An Invitation to Sin

By: Sarah Morgan

CHAPTER ONE


‘ZACH? WHERE THE hell are you? You’d better not bail on me because I don’t think I can do this without you. Any moment now I’m going to give in and eat carbs and that is going to be the end of this dress. When you get this message, call me.’ The phone almost slipped from her sweaty palm and Taylor gripped it tightly. It was just a wedding. Just a bunch of people she didn’t care about and who certainly didn’t care about her. It shouldn’t be enough to put her in this much of a state. She was only here because the producer of her latest film had insisted on it.

She tried to take a deep breath but the dress wouldn’t allow her chest to expand. The designer had sewn her into it and then told her to send a text when she needed a bathroom break.

The Sicilian heat scalded her bare back and Taylor rolled her eyes at the absurdity of the situation. It was too hot to be sewn into anything and she’d kill before she allowed someone in the bathroom with her, which basically meant she couldn’t eat or drink. Not that she ate much anyway. The discipline instilled by her mother at a young age had never left her. She was used to feeling hungry but lately the cravings had got worse and she knew it made her irritable. She was likely to snap someone’s head off and if that happened she was going to make sure the head belonged to the member of the Corretti family responsible for her current discomfort.

She’d wondered if he’d had done it on purpose. This film was his baby. He’d probably briefed the designer to make sure no man could remove her dress and ruin her big comeback.

Zach was going to laugh when he saw her. She’d lived in jeans for so long and he’d never seen this side of her.

She’d stayed away from this for so long she’d forgotten how much she hated it. She hated the falseness, the agendas hidden behind air kissing and polished smiles.

Resisting the childlike temptation to bite her nails, she glanced at her slick manicure and was depressed to see her hand shaking.

She didn’t dare hold a glass of champagne. She’d spill her drink on her dress. Or, worse, on someone else’s dress and she knew how that would be interpreted.

Irritated with herself for caring what people thought, she dropped the phone into her bag.

It was pathetic to be reacting like this about something so trivial. The past couple of years had taught her what mattered in life. There were people out there with real problems and hers were all of her own making and all in the past.

She’d made bad decisions. Trusted people when she shouldn’t have done, but she was a different person now. Given time, she’d prove it.

And that was what today was all about, of course.

She was supposed to prove it.

No mistakes. No spilled drinks, however innocent the reason.

It didn’t matter if someone threw oil on the path in front of her, she wasn’t allowed to slip.

This was the price she had to pay if she wanted her acting career back—and she wanted it desperately. Desperately enough to star in the publicity circus that was part of the job. This was the price she had to pay for doing what she loved.

The thought had her dragging her phone out of her bag again. ‘Hey, Zach?’ Her voice shook. ‘Just letting you know that the women here are really hot. Even you can’t fail to get laid so hurry up before you miss your chance. And if that isn’t enough to get you here then I can tell you that I can’t pee unless someone removes the stitches from my dress. You are going to laugh yourself sick when you see me. Call, will you?’

She was frightened by how much she needed him here.

Zach was the one who had encouraged her to follow her dream and return to acting, but some dreams came with nightmares attached. If She couldn’t cope with this, how was she going to be able to cope with the attention of being back on a film set? She missed acting, but she didn’t miss this.

‘Taylor!’ Santo Corretti, head of the film production company who was reputed to have slept with every single leading lady of his past five films, strode towards her across the perfectly manicured grass. ‘You’re late.’

‘I was being sewn into the dress you chose.’ She didn’t mention that she’d been outside for half an hour trying to summon the courage to walk through the gates. That was too embarrassing to admit to anyone. She was terrified he’d see through her perfectly groomed exterior to the shivering wreck beneath. ‘In my experience the paparazzi are all the keener if you make them wait and work for it.’

‘Just remember you’re here to promote my film, not yourself. I want publicity and when I say publicity I mean good publicity. I don’t want anyone raking up your past.’

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