Nathaniel...Icon. Celebrity. Heartthrob.
But underneath his movie-star good looks, heâ € ™ s battling with the demons of his past. No one knows the real Nathaniel, they only see the pinup, the illusion he pretends to be.
Then one night he is forced to rely on Katie Field, an ordinary young woman from a very different world. She may be starstruck but she isnâ € ™ t blinded by the bright lights of fame. Can Nathaniel trust her enough to reveal the real man behind the mask?
Let the seduction begin....
They were waiting for him to fail.
Nathaniel Wolfe, bad boy of Hollywood and focus of millions of women's erotic fantasies, stood alone in the wings of the famous London theatre, listening to the excited hum of conversation from the waiting audience.
He knew they could roughly be divided into two camps. Women who had come to see if his face and body lived up to the promise of the big screen and men who had come to see whether he could really act.
The knives had been out for him since it had been announced that he would play the title role in a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's Richard II.
They thought he couldn't do it. They thought that the awards, the plaudits, the box office successes were all a result of clever camera work and a handsome face. They thought he had no talent.
A cynical smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.
He was going to blast their prejudices into the stratosphere. By tomorrow morning no one would be questioning his talent. The headlines wouldn't be Can the Big Bad Wolfe Really Act? but Big Bad Wolfe Silences Critics with Outstanding Performance. He was going to show them an emotional range that had never before been seen in the theatre.
The director was hovering in the wings and they shared a single brief glance. It had been a stormy collaboration with Nathaniel insisting on playing the part the way he wanted to do it and the director fighting back. Between them they'd produced magic that both knew would go down in theatre history.
As the moment approached, Nathaniel closed his eyes and blocked out the outside world. It was the ritual he always used. Within moments, Nathaniel Wolfe ceased to exist.
He was Richard, King of England.
This was what he did. He turned a role into reality. He didn't just act that character, he became that character. At the age of nine he'd discovered it was possible to slip into someone else's skin and hide there. It had been a way of escaping from the dark that had licked around the edges of his life. He could be whoever he wanted to be. A knight, a ninja, a dragon slayer, a vampire, a superhero. Desperate, he'd given himself the strength and power to fight back. To protect those he loved. Acting had begun as an escape and quickly become a disguise. And that was how he lived his life. Alone and in disguise, depending on no one.
He had no trouble being someone else.
It was being Nathaniel Wolfe that gave him problems.
'The dress does not make you look fat.' Katie tightened the corset over rolls of flesh. 'The colour is really flattering, I think you look great. And anyway, you're the Duchess of Gloucester. You're supposed to look—' She broke off as the actress glowered at her. 'Statesman-like,' she finished. 'You're supposed to have gravitas.'
'So you're basically saying I look fat and old?' 'No! I picked the costume really carefully.' Realising how that could be interpreted, Katie braced herself for more abuse. 'You're playing the part of a grieving widow so you're not supposed to look bright and cheerful.'
'Are you trying to tell me how to act?'
'No. I'm telling you that you look perfect for the part. Please try and relax.' 'How can I relax when I'm cast alongside Nathaniel Wolfe? He is sarcastic, cutting, moody... Yesterday when I made that one simple mistake—'
'He just looked at you,' Katie said soothingly. 'He didn't actually say anything.' 'You don't know how much can be conveyed by the eyes, especially when those eyes belong to Nathaniel Wolfe. When he looks at you it's like being zapped by a laser.' Increasingly agitated, the older woman waved her hand towards the door. 'Go. I need to be around people who...