Double Exposure (Hollywood Heat Series Book 3) Excerpt I

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The Scene

Kate has a visit with her financial manager and gets some surprising news.


          Kate checked her watch. She was early for her meeting with Harvey Kurtz. Harvey was one of the owners of Kurtz & Markham Financial, the firm that oversaw all of Marvin’s assets. He had been out of the country when Marvin died but was back and said he owed his biggest client a face to face. As soon as the elevator doors opened, a woman in a pristine white suit was waiting for her.

         “Good morning, Mrs. Cavanaugh.  I’m Melissa. Mr. Kurtz is waiting for you.” She smiled and escorted Kate through the lavish, bustling office. Melissa stopped at a huge corner office with glass double doors, ushered Kate inside and closed the door behind her. There was a tall, older, dark-haired man dressed in a baby blue shirt and black slacks with suspenders putting golf balls into a coffee cup.

            “Kate Garrison-Cavanaugh, so nice to finally meet you.  Harvey Kurtz.”  He put down the club and shook her hand. “I apologize that it’s taken me so long to get together with you. Your photos don’t do you justice. You’re breathtaking.”

            She laughed. “Thank you Harvey. Now I know where your son Liam gets his silver tongue.  I’ve had lunch with him twice, he’s very attentive.”

            Harvey pulled a chair out for her to sit. “I apologize for that too. My son has a crush on you. Would you like a drink?”

            “Orange juice is fine.”

            He handed her the juice and took a seat in the chair behind his desk. “But still, Marvin would have been appalled that I hadn’t talked to you sooner. I dropped the ball. It will never happen again.”

            “Your firm has been diligent about keeping me in the loop.”

            “Well, you are the loop and our biggest client. As you know your net worth adjusted up after you acquired those shares for Pinnacle. Kudos, by the way, no one saw that coming. I think Raymond had a quiet breakdown after that whole sordid business.”

            “I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”  She smiled.

            “Marvin also had a few other…investments that have come to fruition and we’ve re-assessed your portfolio.” He handed her a leather binder.

            Kate opened it, not knowing what to expect. There were companies on the list she’d never seen before and some of them were based in other countries. They also bumped up the total net worth significantly.  “Any particular reason these companies weren’t mentioned before?”

            “Those were only privy to senior management. The rest of the staff doesn’t have authority to discuss those assets.” He tapped his pen on the edge of his desk.

            “This certainly does change things.” She gulped.

            “Significantly.” He gave her a wry smile. “There are some things I’d like to modify and I want to start working on them now.”

            “Like what?”

            “When did you get married?”

            Kate rattled off her wedding date.

            Harvey hit the intercom on his phone. “Melissa, get me a new clock.”

           Moments later his assistant rushed in with a clock and a ladder. Kate watched as Harvey programmed some numbers into it and handed if off to the assistant waiting on the ladder. When Harvey hit the button to activate it, it started counting down.

            “What’s that for?” Kate furrowed her eyebrows.

            “That’s how much time I have to figure out how to get you out of that marriage to that pretty boy actor. The clock is ticking on community property.” Harvey took a sip of his drink.

            “I’m not getting divorced. Chris and I are fine.”

            “My goal is to look after your interests. I missed the boat on the prenuptial agreement but I’ll be damned if I’ll be the laughing-stock of my peers for not getting you out of this quagmire.”

            “My marriage is not a quagmire and I trust my husband implicitly.”

            “He’s an actor Kate. The man gets paid to drift into alternate realities for a living. I’m not risking your assets on his ability to come portray a dutiful husband. Marvin made the stipulation you stay under my wing for good reason. I don’t let silly things like emotional attachment and sentiment sway my thinking.”

            “And I don’t let pompous idiots dictate mine. Chris Cavanaugh is a permanent fixture in my life, so get used to it.”  Kate stood. “As a favor to Marvin’s memory, I’m going to do you a favor and pretend we never had this conversation. If I hear anyone from this firm opened their mouth about this conversation, I will take my business elsewhere.”

            “Fine. But I told Marvin I would look out for you. I don’t have your faith about marriages made in this town.  Melissa, take the clock down.” Harvey motioned for his assistant to come down off the ladder.


                                                                                  * * *


            Kate left the office Harvey’s office feeling drained. She felt like she was being watched so she slowed her paced and turned around but there was no one behind her. She punched the button and the elevator arrived within seconds. She stepped in and pushed the lobby button and just as the doors were shutting, someone put their hand in the way so they would open. A man handsome man dressed in expensive gray suit stepped in and hit the door closed button. She’d seen him before. It was the guy that was watching in the restaurant a few days ago. There was no one but the two of them in the elevator yet he stood unusually close. Kate moved a few steps over to get him out of her space.

            “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”  He gave her an appreciative once over.

            “Yes, it is.”

            “When I first came to L.A., I couldn’t adjust to the weather, but now I find that I never want to leave.”

           “The weather and constant sunshine is a score for tourism.” She sighed. “What is that you want?”


            “I don’t believe it’s a coincidence I’ve seen you two times in one week in two different cities. Why are you following me?”

            “My name is Cooper Harding. I know who you are, Kate Cavanaugh. I won’t be coy and pretend that I don’t.”

            “What do you want, Mr. Harding?”

            “Please, my friends call me Coop.” He flashed a dazzling smile.

            “We’re not friends.”

            “Fair enough. I have a feeling we will be in the near future.”

            “From listening to your tone of voice, you don’t sound musically inclined so I doubt you have a demo tape in that expensive tailored suit pocket. Perhaps, a head shot? You think those good looks are going to land you an acting career? To be honest, Cooper Harding sounds like a porno star’s name. Do you want to be a star Mr. Harding?  Because if you do, accosting the owner of a movie studio in an elevator definitely isn’t the way to go in pursuing a promising career.”

            “On the contrary, I have a very special interest in Pinnacle Studios and I was hoping that you would sell me your shares.” He held up his hand. “And before you can ask, I can afford it.”

            “That’s not going to happen.”

            “You haven’t heard my proposition yet. I’m sure I could persuade you to sell.”

            “I get a pampered, self-indulgent vibe from you and I’m sure you are accustomed to getting whatever you want. There is no way I’m giving up Pinnacle but I think you knew that when you targeted me. Which means you either like fruitless pursuits or there’s some tart you want to make a movie star? Do yourself a favor and become a producer. It’s cheaper and you’ll probably get laid faster.”

             Kate exited as fast as she could in her three-inch heels when the elevator doors opened with Cooper in tow. She could see Scar waiting for her by the car through the glass doors. He didn’t know it but he was about to get a free trip to the emergency room.

            “I’m serious about my offer. I’ll give you whatever you want.” He sped up his pace to keep up with her.

            “Did anyone ever tell you no means no. I don’t like when people think they can change my mind. It’s insulting to assume I can be swayed somehow. Even if I did, you wouldn’t be the one who could convince me.”

            “That pretty boy, actor husband of yours could, right?”

            “You jealous of my husband?” She raised an eyebrow.

            “Why would I be jealous of him? He’s as generically good-looking as they come.” He huffed.

            “There’s nothing generic about good looks, charisma and sex appeal. It’s an awesome combination. Millions of movie goers agree. And he does have one thing that you don’t.” She said.

            “What’s that?”

            “A wife who has a majority share of Pinnacle. And she’s not selling it. Good day, Mr. Harding.” Kate continued on to the car.

            Scar opened the car door for her. “How was the meeting?”

           “As expected. Chris was called pretty boy twice in one day.  He’ll like that.  Harvey gave me the usual Chris is no good speech but on the upside, I learned about some new assets Marvin had. I just jumped into a higher tax bracket.”

            “And what did Harding have to say?” Scar motioned to the man getting into a limousine.

            “You know that guy?” Kate’s eyes widened.

            “Yeah. He’s filthy rich and doesn’t know what to do with his time.  He’s been asking questions around town about you and Pinnacle. Dude has a pretty big ego. Can believe his name? Cooper Harding is such a porno star name.”

            “Jinx!” Kate laughed. “I told him that. He likes to lay the seductive bit on thick.”

            “He has a reputation.”

            “I wonder what he’s up to.”

            “Already on it.” Scar motioned to the limousine pulling off. Suddenly, the car parked behind them pulled off too. Scar gave a casual wave to the person driving. “Athena’s been tailing him for a few weeks now. We should have a full report in a few days. You know how she likes to take her time stalking her prey.”

            “What? When did Athena get into town?”

            “Kate, why do you ask such questions?” Scar laughed and pulled out of the parking spot to take her to Atlantis Blue.

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 I hope you enjoyed this un-edited excerpt!

Check out character profiles for the Hollywood Heat Series!

Check out Chris and Kate’s Playlist!  It’s slowly gaining steam!  Suggestions welcome!

Happy Reading!


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Copyright © 2015 Rhonda Laurel.  All Rights Reserved.

6 thoughts on “Double Exposure (Hollywood Heat Series Book 3) Excerpt I

  1. Oh Ms. Laurel, why oh why must you tease us like this…This sounds like it’s going to be good especially with Scar and now the new sister is being introduced. Can’t wait for it…do we have a possible release date.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m excited about this. One of the things I love about this series is that there is more mystery involved in the romance. It adds a different dynamic to those of us reading. More suspense is great!

    Liked by 1 person

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