Vanishing Act

A Novel

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In this captivating standalone romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Stone Walls, Hollywood’s hottest actor meets his dream woman: a free spirit who has no idea who he is.

After personal heartbreak and professional setbacks, Landon Price is running on empty. If he doesn’t take a break from the public eye soon, he’ll risk becoming another cautionary tale in a town that’s full of them. So in between film projects, Landon asks his agent to clear his schedule and then he simply . . . vanishes. Renting a discreet home on a remote Hawaiian beach for the summer, Landon begins to recharge. And in the process of finding himself, he meets a beautiful, feisty local who challenges everything he thinks he knows.

Zara Jobert has no interest in being a conquest for a cocky playboy from the mainland—even one with undeniable charisma and movie-star good looks. So she’s pleasantly surprised when the handsome newcomer’s persistent advances mellow into cozy banter and a sneakily seductive intimacy. When Landon reveals his true identity, Zara’s hurt that he lied, but she doesn’t care that he’s famous. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. And falling for Landon might come with a heartbreaking choice—between Zara’s old life, and a new love.

Look for A. M. Madden’s thrilling True Heroes series
STONE WALLS | GLASS CEILINGS | DARK CORNERS

Praise for Vanishing Act

Vanishing Act is a playful and delightful romance story for a lazy, sunny afternoon on your very own sandy beach.”—The Reading Cafe

“This story is told from alternating POV’s which I always like, because it is easier to understand what both characters are thinking and feeling. This a beautiful, enchanting story.”—Cocktails & Books

“This heartfelt and flirty romance is the stuff that fairytales are made of. Vanishing Act isn’t your run-of-the-mill Hollywood romance. It packed the right amount of emotional punch with easy to love and relatable characters. The ending melted my heart. Did I just go to Hawaii and fall for Landon, Zara and a dog named Marshmallow aka Spike? I sure did. One-click worthy.”—KC Book Reviews

Vanishing Act is another entertaining and touching read from this incredible author and the perfect summer read!”—Prisoners of Print

“Hot movie star . . . check! Gorgeous young girl . . . check! Tropical paradise complete with beaches and amazing views . . . check!”—Schmexy Girl Book Blog

“I really loved this book, and its characters.”—A Crazy Vermonter’s Book Reviews

Vanishing Act is like a Hawaiian cocktail: sweet, sparkling, and satisfying! Escapism at its finest, Madden delivers the perfect summer romance.”—Jessica Lemmon, author of Eye Candy

Vanishing Act is a sexy, funny, opposites-attract romance. A. M. Madden provided great dialogue and banter with a good balance of romance and conflict.”—Harlequin Junkie

“I’m a sucker for Hollywood romance stories and A. M. Madden delivered exactly what I needed. Sweet and sexy with laugh-out-loud moments, Vanishing Act is a beautifully written love story that defines the meaning of soul mates.”New York Times bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin

“The chemistry is pretty spectacular and will have your heart pumping!”—Books and Boys Book Blog

This standalone novel includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Vanishing Act

My agent, Roger, had explained years earlier that the more successful I became, the more vicious the rumors, the more people would want a piece of me, and the more opportunists would crawl out from the woodwork.
Through the years I’d seen my fair share of all of the above. It wasn’t until this last film that it had finally gotten to me.

What was that saying, Bad things happen in threes? All three of mine occurred while filming that damn romance movie, Broken Branches. If I had learned anything from this experience, it was to trust my gut. The only reason I had accepted this role was because of the director. Being associated with his name would serve me well, and not only as an actor. Even though it was a romance, which I normally shied away from, I knew I’d learn a ton from him.

Turned out I had, but at the cost of my sanity.

Nothing came easily, especially in Hollywood.

Three days into shooting, my brother died in a freak accident.

Halfway through filming, one of the wardrobe assistants accused me of sexual harassment. The charges were quickly dropped when another female on staff came to my defense, outing the chick for her scheme to ruin me. The social media crap storm it had unleashed had made it nearly impossible to leave the house and caused a delay in production.

A week had passed since we wrapped, and with each day I knew what I needed to do. I glanced at my vigilant agent, droning on about upcoming opportunities, knowing darn well that the moment I said what I had come to say, he would lose his ever-loving mind.

“So, I separated them into definites, maybes, and absolutely nots.” Roger’s monotone voice interrupted my thoughts. His gaze narrowed in on the piles that majestically sat on the glass top of his desk. Of course, the definites represented a small percentage of the total.

“I need out for a while,” I blurted, deciding it was better to rip off the Band-Aid.

His eyes cut to my face, and the astonished look did little to hide his true feelings. I could always tell what he was thinking. Roger had been with me for five years—a bit of a player, but it worked for me.

“Say again?”

“I said, I need out for a while.”

He shook his head so forcibly, his jowls jiggled. “You can’t do that, Landon. You’re at the top of your game. It’ll be career suicide.”

“Nah. I’ll be fine.” Walking over to his well-stocked bar to help myself to two fingers of his finest whiskey, I deliberately ignored his prediction. Roger knew I was exhausted, but he didn’t know I was so darn tired, both physically and mentally, that I couldn’t think straight.

“Landon. Cut me a break. My heart can’t handle this. You’re going to kill me, and then where will you be? I dedicated my life to you, you prick.”

“Stop the drama, no one is having a heart attack. I’m not disappearing for a year. I just need a break.”

Turning my back to him, I gazed out at the view of LA at night. A cold metropolis filled with fake humans.

Everyone moved toward one thing—fame. Roger included. He wasn’t sitting in his plush office that overlooked the city at ten o’clock at night because he was a workaholic. He was sitting there to avoid going home to the wife and kids who cramped his style.

 “Any break will ruin the momentum you have going.” Roger walked toward his bar, deciding he also needed a drink. He downed the first shot, immediately pouring a second. “Seriously, go to Canyon Ranch for a week. It’s just what you need. Use the spa, relax, tap the best in the country . . . you’ll come back a changed man.”

“It doesn’t work that way. Maybe I’ll start the book I’ve been wanting to write. Consider it a career detour. Some musicians leave music for film. Doesn’t mean all their fans abandon them.”

“Not the same . . .”

“Roger, I’m going,” I cut him off before draining the whiskey in my glass. I welcomed the way the slow burn warmed me from the inside out.

On a resigned sigh he asked, “Where the heck will you go?”

I knew exactly where, but I wasn’t ready to tell him that. I trusted him with my life, but unintentionally, in his attempt to make sure I was well taken care of, he’d expose my location. That was the last thing I wanted. Not even my parents knew where I was going, but they understood why I needed to go. I had promised my mother she would be my only source of contact, and a burner phone would be our only mode of communicating.
The clear visual that popped up in my mind came from meticulous planning. As a kid in New Jersey, we practically lived at the beach from June to September. Some of my best memories as a kid happened on the beach. It’d been the one place I could go and hide to be completely alone with my thoughts. All I needed was a small cozy house, with just the necessities, sitting right on a beach that I could get to without using a passport . . . I needed to vanish.

If no one knew where to find me, I couldn’t be found.

“Don’t know yet,” I lied. “I’ll know once I get there. My housekeeper; my assistant, Erin; my PR rep, Sadie; and my lawyer were all given my mother’s number and vice versa in case of an emergency. You already have it. Just don’t bother her, please. She doesn’t know where I’m going.” The look on his face went from comical to downright hilarious. “Put your eyes back into their sockets, dude. It’s not a good look for you.”

“Screw off.”

I glanced down at my Rolex. “I gotta go. I have a ton to do before I leave.”

At my announcement, panic set in. “Landon! Are you insane? This is so stupid. There’s press to do and meetings on the calendar.”

“Press won’t happen for months. The meetings can be cleared. That’s why I pay you the big bucks. Clear them.”
“You can’t be serious and just—”

“Rog.” I cut him off again, leaving no doubt about how serious I was through the tone of my voice. “Either you can be on board with this or not. Either way, I’m going. You’ll hear from me if I feel you need to. This way no one can harass you on my whereabouts. You simply don’t know.”

His jaw dropped farther and a string of unintelligible squeaks escaped before he finally found his words. “You’ll be leaving me with a mess to deal with!”

“Oh, calm down. I’m taking a vacation.”

“They’ll assume you’re in rehab.”

“So? Let them.” I didn’t have a doubt I’d come back and slide right into this plastic town without a blip in my success. I knew damn well my attitude was cocky, but true. The one thing Hollywood was besides fickle, was forgiving.

I stood, removing my Ray-Bans from the neckline of my shirt and automatically sliding them over my eyes in spite of the late hour. “Anyway. I thought you should know.”

“I should know? How considerate of you, you moron!”

I had to laugh at the go-to epithet he used on everyone, including his own mother.

With a wave and another chuckle, I sauntered out of the glass fortress he called an office—one my success had helped to pay for—and said, “I’ll talk to you in a few months.”

In a panic, Roger began babbling desperately. “Don’t just disappear on me, Landon! I’ll hunt you down . . .”

The more I chuckled, the more his insults echoed loudly down the empty hall until the slide of the elevator door finally silenced him.

A tiny seed of doubt tried to grow in size to the likes of Jack’s beanstalk. Before it could, I tamped it down with a firm stomp of my size-twelve Burberry wingtips. I needed to listen to that inner voice. I could hardly recognize the person I had become. My body might have been perfection, but it was nothing more than a pretty Tupperware container that held the disarray of personality pieces from the different stages in my life.

If I didn’t hide for a while, there wouldn’t be anything left of me to salvage.
 
 

- About the author -

USA Today bestselling author A. M. Madden is a wife, a mother, an avid reader of romance novels, and now an author. A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, she loves getting lost in a good romance book.

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Vanishing Act

A Novel

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Vanishing Act

— Published by Loveswept —