PROLOGUE

Taylor

Her name was Alicia Blake and her ankles were trim and neat like her feet, with curly toes and tiny nails. She had curvy calves and rounded knee-caps; her thighs met and dipped outwards at the hips.

She had healthy hips, perfect for child-bearing when she found a man that interested her for more than a week.

The slimness of her waist tapered up into a pair of well-rounded breasts, with perky nipples. Her shoulders and arms, even her elbows, were shapely and somewhat freckled. The fingers on her hands were dainty; delicate. And long. She had piano hands, and she moved them beautifully when she said hello, thank you, and goodbye.

Her neck was slightly longer than was usual, and she carried her head high and silently.

Alicia was a selective mute when it came to dealing with situations she didn't agree with; hardly ever moving her cupid's bow lips except to eat. She could admit that it became a problem when she attended social events.

She had a heart sort of face, one that lent itself to softness and smooth skin. Her almond eyes were a queer blend of celery, bronze, and fool's gold.

She had quite a strong nose, shaped like a graceful arrow head, and splashed in freckles. Tarnished gold hair that waved in breezes hid small, well-tuned ears with two piercings each. She walked like a forest cat, quietly and with a feral, animal-like roll in her step, bouncing up on the balls of her feet.

Her stilettos clicked oddly in disharmony with the pulsating music. She rolled her shoulders and spun on her heel, flicking a sharp grin at the sea of faces and flash bulbs.

With a careful motion of her shoulders, Alicia shrugged the black blazer off and flipped it over her shoulder, displaying the blue and white pinstripe lining. Then she pounded the catwalk, in that rolling gait, like she owned it, prowling the crowd for the enigma that was Jacoby Pierce—her future husband.


Cheltzie

"It's Jacoby," the scruffy photographer huffed, snapping pictures of the model posing before him. "And no, I won't do it." He stood. "A marriage for publicity? What drugs are you on, Alexander?"

Alexander Stewart was Jacoby Pierce's manager and oldest friend. Not that he was being too best-friend-like at the moment. Talk about coercion.

"Jacoby, think of what it will do for your work! Think of the magazines that will want you! You can't turn down an offer like this," Alexander insisted.

"I can and have," Jay growled. "I despise the work I do as it is. I want to take genuine pictures. Not pictures of anorexic wretches that just end up airbrushed for those rags anyway!" He spun back down to his knee and started clicking away with his camera again.

"Jacoby Pierce, as your manager, I am not giving you a choice. You're going to marry Alicia Blake, happy or not," Alexander hissed.

"What about as my friend?" Jay countered quietly, never casting a glance at Alexander.

"Well, I mean-that is to say...That's not fair! You will not guilt trip me out of helping further your career! It's my job, dammit!" Alexander said, recovering not-so-smoothly from his stammering.

"Then you're fired," Jay said nonchalantly.

"Like hell. Now, Diana set up a meeting between you two. Dinner, tonight, The Chasse Chalet. She hates chicken; don't order it. She'll order a margarita; don't let her drink too much. And don't, under any circumstances, mention how her left eye is just a little closer to her nose than her right one; last time someone did that..." Alexander shivered. "Well, he can't make much use of either of his eyes anymore."

"Fine," Jay agreed begrudgingly.

"See? That's the spirit! I know you're reluctant, but just have fun. The woman is gorgeous!" Alexander went on happily.

Jay wasn't listening, though. He was formulating his own plans for tonight. Plans to make all hell break loose.


Taylor

Alicia stripped quickly, climbing out of her skirt as Diana, her agent, pulled a loose floral peasant blouse over her head and tugged the ends of her wavy hair out of the shirt collar. "Go!" She smacked her on the ass and Alicia strode from backstage, buttoning her denim shorts, barely finishing before stepping back onto the runway.

The shutters of cameras and the sparks of flashbulbs made time to the music and Alicia walked accordingly. She could feel her chest bouncing slightly and she briefly wondered if the deep V-neck would prove to be a wardrobe malfunction before she found a familiar face in the crowd. Alexander Stewart. At the end of the runway, Alicia grinned and bent at the hip, leaning towards Alexander with a wink before twirling off for the final round.

Just one more loop on the catwalk and Alicia was home-free.

The finale was simple. All of the models walked out in Henry Markovich's signature look: the little black dress with trailing peacock feathers.

Jacoby was in the crowd, with his elbows on the walk, snapping photos as fast as he could. Alicia gave her tail feathers a little shake as she passed him, smiling to herself as she disappeared backstage. This boy didn't know what he had in for him. Alicia would hit him like a train—a sexy train. And she'd enjoy it.


A/N: What you see before you is the product of...collaboration. My best friend Out There Breathing (aka Cheltzie), and I are going to make this a collab where she writes the part of Jacoby and I write Alicia. I will post chapters as they are written and edited and I would love reviews for each chapter as we are both pouring our hearts into this work. Give props to Cheltzie for coming up with a stellar plot, ya'll. She is the plug that saved this little ship from sinking. So bravo, bravo!

EDIT: Laurie's name may soon be changed...to Landon.

...But is now Jacoby "Jay" Mathson. And Elaine is now Alicia.

Leave us love,

-Tay