Authors: Tori Brooks
AKA Lexi Frost
AKA Lexi Frost
© 2011, 2013 Mike's Basement, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-940476-05-6 (For Mobi editions)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from Mike's Basement, Inc. For permission requests (outside of the scope of "Fair Use" doctrine), contact:
This book is a work of fiction. The characters and events described are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual events or people, living or deceased, is purely coincidental.
My thanks to my husband and family for their support, patience, tolerance, and for providing the appropriate amounts and forms of sugar at key times.
Paul Lovett stared at the photography studio as the limo pulled up. The building was an old
, squat, cinder block cube and didn’t fit his idea of a professional studio, much less one this expensive. The stairs to the upper floor, where a small sign indicated Lexi Frost’s studio was located, were on the outside and another indicator of the outdated architecture. Paul told himself this rough exterior just showed the photographer didn’t feel the need to dress up her work in a pretty package. He appreciated self confidence.
Lexi Frost should be confident. Paul never considered
having nude photographs taken of Kayley before, but seeing Lexi’s work the first time at a client’s house made him immediately pick up the phone to make an appointment. Just the same, Paul watched Kayley as they climbed the stairs to the second floor, relieved she was too excited to notice the rough cinder blocks or the creaking metal stairs.
In contrast to the exterior
, Lexi Frost’s small lobby was stylishly understated, and without a hint at what went on beyond the closed door behind the receptionist’s desk. The pictures on the wall were landscapes, some of them slightly odd when Paul inspected them. He would have expected figures, examples of her work, silhouettes at least.
Since your paperwork is already complete, I can take you back. Would you like to watch or wait in the lounge, Mr. Lovett?” the receptionist asked as Paul looked around.
I’ll watch if you don’t mind.” Paul looked to Kayley for confirmation. He hadn’t considered not being there, but she didn’t seem to care either way.
Lexi’s already back there somewhere, let me take you back to the studio then.” The receptionist opened the door she guarded and led them through.
The first thing Paul noticed about the studio was the darkness. The room
’s floor, walls, and ceiling were all painted flat black. Even the windows had heavy black drapes over them. The room was large, with pieces of various sets and lighting scattered around. Paul recognized some props and draped fabrics from Lexi’s previous work.
Hello, you must be Kayley.”
’s voice brought Paul’s attention back. Kayley happily shook Lexi’s hand and Paul barely had time to size up the woman before she turned to him. He exchanged pleasantries automatically, filing away his impressions of Lexi Frost.
She was below average height and refused to compensate by wearing heels. She had brown hair
, hazel eyes, and an average figure. Her smile seemed warm enough, but Paul’s assessment was that she was a bundle of nerves. Not a problem, he decided as Lexi led Kayley to a dressing room in the back. She’d loosen up as she fell into her craft.
The receptionist showed Paul to a comfortable chair with a decent view of most of the sets. He declined the offer of a drink
, made note of the fully-stocked bar neatly set into the wall behind him, and sat back to wait for the show to begin.
Kayley was a model when Paul met her. She was beautiful
, but difficult to work with according to her agent, directors, coworkers, associates, and friends. In fact, everyone described in detail just how difficult Kayley could be. She didn’t give Paul any trouble, and he knew there were at least two sides to every story. Rather than see Kayley get upset, and therefore ruin his own time with her, Paul simply bought Kayley’s time for the foreseeable future. They never fell in love but enjoyed each other’s companionship, an intimate one when it suited them. If Kayley had any problem with being Paul’s mistress, she didn’t show it. That was years ago, Paul reflected as he waited, and he never regretted the decision.
Lexi emerged from the back room
, closing the door behind her. She checked a thermostat on the wall and rejoined Paul.
Kayley’s getting ready. Of course you’ve seen some examples of what we can do here today. I’ve checked her figure and coloring against a palette, she’ll be pretty easy to work with in any direction you want to go.”
Oh just wait
, Paul thought to himself. He only smiled and nodded, not wanting to put a negative spin on the session before it started. Paul wondered briefly what he was thinking, booking a photo shoot after several photographers refused to work with Kayley again.
She doesn’t seem to have any particular look she’s trying to achieve, so before we start, I wanted to know if there was anything in particular you were looking for.” Lexi looked at Paul expectantly.
I’ll be frank, I’m doing this to let Kayley have a good time. I can’t say I have anything specific in mind.”
Well, we’ll just see where it takes us then. If anything comes to mind or gets your attention, just shout it out.” Lexi smiled and started to walk past Paul, then paused. “And Mr. Lovett? Thank you for bringing such a beautiful woman. It makes my job so much easier.”
, partially in appreciation of the compliment, partially because he suspected she might not be so grateful in a couple of hours. Lexi walked out the door to reception and whispered a few words to the receptionist. Paul watched her fix a small earpiece in her ear as she walked past him again and started to play with lights and props.
Kayley came out of the back room wearing a silky red robe.
Lexi gestured to a carved marble throne sitting in front of a black velvet curtain.
Kayley glanced at Paul with a mischievous smile and let the robe slide off her naked body. She turned and sat gracefully on the throne
’s red cushion.
Paul watched with anticipation as Lexi stepped forward and carefully positioned Kayley
, from her feet to the way her hair hung over her alabaster shoulder. Lexi returned to the camera and checked the shot. She adjusted some of the lights and reflectors positioned around the throne and checked the image in the camera again.
Smile just a little more, Kayley. There you go, perfect,” Lexi said, her face lit by the soft glow of the camera’s digital screen. “All right, tilt your head up a little. Look at the red rubber ducky, if you would.”
’s eyebrows rose in surprise. Rubber ducky? He stood up and walked a little closer. He saw where Kayley was looking and looked up. The ceiling was unfinished, but the ducts, pipes, and rafters were painted black to match the ceiling.
He looked again. Sitting on the ducts
, and not immediately apparent, was a rainbow of rubber ducks. He looked back at Kayley to see her watching him now instead of the duck. He pointed upward as a hint and a broad smile crossed her face.
Go ahead and laugh, Kayley, I know you want to,” Lexi said.
Kayley burst out laughing as Paul looked at Lexi in confusion. She stood with
a remote for the camera in her hand, still taking pictures of Kayley. Looking back at Kayley, he saw Lexi capturing her genuine laughter. Sitting on a throne, bare and laughing without a care in the world, Paul had to admit she presented an alluring sight. He nodded to Lexi in acknowledgment of her cleverness and returned to his seat.
Paul watched Lexi work with Kayley for the next few hours. Initially from boredom
, Paul watched as they changed sets, props and backgrounds. Lexi restyled Kayley’s hair and changed her jewelry and makeup several times. They seemed to work together just fine. Kayley didn’t even flinch when Lexi put her hands on Kayley’s bare hips to position her. For a woman notoriously difficult to work with, Kayley was being absolutely professional. Paul’s brow furrowed in concentration.
He started watching Lexi more than Kayley. She bounced up and down between checking camera angles and lights
, and used gestures and motions to instruct Kayley. The woman brimmed with energy. She smiled, laughed, and joked. She gave compliments where due, but only genuine ones. No insincere comments to boost Kayley’s ego or try to make her workable. Paul leaned forward in his seat to study her. She never raised her voice and smoothly moved from one series of shots to the next.
Lexi radiated confidence and an expectation that her subject would behave. It fascinated Paul that it worked.
In the past Kayley required every shot to be absolutely perfect, to the point she was thrown off shoots. She terrorized photographers and lost advertising contracts because of her perfectionist attitude. Kayley saw Lexi’s work and knew Lexi worked with other women just as beautiful. But Paul wasn’t seeing her competitive nature here.
Maybe it was that he was there. Paul sat back and considered that. Was Kayley behaving for him? No
, he saw her difficult side regularly. Half the time when they ate out she either sent back her meal or gave the servers such precise instructions they nearly wrote an essay. Besides, Kayley was a monster at the charity fashion show two months ago. It wasn’t his presence inspiring her to behave, it had to be Lexi.
Paul leaned forward and considered the photographer agai
n. Lexi was helping Kayley rub shimmer gel all over her body. If he was into girl-on-girl action, he’d be beside himself right now. As it was, his body still reacted physically despite his desire for it not to. Paul looked away, but there was nothing else to look at. Looking around, all he found were more black walls. Lexi even covered most of the props she wasn’t using with black cloth.
, Paul looked back to Lexi and Kayley. Lexi was busy, but Kayley smiled knowingly at him. She wiggled her fingers in a little wave, and Paul gave a small wave back before leaning back in his chair and staring at the black ceiling. Kayley laughed. No doubt he’d hear about it later. He wasn’t worried. Paul and Kayley had an arrangement. He had his apartment, she had hers. While they spent more time together than alone, it was always by invitation. Their relationship was a convenience and not exclusive. They weren’t in love and left each other open to explore other opportunities.
Images of Lexi positioning Kayley came to mind. It wasn
’t Kayley he was thinking about now, Paul realized, it was Lexi. There was something about her, a mystery. He watched the way her short, dark hair bounced and the way the auburn highlights in the soft curls reflected the light. Her narrow waist was emphasized by her ample hips and bosom, giving her a classical figure, Paul decided. Lexi had a pretty face and her makeup was light and natural, hardly noticeable. She was overshadowed when she stood beside Kayley; most women seemed to be, Paul conceded. Maybe that was why he didn’t notice her before.
Paul pulled out his phone and sent an email to his assistant
, Tim DeLaney, asking him to gather information on Lexi Frost. He already had basic career information, now he was looking for personal data. It’d been awhile since Paul sent Tim this kind of request, but like his mistress, Tim didn’t judge. That done, Paul sat back to enjoy watching Lexi handling Kayley.
Lexi finished up and let Kayley go get dressed. Her best friend, Nicholas, watched Paul Lovett via a hidden camera aimed at the waiting area. He provided feedback through her earpiece to help Lexi anticipate what the man paying for the session might want. They did it before when she first started out, and she hated to resort to the trick again to cater on the fly to what the customer might like. As Nicholas pointed out when he suggested it though, Lexi was desperate for this particular shoot to go well. Lexi Frost made a name for herself, but she occasionally had too many bills and not enough clients. Paul Lovett’s multi-millionaire friends would expand her clientele nicely.
Nicholas had an uncanny ability to read Lovett
’s body language and Lexi wondered, for what felt like the hundredth time, when her friend was going to come out of the closet. He pestered her about rejoining the dating scene from time to time, but she felt odd returning the jibes when she was pretty sure they’d be sizing up the same men. Lexi shook off the thought and went to go sit by the client as Nicholas suggested. It was time to be personable and make small talk. For some reason she had to make Lovett like
, not just her work.
That didn’t take as long as I expected,” Lovett said as Lexi sat down beside him.
No, I didn’t realize Kayley was a professional when I quoted you a time. I’m surprised I haven’t seen her before.”
Well, I confess, up until now she hasn’t followed directions well. She’s got a reputation in some circles.”
Really? That might have something to do with handling.”
Could you elaborate on that please?” Lovett looked at her curiously, and Lexi mentally kicked herself. She preferred not to have conversations like this with clients. Not as Lexi Frost anyway. Nothing technical or deep, just enough conversation to get the job done, anything more risked exposing her cover. Although, since she really was a photographer, sticking to this topic should be fine. Besides, maybe honesty would earn points and she needed him to rave to his friends about her.
Top photographers sometimes have a ‘you should consider it a privilege to work with me’ attitude and it shows in the way they direct their models. It’s subtle, but it’s there. A lot of models agree, so it’s not a problem. Others don’t notice the expectation in the photographer’s tone. A few notice, but in the interest of their careers, they ignore it. Occasionally someone notices, disagrees, and can’t ignore it.