Counterfeit Lover by J. C. Farmer || Excerpt
November 24th, 2020 by Acorn Publishing
adult, romance, thriller
young man, madly in love with his long-time friend Janie. He is desperate for a job, and any way to win Janie’s affections. Then a Hollywood studio promises to make him a movie star—if he will submit to a face-modifying procedure they are developing.
Darrin’s love overcomes his fear, and he allows the movie studio to alter his face. Soon his dreams come true. He is extraordinarily handsome, rich, and popular, full of the confidence he needs to earn Janie’s love. Yet, changing faces doesn’t seem enough, and the studio wants him to sacrifice more of his identity than just his appearance.
His plan to win Janie’s heart becomes complicated when she unexpectedly joins the cast and changes her face too. Now a gorgeous star, she’s pursued by prominent, powerful men, and beneath the glitz and glamour, Darrin finds himself in a world of death and deceit, where anyone can have any face.
Several of his friends have been murdered by a mysterious killer, and the ability to alter appearances seems to make the criminal invincible. Soon, Darrin abandons his pursuit of Janie, simply hoping to keep her alive.The only way to outsmart the ruthless villain is to risk everything. How drastic a transformation is Darrin willing to make for love?
“You want me to put my head in that?”
The strange machine boasted robotic arms, needles and lasers, and it resembled a torture device designed by Dr. Seuss. I stared at the man who thought I’d be crazy enough to stick my head in it.
“It’ll make you rich and famous,” Dutch Hollander said. “Don’t be a wimp. You’ve been a chicken your entire life.”
The insult hurt, especially coming from one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. Sure, I was a failure in many ways, but he’d picked the quality I hated most about myself. Cowardice.
Dutch and I were alone in a plain-looking white trailer at a studio in Burbank. The trailer was empty except for the bizarre contraption. I pretended to examine its hydraulic arms, wishing I could ask Janie for advice. She had an audition today, and I wondered how it was going.
“This is the chance of a lifetime, Darrin,” the studio chief prodded. “Just stick your damn head in the machine.”
I wanted to leave. For two years, I’d been desperate for anyone in Hollywood to notice me. Anyone. Now I had the full attention of the president of Digital Impact, which recently became the world’s biggest movie studio.
This was my second audition. The previous week, I’d read a few lines from various scripts in Dutch’s lavish office. I’d been so intimidated, I could barely function. Today, Dutch had escorted me to a sound stage filled with rows of identical white eight-wheeled trailers. We stood inside one of the trailers, discussing the strange machine it contained.
Prescott “Dutch” Hollander looked exactly as he did on TV. He was about fifty, portly, with a bulbous nose and a resemblance to W.C. Fields. A billionaire thanks to a streak of blockbuster movies starting in 2020, he wore an elegant pin-striped suit with suspenders and gripped a cigar in his right hand.
I was the complete opposite: twenty-one, thin, cheaply dressed and penniless.
“When we researched you for this part, I was shocked that any man could be so gutless,” Dutch said, goading me. “Your life reveals a relentless pursuit of cowardliness.”
“Perhaps I have dreams besides being famous.”
“Shit,” he snickered. “We know you don’t give a crap about being a movie star. You don’t care about acting. All you want to do is impress that girl, what’s-her-name . . .” Dutch flipped open the neatly-organized file he held. “Janie Norman. You moved to LA to be near her and became an actor to impress her. Yet, you haven’t gotten a single part, and you’re too scared to try to ask her out. She must be really impressed.”
Fuck you. "You don't know anything about me." He knew everything about me.