Read Camera Shy Online

Authors: Lauren Gallagher

Tags: #canada, #Torfino, #movie stars, #actress, #contemporary erotic romance, #erotic romance, #Hollywood

Camera Shy (4 page)

Their faces were just inches apart now. Jason wanted to kiss her, to test her lips, discover her taste, but he waited. A delicious electricity crackled in the air between them, that sizzling anticipation, the intense stillness before the lightning brought the thunder. He wanted to savor the feeling, the tension, until he couldn't wait another second, until the lightning demanded thunder.

The lightning came in the form of a sweep of her tongue across the bottom of her teeth. The subtle motion pulled a sharp hiss of breath from him. He closed the distance, pulling her to him, his heart thundering as his lips met hers.

Simone's spine turned to liquid as soon as he kissed her. Her arms slid around him and she held his shoulders as her body melted into him. The coarseness of his

unshaven jaw against her face emphasized the softness of his mouth, his musky scent contrasting deliciously with the sweet taste of his tongue.

It was like no kiss she'd ever experienced, a promise of more to come, but an erotic moment in its own right. The longer he kissed her, the more she wanted him, wanted all of him, but at the same time, she didn't want this moment to end. Jason's kiss wasn't just an overture, it was an entire symphony.

He pulled back and looked into her eyes. The tip of his tongue ran along the inside of his lower lip. Somewhere in the back of her mind, Anne-Marie's voice warned her again and again not to do this . . . that it was a mistake . . . but Anne-Marie wasn't looking into Jason Connor's eyes. Anne-Marie didn't have Jason's fingertips against her scalp, the warmth of Jason's breath whispering across her skin, or the lingering taste of Jason's kiss on her mouth.

He kissed her again, silencing Anne-Marie's voice once and for all. Simone let herself get lost in him, in the gentle way his tongue explored her mouth. She didn't care that she'd just met him. She didn't care that they were out in the open, vulnerable to prying camera lenses if anyone happened by. She just didn't care.

Chapter Four

Jason broke the kiss and looked at her as he ran his fingers through her hair. Simone tried to remember how to breathe as she watched the deep orange of the setting sun reflect in his dark eyes.

He laughed softly and looked away.

"What?" she said.

When he looked at her again, she swore he was blushing.

"I swear to God," he said. "I only brought you out here to see the sunset." She shrugged and kissed him again, ignoring the warnings and protests and guilt in her mind. Against his mouth, she whispered, "There will be more sunsets."

"You're right," he said, his lips brushing hers. He started to speak again, but paused.

"What's wrong?"

Jason's tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth as he looked at her. The setting sun illuminated her features, adding a soft shadow beneath her cheekbones and a vividness to her eyes. "Jesus . . . ." He finally whispered.

She blinked. "What? What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he said. "Just, don't move." He freed himself from her grasp just long enough to scoop his camera off the pier. He clicked it on and raised it. Allyson balked, moving away from him and raising her hand to block the lens.

"No," she said sharply. "No, please."

Her reaction had him fumbling the camera. He immediately placed it back on the pier and put his hand on her waist.

"I'm sorry," he said quickly, cursing himself for not remembering the way she'd warily eyed his camera earlier. "I should have asked. I'm sorry." She stood still in his grasp, her gaze flicking back and forth between the camera and his hand on her arm. "I should have said something. I-I just don't like cameras; I'm sorry."

"No, don't be, it was my fault," he whispered, touching her face gently.
Could I
be

any less professional?
"It won't happen again, I promise." She gave the camera one last look before focusing on him again. Her expression softened and she relaxed. A little. "It's okay. I should have said something." She sighed.

"I suppose most people aren't as weird about cameras as I am." She rested her hands on his chest and kissed him gently.

"No, I should have asked. It was unprofessional of me." He slid his arm around her waist. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable."

She leaned into him and let her hand rest on his leg, but her body was still tense.

"It's okay." She looked at the camera again, then at him, her expression inquisitive.

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why did you want to take my picture just then?"

His face burned. He was thankful for the heavy warmth of the sunset, hoping it camouflaged the redness he was sure lit up his face. "The light," he said. "It just looked .

. . on your face, it looked . . . perfect." She blinked. He continued. "The contours in your face, the contrast between your features . . . the sunlight is so flattering, but that light"—

He gestured toward the sunset, avoiding her eyes—"It's . . . beautiful on you." Allyson exhaled. Some of the tension in her shoulders faded. "I . . . thank you." He was quiet for a moment. "Listen," he whispered, running his fingers through her hair. "I understand that you don't like cameras, but, if you change your mind . . . ." He couldn't believe he was saying it, after her almost phobic reaction to the camera, but the words just spilled off his tongue before he could stop them. "I'd love to photograph you."

She shifted uncomfortably, but didn't pull away from him. "I'll let you know," she murmured.

Jason silently begged for another salmon to splash through the water's glasssmooth surface and break the tension that hung between them, but no such luck.

"It's getting dark," she said. "I should probably get back into town before it's too dark to see my way."

Damn it. Look what you did. You scared her off
. He kissed her lightly and then released his grasp on her waist. "I can drive you back into town, if you'd like," he said.

"My Jeep isn't far from here."

She nodded. "Yes, thank you."

On the way back down the pier, he took the chance and let his fingers touch hers, hesitating to see if she pulled way. She didn't, so he took her hand, running his thumb across the back of her fingers. "Look, I'm sorry," he said. "I really, really enjoyed this

tonight." More than you can possibly imagine, he thought with a shiver. "I'm sorry I ruined it."

She startled. "Ruined it?" Then she laughed. "No, no, you didn't. My stupid fear of cameras ruined it." She smiled—that broad, warm smile he desperately wanted to photograph. Stopping, she put her arms around his neck. "I had a wonderful time. Really. Thank you for showing me around." She kissed him gently. A long pause hung between them, their eyes locked in the fading daylight. "I'd like to see you again," he said, silently scolding himself for sounding like an awkward junior high kid.

"I'm only here for a few more days, but . . . ." She trailed off, avoiding his eyes. He wetted his lips. "Do you have plans tomorrow night?"

"No plans at all."

"How about dinner?"

"When and where?"

He shifted his weight. "Maybe . . . ." He hesitated. Moments ago, he wouldn't have thought twice about asking her to come to his place—in fact, he was half-tempted to ask her to come home with him that very night—but now he worried he'd made her uncomfortable. "I could cook for you." It was out. There it was. No taking it back.
Idiot
. To his surprise, she said, "That sounds nice. I'll be there." Her smile backed up her words.

They walked back up the beach to where he'd parked.

"I left my car over by First and Arnet," she said as they drove into town. They found her rental and he put the Jeep in park.

"Let me give you my address." He pulled a pen and a notepad out of his glove box. "My place is a few miles out of town, but it's easy as hell to find."

"Give me your phone number, too," she said. "Just in case I do get lost."
Or in case you decide that I creep you out and you want to cancel
. He smiled in spite of his worries and wrote his number below his address. "Trust me, you'll find it." He tore the sheet off and handed it to her. When she took it, her fingers brushed his, lingering

against his hand just long enough it couldn't have been accidental. He swallowed.

"Seven o'clock?"

"Seven o'clock." She smiled.

"I'll be counting down the hours."

"As will I." She leaned across the console and kissed him. It started out as just a light kiss, a brief parting gesture, but she didn't pull back.

She hadn't meant to let their goodbye kiss linger, but she wanted just one last taste of him. She pressed her lips to his once again, and this time he leaned into it, sliding his hand around to the back of her neck. Her defenses melted as he gently parted her lips and drew her tongue against his. A shiver ran down her spine as she caught herself wondering what else he could do with his mouth.

His lips barely leaving hers, he whispered, "If I don't let you go, we're going to be here all night."

"Pity." She wrapped her arms around him.

"I should let you go." He pulled her closer.

"I should go." She held him tighter.

His hand rested on the curve of her waist, his fingertips pressing into her gently while his other hand found its way up the back of her neck and into her hair. She desperately wanted him to touch her everywhere, to feel his hands all over her bare skin, but just the gentle, if insistent, way he touched her now was erotic in its own right.
Forget tomorrow night
. She pulled him closer. His mouth was exquisite against hers.
Just tell me you want me to come home with you tonight, Jason. Tell me you want this as
much as I do
.

A car door slammed nearby, making both of them jump. Jason looked over his shoulder, then back at her. He kissed her lightly and his arms loosened around her. "I really should let you go."

She exhaled. "I know."

He stole one last, brief kiss. "See you at seven tomorrow?"

"I'll be there."

Alone in her rental car after Jason's taillights disappeared into the night, Simone cursed under her breath. Anne-Marie's warnings came crashing back into her consciousness.
No men. No men. Don't screw this up
.

"Shit," Simone muttered, hitting the steering wheel with the heel of her hand. As irresistible as Jason might be, as delicious as his kiss was, this was a really, really bad idea.

Chapter Five

Simone dropped into the chair in Anne-Marie's cabin, staring at the clothes she'd spread all over the bed. She was supposed to meet Jason in less than two hours, but she hadn't packed for a date. She had nothing—
nothing
—to wear. She didn't pack for a date because she wasn't supposed to be
going
on any dates. Rubbing her eyes, she groaned.

So much for Anne-Marie's rules. She'd already blown the "no alcohol" rule. A shudder ran through her as she remembered yesterday's skull-splitting hangover. A hell of a morning following a night she couldn't remember.

No alcohol. Whoops.

No men. Shit.

She'd sworn she was here to relax, to think about her life, to get back on track. She really had every intention of doing just that. And Anne-Marie was absolutely right: The last thing Simone needed was a man—even just a fling—complicating things. There was simply too much at stake to risk on a quick lay.

Against her will, though, her mind drifted back to the night before. An involuntary shiver ran up her spine as she remembered Jason's touch, his kiss. She wanted to know what it was like to spend an entire night at the mercy of Jason's sizzling touch. If the hunger in his lingering kiss in the Jeep was to be believed, he was

more than willing to oblige. Just thinking about what he'd look like naked, what he'd feel like, what he'd taste like, made her mouth water. She bit her lip and squeezed her thighs together as another shiver rippled through her.

No men. No men.
No. Men
.

She glanced at the clock. Five fifteen. Two more hours. She still had time to cancel.

It wasn't too late.

She looked at the scrap of paper beside her purse, the one on which he'd written his address and his phone number. All she had to do was call.

But really, what harm could one little dinner date do? Even if it led to more. They both knew she was leaving in a few days, so it would be, at most, just a fling. A short, fun, harmless fling. Probably no more than a one night stand. Goosebumps prickled her skin as her mind again wandered back to the previous night, when she let herself get lost in his kiss, kissing him like nothing else in the world mattered because, at that moment, nothing else in the world
did
matter. His kiss alone did more for her than most men had ever done in the bedroom.

He was precisely what she needed to satisfy her. If his kiss was any indication, Jason Connor was scorching hot in bed.

But if her past was any indication, her newfound friendship with Jason would end just as badly as every other relationship she'd ever had. There was no such thing as a harmless fling that involved Simone Farrell. She sighed and rubbed her forehead.
Call
and cancel. This is a mistake. A huge mistake
.

No good could come of this. More distraction. Another heartache to give her a reason to dive into the bottle again. More ammunition for the paparazzi to tear her apart.

The paparazzi weren't here, though, she reminded herself. She hadn't seen a single one; the only camera she had seen in three days, besides some random, oblivious tourists' was Jason's.

She winced at the memory of what happened on the dock, when he tried to take her picture.
Christ, he must think I'm an idiot
. Who could imagine? A camera shy movie star. And how could she explain it to him? "
Look, I work in front of a movie camera all day
long, but cameras like that have damn near destroyed my life, so would you please put it away
and take me to bed
?"

This was
definitely
a bad idea.

She looked at his phone number again.

There was just one problem: she really liked him, and not just because of the magic he worked on her body. He talked to her like a human being, not a movie star. He wasn't trying to rub elbows with her. His face was nothing if not sincere and his mere presence put her at ease. It had been so long since she'd been with someone so genuine. Even after she freaked out about the camera, he'd still asked her to come over to his place. He'd still kissed her like he couldn't get enough of her. She swallowed.

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