"You'd like me to what?" Estrella's
husky voice couldn't hide her shock. This was the Gala Reception
for the Marché International du Film, and the Marché
or Market, was the nuts and bolts side of the Cannes film festival.
All the important people were here tonight.
"It could be a good time."
Heat scalded her cheeks. Ignoring
the financiers gathered around them, Estrella met the arrogant
Italian's gaze. "I'm
afraid you've got the wrong woman."
One of his eyebrows lifted. He seemed
utterly oblivious of the others and the fact that this was
a private reception, a very exclusive reception, for those
with deep pockets and the right connections. The Market was
the place where films were acquired, foreign rights were
traded, and money changed hands. And the Market was the sole
reason Estrella was in Cannes. "You
are Estrella Galvàn. Model?"
She felt as if he'd put a choke-hold
on her. She could barely breathe. "If you don't mind,
I'm trying to do business here."
His light eyes -- a cool silver gray --
am I." There was an embarrassed laugh and a low murmur
of voices from the group of men. Some were amused, some uncomfortable
and Estrella's face burned from temple to chin.
"I think we could have a good time," the Italian
continued with the same appalling smile. "Call me."
She stiffened as he pressed a satin-finished
business card into her hand and immediately tried to return
the card. "I
don't want it."
"Why not? You look like a fun
girl. I'm always interested in a party."
Why was he doing this? What was he trying
to achieve? She'd pulled a hundred strings to get an invite to
the party tonight and she had just one chance -- this chance
-- to interest these financiers in her film. The two week festival
was halfway over and so far she hadn't found anyone willing to
back her project. The movie was everything right now. The children
were depending on her. "I
appreciate your vote of confidence," she said tightly, keeping
her flawless smile in place, "but Italian men don't really
do it for me."
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