Love For All Time. Kianna Alexander
“About another week. I’m staying with my son and his wife over in Wilmington.”
“Great. Then we’ll need to schedule a time that’s good for you to tour a few units, and...”
He stopped midsentence as a menagerie of cameras, flashing lights and bodies burst through the door into the deli’s interior. Knowing right away what was up, he shook his head. Looks like Mrs. Fairbanks is getting her wish.
Mrs. Fairbanks whirled around, then stood. “Goodness. It’s happening.”
The gaggle of bodies by the door parted long enough for two women to make their way through to the counter. The cameras were trained on them, recording their every step.
Campbell watched them, too. The tall, youthful one with the red purse was attractive, and looked somewhat familiar. He knew some of the cast, just from interacting with them. The island wasn’t terribly large, so he’d met a number of them. That’s, uh, what was her name? Megan? Martha?
He shifted his focus to the more petite woman. Sierra Dandridge, the famed actress, didn’t require an introduction. The newest, and possibly the most famous cast member of The Shores, she’d only recently arrived on the island. A formfitting black dress with long sleeves hugged her shapely, compact frame, and she stood confidently on a pair of tall, impossibly narrow black stilettos. She wore her hair in long waves down her back, and it was currently dyed a silvery lavender. The color of her hair, along with her closed-off stance, perfectly fit the “Ice Queen” image the press ascribed to her. Still, Campbell couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen anyone so strikingly beautiful. He’d had a crush on her since he’d seen her in the spy thriller Waltz at Midnight several years ago. It amazed him that she was just as gorgeous in person as she was on screen.
Mrs. Fairbanks, vibrating with excitement, stared in the direction of the cast and crew. “I’m not going to go over there. I know better than to interrupt the filming. But this is so exciting!”
Campbell chuckled. He’d managed to avoid the filming for most of the three months it had been going on. But his turn to be a part of the madness had apparently come around.
Once he got Mrs. Fairbanks to sit back down, he scheduled an appointment with her for later in the week. By then, Sierra and her costar were in a booth on the far side of the room, with the show’s crew clustered around them to capture their conversation. That freed up the front entrance, making a much appreciated path of escape.
He stood, extending his hand toward Mrs. Fairbanks. “It was lovely talking to you, and I look forward to our meeting.”
“Thank you, Mr. Monroe.” She barely took her eyes off the hubbub near the booth. “Are you really rushing off? Don’t you want to watch the filming?”
He shook his head. “Nah. I’m not really into that sort of thing. Besides, I have a ton of work waiting on my desk.”
“Okay, then. Have a good day. I’m gonna stay, and see if I can get some autographs when they finish!” The giddiness came through in her voice.
“Best of luck.” With a chuckle, Campbell turned and walked away. With a parting wave to Della and her staff, he swung open the door and stepped out into the humid afternoon air.
As he climbed into his black-on-black convertible, his mind strayed again to his beautiful celebrity crush, currently sitting less than fifty yards away from him.
With a wry smile, he dropped the top and started the engine.
So close, and yet so far.
Tuesday morning, Sierra’s hand grasped the cool steel of the door handle at Monroe Holdings, Incorporated. Before she could pull it open, she noticed a tall, handsome brotha approaching from the other side. She stepped back as he pushed the door open.
She started to introduce herself. “Good morning, I’m...”
The man smiled, his teeth as brilliant and white as a polished string of pearls. “I know who you are. Good morning, Miss Dandridge. Welcome to MHI.”
“Thank you.” She entered the building and he closed the door behind her. They stood only a few feet apart, and with each inhaled breath, she took in a bit of his cologne. It smelled expensive, woodsy and masculine.
She looked him over. He towered over her by a good four inches. He had dark hair, trimmed close, and dark brown eyes flecked with gold. A thin, neatly trimmed goatee framed his full lips, and a small diamond stud sparkled in his right earlobe. His body, fit and athletic, made the perfect canvas to display his tailored royal blue suit, crisp white shirt and bright green tie.
She brought her gaze back up to his face, and she recalled seeing him in Della’s the previous day. She could also feel his unveiled scrutiny as he stared at her. Realizing one of them had to speak so they wouldn’t spend the morning staring at each other, she asked, “And you are...”
He seemed to snap out of it; chuckled. “Forgive me. I’m Campbell Monroe.” He extended his hand to shake hers. “I’ll be helping you choose a rental unit.”
She returned his firm handshake. “Great. It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Monroe.”
Flashing that gorgeous smile again, he shook his head. “No need to be so formal, Ms. Dandridge. Call me Campbell, or Cam.”
“Okay, Campbell.” She smiled back, careful not to oversell it. Her pulse raced, but he didn’t need to know that.
“Follow me.” He started walking toward a corridor to the right.
She followed him until he led her into his office. He sat behind the large oak desk and gestured for her to sit, as well. Taking the upholstered chair opposite him, she placed her purse on her lap. The space appeared just as masculine as its occupant. The walls, painted a deep shade of burgundy, hosted his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, several sports and movie posters, and a few modern art pieces. The tall shelves lining the walls were filled with various nonfiction titles, and a few trophies and knickknacks. When her eyes swung to the movie poster hanging on the wall directly behind his desk, she couldn’t help smiling.
“So, Ms. Dandridge. We’re excited to have an actress of your caliber staying with us here in Sapphire Shores.”
His voice drew her attention and her gaze back to his handsome face. “Thank you, Campbell, that’s very kind.”
“I mean, Waltz at Midnight is one of my favorite movies of all time, mainly because of your stellar performance.” He gestured to the movie poster behind him. “That’s one of my most treasured possessions.”
“I’m flattered. It was only my third film, but I really did enjoy playing the role.” Her cheeks warmed a bit. She wasn’t an egomaniac, but she’d thought she’d gotten past having a compliment affect her this way. In truth, it had been a minute since she’d been complimented by someone this fine. She sensed that he was very much a fan of her work, but she didn’t want to use the whole appointment on conversation about her past roles.
As if he sensed her thoughts, he opened his desk drawer and pulled out two booklets. “While I’m a big fan of your work, I don’t want to waste your time. So, let’s talk about the kind of rental unit you’d like.”
Grateful for the change of topic, she looked at the two glossy, full-color booklets he slid her way. “The Glenn and Shoreside Manor.”
“Those are our most upscale developments on the island, and also our newest ones. The Glenn opened back in May, and Shoreside Manor in July.” He rested his elbows on the desk and tented his fingers. “So, why don’t you tell me the top three amenities that are most important to you.”
She nodded. “I’d like a good deal of privacy, easy access to a gym or workout room, and security.”