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Last Dance with Valentino

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Last Dance with Valentino
Daisy Waugh

If you like The Artist you’ll love Daisy Waugh’s Last Dance with Valentino.As Rudolph Valentino fights for his life, barricades keep the swarming fans at bay. Adored by millions of women, but loved by only one…Will she be able to reach him in time?August 1916Fleeing war-ravaged London, Jenny Doyle sets sail for New York. As she draws near the soaring skyscrapers her dreams are dashed when she learns she is to be sent to work for the wealthy de Saulles family. Known as ‘the Box’, their home is Gatsby-like in elegance yet rife with malice and madness. Only her friendship with dancer Rodolfo offers Jenny a glimpse of escape…until a tragic day when the household is changed forever.August 1926America booms, prohibition rules and one man’s movie is breaking box office records. Rodolfo has taken his place on the silver screen as Rudolph Valentino when a chance arises for he and Jenny to meet again. Will the world’s most desired film star and his lost love have their Hollywood happy ending, or will the tragic echoes of their past thwart them one last time?

DAISY WAUGH

Contents

Cover (#u1f551be6-1FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Title Page (#u1f551be6-2FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter 1 - Ambassador Hotel New York (#u1f551be6-6FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter 2 - Summer 1916 (#u1f551be6-7FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter 3 - Hotel Continental New York (#u1f551be6-8FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter 4 - 1916–17 Long Island (#u1f551be6-9FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter 5 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 6 - 1917 Long Island (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 7 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 8 - 1918 Long Island–Hollywood (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 9 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 10 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 11 - 1918–21 Hollywood (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 12 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 13 - 1921 Hollywood (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 14 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 15 - 1921–3 Hollywood (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 16 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 17 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 18 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 19 - 1923–4 Hollywood (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 20 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 21 - 1925 Hollywood (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 22 - Police Precinct, New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 23 - 1926 Hollywood–New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 24 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter 25 - Hotel Continental New York (#litres_trial_promo)

Postscript (#litres_trial_promo)

Author’s Notes (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo)

Photographic Insert (#litres_trial_promo)

By the Same Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

For my mother, with love.

‘Without any more words, he turned to me – and we danced. There on the veranda, by the light of the moon . . . I swear I never danced so well. I think, in his arms, it would have been impossible to dance badly – as if his grace were like his laughter: irresistibly, magically infectious.

. . . Did I write that I hadn’t fallen in love with him that night? Did I write that? How absurd!’

Chapter 1

Ambassador Hotel New York

Friday, 13 August 1926

I can still feel him.

I can still feel him, I can still smell him, I can still see the fold in my pillow where he leaned over to me . . . I can feel his tongue . . . his hands . . . his lips . . . his fingers in my mouth. I can still taste him. Only a moment ago he was here, with me, and I can still hear the sound of the latch closing softly behind him. I can hear his voice and his laughter fading as he moves away down the hall.

We made love for hours; all night and all morning and late into the afternoon. Mr Ullman must have telephoned him a hundred times, until finally he pulled the wire from the wall and sent the whole wretched contraption flying to the ground. And we lay quietly, talking in whispers, smoking cigarettes, covering our laughter, even while Mr Ullman was outside the door to the suite, imploring him to come out, to pick up the telephone at least, and to talk . . .

In any case he had to leave our bed eventually, of course. There were people waiting for him. Thousands of them – waiting only for him. What a feeling it must be! I can’t even imagine – I’m not sure I really even want to. But that is his life now, for better or worse. It was what he wanted, all those years ago. Or, at least, perhaps, it is the price of what he wanted – and today I see him carrying the burden of his extraordinary success with that sad, delicious grace, which is so much his own, and which so entirely melts me. Which melts us all, I think.

So – now what? I watched him dress. In evening clothes, for such a dazzling occasion. I lay in this enormous, sleek black bed, and watched him as he prowled, his footfall soundless, from dressing room to bathroom and back again. He stood before the glass at the beautiful Chinese dressing-table and told me about the time, only last week, when he had come away from an appearance like this evening’s – a movie promotion of some type. At his arrival the crowds became so carried away that extra police had to be called. They had mauled him as he fought his way through from theatre to automobile, torn the buttons from his coat, and a great chunk from the lining of his jacket – one woman had clung to his tie and swung: ‘And I wanted to say to them all . . . ’ he told me, that soft, deep voice, smiling, talking only to me, ‘ . . . I wanted to say but, girls – ladies! Are you all quite mad? Can’t you see I am only a man? Just another man. Go home to your husbands!’ That was when he turned, came across the room to me, lying here, and he leaned over the bed and kissed me once more, one last time; a perfectly tender, perfect kiss – ‘ . . . what you see is nothing but an illusion. Nothing but a dream . . . ’

‘Not a dream to me,’ I told him. ‘I hope. You’re not a dream to me – are you?’

He shook his head. ‘No, Jennifer,’ he replied, his hand on my cheek, finger tracing my lips. ‘I think you are the dream, cara mia . . . All this time I have been waiting, and wondering, and hoping . . . hoping against hope . . . and finally . . . ’ He sighed. ‘But I wish you would stay tonight. Or at least let me get you a room of your own. You’d be far more comfortable. And safer. And closer. And then maybe you could accompany me tonight – if you wanted to. Or maybe you would let me come to you later and then – Jenny, if you were here, in the hotel, we could be quite discreet. Quite unobserved . . . ’

Cara mia.

He has been waiting for me all this time.

But I can’t let him get me a room. I can’t go with him tonight. I think we both understand that.

‘Will you be here for me when I return?’ he asked.

I replied that I would be in my own hotel room on 41st when he returned, preparing for my meeting with Miss Marion. He nodded at that. So, I said to him, I would return to my hotel and sleep, and wait for him to telephone me there.

‘Tomorrow, then,’ he said. ‘ After you have seen Frances. I shan’t distract you, I promise. And then, when you’re finished, I shall send all sorts of messages. I shall inundate you with messages . . . I shall telephone you every half an hour. That is,’ he stopped suddenly, ‘if I may?’

If I may! I laughed aloud. And after a polite hesitation, he laughed too.

For I am his completely. We both know it.

Now, it is my turn to wait. Again. It is Lola Nightingale’s turn to wait. Or Jennifer Doyle’s turn, I should say. Jennifer No-one from Nowhere must join the long line . . .
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