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“Bennn . . .” I breathed.

His hand pulled away and his strokes slowed, milking the second orgasm from my body.

Once I quieted, his pace picked up and he pumped into me several times hard and fast. He buried his face in my neck, kissing me softly as he came. “Emmy.”

The deep, broken quality of his voice against my neck undid me. I was falling for him. He could own me completely, use me for his plaything, and I wouldn’t care. That realization sent panic racing through me.

What was I even doing? This wasn’t me.

I pulled away from the warm cocoon of his body. “Ben, we can’t do this. . . . Fiona will fire me. . . .”

His brow drew together. “Who I fuck is none of Fiona’s business.”

“That’s good.” Actually it stung like hell. “Because she hates me, and I wouldn’t want anything to affect your bookings.”

He smiled at me like I was a small child. “I can handle Fiona.”

All of this was too much. I needed out of this room. “I should probably go.” I leapt from the bed, gathering my clothes.

He sat up, confusion apparent in his features. His lips, always full and sensual, were swollen and slightly pink, his breathing still too fast. I almost felt bad leaving him like this. Almost. Until I realized I was in just as ragged a state. My heart was fucking pounding and I was woozy, not from the alcohol but from him. He was intoxicating. And apparently there was nothing between us but the physical act. It wasn’t enough. I stepped into my still damp panties and slid them up my legs.

“Okay.” He didn’t try to stop me, and I wasn’t sure what that meant, but a pang of disappointment settled in my chest. I pulled my dress into place and tucked my hair behind my ears. He rose from the bed and walked me to the door. Slipping into my shoes, I rushed through the open door.

“Emmy.” His low voice washed over me in a way that was both familiar and intoxicating.

I spun to face him.

His expression had softened, turned more serious. “Are you okay?”

“I’m good. I’ll see you in the morning. Your call time is eight thirty,” I mumbled, still weak and shaky from our erotic encounter.

Frown lines settled around that sensuous mouth. “I know. Gunnar told me.”

“Well, good night.” I disappeared down the hall, trying to forget the look on his face that couldn’t have possibly been disappointment.

• • •

When I reached my room, my heart and head were at war with my body. My body knew exactly what it wanted—Ben. My head knew I should draw a professional line between us and maintain it. My heart fluttered, a giddy fool at the thought of him. That was bad. I paced my hotel room, my legs still jelly from the thorough fucking he’d given me. There was no way I’d be able to sleep yet. I was still tipsy from the vodka, and my hormones were raging.

I needed Ellie. She’d know what to do.

We hadn’t been in touch since I’d arrived. I’d left her emails unanswered and knew it was time to give her an update before she called in a rescue squad. I felt a little guilty, realizing I never even called her when I’d landed. This phone call was long overdue. She could help me sort out this mess. Ellie never had any trouble in the guy department. Her looks were dark and exotic and she exuded enough sexy confidence to capture any man’s attention. I felt like a fish out of water when it came to men. Especially a man like Ben. I prayed she’d have some answers for me. If I was to survive the next three months, I needed help.

Glancing at the clock, I realized it was afternoon in New York. Ellie was likely at work. But with any luck, I could catch her.

I paced my hotel room as the phone rang. Other than calling my mom when I’d arrived, it was the first time I put my international calling plan to work.

“Emmy!” she answered after several rings.

I laughed despite myself. “Hey, Ellie.”

“How’s Paree? How’s the megabitch? I miss you! The new roommate’s a nightmare.”

My shoulders relaxed at the familiar sound of her voice and I sunk onto the bed. “Everything’s good. God, girl, I miss you. I need some girl time, bad.”

“What’s his name, sweetheart?”

I released a deep sigh. Was it that obvious? “Ben.”

“Name sounds harmless enough. So what’s the story with this Ben?”

“He’s the reason we’re here all spring. Ben Shaw. Just Google him. He’s way out of my league.”

“So what, you want to know how to get him to notice you?” I could hear Ellie typing—at work, no doubt.

“No. We’ve hung out a couple of times, but God, Ellie, he’s a freaking supermodel. I like him, but seriously, what chance do I have?”

“Hush, you’re as cute as they come. Okay, please hold, I’m Google-stalking him now. I need a visual.”

I swallowed nervously and lay back against the bed, waiting for her to confirm I had no business crushing on this man.

“Fuck me running, he’s hot. I’d peel those Calvin Kleins off with my teeth. Nibble on that package.”

I laughed. Sadly, I knew the exact photo she was looking at. It was one of the first images that came up on Google when you typed in his name. “Told you.”

“Seriously, I’d bite that firm cock right through the fabric. Just gnaw on it.”

There was no beating around the bush with Ellie. She always said exactly what was on her mind. Which is why I knew her advice would be perfect.

“Is he really that hot in person? Without the perfect lighting and camera angles?” she asked.

“Hotter,” I confirmed. Something about the deep tone of his voice, the confident way he carried himself, his intelligence. He was the complete package.

“Damn honey. So . . . you guys have hung out. . . .” Ellie urged me to continue.

“Yes, grabbing drinks, stuff like that, and of course I’ve seen him on set. He’s sent me a couple of naughty texts.” I smiled at the memory.

“Ohhh, a hot boy who knows the value of dirty sexting. I approve.” I could hear the smile in her voice.

“Yeah, but I just feel so out of my element. I’m torn between keeping things professional and dropping my panties every time I see him.”

She laughed that deep, throaty chuckle I missed. “My vote is panties off.”

“Well . . . about that . . .” I hesitated.

“Have you slept with him?”

“No.” The lie slipped easily off my tongue. “Just a little messing around.” With his penis in my vagina. Thirty minutes ago.

“Okay, well, if you really like him . . . make him wait for sex. Guys like the chase. Don’t give up the P right away.”

“Right.” Shit. Fuck. I dragged a hand through my tangled hair.

“Seriously, just have fun, girl. Don’t overthink this. Even if he is a model, he’s still just a guy.”

“Ellie, he’s dated supermodels. And I’m sure he’s used to girls throwing themselves at him left and right.”

“Yes, exactly, but that’s exactly what you’re not going to do. Don’t be one of his groupies following him around like a lost puppy. Be Emmy. You’re funny, cool, and real. If he likes you, he likes you.”

“True. Thanks, hon.” She made it sound so simple. I knew I could count on Ellie.

“Okay, well, I’ve gotta get back to work. Keep me posted. Oh, and Em . . . don’t fall in love with him.”

Asking me not to fall in love with Ben was like asking a meth dealer not to let you get addicted. Not possible. “Thanks for your advice. Bye, hon.”

I ended the call and curled onto my side, hugging a pillow to my chest. The scent of Ben was still on my skin. I could recall in perfect detail the way he felt deep inside me, his hard body moving above mine. And I wanted more.

8

Emmy

With Ellie’s words still ringing in my head, I got ready for work, faking a confidence I didn’t feel. The combo of six hours of sleep and a vodka haze didn’t help, either. Anticipating seeing Ben on set was a special kind of torture. My cheeks were lit up like a Christmas tree and I could do little to hide it. The memories of last night flooded my senses. Ben rubbing the toy along my panties. Pushing his big cock inside me. Stretching me, filling me almost to the point of pain. Kissing me while his throaty groans punctuated the silence. I remembered how he lost control, moaning my name when he came. It wasn’t a memory I would soon forget. If ever.

He was by far the best lover I’d ever had. He was confident and sure. Extremely in tune with both his body and mine. There would be no forgetting last night. And that was what I was most afraid of. I’d be forever comparing every man to Ben. Which was exactly why I shouldn’t have let last night happen. I silently cursed myself. How could I work around this man all spring?

I could hear Ben’s voice and I mustered the courage to enter the makeup area. I didn’t know where we stood after last night. I begged him to fuck me and then promptly ran out of his room. I felt like an idiot. That was exactly what I didn’t want to happen—an awkward morning-after run-in. We had to work together in close proximity for the next few months. I needed to keep my head on straight. I pushed my shoulders back and headed behind the curtained off makeup area.

As soon as I saw him, all my sexual thoughts were obliterated. He looked like hell. Dark circles lined his eyes, his hair was a mess, and he was slouched over in his seat. My heart squeezed in my chest.

“Don’t play with your breakfast,” Fiona scolded, standing over him.

Ben looked up, almost as if he sensed my presence. He had arranged his pills into a smiley face on the table in front of him.

His green smoothie from hell sat untouched beside him. I wondered if he woke feeling the effects of the vodka like I had. Poor guy. No way could I stomach a handful of pills or that drink. Why the hell did he let Fiona do that to him?

Thankfully, my upbringing kicked in and I didn’t even have to think. He needed taking care of. He was hung over. Too much vodka last night. And by the looks of it, too little sleep. I jumped into southern hospitality mode and strode to the catering table, returning with a plate of toast and a steaming cup of black coffee. It was the exact thing that had cured my hangover a few hours before.

I moved his green drink aside and set down the plate and mug. “You need to eat something.”

His tortured gaze met mine and he smiled weakly. “Thank you.”

Fiona huffed and walked away, muttering something under her breath about processed carbs.

Whatever. She could bite me. I was raised better than that. My momma would have a fit if she saw what they were feeding this man. Pills and blended vegetables were not a proper meal.

Ben lifted the slice of buttered toasted to his mouth. “I’m not supposed to have this, you know.”

“Eat up. It’ll make you feel better.”

His eyes danced on mine, communicating so much. He clearly wasn’t used to people taking care of him. Just him as a person and not as a model. His eyes slipped closed as he took a sip of the strong coffee, and he let out a soft moan of bliss. I knew that would do the trick. The man was human, after all. And no human should be forced to endure pureed spinach and kale on a hung-over stomach. I studied the pills spread before him in the shape of a smiley face. The eyes were two golden caplets, vitamin E I assumed, and the rest appeared to be vitamins, too, leaving me to wonder about all those prescription bottles I saw in his room. Did he only take those in private? What were they for?

“You’re trouble, you know that?” he asked, finishing the coffee and toast.

“You like it,” I flirted.

He cracked a smile. “I know.”

He watched me refill his coffee, and I couldn’t help but notice there was a softness there I hadn’t seen before. That softness was every bit as seductive as his hard body.

Little by little, Ben was letting me in. I could sense that the real him was just a regular guy, looking for a connection. The thought tugged at me. Everyone took from him. No one gave. They wanted photos, autographs, endorsements; girls wanted to sleep with him, Gunnar was dying to turn him gay—but no one was signing up to selflessly give him the simple acceptance he craved. I wasn’t sure why, but my taking care of him this morning was a bigger gesture to him than getting naked in his bed last night.

He wanted to just be . . . not be the Ben Shaw, the man, the legend. That must have been what he was trying to tell me last night. Maybe I had a shot with him after all. Or I’d had one too many vodka-waters and believed what I wanted to.

Momma would love nothing more than for me to settle down with a nice guy. She reminded me of that each time we talked. What she didn’t understand was that all the nice guys I’d dated were just so boring. It made me want to try something different, something new and exciting. Nice guys never sent my pulse racing with a sexy text, or used a toy on me until I was begging to be fucked. The memories of last night refused to fade. Would never fade, I was sure. Visions of us moving together against his sheets danced through my mind as I tried to distract myself from staring at Ben.

Just act normal, Emmy. Riffling through my purse, I handed him two new pills to add to his collection. Pain reliever. “Here. Take these. Then go make pretty pictures.”

He smiled. “Okay.”

I looked down, unable to handle the full force of that megawatt smile he used just for me. I forced myself to find something to do while Ben was shuffled off to hair and makeup.

Thirty minutes later, my body was instantly aware when he entered the set.

Seemingly recovered—with a little more color in his cheeks—Ben looked amazing. He stood in the center of the studio against a white backdrop while two stylists fussed over him. One played with his hair, which was styled into a perfect mess. Bedroom hair. Another tucked his shirt halfway into the designer jeans to show off the impressive bulge in front. She said something to him and he chuckled softly, then stuck one hand down his pants and adjusted himself. Holy crap. Did she just tell him to adjust his junk? I almost laughed, if it wasn’t for the overwhelming memory of that beautiful, large cock. The fact that I now knew it intimately . . .

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