Hearts collide when words and worlds intertwine.
Love on the Byline, an all-new captivating, beautifully-crafted Plays & Players novel from USA Today bestselling Xio Axelrod is available now!
Blake Dillon isn’t exactly living the dream. She longs to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and make a difference in the world as a journalist. Unfortunately, her current job has her paying-off hotel staff for celebrity gossip. Tasked with shadowing a film star for an in-depth profile, Blake sees it as a chance to finally prove her worth. She never expected the interview to reconnect her with her old college crush.
Oliver Benjamin agrees to move to Los Angeles to work as the executive assistant to his best friend, a rising star. He hopes it will give him some direction. However, he soon discovers the only difference between being a frat boy and a Hollywood heartthrob is the amount of free stuff and the level of media attention. Ollie spends most of his time putting out fires, leaving little time for anything else. When Blake is sent to chronicle their lives, he finds himself face-to-face with the one that got away.
Blake and Ollie are smart enough to recognize the signs—there are enough sparks between them to melt glass—but they agree to put a lid on it until the article is finished. Much easier said than done when they’re forced to spend more time together than apart. There’s more going on than a simple interview, but they’re both professionals. They must resist temptation or risk unraveling both their lives.
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Keep reading for a look inside Love on the Byline!
Blake stared, wide-eyed. // Ollie Benjamin was a mystery she wanted to solve.
Too many of her memories of him from college had been tied up with the incident with Bran. Until recently, she’d filed both men away in her mental yearbook.
In college, Ollie had been a tantalizing combination of hot, shy, brilliant, awkward, and athletic. As well as fiercely loyal to his best friend. He seemed to remain all of those things to varying degrees. If anything, his loyalty to Bran had increased exponentially. Blake found this mentoring kids, French-speaking, expert in organization and people-handling version of Ollie intriguing.
He was also heart-stoppingly beautiful.
“Bien sûr, si cela n’est pas possible, Monsieur Cody devra malheureusement décliner l’invitation.” There was a pause, and Ollie looked up at Blake, clearly amused by whatever expression he saw on her face.
Blake realized she’d frozen still, her glass of OJ stuck midway to her lips. Lowering it to the counter, she arched a brow and gestured towards the phone in his hand as if to say really? French?
Ollie shrugged one shoulder, the apple of his cheeks turning an adorable shade of pink. Looking away, he blinked a few times before someone on the other end of his call brought back Bossy Oliver. “Oh? Merci, ce serait merveilleux. Monsieur Cody est impatient d’assister au spectacle. Oui, merci. Merci. Au revoir.”
When he disconnected the call, Blake raised her glass in a toast. “Impressive.”
“What?” Ollie set his phone on a wireless charger underneath one of the kitchen cabinets.
“What? he asks, as if he didn’t just rattle off his demands in fluent French,” she said, teasing.
“Do you speak French?”
“No, I took Spanish. None of it stuck, I’m afraid.” “Then how do you know I was making demands?” Crossing his arms, he leaned against the counter behind him. They were very nice arms.
“Spanish, French…those romance languages share enough for me to recognize some things,” she replied. “But that doesn’t answer my question.”
“My father is French,” he said, casually blowing her tiny mind. “Remember? You met him once.”
Ollie visibly deflated, though he tried to cover it by waving away her question. “It was only briefly. Anyway, yeah. I spent every summer in France until I was fifteen.”
“Wow, you’d think I’d remember something like that.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Back then, people didn’t pay much attention to anything I said.” He laughed under his breath. “Not much has changed, now that I think of it.”
“I think you’re severely underestimating yourself,” she countered. “My experience with French begins and ends with Ratatouille, but I understood enough to know you got what you wanted from that call.”
“That has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Bran. He’s at that point in his career that he only needs to ask, and lots of people will bend over backward to give him what he wants.”
“Sheesh. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”
Thankfully, he laughed. A rich, hearty sound, unguarded and free, that made her insides hum.
“He’s not so bad. Believe me, I’ve heard horror stories from other assistants. At least he’s not a diva.”
The jury was still out on that. “How did you and he become friends?” It was a curiosity how these two men could have formed such an obviously strong bond. On paper, at least, they were different in almost every possible way. She’d heard of opposites attracting, but still.
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