SNEAK PEEK of Claimed By The Demon: Purely Paranormal Pleasures
Leandra was finally here. New York City. The place that could make all her dreams come true.
Ever since she was a little girl she’d wanted to sing. That hadn’t changed with the death of her father, the only parent who had ever loved her, or her consequential abandonment by her coldhearted mother.
She didn’t blame Cornelia Lewis. Not really. Her mother had reverted back to her maiden name once her estranged husband had died in a terrible hit and run accident.
Twelve-year-old Leandra had been devastated, but morbid curiosity about her mother had made her look forward to their short meeting at the funeral.
She was everything she’d seemed in her pictures in the society pages. Cornelia Lewis was reed thin and tall as a runway model. Her blonde hair and cold blue eyes looked scathingly over her only daughter who at twelve had pudgy thighs, a double chin, and a terrible awkwardness that she had thankfully outgrown.
Or at least she’d thought she did. Until she heard Chance Madoc, the most successful sought-after producer to ever hit Broadway look at her headshot as if she was a bug he’d stepped on.
Poor Terrence. She’d thought it was fate when she’d taken over the lease on a tiny apartment close enough to Broadway that she could walk to auditions. As she had daily ever since she’d moved in four months ago. With very few call backs. Sigh.
It seems chubby chicks, no, fluffy chicks, as her BFF Stephanie would say, were not in vogue this year. Another sigh.
At least she loved her little place. Sure it was cold as hell in the winter, but it was cute and had charm. The exposed brick walls and polished wood floors made her feel shabby chic. As did her bohemian style sofa she found at a yard sale.
Her shy and surprisingly sweet neighbor had helped her carry the thing inside. It was a perfect way to meet the hunky man who turned out to be a director of all things! And even better, he worked with the man Leandra had come to New York to meet. Chance Madoc, the golden boy of Broadway!
He was the best producer in town. Every show he touched was destined to become a lasting hit. She’d dreamed about this since her days in boarding school. Mrs. Parker’s School for Girls was a throwback to another age located in nowhere Pennsylvania! But it was where she’d met her two best friends in the whole world.
Stephanie and Cora were fluffy like Leandra, but they had so much more than that in common. They complemented each other with Cora’s cautiously wild side, Stephanie’s angelic outlook on life, and Leandra’s extroverted nature.
Leandra had always been a bit of a people lover. Even after her mother had sent her away. She didn’t blame her. In fact, now that she thought about it, she’d been much better off at Mrs. Parker’s than with a woman who had never loved her.
After college, she’d moved in with her two biffles for a while, but she’d wanted more than that. So, with her small, yet sound, trust fund from her father tucked away, Leandra had finally left Brandywine, Pennsylvania.
She’d moved to Manhattan, holding on to her hopes and dreams as tightly as she had since she was a child. Sure, it had been rough. Nothing worth having was every easy, as far as she knew anyway.
When Terrence happened to hear her practicing for an audition he’d come knocking on her door. At first she ‘d been shocked.
The six-foot-tall redhaired man was shy despite his striking good looks. Whenever they met in the hall, she’d always been the one to initiate conversation. Knowing he worked late, she usually waited until midafternoon to practice since she assumed, he was out during that time.
For some reason, that day he was home. She’d poked her head into the hallway only to be pulled out by him.
“You’re coming with me, right now,” he’d stated firmly, barely giving her time to grab her coat and purse. She’d thought he’d gone crazy, but he refused to let go of her arm and practically frog-marched her to the theatre where he was working on the next Madoc masterpiece.
“Terrence! What are you doing?”
“Getting you discovered and saving my ass,” he’d said, “By the way do you have a headshot?”
Of course she did. Any actress or singer in the business carried them around when they were looking for parts. You just never could tell.
She’d reached into her bag and pulled out a folder, inside was a picture of her from a few years ago. She looked young and full of dreams, though a bit chunkier than she would have liked.
It wasn’t that she weighed less now, but with a few years her weight seemed to have left her face and had taken up residence elsewhere. Mainly her tits and ass. No amount of dieting or exercise seemed to help with that problem. Sigh.
So, she lived her life the way she wanted. Leandra loved taking long walks and the city was never a boring place to do that. She enjoyed eating out at all the ethnic delights Manhattan had to offer. Especially the new Japanese hot pot place just around the corner. Yum.
So far New York City had been fun. She enjoyed the art, the culture, and the different people she met everywhere she went. Jobs were thin on the ground for an aspiring singer. She’d gotten a part in the chorus for a show that lasted three weeks and nothing since. Still, Leandra looked on the bright side.
Leandra was determined that she was exactly where she needed to be in order to live out her dreams. Fate just hadn’t gotten around to her yet. At least that was the way she chose to see things. For now she was happy to simply have the chance to audition in front of one of her idols.
But that all changed the second she’d heard Chance Madoc’s opinion of her photo. Hurt, shame, and anger roared through her blood at his thoughtless words.
No. He didn’t just say that. OMG! He did. Well this fat chick had had enough! She was going to show him what she was made of and then she was going walk out of this dump. All the way back to Brandywine if she had to.
Knowing he was the best in the business and burning her bridges here meant giving up on a lifelong dream didn’t stop her. She walked onto that stage as if she owned it.
Her first glance at the man himself was enough to make her stomach drop. Holy shit! The guy was gorgeous. Golden boy, indeed.
He had thick, wavy blonde locks that fell casually across his perfectly tanned forehead. His skin had that healthy glow of someone who enjoyed the best of what life had to offer. And why shouldn’t he? Playboy millionaire and sought-after producer that he was, Chance Madoc was the kind of guy every girl wanted, and other guys wanted to be.
He had houses all over the country, drove expensive sports cars, dated supermodels, and had the golden touch when it came to shows, music, and television. What he lacked, apparently, was tact and a little bit of class.
Fat chick?! Well, pfppppt to you Mr. Perfect!
As she handed her sheet music over to the pianist, she ignored the man himself. He was staring at her with such intensity she would have thought he was intrigued by her. Would have being the operative words here. So he was staring. Big whoop. Sure, she would have been flattered if she hadn’t already heard his scathing opinion of her.
Douche. She remained poised and professional as she took center stage, painfully aware that Terrence had dragged her there without giving her time to dress or apply makeup. She undoubtedly looked a complete mess.
Too bad. Focus. And focus she did. Her training had been impeccable. Despite appearances, Leandra had done exceedingly well in school and had performed in a number of college shows and amateur theatre productions.
She pretended to see a wide audience in front of her. Telling herself as she imagined the crowd, that they were there to see her. They were there to hear her sing.
So she sang for them. For those make-believe fans she would have some day. Choosing one of her favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber hits, Leandra closed her eyes and began to sing.
As always, the music inside of her rose slowly, softly, until she could almost feel the words. Like breathing life to a thing, she’d always thought as she opened her mouth and let the song take over.
She was the instrument, the tool, and she would convey the message to the crowd as the composer had intended. That was her calling, her job, the only thing in the world she’d ever wanted to do.
As the final note hung in the air, she opened her eyes to find him standing, staring into her very soul. Leandra shuddered. She didn’t know why he looked like that. Like he could devour her in one bite, she just knew this was dangerous.
Chance Madoc might be a right bastard, but he looked like a bloody angel with his golden hair and brandy-colored eyes. And if he stared at her any longer she was going to do something very stupid.
Like agree to do his show or maybe even, him. Gulp.