Mid Week Tease: To My Muse #MidWeekTease #MWTease
Hello, lovelies! This week I’m teasing you with a snippet from my very first contemporary romcom, To My Muse. LA tech writer by day and romance novelist by night, Lily Nayar is still recovering from being dumped by her screenwriter boyfriend. When she gets loaded one night with her BFF and tweets to hot British actor Tom Morrison about the romance novel he inspired, hijinks ensue! In this scene, Lily is posing as Tom’s girlfriend (it’s complicated), and they need to get some details straight before they head off to Palm Springs for an important party.
Many thanks to Angelica Dawson for hosting us, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
I made it back to the hotel a few minutes before Tom showed up in the lobby. I’d been entertaining myself with spotting various actors and trying to remember the first time I’d ever seen them when he strode in, a classy black wheelie case rolling behind him.
“Good, you’re here,” he said, sounding relieved as he dropped into the chair next to me. “I thought we should take the opportunity to get our notes straight, make it look like we’ve known each other for longer than six hours.”
“Works for me,” I agreed. “Who starts?”
He gestured towards me. “Ladies first.”
“Okay.” What had Kirk known about me (apart from the fact that I was a damn better writer than him)? “Um, I’m Lily Nayar, I’m twenty-seven, I graduated from USC, I live in an apartment in Highland Park, I don’t have any pets, and I write fantasy romance novels as Lilian DeVries, as you know.”
“As I know,” he said, smiling. “Rather naughty ones.”
He had noticed the sex scenes. Damn. “Anyway,” I said after clearing my throat, “I have a younger brother named Derek, and my mom and dad are still together. What else would my boyfriend know?”
He considered. “Ethnic background?”
Good point, and a graceful way of asking. “Mom’s white, Dad’s first-generation American. His parents are from Mumbai, hers are from Pasadena. You can imagine the holiday dinners. What about you?”
He sat back in his chair, scratching his chin. “Well, you know my name. Which is my real one, by the way. Born in Swansea, raised in London. Dad died when I was twelve, after which Mum raised me with Aunt Margery and my sisters.”
I felt a twinge of sympathy at that. I might fight with Dad sometimes, but I’m damned glad he’s here. “When you say Aunt Margery, are we talking an actual blood relation, or your mom’s girlfriend that they gave a familial title to in order to ward off a homophobic society that wouldn’t accept their love?”
His smile turned into a grin. “I like you. No, actual relation, although I suspect Aunt Margery wasn’t adverse to a bit of flannel. Went to a comprehensive secondary school—I think you’d call that junior and senior high over here—before heading off to the University of Manchester, where I studied history with a view towards teaching it until I was seduced by the drama department.”
“So you didn’t go to RADA?”
Ooh, he raised an eyebrow at me. I love men who can do that. “No, I didn’t go to RADA, mainly because I didn’t have the money. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with the University of Manchester’s drama department. Cumberbatch went there, you know.”
Well, if it was good enough for Sherlock, it was good enough for me. “And after you graduated?”
“Went back to London, split my time between being a substitute teacher and acting in anything that would hire me, and finally got my break in a tea commercial, if you’d believe it. Through that and a very clever agent, I sit before you now as one of a number of interchangeable British actors currently occupying Hollywood.” He spread his hands in a “ta-da” gesture.
I pretended to study him. “Got news for you, dude. You’re not interchangeable.”
“Ha. I regularly get mistaken for Ben Barnes, Tom Ellis, and Sam Claflin, and I don’t even have the same color eyes as Sam. English actors of my age and facial type are about as interchangeable as Lego, especially in Hollywood. It’s one of the reasons why I want to do this movie and get some experience in producing.”
I could see that. “Do you want to get out of acting?”
“God, no. I love acting. I want to keep doing it as long as I can. But unless the heavens bless you with a lucky break, the real money and power are in producing.” His expression softened, turning reflective. “That makes me sound like an arsehole, doesn’t it? I’m not in it for the money per se. I just want to make sure Mum and Auntie Margery are taken care of, as well as my sisters. I promised Dad I’d look after them.”
Oh, I heard that. My paternal grandparents came from India with nothing but a cousin willing to sponsor them. Taking care of family was woven into my DNA. “Okay, we’re both driven overachievers who love our families and are determined to support ourselves in a crazy business. No wonder we make such a good couple,” I said. “So that’s personal info done—how long have we been dating?”
“Let’s say two months? Makes it sound like we’re a bit more established that way.”
“Works for me.” And that way I could mentally blank out that last month with the dickhead. “How did we meet?”
“You’re the writer,” he pointed out. “What’s a good meet cute for us?”
Okay, Romance Writer Brain, go to work. “How about … my car overheated on the 110 and you stopped to help me,” I offered.
“Suicidal but very noble of me,” he agreed. “I like it. Go on.”
“And I almost called the cops on you, thinking you were trying to assault me.”
He snorted in appreciation. “But then you recognized me from TV and let me take you out for coffee while the tow truck hauled your car off to a nearby garage.” He pronounced it GAR-aj. “You do drink coffee, yes?”
“I’m a writer. Caffeine makes up seventy-five percent of my blood volume,” I said. “I think that’s a plausible meet cute for LA.”
“Sounds good to me.” Now he looked hesitant. “Er, we’d probably be publicly affectionate by this time. How much physical contact are you willing to engage in?”
A little thrill went through me, until I remembered that he was an actor and had to negotiate this with actresses all the time. “Holding hands, totally fine,” I said, trying to sound casual. “Arm around my shoulders and occasional hugging is cool. Kissing…” Aaaand there went my brain into vapor lock. “Um, I’ve never kissed someone I wasn’t actually dating. What do you think would be acceptable?”
He looked at my mouth, and his own curved slightly. “Let’s make this warm but discreet. The occasional peck on the cheek or temple, and one affectionate kiss with no tongues in front of Nathan. Sound reasonable?”
Kissing Tom Morrison would never sound reasonable to me. Unbelievable, amazing, addicting, yes, but not reasonable. “Yes.”
“Good.” Those cappuccino eyes twinkled now. “Do you want to do it once here, just so that we get the hang of it? Plus if anyone spots us, it’ll help deflect any more sneak attacks from Claudine.”
Crap. I could feel my cheeks heating up. “Um, how…”
“Just lean forward.”
Stamping down on my inner gibbering fangirl, I did as he asked. He mirrored me, cupping my cheek. “Relax,” he murmured, then touched his lips to mine.
It … was not what I expected. I thought it would feel fake, somehow, that I’d be able to tell he was acting. But it felt like I was kissing someone who was genuinely interested in me. Plus he smelled amazing, and his mouth was just the right amount of soft, warm, and mostly dry, definitely not Kirk’s sex beast technique. And there was the strangest little tingle that spread through my lips, like Tom was touching a live wire as our mouths met. Yet another romance trope that turned out to be true.
He held it for maybe two seconds, then pulled back. It was hard to tell with brown irises but I was pretty sure his pupils had dilated, turning his eyes even darker. Maybe he’d felt a tingle as well.
Without a word, we started to lean towards each other again—
“Sorry to interrupt your tête-à-tête, children, but our winged conveyance awaits,” a cultured British voice said cheerfully.
I have never wanted to kill an Oscar-winning actor so much in my life.
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Posted on January 17, 2018, in Belaurient Press, Contemporary, Mid Week Tease, Romcom, To My Muse and tagged contemporary romance, Mid Week Tease, nicola cameron, romantic comedy, Romcom, To My Muse. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.
Love this premise. Hope you’ve had (and continue to have) good luck with it.
Once this damn cold/allergy/flu-like illness finally goes away, I should be back at work. Thanks!
Nice chemistry going on here. Good job!
Thanks so much, Chris! Lily’s a very new type of character for me to write, so it’s interesting to see how she turns out.
Oh, I love this! Will def have to go to on my TBR list. When can one get one’s greedy little mitts on it, Nicola?
The goal is to have it edited and available for release by late February — I’ll post notice when it goes on pre-order! Thanks, Doris!
Oh goody! Look forward to it 🙂
Why do I think she’s going to develop a taste for his kisses? GRIN!
Oh, it gets even better when they’re stuck sharing a room. Ha!
This sounds intriguing – I look forward to reading more!
Thanks so much, Lucy!
Hooked me in 🙂 Great teaser
Great teaser! Love the dialogue.