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Hollywood Dreams (Hollywood Hopeful Book 1) by Molly O'Hare (1)

Chapter One

Maggie Connolly sat in her beat-up, piece-of-shit old car, trying to get her nerves under control. Two weeks shy of her twenty-seventh birthday, she finally felt like she was getting somewhere in her career.

Although, if you were to ask her mother Nancy, it’d be a different story. Nancy relished in telling her daughter to stop being foolish and to move back home. The gene parents were supposed to have to encourage their children to follow their dreams somehow skipped Maggie’s mother altogether. Even with the lack of a support system, nothing was going to stop Maggie. Nope, she was not going to let her mother or anyone from back home in Florida try and crush her dreams.

Her whole life Maggie wanted to be a film actor. She ate, slept, and breathed acting. Even when people around her would tell her, she couldn’t possibly be a film star; she wouldn’t let their words stop her. So what, if she had twenty or thirty extra pounds that would never go away? Why does it matter if her hair is more brown than blonde? If it doesn’t matter to her, why should it matter to the self-esteem crushing assholes? Acting was in her blood, and she would stop at nothing to accomplish her dreams. Anyone that thought any different could screw themselves.

As Maggie sat in her car, she thought back on the past couple of years. She’d been cast here and there, but never for a lead role or anything substantial. But, she still managed to acquire a decent résumé. If you were to ask her, she’d tell you, she was the best, “Mmm, Mmm Good,” soup commercial actor there ever was.

Regardless, no matter how hard she tried, she never seemed to break into the spotlight. She wasn’t fooling anyone. She knew the exact reason why, and it had nothing to do with her talent. More than enough casting directors had informed her she wasn’t what they were looking for. She didn’t fit the part; her look wasn’t “Hollywood” enough.

Hell, apparently, her look wasn’t anything. She’d lost weight and was still told she didn’t fit anywhere.

One asshole casting director had the nerve to tell her she should look into “Voice Acting,” because, his words: “Honey, you don’t have a face for film. You’re not who women want to be, and you’re not who men want to be with. You might as well cut your losses; go back home and open a restaurant or something.”

Open a restaurant? Screw that! If she put aside the fact that she couldn’t cook or handle finances, she still couldn’t see herself abandoning her dream. So instead Maggie took that criticism and turned it into drive. But, never the one to miss an opportunity: Maggie might have also printed out a picture of the casting director and used his face as her new dart board, but that’s beside the point.

Sadly, that treatment wasn’t anything new to her. She’d been picked on her whole life, for everything. Even her own mother didn’t believe in her.

None of that was going to stop her, though. So what if she didn’t look “Hollywood,” she was as good, if not better. And, she could prove it. Sit her in front of the camera and bam, she became another person. Being in front of the camera was the only time in her life she felt she could without a doubt be herself – ironically enough. In the end, she told everyone who chastised her to, “screw off!” Then she moved clear across the country to California in pursuit of her dreams.

She’d been in California going on three months now with nothing to show for it. At this point, she was really missing those soup commercials. It was the same thing every day: get up, try to make yourself look “Hollywood” whatever the hell that meant, and go on auditions.

One week, no callbacks. Two weeks, no callbacks. Three weeks, still no callbacks.

Was she going to let that stop her? Hell no. She wasn’t going to pack her bags and run back home with her tail between her legs. No, Maggie Connolly was going to keep on fighting, rejection and all.

And that persistence led her to right now. She’d finally gotten her first part. It wasn’t anything significant. Heck, it was probably no more than thirty seconds of screen time. But, damn it made her proud. That part was hers and she was going to own it like it was her big Hollywood break.

Her. Maggie Connolly, was cast in her first role in a real-life Hollywood production. “Take that, Momma!” she yelled once she got off the call with her agent. This was just the start. She knew if she kept putting her feet in front of her, she’d make it. It was only a matter of time.

Pushing away her thoughts, Maggie took a deep breath before she opened her car door. She’d tried to follow the directions on how to get to the soundstage. But, unfortunately, there’d been construction on the lot, forcing her to make some unexpected detours.

After thirty minutes of screaming, crying, and yelling to the sky that, “the universe hated her and must be in cahoots with her mother,” she was finally parked in front of Soundstage 1B.

Maggie stepped out of her car and couldn‘t stop herself from doing a little jig. She still couldn’t believe it. She was going to be working on the Hollywood “it” movie. Everyone was talking about the action-adventure romance, starring none other than Hollywood’s “it” boy, Trevor McCain.

Trevor McCain. She sighed, thinking of him. He was everything you thought of when you heard Hollywood leading man. He had chiseled good looks, that models strived for, that alpha male persona and the reputation to back it. He was the bad boy in and out of the movies. Hell, he was voted four on the most attractive men list that was published last year. Although, in Maggie’s opinion, Trevor should have won. He had chestnut hair that begged to have hands run through it and deep blue eyes that could bring you to your knees. Let’s not forget his body… Man, his body was something else. She’d have to fan herself when she thought of it. The definition of his abs… Whoa, momma! His last movie he’d done a love scene that still had her weak in the knees. That man could melt ice on a cold day in Alaska.

Trevor McCain was her Hollywood crush. Her, along with half of the world’s population, chose him to be their dream man. She could scream, dance, and jump for joy. Here she was, chubby, plain jane, or plain Maggie, as she’d call it, going to work alongside Trevor McCain. Trevor. Freaking. McCain!

Well maybe not alongside him, but at least in the same movie, right? She could pretend to be the leading lady. No one needed to know.

Maggie looked down at the script in her hand. She’d had it for a few days now and unfortunately, Trevor’s character wasn’t in the same part. She’d be lucky if he were even on set today.

Man, the possibility to just to get a glimpse of him in real life, sent shivers down her body. She’d love to see his perfect ass in the flesh. I wonder if I’d be able to bounce a quarter off of it?

But then again, she really didn’t want her fantasy Trevor to sour. She’d seen it too many times and even experienced it herself. You get this idea in your head about an actor; you think you know how they really are outside of the camera’s spotlight, only to find out what you believe to be their true self, turns out to be the complete opposite. There is no going back once you really find out who someone is.

Really, she just didn’t want her fantasy Trevor to be anything other than what she envisioned him as. She’d even gone as far as to keep away from the gossip sites regarding Trevor, just in case. She’d heard about him in passing, but never enough to really skew her image of him. In her eyes, he was perfect.

In retrospect, him not being on set today while she was filming was a good thing.

Trevor’s presence wasn’t going to jumble her mind and have her lose focus. So all in all, this was a good thing. This was her big shot. She would finally be able to call her mother and tell her, she’s made it in a real movie. Take that, Nancy!

There was just one hiccup, though. As she stood alongside her car, she realized she was utterly lost. Her first time on a real set and it was already a mess. She looked down at her watch as panic crept through her. Call time was approaching and she hadn’t figured out how to even get into the building.

She looked back at her car and took a deep breath. “Okay, Mags. You can do this.” She put her backpack on her shoulder and walked over to the building. Of course, the first door she tried was locked as well the second one.

“No big deal,” she remarked. “Happens all the time.” She tried to calm herself.

She hiked her bag higher on her shoulder and moved to the other doors further down. Thankfully, the third one she tried opened. When she got inside, she felt the cool breeze from the air-conditioning hit her face. “See, everything is alright. No need to panic.”

She looked at the call-sheet in her hand telling her where she needed to go first. There was a map on the back, but she couldn’t tell which way the map was facing. She flipped it around a couple of times before she closed her eyes.

This is it, Mags. You are finally doing what you love to do, what you are meant to do. Don’t let this little blip screw with your mojo. You’re Maggie Connolly, strong, funny, and fierce. There is no one like you, and you have something to give. She opened her eyes, knowing her little pep talk did the trick.

She started walking down the hall and stopped when she came to the first door. Maybe if she were lucky, there would be someone inside who’d be willing to help her. Or perhaps there might be a better map. You know, like the directories that are all over the mall. Yes! That was precisely what she needed. She needed herself a mall directory.

She opened the door and immediately froze. Holy crapolie!

“Harder, Trevor.” She heard the blonde say.

“Fuck,” the man, grunted.

In front of her was what sounded and looked like her dream man, bumpin’ uglies with someone.

In an instant, it was as if her life flashed before her eyes. Really, Universe? Just one more thing, right?

Before she could think to act, the door she’d pushed open, hit the wall loud enough to have the otherwise occupied occupants turn her way.

“I’m sorry!” Maggie panicked. She could feel the tears in her eyes. How could this morning get any worse? She tried to reach for the handle to pull the door shut.

“Who the fuck, are you?” Trevor asked pushing the blonde off him. “Why the hell are you even in this room?”

“I-I,” Maggie stuttered, once again frozen. Today must be the screw with Maggie Connolly day!

“I said, who the fuck, are you?” he spat, pulling up his pants. “Let me guess, you’re some snot nose little intern or are you here to snap a pic or get a recording to sell to the tabloids?” He narrowed his eyes at her, his lips going thin. She’d seen him angry in his films, but never like this.

“What?” she asked, before turning slightly. She couldn’t stare at his naked chest while it was covered with sweat. She felt the heat in her cheeks as the embarrassment of the situation set in.

“Answer me,” he snapped. “Fuck it! I’ll call security so they can escort your sorry ass off the lot.”

“No,” she said. “It was just a mistake. I was trying to find the area I needed to check in at. I wasn’t trying to spy on you. Whatever you mean by that. I’m just here to film my scene.”

Trevor stared at her, his face cold and his eyes dark. “You?” He looked her up and down. “You’re here to film a scene? What does the Pillsbury Dough Boy, need a replacement?”

The blonde whom had been quiet up until that point burst out laughing. “No, no,” she laughed. “She’s here to film the live-action Hunchback of Notre Dame. You’re Quasimodo, right?” They both laughed.

Maggie shook her head trying to will away the tears. There was no way she was going to let them see her cry.

She pulled the door shut and took off down the hall. She wasn’t looking, so it wasn’t a surprise when she ended up running right into someone. “Whoa there! You okay? Need some help?” the person she ran into asked.

Maggie glanced at who was holding onto her shoulders keeping her upright. She recognized him from the audition. She didn’t know who he was, but at least it was someone she recognized.

He seemed to be around her age, maybe a little older.

He gave her a smile that felt genuine and comforting. “It’s Maggie, right?” he asked.

She nodded, still unable to speak. Not only was she just humiliated, but she also ended up running head first into someone who’d helped cast her. Screw you, Universe and all the universe-y things you do!

“What’s got you all upset there, Maggie?” He moved a piece of her hair behind her ear.

“I just got lost,” she said trying to get her breathing under control. She’d already made a fool out of herself once, no need to add to it.

“The construction?” he asked. “It happened to all of the actors today. There was supposed to be an email sent out with alternate routes on how to get here. Trust me, you’re not the only one who is having a hard time. That’s why I’m headed to the lot to see if I can help round up the actors.” He made a motion like he was throwing a lasso, which made her laugh.

His voice was so calm and sweet. She couldn’t help but feel better. “Thank you,” she said. “Sorry I almost knocked you down.”

“No thanks needed, Maggie.” He held out his hand for her to shake. “I’m Danny Erikson.”

She cocked her head to the side. “As in Danny Erikson, the son of Matthew Erikson, the director?”

He nodded with a smile. “That would be the one.”

“Oh shit.” She blanched. “Can today get any worse? First, I get lost, then I’m accused of being some sort of spy and now I’ve run over the director’s son.” She shook her head. “If you could just point me in the direction of where my car should be, I’ll go ahead and see myself out.”

“What are you talking about, Maggie?” he asked, stopping her. “Do you not want the part anymore?”

She looked at him wide-eyed. Was this guy serious?

“You know,” he started. “My dad and I talked about your audition that afternoon.” He smiled. “You had us in stitches. You’re funny, Maggie, and very talented.”

She knew she was looking at him like he had sprouted two heads. Who was this guy? “I, um…” she started to say. To her carnage, she heard a door down the hall she had just come from slam. She knew exactly what that was. Her suspicion was confirmed when she heard the distant voice of none other than Trevor McCain.

She quickly glanced at Danny. “Yes, Mr. Erikson, I still want the part. Can you show me where I need to go?”

“Danny,” he corrected. “Please call me Danny. Sure, let me show you where you gotta go.” Danny placed his hand on the small of her back moving her through the halls. Once they made it to the check-in area, she looked around making sure Trevor or the blonde where nowhere to be found.

Thankfully, they weren’t. She didn’t want to bail on her first film here in LA, but she definitely did not want to run into them again. Maggie needed to come up with a plan. If she could figure out a way to hide long enough to avoid them both, she should be able to do her scene and leave with no one being the wiser.

A plan had to work, right? The universe wouldn’t screw with someone that many times in one day, would it? She thought.

While she was getting her hair and makeup done she thought back to the way Trevor had acted. This was the exact reason she never wanted to meet actors she liked. There was no way in hell she’d ever be able to see him any other way than a fuck twad. Albeit a hot fuck twad, but still, a fuck twad.

He didn’t have to treat her that way. It was a simple mistake. She wasn’t trying to sell a story to anyone… and the things he said about her.

Fuck him!

Hopefully, that blonde bitch gave him gonorrhea.

Taking a deep breath, she shook it off. She was going to let it go and prepare for her scene. It wasn’t like it was the first time someone said hurtful things to her. And, it most certainly wasn’t going to be the last.

Plus, the likelihood of seeing him again was slim to none.



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