Moonlight Over Seattle

By: Callie Endicott

PROLOGUE

NICOLE GEORGE TURNED and lifted her arms, pushing up against the beach ball hanging from the boom. She tried to project the same energy she would have if she was actually playing a game in the sand rather than modeling a swimsuit.

A sense of déjà vu came over her.

How often had she done this? How often had a photographer’s camera captured her image for a magazine or billboard? A pang hit her at the thought that this was one of her last days as a model. After all, she’d been modeling for thirty years. It was what she knew best.

Although there were a few tedious moments, inevitable in any career, she enjoyed her work. All the same, for the past six months she’d been turning down contracts and only had a few more commitments left. It was time to get started on the other things she wanted to do in her life. Besides, sooner or later, modeling jobs would become less plentiful and she liked the thought of leaving the business while she was at the top.

“Rachel, there’s a shine on her collarbone,” Logan called, and Nicole’s friend, Rachel Clarion, stepped forward with a powder puff to dab it away.

Because she put so much energy into her job, Nicole always perspired when working, even when it was cold. Logan winked and she grinned at him. Another close friend, Logan Kensington was a great fashion photographer—one of the best in the business—and had his own way of keeping things light on the set.

“So,” he said, “why did the chicken cross the road? Because she wanted to show the possum it could be done,” he answered before Nicole could open her mouth. “Why did the punk rocker cross the road? Because he was stapled to a chicken.”

Nicole groaned. “Those jokes weren’t funny the first time someone told them, at least two generations ago.”

“There you go again, suggesting I’m using dated material.”

“Suggesting? I’m saying it outright.”

Unfazed, Logan continued shooting. They hoped to finish photographing the summer clothing line that afternoon.

“It’s time for you, Adam,” Logan called finally. “I want to finish with the romantic shots.”

Adam Wilding came over, dressed in what the designer hoped would be the hottest men’s swimsuit of the coming year. With dark wavy hair, blue eyes and a firm chin, he looked like a dashing Irish buccaneer…or he would have if not for the swimsuit.

Trying to hurry, but not look as if they were hurrying, she and Adam posed together in different positions. Rain was predicted and summer wear didn’t advertise well with storm clouds in the background.

“Okay,” Logan finally called. “That ought to do it.”

A family had stopped to watch and their adolescent son was staring at Nicole with wide eyes. His sister, on the other hand, seemed entranced by Adam, though she ran over to Nicole after he’d headed for the dressing trailer on the parking lot.

“Aren’t you Nicole George?” the girl asked.

Nicole smiled and put on a terry robe. “Yes.”

“Jeez. I’ve seen your picture, like, a gazillion times. Can I have your autograph?”

“I’d be happy to sign something for you.” Nicole took the pen and postcard being held out. “What’s your name?” she asked.

“Tamara.”

To Tamara, Nicole wrote on the back. Hope you have an amazing life! Nicole George.

The teenager stared at the message in delight. “Awesome. Uh, I was, uh, wondering, is it hard to become a model?”

It was a common question from kids Tamara’s age.

In the past two years, Nicole and three of her friends had grown interested in becoming talent agents. So she studied Tamara the way she would a prospective client. The girl was pretty, had nice bone structure and her face was surrounded by a cloud of shiny brown hair.

“Some of being a model happens through persistence, but I’d say quite a bit of it is luck and timing,” she said honestly.

Being an agent wasn’t going to be easy—there were plenty of pretty girls with good bone structure and high hopes. You had to have the right look, at the right time, with the right people to make it happen. The question was whether she would be the right person to aid clients in reaching their potential. Sometimes she felt nervous about it; she took influencing people’s lives seriously.

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