From The Beginning...
I've shared several teasers from The Modeliser, which you can find: here and here and here and also thanks to the lovely Ember Casey Also here.
You can still check out all of those teasers but I thought I'd keep it simple and just share with you the beginning of The Modeliser. So here's the prologue and first chapter. I hope you enjoy it and it makes you want to read more.
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On the night, aged 26, that he was catapulted from obscurity, from jobbing theatre actor and TV bit part player to Oscar winner, Alex Golden looked out at the great and good of Hollywood, he stared beyond the flashing lights and cameras at the legends of the silver screen, he imagined the millions, perhaps billions watching the telecast of the ceremony and the words of his Grandfather came to mind.
“Son,” he’d once counselled Alex, “the thing about peaking too soon, is the certain knowledge that the only place to go is down.”
Alex shrugged off the pessimistic thought and loped towards the podium in a long, easy stride, oozing the confidence and charisma that would go on to make him a household name.
“Thank You,” he said in that husky voice that would make him the favourite of women, gays and schoolgirls the world over.
Later, it wouldn’t be the words that he’d uttered on that stage that were remembered, instead it would be those piercing blue eyes, framed by thick, dark lashes, the English accent that added gravitas, the easy smile that showed that he didn’t take himself too seriously. In short Alex Golden’s acceptance speech: witty, assured, relaxed announced him as Hollywood’s newest star.
“We are back live in 15 seconds. Camera One - ready. Presenters - Best Adapted Screenplay to the stage. Live in 10, 9, 8…” As the award show’s director barked out instructions, Alex walked backstage in a daze as a whirlwind of activity spun around him. Immediately, he spotted a woman in a striking crimson dress watching him from across the chaos of the green room. His palm was warm against the surprisingly heavy gold statuette and though outwardly composed, inside he was in a state of shock, drinking in the sight of Streep and Nicholson as they swept by him onto the stage to present the next award. Alex’s eyes were once again drawn to the woman who was watching him. In the sea of famous faces and celebrities, producers, PRs and hanger-ons, somehow this woman, in her red dress, held his attention.
She pushed forward, coming to stand in front of him, her right hand already held out. Close up, Alex saw that she was older than he’d initially thought. Yet for a woman who must be in her forties, the body was still killer. His eyes ate her up, skimming from the large breasts, which oozed over the top of the corseted red dress, to the slim waist and then the flare of generous hips. His gaze moved back up to her eyes and with a start Alex saw that the woman’s eyes were narrowed, with a hint of knowing amusement. This wasn’t the usual response that he got from women. He switched the gold statuette to his left hand and gave her a firm handshake. He was sure that he didn’t know this woman, but in the three weeks of meetings, junkets and publicity since he had landed in LA, he’d learned that people did this here, that sometimes for no reason at all, they’d stop to talk to you, that somehow, everybody, just everybody was in the business and wanted to know about his “little English movie.”
Before he could say anything, the woman spoke, her hand still grasping his in a surprisingly firm grip. Her words were brisk and precise, almost like orders being barked out, in the kind of no-nonsense New York drawl that brooked no disagreement.
“My name is Avital Silver. And I’m going to make you a superstar.”
TEN YEARS LATER
The shot was worth a million bucks.
Any paparazzo worth his salt would kill to capture the image of movie star Alex Golden, Hollywood’s legendary Modeliser, sprawled almost naked but for a pair of Gucci board shorts that hung low down on his hips, revealing a perfectly smooth chest and tanned, ripped, Hollywood perfected abs. Next to him lay a woman whose triple threat of lips, breasts and legs had made grown men weep, and more besides. Alex reclined on a sun bed, as he stared out on the startling Azure blue sea at the exclusive resort on the Mexican coastline. In the distance came whoops and squeals of a group of people on powerful jet skis as they skimmed across the horizon, shooting plumes of water in the air behind them. Just watching them made Alex feel tired and he pushed his sunglasses down on his face.
“Christ my head is pounding,” he muttered the words with a small groan but was met with silence. He turned with a lazy glance, reaching out to touch the woman next to him. His hand skimmed her flat abdomen, before falling away. They hadn’t stayed long at the film premiere after-party the night before. Just long enough for Alex to be photographed next to his ambitious young co-star, model turned actress Tyler Link, and of course long enough for him to be nursing a hangover as a result of too much Vintage Perrier Jouet champagne, which had been free-flowing at the VIP After-Party. For a moment Alex was filled with a beat of nostalgia, you’re getting old a voice in his head taunted him. Shaking the thought away, Alex rose to his feet, turning to stand over the sun lounger next to his.
“You’re blocking my sunlight.” Isabella finally spoke, pouting sulkily and yet so prettily as the words whispered out of her pink and improbably plump lips. Alex watched her for a moment. Most of her face was obscured by the large brim of a white Dior sunhat but what was visible of her was still incredible. Still recognisable as the face and body of Isabella Murada, one of the world’s highest paid supermodels. She and Alex shared a publicist, who had introduced them at some charity benefit in Los Angeles. Alex had only just ended another headline-grabbing fling with a swimwear model and the timing had been good. That same night he’d taken Isabella back to his suite at Chateau Marmont and they’d been together the last five months, which by his usual standards, was practically an eternity. He continued to stare down at Isabella knowing that she would soon snap. A devoted sun worshipper, Isabella hated the possibility of tanning unevenly. He stared at her lips, which were thrust forward sulkily and his eyes drifted lower to the unselfconscious way that she tanned topless. He leaned down to stroke a finger across her nipple.
“Come into the water,” he asked softly. Her breasts were large, gorgeous and fake, of course, but still with enough softness and movement in them to fool the untutored observer. He, however, was an expert. How could he not be, after ten years of fucking models and starlets?
It had started quite by accident this reputation of his, but slowly it had transformed into an unshakeable part of his reputation. Sure, there was the occasional actress thrown into the mix, the odd solo singer and famously once, a pair of burlesque performing twins but for the most part, Alex Golden lived up to his reputation as The Modeliser.
He pressed a kiss to Isabella’s breasts and then stretched to his full 6ft and 4 inches. “Come in to the water,” he asked again.
“No.” Isabella snapped back.
Mostly Alex liked the rough Portuguese twang in her Brazilian accented English, but some days like today, the harsh sounds grated. “You’re not still angry?” He gritted his teeth. Isabella could carry a grudge and her silent treatments had been known to last for days. With a sigh he banked down his building irritation with her. “Isabella,” he cajoled softly.
“You embarrass me at the premiere, laughing and joking for the cameras with that, that… model.” Her words were hissed out of pursed lips and Alex fought to hide his disinterest, which was laced too with some amusement. The contempt with which she spat the word model, might lead anyone to think that she wasn’t one herself.
“Tyler is my co-star, I didn’t have much choice.” Alex sighed as Isabella folded her arms beneath her breasts and turned her head away so that all that he could see was her jaw and the perfect, unblemished profile that had fronted countless cosmetic campaigns and adorned billboards in Milan, Paris, New York and London. “Fine,” he said and with a shrug he turned and walked towards the pool and dived in with a clean, perfect arc that caused barely a ripple.
After pounding the length of the pool for several long minutes; as much to escape the heat of Isabella’s building temper as to cool down, Alex levered himself out of the pool and again looked towards the sea. She was no longer in her sun lounger. Grabbing his towel, he dried his hair roughly, even as the hot sun rapidly dried his skin, till only a few droplets kissed his muscular shoulders. A little way from the house, he spotted a movement and grimaced watching as the blistering sun, flashed and reflected against something hidden behind the bushes. It was a tell which Alex had grown familiar with these last ten years; the paparazzi had found them.
The ever-present paparazzi who knew his itinerary even before he did, who skulked around for scandal, which more often than not he provided for them and their vast hoards of gossip-hungry readers. Alex continued to dry his hair and with the trademark cool that had made him a star, he dropped his towel, stretching his arms high above his head, uncaring of his near nakedness and the telescopic lenses trained on him and then slowly he padded barefoot towards the house.
For the first time in the last few weeks, Alex felt the tension drain away from him; his feet warmed by the terracotta of the stone brick floors, which baked in the sun as he moved into the house. Though Avital, his agent, hid it well, he had sensed her tension, had known that she and the studios were closely watching his latest film. He was no brainless himbo, he too had noted that though they were still hitting number one, his films weren’t doing what they used to at the Box Office. He knew without anyone telling him that Deadlock had to reach number one and stay there.
As he padded around the villa, there was still no sign of Isabella and he was not inclined to go and find her. Now, with a clearer head, he looked around the opulent open plan living room. Their stay here had come courtesy of millionaire producer and Hollywood royalty, Milo Levy. The paintings that last night he and Isabella had brushed past without even a glance were in the light of day revealed to be Picasso sketches and vibrant Modigliani nudes that wouldn’t be out of place in some national gallery somewhere. Alex smiled and slumped down onto a white chaise lounge in the living room, fumbling around for the TV remote, which he used to flick on the massive plasma screen TV that was mounted on a wall. For a couple of minutes, he channel surfed without interest, finally tossing aside the remote as he spotted his Mulberry overnight bag where he had carelessly dumped it the night before. He reached into it pulling out a platinum Vertu mobile phone. He had several missed calls, most of which he wouldn’t return. The last name on the list was his sister’s and he clicked on it, feeling a twinge of guilt. He’d missed several telephone calls from her in the last few days and with the crazy schedule of promotion in the lead up to the film’s release, he’d not had a chance to call her back. Leaning back into the sofa, he prepared to return his sister’s call when something on the television caught his attention. It was an image of himself.
Not that this was an unusual occurrence but curious in spite of himself, Alex threw aside his phone and flicked the volume up with the television remote. Now he spotted that the TV was on Z News, a Hollywood celebrity news channel, which seemed inescapable wherever one was in the world. The presenter was in full flow.
“And Hollywood buzz is saying the Alex Golden is out and Max Maguire is in for the big budget adventure trilogy Defender, we’ll have more on this breaking story as it comes in.” For a moment Alex was frozen as the photograph of Max Maguire flicked off the screen to be replaced by another image as the presenter moved on. He flicked the TV back to silent, noting in a beat that the tension in his neck was back.
Alex had never been especially competitive, but Max Maguire infuriated him as few others could. Somehow he seemed determined to cast himself as “The New Alex Golden” and in recent months they had butted heads and wound up in talks for the same roles. Not that he needed to compete for scripts but something about Max unsettled him, not least that he was five years younger than him. Alex had been determined to land the title role in Defender, a trilogy of films from Australian director Cole Sidney that seemed likely to do for sci-fi, what Lord of the Rings had done for fantasy. The buzz was immense and he had assumed, after a chat with the director that the arrival of an offer was a mere formality. The azure blue of the sea that had been so calming now had little effect on him, all he could feel was the onset of a pounding headache. He would have to call Avital.
He pushed himself off the sofa, just as Isabella emerged from the bedroom, now naked beneath a sheer silk wrap.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” she pouted at him, this time with a hint of the mischievous smile that made men go weak. Alex grimaced; he hadn’t time for Isabella, not now. He turned his back on her, reaching for his mobile phone.
“I have to call Avital.” He scrolled through his contacts list, even as he could hear the faint slap of Isabella’s bare feet against the floor as she moved towards him. As he was about to connect the call, he felt a whisper of silk, followed by her naked breasts, pressed against his back.
“Do you have to?” She asked. Though it wasn’t really a question. She’d already traced her cool hands around his narrow waist and up his chest, to his arm before gently squeezing his bicep. She took the phone out of his hand and threw it onto the sofa, where it landed silently on the thick pile of cushions. Then, she snaked her arm around his waist again and pulled him around to face her. Isabella pressed herself against him, pinning him to the cabinet behind them. Her tongue flicked out to lick her bee-stung lips and Alex followed the movement with a hungry look, already diverted from his plan; Avital could wait. She leaned in and teased his lips with her tongue and then, in that way that she did, she kissed him, hard. He’d always been struck by the forceful, almost masculine single-mindedness that Isabella brought to sex; how she always made sure to take her pleasure first. But tonight it seemed her earlier bad mood was forgotten and it was all about him. She kissed him again, her tongue fighting with his, biting his lower lip roughly and then she leaned down to lick his nipple, before slowly sinking to her knees. Freeing him from his swimming shorts, she made a deep appreciative noise in her throat as she gripped him tight before slowly starting to stroke her hand up and down. As she bent to kiss the tip, she looked up and winked at him and Alex gave a short, breathless bark of laughter.
Isabella Murada on her knees with his cock in her mouth; that truly was a million dollar shot. And movie star or not, Alex was still man enough to appreciate it.
Later, as they lay in the massive bed on 750-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, the windows thrown open so that the silvery white light of the full moon flickered into the room, Alex watched Isabella sleep, as she always did, naked on her back. One arm was flung over her head and the other rested low on her abdomen. Even in sleep she looked ready for sex. He would miss her, he thought. Isabella was a smart girl and in a town defined by transactional relationships, where everyone used everyone, Alex understood her desire to be with him. She had left a Spanish millionaire for him and though the sex was good, great even, Alex wasn’t so arrogant as to think that was the full story. Isabella was 28, in model years practically middle-aged. She was a woman looking for her next step, she wanted to make the crossover from model to actress and she’d decided that he was her ticket there. He hadn’t minded really but somehow this afternoon, he’d realised that he was bored, that he needed something new, some new challenge. He needed to shake things up and as every model that had gone before Isabella had learned, when Alex moved on, he was gone. The shift was brutal and immediate and Alex had perfected a principle of never going back and never looking back. He never hooked up with his exes, never re-visited fields that he had already ploughed. There’d be a gift, one phone call; the mark of the English gentleman that he was, but when it was over, it was over. Isabella must have sensed his boredom.
“You and me, we’re good together,” she had reminded him earlier, as she had sat astride him, still panting. And Alex had smiled. But once they were back in LA he knew they’d be over. He’d made a life of loving and leaving women. There was no reason to change his ways now.