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Christmas with the Billionaire (Lucky in Love #6)
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Spice up the holiday season with the hilarious new holiday novella from Lila Monroe.
Dressing up as a sexy elf to sing Christmas hits isn’t exactly the glittering Broadway career I had planned. The only thing more humiliating than my outfit is coming face-to-face with Oliver Gage, the sexy big-shot theatre producer who just crushed my dreams. He’s arrogant, infuriating… and did I mention how sexy he is?
I’ve sworn never to get comfy on the casting couch, but when we’re snowed in together upstate, it’s looking like a pretty good place to spend the night. Soon, sparks – and my panties – are flying.
Who said Christmas only had to come once a year?
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Acting auditions are like the worst first date ever. And that’s an insult to first dates. I mean, you get all dolled up, turn on your brightest smile, and try your best to make total strangers fall in love with you. Meanwhile, the schlubby guys on the other side of the table take a quick look, shrug their shoulders, and decide there’s something better out there. “We’ll call you,” they say. Yeah, right. The next thing you know—if you’ve got my career, anyway—you’ve been ghosted.
At least on an actual first date, there’s a chance of getting laid before you’re left waiting for the phone to ring. Finding a hot, straight guy on Broadway? Now that’s a one-in-a-million chance.
But sometimes, like magic, the phone does ring. When the casting assistant for the new musical production of Serendipity dropped me a line last week to let me know I’d made callbacks, I did a tap dance of joy before I’d even hung up. It’s the lead role: the kind of part that could make my Broadway career, the kind of part I’ve been waiting to land ever since I arrived in New York seven long years ago. And it’s one of my favorite movies to boot: a romantic holiday classic, right up there with Love, Actually and Die Hard.
But walking into the audition, my heart sinks.
The space is packed. I expected five, maybe ten other actresses, tops. This is closer to fifty. Did that many people even audition for this role in the first place?
I am so screwed.
Nope. I’m not going to let myself think that. A callback is a callback, even if a whole lot of other people also got it.
I stomp the snow from my boots and look around, scanning my competition. After years on the audition circuit, I know the scene. Marissa is in the corner, with her lucky red sweater on—the one that shows her ample assets. She’s beat me out a couple of times for roles, but it’s been a while since she got cast, and she’s five years older than me, which is like fifty in Broadway years. Suzy Chambers is stretching on the other side of the room. Her blonde curls are somehow unaffected by the damp, cold weather, so glossy she can probably see her reflection in them. She gives me a little wave and one of those fake-perky smiles.
It’s easy to be that confident when you’re coming off the touring company for Hamilton.
I used to know everyone in the room, but today, there are a ton of strangers. Young, dewy strangers. I gulp. I’ve been shaving a couple years off my resume since the day I turned twenty-five, but all the face cream in the world can’t compete with actual baby-faced millennials. Where does the time go? I always thought that by the time I was staring down thirty, I’d have leading roles under my belt (and a gorgeous husband, and spacious apartment too); instead, I’m right back here in the cattle call where I’ve always been.
Still, this might be the last time. One big role, one big break . . . and everything could change.
I square my shoulders and march across to an open chair. I dump my bag on the floor and start stripping off my bulky winter coat.
“Jill!” A tall brunette with Bambi-wide eyes hustles over. “So, you got called too? I can’t believe they’re holding the auditions so close to the holidays—can you? I’d have headed home to Buffalo yesterday if it wasn’t for this.”
“That’s show business for you,” I say with a smile. Naomi and I end up at a lot of the same auditions, which means we’ve done a lot of commiserating over the years. “It could have been worse. I’ve heard of one production that did their lead auditions on Christmas Eve.”
Naomi makes a face, but honestly, I wouldn’t have minded that timing either. When you don’t have a family that’s all that enthusiastic to spend time with you, the holidays are just regular days with a lot more crowds and a lot worse public transit schedules.
I haven’t visited my parents in Colorado for Christmas for three years now. The years before that, all they ever did was talk up the wonderful adult education programs I could get into. There’s still time to get your life on track, you know.
I will. I am going to nail this audition and score the part, and it’s only going to lead to bigger and better things.
This is my time. After all these years, it’s got to be.
“Good luck in there,” Naomi says. “I heard they’re asking for two songs and a dance routine.”
“Thanks for the warning.” I reach down for my bag—and my hand closes around empty air.
I look down. “Do you see my bag?” I ask, my voice rising in panic. “Blue, beat up, has my jazz shoes in it?”