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The A-List: Hollywood Royalty
By Zoey Dean
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Format:ebook $7.99 $9.99 CAD
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Meet the new Hollywood Royalty: Amelie, the no-so-innocent starlet; Myla and Ash, the golden couple; Jacob, the geek turned hottie; and Jojo, the outsider who’ll do anything to get on the A-List.
Copyright © 2009 by Alloy Entertainment
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
"Happy" by Michael Phillip Jagger, Keith Richards (Colgems EMI Music, Inc.). All rights reserved.
Little, Brown and Company
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
For more of your favorite series, go to www.pickapoppy.com
First eBook Edition: January 2009
Poppy is an imprint of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The Poppy name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Produced by Alloy Entertainment
51 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
Cover design by Andrea C. Uva
Cover model photography by Roger Moenks
Cover background photography by Andrea C. Uva
A-LIST NOVELS BY ZOEY DEAN:
GIRLS ON FILM
TALL COOL ONE
BACK IN BLACK
SOME LIKE IT HOT
HEART OF GLASS
If you like THE A-LIST, you may also enjoy:
The Poseur series by Rachel Maude
The Secrets of My Hollywood Life series by Jen Calonita
Footfree and Fancyloose by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain
Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith
Even before the white stretch limo pulled to a stop outside the Nokia Theatre, Amelie Adams could hear the screams of hundreds of fans. She blinked out the tinted windows as the driver slowed to a stop in front of the ruby red carpet. Behind the ground-level throngs of fans and photographers, models stood on six-foot risers, wearing hot pink Prada sunglasses and bright white tent dresses with graphic prints of L.A. landmarks on them: the Hollywood sign, Grauman's Chinese, the Beverly Hills Hotel, a postcard shot of Malibu. Most of the fans barely paid attention to the glamazons; they were more interested in catching a glimpse of their favorite Hollywood starlets arriving for the premiere of The A-List.
Even though Amelie wasn't in the movie, her fans knew she was coming tonight. Clusters of little girls waved homemade, glittery signs proclaiming their high-pitched love for her Kidz Network character, Fairy Princess. Amelie leaned back in her seat, pushing a red ringlet from her turquoise eyes.
Across from Amelie, her mother's face broke into the wide, voluptuous smile that Amelie had inherited. Helen Adams's own red hair was shorter—shaped into a face-framing chin-length bob by Mario, her one-name-only personal hairdresser for the last ten years—and her eyes were a dark hazel, but otherwise she and Amelie could have been mistaken for sisters.
"Have fun. And remember, you'll get it next time." She winked one heavily mascaraed eye and smoothed her strapless violet Carolina Herrera gown over a flat stomach courtesy of a three-week fitness boot camp in Studio City.
Amelie's gloss-lacquered lips formed a grimace. She'd been up for the part of Emma Hardy, The A-List's lead, but had lost the role to Marlee Aces, a blonde with one screen credit in a sexy indie, Rock My World—about a lesbian heavy metal band in Mormon Utah. The producers had deemed her "more mature" and therefore better for the part. The Emma character had a sex scene, and while Amelie knew that a jump from petting winged ponies to heavy petting would've been a risky career move, sometimes she longed to do something that wasn't G-rated.
"No scowls." Helen leaned over to kiss her daughter on the cheek. "And have fun. I'm going to take a quick meeting about your Christmas special, but I'll find you at the party later."
Amelie reached back, giving her mom's hand a squeeze, as two tuxedoed valets reached in to extract her from the limo.
"Fairy Princess! Fairy Princess!"
Amelie stepped out of the limousine, plastering on the same magical grin that had sold four million T-shirts with her face on them. Her new white patent Miu Miu wedges sank into the plush carpet and she gracefully adjusted the hem of her silver Jovani flapper-inspired dress. Her character wore pink exclusively, so it was nice to not feel like human cotton candy for once.
She made her way down the row of crazed fans—the younger ones near tears—signing glossy pictures, massive posters, and BOP magazines in her trademark swirly script. After each autograph, she flourished her pink Sharpie with Fairy Princess's signature wand wave. Elbow left, wrist swish, elbow right, wrist swish.
At the far end of the red carpet, cast members from The A-List mingled with other actors about her age. Raven-haired Kady Parker and milky-skinned Moira and Deven Lacey, twins whose trademark sexy scowls had helped them get parts on School of Scandal, a new CW show, shot her curious glances and then returned to their conversation.
Used to being ignored by her Hollywood peers, Amelie sighed, signing a talking Fairy Princess doll with bubble gum pink hair and glittery accessories. She knew she was lucky to be seated at the helm of a multimillion-dollar empire at only sixteen, but sometimes she just wanted to move up from the kids' table. She was growing up, but no one besides Mary Ellen, the on-set stylist who'd had to let her Fairy Princess wardrobe out in the chest, had really seemed to notice.
Amelie smiled at a white-blond seven-year-old in a replica of Fairy Princess's Winter Festival ball gown. She held up a shirt for Amelie to sign. "Is it true you're playing a new kind of fairy in Class Angel?" the little girl asked, awestruck.
"You got it," Amelie answered, shooting another dazzling smile that almost outshone her dress's sequins and crystals. Filming started on her new movie, Class Angel, the day after tomorrow. It was PG, and more mature than her Fairy Princess role, but she still played a teenager's guardian angel rather than an actual teenager. It was like calling Pinkberry ice cream.
Amelie leaned over the metal barricade railing to sign the shirt, her face inches from the little girl's.
"Mommy!" The little girl pointed at Amelie, then yelled, "Mom, Fairy Princess has boobies!"
Amelie felt the blood rush to her face. Well, then. Maybe people were noticing her growing up, after all. . . .
Amelie stood bathed in the sapphire-blue lights cast by the Nokia's looming facade. She'd barely paid attention to the ninety-minute movie, mentally replaying her red carpet humiliation instead of focusing on the film. Not that she could have focused even if she'd tried. She'd given up her primo reserved seat to an agent who'd brought his grandmother, and had wound up seated next to three fifteen-year-old girls who'd driven in from the Inland Empire after winning tickets on KROQ. They'd snuck in cans of Coors Light with them, and Amelie had struggled to hear the movie over their giggly conversation about the cute slacker who'd sold them the beer at 7-Eleven. She stretched her tired neck from side to side, wishing she could skip the afterparty and head home. Unfortunately, she knew she had to put in an appearance, or her absence would be chalked up to sour grapes.
Now she stood just outside the outdoor party area, watching people trickle out from the theater. Stars donned their occasionally misguided interpretations of the invite-specified "sexy A-List evening wear": skin-baring miniskirts, long glittery gowns that looked like expensive prom dresses. Security was already manning the makeshift entrance to the afterparty area, to make sure that people like Amelie's drunken underage seatmates didn't crash.
She'd do one turn around the party space, meet and greet with some studio bigwigs, smile big, look sweet, and get the heck out of there. Amelie had an early call time tomorrow to shoot a music video for the Kidz Network site, anyway. It was the perfect excuse to trade her painful wedges for her Paul Frank monkey slippers. Add a bowl of Häagen-Dazs and her Veronica Mars DVDs, and she was set for the evening.
Someone tapped her on the back. "Hey, do you mind walking in with me?"
Amelie turned. Kady Parker was standing by herself, her wide sapphire blue eyes shimmering beneath the fringe of glossy black bangs that framed her heart-shaped face. "I always feel weird walking into a party alone."
Kady Parker was her costar in Class Angel. Since getting into the business as a twelve-year-old, Kady almost always played the sassy tomboy who gets kicked around by bitchy prom queen types but gets the guy in the end. Amelie nodded, half surprised that Kady—whom she'd met only briefly, at a table read—was being so friendly.
"Cool," Kady said, flashing her wristband and leading the way. The movie premiere might have been open to the hundredth caller, but the afterparty was strictly by invitation only, and you needed a "Get A-ed" wristband, which of course they both had. "Hot dress, by the way."
"You look great too," Amelie replied. Kady's feminine-cut black Armani tux fit her slightly rebellious movie persona and her petite frame.
"Thanks. Let's hit the bar—you can meet some of the other girls from Class Angel," Kady half-shouted over the new Santogold song, leading Amelie into a courtyard area, where four bars were set up in a square. The platform models now wore opaque white Prada one-piece swimsuits and the kind of sultry yet bored expressions mastered only through lots of practice. They danced languidly to the music as guests loaded their plates with food from the catered buffet. Three twentysomething brunettes hovered at a cocktail table, congratulating themselves for getting in without wristbands.
Kady paused, standing on the tiptoes of her already-high cherry red Christian Louboutin stilettos, searching the crowd for her friends. "I don't know what they'll be drinking tonight," she said.
The four bars were all serving drinks inspired by the characters, and behind each was a backdrop featuring a glamorous publicity shot of one of the A-List actors. The Emma bar was serving classic cocktails like Manhattans and martinis, and rare Opus One wine in an exclusive A-List vintage. A bar for Peter, Emma's on-and-off-again love interest, was serving twenty microbrewed beers in frosted glasses. The bar for Sarah, a super-rich character with movie star parents (allegedly based on young director Sam Sharpe), offered Cristal, Veuve, and Dom Pérignon champagnes, while a bar for Dahlia, the wild child with a mean streak, served potent vodka, rum, and tequila combos.
"There they are," Kady said, grabbing Amelie's arm and leading her to the Dahlia bar. A group of bored-looking girls stood around a shiny silver cocktail table. The Lacey twins slouched on stools, sipping identical Grey Goose and cranberry cocktails. They were mirror images of each other, with endlessly toned legs, thick caramel hair, and the same "don't mess with us" expressions. (Though rumor had it that three-minutes-younger Deven was actually a sweetheart.) Next to them stood DeAndra Barnett, a former child model who'd made her foray into acting in the massive Kidz Network hit West High Story. She had luminous toffee-colored skin, a lean, athletic body, and short curly hair that highlighted her sharp cheekbones. She wore a strapless D&G dress in a wild lily-and-leopard print that kept falling down her skinny chest.
"You guys know Amelie, right?" Kady gestured to Amelie as though she were a showcase prize on The Price Is Right.
DeAndra squinted as though she barely recognized Amelie, gracelessly pulling up her dress. The twins smiled faintly. "Fairy Princess, right?" they said in unison. Amelie nodded.
"Fairy Princess, and Class Angel with me and DeAndra," Kady corrected. "And now Hunter, too."
Amelie thought she was hearing things. Kady could only be talking about one Hunter. Hunter Sparks. The guy so hot his role in West High Story had propelled little girls from their "I hate boys" phases directly into their "I heart Hunter" obsessions.
"Wait, Hunter Sparks is in Class Angel?" Amelie fought to sound casual as her brain hyperventilated: HunterSparksHunterSparksHunterSparks!
Amelie had starred in her first feature with him, when she was eleven and he was fourteen, before her Fairy Princess reign began. He played her older brother, who died trying to save Amelie when aliens invaded Chicago. Even though he treated her in a brother-sister way the whole shoot, she'd fallen totally in love with him. She still had script pages covered in hearts filled with loopy cursive musings: "I love Hunter," "Mrs. Hunter Sparks," and "Mrs. Amelie Adams-Sparks." For five years, she'd barely run into him, even at Kidz Network headquarters. And, yet, just glimpsing his face on a West High Story poster or hearing his name was enough to make her heart thud in double time, the way it did now.
"I thought our lead was Raleigh Springfield," Amelie hastily added, naming the actor who was originally slated to play the role.
"Nope, he's out." Kady shrugged. "Said he wants to do an indie instead, but I think it's just rehab. The producer called in a favor and Hunter's in."
"Cool." The twins nodded and drained their glasses. "He's yummier anyway. Raleigh has that greasy hair."
A delightful tingle worked its way through Amelie's body. Her stars were falling into place, Fairy Princess style.
"Anyway, this party blows, K." The twins looked at Kady like two dogs begging their owner to take them outside.
"Okay, then," Kady said, processing the info. "We could hit the Standard, the downtown one on Flower." She turned to Amelie. "Have you been? The rooftop bar has waterbed pods and great bottle service. And no wannabes." She glanced at the uninvited brunettes in Payless heels at one of the bars.
Before Amelie could answer, she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Hi girls." Amelie's mom's voice strained over the noise. Amelie flushed with embarrassment. "Amelie, honey, they moved up the call time for tomorrow by a few hours. The limo's waiting out front."
Amelie turned back to Kady, who'd probably never brought her mom to a premiere before. She shrugged. "Thanks for the invite, but it looks like I've got to call it a night."
She made an apologetic face, though secretly she was thankful for the interruption. Party hopping was fine if you wanted to end up with a has-been rep and a drug habit by age twenty-one on E! True Hollywood Story, but Amelie intended to be the industry's anti-Lohan, thank you very much.
"No worries," Kady said, hugging Amelie. "I'll see you on Sunday."
"For sure," Amelie said, waving at the other girls as she grabbed her clutch off the cocktail table.
Helen led the way back through the crowd, walking with her perfect Pilates posture. "They seemed nice. You might have fun on this movie."
Amelie grinned. She and Kady didn't have to get matching BFF bracelets, but at least Kady didn't seem like the kind of crazy costar who'd put Nair in Amelie's shampoo bottle. Plus, a movie where she didn't have to match dance steps with whimsical sprites? One that might even have Hunter Sparks?
Amelie was definitely ready for her close-up.
Myla Everhart stood in the LAX baggage claim, wishing she hadn't worn her thigh-high, yellow Aztec-print Pucci Sundial dress—every time she sat down, the back of her legs touched some invariably sticky surface.
The first daughter of America's hottest on- and offscreen couple craned her neck, looking toward the doors to the street. Ash had said he'd park and come inside to help shield her from the paparazzi and carry her bags. Granted, she'd internationally overnighted everything via Luggage Concierge, but he could certainly carry her plum Marc Jacobs tote full of French Vogues and her cashmere travel blanket.
Myla fished her emerald-adorned iPhone from the bottom of her bag. One fourteen. Ash knew she landed at twelve thirty. What was the freaking holdup?
But then . . . that was Ash. Her Ash. Laid-back, easygoing Ash.
She softened, just thinking of him. Long before they'd gotten together, Ash Gilmour had been her best friend and the only guy who got Myla. It wasn't easy going through puberty as the child of Barkley Everhart and Lailah Barton—People's Most Beautiful Couple, 2001, 2002, 2006–present. Most Inattentive, too, by Myla's standards. They'd adopted Myla as a baby after spending time on-set in Thailand, filming an Adam and Eve–inspired love story that had grossed some ungodly amount. It had been just Myla, until four years ago, when they'd brought home four-year-old Mahalo from Bangladesh on her twelfth birthday. They'd just returned from a Babel-meets–-Independence Day shoot and decided to bring back a souvenir. At least that's how it seemed to Myla.
Then one day in the eighth grade, she and Ash were waiting for his dad, Gordon Gilmour—a record producer who spent more time coddling whiny rock stars than taking care of his only son—to pick them up from the ArcLight after they'd gone to see the new Harry Potter movie together. They hadn't told their friends, who said the movie was dorky. That was okay though; it was their secret. Myla was in the middle of a rant about how she sometimes hated the ArcLight's assigned seats—the Hogwarts-uniformed senior citizen in the seat next to her and Ash had reeked of asparagus and Old Spice. That was when Ash leaned over and kissed her, right in front of the Cinerama Dome. They'd been Hollywood's youngest golden couple ever since.
And they were inseparable.
But Myla's parents—Barbar, as they were called by the press—had insisted on a family vacation this summer. "Vacation" meant a whirlwind tour of the third world, doing United Nations aid work at their older children's adopted countries: Thailand for Myla, Bangladesh for Mahalo, and Madagascar for Bobby, now six. Myla had to share a room with her two brothers—next to her parents and the three recently adopted toddlers—often in villages so small and remote she couldn't get a cell phone signal or Internet. She couldn't indulge in online retail therapy, take a real shower, update her Facebook status, or, more important, communicate with Ash. It was torture.
Granted, she could have called Ash every second while she was in Paris last week, visiting her old friend Isabelle, who'd moved there in fourth grade. But she'd been in the city of love without the love of her life—thinking about him too much would have depressed her. In a way, she also thought the waiting was romantic. Being someone who never had to wait long for anything she wanted, Myla enjoyed the way her heart beat when she thought about her and Ash finally being together again.
She punched a string of numbers into her phone, twirling a lock of her long ebony hair around her index finger. She smiled, catching a glimpse of the shiny, emerald green streak that fell along the left side of her neck. It had been Ash's idea, and Myla had initially been revolted, but now she loved the secret burst of color.
Isabelle picked up on the third ring. "Ma chère amie, I missed you too."
Myla could hear the clinking of silverware and wineglasses in the background. Even though it was after eleven there, Isabelle was probably just eating dinner now, before hitting Paris's nightclubs.
"Stop that, Guillaume!" Isabelle squealed delightedly to her boyfriend. "Sorry, he's being a total perv. Shouldn't you be with Ash?"
"He's late." Myla fiddled nervously with the plastic Green Lantern bubble gum machine ring she wore on a Tiffany gold chain. She and Ash had traded rings from a bubble gum machine in ninth grade, and she had worn it on her neck ever since. Myla fully planned to hire Mindy Weiss, the best wedding planner in L.A., to work the cheap rings into the ceremony when they got married.
"Better he's late than you are, if you know what I mean," Isabelle said bawdily, before cracking up. "Oh, that's right! You haven't done it yet. Quel dommage."
Myla rolled her eyes. "We can't all be French sluts like you," she teased her friend.
A woman in a Jesus Saves (Ask Me How) T-shirt rumbled by, scowling at the dirty talk.
"I know, you're waiting for the right time." Isabelle yawned. "Just make sure to take advantage of being young and hot. Now go moisturize before he gets there."
Isabelle hung up with a giggle, probably to stop Guillaume's wandering hands again, and Myla hung up too. Two girls walked by arm in arm, wearing matching Fairy Princess T-shirts and glittery purple leggings.
Myla sighed. Even if they were only ten, you had to start learning the basic rules of fashion sometime. She yanked the pile of dog-eared Vogues from her bag and thrust the magazines into the taller girl's arms.
If thoughts of "stranger danger" occurred to either girl, they didn't show it. They studied Myla's round cheeks, smooth skin, and almond-shaped, shamrock-colored eyes. Recognition flashed across their surprised faces. They must have seen her photo in People, helping Barbar hand out care packages in the Philippines. And here she was again, doing charity work of her own.
Ash Gilmour was late for everything, a habit he'd never wanted to develop but had learned from his record impresario father. "Early means eager. Eager is weak," he'd always said.
But when it came to Myla Everhart, Ash was weak. And he'd wanted to be waiting at LAX when she'd landed. He wanted to watch her come down the escalator to the baggage claim, to see whatever impossible shoes she was wearing, followed by her long legs with the little birthmark below her right knee. Then her slim little body, and her tumble of hair with the green streak just for him. And then that face—lips that reminded him of the cherries on top of a sundae and eyes that always looked a little sleepy but saw every little thing.
Ash parked his vintage black 1969 Camaro and stumbled out, half-running across the wide one-way street reserved for shuttle buses and taxis. He dashed past planters of daisies lining the median and skidded to a stop in his beat-up Vans. On the drive over, he'd called House of Petals to get Myla's favorite hot pink peony bouquet, but they'd been crazed with some Endeavor agent's wedding. He reached down and picked six daisies, then sprinted across the rest of the street, nearly getting hit by a limo driver.
Safely on the sidewalk, Ash composed himself, shoving his shaggy dark blond hair off his forehead and smoothing his vintage Zeppelin tee. He stepped through the automatic doors. The air-conditioning swallowed him, but he saw no sign of Myla on the benches or near the baggage carousel. He checked the arrivals board. Her flight had made it. Oh, shit. How late was he? Had she left without him?
Myla was in the LAX ladies room, applying a final coat of Urban Decay XXX gloss in Baked. Satisfied, she tossed her hair and headed for the door. Surely Ash would be here by now.
Swinging her bag back to her shoulder, she pushed through the doors to be greeted not by her boyfriend, but by four paparazzi.
"Myla, where's Barbar?"
Now that Myla was sixteen, and with her parents less, she got photographed more and more on her own. Some days she didn't mind it, but after a fourteen-hour flight? Come on.
She gave the photogs a sarcastic smile, knowing an unflattering scowl would certainly make the tabloids. "Take your pick: Adopting a baby from a wartorn region. Building houses in a hurricane-ravaged stretch of the South. Having wild, passionate affairs with their costars."
A photographer sporting a jet-black goatee asked, "Are they here, Myla? You can tell us." His eyes were focused on Myla's toned thighs.
Myla raised her eyebrows. "First, take a picture, it lasts longer. Which you should already know. Second, no, my parents are not here. Now please get out of my way." They fired a few more shots and were gone. Myla blinked post-flashbulb into the crowd of new arrivals.
And then she saw him.
There, clutching a sad bouquet of crumpled daisies, was Ash. His sun-lightened hair hung shaggily over his ears, and his chestnut-colored eyes looked like a heartbroken puppy's. She stopped where she stood, waiting for him to come to her.
Ash, meanwhile, felt like he'd been kicked in the stomach. Where was Myla? He began to look carefully around the crowded terminal. A British tour group ambled slowly to the baggage claim on his right. To his left, he saw nothing but a cluster of Japanese businessmen. Straight ahead, he studied girls at the newsstand, flipping through copies of W. A girl with long, shiny black hair had her face buried in Vogue. She looked up, and Ash saw she was probably thirty. Where was Myla? He felt like he might cry, something he hadn't done since his grade-school friend Jacob Porter-Goldsmith spilled Sunny D on Ash's favorite Pokémon card.
Then Ash noticed a small group of scuzzy-looking paparazzi walking away from the ladies' room corridor. As they parted, he finally saw her. There was Myla, wearing the world's shortest dress, her slim legs tanned and sexy above a pair of crazy-high shoes. She tilted her head at a "come and get me" angle. Her dark hair tumbled over the straps of her big plum-colored bag. She grinned and took a few steps closer.
He nearly tripped over his navy blue Vans trying to reach her faster. When he did, he lifted her into the air, dropping the daisies to the polished airport floor. And with hundreds of travelers and tourists surrounding them, he kissed her like it was the only thing he ever needed to be good at in his whole life.
Myla was only vaguely conscious that the paparazzi were shooting photos of them. Their reunion wouldn't make a cover, but because of her parents, they'd get an inset box. She could see the caption now:
- On Sale
- Jan 1, 2009
- Page Count
- 256 pages