Hollywood’s hottest action hero finds himself rescued by the very woman whose livelihood he’s about to destroy.
Excerpt from “To Catch a Star”
Rex guzzled his drink and soon after flopped back in his chair. He reached for the napkin and wiped himself clean. “Again, thank you. Your hospitality—”
“Is what I do.” Tori watched him for a few seconds. “How long were you out to sea?”
He let out another deep breath, this one from a full stomach. “Three, four days. I lost a guy on Kaho’olawe when the storm blew in. Then the boat broke down about ten minutes later. I was trying to call the cops to report the accident.”
Her milky-white skin paled under her hat. “Dear Lord, somebody died? I’m so sorry.”
Rex could only look down. His director would be alive if it weren’t for him. He’d failed someone again. His stunt double was dead because of Rex, and now, so was the kid.
“Was it engine trouble? Dear God, if you landed on this side of the island, then you were almost swept out to sea.” Her fingers danced on her lips like she couldn’t imagine how terrified he must have felt.
He looked down, nodded. “I jumped in and swam the mile or so to shore the second that last storm died down.”
“A mile? You must be a powerful swimmer to pull that off.”
He lowered his gaze to his wadded up napkin. “Amazing what the drive to survive will do for a man. All I kept thinking about was getting to fresh water. And avoiding sharks.”
She smiled, leaned forward and patted his hand. “Statistically, you’re more likely to die from a coconut hitting your head than a shark attack, and more likely to get mugged than attacked by a shark, even if you’re swimming a mile back to shore by yourself.”
“Forgive me if I have no interest in attempting it again.”
She smiled. “Rather brave down a mugger?”
Her gentle tease made him smile. He’d had enough hand-to-hand training for his action scenes that he could take down an armed thug. His fans loved watching him enact the Russian self-defense called Krav Maga onscreen, so his scriptwriters always worked in some physical attacks, no stunt men. Ever again. “Actually, yes, any day.”
“Brave man. Give me a shark Monday through Saturday and twice on Sunday.”
He considered her in that moment. What woman would take a dangerous animal over a man? She was unlike any woman he’d known in the past ten years, and he had to study her through her mesh brim to get a bead on her. She had tan lines, but was not golden from hours under a UV lamp; no, this was from the sun. Her clothes looked practical and breathable and old, no designer label to be found. Her blonde hair sagged from her loose ponytail, and from what he could see, harbored natural streaks from sun-bleaching. Tori Jackson was as far removed from Hollywood as Rex could imagine.
And a complete breath of fresh air. Their conversation came easily and didn’t focus on name-dropping or gossip. Her dog, an old, muddy-toed Lab, looked nothing like the frou-frou designer mutts that the debutants carried in their designer shoulder bags, and as said beast nudged him, he felt a cold stab of realization: Tori Jackson was a hero, a genuine people-saving hero. She didn’t play one on the silver screen; she acted it out in real life. Humbled, he asked, “Why are you so kind to a bum like me?”
She stood and smiled and collected his empty plate. “Every living thing is deserving of kindness, even if its purpose is veiled to our eyes. I just ask that one day you forward the favor to another creature, large or small, in equal need.”
Learn More about Dorothy
Dorothy Callahan lives in New York with her wonderful husband, a pride of demanding cats, and two loyal dogs, all rescued from shelters (well, not the husband). Her love of both animals and writing prompted her to start READ AND RESCUE, an organization where animal-loving authors and readers can find one another. The unique aspect to this group is that each author pledges a portion of proceeds to his/her favorite animal cause.
When Dorothy is not writing, she enjoys shopping for antiques and renovating their pre-Civil War house.
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