Just when I’m about to knock on Josie’s door, it opens and a young blond guy walks out, muttering an apology as he passes. I turn around and another guy appears in the doorway.
This one looks me up and down and then says, “You’re probably out of luck, man. The call sheet specifically said they wanted late twenties.”
He shrugs. “Just trying to help you out. You’ve got a baby face. But if you think you can fool them, go for it.”
By the time I’ve worked out what he said, he’s gone. I watch wordlessly as he walks down the drive and gets in a car parked across the street. The front door is still hanging open so I push it open all the way and step inside. Closing it behind me, I follow the sound of voices and laughter.
If Josie is having a party then I’ve officially bought myself some more time. I’m not looking forward to trying to talk her out of this crazy idea. But nothing prepares me for what I see when I enter the living room.
Josie sits behind a white folding table chewing absently on the end of a pencil. A blonde that I immediately recognize as Isabelle stands right behind her. She’s filled out some and her hair is slightly darker but it’s definitely her. They both stare mesmerized at the guy undressing in the middle of the room.
The guy they’re watching is bare chested and doing something with his abs that makes them look like they’re rippling. When he goes to unbutton his jeans, I jerk my gaze away, trying to look at something, anything, other than this dude’s junk. That’s when I notice the others.
My mouth falls open.
There’s an entire line of shirtless young guys waiting their turn to approach the table.
“What the hell is going on here?”
My voice breaks through the noise in the room and everyone turns to look at me simultaneously. The dude undulating his abs pauses mid-ripple. Isabelle is having a really hard time deciding whether she wants to look at that or me.
Josie stands, her chair making a loud screeching sound as she pushes away from the table. “Zack? What are you doing here?”
I gesture around me. “I’m here to talk to you. Gabe told me what you’re up to but he didn’t mention that you’d already started hiring.”
Her eyes skitter away. “He doesn’t know.”
“I guessed that part. I’m guessing he also doesn’t know that you’re holding auditions for Magic Mike in your living room?”
She glances behind her sheepishly at the guy with the abs who is watching us with confusion. He points at his pants.
“Should I take these off? Because I can do this thing with my thigh muscles that you should see.”
Isabelle nods her head. “We should definitely see that.”
All at once, I can’t take any more. “No, we don’t need to see that. Get your shit and get out. All of you. Out!”
The guy looks like he wants to say something but when I turn to him, the glower on my face must convince him that it’s not worth it. He grabs his shirt from the floor and pulls it over his head.
Isabelle rushes forward. “Please leave your cards, gentlemen. We’ll call you when we’ve made a decision.”
The other guys standing in line grumble as they file out of the room toward the front door. A few are taking longer than necessary so I clap my hands. “Let’s go!”
Josie looks appalled. She stomps over and grabs my arm. “You have some nerve. Who the hell do you think you are?”
Is she fucking kidding me? We face each other in a standoff. Josie raises an eyebrow when I don’t answer right away. My annoyance fades a little as I watch her get more and more pissed off. It doesn’t help that she’s hot when she’s all worked up like this. She looks like she’ll bite my face off if I get too close.
“I’m the guy who just cleared all the potential serial killers out of your living room. You’re welcome.”
“I’m not an idiot, Zack. We didn’t just grab random guys off the street. We got these candidates from a reputable modeling agency. How am I supposed to explain what just happened?”
“I don’t care how the hell you explain it. But I wasn’t about to stand there and let that guy take his pants off.”
Suddenly she clamps her hand over her mouth. My stomach clenches, worried that she’ll start crying. But a soft giggle escapes from behind her fingers.
“Don’t you dare laugh.”
Finally she seems to get herself under control. “What else can I do? I have to laugh or I’ll scream instead. Thanks to you, this entire day has been a waste of time. After that fiasco the agency isn’t going to send me any other models and I don’t really want to start over with another agency.”
She walks over to the couch and sinks down. Her shoulders slump forward and she lets out a long sigh. I kneel on the floor in front of her and when she meets my eyes, all the fight drains out of me. It’s not like her to look so dejected. So defeated.
“Why is this so important, Jo? What’s the rush?”
“Time is counting down until my next show and I’ve got nothing. The owner of the gallery has been really patient and supportive but if I don’t deliver, then he’s not going to wait forever.”
Now I feel guilty. Even though my intention was to get her to change her mind, it hadn’t fully hit me that she’s doing this to further her photography career. Her last show was phenomenal and it makes total sense that she would feel pressure to top that.
Maybe that’s what makes the craziest thing ever pop out of my mouth next.
Inheriting billions from the father they never knew sounds pretty sweet. Until they find out what he really wants in exchange.
Tank : Fake Dating the billionaire’s son should have been easy. He’s a bad boy and not my type. But he’s also loyal and kind with an unexpected soft spot for rescue cats. Suddenly all I want is for this “fake” love to be real.
Finn : When she left me, I had nothing. Now I have it all: money, cars and most importantly, power. She’s struggling to save her business, and I’m in the perfect position to save it. For a price.
Gabe : She thinks I’m arrogant and cocky as hell. She’s right. A reformed con artist and a perfect little princess don’t belong together. But I still can’t leave her alone.
Zack : She’s my brother’s ex. Off limits. But she needs a nude model for her show so I’m taking one for the team. Turns out she needs more than just my picture…
Luke : My online BFF is the only hacker better than I am. Then I’m asked to consult on a hacking case for the FBI and the hauntingly beautiful suspect seems to know a lot about me. Things I’ve only told one other person…
Blue-Collar Christmas : Emma has a plan to bring the high-rolling billionaire Marshall brothers back to their roots with the perfect blue-collar Christmas. But as presents go off course and secrets are revealed, it turns out the “perfect” Christmas has a price tag no one expected…
She’s my brother’s ex. OFF LIMITS!
But she needs a nude model for her show so I’m taking one for the team.
Turns out she needs more than just my picture…
~ a USA TODAY bestseller ~
I may look like a thug but underneath I’m all about family. My brother, Gabe, is the popular one but I’ve never envied anything he has. Except for Josephine Harlow.
From now on I’m living life full throttle. First: find a nude model for my next photo series. Next: get rid of my pesky V-card. No more trying to gain my family’s approval. They all think I’m in love with my high school best friend. Instead I dream of his brother, tattooed, Mohawked mechanic Zachary Marshall.
He annoys me and we fight constantly but worst of all, he only sees me as “Gabe’s girl”. Until Zack makes the most shocking offer of all, to be the model for my show.
And the first man in my bed.