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The Pretending Plot (Caught Up In Love #1)
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A delicious and all new reimagining of Lauren Blakely’s original fake fiancé romance! All preorder proceeds go to Australian fire relief!
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The handcuffs snapped closed. I tugged, but all I got were red marks on my wrist. I could honestly say, I never thought I’d be in this position.
I’m not saying I never fantasized about being handcuffed by a beautiful woman while wearing only boxer briefs and cowboy boots. It was just that I wasn’t a cowboy boots kind of guy.
“Tell me when it hurts,” cooed a throaty voice.
“Doesn’t hurt,” I said.
A pair of hands slid around me, tugging on each end of the handcuffs. Another pair of hands skimmed up my back and I sucked in a breath. Sutton’s hands. I recognized the feel of them instantly. Damn, she felt spectacular. Even though I wanted to be the one cuffing, the one calling the shots.
But then, striking this deal with Sutton Brenner had never been about calling the shots. It started and ended with her, with her glorious legs, her ice-blue eyes, her curtains of brown, silky hair, and a body I craved. And her hands. The ones tracing long, lingering lines up my back.
True, there were more than the three of us in the room, but I kept my head down and my eyes off of anyone else.
Sutton took her hands off me, and I focused on the moment.
“How about a cowboy hat before I take you for a ride?” asked the woman who’d handcuffed me.
I heard the crack of a whip against a palm, and then a wide-brimmed hat came down on my head, pushing my hair into my eyes. I couldn’t see much, but I was sure Sutton was still here. I knew she thought her job was done. But we were just getting started.
I’d seen a lot of young men with their shirts off. A fair number without their trousers too. I had an eye for the finest specimens, was an unapologetic aficionado of toned, muscled, and mouth-watering male flesh. I was not in the habit of sampling, however. I was like a sommelier, with an exhaustive understanding of vintage and an unfailing instinct for delicious pairings.
Which was to say, I knew how to pick ’em.
Reeve wasn’t the typical rippling 200 pounds of muscle you’d see in a fireman’s calendar, oiled and buffed to a high-gloss shine. He was anything but the standard-order bachelorette-party beefcake with a bow tie and a big smile. There was something a bit more refined about him. He was a Renaissance masterwork—not only those cheekbones, but his body, as well. He was longer, lankier, with the tightly toned frame of a cyclist, but filled out in all the right places. Trim waist, cut abs, arms with just the right amount of definition. And that hair, so soft and inviting.
I bit my lip, cataloguing each time I’d run my fingers through that hair. There was that night . . . Oh, and that day—that had been a very good day. Because, sure, he was chained to a bedpost now, but fair was fair when it came to objectification. I’d taken my turn, and I grinned privately, adding to my catalogue all the times he’d had his way with me.
But this moment was about him. About him and the spotlight and the bargain we’d struck five months ago.
Five Months Ago
The word whispered promises, spun out fantasies of hope and possibility. After an audition, there was no word an actor wanted to hear more than that.
But hell if it wasn’t a big tease. It was the rabbit at the greyhound track, the classy AF woman in a bar full of dude-bros, the tantalizing carrot tied at the end of the just-longer-than-your-reach stick.
I’d gotten the word on my voice mail, in my email. There were showers and droughts, and lately it was the Mojave Desert. I hadn’t gotten one callback since I finished the run of an off-Broadway production of Les Mis. The producers had modernized the show so I had gotten to sing like a rock star, and I felt like one too, earning comparisons by critics to the lead singer of Arcade Fire in one review, and Muse in another. The show closed a few weeks ago, and I found myself where young actors in New York often find themselves. Looking for a job. It was a constant state as a thespian. You had to live your life on the edge of want every single day. If there was anything else I remotely wanted to do with my life—be a cop like my dad, or a high school English teacher, like my mom, I’d have signed up for the police academy or a teaching degree a few years ago. But acting was my passion, the thing I couldn’t live without, and so, at age twenty-four, I’d amassed some decent credits, and a few nice gigs, but not a ton of dough. Despite the reviews for Les Mis, I’d only made a few thousand bucks from the show.