Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Hello from sunny California! It’s fitting that it’s my turn to give you a taste of a forthcoming release. Set in Hollywood, Falling Stars is book one in a series that began life as a web serial on my Tumblr blog. Every chapter I posted about Sam Newman and Val Saunders, co-stars on a steamy new drama that find their on-screen romance blossoming into something far more complicated off-screen, seemed to ensnare more and more readers. Much to my delight and surprise, they couldn’t seem to get enough. Two years later, I finally have a chance to release it in larger installments. I’m nerv-cited, to say the least.

I debated what scene to share today and settled on the moment Sam and Val first meet. It’s from his perspective (I love being in his head), and I love the bit of role reversal that found its way into this scene. Anyway, enjoy!


Falling Stars“Okay everybody, we’re going to split you into twos and run some scenes.” Assistant Director Linda Gaynor or L-Gay, as everyone called her, handed out pages to the actors and pointed them toward the rooms designated for each session.

“Are we doing hair and makeup?” Sam asked as the actors milled around introducing themselves, some becoming reacquainted with former co-workers.

“Not unless we ask you to.” L-Gay’s phone drew her attention, and an assistant ushered everyone to their respective places. The notation at the top of Sam’s script had him in room 44H, with Valerie Sanders. He’d only seen her in person from a distance, at events, but he was very familiar with her work. Even her smaller roles.

She was beautiful, intelligent, and seemed like a warm and genuine person. Then again, she was an actress. Who knew what she was really like.

“Guess I’m about to find out,” he mumbled to himself, making his way over to their sound stage. Sam entered the room where he found Valerie being fitted for a microphone by a production assistant. Her back was to him, but he heard her laugh at something and it was musical. Like softly chiming bells. He slipped into what Karen had once disdainfully called his professional asshole mode and announced his arrival.

“Sam! Great, you’re here. Do you know Val?” Sidney Greene, one of the show’s producers, shook his hand. At that moment, Valerie happened to look up. She smiled as she walked toward him, and he froze. Caught in some kind of suspended animation while the oxygen was sucked out of the room.

She was absolutely stunning. All of the images, moving and still, that he’d seen of her had done little justice to the real thing. Very little.

“…working together.”

“What?” Sam realized that she and Sidney had both been talking to him. He shook his head and cleared his throat. “Sorry, must be low blood sugar or something. I don’t think I’ve eaten today.” He laughed nervously as she smiled up at him, oozing confidence. Not arrogance, though. If she were used to reducing grown men to stammering idiots, she didn’t let on.

Valerie was smaller than he’d imagined, at least a foot shorter than his six-foot-four frame. Her skin was an even copper in tone and simply flawless. Everything about her seemed to be. She wore very little makeup, that he could tell. Her shoulder-length hair, pulled back into a carefree ponytail, was the blackest black he had ever seen. Shiny, bouncy and full of life, it suited her. He suddenly felt like a hormonal teenager as he tried not to stare at her mouth, completely caught off-guard by his desire to claim it. He dared not let his eyes drift lower, over her soft curves. The sundress she wore adorned her like frosting, hinting at the sweetness underneath. He realized she was waiting for him to say something.

“Sam. I’m, er, Sam Newman.” He accepted her extended hand and shook it, but everything moved in slow motion. She spoke to him again, her voice warm like honey. He couldn’t concentrate enough to understand the words coming from those lips, so full and so…damn.

“Are you okay?” She grinned and grasped his elbow in support, as if they were already old friends. The concern in her voice, coupled with the tiny wrinkle in her brow, snapped him out of his trance. He smiled in an attempt to be reassuring.

“Yes, thanks. Sorry. I’m…yes. A little nervous, I guess. Which is crazy, right?” He forced a laugh to cover the real truth behind his confession. Fuck, get it together!

“Aren’t we all?”

“You have nothing to be worried about, Valerie.” She smiled warmly and squeezed his hand, which he hadn’t even realized he was still holding. It sent shock waves straight to his groin. Reluctantly, he let her go.

“Call me Val.” Her beauty was paralyzing and Sam couldn’t stop staring. It was beyond embarrassing, but her smile never wavered. Her gaze remained warm. Inviting.

“I’ll try to remember.” Thank God his voice sounded stronger than he felt. He found himself falling into her eyes. They were an unbelievable chestnut brown, as limitless as a promise. He was unable to look away and spoke without thinking. “We’re very lucky to have you.”

These last words came out in a hoarse whisper. Sam knew he’d shown her too much in that moment when she tilted her head ever so slightly, her eyes widening a little. For the first time, her smile faltered and something like recognition filtered into her expression. Rather than move away, she swayed closer. Once again, time stood still. But for a moment it felt like maybe, just maybe, she was right there with him.



  1. Susan Scott Shelley says:

    This is SO GOOD! I want more! CANNOT. WAIT. FOR. THIS. BOOK.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Very cool to see this kind of meet from the male perspective. As a guy, I love that, and you are spot on. ♥

  3. Yaaaaaaaaaaas!!!!

  4. Hook, line and sinker! You’ve got me!?It’s a great excerpt. I’m looking forward to the release!

  5. Ida Louise Johnson says:

    That was great, can’t wait for more. YEAAAAAAAA!!!

  6. Sounds so good XIO. You know I cannot wait, woman. <3

  7. So. Ready. For. This. Again! Wonderful! You really know how to tell a story! Beautiful!

  8. So looking forward to this

  9. I just love this concept. It’s so fresh! And your writing, as always, is fan-freaking-tastic. 🙂

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