Guest Post – Into The Arena by Elizabeth Coldwell
Who hasn’t dreamed of being a movie star at some point? It has to be high on the list of fantasy jobs – the worldwide fame, the magazine covers, the multi-million dollar pay cheques, the film premieres, the Oscar night acceptance speeches… Of course, it helps to be as good looking as Bradley Cooper or Ryan Reynolds, but in fantasy land we can all be that hot and charming, right?
In reality, for most up and coming actors life isn’t that glamorous, and the red carpet can seem a long way out of reach. It’s often been pointed out that most of the hopefuls who arrive in Los Angeles hoping to become stars end up becoming waiters instead. The competition for any role is fierce, and the audition process can be frustrating and humiliating. You need to have an inner strength and self-belief if you don’t want to be ground down by rejection. If your face fits and you have the acting chops for a particular part, however, who knows how far you’ll be able to go?
That’s the position Hayden Skarz finds himself in at the beginning of Into The Arena. He’s already had a small amount of success, but when he’s given the script for Thrown To The Lions, he knows this is the film that will propel its male lead onto the Hollywood A-list. It’s the story of a man in a dystopian future society who is punished for his crimes by being sent back in time to fight as a gladiator in the arenas of ancient Rome. It also features some very steamy love scenes, although the openly gay Hayden feels he’ll be able to take those in his stride.
What Hayden doesn’t realise is that by landing the part he’ll embark on a journey that will propel him into the arms of the gorgeous Cesare Bianco, a man who’s hiding the secret that he’s really a lion shifter searching for his chosen mate. (Like all the books in the Lionhearts series, Into The Arena explores what happens when a shifter and a human fall in love.) And it’ll also make him a target of a stalker who’s convinced that he is the only man Hayden could ever need, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to make him see that…
“So what’ll it be?” the man asked again. He had the most amazing eyes Hayden had ever seen, almost gold in hue, and caramel-blond hair that fell to his shoulders in waves. And though he didn’t look like any of the dark-haired, dark-eyed Romans, he definitely had a strong Italian accent.
“What do you have?” Hayden asked. The choices had been chalked up on a board at the side of the hatch but he wanted to string out his conversation with this gorgeous guy.
“There’s lasagna al forno, Thai green chicken curry or baked stuffed peppers.”
“We’re in Italy, so it has to be the lasagna.”
He waited while the man put a generous portion on his plate then handed it to him.
“Salad is on the table to your right, and you’ll find cutlery and soft drinks there, too.”
“Thanks— I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.” He was determined to make a point of getting to know as many of the crew by name as he could. It only seemed polite.
Otherwise you gain a reputation as the kind of asshole who thinks he’s above everybody.
“I’m Cesare, and that’s my boss, Gail.” The man gestured to the blonde who stood beside him, ladling curry onto a plate.
“Nice to meet you, Cesare. I’m Hayden.”
Cesare nodded. When he looked back at Hayden, it seemed there was obvious interest in those incredible eyes.
No, it’s more like we met in some other life. Like I’m the one he’s been waiting for…
Hayden smiled to himself. Where the hell had that notion appeared from?
That’s the problem with playing a guy who travels in time. You start to think that kind of thing could really happen.
He could have hung around there forever, certain Cesare felt the same spark he did, but he was holding up the queue.
He will fight for the one he loves, no matter what it takes.
Cesare Bianco is a shifter without a pride. Exiled from his home town of Padua after losing a leadership fight to his corrupt, self-serving uncle, he travels to Rome in search of a new beginning. A chance meeting sees him taking a job on the catering crew of a Hollywood blockbuster. When he meets the movie’s handsome lead actor, Hayden, he knows he’s in the presence of his mate. But Hayden is human. Even though he offers the possibility of lasting love, Cesare must fight all his instincts to make it happen.
Hayden Skarz is on the verge of the big time. Landing the lead in sci-fi adventure Thrown to the Lions has put him on the road to stardom. Filming in Rome is a difficult new challenge for him, though being around Cesare, the hunk who works in the catering truck, makes his job much sweeter. Sex between them is passionate and wildly inventive. But Hayden has a stalker, who’s tired of being ignored in favour of other men. When what started as a crush turns into murderous obsession, can Cesare help Hayden make it off the film set alive?
About Elizabeth Coldwell
Elizabeth Coldwell is the author of numerous short stories and full-length novels. Her stories have appeared in the best-selling ‘Best Women’s Erotica’ series and Black Lace’s popular ‘Wicked Words’ collections. Formerly the editor of the UK edition of Forum magazine, she contributed a spicy monthly column, ‘The Cougar Chronicles’, to its pages. When she is not busy writing, she is an avid supporter of Rotherham United Football Club and can be regularly found on the terraces at weekends, cheering her boys to victory (hopefully!).
Find her at The (Really) Naughty Corner: http://elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com and Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2896146.Elizabeth_Coldwell