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Spirit of Desire

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : Pippa Newnton

ISBN :978-1-4874-4180-7

Page :119

Word Count :32790

Publication Date :2024-05-31

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : Spirit of Desire (epub) , Spirit of Desire (mobi) , Spirit of Desire (pdf) , Spirit of Desire (prc)

Category : Contemporary Romance , Romantic Suspense and Mystery , Romance , What's New

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-4180-7

She’s a stunt performer, but can she deliver when the game is for real?

Stunt performer Jo Archer can jump off buildings in spite of her fear of heights. But strange things are happening at Massive Film Studios, where she works. When studio Boss Ernesto De La Cruz asks Jo and her stunt boss, Martin Spencer, to investigate, Jo will have to call on everything she’s ever learned to uncover the trail of lies and deceit behind the sabotage. Can she also find love in the bargain?

Near the sleepy village of Broom Morton in the Cotswolds, Josephine Archer was preparing to jump off a building.

The sun glinted off the towering buildings of Massive Film studio’s backlot as Josephine, a lithe 28-year-old wearing a curly red wig, surveyed the scene below. The ground looked very far away, and the tiny airbag that she had to jump into was like a postage stamp at that distance.

She was standing in for Amelia Pitcher, the lead actress in the movie Spirit of Desire. Though Amelia was known for her dramatic flair, Jo brought the character to life in the more dangerous scenes with her stunts.

“All right, Jo,” called out the director from below. “Just like we practised, okay?”

Jo responded with a quick nod, though her heart hammered against her ribcage. Her fear of heights had been an ongoing struggle, a cruel irony for a stunt performer. Every time she had to jump from a height, she felt the familiar coil of dread tightening around her chest. Today was no exception.

At that height, the wind was quite fierce, and the director had been thinking about postponing the jump, but his schedule was tight and Jo was willing, so he decided to go ahead.

Amelia had been filmed chasing Greg across the rooftop when he was supposed to have jumped over the edge. In fact, all he had done was jump onto a platform slung just below the edge of the building. It was Jo’s jump that was important, and she stood there waiting for the director’s signal.

“Piece of cake,” she muttered under her breath, forcing a smile onto her face. Jo was determined to conquer her fear. In a line of work that demanded courage and resourcefulness, there was no room for weakness. This fear was hers to overcome and hers alone.

While she waited, out of the corner of her eye she saw Amelia, who was still on the roof, coming towards her.

Oh, no. I can do without Amelia coming to mess things up.

Amelia Pitcher came close, her red curls bouncing in the wind as she sauntered towards Jo. She stood staring at Jo while the cameraman was setting up ready for the jump.

“Are you sure you can handle this? I mean, we wouldn’t want my character to seem...afraid.”

Jo clenched her fists, her knuckles whitening as she fought to keep her composure.

This was typical of Amelia, always probing, always criticising. Amelia’s jealousy was a constant presence on set, and her taunts were as predictable as they were infuriating.

Jo stood at the edge of the building ready to jump. Her stunt boss Martin Spencer was at her side, chewing gum as usual, but he had moved back as Amelia approached.

“I think you should stand back to give Jo room to do this,” he said to Amelia.

Amelia glared at him, her face twisted into a false smile, but she stood back while the cameraman on the roof set up the shot. Below Jo could see the other camera pointing upwards ready to catch her fall. The airbag seemed like a tiny speck on the ground—a barely adequate cushion. She fought to steady her breathing, feeling the sweat trickle down the back of her neck.

“Remember what we practised,” Martin said, his voice calm and reassuring.

He had been working with Jo on this stunt for weeks, helping her prepare both physically and mentally for the jump. Their friendship had grown stronger with each passing day. He was her rock amidst the storm of her fears.

“Close your eyes and envision the jump. You have rehearsed it, Jo. You’re ready.”

Jo closed her eyes, taking a deep breath as she visualised herself soaring through the air and landing safely on the airbag below. The image steadied her nerves. Opening her eyes, she gave Martin a small nod. “Okay,” she whispered. “I can do this.”

“Of course you can,” he responded confidently. “You’re the most fearless person I know. Heights may scare you, but they don’t define you.”

His words echoed in her mind, mingling with her own doubts and insecurities. Part of her wondered if she was truly capable of conquering her fear. Still, with Martin by her side, she felt the tiniest spark of courage ignite within her.

“All right, Jo.” The director’s voice crackled through their earpieces. “In three, two, one...Action.”

* * * *

Ernesto De La Cruz, the owner of Massive Studios, a tubby genial man, stood unobtrusively in a corner of the lot watching. He loved watching his actors perform. He was well loved by both actors and crew. They would do anything for him. This was the secret of his success, and as a result, they had created many highly praised films.

High above he could see Jo preparing for the jump. He watched with pride. He loved his studio, he loved the way the crews created the sets, the lighting, he loved the way the actors interpreted the scripts. Filmmaking was in his blood and this latest film, Spirit of Desire, was in a sense his baby. He had written the outline, and Nina Moralas, one of his scriptwriters, had taken it from there. Amelia Pitcher had been his choice for the leading lady. She was supposed to be a detective out to get her man, played by Greg Thomas, only to fall totally in love with him after numerous chases. This was where Jo came in. Amelia was fine when it came to studio sets, but when it came to the action, the chase scenes, it was Jo Archer who supplied the thrills.

* * * *

The moment had come. Jo pushed all thoughts from her mind, focusing solely on making the perfect jump. Martin and Amelia stood back out of shot. Jo took a run towards the edge of the building, her heart pounding. As she leapt, she felt like a bird as the air whistled past her. Then the realisation that she was heavier than a bird set in and she plunged towards the ground, her body tensed, anticipating the impact. Her mind raced with thoughts of Martin’s unwavering faith in her abilities, and for the first time in her life, Jo felt as if she could truly conquer her fear of heights.

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Tags: Romance, Mystery, Thriller, women's fiction