I'm giving a shoutout today for fellow Liquid Silver Books author Lynn Rae. The third installment in her Love Around the Corner series, her new release should tempt any small-town contemporary romance fans.
Playing the Part
Love Around the Corner
By Lynn Rae
Independent Melanie Sheraton has to hustle for odd jobs in her small town to eke out a living. When the opportunity to act as a driver for some movie folks comes up, she jumps at the chance to earn an extra paycheck. What she didn’t bank on was one of her passengers invading her imagination, something she resists since no movie star would ever be interested in her.
At a crossroads in his professional life, action star Thomas ‘Wheeler’ Locke is in Ohio for a role he hopes will launch his career in a new, serious direction. Instead of concentrating on his acting, he finds himself growing more and more distracted by his feisty driver and her irascible ways.
Dancing around the attraction growing between them, both Mel and Thomas struggle to maintain their distance as the time for filming grows short. Will a reunion at the movie’s London premiere bring them together, or will their disparate lives keep them apart?
“Don’t do it, dilrod,” Melanie Sheraton growled under her breath, concentrating on the red SUV weaving erratically in and out of the lane ahead of her. The driver seemed impatient with the ten mile per hour pace set by the International Harvester tractor pulling two grain wagons. They also didn’t like Michigan all that much, judging by the vulgar decal on the rear window.
Mel risked a glance at her passengers in the back seat. The older one who’d impressed her immediately, Graham Tipton, blinked at the scenery slowly going by, but the younger one, Wheeler Lock, appeared to be watching her through his expensive-looking sunglasses. Nervousness tickled down her back, and she returned her attention to the aggressive driver ahead of her who, as she’d feared, was now attempting to pass about forty feet of farm equipment on a narrow road with a double yellow line.
The red vehicle lurched with sudden acceleration, and Mel put on her brakes, ready for an accident. Quick-and-busy up ahead had miscalculated how long it would take to pass that much agricultural machinery; so when another car appeared in the opposite lane, the driver slammed on the brakes and whipped the SUV back into the space behind the wagons Mel had left. The top heavy vehicle nearly tipped into the ditch, as he or she over corrected and slammed on the brakes several times in frustration.
“Headcase,” Mel muttered, allowing herself one little verbal expulsion before she clammed up. Larry had been very clear when he hired her for this chauffer job; no talking with the movie cast and crew in the vehicle. No personal information, no socializing, no screenplays, no movie reviews, no request for autographs, no auditions from the front seat. None of it. Don’t bother the talent.
Mel wanted this job and needed the paycheck, so she was happy to drive the out-of-towners wherever they wanted to go as silently and safely as she could. So far, the two actors in the backseat had been less troublesome than the kids she drove on the school bus every fall.
Their slowed pace might put her passengers behind schedule. She supposed she should apologize even though the cause of the delay was right in front of them, rattling along, clanking, and belching puffs of exhaust.
“Sorry about the slowdown. I bet he’ll turn off soon.”
“Quite all right my dear,” Graham, the British one, assured her. His cultured tones were like a dose of Masterpiece Theatre in west central Ohio. “It’s quite lovely to observe the fields at a slower pace rather than rushing along to the next thing like we usually do. I saw some birds, little brown ones with black tails. I wonder what they’recalled? What is it you grow around here? I don’t recognize these crops.”
Mel considered this; talk of agribusiness wasn’t in any way personal. If he asked a question, she should answer. It was only polite, and Larry had also reminded all the drivers to be polite.
“Right now we’re in the middle of soybeans, and up ahead will be sugar beet and corn at the Kirkendall’s farm.”
“The tall one is corn, and the short one is soybean,” Wheeler Lock rumbled, looking as menacing as the characters he usually portrayed. She’d recognized him from a few of his movies where he’d played the tough, silent enforcer, and he’d been true to type as her passenger. He’d shaken her hand briefly when they were introduced and remained quiet up until now. Graham had been more interactive; he’d smiled at her immediately and asked her to point out anything interesting on their drive from the hotel where all the movie folks were staying.
On their journey to the set, nothing interesting had appeared. This didn’t surprise Mel. Nothing interesting happened in Muchichippi County except for the arrival of these movie people and all their equipment out at the Hansen place. It had been the talk of Palmer after the deal had been struck over the winter, and when the trailers and trucks arrived earlier in the month, no one could resist speculating what the Hollywood people would be like. In the twenty minutes she’d had these two in the rental car, they’d seemed to be pretty normal. Of course, driving along at a horse’s pace might wear on them soon. At least neither one had pulled out an iPhone and fiddled with apps.
“Sugar beets are short too,” she advised and could sense Wheeler Lock’s gaze on the back of her neck. Perhaps she’d overstepped; her bad habit of having to be the smartest one in the room had just bounced right out of her mouth like a SuperBall from a candy machine.
“And so is wheat, which we passed earlier,” the intimidating man growled out.
“Sorghum is tall, we’ll be seeing some of that soon enough.” Mel didn’t glance in the rearview mirror at the sure-to-be scowling Mr. Lock. He probably knew some sort of mixed marital arts and was contemplating an exotic way to choke his smart aleck driver as soon as they got out of the moving vehicle.