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131 pages, Kindle Edition
First published April 18, 2013
“Damn it.” He shoved his phone into his pocket, plucked a pair of aviator sunglasses with nearly black lenses from the back collar of his shirt, and slid them on. “How the hell do they always find me?” He pulled out the baseball cap and tugged it low on his head.
“Who?” She turned, looking out the side of the elevator into the three-story atrium of the mezzanine level. A hoard of people milled around the area where the elevator doors would open. Her people. The CARC attendees who would be her audience at the one-hour workshop she’d be giving on drawing interesting characters. The VIPs who would attend the meet and greet. The comic book fans who came to see her every year and waited in line for hours to talk to her at her signing table.
Her fans. And maybe a stalker? Her belly twisted. Taking a deep breath, she forced the fear back into its closet. She’d matured since college. Her hair was no longer spiky and red, but long, and back to its natural black. She’d changed her name, changed her city, changed her life. He. Couldn’t. Find. Her. The panic eased.
Back in control, she glanced at the man beside her.
The suave star was gone, replaced by a man disguised and twitchy. She almost felt sorry for him, but a naughty bubble of excitement built inside her. What would be his reaction when no one noticed him, and instead swarmed her?
“Them.” He gestured toward the crowd. “The lobby’s full of them so we figured this level would be safe. They’re like parasites.”
She fought down the urge to roll her eyes. He chose to live the life of a movie star. What did he expect? She tipped her head and made a sad-puppy face. “It must be so difficult.”
He froze for a moment. Through those black lenses, she could imagine him staring at her, wondering at her overly solicitous tone.
The elevator slowed, crawling toward the convention level.
“Uh, yeah.” He cleared his throat. “It’s…”
“Let me help you.” She leaned a bit closer to him and opened her eyes wide. “I’ll distract them while you sneak around the edge of the crowd and make your getaway.”
His lips tightened even further.
She slung the straps of her red purse onto her shoulder, flicked her hair over the other shoulder, and dramatically undid the top button on her wildly patterned blouse. “Ready?”
“What?” His voice held a skeptical laugh.
She’d pay a hundred dollars to see the expression in his eyes. Grinning, she stepped in front of the elevator doors as they opened. She whispered her mantra. “He. Can’t. Find. Me.”
A cheer went up, and a half dozen people shouted, “Megan!”
She smiled and let herself relax.
Garret’s jaw dropped open as he watched her step into the crowd and become surrounded. “Who the hell are you, lady?” he mumbled.
He’d noticed her staring at him in the elevator. Could tell by her tone of voice that she was interested in him. Knew by the way she’d stared at his body, she’d like to get to know him.
Damn, he’d like to know her a lot better, too. Tall and beautiful, that long, silky hair, her smooth chocolate voice, and dark green eyes. When she’d unbuttoned her blouse, he’d caught a glimpse of the tops of nicely rounded breasts, and as she’d walked away, her fine ass swayed, tempting him.
As the elevator doors began to close, he reached out and pushed against one side and they slid open. He stepped out and lurked against the wall, knowing he should make his escape, but wanting to watch her for just another minute.
She greeted her fans as they jockeyed for a spot closer to her. They remained respectful and calm, unlike his fans who were intent on touching him, wanting to come away with a memento, like his shirt or a chunk of his hair.
A quick laugh escaped him. Her strange behavior in the elevator made sense now. She’d known they were her fans, not his, and she’d taken the opportunity to give him shit, knock his cocky ass down a few rungs.
This was it. The realization of her fantasy evening with the sexiest man on the big screen—or any screen—had her stomach jittering and her nipples puckering.
The door swung open and she held her breath. Not Garret, but he looked quite a bit like him. Handsome but in a more rugged way.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She stepped back and looked at the suite number. “I was looking for—”
“Garret?” His smile was an exact duplicate of the movie star’s. “He’s delayed in traffic.” A definite Texas drawl. “Sends his apologies, and asked if you’d mind waitin’.”
“No. That’s fine.” The less-intense, more-sensual version of Garret stared at her with blue eyes a shade darker than the star’s. Hair cut shorter in a blonder, sun-streaked, just-cut look, and darker skin. The two men shared the same sexy lips and strong jaw.
He smiled again and her heart dipped and fluttered. Who knew there were two of them?
“I’m Trey, Garret’s brother.” He stepped back, his python cowboy boots incongruous against the plush carpet. His tight jeans skimmed long legs and narrow hips, and a woven leather belt with a good-sized silver buckle rested low on those hips. His light green cotton shirt was open a few buttons at the neck, and rolled up over strong forearms. “Comin’ in?”
Blinking back from her cowboy fantasy, Megan nodded and stepped inside the McGatlin brothers’ suite. As she passed Trey, a woodsy scent caught in her nostrils. Manly. Outdoorsy. Was he a cowboy, really? She spotted a black cowboy hat on the entry table, which answered her question. What was he doing here in Chicago?
The suite was appointed exactly like hers, but the rooms were bigger, and she noticed two open bedroom doors off the living room. The windows faced the same direction hers did.
“What can I get you?”
His voice came from close behind her and a tingle ran down her spine. She turned to find him right there. Despite her height and heels, he was still a few inches taller. Taller than Garret, maybe.
He stood looking at her, as if he would be content to do just that forever.
Warmth spread through her bloodstream as she took her own long look. His neck looked thick and powerful. A few blond hairs curled at the opening of his shirt. His shoulders and chest spanned wide, and strong biceps curved under the fabric. His chest narrowed at the hips, and daring a few long seconds’ stare below his belt buckle, she nearly whistled at the sizeable bulge behind his zipper. Her gaze flew back to meet his blue eyes. When a corner of his mouth curled up, she smiled back at him. “I’d like red wine, if you have it.”
“We do. I’ll be right back.” He turned and walked toward the wet bar.
She memorized the tight, round ass as his long strides took him across the room. She’d never dated a cowboy. Turning quickly, she shook her head. She was here as a guest of Garret’s, not his too-sexy cowboy brother.