Caught on Camera | Verso.ink

Caught on Camera

Hollywood in Muskoka series Book 1

By Madelle Morgan

Upvotes
0
Reading time
9
View count
14
Comments
0

Bridezilla Catherine "Candy" Kane and superhero film star Halden Armstrong are getting married at a luxury resort in Canada, far from Hollywood paparazzi. When one of her bridesmaids fails to show, Candy sets her sights on chambermaid Rachel Lehmann, who desperately needs money for film school tuition.

Chapter 2 - Princess Bride

Rachel bit her bottom lip as she regarded her reflection in the Bridal Suite’s floor-length mirror. An awed part of her brain struggled to accept the extraordinary image of herself barefoot and clad in an exquisite pale-lilac strapless, tea-length chiffon dress with fitted bodice. The practical part fretted about falling behind schedule. She kept one eye on the digital bedside clock and the other on the ball of white fur rolling over her chambermaid uniform on the unmade bed.

“I need to call the housekeeper, Ms. Kane. I have rooms to clean.”

“Wanda will take care of that,” the bride-to-be said airily. She turned to her personal assistant. “Inform the hotel manager that I need Rachel until Sunday.”

“Right away.” The PA bolted for the exit.

“We booked the entire hotel for the wedding,” assured the tall, slender woman with a medley of blond highlights in waist-length hair. “What the bride wants, the bride gets. Relax and show me a few smiles. Mouth open. Mouth closed. You know the drill.”

“Drill?”

“Your smile for the wedding photos. I need to approve it.” She grabbed Rachel’s bare shoulders and twisted her around for a close-up.

“Photos?” Rachel squeaked. Her heart leaped to her throat. With her beyond-ordinary face and small boobs, she’d stand out among all the beautiful people and not in a good way. “You don’t want me in your wedding photos, surely?”

Ignoring her protest, Ms. Kane tapped a scarlet, French-tipped nail against her perfect chin. “Mouth closed, I think. Yes, a sweet but sexy smile puts the focus on your big brown eyes.”

“Ms. Kane?” Rachel burbled, an embarrassed flush warming her cheeks. “I’m not pretty enough for celebrity photos. I belong behind the camera, not in front of it. You need to find someone else—”

As Rachel gestured at the mirror, she caught sight of the tiny white dog on the bed behind them. Its devilish black eyes stared straight at Rachel’s backside. To her horror, she noticed a dark stain spreading out from under its butt and over her uniform. “Oh my gods. Your dog just urinated on the bed!”

“Did she?” With Ms. Kane’s good humor restored, she merely glanced at her pet sitting innocently beside a puddle rapidly disappearing through Rachel’s uniform into the eight-hundred-thread-count Egyptian-cotton duvet cover. “Naughty Mopette,” she cooed. “It’s Wanda’s fault. She’s supposed to walk you every four hours. The maid will clean it up.”

“I’m the maid!”

“Not anymore you’re not. This weekend you’re my bridesmaid. A distant cousin on my mother’s side from…from…”

“Toronto,” Rachel supplied.

“Right, Toronto, Canada. Where they have that international film festival.”

“And the largest city in Canada,” Rachel added dryly.

“So it’s settled.”

“But”—Rachel flung an arm toward the mirror—“look at us,” she wailed. “Standing beside you I’m…I’m the beautiful princess’s ugly stepsister.”

“Not stepsister,” Ms. Kane scolded, wagging a slender, elegant forefinger. “Cousin, remember? And give me some credit for the ability to make you presentable. You must know that I was a model before I launched Candy Kane Cosmetics? It’s my business to transform women’s faces into the best they can be. A skillful application of makeup, and you won’t recognize yourself.”

Rachel heaved a tremulous breath, then another. She’d viewed hundreds if not thousands of films, so she knew all about the magical transformation that actors underwent in a makeup artist’s chair. All eyes would be on the bride anyway, right?

I’ll merely be a secondary character. Not even that—an extra. No one pays attention to walk-ons. I’ll be practically invisible.
Her galloping pulse slowed.

Taking Rachel’s acceptance for granted, Candy Kane’s mind was already on a different track. “Don’t you dare tell any of the guests you work here.” Candy swiped fingers across her mouth in a zipping motion. “There’s a big tip in it if you keep the secret and pull this off.”

How big? Rachel wanted to ask, but kept her “sweet but sexy” lips clamped shut. Truthfully, a generous tip wasn’t the reason a shiver of excitement rippled across her exposed skin. Panic receding, she’d belatedly begun to appreciate the photo-taking opportunities associated with being on the set in a supporting role, so to speak, instead of as a hotel employee with no legitimate excuse to approach a celebrity wedding guest.

“I have an idea!” Candy carefully unzipped the bridesmaid’s dress. “You can walk Mopette this weekend. Wanda is extremely busy taking care of a thousand details for me. You already have a key card to the suite, and you won’t have anything else to do now that you’re working for me.” When she noticed Rachel’s eyes widen, she amended, “I mean, now that you’re doing me this huge favor.”

Rachel sighed, resigned. “I suppose if I don’t walk your little dog she’ll do her toilette all over the suite, and guess who will have to clean it up when you check out?”

“Now you’re thinking. Step out of the dress.”

After Rachel obliged, Candy gathered it up and hung it on its hanger. “Wanda will book you in for hair and makeup in the spa salon early this afternoon and tomorrow before the wedding.”

She swept a critical glance over Rachel from head to unpolished toes. “Plan to spend the entire afternoon there today. I want your hair colored a shade that complements mine but doesn’t compete with it. I must approve the shade first, understand? Let them know you need your brows plucked, lash extensions, mani-pedi, waxing…”

She lifted Rachel’s bare left arm to look at the armpit and shook her head in disgust. “Stubble. You actually use a razor? Tell them to wax everything.”

She ran an exploratory forefinger down Rachel’s cheek and then rubbed the skin on the back of her work-roughed hand. “You use soap.” She tutt-tutted. “At least your dry skin won’t be evident in touched-up photos. If there’s time, ask for a moisturizing facial. And lose the glasses.”

Rachel’s insecurity reasserted itself at this brutal description of the amount of work required to make her presentable enough to fit in. “Ms. Kane, are you positive you want me in your wedding party?”

“You fit the dress. Besides, a beautiful bridesmaid might steal the spotlight.”

Candy’s brittle laugh didn’t fool Rachel, who held no illusions about her personal appearance and therefore accepted Candy’s preference for a plain bridesmaid. “There’s no risk of that,” Rachel responded grimly.

No doubt it would be a surprise to the arrogant Ms. Kane, but Rachel had never heard of the woman until the announcement of Candy’s engagement three months ago to blond heartthrob Halden Armstrong, star of the 3-D epic blockbuster Apollo: The Battle for Troy and its sequel Apollo’s Vengeance.

According to the entertainment news, the third movie in the franchise was scheduled to start shooting in November. But because Candy Kane wasn’t in the entertainment business, People and the other celebrity news magazines had ignored her until the engagement. When she had a moment, Rachel intended to research every scrap of gossip Google offered up about her “cousin.”

“We’re done here,” Candy said over her shoulder as she carried the dress to the walk-in closet. “You may leave.”

Rachel ruefully contemplated her ruined uniform on the soaked bed. “I have nothing to wear.”

“We’re roughly the same size. Wanda will select one of my outfits for you to wear for the rehearsal at four o’clock, followed by a cocktail hour and dinner tonight.”

Then Candy clued in to Rachel’s state of déshabillé. “Oh, you mean now. I suppose you can’t run through the hall in your granny panties. Take one of our robes,” she invited generously, “but replace it ASAP.”

Rachel dashed to the bathroom to retrieve a hotel robe. On her return, she bent to collect the discarded towels on the salon carpet.

Ms. Kane emerged from the closet dangling a pair of lavender pumps from two forefingers. “I almost forgot. Try these on.”

Obediently Rachel slipped her feet into the shoes dyed to match the bridesmaid’s dress. The three inch heels sank into the thick carpet, and she wobbled to maintain her balance. The pumps squeezed her toes dreadfully, yet were loose at the heels.

“My former maid of honor’s shoes fit you,” Candy crowed. “The wedding photos will be perfect after all.”

Rachel’s good fortune to be conscripted into the Kane-Armstrong wedding party and have secret photo-op access to their guests felt like a dream. She pinched herself. As she gathered up her soiled uniform from the bed, the awful truth hit her. She’d tucked the hidden-camera pendant into the pocket of her pee-drenched uniform.

Other entries by Madelle Morgan

Login or register to vote
Photo of Madelle Morgan

About Madelle Morgan

Madelle writes romance and romantic suspense with heat, heart and humor. Her novels are set in beautiful Canada.

Connect with Madelle