Authors: Rebecca Royce
Under the Lights
A Tempting Signs Novella
Under the Lights
By: Rebecca Royce
Published by Fated Desires Publishing, LLC.
© 2015 Rebecca Royce
Cover Art by Tibbs Design
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All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination.
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Table of Contents
12 Authors. 12 Zodiac Signs. 1 Explosive Series. What seductive, contemporary romance will you find today? VIRGO.
If Virgo Teirney Mitchell could run her personal life as smoothly as she stage-managed the hit Broadway show Loopy, she’d be a happy woman. With her grandmother dying, she needs movie-star Ian MacKenzie to be on time for his performances and to stop turning her ordered work world into chaos every night.
Movie star Ian Mackenzie has decided to make some changes in his life and the first one is to get Teirney to stop treating him like a pest and see him as the man she wants by her side. However dating someone in the spotlight isn’t for everyone—especially for one who has spend her life hiding behind the curtain.
Despite the odds, their passion burns as the show must go on. Can these two see there is love to be had both under and away from
Teirney Mitchell loved the theater when it was empty. She walked along the front of the house, strumming her fingers over the red seats, feeling the fuzzy material. In five hours the theater would fill. The audience would be chatting in lowered voices—well, some would have had too much to drink at dinner and they’d be chatting in louder tones—waiting for
to start. Maybe they’d be regular Broadway attendees; maybe some of them would see a show only once or twice a year, or perhaps the audience would be filled with a lot of newbies to the world of New York theater.
was her third Broadway production as a stage manager, and each show made her love her job even more. Her current show was a hit, which didn’t hurt either. A full house and happy audience made for pleased actors. Delighted creative types kept the crew content. Upbeat shows provided well-functioning work environments.
run would last another three weeks, and then the lights would turn off
She’d have to find another position, probably would have already if her personal life hadn’t gotten in the way. But now two producers were accepting applications and pitches, and she didn’t think it would be too long before she got another job. The theater world was a tricky place; still, solid work was noticed—better, remembered.
Room by room, she walked—backstage, front of the house, box office. If something was about to explode, break, or leak, she wanted to know it before the show and not after seven o’clock. Audience members paid a fortune for their tickets. They deserved a fabulous time. Her job meant making sure everything ran like clockwork—and she was good at it.
In fact, the last week she’d been outstandingly efficient in her role if she did say so herself. Most of her confidence was due to the fact
hadn’t been there for a week. Star of television, movies, and, more recently, theater, Ian Mackenzie had been on vacation from his limited engagement in the show for a week. His sister Presley had had a baby. Teirney had only half listened to the backstage gossip. The whys of Ian Mackenzie’s life didn’t concern her; only his schedule mattered. Their ticket sales had declined with his announced leave and a half empty house wasn’t fun. Still, the money the show made mattered to the producers, not the stage manager. She got paid either way.
Ian’s understudy had been really nice to work with—polite, easygoing, and most important, punctual. If he didn’t set her libido ablaze, it didn’t matter. She could just as easily imagine Ian when she went to bed at night without dealing with his arrogance in the theater each day. Some men were better on screen—and Ian was one of them.
Her preferences didn’t matter. The audience devoured his performance. He walked on the stage and every gaze in the place, both backstage and in the seats, followed him. Without Ian,
wouldn’t have gotten made, which was really a shame.
Despite the show’s Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, who composed the dark comedy at eighteen, and the strikingly relevant statements it made about political maneuverings, the play would never have made it to Broadway without an A-list star attached. In
case, Ian, hot off his star-making role as a vampire, stepped in as the marquis star. The theater world had been thrilled. Ian got paid a great deal less to do live theater than he did a movie. In the press he called the experience a love project. She’d been ecstatic he signed on—until she got to know him.
Then she would have gladly given anything for a different Hollywood star to decide he wanted Broadway credibility. If wishes were money, she’d be a very poor woman. Teirney knew better than to waste time on impossible dreams. Living in the present worked for her. So what if she had to chase the insufferable man around every night as if she was his personal assistant instead of a paid professional with better things to do than cater to the whims of an egotistical, inconsiderate boy-child?
Teirney would do what needed to be done. Her Virgo nature would allow nothing less.
Her phone vibrated, and she stared at Georgia’s name on the caller ID. An instant headache formed between her eyes. Georgia was the woman she paid to watch her Granny when she was at work. Most of the time they worked well together. But lately, Georgia wanted more and more time off. She’d found a boyfriend, and Teirney could certainly appreciate the other woman desiring a social life. However, Teirney needed someone to care for her sick grandmother whom the doctors warned her had only a few months left to live. She answered the phone and listened to Georgia’s demand to leave earlier starting the next day for at least a week. Something about the new boyfriend. Teirney gave in to her demands. What other choice did she have?
The time had come to search for different help. She made a note in her phone to put an ad out the next morning. Her job was incredible, only the hours made it hard to find help she could count on. Who wanted to work at night if they weren’t in the theater industry?
No matter. These were issues to finish in the morning. Nothing she could do this late at night. For the time being,
held her attention.
“All set, Kate?” Teirney spoke to the female lead through a crack in the other woman’s dressing room door. The actress responded in the affirmative, and Teirney checked the list next to her name. Everything was on track except for Ian Mackenzie.
No sign of Ian “
I’m a star”
Mackenzie and it was ten minutes until curtain, fifteen until his cue to enter, and she’d give him five more until she called in his understudy. Another day without Ian would be good for her, bad for the show.
Her phone buzzed, and she glanced at the new message.
Did you miss me
She had no earthly idea who the message was from, and, given her current situation, she was inclined to ignore it until later. As far as she knew none of her friends had been away to be missed. With her Granny sick, she’d hardly seen anyone outside of work anyway.
Teirney put the phone in her pocket. It buzzed again and she groaned. Where was Ian? She pulled it out and looked at another message.
Seriously not answering me?
I think you have the wrong person
She needed the texting to stop. There were things to do. She walked toward the backstage area. They needed to flash the lights to instruct the audience to get seated, and she had to call out the understudy.
Aw, Teirney, forgotten me already. I’ve only been in Austin a week
She stared at the phone disbelieving.
She whirled around at the sound of his voice. “Why are you texting me?”
He shrugged, and for a second she forgot how to breathe. Why did the most frustrating man she’d ever met have to also be the best looking man on the planet? Ian stood six feet tall, dwarfing her five feet. He had blue eyes beneath perfectly sculpted eyebrows. High cheekbones male models must envy lifted when he gave her his best million-dollar grin with his perfectly kissable lips.
Like a lot of men in his profession, he had sculpted muscles from hours upon hours at the gym. Sometimes she wondered what it would be like to simply poke at one of them and watch her finger bounce. Ian never looked real. Not even in person. Someone had drawn him and stuck him in the real world to torment the female population.
She had to take a moment to compute exactly what he said. Lost in the sight of him, she’d forgotten she’d even asked a question. Her brain went to mush when their gazes met.
“You were texting me for fun?”
He grinned. “Yes.”
Ian defined fun quite differently than she did.
“You have to be in place. It’s curtain very soon.”
“I know.” He pointed to his face. “I’m in costume. Did my makeup.”
“Good.” His being ready made a nice change.
She turned on her heel, but he grabbed her arm to stop her. Teirney gasped, her body turning on in a frenzy of buzzing nerve endings. She tried to swallow. What the hell was wrong with her? How completely humiliating. He had barely touched her, and she was responding as though he’d kissed her or, worse , shoved her in the corner and sated her curiosity with his wicked caresses.
Oh, hell. He noticed
He quirked his left eyebrow. She’d seen him do it a million times—to
women. As far as she knew, he’d never paid her an ounce of flirtatious interest.
A single jolt of attraction on her part, and he zeroed in.
She took a deep breath. Her desire wouldn’t last. Wanting him was one of those weak moments she suffered as her hormones overwhelmed her common sense and experience. The world would right itself shortly.
“Are you going to ask me how my trip was?”
“I don’t have the time. You need to be in place for the show and I have to move to mine. Do you remember where yours is?”
She needed him to let go to make her insides settle. Gently, she pushed his fingers off her arm, and he released her, his brows furrowing.
“I can remember things I do over and over, even if I take a week away from them.” Ian shook his head. “My trip was fine.” He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and shoved it in front of her face. “Look at my nephew. Connor.”
She stared at the baby even though she wanted to run away. Fast. Not only was she off schedule, she really never quite knew what to do with babies. They were always sticky, dirty, screaming. Teirney didn’t have a clue if she’d ever have kids. But if she did, they’d have to stay clean, all the time.
The picture in front of her was of Ian holding a baby so small she wondered how he could manage to do it without being absolutely terrified he would break the tiny human. Yet there was Ian, smiling a goofy grin she’d never seen on his face before. It was…endearing.
What was she supposed to say? She looked at him.
“Yeah. He’s my sister’s boy. I think he looks like me. No one liked me saying I thought he resembled me when I was a kid. It’s all about Connor looking exactly like his father Mason….”
Ian kept talking, and the movement of his lips fascinated her. They’d never had a long conversation before. Or at least he had never spoken so extensively to her. She was usually chasing after him shouting directions.
“Stop.” Raising her hand, she cleared her throat. “Please. I have to go. And so do you.”
He stopped mid-word and nodded. “Okay.”
Focusing on the stage helped her regain her footing. “Stage left. Curtain in five. Cue in ten.”