When you’re acting the role of a lifetime, how can you know if love is real—or all just a part of the show?
Twenty-three year old rising theatre star Jill McCormick has built a life out of pretending. Pretending she’s happy, pretending her long-distance crushes add up to something real, pretending she’s not haunted by the dark secret that shattered her world six years ago. Cast in her first Broadway show, she desperately needs to keep her façade intact, but that’s before she comes face to face with her devastating new boss…
Hot-shot director Davis Milo knows the first rule of directing: never fall for your leading lady. Captivated by Jill’s raw talent, he fights his feelings, but watching Jill on-stage with another man is more than his jealous streak can take. Keeping things professional isn’t an option. He wants all of her.
Soon the ingénue and her director are staying late in the empty theatre, their private rehearsals spiraling into new, forbidden territory. Caught up between fiction and reality, Jill struggles to find the truth in all their staged kisses. But how can she be sure that what she feels is real, and not a part of the play? And when two people spend their lives pretending, what happens after the final curtain falls?
He glances down at the black pumps. “Nice shoes.”
As I follow his eyes, I realize my hand is on his shirt, my fingers fisted around the cloth, clutching it. I should let go. But I don’t.
Because I can’t help but notice he has that clean and freshly showered smell that makes any woman want to lean in and lick a guy’s neck. Close her eyes. Inhale, and trail a tongue all the way to his earlobe, enjoying the sound of a low groan.
“Nice shirt,” I say softly, running my index finger across one smooth button. Then I look up to find him staring down at me. His dark blue eyes aren’t cold anymore. They’re not keeping me at bay. Instead, they’re heated, searching mine.
It’s hypnotic the way he looks at me. Completely hypnotic, as the room goes quiet, the air between us charged. I press my teeth against my lips, and I think, but I’m not entirely sure, because thought has vanished, that I nod briefly, almost as if I’m giving him permission. Then he bends towards me, and my breath catches. Before I even process rationally what’s happening, his lips are on mine, and my pulse is racing.
It’s a barely there kiss, just him brushing his soft lips against mine, but I want more. So I pull him closer and deepen the kiss. He groans, and then suddenly his hands are in my hair, and he’s twining his fingers through my long, blond strands, and tugging me close. I thought I was leading this kiss, but I’m not anymore, because he’s claiming me, tracing his tongue across my top lip, then nipping at the bottom lip, then kissing me so deeply and with so much heat that I shudder. That only makes him kiss me harder, and everything else falls away because this is a kiss I can feel in every single cell in my body.
Deep, and fevered and possessive.
It makes me feel things I’m not supposed to want.
My heart pounds wildly as he presses closer, so dangerously near to me that I want him to slam me against him. Let him touch me all over. His lips own me, his hands want to know me, and I swear I might combust from this kind of electric contact. He breaks the kiss and I’m not honestly sure where I am anymore. Or who I am. I look at him, at Davis, but everything is so hazy right now, that I don’t know what to say. I don’t think he does either, because he doesn’t speak for a moment. He shakes his head, and swallows, collecting himself. As if he doesn’t know how that happened either.
“I’m sorry,” he says, then steps back, pushing his hand roughly through his hair. He looks away from me, staring at some distant point on the wall. “That was a mistake,” he says quietly.
ABOUT LAUREN BLAKELY:
Lauren Blakely is an unabashed fan of clever jokes, toast, and good guys in novels. Like the heroine in CAUGHT UP IN US, she thinks life should be filled with movie kisses and coffee drinks. Lauren lives in California with her husband and children, and spends her days writing both true stories and make-believe ones.
PLAYING WITH HER HEART Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17452343-playing-with-her-heart
Lauren Blakely Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6860216.Lauren_Blakely