In 1955, Sam Coles is Hollywood’s newest rising star, and his latest role in Gordon Palmer’s movie, The Devil Inside, promises to send his popularity into the stratosphere. But Sam is less interested in the potential boost to his career, and more interested in his gorgeous co-star, Hollywood’s latest bad boy, Elijah McKinley.
Their careers rely on discretion, but Sam and Elijah cannot deny the desire between them. Stealing glances and casual touches between takes soon gives way to heated kisses and clandestine meetings after shooting.
But neither of them knows what will happen when filming wraps and their lives move in separate directions...
...They just missed each other in makeup, but Elijah found Sam standing near the coffee. He watched Sam pour a cup and carefully add sugar and cream before approaching.
“Is that stuff any good today?”
“Just this side of tolerable.” Sam smiled as he set aside his coffee and reached for an empty cup. “But that might be a side effect of how early it is. I think Gordon schedules us for now so we don’t realize how awful it really is.” He filled the cup and automatically reached for the sugar to add as well. “On the plus side, it should be quiet. It’s just us today, isn’t it?”
“Thanks.” Elijah accepted the cup and took a tentative sip—it was just right. “Yeah, it’s just us. I suspect Gordon scheduled it this way to get a break from Eva.”
“Between her and Alma, I’m surprised Gordon hasn’t blown a gasket sooner. Though Alma has her own ways of defusing him, I guess.”
Elijah grinned. “Indeed she does. And, from what I hear, she’s quite good at it. Makes me wish we could all have our own assistant.”
“Nicky would kill me if I had one of my own. Unless it was someone like Connie, which…no. Just no.”
“Like Connie would ever lower herself to be somebody’s personal assistant. She’d be scandalized by the very suggestion, I’m sure.”
Sipping his coffee, Sam sat on the edge of the table, his long legs stretched in front of him. He’d left the glasses behind today, and his pale blue eyes were soft and contemplative. “But you know, if you had your own assistant, you wouldn’t need me to help you run lines.” He paused, his broad fingers absently stroking the side of his coffee cup. “I’m not sure I like that idea.”
Elijah wanted to point out that if Sam were his assistant, they’d never have time to run lines anyway. “Speaking of, I wish we had time to do a run through of the scene before shooting starts. I have to do more talking today than any other time in my career.”
“You worry too much. Just focus on the moment, and you’ll be fine.”
Elijah worried more about this shoot than any of his other pictures, but that was because of Sam. Sam was good. Not kind of good. Not pretty good. But good good. The sort of good that could raise the quality of performance in his co-stars, if his co-stars were up to the challenge.
“I’m sure you’re right.” Elijah sipped from his cup. “Well, I hope you’re right.”
“I’m right.” He offered a shy smile before his lashes ducked. “I wouldn’t steer you wrong, Eli.”
Elijah tilted his head. “Did you just call me Eli?”
In the murky soundstage, it was hard to be certain, but it looked like there was a distinct flush creeping up the back of Sam’s neck. “Yeah. Sorry. I have a habit of shortening names if I can.”
“No, don’t apologize. I like it. Elijah can be quite a mouthful. Especially if your mind is on other things.”
His color deepened, though Sam stopped hiding away in embarrassment and looked up again. It really was no wonder the teenybopper mags splashed his picture everywhere. With his flawless bone structure and the cleft in his chin, he had a face that begged to be admired. But it was the casual disarray of his sun-streaked hair and the laughing pale eyes that made him human. More than human.
“And here I thought we were consummate professionals,” he joked. “You wouldn’t be suggesting my mind would be anywhere but our work, would you?”
“Oh, never.” He licked a drop of coffee from the corner of his mouth, and reached for a pastry. “In fact, my mind is always on our…work. I’ve been looking forward to today’s shoot all week...”