establishments in Beverly Hills. Its Tuscan stone exterior and ornate Carrera marble façade were first made famous by Beverly Hills Cop . Pretty Woman later made the interior more famous—never mind that the interior shots of the latter movie had been filmed on soundstages.
The lobby of the real Beverly Wilshire looked nothing like the version in Pretty Woman , and Faith much preferred the muted champagnes and golds of the real hotel. Regal columns supported the high ceiling, and the entire space was a wonderful example of Italian Renaissance architecture.
In her punk/goth chains and ripped black denim, Daiyu looked as out of place in the glossy luxury of the lobby as the Clampett’s jalopy at a Porsche dealership. With her camera hanging from her neck, strangers might have mistaken her for a tourist, but hotel employees and celebrities knew that Daiyu was one of the most talented photographers working in Los Angeles.
In an attempt to shorten the reins of one of his more notorious clients, Brent had organized Harley’s bachelor party and had arranged for Faith and Daiyu to be added to the guest list. Brent’s intervention was the only reason the desk manager tolerated the presence of Personality! personnel. Even so, he eyed them suspiciously.
“Is it going to be much longer?” Daiyu asked. “The early shift will be leaving the clubs soon, and I want to get some shots for my book.”
Daiyu wasn’t the typical paparazzo on the hunt for photos to sell to the highest bidder. Most of the images she captured were for Personality! stories, pictorials and fillers, but the best of her work was reserved for her book, a collection of artistic candids she had been working on for two years. From veteran stars like Sean Connery and Elizabeth Taylor to newcomers like Zander Baron, Daiyu aimed her lens at anyone she found beautiful, compelling, unusual, or all three.
“Harley Tatum better be sober,” Daiyu groused. “I want him for my book, but not if he’s drooling and playing with his toes.”
“Could you try to show a little enthusiasm for this job?” Faith pleaded. Shifting her satchel on her shoulder, she craned to see around the artistic arrangements of fresh lilies on the table in the center of the lobby, to improve her view of the entrance. “Harley and his guests should be pulling up in their limo any minute now.”
“ Now I know it was a waste of time, workin’ so hard to make you mine ,” Daiyu sang, the notes breaking with an odd country twang as she gazed at the chandelier high above the flower table. “ Another guy comes and sings his song, you turned away, you done me wrong .”
“Please,” Faith winced. “Didn’t we hear enough of that song after he won Rising Star last year?”
“I can’t help it,” Daiyu said. “I have a talent for instantly learning all the words to songs everyone hates.”
Faith spied the nose of a Hummer limousine gliding to a stop before the sparkling glass doors of the hotel entrance. Loud male laughter soon filled the spacious lobby, and Faith recognized Harley Tatum’s voice before she saw him and his cohorts. A hotel employee guided them toward the elevator, with Harley’s boot heels announcing their procession across the highly polished marble floor.
“We’re on,” Faith said, leaving the sanctity of the pillar. Daiyu fell into step behind her as she caught up with Harley’s party.
“Whoa!” Harley said, his blue eyes sparkling when he caught sight of Faith. “Brent went high-end for us.” He took off his cowboy hat and, holding it over his heart, he bowed to Faith. “And how many diamonds are you rated?” he asked with a flip of his long, strawberry blond hair.
“She’s not a call girl,” Zander growled, moving to the front of the group. “She’s a reporter.” He took Faith by the arm, the gesture as much possessive as protective. “What are you doing here? This is a private party.”
Faith shook out of his grasp. “Brent Baxter invited
Robbie Cheuvront, Erik Reed, Shawn Allen