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Hollywood Husband, Contract Wife [Secure eReader]
eBook by Jane Porter

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Leading man Wolf Kerrick is always in the headlines. This time the sexy Spanish superstar has taken Alexandra, an unknown, ordinary girl, and turned her into an instant celebrity, then into his Hollywood bride! But all the glitz and glamour of their lavish wedding is tarnished by a dirty secret--and if the tabloids find out, there'll be shock waves throughout the world....

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2006


32 Reader Ratings:
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CHAPTER ONE

Beverly Hills, California
Five weeks earlier…

ALEXANDRA SHANAHAN had thought being invited to lunch with Hollywood's most powerful actor was too good to be true.

She was right.

"You want me to what?" Alexandra Shanahan asked incredulously, staring at Wolf Kerrick as though he'd lost his mind.

"Play my new love interest," he repeated, his deep voice nearly flat.

Wolf Kerrick's love interest. How ludicrous. Beyond ludicrous.

Wolf Kerrick…and her? Alexandra would have laughed if her stomach wasn't doing wild cartwheels.

Everything, she thought woozily, about the lunch was wrong. The impossible-to-secure reservations at the famous Beverly Hills Hotel's terrace restaurant. The bright blue sky overhead. The dizzying fragrance of the terrace garden's roses and gardenias.

When she'd first sat down at the table, she'd introduced herself—silly, but since they'd never officially met, it'd seemed like the right thing to do.

Wolf had repeated her name thoughtfully. "Shanahan. Sounds familiar."

"There's a famous football coach by the same name," she'd answered nervously, trying to ignore the excited whispers of the other restaurant patrons. Everyone had been watching them. Or at least watching Wolf. But then, he was a megastar and sinfully good-looking, so she couldn't really blame them.

"Maybe that's it," he'd answered, leaning back in his chair. "Or maybe it's familiar because it's Irish."

She'd managed a tight smile before dropping her gaze, already overwhelmed by his formidable size and presence.

Wolf Kerrick was bigger, broader, stronger, more male than nearly any other actor in the business. There was no mistaking him for any other actor, either, not with his Spanish-Irish black hair, dark eyes and sinful, sensual mouth.

"Daniel said you had a job offer for me," she'd said nervously, jumping straight to the point. There was no reason to stall. She'd never be able to eat in his company, so ordering lunch was out of the question. Best just get the whole interview over and done with.

"I do."

She'd nodded to fill the silence. She'd hoped he'd maybe elaborate, but he hadn't. Her cheeks had scalded. Her face had felt so hot even her ears had burned. "Daniel said he thought I'd be perfect for the job."

Wolf's dark head had tipped, his black lashes dropping as he'd considered her. After an endless silence he'd nodded once. "You are."

She wasn't sure if she should be flattered or terrified. He seemed so much friendlier on the big screen, more approachable in film than he was here in flesh. Right now he was anything but mortal, human. Instead he was like a dark warrior, an avenger with a secret—and dangerous—agenda.

"I'm looking to fill a position," he said flatly.

"Yes," she echoed, hands knotting together in her lap.

"The role of my new love interest."

She nearly tumbled from her chair. "What?"

She stared at him so hard his face blurred.

"It's a publicity stunt," Wolf said in the same flat, almost bored tone. "The position would last approximately four to six weeks. Of course, you'd be well compensated."

Shocked, mortified, Alexandra felt as though she'd burst into flames any moment. "But I—I…couldn't," she sputtered, reaching for her water glass even as a rivulet of perspiration slid down inside her gray linen jacket. She was broiling here on the terrace. She'd dressed far too warmly for lunch outside, and with the bright California sun beating down on her head she thought she'd melt any moment. "I don't date—" she broke off, swallowed convulsively "—actors."

Wolf's jaw shifted. A trace of amusement touched his features. "You don't have to. You just have to pretend to date me."

Him. Wolf Kerrick. International film star. Spanish-Irish heartthrob. Alexandra gulped more water. She was so hot she could barely think clearly. If only she'd dressed more appropriately. If only she'd thought to bring someone to the meeting with her. Her boss, Daniel deVoors, one of the industry's top directors, had sent her here today, telling her Wolf Kerrick had a proposition for her. She'd thought maybe Mr. Kerrick needed a personal assistant. It hadn't crossed her mind he'd be interviewing for a lover.

"Why?" she whispered.

"You're young, wholesome, ordinary, someone the public could relate to."

Young, wholesome and ordinary, Alexandra silently repeated, feeling her heart jump to lodge firmly in her throat. He didn't find her attractive even though she'd made such efforts today. Alexandra rarely wore makeup, but today she'd used a little mascara and a touch of lipstick, and obviously it'd made no difference. She was still wholesome and ordinary. She took a deep breath, suppressed the sting of his words. "But I still don't understand…."

"It's a PR move aimed at damage control." Wolf shifted in his seat so that his powerful body seemed to dwarf the table and the terrace and the day itself.

Alexandra's brows furrowed. She was finding it increasingly difficult to keep focused on what he was saying, disappointment washing through her in gigantic waves. She'd been so thrilled to meet Wolf Kerrick, to have this chance to interview with him. Last night she'd barely slept. Today she'd woken extra early and showered and dressed with such care….

But now…now she just felt hurt. Disappointed.

There was no job, just this ridiculous proposal.

Her temper stirred and she sat taller. "Damage control?" she repeated, trying to keep up with him. "Why would you need damage control…?" Her voice faded as it hit her, in one lucid swoop. Joy Hughes.

This was about Wolf's affair with Joy Hughes.

And looking across the table, it all came together. Mr. Kerrick didn't want to hire a love interest. He didn't want to be meeting her or sitting here in public having this conversation. He was doing this—speaking to her, asking her to play a part—to help repair his damaged reputation, and she knew who and what had damaged his reputation. His year-long affair with the very married film actress, Joy Hughes.

Copyright © 2006 by Jane Porter.


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