Can a charismatic TV writer convince a reclusive handyman to become her show’s leading man in time to save her career?
Savvy Hollywood writer Lola Scott is about to get fired from the TV show she created because she still hasn’t cast the role of the dark, brooding bounty hunter. But then HE walks in … Arlen Black. And he’s perfect for the part. But he’s not an actor there to audition. Nope. He’s the handyman Lola hired to renovate her historic Hollywood house. No problem—Lola gleefully offers him the dream job of a lifetime. But the stoic recluse-in-a-tool-belt wants nothing to do with Lola and her show. What?! Really?
So Lola goes after him with everything she’s got. But as she draws Arlen into her chaotic world of TV production, Hollywood gossip sinks its claws into him. And when one paparazzi photo threatens to destroy everything he holds dear, Lola’s got to move heaven and Earth not to save the show … but to save Arlen.
This novel reads as a stand-alone story within the In Love in the Limelight universe: Los Angeles, where the stars and paths of different characters might cross, and where the paparazzi is always ready to sink in its glittery talons.
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The handyman Lola’s just hired to renovate her house shows up for their first meeting, but she thinks he’s an actor there to audition for her TV show … audition for the role of the sexy, brooding bounty hunter.
“Lola Scott? You’re the woman in charge?” He’s looking all askance at my faded tee and worn jeans.
I let my smile unfurl. Why not? This guy is a kick. “I’m the showrunner. Yes.”
“Yes,” I say easily, deciding I can work with his level of inexperience. “I’m the writer who created the show, and I’m pretty much in charge of everything. From casting, to shooting, to editing. I run the show. Showrunner.”
He’s nodding but looking at me as if he’s thinking about what he’s going to make for dinner tonight. Seriously? He’s losing interest in the details of the show? He really IS already in character for my aloof bounty hunter. Either that or …
I tilt my head and scrunch my eyes à la Alicia Silverstone. “Is this your first time working in TV?” I place a reassuring hand on his arm.
He jumps back, making me feel like I just burned him with a curling iron. He puts his hands in his back pockets and looks at me with such blatant … examination, like he recognizes me from a WANTED poster in the post office. “That’s a weird way of putting it,” he says. “But yes, this is the first time I’ve been to a studio.”
“Mmmm,” I muse. Fresh blood. Makes it easier.
“Look,” he says, taking his hands out of his pockets and looking around as if to find the nearest exit. “You seem really busy. Can we just do this?”
“Yes,” I practically chirp, standing to attention. “We can fill in the details later, but so far, you’ve really nailed it.”
“Uh … nailed what, exactly?”
“The image is perfect,” I practically coo. “Very Aragorn meets Wolverine.” I look him up and down, then slowly start to circle him. “I like the beard,” I tell him. “More than five-o’clock shadow, but clipped close enough to see the planes of your face and the cut of your jaw. Good choice.”
He backs away from me, turning to stay face to face with me. “Lady …”
“You’ve got that roguish, brooding thing going,” I murmur, getting lost in the intense, bordering-on-angry, look on his face. “Those dark eyes are killer.”
His lips part but he doesn’t say anything. Score. The guy can really pull off silence.
“Hmmm,” I say, considering.
“What now? Jesus, what the hell is going on?”
I look up into his face. He seems like he seriously just fell off the truck, making leverage points useless with him. This blade runner with the soul of Pollyanna just dropped into my lap and I have to handle him right.
“It’s nothing we can’t work around,” I say, brushing it off with a laugh. “It’s just that you’re a little older than I had in mind.”
“Old?” he squawks. “I’m only thirty-two!”
“Thirty-two can totally work,” I assure him. “We’ll make it work.”
He steps back with the barest hint of a nod.
“And you’re okay with partial nudity?” I ask.
“Relax,” I say, trying not to laugh. “I just mean taking your shirt off. Maybe once in a while. But nothing gratuitous. Only when necessary.”
“Look, I don’t care how hot it is, I don’t strip at work.”
“When you see how much money is in it for you, I think you’ll change your mind. And there’s no sex. Not at first, anyway.”
“That’s it.” He spins on his heel and heads to the stairwell.
“Wait!” I call, rushing to get ahead of him, blocking the door to the exit. “It’s okay if you’re afraid you won’t look perfect. Colin Firth totally panicked like that on the set of Circle of Friends. We’ll get you on a daily fitness regimen so that when the time comes, you’ll have nothing to be shy about.”
“Listen,” he begins, his voice galvanized with more authority than I’m used to from auditioning actors. “You need to get out of my way and let me leave. You’ve clearly got some guy-in-a-tool-belt fantasy, and I’m telling you up front, I’m not interested.”
My head snaps back the tiniest fraction before I stop it. “Tool belt? You mean, like, to carry your gun?”
About the Author:
When she was a kid in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Geralyn Vivian Ruane Corcillo dreamed of one day becoming the superhero Dyna Girl. So, she did her best and grew up to rescue animals and constantly pick up litter. At home, she loves to kick back by watching black & white movies, British mysteries, and the New York Giants. Corcillo lives in a drafty old house in Hollywood with her husband TV writer Ron, a guy who’s even cooler than Kip Dynamite.
2 thoughts on “Sneak Peek of Queen of the Universe by Geralyn Corcillo”
Hello, Teresa! Thank you for this wonderful feature of my book – which is FREE thru January 1 on Amazon! Today was actually a very sad day for me, as my husband and I lost our dog Robert to cancer. After a very weepy day, though, I got onto the computer and see this – and it made me smile. Thank you, Teresa 🙂 And thank you for all you do letting your wonderful readers know about all the fantastic stories out there 🙂
I am so sorry to hear about Robert. My prayer goes out to you and your husband for your loss. I’m glad the feature made you smile.