pace. Something was very definitely lacking in my life, and nothing I tried fit. I wasn’t delusional; I knew this would be a challenge, but it felt right.
Right or not, my grin wilted at the edges. “Even though I only got it because of you?”
“Sweetheart, getting into this business on your own is really bloody hard.” She shrugged, taking a sip of champagne. “The entertainment industry is a nepotistic business. Do you know how many friends, siblings and children I’ve seen filter through my agency because they’re connected to one person or another?”
I shook my head. Isla worked with five other agents. It couldn’t be that many.
“At least a hundred in the last six years.” She shrugged, her eyes glinting with mischief as mine widened. “But I was one of them, so I’m definitely not complaining, and no one is going to bat so much as an eyelash at you.”
Isla tapped at her phone, her forehead creasing in concentration while she searched for something. The matter closed for her, and maybe it should be for me too. If it was normal, why should I care that I lacked experience? I’d been perfectly capable in uni. I’d managed people and schedules at the student union for most of my degree. Surely that counted for something?
I wrapped another plate in newspaper and moved onto the next, my jaw tightening as I watched my sister type away. She was supposed to be helping me. The contents of my entire one-bed flat needed packing and hauling an hour down the road to her flat in Glasgow in the morning. If we didn’t want to be up until 2AM, there needed to be more wrapping happening alongside the celebrating and distracted texting.
I didn’t think I had a lot of stuff, but it was hard to avoid the facts when faced with packing it all up and storing it. The truth was: I owned a lot of unnecessary shit. What single person needed twelve plates or twenty mugs? Yes, they were all pretty designs, but I didn’t have any friends left to entertain. It was all wasted money and space.
My smart speakers kicked in thanks to Isla, blaring “That Don’t Impress Me Much” by Shania Twain and scaring the bejesus out of me. Isla wrestled the plate from my grip, a huge grin spreading across her face again. Then she took my hands and pulled me away from the boxes.
When we were kids, we used to dance around the kitchen to this song. One of us was always tripping up our parents as they made dinner. An answering smile tugged at my lips.
“I told Sherry you were a badass, and you are. You just need to be reminded of it,” Isla shouted, jumping up and down to the music, her hair flying in all directions and her hazel eyes flashing with mirth. She used her grip to force my body to twist, but with at least two inches on my five and a half feet and considerably more muscle mass, she didn’t need to try too hard.
We collapsed onto the sofa as the song ended, laughing too hard to breathe. For a moment, I blocked out the practicalities and leaned into the excitement. Monday I’d be in a new city, with a new flat, a new job and new experiences. I didn’t know what was coming, but the uncertainty held its own thrill.
Isla pulled out her phone and started typing again. She dropped it in my lap before picking up a pile of newspapers. I glanced down at the phone, frowning. A striking pair of green eyes stared up at me from the screen.
“I’ll get some of these boxes filled. You do a little digging on your new assignment.”
Assignment. I snorted. That made it sound like I was a spy and he was my next target.
I scanned the page of articles that a search for “Shaun Martin” generated. The first couple of hits were from gossip websites, and I rolled my eyes at their clickbait-y titles.
On and on the headlines went. Some insinuated that Shaun was violent and that’s why Lily kicked him to the kerb after twelve years. Others suggested he’d only stuck with her for the fame. All of them quoted anonymous “sources” close to the couple. I knew enough about Isla’s job to not put any stock in some anonymous prat taking a pop at his or her friends. If they were even friends.
“Have you seen some of these?” I asked Isla, disgust heightening my voice.
She nodded. “I had a glance before I gave Sherry your number.”
“‘Acclaimed celebrity actor Shaun Martin crashes stunt car two weeks after pop-rock sensation Lily Tyler ends long-term relationship with him. Is this his cry for love or a cry for help? Sources close to Martin tell New Hollywood Tyler pulled Martin out of an abusive childhood home and gave him a career. After the breakup, he’s worried his career is going to slip away without her. He was going out with a bang, they said.’”
I glanced at Isla, dropping her phone on the sofa. “How can they print things like that?”
“It’s a tabloid paper.” She shrugged, not even pausing as she piled my DVDs into a box. “They print whatever they like and keep a staff of lawyers on retainer.”
The whole thing left a foul taste in my mouth. The man was hurting. Maybe he needed a little room to breathe without the world avidly watching him for the smallest crack.


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Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
Janey Jooste
Crushed it.!

This book had me from the get-go.! This short, fiery, pink-headed assistant paired with a broken actor with a major's a pair made in romance heaven.
Mona was just the right kind of kick to the butt of Shaun needed. His demons prove to be all over and Mona was right there to help him get back up again.
I loved this story.!

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