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The Girl Behind the Camera

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Blurb

Alexa Allen is a college drop out living in LA with a lunatic roommate and an unsual job that pays enough money to keep up her less than glamorous LA lifestyle. That job? Taking pictures of celebrities. Not just any pictures though, scandalous pictures that could ruin not only their careers but their lives as well.

Sloan Cole is one of those celebrities. After tracking Alexa down to retrieve photos that could jeopardize his career, he realizes that the only way he's going to keep that photo from getting into the wrong hands is to play dirty.

Will Sloan fall for the girl behind the camera or will he simply make her a pawn in his game to keep his career intact?

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Chapter 1
"Just a little closer to the window, James," I mumble to myself as I zoom in on the hairy, overweight man across the street. Target: James Taylor Age: 57 Occupation: California State Senator James is currently cheating on his wife with someone who looks to be around my age and they didn't even bother closing the curtains in their hotel room. I've been following him around for days, trying to get the right angle, but he's good. He covers his face, her face. Body guards everywhere. Today, I decided to follow them up to the seventh floor of the hotel and make note of their room number. I'm in the hotel across the street on the ninth floor, at the perfect angle to catch whatever might be going on in room 707 at the Ramada Inn.  "Ewww, sick," I groan catching a glimpse of James undressing. His back is still to me, so I'm impatiently waiting for him to turn around. "Give me something, James." Once these photos leak, the affair will be the least of his worries. That hairy back of his is sure to catch far more attention. Don't rich people have the funds to wax that stuff off? How can this girl possibly be turned on by feeling up Snuffleupagus? "That's it James. Turn around...turn around." I snap a few photos just as his face comes into view. "Yes!"  Now for the side chick. I zoom in on her, but his large, woolly back is still in the way. I'm just about to give up when it looks like he drops something and reaches down to pick it up. In plain sight now is Meredith Powell; the twenty-something year old daughter of a very well known and well-respected Supreme Court Judge. I snap a few more pictures before I notice her looking in my direction. Before I can move, she points to me and James turns around. I'm no lip reader, but I could've sworn I just saw him drop the f-bomb at least ten times before storming away. That's my cue to get the hell out of here. I made sure to put my hotel room in my ex-boyfriend's name just in case I'm caught. I'm pretty good at what I do and I've never actually been caught, but I've come close a few times. Very close.  I make a mad dash for the hotel entrance and slide into the backseat of a cab without taking my shades off. As the cab drives away, I turn around to see James with a couple of his meat head body guards screaming at the poor bell hop. I turn back around and chuckle, taking my camera out of my bag. "Cha-ching," I whisper to myself, swiping through the photos. It's payday, courtesy of Senator James Taylor. All drinks on him tonight. I don't work for a company per-say. I'm more of an independent contractor that offers my services to any array of internet gossip columns or tacky supermarket tabloids. Right now, I'm on my way to the offices of the LA Circle. They pay the big bucks and scandal is their main avenue. This will be perfect for them. I waltz into the lobby and stop in front of the receptionist desk, dropping my bag to the floor with a loud thud. "I need to see Owen." The receptionist, a different one than I remember from the last time I was here, gives me a once over before turning her nose up. Another classic Hollywood wannabe snob. Her name tag reads "Elle." She looks like Victoria Beckham, but she's just a receptionist. It's a little too soon to start the I'm better than you bit.  I don't dress up. Ever. Right now, I'm wearing my favorite burgundy hoodie, gray skinny jeans and my white Converse. This is about as good as it gets for me. My short, dark brown hair is always a mess since it's naturally curly and the ocean air in LA makes me look like I stuck my finger into an electrical socket. I have long, thick eyelashes, courtesy of my dad, and bright blue eyes so I don't feel the need to wear make up. To top off my look, I almost always have gum in my mouth and I chew it obnoxiously. Especially when I'm nervous or irritated. Like right now, for example. "Listen here, Elle," I bite, narrowing my eyes at her as she scrunches her nose at me in disgust. "I know you're new here, so I'm trying to be nice. I need to see Owen." She rolls her eyes before picking up the phone. "Owen, there's a homeless girl here to see you." I snatch the phone from her well manicured hands and scowl at her before lifting it to my ear. "Owen, it's Alexa." "Ah, of course. I should've known it was you when she mentioned homeless girl," he laughs. "Gee, thanks. I guess I can go somewhere else with these photos of Senator Taylor with his mistress," I say nonchalantly, propping myself up against the desk and checking out my terrible  nails. "Wait. Senator Taylor? As in-" "James Taylor, Owen. Yes. Now tell Posh Spice here to let me up." I give Elle a fake smile and she glares at me. I give the phone back to Elle and she replies to Owen with a simple okay before hanging up. "Mr. Barnes will see you now, Miss..." She trails off like she's trying to think of something witty to say to me. I smack my gum louder than necessary and give her a wink before I walk towards the elevators. I can practically feel the daggers she's staring through me right now. I like her. I hope she's here next time I come back, though I doubt she will be. Owen is a dick and his receptionists don't really stick around for very long. I go up to the fifth floor where Owen's office is located. As soon as the elevator doors open, he's standing there, eagerly waiting for me.  "Let's see it," he demands, with wide, money-hungry eyes.  Owen is good looking. He's tall, dark and handsome with the body of a god but his personality makes him the ugliest person in the world. He's rude and demanding, making millions off of the lies, secrets and failures of others. It's sick really. And yes, I do know that I do the same thing for far less money. I take my camera out of my bag and pull up the most recent photos. Owen's eyes are glowing like a kid on Christmas morning. "This...this is good. This is really good." I bite my lip, watching him react just the way I hoped he would. With every photo his eyes scan across, my heart starts beating a little faster. This could be huge for me.  "Follow me," he says, handing me back my camera and turning towards his office. Once we reach his office, I sit down in the big, comfy blue chair in front of his desk. "I'll give you five grand for all eight photos. Exclusive rights," he offers. "Ten for exclusive rights. Do you have any idea how much money TMZ would pay me to get their hands on these?" Owen should know by now that I'm a master negotiator and if he doesn't tell me what I want to hear, someone else will.  Or at least, I'll make him think that. He sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. "You're killing me here." "Fine. Eight. Final offer."  He blows out a breath and clasps his hands together on his desk. "Okay, eight it is." He pulls out his checkbook and I watch intently as he makes out a check to yours truly for $8,000. I know I've basically ruined the lives of not only the people in these photos, but their families as well. I know that this is no better than selling drugs on the street corner. I know I'm a terrible, horrible person for exploiting the private lives of celebrities and politicians and ruining their careers.  Do I care? No. Quite frankly, I do not. If they don't want to get caught, they shouldn't be doing it in the first place. ________________________ "Harry, get dressed. We're going out tonight," I say putting my bag down on the kitchen counter.  Harry's an artist; a computer animation genius rather. He's one of the most talented people I've ever met, but he's bat shit crazy. He's half Japanese and he spends the summers in Japan with his mom. She moved back after she divorced Harry's dad a few years ago. I met Harry at the San Diego Comic Con and we dated briefly before I realized he was completely insane. We decided to stay friends and eventually became roommates when my former roommate, or boyfriend, decided to bail on me right after my mom died. Harry looks up from his drawing and sighs. "Not tonight, Lex."  I sit down at the table across from him. "Come on. We have to celebrate." I pull the check out of my pocket, smooth it out and lay it down in front of him. His eyes widen. "Holy shit!" "Right? Come out with me. You can finish this later," I say, folding the check and putting it back in my pocket. He runs his hands through his messy black hair, his pencil still clenched between his thumb and index finger. "I don't know. I have to finish this by tomorrow. It's the new cover for Zombie Hitman 5." "We won't be out long, I swear!" I promise him. He sighs again. "Okay, fine." After changing into something a little more bar-hopping appropriate, a red tank and a pair of ripped jeans with combat boots, I grab my bag and head out the door with Harry following close behind. Our normal spot is a bar called Hootie's; just walking distance from our apartment. We decide to stop there first. I always keep my camera with me since celebrities, especially B-listers, are known to hang out around here. I see a few of them already, but none of them doing anything camera worthy. We have a couple of drinks before Harry finally decides he has to get back to his drawing. I stay at the bar, throw back a couple more beers and busy myself with my phone. I hear a conversation not too far away that catches my attention and I listen in, like the nosy person I am. "You have what I need?" "I need it tonight, Robbie!" "I don't care! Just get it for me. I'll be over in ten minutes." The voice is deep and gravelly. Sexy even. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a tall, muscular frame stand up and walk towards the door. I grab my bag and follow him from a distance.  He walks alone down the dark alleyway with his hands in his pockets. I follow him a couple of blocks until I notice him stopping at a hole in the wall tattoo shop. He walks inside and I watch as he and another guy have a rather heated discussion. Holy shit. That's Sloan Cole. He's probably the sexiest man alive with his incredible body and dreamy blue eyes. His hair looks like it was spun out of pure gold. He's literally the perfect male specimen. He's also one if the best actors I've ever seen. What is he doing here? Target: Sloan Cole Age: 25 Occupation: Actor I take out my camera and use the zoom feature to get a better look. It takes a second to get it to focus, but when I do, I gasp. Perfect golden boy, Sloan Cole, is snorting a line of coke right in front of an open window. I snap a couple of photos that couldn't have been at a better angle if I were sitting right in front of him. Damn, this guy us dumb. He deserves every bit of what I'm about to do to him.

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