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When Stars Align

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Gertie: The only romance in my life came from the pages of my books. It was safer that way. Writing was supposed to be my hobby. An escape from reality. Until one of my books got published. Fifty-eight weeks on the bestseller list and a movie deal, and I was set for life. Content to live out my days on my family’s potato farm in Idaho. I’m an introvert. I write under a pen name. My mother is the only person in my life who knows my secret. And I’d like to keep it that way. I stepped far outside my comfort zone when I agreed to spend the summer on the set of the movie. The director hired me as a consultant. Not an actress. But somehow, I ended up in the movie. Grove: Thirty-four years in Hollywood, and I’ve done it all. But I draw the line at movies based on romance novels. I should’ve turned down the role. Now I’m stuck on a remote movie set in Canada. The entire project is an epic disaster. The author of the book is a clumsy farmer from Idaho, who dresses like a man. She doesn’t belong on the set, but the director insisted. The fresh Canadian air is messing with my head. There’s no other explanation for my attraction to the farm girl. And now she’s playing my love interest in a movie rife with steamy sex. I’m a professional. I know how to behave myself on the set. But when the cameras stop rolling, all bets are off.

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Chapter 1

© 2022 by Sara Leanne Adams

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or used in any manner without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Warning: this book contains sexual content not suitable for persons under 18 years of age.


My private jet lifted off the ground, heading north out of the city. It was early June, and Los Angeles was under a thick layer of smog amid soaring daytime temperatures in the nineties.

“I hate the cold,” I grumbled as I watched my beloved city disappear from sight.

“It’s not cold in Canada in the summer,” Gentry sighed without looking up from her tablet.

“Bullshit, it’s not.”

“It’s eighty-nine degrees in Toronto today, Grover.”

Yes. My parents actually named me after a furry blue monster from Sesame Street.

And why did they do that?

Because they let my sister pick out my name.

Who lets a six-year-old name a baby?

I was the youngest of five. A late in life oops. My folks were in their early forties when I was born. They didn’t have a great track record with birth control.

Mom got pregnant at sixteen, pumping out three kids before her twentieth birthday. She got her tubes tied, and there were no more babies until she was thirty-five. Apparently, tubes can grow back together. Gentry was their first and only daughter. And spoiled rotten. Hence, the reason she was allowed to name me when I made my surprise appearance six years later.

“That’s great,” I muttered. “But what’s the temperature in butt fuck Idaho, which is twenty hours north of Toronto.”

“You have to stop using that phrase.”


“Because Lana Lush is from Idaho. She’d probably find that offensive.”

“I don’t give two fucks what some potato farmer finds offensive.”

“She wrote King of the Castle.”

“So what?”

“She’s going to be on the set.”


“I don’t know, Grover. The producers value her input, I guess.”

“That’s ridiculous, and you know it!” I barked. “Nobody does that. She didn’t write the script. There’s no reason for her to be there. She sold the rights. That’s the end of her involvement.”

“I have to side with Grove on this one,” Issac said, smoothing out a crease in his pants.

Issac was my personal assistant. He didn’t always take my side, but he was with me one hundred percent when it came to taking this awful movie role.

“That’s because he pays you to agree with him,” Gentry said.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” Issac huffed. “I’m not convinced this is the best choice of roles for Grove.”

“I’m an action star.”

“It’s time for you to try some different genres,” Gentry said.

“I do other types of movies, Gen,” I sighed. “I’ve done adventure, murder mystery, war movies, and I even did a historical film.”

“And now you’re starring in a romantic drama.”

“It’s a chick flick,” I snorted.

“It’s not a chick flick, Grover.”

“There’s all kinds of gratuitous sex,” Issac said.

“That doesn’t make it a chick flick,” she said. “And there is a great story.”

“The casting is terrible.”

“Really?” she laughed, glancing up from her tablet with a smirk. “The male lead is a grumpy hermit. I think you’re perfect for the role.”

“I’m not a hermit.”

“You’re grumpy.”

“Only because I’m being forced to make a movie I have no interest in making.”

“Okay then,” she snorted. “Because you’re normally a ray of fucking sunshine.”

“I’m a pleasant guy,” I protested. “Issac? Am I a grump?”

“You can be prickly and standoffish.”

“I’m allowed to have bad moods.”

“You signed on for this movie,” Gentry said. “Do you want it to be a box office flop?”

“It’s going to be.”

“People are going to see it because you’re in it. You’re one of the most famous movie stars in the world. And you’re going to throw yourself into the role, just like you would for any other movie.”

“I hate this stupid beard,” I whined, scratching at the thick hair that covered my jaw.

“Do you want to wear a fake beard that has to be glued to your face? That’s a lot of extra time in the makeup chair every morning.”

“I don’t want that,” I said. “That’s why I’ve spent the past several months growing this rat’s nest.”

“And imagine trying to do kissing scenes with a fake beard?”

“I don’t want to do any kissing scenes.”

“You better get over that,” Issac said. “There are tons of kissing scenes in this film. And I use that term loosely. Not to mention your co-star is totally wrong for the part.”

“Exactly,” I muttered. “Twila Winston can’t pull off a sweet, innocent girl.”

“She might surprise you,” Gentry said.

“I highly doubt it.”

“Trees and water,” I muttered, staring out the window as we approached the tiny runway in Pickle Lake, Ontario. “They could’ve filmed this movie anywhere. What’s so special about this place?”

“This isn’t where we’re filming the movie,” Gentry said. “We have a three-hour car ride to the location.”

“I’m feeling very uneasy about this.”

“Relax, Grover,” she sighed. “It’s beautiful here. Try to enjoy the scenery.”

“We’re gonna get eaten by bears.”

“No, we’re not.”

I glanced across the cabin at my bodyguard. “Do you know what to do if we encounter a bear, Wendell?”

“Run?” he chuckled.

“We’re doomed,” I declared, shaking my head.

“What is that smell?” I mumbled, wrinkling my nose as I paused at the top of the steps.

“It’s called fresh air, Grover,” Gentry sighed, rolling her eyes while she watched me climb down the stairs to the tarmac.

“It’s weird and unnatural.”

“It will do wonders for your asthma, little brother.”

“That’s what you said when I quit smoking,” I muttered.

“And wasn’t I right?”

“I suppose.”

“I know it did wonders for my lungs,” Issac mumbled from behind me.

“I heard that, Issac,” I grumbled.

“Good,” he declared. “Smoking is a dirty, disgusting habit.”


“When what?” he sighed.

“When did I ask?”

“Oh, Good Lord,” he said.

“When are you going to grow up, Grover?” Gentry sighed.

“When you stop calling me Grover! I’m not a puppet from Sesame Street!”

“Get in the car,” she ordered, holding open the back door of the black SUV that was waiting for us.

If I hadn’t achieved fame as a child star, I would’ve changed my name the day I turned eighteen. But it was far too late by then. I was a household name, and I was stuck with Grover for the rest of my life.

Most people respected my wishes, and called me Grove. Except Gentry. And I let her get away with it. If anyone else dared call me that, I would set them straight.

I climbed in the backseat, buckling my seatbelt with a heavy sigh. “Wake me up in three hours.”

I opened my eyes, squinting in the late afternoon sunlight.

“Why are we stopped in the middle of the road?” I grumbled, staring out the window at the trees. “Are we on a gravel road?”

“There’s a moose in the middle of the road,” Gentry whispered, pointing toward the front windshield.

“Holy fuck,” I muttered. “This is too much. I want to go back to LA right now.”

“Why don’t you relax and enjoy this beautiful moment?” Gentry suggested. “Have you ever seen a moose before?”

“Sure,” I snorted, bringing up a photo of one on my phone. “I don’t need to drive to the middle of nowhere to see one. Why isn’t it getting out of the way?”

“He will,” the driver chuckled. “When he’s good and ready.”

“How long until we get to the resort?” I inquired.

“Resort?” He glanced in the rearview mirror with an amused grin. “I think you’re in for a surprise, son.”

“What is he talking about, Gentry?”

“We’re not staying at a resort, Grover.”

“Then where the fuck are we staying?”

“A fishing camp. I told you that already.”

“Um, no, you did not!” I barked. “I would’ve remembered something like that. Did you know we were going to be staying at a fishing camp, Issac?”

“Yes,” he sighed. “And I’m absolutely stoked about staying in a cabin for the next three months. It’s been at the top of my bucket list to sleep on a worn out mattress, and shower under a trickle of cold water. I’m so looking forward to getting bitten by mosquitoes the size of Goliath beetles and Lord knows what else.”

“Can’t you honk at him?” I asked the driver.

“Absolutely not. If I scare him, he might charge at the vehicle.”

“So, we’re just supposed to sit here all day and wait for him to move?”

“We’ve got company,” Issac announced when another SUV, identical to ours, pulled up behind us.

“Why is that boy getting out?!” the driver exclaimed.

I turned around, watching as a young guy walked up alongside our vehicle, his eyes focused intently on the moose. He was dressed in a red plaid button up shirt and blue jeans, a ratty Seattle Mariners ball cap pulled low on his forehead.

“I don’t think that’s a boy,” Gentry chuckled.

“I would concur,” Issac snorted. “The boulders on her chest would suggest she is a member of the fairer sex.”

My eyes dropped to her chest. “There’s no way those are real,” I scoffed. “Nobody is that naturally out of proportion. She’s a fucking toothpick. She probably weighs ninety pounds soaking wet.”

“Her breasts probably weigh that alone,” Wendell chuckled.

“Never mind the size of her breasts,” the driver said. “Why does she have a death wish?”

The moose lifted his head, staring right at the girl as she walked slowly toward him.

“Are we really gonna sit here and watch some girl get her ass kicked by a moose?” Wendell asked.

“Yep,” I said. “She’s the idiot who got out of the car.”

The driver rolled down his window a crack. “She’s talking to the moose,” he whispered.

A soft, angelic voice wafted through the window.


What the fuck?

The fresh air was messing with my head.

I didn’t use words like that.

The girl walked to the far side of the clearing, calling out to the moose. He ambled toward her, vacating his spot in the middle of the road. When he reached the girl, he leaned down and nuzzled her face before disappearing into the woods.

“Wow,” Gentry whispered. “That was amazing.”

“Fucking stupid, is what it was,” I growled.

“That was a very dangerous thing to do,” the driver lectured when she returned to the road.

“Moose aren’t predators,” she explained. “They’re gentle and solitary creatures, unless provoked. And it’s best not to try and talk to them during mating season, but that happens in the fall. Early summer is a safe time to engage with them.”

“Are you some kind of moose whisperer, or something?” he asked.

“I talk to all kinds of wild animals,” she replied. “Most attacks on humans are simply because the animal feels threatened, not because they want to eat you for lunch.”

“Good to know,” the driver said.

“What a whack job,” I muttered.

The resort consisted of a shit ton of little red cabins scattered along the lakeshore, and a large field that served as a campground.

“That better be mine,” I said, pointing to the two-storey cottage tucked into the towering pines at the edge of the parking lot.

“That’s the store,” the driver chuckled. “The owners live upstairs.”

“Where am I staying, Gentry?”

“The cast are staying in the cabins,” she explained. “The crew will be staying in trailers.”

“I better have my own cabin. I’m not sharing.”

“You have your own cabin,” she sighed.

I opened the door and climbed out, taking in my surroundings with a heavy sigh. At least I didn’t have to worry about being harassed by the paps and crazy fans. I could walk around without Wendell glued to my side. That was a definite positive to filming in the middle of nowhere.

Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.

The SUV with the weirdo animal whisperer pulled in next to us. I figured they must be part of the crew when they followed us all the way to the camp.

A tall, thin dude emerged from the backseat. His outfit consisted of a white bucket hat, oversized red glasses, a white dress shirt and tie, yellow windbreaker style jacket, beige khaki shorts, and deck shoes with knee-high socks.

“Good Lord,” Issac muttered. “Is he trying to make a fashion statement, or did he just grab random items from his closet when he got dressed this morning?”

“Elwood Woodbeck,” he said, extending his hand. “I’m the still photographer. It’s an absolute pleasure to meet you, Mr. Goodwood.”

“Grove,” I said, accepting his handshake.

The crazy chick climbed out, staring at her feet while the photographer introduced himself to the rest of my group. She wasn’t afraid to talk to animals, but a group of humans turned her into a terrified little mouse.

“I hope you have more than one assistant,” I said.

“What do you mean?” Elwood asked, wrinkling his brow.

“She’s got a death wish. I bet there’s lots of bears here, just waiting to eat a foolish kid for lunch.”

She lifted her head, deep, soulful brown eyes penetrating me with an intense stare.

“She’s not my assistant,” Elwood clarified.

“And I’m not a kid,” she informed me. “I’m twenty-five.”

“What crew do you work on?” Gentry inquired.

“Um,” she stuttered. “I’m Gertie Grady.”

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you,” Gentry gushed. “Grover, this is Lana Lush.”

“What?” I grumbled.

“Gertie wrote King of the Castle.”

“Great,” I said. “And you sold the movie rights, so I’m not sure why you’re here. Perhaps, you should go back to Idaho and spend your time chatting with moose, instead of hanging out on a movie set you’ve got no business being on.”

“Grover!” Gentry hissed.

“I’m gonna go find out which cabin in mine,” I announced before heading toward the store with Issac and Wendell in tow.

“Please accept my apologies on behalf of my brother,” Gentry said as we walked away. “He doesn’t mean to be rude.”

Yes, he does.

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