Author: Mercedes King
Publisher: Triumph Productions
Genre: Historical / Modern Historical / Psychological Thriller
In the summer of 1962, nothing could prepare Dr. Charles Campbell for his first meeting with new client, Marilyn Monroe. A reputable L.A. psychiatrist, he’s been hired by a studio executive to treat and subdue the star, no matter what it takes. Although he’s been warned about Ms. Monroe’s unpredictability, she’s not what he expected. Gaining Marilyn’s trust means crossing doctor-patient boundaries, and trying to separate fact from Hollywood-fed-rumors proves destructive to both Charles’ career and his personal life. As Marilyn shares her secrets and threatens to go public with information that could destroy President Kennedy’s administration, Charles’ world turns upside-down. He sinks deeper into her troubles than he should, but Charles becomes determined to help her, even though it means endangering Marilyn’s life and risking his own.
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Dr. Charles Campbell tightened the knot in his tie, knowing that today was the biggest day of his career. Maybe even his life. He promised himself--no, swore to himself--that he wouldn’t let his infatuation get the best of him, that he would hold it together when he met her for the very first time, right there in his office.
He’d cleared away the dust, made sure his diplomas hung T-square straight, and he’d washed his hands. Repeatedly. He’d made sure his gray suit and navy blue tie were pressed to perfection. Like most red-blooded, breathing males he’d taken a beating from inside his chest whenever he saw her on the screen. She had that way about her, being able to stir a man’s desires and make you fall in love with her effortlessly. With that teasing smile and that vulnerable naivety she exuded, she could make any man melt, abandon any morals he held. And her curves. Well, Charles couldn’t think on that. Not today.
He’d treat her the way every psychiatrist was expected to treat a patient. Charles promised himself he wouldn’t flinch or become a caricature of himself when he touched her hand. There would be no unbuttoning of his collar or adjusting the air conditioning unit. And his eyes would not wander. That was his resolve.
He dabbed the beads of perspiration from his forehead. Theirs would be a business relationship, he reminded himself. According to the studio contact, the man who’d arranged today’s meeting, this was a woman in desperate need of his professional services. They would establish a doctor-patient association. Yes, simple as that. Charles would uphold the fine reputation he’d built in Los Angeles and tend to her like he would any female client.
Why, he’d treated a number of actors and actresses, from those struggling with sexual identity issues to depressive diseases. Those famous for their cowboy roles, those noted for their singing and dancing. Even those known for the flip of their hair or their on-set tantrums.
But who was he kidding? There was no one like her. Would she notice his resemblance to Rod Taylor? Remark that his hair was lighter, but that the similarities uncanny. Perhaps his only hope was that she
A knock sounded, interrupting his rambling thoughts.
Charles opened the door to his office.
And there she was.
“Ms. Monroe.” He stepped aside, held out his hand to welcome her in. “Please.”
Her eyes flashed that shy but friendly grin he’d seen in her movie characters as she entered, a crème-colored shawl hugging her bare shoulders. Interesting, Charles thought, for a sultry June afternoon.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Monroe.” Charles offered his hand.
Marilyn stole a surmising glance of the room, the outer room and waiting area for Charles’ practice. How he wished he’d spruced up the walls. She shook his hand, almost as if the gesture were new to her. Her pink linen dress reminded him of her outfit from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, when she sang, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. This dress was shorter, sleeveless but with a high neckline, and sans gloves and diamonds.
“Thank you for seeing me, Dr….?”
Charlie reddened. “Dr. Campbell.” Hadn’t the studio contact mentioned his name to her? And as the man from the studio crossed his mind, he found it curious Marilyn had come alone; he’d expected her to be escorted, handed off almost. “May I get you anything? A glass of water perhaps?”
“No, thank you.” She smiled, sweetly yet cautiously. Charles couldn’t blame her. Here was a woman who’d been raised in turmoil, endured multiple heartbreaks and divorce, professional difficulties, much of it in the public eye. All while being rotated through various doctors.
“Would you like to sit here or in my office?”
“Wherever you’d like me.”
The lump that jumped into his throat almost knocked him unconscious.
“There is a couch in here.” He said it as his hand slid the door open to his inner office. “Well, I only mean that it’s probably more comfortable….”
He was certain he sounded lustful, perverted. Minutes into his first session and he was blowing it! Did he have any hope left of instilling confidence in her, in gaining her trust?
To his surprise she laughed. An unexpected, breathy release that made his own breathing pause.