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PW #146: Adult Contemporary Romance: BEAUTY AND THE BLACKMAIL

Tuesday, 31 October 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Brighton Walsh

Mentee Name: Jessa Gwinn


Category: Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Word Count: 90,000


Beauty and the Beast meets THE HATING GAME when a former child star turned Hollywood pariah acquires footage of America’s reality TV princess falling-down drunk. Blackmail’s an ugly word, but Hugo’s career’s dead and Larke’s image could revive it. She’d rather walk barefoot through Queens than date him, but attending thirteen events with Hugo beats damaging her family’s reputation. When their relationship becomes more than pretending for the paparazzi, Hugo wants something real. Except staying together means living in the public eye…and all Larke’s ever wanted is to escape the spotlight.


“We tried, Hugo, both of us. But it’s over.”

Hugo Parker kept his posture relaxed. Agents could smell desperation, and Lou’s schnoz was the best in the business.

Lou slipped the brand-new headshots into their envelope and passed them across the desk. “What can I say? Producers have a weird thing about meth heads on their payroll.”

Okay. Technically that was true. But he’d smoked meth exactly one time, three years ago.

Yeah, maybe that one time had landed him in the hospital. Possibly he’d had a couple hits of coke in his system too. And sure, that night he’d almost driven into a tree. In a car that might’ve been a teeny bit stolen.

But let the record show: Hugo Parker had only done meth once.

He flashed his best how-can-you-resist-me smile. “Give them my sponsor’s number. My ex-therapist’s number. Hell, I’ll give ‘em my friggin’ urine. Every Monday I’ll come in early, whip my dick out, and—”

“That’s not good enough.”

“Not fair, Lou.” He kept the smile in place. “You haven’t even seen my dick.”

“Look, kid.” His agent heaved to his feet in a suspiciously this-meeting-is-finished way.

Hugo swallowed. This couldn’t be over, not yet. He was Hugo Parker, and he wasn’t giving up.


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