Welcome Karen Cino and her super romance Love Challenges and Desires. Tell us about Rose and Alex…and Marco!
Rose Bocchino is a photographer who lands a job at Walcott Cosmetic Corporation. Immediately she hits it off with her boss, Alex Walcott. Despite being divorced, he still lives in the apartment in his mansion to be closer to his daughters.
Once officially divorced, Rose is ready to begin her life with Alex who continues to insist the timing isn’t right. He fears once he leaves, his ex-wife will limit his parental rights.
Rocker Marco Corrente is hired to be the spokesperson for Walcott’s new men’s cologne line. From the moment he meets Rose, he falls hard for her.
Rose despises Marco’s bad boy image, leading her to turn the photo shoot over to her assistant who has plans of her own. The tension builds between Marco and Rose as the shoot moves forward.
Will Rose let her heart lead the way down the right path?
The door to the editing room opened and Lena appeared. “Sorry for bothering you two, but I can’t keep myself locked up in here any longer. I’ll be on my merry way and then you two can do whatever it was you were doing.”
“We’re not doing anything this time, Lena. Alex was just about to tell me his choice for spokesperson for Mandolay.” Turning to Alex, she asked, “Do you mind if Lena sticks around for this? She’ll be helping me.”
“Not a problem at all. I’d like to hear her feedback on my idea.”
“Okay. Stop stalling and tell me who this mystery man is.”
“I think the perfect person for this job would be Marco Corrente.”
“No way.” Rose fumed, shaking her head. “I disagree with you on this one. He spells trouble, Alex, and you know it. He has been in and out of rehab so many times I can’t see him being a role model.”
“I can’t believe this. That’s an excellent choice, Alex. You’re right. He’s just perfect. He has the look and not only will it sell to the younger crowd with his comeback tour starting soon, but it will also sell to the men who grew up in the ‘80s,” Lena excitedly said.
“I can’t believe this,” Rose muttered.
“What can’t you believe?” Lena asked.
“That you’re actually going along with Alex on this one.”
“But Corrente is the perfect choice. And besides, he is really sexy.”
“I don’t give a damn about his looks. The man is nothing but trouble. Did you two forget he was arrested for hitting a photographer a few years ago?” Turning to Alex, she argued, “Why him out of all the gorgeous young male models out there?”
“Lena explained it perfectly. I also just found out Corrente is making a comeback album, with all the proceeds going to the Children’s Cancer Hospital Research Foundation. Not only will he be doing us a favor, but we will be doing him a favor by advertising him too.”
“Bullshit. I stand my ground. He is known as the bad boy of rock and roll. I can’t see him fitting into such a sophisticated environment here at Walcott.” Rose stepped back from Alex, folding her arms against her waist.
“I’m sorry, angel, but you really don’t have a say in this.” His words stabbed her. He hesitated for a minute before he continued, “As far as I go and the board of directors, Corrente is the one.”
“Thanks a lot, Alex.” She frowned. “I feel this is going to be a mistake.”
Laughing, Alex walked to the door. “I’ll see you later on.” Turning to Lena, he added, “Let me know if she takes this out on you. Because if she does, she will be in big trouble.” He winked.
As soon as the door closed, Rose turned to Lena. “How could you not back me up on this one?”
“Because I disagree with you. I truly believe Marco is the best marketing strategy for Walcott.”
Sighing, Rose nodded her head in agreement. “I guess you’re right. Maybe I’m being too hard on him before I even meet him. You know the old saying, you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the tabloids. I should at least give him the chance to prove me right.”
“Come on, Rose. People do make positive changes in their lives, and besides, you can’t go into this with that kind of an attitude.”
“Because then for sure it’s not going to work out. Just leave the dirty work to me. I’m sure Alex has already been in contact with his agent and the papers drawn and signed. If you’d like, he’s doing a charity concert in New York City. We can go, so I can prove to you the man is reformed.”
“Yeah,” Rose sarcastically replied, pacing around the studio. “It’s all part of the act. Look like the good guy, and people will buy his new album. It’s all a marketing farce.”
“I truly hope you’re wrong.”
“You know something, I hope I am too. I promise you I will have an open mind from the beginning to end of this campaign.”
“Now that’s the spirit.” Lena laughed clenching her fist in victory. “This is the Rose we all know and love.”
* * * *
Two days later, Rose and Lena stood in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City for Marco’s charity concert for the Children’s Hospital. Marco’s agent, Jason Fox, had sent them two tickets to the concert. When they arrived at the theater, Jason met them at the backstage door and led them into a private room.
Extending his hand, Rose shook it. “Nice to meet you Jason.” She smiled. “Mr. Walcott sends his apologies for not being able to attend tonight. I’m Rose and this is my assistant, Lena. We are the photographers who will be doing the photo shoot.”
“The pleasure is all mine. I’m glad that you were able to attend.” He extended his hand to Lena and she received it smiling.
“Yeah, so am I. I’m looking forward to seeing the show,” Lena said acknowledging him.
“Are you ladies familiar with Marco’s music?” Jason asked loosening his tie and opening the top button of his pale blue dress shirt.
“Vaguely. I’m really not a rock and roller,” Rose replied.
“I love his music,” Lena added. “I grew up with it.”
“You’re going to love this concert. He plays a lot of his older songs and weaves in some of his new ones,” Jason explained, opening up the bottle of Mandolay cologne. “Thank Mr. Walcott for the cologne.”
“I will. I would have to say it was the perfect trade-off. Two stage passes for two bottles of cologne.”
“And my wife thanks you too, for the perfume, creams and palette of colors you sent her.”
“It’s my pleasure,” Rose replied.
When the instrumental music began, Jason walked with them to the door. “The show should be beginning in a few minutes. If you would come with me.”
Rose and Lena followed him through a tunnel and behind the stage where total chaos was going on. The drummer was tapping his sticks against the wall and the two guitarists were making sure they were in tune with each other.
“I wonder where Marco is,” Lena whispered to Rose. “I can’t wait to see him. I remember as a teenager listening to his music.” Laughing, she said, “You know me, I’m a rock and roller.”
“Yes I do. I hear your music while you’re downloading the pictures.”
The lights dimmed and there was a drum roll. “Ladies and gentlemen, we at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City would like to thank Marco Corrente and his band for being here tonight. All the proceeds of this show will be donated to the Children’s Cancer Hospital Research Foundation.” Applause. “So without further ado I present you with….Marco Corrente.”
The music started, the curtains rose and Marco stepped forward and started belting out his classic hit, Forbidden Lover. Marco was definitely a looker. He stood tall and slim, clad in tight blue jeans and T-shirt. His light brown hair lay floppily on his shirt collar and his chestnut eyes complimented his hair.
Lena became totally smitten by his charm and had a permanent smile frozen on her face. Rose looked around at the audience in amazement. Ages ranged from young to old and everyone sang along with the songs. She hated to admit it, but she was having a really good time.
“Isn’t this great,” Lena yelled above the music.
“Yes it is. I’ve never been to a rock concert before.”
“You don’t know what you’ve been missing.” Lena squeezed Rose’s arms. “He is hot.”
Rose laughed as she watched Lena getting crazy. By the end of the show, she was also singing along and sorry to see the concert end. Marco came out for two encores, making the audience wild each and every time.
People threw flowers and stuffed animals onto the stage. Marco gathered a few animals and raised them up in the air in victory. “Thank you, thank you very much,” he said. “Your generosity will be greatly appreciated by all the children at the Children’s Cancer Hospital.”
Marco walked off stage and disappeared down the corridor. The lights went on in the theater as the crowd began leaving still cheering.
“Ladies, did you enjoy the show?” Jason asked standing next to Lena.
“I loved it,” Lena giggled. “He was absolutely great. It brought back so many good memories of my teenage years.”
“I thought it was pretty good,” Rose commented. “You must understand I’m not a rocker, so many of the songs I didn’t recognize.”
“I saw you singing along. I think you enjoyed it more than you’re willing to admit,” Lena added, embarrassing Rose.
Coming to the rescue of an uncomfortable conversation, Jason asked, “Would you ladies like to meet Marco?”
“I’d love to,” Lena answered. “I think it would be beneficial to meet before the photo shoot. What do you think, Rose?”
I think I’m going to kill you is what Rose wanted to say. Instead she mumbled, “I think that’s a great idea.”
“Great, follow me.”
They followed Jason down the long corridor. As they approached a door at the end, the music and talking got louder. Jason led them into an overcrowded conference room with people drinking plenty of booze. Rose wanted to leave but knew Lena had no intention of doing so without meeting Marco.
“This is great!” Lena whispered to Rose. “I always wondered what went on after concerts.”
“Apparently a lot of eating and drinking.”
“Come on, let’s go and get ourselves a drink. Somewhere along the way we lost Jason.”
They walked over to the bar and both girls grabbed a bottle of beer. “Come on, loosen up a bit,” Lena warned Rose.
“I’m fine. I just feel a slight bit uncomfortable.”
“Why? Not use to drinking beer out of a bottle,” she joked causing Rose to laugh.
“I’m glad you ladies are enjoying yourself.” Jason held a tall glass of champagne. “Did you help yourself to the buffet?”
“No, thank you. I have an early shoot tomorrow morning. I really should get going,” Rose explained placing her beer bottle on the waiter’s tray.
“Don’t be crazy. And here comes the man of the hour.” Jason took two glasses of champagne from the waitress and handed one to Rose.
Everyone began clapping as Marco stood in the doorway dressed in a black muscle shirt and tight jeans displaying a cocky grin on his long olive colored face.
“He is gorgeous, isn’t he?” Lena asked.
“He’s not bad. Not my type though.”
“I know.” She laughed. “I wouldn’t mind looking at him everyday.”
Rose nudged her. “Are you forgetting you are engaged?”
“Hell no. You can look at the merchandise just as long as you don’t touch it,” she explained.
“You are a very sick lady,” Rose laughed, “and one hundred percent right.”
“And here they come,” Lena whispered, referring to Jason walking over to them with Marco by his side.
“Marco, I’d like to introduce you to Rose and Lena.”
“Nice to meet you, ladies.” Marco nodded.
“You were great,” Lena’s voice trembled. “I have always been a big fan of yours since I was a teenager.”
“Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the concert. Can I offer you something?” he asked Lena.
“No, thank you. I have an early photo shoot with Rose tomorrow morning.” Lena pointed to her.
“Rose, nice to meet you,” he said, extending his hand to her.
Rose took a sip of her champagne before shaking his hand. “Same here. You seem to have a nice fan base. I saw young and old singing along with you.”
“It’s a good feeling knowing my music is still alive and has been passed on from parents to children. The music of today leaves so much to be desired. The lyrics, in general, I feel are too violent and sexual for their fan base.”
“I totally agree with you. That’s why I stick to my disco classics.”
“Aw…What’s a glitter chick like you doing at a rock concert?” Marco chuckled.
“I’m here because your agent, Jason Fox, invited us. I’m the photographer and this is my assistant, Lena. We are in charge of the marketing campaign you will be doing for Walcott Cosmetics.”
“Well, I’ll be damned.” Marco rocked on the heels of his black boots. “It’s a pleasure to meet you prior to the shoot. I was hoping I didn’t get stuck with some old decrepit photographer who was trying to make a comeback like me.” He laughed jokingly sliding his hands into his back pockets.
“Oh God, that would have been my luck,” Rose said.
“Mine too,” Lena added getting back into the conversation. “I’m sure this campaign will be beneficial to all of us.”
“Indeed it will be.” He smiled.
“Would you mind if I stopped by the studio to try the cologne, since I am endorsing it.”
“Sure. You can stop by at any time. I’m in the studio from eight o’clock in the morning until sometimes way past ten at night.”
“Great. I’ll see you in a day or two. Now if you would excuse me, I have to get back to my other guests. I’ll see you in a few.”
About the Author
Karen Cino is an author, poet and former journalist. She’d been writing since she was fourteen years old. She started her career by writing poetry, short stories and articles for her high school newspaper and the Staten Island Register. After reading Jackie Collin’s “Lovers and Gamblers” she knew she found her niche, writing women’s fiction.
Her daily walk down at the boardwalk is what gets her muse going. It clears her mind and helps her find realistic plot ideas and characters, boosting her muse. She loves writing about local places that people can relate to.
Karen is a single mom living in Staten Island, New York with her two adult children, Michael and Nicole, and three cats.
Also by Karen Cino with Secret Cravings Publishing
Mystical Wonders: Circle of Friends
Mystical Wonders: Second Chances
Mystical Wonders: The Right Call
Mystical Wonders: Survival