When the screen fades to black, all that remains is love.
A Black & White Collection story
Ty Ransome. Reigning king of Hollywood, producer, actor, Look Magazine's Hottest Man Alive. He has it all--until he reads a book of short stories that touches him in places kept carefully hidden from the tabloid gossip mill. There's only one way to meet the introverted writer--invite her to Tinseltown to work on a script. The moment he sees her, he realizes why her work haunts him. There's something missing in his life, and it's her.
Gwen steps off the plane with reservations. For one thing, her darkly sexual stories are hardly movie material. Then there's Ty's reputation as a ladies' man. Yet she's won over by his charm and agrees to stay on for a week to get to know him before making her decision. And as the days go by, she discovers there's far more to Ty than a handsome face.
They eat, drink and breathe the characters in their screenplay, re-enacting scenes that delve into the BDSM realm, setting Ty free to unleash his powerful cravings and exposing Gwen's deepest needs. Needs she set free on paper...but is not sure she's ready to make a reality.
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January 05, 2010
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Excerpt from Rough Cut by Mari Carr
"You need to get up, Bambi. This isn't the way to win a part in my movie."
"But you haven't let me show you how talented am I," whined the buxom blonde Pamela Anderson wannabe.
"Oh I have no doubt you're talented, but this isn't the time or place. I'm waiting for--"
"The windows in this limo are tinted black. No one will see."
Ty swatted away the woman's hands each time she attempted to grasp his family jewels, wondering how in the hell he got into messes like this.
"That's not the point. I'm at the airport to pick someone up and the flight has already landed."
"So your friend can join us when he arrives. There's plenty of me to go around." Bambi thrust out her barely covered breasts. Those babies must have cost her a pretty penny.
"I'm picking up a woman." He hoped that fact would deter the so-called actress.
"Man or woman. I'm not fussy. She won't be disappointed either."
Ty tried not to growl in frustration at the woman's relentlessness. He'd asked the temp agency to send over a secretary and he'd expressly stated No actresses. Miss Bambi Starr was quickly pushing him to the brink of losing what the tabloids liked to refer to as his infamous Ransome temper.
"I'm going to tell you one more time to get up, Bambi."
His words fell on deaf ears as the woman finally managed to get a hold on the zipper tab of his suit slacks. Of course, her death grip on his balls had distracted him a bit. Her head began to lower toward his lap and he hastily put his hands in her hair to push her back.
Unfortunately, at that exact moment, the door to the limousine opened and Gwen Preston was ushered in, unaware of what was happening until she sat down and his driver slammed the door behind her.
"Oh." Gwen's eyes widened at the racy image he and Bambi were presenting. "I'm sorry. Shit. I-I--"
She quickly turned her face away from them and Ty could see from her reflection in the window that she'd closed her eyes tightly. The loveliest blush crept up her slender neck. Jesus, an innocent woman. He'd lived in Hollywood so long he'd forgotten such a creature existed.
As Gwen's hand crept to the door handle, he quickly reached out to grip her wrist. "Wait."
She turned to look at him, her face a mixture of anger and surprise.
"Bambi." He pushed the silly actress away from him and then opened his car door quickly--all with one hand. He refused to release Gwen. "I want you to go sit up front with my driver."
When she looked as if she intended to argue, he let the reins of his temper go. "Now!" He shouted loud enough that both women in the car jumped. His yell also attracted the unwanted attention of a dozen or so people milling around the outside of the airport.
"It's Ty Ransome," someone screamed. He pushed Bambi out of the car and slammed the door. Bob, his driver, slid down the glass partition, no doubt realizing a mob of fans were about to descend on the car.
"Sir?" Bob asked, awaiting instructions.
"Give Bambi one minute to join you up there. If she isn't in this car by then, leave without her."
Bob nodded and slid the glass back up.
Ty glanced over and noticed Gwen quietly taking in everything with a scowl on her face. From her perspective he must look like the world's most heartless bastard--getting his jollies from some bimbo before kicking her to the curb. Dammit. This was not the way he'd planned for this meeting to go. He desperately wanted--oh hell, he needed Gwen to work with him on the project he'd invited her to California to discuss.
"You can let go of me now," she said tersely.
"I can explain." He heard the front passenger door slam and the car took off with enough speed that he and Gwen were thrown back against their seats just as cameras began to flash around them. With the car in motion, he released her wrist.
"You don't owe me any explanations. I'm a big girl, and I'm perfectly aware of what was going on. Perhaps you should ask your driver to pull over so Bambi--was that her name?"
He nodded once and struggled to regain control of his increasing ire. "Gwen--"
She ignored him. "So that Bambi and I can switch places. Clearly she wasn't done and as I have no intention of finishing what she started, I'd hate for you to die of an acute case of blue balls."
He took several deep breaths, hoping it would calm him down, but clearly nothing was going to make today better. It had started its downhill spiral when his personal assistant quit first thing this morning. Then his chef had inadvertently set a small fire in the kitchen because Ty's insane ex-girlfriend had decided to sneak into the house and put his favorite pair of Gucci leather dress shoes in the oven. As a result, he'd asked his manager to change all the locks in his house to prevent the woman from enacting any other petty acts of revenge.
Then the co-producer for his current project threatened to walk over some minuscule plot point and the studio bitched about the amount of money he'd spent on the film he'd just completed. The fact they stood to make a killing on the movie didn't matter. Greedy bastards always wanted more. Between the temp agency siccing Bambi on him and Gwen's refusal to listen to his explanation, he felt as if his head was going to explode.
"I can only imagine how it must feel for a man with your legendary sex drive to--"
"You may want to reconsider finishing that statement," he barked. "Not one more word, Ms. Preston. I mean it."
"Tell your driver to drop me off at the nearest hotel. I think our negotiations have ended."
He shook his head, unsure where his anger toward Gwen had come from, but the fact of the matter was his cock had been soft as a down pillow when Bambi had been trying to blow him. That state had changed rapidly the second Gwen entered the limo. She looked different in real person, considering he'd only ever seen her once on a television interview. She was a petite, willowy redhead with porcelain skin, unusual in sunny California. Her bright blue eyes flashed sparks of anger at him, yet despite her ire, he was assailed with an instant attraction.
He was used to beautiful women. Hell, he was surrounded by them twenty-four seven. Gwen wasn't beautiful by Hollywood standards, yet she was certainly striking, even alluring.
"Oh no, Gwen. Our negotiations haven't even started yet."
"I thought that you were different, but you really are as arrogant and chauvinistic as the tabloids say. I don't usually believe those rags, but I think they were dead-on where you're concerned. I'm going to tell you one more time to let me out of this car, Mr. Ransome, or I swear to God, I'll slap you with a kidnapping charge so fast it'll make your head spin."
He grinned at her, aware the look only fueled her anger further. They'd corresponded through email and phone calls regularly during the past few weeks and he had felt they were striking up a friendship. He regretted his harsh words, but he couldn't shake the image of her on her knees in front of him. He'd have to make amends, because he wasn't about to let her get away, regardless of her paltry threats.
"Gwen, I apologize for my rudeness. I can assure you I am the man from the phone calls. Today, well, my only excuse is that it has been a rather long, painful day."
"It's only ten a.m."
He nodded and sighed heavily. "Nonetheless, I am sorry. How was your flight? Pleasant, I hope?"
She narrowed her eyes at his abrupt about-face and quick change of topic. "Mr. Ransome--"
"Ty," he corrected her. She'd been calling him Ty on the phone for weeks and he loved the sound of his name spoken in her sultry voice.
She shook her head and started to refuse, but he reached over and placed a gentle finger against her lips.
"Call me Ty."
He could tell by her erratic breathing she wasn't as unaffected by him as she seemed. Perhaps she was also feeling the overwhelming heat that was making it difficult for him to concentrate despite the cool air-conditioning blowing over them.
"Mr. R--" He pressed his finger harder against her lips. For a moment, he considered silencing her another way--by placing his lips against hers. He could just imagine using his tongue to caress her mouth, to slowly study the contours of her warm, sweet lips.
"Say Ty, Gwen. Say it right now."
"Ty," she whispered.
Blown away by her capitulation and the sexy, husky nature of her voice, he shook his head, trying to regain his wits.
What the hell was he thinking? Christ, he knew what he was thinking--he had a hard-on that could drive nails into concrete and that lack of blood to the brain was driving him to say stupid shit. Dominant by nature, he was usually able to keep his darker side under wraps, especially around strangers. However, Gwen didn't feel like a stranger. She felt like someone he'd known forever and he could tell by the flush on her face and soft panting that she wasn't immune to his commands.
However, she was looking at him with suspicious eyes. Anxious to recover lost ground, he cleared his throat. "Now that we've gotten the issue of names out of the way, I think we should discuss a timeline for writing the script. Figure out a schedule and draft a rough outline of the story. I've taken the liberty of setting you up in my guest house for the duration of your stay."
"I haven't agreed to write anything and I'd prefer to stay in a hotel. I believe I mentioned that on the phone."
Her voice was calmer and he was pleased to see her earlier anger had abated. Her confidence was reemerging. It was that self-assurance that led him to issue his offer. He'd seen an interview she'd done several months ago on a local cable channel. Her poise and quiet intelligence had spoken to him so deeply he'd gone out and purchased everything she'd ever written.
When he'd read a collection of short stories she'd co-authored entitled Evening Songs, his attention had fallen from her to her co-author on the book, Michael Haynes. It was Haynes' story "The Darkest Night" that had sparked his serious interest and planted the seed of turning the stories into a screenplay.
For weeks, he'd attempted to find the elusive writer and had almost given up hope. Then one night, he'd met a producer friend and his wife in New York for drinks. The wife worked in the publishing business, so he'd casually mentioned Haynes. She'd told him that Michael Haynes was actually a pseudonym for Gwen Preston. Gwen had written all the stories in Evening Songs, including "The Darkest Night".
"I think you'll discover I didn't get where I am today because I accept the word no easily. Why don't you save both of us a lot of time and wasted energy by merely agreeing? You said yourself in our last email communication that you were fascinated by the idea of seeing one of your stories on the silver screen. I'm offering you that opportunity," he said.
"I'm still not sure why you're offering me that chance. I've never written a screenplay. Isn't it standard Hollywood procedure for someone else to buy the rights and write the script?"
"I have experience with scriptwriting. I hope that by collaborating, you and I will bring to the screen the same emotion, the same powerful characters and stimulating plot that you incorporate so flawlessly in your fiction. I truly suspect that between the two of us we can make one of the hottest movies of the year."
What he didn't say was that he was damn tired of being one of Hollywood's action stars. It was an image he was finding harder and harder to maintain as he got older. It was time he focused on the future. He was desperate to establish himself as a serious actor and a talented producer. Gwen's story had the potential to help him break free of the macho-man image he hated.
"You still haven't told me which of my books you intend to use. I'm not sure I understand your secrecy on that point or why you insisted I meet you in person."
"I would like to make a movie using the stories in Evening Songs." His words jarred her more than he would have imagined and he immediately noticed her slight discomfiture when he mentioned which book he was interested in. Her face paled and her eyes drifted downward.
"Well, then you've wasted my time and yours. As you know, I wasn't the only author of that book. I only wrote two of the four stories."
Ty grinned as her cheeks lost all color. She was a horrible liar.
"You and I both know you wrote all the stories in that collection. Please don't insult me by continuing to deny it."
"Well done, Sherlock. How much did that information cost you?" she asked.
"Nice to know my privacy comes so cheap. Tell you what. Skip the hotel. Tell your driver to take me back to the airport."
"You won't even consider the idea of making these stories into a movie?"
"Three words, Mr. Ransome. Three words that should explain to you why this project will never work. 'The Darkest Night'."