Read Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood) Online

Authors: Julie Particka

Tags: #opposites attract, #fake relationship, #bait and switch, #Brazen, #Julie Particka, #Entangled, #sexy, #Hollywood, #contemporary romance

Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood) (4 page)

BOOK: Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood)
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She snorted a laugh—seemingly back to a shadow of the woman he’d spent the night with. “I am
not
your girlfriend.”

“Sure you are, kitten. I heard what you told Mr. Tall-Blond-and-Swedish. Also, I should probably know how long we’ve been a couple
before
we get together with him again.”

For a moment, Jade’s mouth hung open like she was going to tell him off. Then it snapped shut, and she rubbed her thumb along her lip while she tipped her head to the side. “You really want me for your girlfriend?”

“Who wouldn’t?”

She rolled her eyes at the question. “Even if it’s not real?”

Replaying the scene with Isak, Dean tried to piece together what the hell was going through her mind. Alfredsson had shown up, unannounced, which sent Jade into some weird diminished version of herself. Obviously the two of them had a past. It could have been anything, but the first thought to enter his mind wasn’t a pretty one. “Are you saying you want me to be your fake boyfriend to get him off your case? Did he
hurt
you?” That would make the most sense, considering her change in demeanor around the guy.

“No. Definitely no. He’s a great guy.” Her gaze drifted in the direction Alfredsson had gone, but then she shook her head and returned to the moment. “I want you to be my faux boyfriend because he caught us here together and he needs to believe I’ve hit settle-down mode. I let him get away two years ago, and I need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Settle down? Jade and that wet blanket? After what he’d seen of her in the last twenty-four hours? No way. Except… “And what’s in this for me?”

“You said you wanted me for a girlfriend. So you get that…for a while.” She quirked her lips to the side, every ounce of sass back in her eyes. “I know it isn’t a great offer, but I would seriously be in your debt.”

Damn it. He couldn’t walk away from the possibility of something with her—no matter how temporary—at least not if he was going to get even a little of what they’d shared last night. “Define girlfriend.”

She arched a brow, and it took him right back to the way she’d looked at him, almost like a dare, when she’d started in with the Russian spy role-playing. It was everything he could do not to get hard again.

“You’re asking about sex.”

“Obviously.” He believed in romance as a forever thing about as much as he believed in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, but sex? He absolutely believed in amazing sex.

Jade bit her lip, deliberating. Her teeth left clear imprints there when she finally let go. “Fine. Short-term friends-with-benefits, with the understanding that eventually I’m going to ask you to break up with me in a very dramatic fashion so Isak can swoop in and do what he does best.”

“Play rebound guy?”

“No.” Jade shoved him gently. “Fix people who are broken and then offer to give them a world where nothing will ever fall apart again.”

Jade? Broken? He took a second to reevaluate what he’d learned in their short time together. She seemed too strong for breaking—the kind of woman who took no shit and gave zero fucks. The kind who grabbed life by the balls, regardless of consequences.

Yet, when Alfredsson had been here, she’d seemed…smaller. Frailer. As if part of her personality was all bluster and the Swede tore the wind right out of her sails.

If she was broken somewhere, it was a wound that went deep. He’d seen it before in kids at the state home. Regardless of their personalities, they’d all become perfectly compliant whenever a potential family appeared.

Just as Jade had with Alfredsson.

So much of what she offered sounded perfect. Except the whole setting her up for that as a future. It wasn’t so much the sense that Isak Alfredsson would do her wrong as it was the sense he couldn’t fix what
was
wrong.

There was no heat between her and Alfredsson—not even the hint of any sparks—if there had been, Dean would have been man enough to back off. The chemistry between Dean and Jade, on the other hand, had been off the charts. And maybe within that fire, old injuries could be healed.

It might not be forever—hell, it probably wouldn’t be forever—but he couldn’t imagine a world where Jade was Jade-lite for all time. She deserved more than that. He just had to figure out how to make sure he was enough of what she wanted for her to see that she didn’t need Alfredsson, too. And he needed to make that happen within the next two months.

Besides, with her he didn’t have to put on an act, either. She liked him just fine the way he was. Plus, there was sex to consider. Fuck it. He was in. He’d known he’d been in from the second she’d implied they were together. “Sounds like a plan. Count me in for all the benefits.”

She rolled her eyes. “Then cancel your damn cab. We need to figure out our history, and we aren’t doing that until I have a shower, clean clothes, and breakfast.”

He’d already punched in a text canceling the taxi. “Which means?”

“I’m taking you back to my place.”

Where she said she only took things if she planned on keeping them. Perfect. “Cool. I hope you have a drawer for me, because I’m thinking there are a lot of sleepovers in our future.”

Chapter Four

Bad idea. She should have insisted on going to his place. It didn’t matter where he lived; she didn’t take men home—it never ended well. They started to settle into her life, and when they left she had a hole to contend with. How many times could she do that before she crumbled like her mother had?

But by the time she’d thought it through, it was too late to change her mind.

She turned into the parking garage, and Dean raised an eyebrow
. “You live a
t the W?”

“I like to be in the heart of the action.” The W Hotel sat in West Hollywood, right on the Walk of Fame, with a fantastic view of the Hollywood sign. While much of the building rented by the day, there were several condominiums, including the one Jade called home.

Dean laughed. “I only asked because after I signed my
Providence Academy
contract and cashed my first check, I looked into buying a place here, but there were no openings. I’m jealous.”

That shouldn’t have warmed her to her toes, but it did. Isak had hated her condo—too loud, too many people coming and going. That Dean liked it made her breathe easier. Maybe he would be okay at her place. Casual. Really focusing on the friend part of friends-with-benefits. That would make the end easier to contend with because she wouldn’t have to end everything with him—they could still have friendship, even if it was long distance. And potentially secret. And definitely without benefits. Maybe it wouldn’t be easier, after all, but she wouldn’t be able to do this, to relax with him, if they weren’t friends. She’d deal with whatever came. This was the bed she’d made, and she’d damn well fuck in it before she slept in it.

Once they were out of the car, she pointed at the adjacent spot. “In that case, since you’re likely to be here a lot, that’s your parking space. And if that isn’t better than a drawer, I don’t know what is.”

He wrapped an arm around her waist and nuzzled her neck. “Kitten, you’re too good to me.”

There was no one around, no reason for him to pretend like they were really a couple, but she didn’t stop him from holding her. As was often the case at this time of day, the elevator was empty when they stepped on. The instant she pushed the button, Dean pressed her against the wall, bracketing her between his arms.

Knowing the door would open again in seconds, Jade gave a sigh. “What are you doing?”

“Contemplating sex in an elevator.”

“You’re insatiable.” Her fake boyfriend shouldn’t be able to turn her on so easily, but he did. Last night was too fresh in her memory, and as much as she hated to admit it, she was rather looking forward to going another round with him.

He leaned in close, his lips brushing the shell of her ear as he whispered, “Insatiable, incorrigible…as long as I get to be in-you, I’m a happy man.”

“Then I’ll make you plenty happy…later.” The elevator opened on the eleventh floor, and she led the way down the hall to her door.

“You know, if there’d been an open condo, we would have been neighbors.”

“Okay.” Why was he stating the obvious? Of course, she knew that.

She fumbled with her key, and Dean reached out to steady her hand, getting much closer than necessary. “If we’d been neighbors, we could have started this long before last night.”

Trying to ignore the way her skin tingled at his touch, Jade slid the key home and turned it. “Only one problem with that… I have a rule about sex with people from the neighborhood. Too many cranky girlfriends to contend with.”

“Then it would’ve worked out perfectly seeing as I haven’t had a girlfriend in years.”

Sure he hadn’t. A guy as sexy as Dean Hartley—one who clearly wasn’t put off by at least temporary commitment—there was no way he’d been single for long. Rolling her eyes, Jade held the door open and waved him in. He was simply having far too much fun with all of this. He was the
fake
boyfriend; he should have at
least
been enjoying it less than she was. And all things considered, she hadn’t enjoyed a second since Isak had shown up.

Though, “committing” to Dean was the closest she’d come to a relationship since she’d broken things off with Isak. She tended to avoid romantic entanglements like they were the plague. Come to think of it, she’d pretty much done that with Isak, too, and at least he’d been of appropriate relationship age.

Part of Jade knew the eight years separating her and Dean weren’t considered a big deal anymore, but she’d used less than that as a reason to kick men out of her life. She needed Dean, though. Worse than that, she wanted him—no matter how young he was—but the drastic change in their status this morning had him blowing by any logical boundaries.

If nothing else, she had better nip Dean’s lovey-dovey behavior in the bud sooner than later. The minute she shut the door behind her, she said, “Look, you and I need to get a couple things straight.”

“Holy shit, your view is amazing.”

Avoidance, thy name is Dean I’m-going-to-ignore-you Hartley
.

“Yes. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy that, but we need to talk.”

He spun around and arched a brow at her. “I thought you wanted a shower. Unless you want to talk
in
the shower. I wouldn’t be against that, you know.”

The suggestion made her insides tighten with longing, and it was hard to argue with the guy. After all, he hadn’t gotten the chance to clean up this morning, either, and it wasn’t as if she could give him the morning-after boot-to-the-ass anymore. She bit her lower lip and let it slide slowly free. Mmmm…biting sounded heavenly. “Fine. In the shower it is.”

The grin he wore was deliciously evil. “Lead the way.”

It would have been so easy to go into the guest room. It was closer. And it was probably what she should have done. No one besides the two of them would ever have known that she kept her own bedroom off-limits to him. But instead of walking straight into the door at the end of her entry hall, she turned and strode past the kitchen with its built-in wine cooler and expansive bar, past her little dining table with the vase of tumbled rocks, and turned into the master suite.

Not pausing by the bed, she blew out a slow breath and veered toward the bathroom. There hadn’t been a man in this room since Isak—she hadn’t allowed it. Her emotions fluxed between guilt over betraying that memory and the calming sense that this was fitting. Obviously, the only other guy who should be here was the one she was pretending to be with in order to get to her ex, right?

“So, I take it this is the penny tour, and you’re going to stop plowing through everything after we have our little chat?”

Jade swept the scarf off her hair, only to find Dean already working at the tie of her wrap blouse. She had to get him situated, but she desperately needed the rules laid out first. “Sure. Whatever you want.”

“Careful what you offer, kitten. I may take you up on it.”

Dangerous ground. You need to get on something a lot more stable with him.

“Right now, I’m offering water, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.” Before he continued undressing her—before she lost her mind to his touch—Jade reached into the shower and twisted on the water. Then she took over removing her own clothes. This was business, not pleasure—not right now.

Except with how wet her panties were, she knew she wanted the pleasure—badly.

Without thinking, she reached out, her subconscious clearly intending to help Dean shed his shirt and pants, but she pulled her hand back before making contact and stepped into the shower. If she’d thought he would take a minute to get undressed, use the toilet, check for…anything, she was wrong. He caught the glass door before she closed it and kicked off his pants as he entered.

It was going to be that kind of day.

“I need you to understand a couple things about this arrangement.”

Dean shook his head. “Hair first before those snarls become permanently embedded.” He grabbed her by the waist, positioned her under the spray, then ran his hands through her hair, fingers catching on the offending knots.

Desperate to take control of the situation, she grabbed the shampoo. “I can do this.”

“Of course you can, but I want to.” He took the bottle and squeezed some into his hand. Then his fingers were in her hair again, massaging her scalp until her eyes threatened to roll back in her head. “You seem really stressed, and I am going to do everything in my power to remove every last ounce of tension from your body before you have to say or do anything today. Okay?”

How was she supposed to resist an offer like that? “Okay.”

And if she gave in this easily now, how the hell was she supposed to resist him at all?


Jade had been a bundle of nerves since Alfredsson had shown up outside the studio. Maybe in the end, Dean wouldn’t change her mind about going after the guy. Hell, maybe he shouldn’t even try, but he sure as hell wasn’t about to stand by and ignore the stress that was obviously building inside her. If he wanted any chance of making her see that she didn’t need to change who she was…before she threw herself away to move to Sweden—or whatever her ultimate plan was—he needed to get through a couple of her barr
iers first.

So far, this seemed to be doing the trick.

After working the shampoo through her gorgeous waves, he nudged her back under the water. Once she was rinsed clean, he drew conditioner gently through the strands, undoing as many of the tangles as possible with his fingers. Somewhere along the way, she’d stopped arguing that she didn’t need his help, and he proceeded to scrub every inch of her clean. Her muscles relaxed with every caress, her tension going down the drain with the suds. With the soap washed away by the spray, she ducked under again to re-rinse her hair.

Not one to waste an opportunity, Dean sank to his knees and ran his hands up her legs, massaging her already loose thighs. “Open up for me, kitten. I want to taste you all fresh and clean.”

The moan that escaped her lips made his erection twitch. He craved being inside her again, but this wasn’t about his desires—not right now. He wanted every last worry she had to be left behind in this shower. She leaned against the wall and lifted one leg to drape across his shoulder. Water sluiced over her curves, falling in cascades.

Stunning
.

And mine.

He didn’t let himself think about the future, or the promised end to whatever was between them. Now was the only thing that mattered, and for now, she was his. Leaning in, he licked her folds, tasting the sweetness that was entirely Jade. Groaning, he took his cock in one hand, pumping as he laved her over and over with his tongue. Her breathing got deeper and faster, loud enough to be heard over the water, and her leg tightened across his back.

She was so fucking close, teetering on the edge. He kept her there, sliding two fingers of his free hand into her wetness until she trembled against him. No matter what he did, she didn’t beg, and the moment was all the sexier for her stubborn refusal to admit her own need. She wouldn’t deny herself the pleasure, but she wouldn’t ask for more, either.

The thought that he could do this for as long as he wanted—make her late for her afternoon appointment—and she’d never say a word was enough to push him to the brink. He plunged another finger into her, pumping hard, and sucked on her clit.

Fingers wrapped in his hair, she screamed as she came, bucking against his lips and teeth and tongue. The scream undid him and he came so hard, he shot against the far wall of the shower. Slowing the movement of his fingers, he drew his teeth gently along her most sensitive flesh, and she shivered. Smiling, he pressed a soft kiss to each of her thighs before looking up.

“With the way your legs are shaking, I’m guessing you feel a little better.”

Breath shuddering, she nodded speechlessly. But when she tried to step toward the door, she stumbled. Dean shot to his feet and caught her.

“Guess I’m not ready to dry off yet,” she said drowsily.

Settling her against the wall, Dean stepped toward the spray. “Let me wash off, and then I’ll finish taking care of you.”

“Silly man, you already finished me.”

“I meant dry you off and get you in a robe.” But she was wrong—he hadn’t finished her. Not by a long shot.

BOOK: Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood)
2.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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