by Patricia Leavy
What happens when a seemingly ordinary woman with a passion for the arts falls in love with a Hollywood star known for his bachelor status and quick temper with the paparazzi? Something extraordinary.
Dee Schwartz is a writer and arts researcher. Ryder Field is a famous actor descended from Hollywood royalty. On the night they meet outside a bar, their connection is palpable. Ryder’s mother—legendary actress Rebecca Field, half of Hollywood’s golden couple when she died—was kidnapped and murdered by a crazed fan in a shocking event that forever tarnished Tinseltown. Dee’s mother, too, died when she was young. Bonded by this loss, the two embark on a love story that explores their search for magic—or “gold dust”—in their lives. Everything changes, however, when Dee mysteriously disappears after an awards ceremony. Is history repeating itself? Can there truly be a happily ever after in Hollywood?
Dee clutched her cell phone and exited the crowded bar to see a line of hopefuls waiting to get in. Looking for a quiet place to take her call, she walked around the corner to the empty side street, the warm LA breeze blowing through her long, chestnut hair. Just as she put the phone to her ear, actor Ryder Field stepped out of the side entrance. With a string of film credits to his name, he was best known for the twelve years he starred as CIA operative Bruce Jones on the hit action television series, The Mission. Examining his tight black jeans and black T-shirt that showed off his muscular, tattooed arms, Dee couldn’t help but notice how impossibly sexy he was. They made eye contact, and she looked down ever so slightly. He smiled at her, and then leaned against the stucco exterior of the building and lit a cigarette.
“Uh, hi. I’m here,” she said, trying to refocus on her call. “Are they freaking out?... I guess you haven’t read it yet,” she said with a laugh. “Well, yeah, you could say that. It might be a little provocative. As soon as we hang up, I’ll text you the bits you should be aware of… Right now?... Jesus, just let me text you in a minute… Fine.” She glanced over at Ryder, he smiled, and took a drag of his cigarette. She looked down, lowered her voice and said, “On page one there’s an explicit oral act in the balcony of a church. Page four, bent over a pew… No, the other thing… Page seven, on the altar…” She glanced up at Ryder who was staring at her, trying to keep a straight face, laughter in his sea-colored eyes. “Well, tell them technically it’s not forbidden in the Bible. I don’t think it’s expressly mentioned… Oh, one more thing. Holy water is used as a metaphor throughout… Think about it… Yeah…” She laughed. “Oh, I can imagine the subject line of that email!... Well, just tell them, ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.’” She laughed. “Yeah, okay. Thanks, bye,” she said, hanging up.
She looked sheepishly at Ryder, who turned to face her, his side against the building. “Sorry about that,” she said.
“I have a million questions about that call,” he said.
She smiled and said, “Have a good night,” turning to leave.
“Wait, you can’t leave me wondering like that. You’re not going to tell me?”
Patricia Leavy, PhD, is an award-winning, best-selling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chairperson of Sociology & Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College. She has published more than forty books; her work has been translated into many languages, and she has received more than forty book honors. Hollyland was featured on She Reads in “The Most Anticipated Romances of Spring 2023” and was the 2023 Firebird Book Awards 1st Place Winner in Pop Culture Fiction and 1st Place Winner in Summer/Beach Read. Patricia has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” Patricia lives in Maine. In addition to writing, she enjoys art, reading, and travel.