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) (6 page)

BOOK: Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood)
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“Yeah, but I’m a method actor. I really need to be
character. That means I can’t pretend we’re in a committed relationship when we’re in public and then have it be just sex here. As far as I’m concerned, I’m your boyfriend one hundred percent of the time, and I’m going to treat you like my girlfriend—within the confines of your rules.”

That didn’t sound as bad as she’d feared, and he was right that it would be easier to keep up the ruse if they weren’t switching back and forth on their behavior all the time. “Okay. Fine.”

“Then since our breakfast is fucking cold now, I’m taking you out to lunch. Go get dressed, so I can quiz you on all your favorite things.”

Chapter Six

One thing Jade hadn’t considered was how to make sure Isak couldn’t forget about her ongoing relationship. Dean came to her rescue after a little post-shoot, stress-relief sex.

“Hello? You have an up-and-comer on your arm. Even if the big tabloids don’t care about me yet, BuzzFeed reporters definitely do. They were apparently stalking me at the beach as soon as my casting was announced. Took a lovely shot of me adjusting my suit.” He leaned over and kissed Jade about an inch above the bridge of her nose. “I’ll make some calls and find out who to alert when we’re going to be out and about.”

“Thanks. That’s perfect.”

What the hell? Forehead kisses weren’
t supposed t
o feel so good. They weren’t supposed to feel like anything but a pair of lips—possibly wet—somewhere useless. It was the fever-check kiss, the there’s-nothing-to-be-afraid-of kiss, the you’re-such-a-good-friend kiss. It was the kind that was supposed to be stupid after the age of twelve.

But it wasn’t—not when Dean pressed his lips to her skin like that. It was as if, for a moment, the whole world went topsy-turvy. Her stomach dropped then floated, and all she wanted to do was cling to him. She tried to push the sensation away, but it only made her skin flash with a tingling iciness, and then she was right back where she started—staring at him, wanting more of him.

Instead, she forced herself to leave the room. Flipping through hanger after hanger in her closet, she found herself wondering what he’d like to see her in. This was ridiculous. She was a grown woman; there was absolutely no excuse for acting like a teenager with her first crush—and on a TV star, no less.

What she needed right now was someone to slap some sense into her. But Vicky had company, and there was
no one
else she could talk to about any of this. Jade sighed, leaning her head against her shoe rack.

“Can’t call yourself a grown-ass woman if you can’t deal with your own damn drama,” she muttered, trying to spur herself to some sort of epiphany. But there wasn’t one. What did exist, however, was the sudden racing of her heart as she heard approaching footsteps.

Dean poked his head in the closet, grinning. “Good news, I just got a call to fill a couple seats at a movie premiere. Get dressed, because operation see-and-be-seen is officially a go. I have to run to my place to grab clothes; I’ll be back in an hour.”

Another peck on her forehead and he was gone, leaving her skin tingling as a reminder of his kiss…of him.

Lips pressed in a tight line, she tore through her closet. She’d finally decided to go the one-guy-forever route and now her brain and body were trying to deter her. It was as if some twisted, sadistic god had decided to have a play date with her mind.

You can have all the security in the world…you just have to resist falling for the younger man who sets your world on fire. Have fun.

Gah! She was stronger than this. It was just her relationship anxiety showing. Isak wasn’t like most guys. She liked him—genuinely liked him—love simply wasn’t part of what they shared, it never had been. They got along, sex was unremarkable but fine, and she didn’t have any illusions about the potential for more. Neither did he. They could find happiness in contentment and security—but she had to let go of all her commitment issues first.

Which meant she needed to examine her wardrobe with eyes to something
than what Dean would like her in. If she wanted Isak to see her in the light of commitment, what would he expect her to be wearing?

There. The dress he’d bought for her to wear to a wedding they’d attended together. It was perfect—still retro like she preferred, but demure, almost innocent. A full mid-calf skirt, cap sleeves, and the Peter Pan collar of lace along the high neckline more than made up for it being fitted around the bust. That dress, the lowest pair of coordinating heels she could find, some girl-next-door hair and makeup, and she’d be all set to make a public appearance.

Dean didn’t say much when he picked her up, but he kept a tight grip on her as they strode down the red carpet. They posed for the paparazzi, and Dean patently refused to do any official photos without her. “If you want my picture, you want my girl’s, too.”

Once they heard it framed that way, cameras went off right and left, taking shots at every angle—several of them probably horrible for her. But it meant the images would show up in the media somewhere, which had been the goal.

Of course, other than the few seconds outside her studio, where Dean had been mobbed, this was her first chance to watch him interact with fans. He kept her as close as possible the whole time. She only managed to disentangle herself when fans from the line called him over for pictures. Then she made a point of offering to play photographer for them.

A brunette girl who looked to be about Jade’s size eyed her up and down as Dean approached. “Who’s she?”

Dean leaned back along the barricade, smiled for the shot, and said, “That is my date.”

“Did she win a contest or something?” Jade knew the question; she would have asked similar ones at sixteen. Hell, she might have still asked at twenty-six.

“No.” Dean winked at Jade. “More like I did.” There was just enough happy sigh in his voice that Jade might have believed it was real if she hadn’t known better. He was more impressive as an actor than she’d expected.

The girl’s friends were squealing over the picture and anything Dean had touched, but the brunette watched as he rejoined Jade, wrapping his arm around her waist once more. A quiet smile curled the edges of the girl’s mouth. Jade could almost hear the thought echoing:
a TV star is dating someone who looks like me

Whether he’d meant to or not, Dean had given that girl a gift—the gift of belief. Jade couldn’t help but look at him anew as he worked the line. A winning smile for everyone, staying just out of groping reach of most—unless there was security directly available. If someone’s hand strayed a little too far, he very politely readjusted.

But he never said no to a fan. Never acted too busy. Never acted put out. He was in the fray for anyone who wanted a picture or a word. In short, he’d been trained well. Jade had known seasoned actors who couldn’t have played to their audience half as effectively.

However, by the time they reached the end of the red carpet, his face was showing signs of strain and his muscles were tighter when he pulled her close. She tipped her head toward his and said, “Is everything okay?”

“Twenty-four hours being myself with you, and I just forgot how exhausting being
all the time can get.”

“You seemed like you were enjoying yourself.” She cast a glance back at the crowd as he opened the door to the theater.

“For the first ten minutes maybe. But I enjoy myself a lot more when it’s just the two of us and I can let my guard down.” He nuzzled her neck gently. “Besides, from the instant I saw you in this outfit, all I could think about was how many minutes until we could go back to your place and play a little naughty librarian.”

Damn it if her insides didn’t tighten at the mere idea, and suddenly all thoughts of Isak Alfredsson vanished for the night.

Three days in and things couldn’t have been going better if Dean had cooked up his dream relationship in a lab somewhere. Considering he hadn’t been looking for a woman at all, finding Jade was something of a miracle. Hell, he’d never believed in relationships, not really, but this one—fake or not—was making him think forever might not be such a fairy tale after all.

She made being bad feel so damn good. Then again, he wasn’t really being
; he was just being himself. The sensation was so foreign that it felt wrong.

Reality was she was everything he wanted in a woman, and it went far beyond her looks. Maybe it was because she was older and not burdened by the idea of what women were and weren’t
to do. He didn’t really care about her age one way or the other—he only cared that they seemed to fit together perfectly. She had a sexual appetite that matched and sometimes surpassed his own, and she was a willing partner for anything, or at least anything he’d suggested so far.

“Unless it’s going to kill or permanently damage me, I’ll try anything once, maybe even twice” was her mantra about sexual experimentation. They’d just spent over an hour wandering through Bizzy B, the sex shop not too far down Hollywood Boulevard from her condo. While she’d scoffed at the quality of a couple of items, they still left with a full bag of lube and toys.

Dean wrapped an arm around her waist, tugging her close to him. “Good thing Bizzy B doesn’t mark their bags. Otherwise the paparazzi might get me in trouble.”

“Considering you made an appointment so we could sneak in and out the back door, I’m not sure if we made our intentions more or less obvious than we would have if we’d just slipped in the front.”

“That’s what she said…or will say later.”

The simple fact that Jade laughed—
—at an anal joke was one of the many things winning his affections. Then she followed up with, “Your intentions were clear long before we walked into that store, and you didn’t hear me saying no, did you?”

Sexy. Funny. Honest.

He loved that she didn’t filter. Almost without fail, whatever came to her mind seemed to come out of her mouth. She wanted sushi for dinner? Jade didn’t beat around the bush with a “whatever
want.” No, she said she wanted sushi for dinner. Sex on the bar? She said, “Hey, what do you think about eating dessert off each other tonight?” They’d ended up going a different direction last night, but he fully planned to revisit the dessert thing later.

But more than that, she made him feel like he didn’t have to hide who he was. With her, he was free to be himself—to let the illusion of guy-next-door drop—and it felt good after keeping everything in check for so damn long. Even before landing the
Providence Academy
gig, he’d learned to default to Mr. Nice Guy. The practice had served him well for years, but Jade didn’t need to be handled with kid gloves, which meant he didn’t bother with filters, either. “I know you said I only get one drawer, but I’m wondering if we can renegotiate.”

She lowered her sunglasses down her nose and arched a brow at him. “What did you have in mind?”

“Next week, I have to be on set almost every day, and your place is thirty minutes closer than mine, more if there’s traffic. Not to mention the drive to my place for the sole purpose of grabbing clothes for the next day to then turn around and drive here…”

So far, he’d spent every night at Jade’s, only returning to the house he shared with Chaz and Todrick while she was at work. He’d pick up new clothes, check his mail, chat with his buddies, and then turn around and head back to the W. But once he had to start work at eight in the morning, and earlier as soon as filming actually began, spending the night would be a thing of the past—unless her place became his place. And, if she said no, he didn’t want to think about late nights filming. Their faux relationship would become their no relationship simply because there wasn’t time to see her.

“What you’re saying is I either let you bring more stuff over, or I give up my good-night kiss.”

“Oh, you can still have a kiss, but it’d be a quick one, on the mouth, and that’d have to be it most nights.”

Her lips twisted into a smirk. “I like just kissing. It’s one of my very favorite things, so you better sweeten the pot, lover boy.”

Had he not known from her tone she was teasing, he might have been offended. But he’d not only gotten to know her sarcasm the last couple days, but her nipples were perking under her T-shirt, and her breathing had gotten quicker. She didn’t want that long, body-covering good-night kiss to disappear any more than he did.

Glancing up as a group of tourists brushed past, he caught sight of two things: a guy with a camera way more elaborate than your average sightseer, and Ghirardelli’s. Perfect. They could kill two birds with one ice cream. “If sweet is what you want, may I also offer you a Presidio Passion sundae? We can sit at the counter and share it, be one of those disgusting couples who make googly eyes at each other.”

She laughed, full and loud, no inhibitions at all. “What is it with you and food?”

“I like food. I like you. The combination is pretty much irresistible.”

“Wait a minute, I thought you were Mr. In—Incorrigible. Insatiable. Incognito.” She flicked his baseball cap, and it tipped up. “Sometimes inconceivable. Definitely ineffable.”

“Ooh, nice word,” he said, taking off the ball cap so the photographer could get a clear shot of the two of them. If nothing else, she couldn’t complain that he wasn’t living up to his side of the make-sure-Isak-saw-them-out bargain.

“Thank you. Incapacitating in the best way possible. Inventive. Inactive—”

“Wait a minute…”

She leaned in close and nipped at his earlobe. “Last night, when I had you tied spread-eagle on the bed. In your defense, I wasn’t exactly letting you move.”

He grinned despite himself. “Okay. Mr. In, it is. You can be Ms. Ir. I just have to come up with more words than irresistible.” He had one, but he didn’t want to give voice to it. Telling her now that he was starting to consider her irreplaceable was a surefire way to ruin whatever they had going on. “So about that sundae?”

“You mean about that drawer issue?”

He stopped in front of the entrance to Ghirardelli. “Tomato, tomah-to. You know, this place is also a Disney store. If you really want something saccharine sweet, I could buy you your very own Prince Charming.”

Jade wrapped her arms around his neck and stood on tiptoe to kiss him. “What the fuck do I need a prince for? Princes are dreadfully dull. I can’t imagine that being fun past the first ball. And I really prefer my men to have two of those…”

It had been over a week, and Jade no l
onger had a choice. Desperate times, desperate measures, and all that.

Thankfully, Vicky picked up on the first ring or she might have disconnected before leaving a message. “Hey, what’s up?”

BOOK: Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood)
10.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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