Idol Minds

by KT Salvo

Idol Minds by KT Salvo

Overview & Preview

CH01

 

Jason strode across the dusty warehouse floor, grit and loose gravel loudly crunching under the soles of his heavy boots. Ahead, a bloom of tiny dust motes danced in the single shaft of light slicing through the dusky gloom. He stopped where he knew the light would strike the sharp planes of his angled face just right. The bloody sweat on his brow begged to be wiped off, but Jason ignored the irritation, curling his lip into a vicious sneer. Then he pointed his katana at the shadowy figure looming before him, his sword’s gleaming blade catching the light to throw off a dazzling shine. “Looks like it’s down to just you and me, Nomura. One way or another, this ends here.”

The dark figure spread his arms wide, revealing the matching tantos in each hand. He took a single step forward and flashed a malicious grin. “Then let it end, Shoda,” the figure growled. “Let it end now.”

“Cut!” The director lowered the headphones she’d been holding to her ear. “Circle that one. It was perfect. What’s next?”

Jason let his arm fall. Another few seconds and it would’ve started to shake. It turned out period-accurate Japanese swords were heavy when you held them for hours. Hopefully, they’d be wrapping for the day soon. Jason’s arm felt like a noodle.

The prop wrangler, a gruff, older white guy with a scraggly beard and a growing midsection, came to collect the katana from Jason. What was his name again? Ralph? Carl? Not that it mattered. He’d probably always be “prop guy” the few times Jason even bothered to think of him.

A droplet of red-stained sweat fell from Jason’s brow, narrowly missing his eye. He nearly wiped his forehead before remembering his hand was just as filthy. “Hey, can somebody please come wipe this shit off my goddamn face?”

One of the production assistants rushed to Jason’s side, bearing a small plastic tub full of baby wipes. Jason quietly seethed while the PA attempted to clean the worst of the fake dirt and blood from his face. But Jason angrily waved them away when they tried to wipe off his chest. “No, damn it. Leave that. I need a shower, not a fucking sponge bath.”

The PA mumbled an apology and quickly stepped back. Jason rolled his eyes. They weren’t gonna make it in the business very long if they couldn’t handle an actor who was tired and cranky after a long day of filming.

“Hey, I’ll take some of that.” Tommy Yoshida walked over, still holding his fake tantos down by his sides. While his face was just as dirty and sweat-stained as Jason’s, wardrobe had given him a black scarf to wear as a headband. And the dirt may have been fake, but the sweat was real. The Sherman Oaks warehouse where they’d been filming was a sweltering hot box. Jason would’ve gladly traded the expensive replica sword for working A/C. “Nice work there, Park. Seriously. I really felt that one.”

Jason shrugged. “Yeah, whatever.” Compliments were all well and good. But Jason was in no mood to get his ass kissed. He was tired and really needed a drink.

Tommy shook his head as the PA tried wiping the artfully applied dirt and grime from his face. “Jesus, Park. I was trying to be nice. You don’t have to be an asshole.”

Jason snorted. “And you don’t have to jerk me off after every scene. Nobody’s winning any awards for this shit.”

Tommy frowned but bit back any other replies he might’ve had. He was undoubtedly well aware of Jason’s reputation. That was fine. Tommy was just a glorified stuntman, anyway. His toned, athletic body and martial arts expertise were strong enough to cast him as the villain. But Tommy’s emotional range was limited to angry sneer and angry frown. Not to mention that Tommy could barely remember his lines half the time. Jason hardly needed his praise.

Then Penny, the 2nd AD and only person on the set who seemed to know what she was doing, finally called out the magic words. “That’s a wrap for today, everyone. But FYI, the EP just called for a full cast and crew meeting.”

Jason groaned. A meeting with the Executive Producer? He hadn’t set foot on set since they started shooting three weeks ago. “What now?”

Penny shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine. Just be there.” She walked away without further explanation, leaving Jason alone with a silently stewing Tommy and a nervous PA whose name he didn’t know. Jason softly chuckled. He liked Penny, at least. She didn’t take any shit from him.

Jason walked off without a word, finally giving Tommy and the PA the freedom to exchange their knowing glances about working with an asshole like Jason Park. Whatever. He made a beeline to the nearest exit door and stepped outside to the stifling, late afternoon heat. It was an absolute scorcher in the Valley. No wonder the warehouse was a fucking oven.

Jason mindlessly patted his pocket before remembering that he was still in wardrobe. “Shit.”

“I got ‘em, J.”

Startled, Jason nearly jumped out of his boots. “Jesus, fuck, Lil. Where the hell did you come from?”

Lily Garcia, Jason’s 27-year-old assistant and handler, smirked as she held out a pack of cigarettes and lighter. Her rosy brown skin glistened with a sheen of sweat despite being dressed for the heat in simple white shorts and a black t-shirt with her long, dark hair pulled back into a tight ponytail. “I waited for you in there, but you walked right past me.”

Jason huffed. A proper studio would’ve hired an on-set assistant, so he didn’t have to bring his own. Then again, Lily was one of the few people on set that Jason could even stand. It’s not like he was working with a proper studio anyway, just the pretend production arm of BigCloud’s streaming service making another schlocky direct-to-streaming action flick. Jason grabbed his pack, pulled out a cigarette, and stuck it in his mouth. “Sorry. Long day.”

Lily snorted. “You’re telling me? We were supposed to wrap more than an hour ago.” She lit his cigarette before handing Jason his lighter. “And what was that I heard about an all-hands meeting?”

“Can’t be anything good.” Jason took a long drag and frowned. Then he turned away to exhale. “You got my phone?”

Lily nodded as she pulled a phone from the tote hanging off her shoulder. “Here.”

“Thanks.” Jason took it and thumbed the power button. He had a handful of message alerts but nothing major. Jason sighed and looked at Lily. “Come on. I need to wash this shit off.”

A couple years ago, Jason would’ve never considered doing a throwaway, low-budget action movie. After all, he was Jason fucking Park, award-winning actor and former teen idol. He’d single-handedly carried the hit Monday Night Club teen movie franchise while he was still a teen himself. And that was before he became the youngest-ever Best Actor winner for his role in Lodestar Studio’s The Moon Shines Madly. But work was work. And after his famously well-documented on-set blow-up cost Jason his lead in Lodestar’s next film, followed by a few too many drunken confrontations with paparazzi and fans, work was increasingly hard to come by. At the tender age of twenty-four, Jason’s reputation for being problematic and hard to work with already overshadowed his status as an award-winning actor. At least BigCloud had given him his own trailer.

After a cigarette and a shower, Jason stood in the icy cold breath of his trailer’s roof-mounted A/C unit wrapped in a damp towel. He took a swig from the nearly empty bottle of Kingston whiskey sitting on his kitchenette counter before offering the bottle to Lily.

“I’m good,” Lily replied without looking up from her phone.

“Suit yourself.”

Jason set the bottle on the counter and checked his reflection in the full-length mirror mounted by the door to ensure he’d washed off all the dirt and prop blood. He leaned in close to check his face. Even with all the pancake scrubbed away, his golden-brown skin looked smooth and clear. Jason smiled. He honestly had no right to have such good skin with all his smoking and drinking. Score one for good genes.

Jason looked down at his torso, frowning when he caught sight of his abs. Three weeks of twelve-hour days had taken their toll on his workout schedule, and he was already losing definition. Jason flexed his chest. Was he losing mass there, too? He needed a week in the gym and at least three days laying out in the sun to get back to normal. Thankfully, they’d already shot his nude scenes. Jason smiled when he remembered how great his ass had looked in the dailies. Way better than his scene partner Maggie’s, if he was honest.

Lily snorted. “You want me to leave you two alone for a while? The way you’re eye fucking your reflection, I feel like a third wheel here.”

“You mean fifth wheel, Lil. And, no. I want you to start packing up my trailer.”

“What? Why?”

“So you don’t have to do it tomorrow.” Jason ran his hands through his too-short, thick black hair before dressing in the skinny, black jeans and tight gray v-neck t-shirt he’d worn to set that morning. “And tell Naomi to set a meeting with my agent.”

“Why? You really think they’ll pull the plug?”

Jason nodded as he pocketed his phone, wallet, and keys. He’d been in the industry long enough to know something was up. Production usually only called everyone together in the middle of a shoot for one reason. “Yeah, I do.”

“Shit.” Lily frowned. “Maybe I will have that drink.”

Jason chuckled. “You’re welcome to it. Just make sure you get everything that’s mine out of here before they strike the trailer.”

Copyright © 2023 Jetspace Studio

KT Salvo

February 21. 2023

339 Pages

ROMANCE, K-POP IDOL, M/M ROMANCE

Movie star Jason Park was a Hollywood golden boy. The youngest ever Best Actor award winner for his role in The Moon Shines Madly, the former teen idol was ready to make the jump from teen comedies to dramatic leading roles. But his famously well-documented on-set blow-up cost him his part and drove him from the limelight.

Singer, dancer, and leader of the K-pop supergroup XTC, Woo Tae Hyun was a rising star and K-pop sensation until a rift within his group drove him away from music. Freshly returned from the army, Tae Hyun’s ready to kick-start his solo career. But his label has something else in mind.

When the two stars are brought together for a project neither one wants, their chemistry becomes impossible to ignore. Can they overcome the obstacles of their forbidden romance, or will the pressures of fame tear them apart?

Don’t miss the sizzling gay K-pop romance debut from KT Salvo!

Idol Minds rises above the steamy gay romance genre with its complex characters, open communication, and healing narrative."

Korey Broderick, KoreyB.com

Idol Minds was an engaging gay romance. Recommended if you like steamy gay romance and/or K-Pop culture."

Nicki Markus, Romance Author

Everyone who loves k-pop and steamy m/m romances that feature strong female side-characters will have a good time with this book. I definitely did."

Virginia Stone, The Sassy Library Fox

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Idol Minds by KT Salvo

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