Authors: Dana Aynn Levin
Dana Aynn Levin
No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, down loaded, distributed, stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without express permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
Hollywood Princess is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, or any events or occurrences, is purely coincidental.
Cover design by Sarah Jordan Levin
Copyright © 201
4 Dana Aynn Levin
All rights reserved.
To Paul, f
or not only never laughing at me,
But for supporting my dream,
Supplying me with yellow pads and Disney pens,
And allowing me to retreat to my cave.
bout The Author
Writing a novel was never my aspiration, but then Elizabeth and Daniel’s story came to me, and it wouldn’t stop. Everywhere I went, I composed new material. At home I spent countless hours writing, inputting, and editing.
Thank you to my husband and children for allowing me to sometimes pay more attention to Elizabeth and Daniel than to you, but I never missed the important stuff. I appreciate your support and that you never laughed at me, except maybe Sarah did.
Adam, in your own quiet way you were always there for me. Your nightly living room piano concerts helped keep me focused.
Caiti, my chief cheerleader, you still have to wait a few more years until I’ll let you read this book. My apologies for not writing a YA book for you. Thank you for choosing my cover font.
Sarah, who often made fun of me, and still does. I love the cover! Thank you for designing it, and for designing my website and other social media sites. We have the best bartering system: shoes, designer bags...
Paul, for all your encouragement. You always believed in me and my project, sending me to classes and conferences. You even supported what might have seemed ridiculous, but worked. Yes, I’m referring to a certain one night trip to Las Vegas solely to attend an All-American Rejects’ concert. I knew it would boost my creativity, and it did. I probably should thank Tyson Ritter and Nick Wheeler, because every time I saw them live, I had similar results. I have no idea why this happens.
Thank you to Avery, Esther, Harriett and Yada for reading various drafts of Hollywood Princess. Esther, it was your comments that led me to find a home in the New Adult genre.
Finally, thank you readers, for taking a chance on a debut author.
Could today get any better? From across the room of my intermediate
-level French class, an adorable-looking guy with smooth, dark curls flashed me a shy smile that set my heart aflutter.
If a flirty smile counted, then this was the second good thing to happen this morning. The first had been…no
, maybe this was the third. Definitely, the second. Though “Gives You Hell,” the perfect mood-boosting song to start the day woke me, it didn’t count.
A longtime favorite
, this song was ideal for imbuing me with the confidence needed to face the first day of freshman classes at exclusive Donnelly College in Upstate New York. I wanted to give them hell, unless my usual insecurities and shyness surfaced. Often a possibility.
, I had opened the window shade a crack. The sixth-floor view, all treetops, but after yesterday’s rain, at least the sun shone through. Certainly, that was a good omen.
A passing glance at the clock confirmed the early hour
; enough time to leisurely check my e-mails and choose my clothing for the day.
my iPhone confirmed my hunch. Today was already a good day! A late-night love note from Mom made my eyes tear. Far away from my Santa Monica home, I missed Mom and Dad more than I imagined, though it had only been a few days since move-in.
Silently, I tiptoed into the bathroom, enjoying the privacy that came with being the only one awake.
I shared a suite with two other girls on the seventh floor of a ten-story tower, Donnelly’s tallest building. The tower appeared to be sitting on the broad shoulders of ivy-covered Berkeley Hall, an otherwise four-story, C-shaped brick building.
Loud, rapid knocking interrupted my reverie while I brushed my teeth.
“You almost done?”
With the water running
, I couldn’t tell which impatient roommate it was. I spit into the small sink to answer.
“One more minute,
” I called. Jeez! It was bad enough having to share the facilities, but really, I hadn’t been in the bathroom for that long.
Rachel was leaning
against the doorjamb to her bedroom, shower caddy in hand, staring. I smiled to diffuse the tension and returned to my room. Learning to live with other people was more difficult than I had imagined.
orn into A-list Hollywood society, I led a rarefied existence where you never wanted for anything, nor waited for anything. The downside, everyone assumed they knew you because of the latest gossip blog entries. At Donnelly, for the first time in my eighteen years, I’ll have the opportunity to be me. I’m three thousand miles from home, just another anonymous freshman. It’s time for me to discover who I am.
It was t
ime to get dressed, too. I had been mulling this over since I’d arrived. Before going to sleep, I rifled through my wardrobe once again, never having selected first-day clothes before. The schools I attended in Los Angeles had required uniforms.
What was a simple decision for most tied
me up in knots. I wanted to dress like a typical Donnelly student. But who exemplified typical for me to emulate? In my few days on campus, I observed fashion that ran the gamut from prep, goth, punk, hippy, jock, and Walmart to fashionistas like my roommate Chloe.
ed designer labels without fear. At worst, she would be teased and called a Jewish American Princess. For doing the same, I’d face sneers and derision while being called a stuck-up Hollywood bitch.
That my flippy khaki skirt and lavender cropped polo, both courtesy of J.Crew, were appropriate soon became apparent.
As I approached the classroom door when French ended, cutie, dressed just as preppy, stopped me. Only then did I take in his pale blue eyes, a distinct contrast to his smooth mocha complexion.
“Bonjour, mademoiselle,” he said, smiling warmly. “Je m’appelle Cameron Reynolds.”
“Elizabeth Jacobs,” I answered.
“I’m meeting my roommates for lunch. Want to join us?” Cameron asked in English, his voice smooth and lacking any discernable regional accent.
At midday, the quad, the most public of public places on the Donnelly campus intimidated me. Companionship would insulate me from the gawking students I detected almost as soon as my toes touched the concrete path. Focused on me, Cameron, of course, was oblivious, for he had not been born into my life.
“That’s her, isn’t it?”
a student walking behind us whispered to a buddy.
“I thought Miranda Jordan’s daughter would wear better clothes,” her friend said.
“I know, right? Ms. Jordan can easily afford Ralph Lauren. Why the J.Crew knockoff?”
Crap! Didn’t they realize I was trying to blend in by dressing like everyone else?
I pretended that I hadn’t heard them. If Cameron noticed, he graciously did not say anything.
As we stood
on the century-old dining hall’s front steps waiting for our roommates, I took in the grandeur of the Donnelly campus. Initially wait-listed and headed for Swarthmore, I had never visited Donnelly, my first-choice college. The website didn’t do it justice.
“How were your classes?” I greeted Rachel and Chloe when they finally arrived. The wait seemed longer than it probably was, but I was fidgety, praying not to be noticed again.
Rachel bubbled with excitement. “You’ll never believe who is in my class.”
Her morning class,
“Survey of Motion Pictures,” left me curious. Nobody I knew from home was enrolled at Donnelly. It must be someone New York-based.
Noticing Cameron lingering a step behind me
, she answered, “I’ll tell you later.”
Once inside the lobby, Cameron’s phone buzzed, an incoming text. He read the message and frowned.
“Looks like Shane won’t be joining us,” he said.
“What about your other roommate?” I asked.
Three girls at a table with only one guy was awkward, especially when we barely knew each other.
Cameron smiled. “He’ll be here,”
he said with certainty. “My roommate’s always late.”
After purchasing our food,
we found an empty table. Preparing to place my lunch down, a confident male voice came up behind me.
you’ve been busy this morning,” it teased.
, I turned my head toward the speaker. Our eyes locked, green on blue. The power of his dark sapphire stare overwhelmed me.
Only one person ever called me Eli. I was dumbstruck that not only was he here, he was apparently Cameron’s roommate. My heart catapulted into overdrive. I lost my grip on the plate, and it slammed onto the table with a jarring bang.
“Danny!” I breathlessly responded, and he pulled me into a bear hug
, his now taller six-foot frame towering over me.
Danny Newman’s strength and muscularity surprised me. He had been hitting the weight room since we
My head was spinning, my pulse racing. I thought I
might faint, though whether from the shock of seeing him or from Danny’s innate sensuality, I couldn’t discern.
Why hadn’t anyone told me that Danny
was attending Donnelly? My parents must have known. Our families had been closer than close for over twenty years. As youngsters, we were inseparable. Nearly a year and a half older than I, Danny was like an older brother. Then once puberty began to kick in, my sisterly love morphed into a full-fledged infatuation. But after Danny left for prep school in New Hampshire, our relationship changed. So why did my insides quake? I was eighteen years old, a mature college student now.
Yet my eyes
clung to Danny. Incredibly handsome, his mesmerizing eyes with long, dark lashes caught your attention and held it. Danny’s face had thinned. His cheekbones were more prominent. Emphasis fell on his full lips, posed in a wry smile aimed in my direction, and his straight, sun-streaked hair was shorter, though still shaggy. I couldn’t stop staring.
Danny Newman had morphed from teen heartthrob into full-fledged hunk.
“Mom told me you were attending Donnelly,” Danny said. “I planned on calling you after classes. Now I don’t have to.”
“My parents didn’t tell me,
” I answered, dumbfounded by his revelation.
“Strange.” Danny shrugged
, then pulled me back for another emotional hug. “You look great,” he whispered. “You’re older now.”
“Of course I’m older.” What did Danny expect? Five years had passed since we’d last seen each other.
Rachel stared. Danny must be the student from her morning class. As a film major, she would have found Steven Newman’s son being in her class exciting.
Danny released me and took the seat next to me.
“Eli’s like my kid sister.” Danny answered the unasked question in everyone’s eyes.
“Eli? Kid sister?” Rachel asked, stunned by this revelation.
“I couldn’t pronounce ‘Elizabeth.’” Danny quirked a brow. “Can I still call you, ‘Eli’?”
“If you must,” I sighed.
This battle was unwinnable, so why fight it.
Danny grinned, victorious. “Eli’s my dearest friend in the world. I’ve known her since before
“Dad and Steve
roomed together in college,” I added as an explanation.
I regretted uttering his name. The wheels in Rachel’s head spun.
“So your father is Steven Newman? The director?” she confirmed.
“Guilty as charged. Good old dad.” Danny winked at me.
Rachel eyed me suspiciously. Now she knew. The Newmans
and Jacobs were frequently linked. Would she keep my identity quiet?
“What other classes are you in?”
I asked Danny, quickly changing the subject.