Authors: Stephanie Julian
Praise for the “smoking-hot”* Salon Games novels
“An erotic romance that shines.”
Romance Novel News
“Stephanie Julian know[s] how to write seriously hot, melt-your-e-reader sex scenes. I really think they're some of the hottest I've ever readÂ .Â .Â . really delicious, almost dreamlike mÃ©nage scenes. It's an incredibly sensual, deeply seductive read.”
Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
“There is so much going on in the book and it is woven together so seamlessly that it flows like one lovely story. Of course, I cannot forget to mention the overall hotness factorÂ .Â .Â . I am looking forward to more from this series.”
“These two are actual grown-ups with real problems, real jobs, and a healthy appetite for getting it on at any given opportunity, at any given timeÂ .Â .Â . So what are you waiting for? Read it!”
Under the Covers Book Blog
“Lush fantasies and dark obsessions provide a scrumptious buffet on which we feed our senses in this deeply seductive erotic novel. Beautifully written, this rich and detailed story line, coupled with beguiling and complex characters, takes us on an emotionally charged journey filled with lust, betrayal, and secrets.”
RT Book Reviews
“This story hooked me from the start and didn't let goÂ .Â .Â . A steamy read I'd definitely recommend.”
Happily Ever After-Reads
“LustÂ .Â .Â . just pours off the pagesÂ .Â .Â . Ms. Julian took me by surpriseÂ .Â .Â . She is definitely my new author on my HOT LIST.”
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
By Private Invitation
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
Copyright Â© 2014 by Stephanie Julian.
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eBook ISBN: 978-0-698-14165-0
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Over exposed / Stephanie Julian.âHeat trade paperback edition.
pages cm.â(A Salon Games novel ; 3)
ISBN 978-0-425-27211-4 (pbk.)
1. Motion picture producers and directorsâFiction. 2. HotelkeepersâFiction. I. Title.
Heat trade paperback edition / July 2014
Cover design by Lesley Worrell.
Cover photograph: Key pendant / Imagebrief.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
For you, my love, for never letting me falter
Thank you, Judi, for reminding me that this is a journey best shared.
“You sonuvabitch. What the hell were you thinking?”
“Hello to you, too.”
Greg Hicks shoved a hand through his hair, ready to tear the shaggy curls out by the roots. He hadn't gotten the damn mess cut in weeks and it was bugging the shit out of him.
But not as much as the woman downstairs.
“Tyler, I swear, if you don't get her the hell out of here and right fucking now, I'm gonna do exactly what you want me to do. And Kate's gonna fucking hate me when I break that kid's heart.”
“I take it Sabrina got to the spa. She said it wasn't snowing there as badly as it is down here. And wow, that ego of yours is still amazingly huge, isn't it?”
“Jesus Christ, Ty. I'm more than halfway into my second bottle of whiskey. I can barely see straight. AndÂ .Â .Â .”
. He wasn't drunk enough.
Because he was still sober enough to look at Sabrina Rodriquez and want her so bad, his balls hurt and his dick was hard enough to hammer nails.
“And that's why you need a goddamn keeper. I know you, Greg. If you don't have someone up there to cook for you, you'll starve.”
“I'm thirty-six fucking years old, Tyler. I think I can take care of myself for another few days.”
“No way. Our deal was I let you stay at the retreat for two weeks so you can finish your damn screenplay, but you agreed to have a keeper. When Mrs. Banks asked me to replace her, Sabrina was available on short notice and close enough that the storm wouldn't delay her arrival. And she actually volunteered, so you will damn well
treat her like shit.”
Fucking hell. “Shit.”
Tyler Golden paused. Then Greg heard him sigh. Loudly.
“Greg, what the hell's going on with you?”
Greg heard the concern in Ty's voice but he didn't have the words. “Nothing.”
“Bullshit.” Ty's voice smacked at him through the phone. “You're insulting my intelligence. You don't want to talk about it, that's fine. But don't lie to me. And you'd better get your shit together, because if you do anything to hurt Sabrina, Kate
be all over your ass, and not in a good way.”
Greg took a deep breath and released it, staring out into the hall.
Five minutes ago, Sabrina had walked through the front door of the not-yet-open Haven Retreat outside of Adamstown, Pennsylvania. Far enough away from civilization to make it the perfect place to hide.
Which was exactly what he was doing.
She'd called out to announce her presence, and he'd thought for a minute he'd finally passed out and was dreaming. He hadn't been sleeping well, which explained the liquid medication. If he drank enough, he knew he'd finally be able to get some rest.
Which was a slippery slope. He'd seen more than his fair share of friends and acquaintances fall off that slope. He'd always managed to stay just on the edge.
“Hello? Mr. Hicks? Are you here? It's Sabrina Rodriquez. I work for the Goldens. I'm here to take caâah, I'm here to help.”
When he didn't answer, he heard Tyler swear under his breath. “I'll call her and tell her you don't need her. I'll findâ”
“No.” Shit, that wasn't what he should be saying, but he couldn't stop now. “No, it's fine. It's snowing pretty hard up here now so she's not going anywhere 'til morning. Why the hell is it snowing the first week in November anyway?”
“Well, damn, let me just get Mother Nature on the line for you and you can bitch at her. Seriously, Greg, what the fuck is going on with you? Are you okay?”
No, he wasn't. He was pretty sure he was losing it. “It” being everything from his sanity to his production company and, if he wasn't careful, the few true friends he had.
But that's what this time away was about. Getting his shit together and finishing the screenplay for the film that would make him love the business again.
Sabrina's voice again, closer this time. She must be on her way up the stairs to the second floor, where he'd holed up in one of the rooms.
“I'm fine,” he said to Tyler.
“Right.” Tyler's tone suggested Greg wasn't fooling anybody and if he thought he was, he was more delusional than he realized. “Look, you're not gonna go all Jack Torrance, are you?”
Greg laughed, the noise startled out of him by Tyler's deadpan reference to
“Not that far gone, buddy.” Not yet, anyway. Fuck, he was going to have one massive hangover in the morning. And a serious case of blue balls. “I'll call tomorrow.”
“Are you sure you and Sabrina will be okay tonight?”
That pricked at his pride. “So
you're worried about her? Jesus, Tyler, I'm not going to attack the girl. She's a kid.”
A pause. “No. She's not. But you're right. This was a mistake and it was mine. You're not in any kind of mood to deal with another human being on any rational level tonight. I'm sorryâ”
“Now you're just pissing me off. We'll be fine, Tyler. I need coffee. Or maybe another shot.”
“Have Sabrina make you coffee. Then go the hell to bed and sleep it off. I'll talk to you tomorrow.”
“Yeah. Coffee. Tomorrow. Bye.”
Greg shut down the call before Tyler could say anything else. The guy was one of his best friends, someone outside the business whom he trusted implicitly, not only for his brains but also for his steadfast loyalty.
Tyler didn't like Greg because he was an Oscar-winning producer and director whose net worth was close to the budget of a small European country. Tyler actually liked him in spite of those facts.
Probably because Greg wasn't the same man around Tyler that he was in L.A. And Greg was starting not to like that guy from the West Coast anymore. That guy had started to lose his perspective.
He needed to get it back.
The knock at the door was almost too quiet to hear, but every hair on his body stood on end.
Only a few feet separated him from the girl he'd been obsessing over for months. Which was ridiculous. He was almost thirty-seven. He thought he'd gotten over the juvenile crush stage.
He'd had his heart broken more than a few times in his twenties and he'd figured, after all this time in Hollywood dealing with people who only wanted to fuck him because of what he could do for them, he'd be smarter than to let his heart get tripped up by a twenty-three-year-old with absolutely no agenda.
Hell, if she'd had one, he could've written her off, no problem. Taken her to bed, fucked her brains out, and forgotten her the next day.
The fact that she didn't made him want to throw her on his bed and sink into that luscious body all night long. And keep her there for a week. Or longer.
He took two steps to the door and pulled it open. She'd been heading back down the hallway and she turned sharply, looking over her shoulder with wide brown eyes. Dark golden hair fell down her back in waves he wanted to sink his fingers into and rub against his skin. The top of her head barely reached his chin and she had curves to rival his classic '65 Corvette. In all the right places.
She wasn't an anorexic stick with no breasts and hip bones sharp enough to take out an eye. The girl had tits and ass and hips andâ
“I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to wake you. I just wanted you to know I wasÂ .Â .Â . here.”
Shit, he'd been staring. And if the arch in her eyebrows was any indication, she'd caught him at it.
Another girl might've gone in for the kill. Fluttered her lashes, let her eyes narrow to slits as she smiled up at him. Sidle up to him, rub up against him, and offer himÂ .Â .Â . whatever he wanted.
Sabrina just continued to stare up at him.
“Wasn't sleeping. On the phone.”
Now her eyes narrowed and she checked him out from head to toe. And not in a good way.
He probably looked like shit.
He hadn't shaved in a couple of days. He wore a pair of holey jeans that were almost twenty years old. And his Avenged Sevenfold T-shirt had been new when the band first started playing gigs in the late '90s.
The girl standing in front of him probably hadn't been born at the time. And that was only a slight exaggeration.
“Are you okay, Mr. Hicks?”
He straightened, realizing he'd been slouched against the doorjamb. “Yeah. Fine.”
Her head tilted and her hair spilled over one shoulder, the ends brushing against the curve of a breast. He'd seen that breast covered in nothing more than satin and lace several months ago. And because he was a total dick, he kept one of those photos locked away on his phone.
Today, she wore a thick, deep-purple sweater that covered her from neck to waist but still couldn't hide those luscious curves. They were standing close enough that he could have reached out and touched her. Cupped his hand under her breast and felt the weight of it.
“Okay.” She pasted on a smile he recognized as Pleasant Employee No. 1. “I'm Sabrina Rodriquez. I don't know if you remember meâ”
“I remember you, Sabrina.”
Those beautiful eyes widened and her lips parted but no sound emerged.
He wanted to kiss the shock off that mouth, had to hold himself steady before he curved a hand around her neck and brought her flat up against him.
“Oh.” The shock started to wear off as she processed what he'd said. And tried to figure out any hidden meaning behind his words.
A flush crept into her cheeks, making her even more beautiful than she'd been a second ago, and he watched her remember exactly what she'd been wearing at the time.
“Oh. Okay. That'sÂ .Â .Â . great. That'sÂ .Â .Â .” She took another breath and mustered another smile. “Tyler told me you're working so I'll make sure I'm not in your way. If you need anything, just let me know.”
Yeah, sure, honey. I want you in my bed. How about that?
He wanted to take the words back the second they escaped his mouth. Yes, he'd built his reputation on being a ruthless bastard in Hollywood. A ruthless bastard who got movies made on budget and on time no matter what and raked in millions doing it.
You're also the asshole who drove the woman you claimed to love to drink herself into rehab and pushed her into the bed of another man
Her eyes widened again before they narrowed. Then one hand landed on one generous hip and she looked straight into his eyes.
“So, how about some food to go with the liquid diet you seem to be on? Have you eaten at all in the past couple of days? I can make you something. And maybe you could take a shower since it seems you haven't had one of those today, either.”
*Â Â *
Well, damn. That was pretty stupid
Sabrina snapped her mouth closed, knowing she'd probably just earned herself a pink slip.
Jesus H. Christ. When was she going to learn to keep her mouth shut? According to her mama, that time would probably be never.
“Oh, I'm soâ”
Greg started to laugh, his voice deep and husky, and Sabrina had a hell of a time not falling at his feet in a puddle of pure goo.
The guy had that effect on her. And, oh, how she hoped he didn't know. How embarrassing would that be?
Several months ago, as a favor to her friend Kate, she'd agreed to model lingerie for a photo shoot. Greg had been the photographer.
She'd taken one look and fallen in insta-lust.
Of course, she hadn't recognized him then. He'd just been a towering hunk of man with unruly hairâa mix of light brown, bleached blond, and every shade in betweenâthat hung around his masculine face in curls and waves. The kind of hair a girl sold her soul to get. Or at least paid a hair stylist a lot of money to create. She'd bet her ass his was natural. And she had more than enough ass to bet.
Combined with his broad shoulders, wide chest, and muscular thighs, she'd totally embarrassed herself by practically drooling on him the first time they met. When he'd made it perfectly clear he considered her nothing more than a kid.
Then she'd discovered who he was and, even though she had barely flirted with him, she'd been mortified to find out that the man who'd taken half-naked pictures of her was a world-famous, Oscar-winning filmmaker who often dated women known to the world by only one name.
No wonder he'd seen her as nothing more than a prop in a photograph.
she hadn't thrown herself at him. That would've made this situation way too unbearable.
At least he was laughing, though she had no idea why.
If it'd been anyone else, she would've smacked him on the chest and demanded an explanation. But this man wasn't her friend. No, he was the special guest of the man who employed her.