The Color of Blood
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by M. K. Fottrell
Description: It's the glamour of 1961 Hollywood and the frightening power of a secret. It's murder, scandal, and historic events. It's all wrapped up in a love story. The Color of Blood is the story of Hollywood's favorite movie star, Miranda Lane, and the seemingly unstoppable force that threatens to destroy her. Fame, fortune, and everlasting love are all at stake. It's the battle of her life.
eBook Publisher: The Fiction Works, 2004 http://www.fictionworks.com
eBookwise Release Date: February 2004
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [556 KB]
Reading time: 360-504 min.
"Stunning! ... Secrets and scandal emerge against the glitter of a Hollywood background ... Fottrell moves seamlessly between past and present, locations and characters in this richly woven tale ... an extraordinary tone and remarkable depth."--Cindy Penn, Wordweaving.com
"Reporter Peter Brooks is researching the background of grown-up child star Miranda Lane, who's become controversial for her outspoken support of the civil rights movement. What he finds is a monumental 'Mommy Dearest' relationship and a potentially deadly secret. A Movieland romantic thriller."--Ben Steelman, The Wilmington Star, Wilmington NC
"...Fottrell weaves a story that is deft in its transitions between action and narrative ... part mystery, part thriller, part romance ... and M. K. Fottrell's fine debut as an author."--Cindie Miller, Herald-Citizen, Cookeville, TN
"Fottrell writes with an insider's view of show business that fans of Jackie Collins or Sydney Sheldon will connect with..."--The Chronicle, Pleasantville, NY
"The reader is rushed forward on a story laden with secrets, passion and racism, a story laced with love, glamour and family, all clashing together into a tumultuous climax."--Madeline Mora-Summonte, Inscriptions Magazine.com
"Buy this book! M. K. Fottrell does a great job in grabbing the reader from the first page ... a wonderful read!"--Jen Oliver, MyShelf.com
New York, New York--Spring 1962
They were a mob.
From her suite high up within the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, she looked down on them. They were two mobs, more accurately--and they had segregated themselves: one white, one Negro. But today, their anger was not directed at each other, because she had given them a common cause. They were united in spirit, united in hatred, united against her.
She could not hear the screaming anymore, now that she was safely inside, but she could still feel their enmity. A thousand strong, they jostled against the barricades and taunted the lines of policemen.
Now she could pretend they were not a danger to her and that she was not afraid of them. Had a child really torn her picture to shreds, then flung them at her? Had a woman really spat at her feet? Had a policeman really clubbed the man who reached out to grab her?
"They're ready for us," the voice said.
Her eyes shifted to focus on her own reflection in the window. It was the face that had made her America's most beloved child star--Miranda Lane.
Not since Shirley Temple had America had such a love affair with a movie star. Now a young woman, she still had charisma, the indefinable something extra. She retained the sparkle that most child actors lost by puberty. A loss that became the death rattle of their careers and would turn them into has-beens who would drift into show business oblivion, alcoholism, and despair.
The face was beautiful, even today. Cheekbones that perched high inside luminescent skin supported her almond-shaped, emerald-green eyes. Auburn hair that hung in shiny loose curls to just above her shoulders held hues of red and gold that danced in the light. A mouth that was full and sensuous was enviably rose-colored. Nothing in her appearance hinted at her anguish.
She was beautiful yet approachable. Everyone called her Miranda. Her fans felt they owned her, and in a way they did. It was her fans, after all, who had made her a star--her fans and the media.
But all that was before.
She had dressed carefully today--a mint colored Chanel suit, with matching gloves and pillbox hat--but she hadn't expected the mob outside, and the composure she strove for left her. The mob. The fans who once loved her now wanted to see her fall. She didn't feel like a movie star today; she felt fraudulent, fearful, and very, very old.
"Miranda, they're ready for us," the voice repeated.
She turned toward it. It was Grace, her assistant. Grace, who was a wizard at scheduling, had a cool head in all situations. Grace's long mink-colored hair was always pulled severely back and twisted in a chignon at the nape of her neck, her tawny eyes hidden behind black cat's-eye glasses. She wore shapeless clothes: today a drop waist, long-sleeved beige dress and sensible brown shoes. Only twenty-seven, she seemed fifty. Grace was always correct and always at Miranda's side.
"Are we listening? It's time," Grace repeated.
"Yes, I hear you." Miranda stood and followed Grace out of the room down the corridor and into the elevator. The six newly hired bodyguards formed a silent wall around them. When the door to the ballroom was opened, Miranda gasped. It was the largest ballroom she had ever seen, and it was filled with reporters and their crews.
Miranda's press conferences were usually carefully orchestrated to make her appear even more important than she was. To that end, if thirty reporters were scheduled to attend, a room that would hold only twenty comfortably was booked. It gave a claustrophobic effect, creating the illusion of important, exciting information about to be revealed.
Today, no illusion was necessary. Several hundred reporters, and their crews and equipment were jammed inside. Everyone who was anyone in radio, newspaper, and television journalism was present. She knew David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite would be in the first row. The podium at the front of the room seemed an unreachable journey.
As she stepped inside the room, a man scurried toward her. His movement brought ten others. She was instantly surrounded.
"Miranda, how does it feel to be called 'nigger lover' by whites and 'racist' by radical Negroes?" the reporter asked.
The words rocked her as if she had been struck. Bedlam erupted. Flashes of light exploded in front of her; they stung her eyes and blurred her vision, disorienting her as the cameras recorded her pain. Questions were fired at her from every direction.
"Where's Sybil, Miranda? Why isn't your mother here?" a voice called out.
Her head began to spin. I have to throw up. The bodyguards jumped to her side and began pushing a path through the crowd of journalists. Miranda followed them and tried to push thoughts of her mother out of her mind as she gripped Grace's arm. "I'll answer all questions after my statement."
A small, red-haired man jumped in front of the group and yelled, "Miranda, is it true you're having an affair with a Negro? Is that why the studio dumped you?" He thrust a microphone in her face.
All sound and movement stopped as Miranda searched the eyes of the man in front of her. Was it her imagination, or was there a gleeful malice in them?
"After my statement." Miranda pressed forward. Fueled by her silence, the noise began again, and the room regained its combative energy.
As she walked to the podium, she couldn't block it from her mind. Was it really only eight months ago this all started? Eight months since Mamma's tirade?
Unbid, Sybil Lane's voice seeped into Miranda's thoughts. "Walk out on me now and you'll pay for it for the rest of your life!"
It had all started out so well.