Texas Star

Hollywood superstar Josh Marshall is on his way home to Texas when he rescues a woman on the run. In contrast to the many women crushing on him all over the world, this woman does not trust him and wants nothing to do with him, seeking to escape every time his back is turned.

When echoes of a shared past life threaten, Josh questions his sanity, but he’s a white knight to the core and cannot stop trying to help her, even at the risk of his life.

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“You sacrificed your life for love in ancient days,” the old woman intoned. “Your soulmate is alive in this time and needs you once more.” Her dark eyes burned into him. “She is in grave danger.”

Film star Josh Marshall blinked. Choked down a laugh. Great party idea, Babette, he silently saluted his hostess. Scanning the celebrity-studded room for the curvaceous redheaded starlet, he paused. “Um…thanks. Now if you’ll excuse me…?”

The old woman didn’t release his hand until he met her gaze again. “You do not believe,” she said. “But you will.”

He didn’t want to be rude, but he’d had enough.  Sure, his family tree was rife with those who walked in realms most people didn’t believe existed—his own brother Quinn had formidable psychic powers which had saved more than one life—but he wasn’t among them. He was a realist, grounded firmly in the here and now.  Almost nothing in Hollywood was real, so it was up to him to keep his feet firmly planted.

“I have to leave now. Do you…?” He reached into his pocket for his money clip.

Dark eyes flashed displeasure. “Gadjo,” she all but spat. “Run from your fate, young one, but do not run away when your lady needs you.”

Reclaiming his hand, he tugged at his cuffs under the black tux. He hadn’t been rude to her, despite the outrageous pronouncement, so why should he feel the need to apologize? Still he tried, for the sake of Tía Consuela, if no one else. “Look, it’s not that I—”

But the old woman had already turned away.

Tía Consuela would be shaking her head at him. Joshua Antonio Marshall, there will come a day when denial will no longer suffice.

But this isn’t that day, he silently argued with the great-aunt who was his only living family besides his brother, the woman to whom he and Quinn owed so much.

“Josh!” The aroma of Joy cast a cloud over the immediate area, the perfume slathered over the curves of the blonde now rubbing her generous cleavage against his arm. Josh sighed softly, wishing his most recent co-star, Maureen Adams, would attach herself to someone else.

Except that the distraction was timely. “Hi, Mo.”

Maureen pouted her collagen-enhanced lips prettily. “Josh, darling, you know I prefer to be called Monique.” She leaned into him so closely that he struggled to breathe, her breasts spilling alarmingly from their red spandex prison. What he couldn’t see of her nipples over the top, he could easily spot pointing through the fabric.

He understood the pressures to be physically perfect, but sometimes he wondered if there were any women left in Hollywood who weren’t tucked and Botoxed and enhanced.

My kingdom for a real woman, he thought. His brother had gotten the only one he’d ever met in his years in show business.

“Had your palm read yet?”

“A palm reader?” she squealed. “Where?”

He pointed across the room, where Babette had set up a silken tent for the old woman. A crowd gathered nearby.

“Ooh, Josh,” she breathed, shifting the enhanced mounds dangerously close to total exposure, “Let’s go see what she says.”

“No, thanks.” He still felt the piercing black eyes boring into him. The old woman was surely a party trick, but she’d sought him out, not the reverse.

He’d give her wide berth.

“Well, if you’re sure …” Mo cooed, batting her eyelashes. She stood on tiptoe and whispered, “Josh, you still have my number, don’t you?” Not waiting for his answer, she swirled her soft pink tongue over his ear.

He jerked back, glaring.

“You know we were good together,” she pouted.

True, to an extent. He did his damnedest to see that no woman ever left his bed in any state but totally satisfied, and Mo made it easy. Her voracious sexual appetite had been a lot of fun.

But it wasn’t enough.

He bent to kiss her on the cheek even as he gently peeled her body off his. “Yeah, we had some good times, baby.”

“Being named Sexiest Man Alive going to your head, Josh?”

He squirmed. The title was a mixed blessing—great promo, but… “It’s a lot to live up to.”

She gazed at him from under her forest of lashes. “Not for you, handsome. I can testify to that,” she purred.

After ten years as an actor, surviving everything including nude love scenes, Josh would have thought he’d have lost the ability to blush by now.

Apparently not.

He ducked his head. “Go away, Mo.”

She brushed across his chest as she slithered away, sending him a tiny wave and licking her scarlet lips.

Josh sighed. He looked around the glittering room, wondering how soon he could leave without making a problem for himself with Babette. You lived for this whole scene once, buddy—what’s the problem?

Hell if he knew. Probably only fatigue. He’d just finished one round of promotional duties and was about to start a new picture. The Sexiest Man Alive thing had doubled the demand for his appearances. It was all he could do not to run screaming into the nearest cave.

A shortage of caves in L.A., though.

Maybe he’d go visit his brother and family before he had to start shooting. His agent said the producer was still working out last-minute financing details. He might have as much as a month before time to show up on the set. At twenty million a picture plus points, God knows he could afford to go anywhere, but somehow Quinn’s ranch perched on the rim of the Texas Caprock sounded just right.

Not a soul for miles, clean air, quiet. Yeah, sounded good.

Josh felt a prickle on the back of his neck as he headed across the crowded room toward the door, suddenly eager to call his brother. He turned to see what it was.

The old woman’s dark eyes scorched him. He could read her lips across the room without hearing the words.

She needs you. Plain as day.

Josh shook his head, even as the deepest part of his soul shivered.

You have the wrong brother. This is me, Josh. The one who’s normal.

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As a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly 40 novels in romance and women’s fiction, Jean Brashear is a five-time RITA finalist and Romantic Times BOOK Reviews Career Achievement Award winner who knows a lot about taking crazy chances….Read More

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