Falling Stars

By: Celeste Lake


Summary





Wrecked Porsche, wrecked movie, wrecked image. That’s Christine Lawton: Hollywood’s latest starlet wreck. After punching Hollywood’s most powerful producer in the face for blacklisting her movie, she’s hidden herself away at a secluded mountain resort called the Constellation Lodge to avoid media attention until the whole thing blows over. She expected to be bored out of her mind. She didn’t expect to meet Jennifer.



Jennifer Baker hates the film industry. Her whole family is big in the business, but she wants absolutely nothing to do with the hollow, toxic world that lies behind the glitz and glam. Self-exiled to the Constellation Lodge, she just needs to finish her second novel and prove that she can succeed without the assistance of her well-connected family.



Christine loves that Jennifer has no clue of who she is, but she can’t keep her Hollywood fame a secret forever. Will the truth ruin a connection that seems to be written in the stars?





1





"Christ, Paul," Christine said into her phone to her agent. "I feel like I'm in a fucking prison camp here, or something. I can't do anything! What is there to do in a ski lodge in the summer? There's not a single flake of snow outside."



She paced around the room, which was admittedly very nice, even though it'd been her cell for the past week and a half. It was the Constellation Lodge's presidential suite, and there definitely could've been worse places in California for her to be laying low. But she was Christine Lawton. She was a city girl, not a secluded mountain dweller. She missed her house back in the Hollywood Hills. She missed hitting up all the spots downtown and pretending to be irritated at all the paparazzi chasing her for photos. She missed her Porsche.



Oh, her Porsche. She winced, remembering the crumpled hood and the lamp post, folded over like one of those flailing balloon men from the furniture ads. She'd buy a new one when she got back to Hollywood. Or maybe she'd get a BMW instead, one of those cool new electric ones that looked like a spaceship. It'd be nice, she'd be saving the environment. It'd be good PR. And she needed good PR. That was the reason why she was here, after all.



"Oh, jeez louise, Christine. Don't be so dramatic. Watch TV, go hiking, I don't know. Just stay out of trouble."



She opened the patio door and stepped outside, a blast of crisp mountain air and the chirping of birds greeting her. It smelled like rain was coming. "You know what really annoys me, Paul? I know it’s not getting arrested that forced me out here, it's that piece of shit Gregory Wardlow. He was lucky he got away with his teeth intact."



"I'm right there with you, Christine. The guy is an asshole. Always has been. But let's be real here, that freakin' freezer bag of white powder the cops found in your car didn't help. People at the studios are throwing the words 'blacklist' and your name in the same sentence."



"Friends of Wardlow, obviously. And that wasn't my coke. And it definitely wasn't a freezer bag. Now who's being dramatic?"



It really hadn’t been her coke; it had belonged to her friend and former co-star Matthew Sloane. He must've left it in her car the last time they went out for a party at Leonardo DiCaprio's place in Malibu. Then there'd been that headline in the tabloids, "CHRISTINE AND MATTHEW, HOOKING UP?" accompanied by an embarrassing telephoto shot of the two of them walking arm in arm back to her place after a night out. It wasn't anything like that, though. She was drunk and had nearly rolled her ankle clip-clopping from the bar to his car in her high heels, so she’d just been using his arm as support. There was no sleeping together involved. He'd passed out on the couch. Not that he hadn't tried before, but she'd shut him down fast as hell. Thankfully, Matthew was one of the ones who actually got a clue when she told him those three words: "I like women." Actually, Matthew was one of the only men who stuck around after hearing that. He'd become an even better friend and was surprisingly protective of her. She appreciated that about him.



And of course, now all the tabloids were filled with stories about her punching producer Gregory Wardlow in the face at an Oscars after party, and about how she'd crashed her car into a lamp post while drunk driving. The drunk driving thing should never have happened, but she was just so angry and so upset about the Wardlow incident.



"Anyway," Paul said, "let me just get all this shit sorted out. You keep laying low. It'll be over before you know it, and you'll be back to work. I'll be in touch with more updates. Try to enjoy yourself, huh? Some people would call a couple weeks out in the mountains a vacation."



After they hung up, she put the phone on the patio railing and looked out through the line of pine trees that stood against a backdrop of rolling mountains and a crystal blue lake. Her room was on the fourth floor and was said to have the best view of Santos Mountain. It really was a wonderful view, and Paul was right. She shouldn't be complaining. But this just wasn't her environment. At least she'd been able to bring Mister, her German Shepherd. She would've absolutely refused to go if she couldn't bring him with her. She looked over her shoulder into the room and smiled. He was curled up in his bed on the floor next to the couch, snoring.