Page 16 of The Secret Father

‘Lindy Lacey,’ she said, smiling warmly. With brown eyes, brown hair and a slow smile, he didn’t look like someone who could produce such dark menace on the printed page; he looked much too wholesome.

‘You shouldn’t worry about admitting you need help from Sam, Lindy Lacey. He’s very good at making tough concepts simple, and he’s no tyrant.’ He gave her a shrewd grin. ‘You’re a latecomer; it’s bound to take you a while to settle in. I’ve outlined the scene and what’s happening, who’s talking and for approximately how long. You just need to substitute suitable medical lingo. If you need a hand, just yell.’

Lindy didn’t yell. Several hours later she was curled up in a corner of Hope’s trailer, eating a plate of food and feeling cautiously pleased with the results of her efforts, when her sister came in. She didn’t notice Lindy at first. She sat down in front of the mirror and closed her eyes.

‘You look exhausted,’ Lindy said.

Hope started. ‘You’ve finally perfected the art of invisibility, I see.’ Her smile flashed out and the lines of strain around her eyes vanished.

‘Perhaps you should have earlier nights.’

‘There’s no need for painful subtlety, Lindy,’ Hope said wearily. ‘I’m not about to do anything to jeopardise this movie,’ she added firmly. ‘I want to be taken seriously as an actress, not someone who got the job because of her famous face and long legs. I’m on time and I don’t do tantrums.’

‘How did you get the job?’

‘You mean did I sleep with the producer? Or would it bother you more if it was the director?’

Anger flashed in her sister’s eyes, but Lindy didn’t back down; she stared calmly back. Something was clearly bothering Hope, who normally had a sunny disposition.

‘I meant, how did you get the job?’

‘If you must know, I did a test for a part in Shadow of Her Smile,’ Hope said more coolly, referring to the previous year’s summer box-office hit which Lloyd Elliot had produced and directed. ‘I didn’t get it, but Lloyd remembered me, and when he got involved in the project with Sam he mentioned my name. I did a test that blew Sam’s mind,’ she said with engaging frankness. ‘Before you say it, yes, I am grateful to Lloyd but not that grateful.’

‘Something’s going on.’

‘Just forget it, Lindy, forget it,’ Hope pleaded wearily.

Lindy sighed. What choice did she have? she thought, giving a philosophical shrug. ‘Is the food always this good?’ She pushed aside the empty plate before she got to her feet. The catering trailer appeared to produce vast quantities of food all day. ‘I’ll be the size of a house if I go on like this.’

‘Not with your metabolic rate,’ Hope scoffed. ‘It’s my hips that doughnuts love.’ She gave a sigh before placing her hands on said luscious curves. ‘Incidentally, I think Sam has sent out the cavalry to find you.’

‘I wasn’t hiding,’ Lindy observed. Wasn’t there going to be a second of her day when the darned man wasn’t brought into the conversation?

‘Are you quite sure about that?’ Hope gave a little smile which set Lindy’s teeth on edge. ‘I hope you and Sam didn’t miss me too much…?’

Lindy kept her face placid. ‘I can’t speak for him but, quite frankly, I did. I could have done with some hand-holding to break the ice.’

The spikiness evaporated instantly from her sister’s lovely face. ‘Of course you did,’ she said with contrition. ‘I know I’ve left you to sink or swim, but I can’t imagine you drowning.’

For some reason the colour of Sam Rourke’s eyes popped into Lindy’s head. She flicked her ponytail with her fingers and banished the recollection of vivid blue. The most a girl could hope for would be to tread water when she looked into those sinful orbs.

‘It’s mostly high-tension monotony really,’ Hope soothed. ‘There’s no reason to feel intimidated. Sam’s pretty demanding, but he doesn’t stamp around ranting—he’s much too subtle for that,’ she reflected drily. ‘I suspect he’ll employ whatever tactics he sees fit to drag what he wants out of us. He obviously has a clear mental image of how things should be done, but he’s quite willing to listen to ideas, up to a point. He’s incredibly devious.’ She sounded quite admiring about that.

‘The crew seem to be high-spirited,’ Lindy said. If the couple of hours she’d spent watching that morning were anything to go by, that was an understatement.