Read an Excerpt

Chapter One:

What a movie!"

"Quite unusual."

"Jordan, my pal, you've got another smash."

The praise came fast and furious. Jordan Levitt and his wife of six months,
Kim, reveled in it as they stood at the massive front door of their Bel Air
estate, saying goodbye to their guests.

Dinner and a private screening at the Levitts' was a weekly event. Only tonight
was more of an event than usual, because Jordan, a veteran producer, had just
screened his latest production.

Kim squeezed her husband's arm and gazed up at him adoringly. She was softly
pretty, with flowing light brown hair and winsome features. At twenty-two, she
was younger than his only daughter. "They loved it," she whispered excitedly.
"And so did I. Oh, Jordan, you're so clever."

Jordan smiled down at his new bride. He was a powerful-looking man -- over six
feet tall, with a shock of unruly gray hair, craggy features, and a deeply
lined tanned face. Soon he would be sixty-two -- like Clint Eastwood, age suited
him. "You never know," he said modestly.

"I do," Kim replied, her eyes never leaving his. "It's a surefire
hit."

He put his arm around Kim, walking her back into the house. "It doesn't matter
what this group thinks," he said. "The public make their own decisions."

"Not only clever, but oh sooo wise," Kim murmured, tilting her head to gaze up
at him. "I wish I had time to write down everything you said. You always make
such perfect sense."

Jordan kept smiling. With a woman like Kim to feed his ego, he never
stopped.

"Piece of crap."

"Boring!"

"I fell asleep.

"Jordan's really lost it on this one."

So went the conversation as the guests got into their respective cars, parked
in the Levitts' driveway.

Sharleen Wynn Brooks was particularly vocal. A voluptuous redheaded movie star
of thirty-five, she seemed to take great pleasure in pulling her ex-lover
Jordan's movie to shreds frame by frame.

Her Oscar-winning director husband, Mac Brooks, laughed as he got behind the
wheel of their yellow Rolls Corniche. At forty-three, Mac was handsome in a
rumpled, been-around-the-block way. He had curly brown hair and a once broken
nose that told tales of his past-way back when, he was an amateur boxer in
Brooklyn. "Come on, baby-tell me what you really think," he urged,
patting her knee affectionately. "Don't hold back."

Sharleen couldn't help giggling. "He needs you again, darling."

"Not me," Mac replied. "Jordan's a control freak; everything has to be his way
or no way at all. After making The Contract with him, I decided never
again."

"You won an Oscar for The Contract," Sharleen pointed out. "And met me
for the first time."

"I vaguely remember. . . .

She giggled again. "You're so rude."

"If I recall, you didn't give me a second glance-you were too busy with that
muscle-bound jerk who trailed you to the set every day."

"My trainer," she said demurely.

"My ass!" he retorted.

"And three years later we worked together again and fell in love." She sighed
happily. "Isn't it romantic?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah."

As their car left the Levitts' driveway, she snuggled closer to her husband,
taking his hand and moving it under her expensive Valentino skirt.

Going down the winding driveway, the Rolls nearly collided head-on with a
speeding white Porsche driven by Jordanna, Jordan Levitt's twenty-four-year-old
daughter.

Jordanna honked her horn as she screeched her car to a halt alongside the
Rolls. Lowering her window, she leaned out. "Did I miss the movie?" she asked,
tossing back her long dark hair.

"What do you think?" Mac responded, surreptitiously removing his hand
from under his wife's skirt.

Jordanna pulled a face. "Is my old man pissed?"

"He'll live."

Jordanna grinned at Mac. He'd been her lover when she was a teenager and he was
thirty-six; now they were nothing more than good friends. "Glad to hear it,"
she said, adding a low-voiced "or maybe not."

Sharleen waved. She wasn't fond of Jordanna, and it showed. "Hello, dear," she
said frostily.

The feeling was mutual. "Hiya, Shar," Jordanna responded, wondering what a cool
guy like Mac saw in the overstuffed movie queen.

"Your father's really mad at you."

"I'm shaking, Shar."

Sharleen peered into the Porsche. "Who's your friend, dear?" Trust Sharleen to
notice the stud in the passenger seat. Jordanna had no idea what his name
was-and quite frankly she didn't care. They were all the same in the dark.
Midnight Cowboys. Her life.

"See ya!" She gunned the Porsche into action and disappeared up the
driveway.

"That girl's trouble," Sharleen said, pursing newly plumped lips. "Jordan
should do himself a favor and throw her out."

"Don't be bitchy," Mac said mildly. "She'll grow up."

"She's twenty-four, for God's sake. I had my own child when I was her age."
Sharleen moved closer and ran her fingers lightly up his thigh.

Mac prepared himself -- he knew what was coming, and it was the high point of his
evening. Sharleen was into car sex, and who was he to argue? It kept the heat
in a four-year-old marriage.

As soon as she touched him he was hard. Oh yeah, Sharleen did it for him every
time. She was one talented female -- and he didn't mean her acting.

He'd met her on the job, so to speak. Directing Sharleen had been an
experience. Sleeping with her had soon led to marriage.

Monogamy was something new for Mac Brooks. Before Sharleen he'd bedded all his
leading ladies, now his exceedingly sexy wife kept him too busy for affairs.

"I see Little Big Man is ready for immediate attention," Sharleen whispered,
deftly unzipping his fly.

This was Mac's favorite part. Driving down the dark, narrow hills with a
mammoth hard-on. Trying to concentrate. Hoping they didn't get stopped by the
cops -- or, even worse, a couple of would-be carjackers in ski masks. It all
added to the excitement.

Sharleen bent her head, tantalizingly licking the tip of his penis, her
lightning-fork tongue flicking this way and that. After he was suitably turned
on, she sat back and began unbuttoning her silk shirt, revealing a lacy black
bra.

One eye on the road. One eye on her. "Take it off, baby," he muttered, hard as
the proverbial rock.

"Should I?" she teased.

"Do it," he said tensely, the pressure building.

"Well."

"Do it!"

She slipped off her silk shirt and unclipped her lacy bra. Sharleen had the
best breasts in Hollywood -- untouched by plastic surgeon, they were full and
firm, topped with juicy hard nipples.

"Oh, Jesus!" Mac groaned, swerving the car to the side of the road.

Sharleen enjoyed enslaving him. "Jesus has nothing to do with it," she murmured
sweetly.

"Wasn't that Sharleen Wynn?" the stud asked, barely able to keep the awe out of
his voice.

"Huh?" Jordanna said vaguely, screeching to an abrupt stop at the head of the
driveway.

"Sharleen Wynn," he repeated, looking like a reject drummer from a grungy rock
band, with his long greasy hair, scruffy clothes, and dime-store shades.

"I'm surprised you know who Sharleen Wynn is," Jordanna remarked, getting out
of the car.

"Sure I know who she is," the stud said somewhat indignantly. "My dad had a
copy of Playboy with her on the cover. Kept it by his bed for
months."

"Lucky him."

"Nice tits."

"Never mind about hers, how about mine?" Jordanna said boldly, pressing up
against him.

He took the hint and started to kiss her. Long, hard kisses with plenty of
tongue action.

She decided this one had possibilities. "Come along," she said, pulling him
onto the path leading to the guesthouse.

"Aren't we goin' inside?" he asked, sounding disappointed.

"My apartment's in back." She laughed, a brittle laugh. "It's more fun back
there. Trust me."

"If you say so," he said, grabbing her ass.

"Then be a good little boy and follow me all the way to an incredible time."

"I'm right behind you."

I bet you are, she thought. Pretty girl. Great wheels. Magnificent
mansion. What's to lose?


She'd picked him up at a music-industry party, attracted by his black jeans.
There was something about skinny guys in tight jeans that really got her
attention. It reminded her of visiting one of her father's sets when she was
ten and meeting Teddy Costa, a hot young actor with the best butt in the
business. The very thought of Teddy had taken her through puberty, until at the
age of fifteen she'd casually dropped by his trailer during the making of
another of Jordan's films and seduced him.

Teddy Costa had taken her virginity and never called. Who said life was
fair?

Jordanna was five feet six inches tall. Not conventionally pretty, she had a
beauty, strength, and wildness that most men found quite addictive. Her eyes
were dark and penetrating, the curve of her finely arched eyebrows a challenge.
Her nose was just a fraction too long for perfection, but her high cheekbones
balanced her oval face, and her lips were naturally full and luscious. She had
a sharply etched jawline and deeply suntanned skin. Her long raven hair hung
casually tangled below her shoulders. Her body was athletic, slim, and
sensuous. She looked more European than American, her looks inherited from her
mother's side of the family. Her mother, the beautiful Lillianne, had been half
French, half Brazilian. A lethal combination.

"You got a great ass," her stud for the night said.

Mister Romance. She hoped he knew what to do in bed. So many of them couldn't
get it up anymore -- show 'em a condom and they lost the urge.

It wasn't easy being a single girl in L.A. in the nineties. In fact, it wasn't
easy being a single girl anywhere.

Men. They were either gay, into kinky sex, cheating on their wives, mamas'
boys, jerks, drug users, cheats, pimps, or -- the worst kind -- actors.

Mention the name Jordan Levitt, and she could have any actor she wanted. Except
that an actor was the last person she wanted. Egocentric jerks. Me-me-me. My
life. My look. My career.

She flung open the door to her apartment, and the stud followed her into chaos.
So she wasn't the tidiest person in the world. Big deal, she was hardly
planning a two-page spread in House Beautiful.

The stud was primed and ready to go -- he didn't care about her housekeeping
skills. Grabbing her, he pressed himself up against her, kissed her twice, then
his rough hands began exploring under her T-shirt.

The phone rang. Her machine picked up, and the sound of her recorded voice
filled the air. "Yo -- don't waste my time -- if you got something to say, go for
it now."

The machine bleeped. Her father's voice, "Hello, skinny bird. You missed my
movie. They liked it. Where were you?"

I was out trying to get laid, Daddy. And don't call me skinny bird-you know
I hate it, almost as much as I hate your latest wife. Christ! Is age making you
senile? She's the worst one yet. A phony, sweet-talking, perfect little bitch
on wheels.


"Hey --" The stud began, going for the zipper on her jeans.

She'd lost interest. "It's over," she said, slapping his hands away.
r
He didn't believe what he was hearing. "What's over?" he asked
belligerently.

"Our incredible time," she said, anxious to get rid of him.

"Now wait a minute-" he began.

She flung open the door. "Out," she said firmly.

He blinked twice. "Ya gotta be shittin' me."

"I have a black belt in karate," she lied, flexing her muscles. "Wanna put it
to the test?"

He wasn't taking any risks. "How'm I supposed to get home?" he whined.

"You'll find a way," she said, hustling him through the door.

God, how she hated whiners! Why couldn't anybody stand up to her? There was
only one man who'd managed that feat, and he was dead.

Jamie, her darling brother. The only person who'd really understood her,
because they'd shared so much. Being the offspring of celebrity parents was no
joke, but at least they'd had each other, and that had meant everything -- until
Jamie had checked out without so much as a goodbye. He'd jumped from a
skyscraper window in New York when he was twenty and she was just sixteen.

To this day she couldn't bring herself to think about his suicide.

Jamie wasn't the only one who'd met an early death. There was also her best
friend, Fran, whose father was a major-league comedy star. Fran and she had
grown up together, close as sisters. They'd loved each other dearly, in spite
of the fact that they'd argued over everything -- especially men. Fran used to
hang out with three dumb Italian guys, whose favorite pastime was screwing her
in turn. Two of them were bit-part actors, and the third was a would-be singer.
Fran -- who was usually too stoned to know any better -- thought it was cool to
service them one by one. The guys viewed her as a major slut, which infuriated
Jordanna, because she saw Fran as losing it big time.

"What are you getting out of this?" she'd demand angrily.

"Love. Attention. Sensational sex."

"Give me a break."

"What's the matter, Jordanna -- jealous?"

Yeah, sure, jealous of three dumb creeps jumping your bones every chance
they get.


Fran took an overdose on her seventeenth birthday.

At first Jordanna couldn't believe it. She'd felt numb -- as if nothing mattered
anymore. And then reality had set in and she'd wanted revenge, so she'd
"borrowed" her father's gun, tracked the three Italian guys to their favorite
club, and come on to them -- leading them to believe they'd found another dumb
little rich girl to admire their overinflated egos. Back at their apartment,
she'd pulled the gun, informed them of Fran's suicide, and messed with their
minds, threatening to blow them away. By the time she'd finished intimidating
them, they weren't so cool anymore -- just three nervous jerks with limp
dicks.

The trouble with men was that most of them had no balls. Except her father.
Jordan Levitt had balls enough for an army.

Sometimes she thought about Jamie and Fran. Just as she sometimes thought about
her mother, the exquisitely beautiful Lillianne, who'd been dragged off to a
mental institution when Jordanna was six. A few weeks later the fragile and
famous Lillianne had slit her wrists and died a lonely, messy death.

Daddy had mourned for a good three months before marrying the first of four
other wives. Kim was number five. Why did he have to keep getting married? What
was wrong with staying single for a while?

Jordanna sighed. The truth was, if he could do what he wanted, so could she.
There was nothing and nobody to stop her.

She considered phoning him back, then decided against it. She knew exactly what
he'd say. Are you all right, skinny bird? Do you need money? When are we
going to see you?


Her answers were always the same. Yes, Daddy. No, Daddy. Soon.

He loved her. In his own way.

She clung to the knowledge that he did. Without it she had nothing.

Sharleen climaxed with a piercing shriek. Mac was surprised the occupants of
the house they were parked outside didn't come running out to see what was
going on. Would they get a surprise if they did! A half-naked movie star and a
world-renowned director. What the Enquirer wouldn't give for that
picture!

Sharleen began wriggling into her clothes, while Mac resumed his position
behind the steering wheel. Soon they were on their way home to Pacific
Palisades, where they shared a large house with Sharleen's sixteen-year-old
daughter and Mac's seventeen-year-old twin sons from a previous marriage.

As soon as they hit Sunset, Mac drove fast, constantly checking the rearview
mirror, making sure they weren't being followed. Crime was on his mind a lot.
Two months ago some tall, skinny cokehead had sprung out at him in an
underground parking structure, shoved a gun in his stomach, and demanded
his solid-gold Rolex. He'd slipped it off his wrist and handed it over without a
word. Once the robber had fled, Mac regretted the fact that he hadn't put up a
fight.

He would never admit it to Sharleen, but after the incident he'd felt less of a
man. Whenever he related the tale to his friends he made light of it, but deep
down he was sick that he hadn't fought back. Now he carried an unregistered
gun, and screw anybody who tried to take him.

Back in his Brooklyn days he'd had real balls. Was it possible that twenty
years in Hollywood had softened him up?

Sometimes he thought his entire life was a dream-from amateur boxer in Brooklyn
to Oscar-winning director in Hollywood. Quite a leap. With a little help from
his friends.

He tried not to think about the old days-his past was buried, and he didn't
want anyone digging it up. The one time he'd done someone from his past a
favor, it had ended in disaster. After that no more favors. Mac was an expert
at keeping a low profile as far as his early beginnings were concerned. The
truth would blow everyone's mind.

Lately he'd had a strong urge to get rid of the yellow Rolls and buy a less
conspicuous car. Unfortunately Sharleen wouldn't allow it; she was into image
in a big way, and as far as she was concerned the Rolls said it all.

As they approached their house he noticed two police cars with blinking lights
up ahead. "Goddamn it!" he muttered. Cops always made him uncomfortable-a
hangover from his Brooklyn days.

"What?" Sharleen said.

"There's two police cars parked outside our house."

"Why?" Sharleen asked, reaching for her powder compact.

"If I knew, I'd tell you," he replied shortly.

She studied her perfectly made up face in the small compact mirror and began
applying more lipstick. "I suggest you find out."

Beautiful and sexy as she was, sometimes Sharleen got on his nerves.
"Sweetheart," he said, trying hard not to let his aggravation show, "that's
exactly what I intend to do."

Copyright © 1994 by Jackie Collins

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