( Photo on Foter.com )
I’ve been digging through manuscripts a little bit this week, and a lot this weekend–Medusas, tiger shifters, and a contemporary that I had intended to finish and polish last year before my writing schedule went kaput in the face of family stuff. I never stopped writing last year, though I didn’t get to do any of the polishing and publishing things I had planned. The first part of my year this year will be finishing and polishing Medusas–tweaking and polishing the second one, and finishing and polishing the third–so I can get them out into the world. Tiger shifters are next on my list, and there is a lot of polishing to do there, from the first book to at least the third this year, and finishing the fourth and fifth, at least first drafts.
But this contemporary…I had forgotten who much I love this hero. Oh, I know, I say that about all of my heroes, and I mean it, but this one, well, he’s got all kinds of appealing qualities, and I have him on my list of writing goals for this year, to work on finishing up the first draft of his story, at the very least. And since he’s taken up more of my time today than he should have, I think I want to share a little snippet of him with you. I have a face in mind for him, but can’t find a usable pic, so you’ll have to use your imagination–Riley is an actor-bad boy of the first order, though he’s reformed in recent years, because he’s a single dad. Because of his past, he has to work extra-hard to prove he’s changed and is worthy of the things he wants. He has blue, blue eyes and brown hair, and dimples, oh the dimples! Right now, what he wants is a really juicy acting role in a film that will be amazing, but the director has reservations about Riley. When Maddie drops into his life, having her as a fake fiancee is exactly what he needs to change the director’s mind, plus he likes her. Maddie has her own reservations, though, and, while pretending to be engaged to Riley will fulfill every one of her fan-girl fantasies, it will be hard to keep her heart from believing the lie.
Maddie frowned up at him. “Why on earth would you tell the police we’re engaged?”
One corner of his mouth curved up. “Can you think of a better reason why you would be hiding behind my bedroom?”
She blinked, then shook her head to clear it. “I’m sure plenty of women have been in your bedroom without the benefit of an engagement ring,” she finally said, annoyed when his smile only grew bigger.
“Not this bedroom, sugar,” he drawled.
Heat climbed her throat to her face again. “Look, I think it’s best if I just go. Maybe I can reschedule our interview for another time, when things aren’t so–” she gestured toward the hallway now, floundering–“crazy.” Probably never.
He caught her flapping hand and stepped closer again, too close for her brain to function properly. “I’m going to need a favor from you, sugar.”
He was sucking up all the air, because her lungs were working way too hard. Warmth from his fingers slid up her arm, oozing into her blood, and her heart pounded to hard against her ribs. “A…favor?” she managed, caught in his blue eyes, serious now.
He nodded. “I need you to go along with me on this engagement. At least for a few weeks.” His thumb rubbed along her palm, and sweat broke out on the back of her neck.
“Why?” She needed some space, but her legs wouldn’t move. Dammit, she was turning into one of those mush-brained women who got stupid when one of their dream men paid the least bit of attention to them.
His thumb stroked again. “Because we told the police we’re engaged, and because if I don’t have a fiancee, I’m not going to get the best role of my career.”
She blinked up at him, frowning a little. “Run that by me again?”
His mouth relaxed. “There is a lead part I would kill for that’s being cast in the next few weeks or so, but the director believes all the press about me so he doesn’t think I can handle the work. If he thinks I’m getting to married to you, my agent and I can convince him I’m the right actor.”
Her frown deepened. “Shouldn’t he be choosing based on acting ability, not social skills?”
Riley flashed a grin. “That’s not how his mind works. Instead of seeing me raising my kids and being a responsible single dad who works his ass off, he sees the tabloids’ made-up stories about nightclubs and dinner dates with lingerie models, and that negates any good things he thinks about my acting.” His gaze slid down to her mouth. “If I’m engaged to marry a nice, pretty woman who has her own career and is a great role model for not just my kids but me, he thinks, good actor, someone he can count on to do the job.”
Maddie tried to make her brain follow that logic. “And why would I do this for you?”
Sometime during his convoluted explanation, he’d moved even closer. “You have total access for your interview, anything you want to know.” His warm breath touched her lips.
“I don’t know that that’s really a balanced deal,” she murmured, noting the fresh scent of him, all male, spicy, enticing. “I wasn’t looking to write an expose, or a tabloid piece.” She stopped breathing when his other hand landed on her hip.
“What were you planning?” His fingers flexed, warming her through the thin cotton of her dress.
“Something lighter, something your fans would enjoy.” She tried to rein in her wayward inner fan-girl who was squealing that Riley Hayes was touching her! When his fingers tightened, sending heat zinging to intimate places, her brain shut down everything but life-support.
“Then you’ll have to think of something I can do to make it more equitable.” He nudged her nose with his, lightly. When her breath puffed out, he did it again.
“Are you trying to seduce me into doing what you want?”
“Is it working?” As he spoke, his lips brushed hers.
She shook her head, but she knew she was lying. No wonder his bad boy reputation had hung on for so long.
Now I’m heading back to my tiger shifters for the evening. Here’s hoping for a productive week for all of us!
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