It took Miles a moment to realise why the mermaid he’d saved from the rocks was quite so indignant about it. In his defence, he’d only ever spent one evening with her, and she most definitely hadn’t been dressed as a mermaid then.
Besides, who’d have expected Haven Hapsgood to be running the kids’ entertainment at the celebrity wedding of the year, rather than attending it?
Haven leapt to her feet, the ridiculous sequinned mermaid tail flapping around her ankles, and her tangled blond hair hanging loose around her shoulders, covering most of the uncomfortable-looking shell bra top Miles had felt pressed against his chest until a moment ago.
“What are you doing here?” she asked accusingly, as if he were the one acting out of character.
Huh. At least he wasn’t dressed up as a mythical sea creature.
Taking a moment before answering, Miles folded his arms behind his head where he lay on the path, and threw a patented smirk in her direction. That smirk had got him out of—and into—all sorts of trouble in his twenty-eight years. “Saving your life, it seems, Miss Hapsgood.”
“Oh honestly!” Hands on her sequinned hips, Haven rolled her eyes. “I was hardly likely to die tumbling down that hill. Whatever Bentley’s mother seems to think about lawsuits.”
The squalling kid and his mother had disappeared, Miles realised belatedly, probably to make sure they didn’t miss any more of the wedding.
As he pushed himself up against the ground, he saw that they had a whole new audience. The other kids whose parents were attending the wedding, along with another mermaid, a seahorse, and an octopus, were staring at Miles and Haven as Haven tried to brush some of the sand from her scales.
Time to put on The Show, Miles thought.
The Show was what his sister Gray called his professional persona. She’d always claimed that “Miles Jackson—actor” was a very different person to the brother she’d grown up with in the trailer park. She’d said it often enough that it had stuck, even in his head, apparently.
All Miles knew was that the viewing public—the people who paid to see his films, who kept him employed—didn’t want to see another guy from a trailer park, someone just like them.
They wanted a star. So that was what Miles gave them.
He kept the real Miles—the one who’d run away with Gray before he was even eighteen—secret for the people who earned the right to know him.
Hoping his body retained the muscle memory from his last action movie (where he’d died heroically, thank you) Miles tensed and then released, springing from his prone position to standing in one swift move. He allowed himself a small grin at the resulting gasp and small smattering of applause from his onlookers. Then he turned to Haven and smirked.
“I believe the words you were looking for were thank you.”
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