Authors: Juliet Madison
Starstruck in Seattle
A sparkling story from the Queen of Ro-magic comedy!
Aspiring actress Anna Hilford might only have a small role in a leading television drama, but she longs to be dreamboat Karl Drake's leading lady. Sick of being loveless and overlooked, Anna seeks the help of intuitive love coach, Lulu, from
to give her the courage and determination to follow her destiny.
But fate has different ideas, Lulu has undisclosed power, and Anna is about to realise that life happens while you're busy making plans.Â .Â .
Juliet Madison is a naturopath-turned-author with a background in dance, art, internet marketing and perfume sales (yes, she was one of those annoying people in department stores who spray you with perfume). Nowadays she prefers to indulge her propensity for multiple careers by living vicariously through her characters. She likes to put these characters into extraordinary situations and take them on a challenging journey to discover their true passion and inner strength, weaving in some laughs, tears, romance and sometimes a touch of magic along the way.
Living near the beach on the beautiful south coast of New South Wales, Australia, Juliet spends her days homeschooling her son and running her internet business, and her nights writing fiction while doing her best to avoid housework.
Juliet is a proud member of the Romance Writers of Australia and she loves to interact online with readers and writers. You can contact her on Twitter
, on Facebook at
, and through her website at
, where readers can also download some free short stories.
I'd like to say thanks to my beta readers who gave valuable feedback on this manuscript before publication; Sarah Belle, Natasha Devereux, Kristy Atkinson, and Caroline Praed. A special thank you to the
Anna from Seattle for your thorough manuscript critique and for helping me with Seattle authenticity (I hope I've done it justice!). Thanks also to Alysha Ellis for coming up with the winning suggestion for a unique swear word just for angels!
Once again, many thanks to Managing Editor, Kate Cuthbert and the team at Escape Publishing/Harlequin Australia for bringing this story to the market, my editor Gabrielle Maait, and my critique partners Alli Sinclair and Diane Curran for your ongoing support. Lastly, thanks always to Mum and Dad, Jayden, my family and friends, and my readers for supporting my work.
To Nora Ephron. R.I.P.
I need your help
I can't believe I'm actually writing this letter, but your advice would be greatly appreciated. I've heard you're the go-to person to help bring soulmates together and I hope you'll be able to help me connect with mine.
A psychic once told me my soulmate's name begins with K, and I think I've found him. We've been working together as actors for six months, but his role's more important and we hardly get a chance to speak together privately. Every time we pass each other at work, every time he smiles at me, every time we chat about the upcoming twists in the script, I feel so alive. I've never felt this strongly about anyone before, it's like there's an invisible cord connecting us. Should I wait for him to make the first move or take a risk and ask him out?
The thing is; I don't have much time. My contract will be up in a few weeks. I'll have to find another job and I don't want to waste the time I have left. How can I show my interest without looking desperate and blending in with the other women falling at his feet? And do you agree with the psychic â does my soulmate's name begin with a K?
Star Struck in Seattle
“And.Â .Â .action!” The director's voice shot through the air like a missile and Anna exploded into character, straightening her spine and swiftly picking up the telephone.
“Seattle General Hospital Maternity Ward, how can I help you?”
As soon as the words left her mouth, Karl Drake â aka Dr. Jack Harper â slammed his fist on the nurses' station countertop, the muscles in his arms bulging beneath his white coat. “I will not give up on her, damn it!” His outburst met with crossed arms from his colleague, Dr. Freeman, and the phone slipped from Anna's grasp, landing with a loud clunk on the desk.
“Cut!” The director jabbed a finger toward Anna. “Don't drop the phone this time. Look shocked, yes, but
drop the phone.”
Anna shifted on the spot. “But, wouldn't it make the scene more realistic? I think it would show my.Â .Â .
better if I dropped it, don't you agree?” She turned with raised eyebrows to Charlie and Vera, fellow extras and nurses on
, the hit television show shooting its fifth and final season. They nodded.
“I agree,” Charlie said. “And maybe I could drop this chart.” He held up a clipboard with paper attached.
The director held his palms up toward them. “No. It'll distract the viewer from Karl's moment. You,” he pointed at Anna, “just look shocked, and you,” he pointed at Charlie, “glance up from the chart and whisper into the other nurse's ear, as if you're asking what Dr. Harper's talking about. That's all. Got it? Now.Â .Â .action!”
Anna repeated her phone script and Karl's fist assaulted the countertop again, causing a pen to roll off to the floor. “I will not give up on her, damn it!”
“Cut! Someone stick that pen to the countertop, and,” the director pointed to Anna, “you looked
-shocked. Subtlety is an art, girl, learn it. From the top.Â .Â .action!”
After seventeen takes and about as many eye-rolls from tired members of the camera crew, the scene was finally wrapped up, and Jake the Jerk Director turned away to instruct an actress on how to realistically collapse without hurting herself. Charlie strode toward Anna with a pointed finger and fierce glare, mocking the director's earlier actions. Laughter burst from her lungs and she covered her mouth as the director turned back.
“Why are you still hanging about? Get ready for the next scene, shoo!” He flicked his bony hands toward them and they left the bright lights of the nurses' station for the dimly lit delivery room, where set stylists busily arranged machines and tubes, and an actress slouching in a pregnant-suit complained about having to wait “for
” for her scene.
Anna took the opportunity to mentally plan her evening â heat up a frozen dinner, pack away the results of her shopping spree from yesterday (and work out how to pay her credit card bill), then relax on the sofa with popcorn and a DVD. No stress.
Her breath caught in her throat as Karl entered and the room seemed to brighten, though the lighting crew had not yet arrived to set up. He greeted the fake pregnant woman, whose posture straightened and bored expression transformed to one of anticipation. Karl had that effect on women.
“Great work before,” he said to her, a dark strand of hair falling over his equally dark left eye. “For what it's worth, I think your idea about dropping the phone was good.” He ran a hand through his hair, returning the rogue strand to its rightful place. Anna sighed, wishing it was
hand running through it. Running down his neck, across his strong jaw line, her thumb trailing over his inviting lips.Â .Â .
“.Â .Â .don't you think?” Karl's eyes fixated on hers.
“Huh?” Anna's fantasy dissolved and her cheeks burned. She hadn't heard his question.
God, I'm an idiot!
“I said, though Jake's a tool sometimes, he's good at his job, don't you think?”
“Oh, of course. The show wouldn't be what it is without him.”
Karl nodded and smiled. The warm, heady scent of his aftershave drifted around her nostrils and she resisted the urge to lean in for a closer whiff. Karl glanced at his watch. “Let's hope we get an early-mark tonight, eh? It
the end of the week and I don't want to be stuck on set like last Friday night when I could be out enjoying myself.” A smile curved up the sides of his mouth.
“Let's hope.” Anna's heart pumped rapidly and she parted her lips, words hesitating on the edge of her tongue.
Should I just ask him out? Now?
Vera giggled near the oxygen tank beside the hospital bed as Charlie pretended to gasp for breath, while the fake pregnant woman practiced her labor panting.
Karl was right next to her. His chest rose and fell, hers paused in indecision. Friday night in front of the TV, or the thrill of something new?
Go on, ask him! An informal drink after work.
She licked her dry lips.
Maybe I should wait for Lulu's advice. Or maybe not.
“Okay, let's get this party started.” Jake the Jerk walked in and clapped his hands, followed by the lighting and camera crew. He ushered everyone to their positions, Karl accompanying the patient on one side of the bed and Anna on the other side accompanying the oxygen tank.
“And.Â .Â .action!”
Anna sighed. At this rate, she certainly wouldn't be getting any of that.
Re: I need your help
Dear Star Struck in Seattle,
Thank you for having the courage to write your letter and faith in me to guide you toward the love you deserve.
Firstly, you must believe yourself worthy of true love, and treat yourself with the respect you would want another to treat you with. Don't settle for second best, don't put yourself down, and don't sacrifice your deepest desires to please another. All happy relationships come from a happy relationship with oneself.
In answer to your question about whether to ask K out, I feel if you choose to do so you would be met with a âyes', but I also feel it is best to hold off. I believe a proposition is coming your way very soon, and you need to remain open and aware of ALL possibilities.
My advice is to put yourself out there and don't be afraid of judgment or rejection. Be proactive about seeking other work and trust that in good time all things will conspire in your favor. True love is on its way, but you need to listen to and trust your intuition. It will lead you in the right direction. Also remember: you will know you are with your soulmate when you can simply be yourself. Your soulmate will bring the best out in you. They will enhance the beauty and uniqueness already there. True love will make you feel like the best version of yourself is shining bright.
Lastly, I'd like to leave you with a Love Quote chosen especially for you:
“The eyes see only in front, the heart sees all around. Use your âheart-vision' to guide you.”
P.S. Your psychic was right. Your soulmate's name does begin with the letter K.
Lulu clicked âsend' and smiled. She opened a new message window, filled in the details of her mission, and sent it to New Angel HQ on Cloud Eight and Three Quarters. If this and subsequent missions went well, she'd be upgraded to Cloud Nine in no time.