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) (8 page)

BOOK: Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood)
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The waiter chose that moment to stop by. “Would the two of you care for something to drink?”

Jade cast a glance his way as the men finished their standoff, popped open her clutch, and slipped a hand clandestinely inside. “A glass of water please.” Then she leaned close, pressed the fifty into the waiter’s hand, and gave a conspiratorial whisper, “And by water, I mean vodka.”

He slipped the bill out of view and muttered, “That bad?”

“You have no idea…”


As much as Dean hated to admit it, Isak Alfredsson wasn’t a bad guy. In fact, he suddenly understood why so many women had been drawn to his quiet, stoic demeanor.

Alfredsson paid attention. A little too much attention, if anyone had bothered to ask Dean’s opinion.

T
he Swede remembered all of Jade’s favorite things, down to suggesting what items on the menu she might want to avoid because they contained rosemary, which she apparently didn’t like. Of course, then he proceeded to try to order for her, insisting he knew what she would like even though he’d never eaten at the Red Lantern before. She demurely allowed it, even as her hands fisted around her napkin beneath the edge of the table.

He noticed that she’d changed her hair color from dark brown to dark auburn—something Dean hadn’t known—and how he liked the way the new shade brought out the green of her eyes, but then he instructed her not to go much redder. “…like so many mockeries of women your age.”

Dean might have thought it was just an obsession with Jade, or some twisted, negative way to try to win her back, but Alfredsson applied the same critical attention to detail to everything. He discussed wine options at length with the wine steward before settling on something that would pair well with all their meal choices. He remembered every server by name. He even kept track of the details of Dean and Jade’s fictional relationship.

He heard, saw, and remembered
everything
.

And Dean hated him for it—hated him even more for the way Jade seemed to shrink in her chair throughout the meal.

After their main course dishes were cleared, Alfredsson looked at him and said, “Did you know we almost ended up working together?”

Dean shook off his musings when Jade kicked him gently. It still took a second to catch up to the fact that the Swede was talking to him. “We did? When was that?”


Providence Academy
,” he said, mentioning the show that was set to make Dean a household name. At least among households that included teenagers and college-age women. “I was offered the role of Principal Gordon, your teacher’s superior, but I wound up turning it down since it would have meant long-term relocation.”

His what? It didn’t matter that it was only a character. There were politer ways of saying “boss,” and Alfredsson had worked in Hollywood long enough he couldn’t claim the English as his second language bullshit.

Two could play the poke-the-sleeping-bear game. This one meal had Dean hanging on to his public persona by a thread. He couldn’t win a politeness competition with Alfredsson, and he was getting tired of trying.

“Not willing to give up the homeland for a role? I can see that.” His gaze shifted to Jade for a second, and he couldn’t resist asking, “What would be enough to make you move?”

Jade stiffened next to him, still only speaking when spoken to, but he didn’t care anymore. Let her see that this guy who turned her into some meek and mild alter ego wasn’t willing to change his life for her.

“I wouldn’t give up my place in Sweden for anything. My family has called Danderyd home for centuries, and most of my lifelong friends reside there as well.” He swirled the wine in his glass before taking a drink. “But I spend a large amount of time traveling for work. My home base is flexible. If I’d thought Principal Gordon was the role of a lifetime, I would have considered the move, but his part in the series had become much less significant since I read for it. They decided to focus more on the teachers and students, leaving the role of Principal Gordon as little more than a guest spot. That’s hardly an enticement.”

And that was hardly an answer. Dean was done fucking playing nice. Jade needed to see her life didn’t matter to this joker—
she
didn’t really matter to him. “And what exactly
would
be an enticement?”

For once, Jade decided to forego being seen-and-not-heard in order to turn the conversation before Dean got his damn answer. Before Alfredsson admitted his history in Sweden was more important than her life here. “We’ve spent so much time talking about me and Dean that you haven’t mentioned why you’re in town.”

As if Dean hadn’t just had him cornered, Alfredsson went back to grinning politeness and said, “I’m voicing the male lead in an animated feature about the wild hunt. It’s easy work, and my nieces and nephews are very excited, since so many of the films I’ve been in aren’t appropriate viewing for them. They can’t wait to tell all their classmates about this one.”

What the hell? Alfredsson had done multiple lighter PG-13 films. How old were these kids?

“That’s wonderful. I know how much you adore your sisters’ children.” Jade reached across the table and squeezed his hand. “One of these days you’re going to make an amazing father.”

“Assuming I find a woman to have children with. You’d be surprised how many women are choosing careers over motherhood. It’s a terrible shame.”

Dean clenched his hands into fists, fighting the urge to respond, but he couldn’t keep quiet, not on this one. Not after seeing so many kids go in and out of the system. “Really? You find that odd? I don’t. Considering the divorce statistics, the number of deadbeat parents in the world, not to mention unwanted children, it seems pretty obvious why women might choose to get their own life in order before bringing another one into the world.”

Alfredsson fixed his gaze on Dean, letting it weigh heavily before responding. “Are you implying that I’d do that to a woman? Have a child with her and then abandon them?”

“I’m not implying anything.” Dean was so done with this dinner, it wasn’t even funny. Jade wanted a dramatic breakup so she could be with this joker? It could start now—or she could open her damn eyes to see how wrong Alfredsson was for her. “I’m stating that the world has moved on from when all a woman needed in order to get by in the world was a husband. Ignoring that reality by chiding anyone for choosing to have a career and build a solid foundation before starting a family is shortsighted and judgmental. The world isn’t a fairy tale, no matter how many times someone puts on a costume and plays Prince Charming.”

Jade’s heel was grinding against the toe of his shoe, but she smiled as she said, “And a big part of the problem with that has to do with people who aren’t willing to commit to making forever a priority. That’s the part that isn’t a fairy tale—romance is great, but marriage takes work.”

Shit, he was making himself look as bad as—or worse than—the Swede in her eyes. Dean pushed his personal issues back into a safe and locked position in his mind and replaced it with the most winning smile he could muster as he turned to Alfredsson again. “Look. You seem like a good guy.”
Misogynistic and judgey as hell, but a good guy.
“I don’t know you well enough to comment on the great dad thing, but Jade does, and I trust her opinion. I’m just saying it’s wrong to criticize someone else just because their choices don’t align with yours. Everyone should respect that other people have to do what’s right for them.”

“That’s a valid point,” Alfredsson conceded with a nod. “You’re wiser than your age would imply.”

The backhanded compliment got Dean’s hackles up once more, but he was more focused on the bigger issue. Alfredsson wasn’t the only one at the table who’d been brushing someone else’s choices under the rug. He’d done the same, trying to sway Jade away from settling down.

But if she really wanted marriage and a house full of rug rats with Isak Alfredsson, did Dean have any right to try to influence her? Did it really matter that she seemed to lose herself whenever she was around this guy? If he was what she wanted, that was completely up to her.

But what about what I want? Because I want her.

The fact that the thought brought on a strange sensation of kinship with Alfredsson didn’t go unnoticed. It did, however, go unappreciated.

Chapter Eight

Damn, Jade was exhausted. Dinner had been a strange sort of torture with Isak on one side of her and Dean on the other. It was like having live, full-sized versions of the angel and demon that she’d seen hanging out on cartoon characters’ shoulders. Vodka haze or not, she’d wound up feeling like a tug of war rope—and
it had been a relatively friendly dinner.

Other than that oddness with Dean about women, careers, and motherhood.

They’d just walked into the condo when she asked, “What happened tonight?”

Dean tossed his keys in the bowl on the console table by the door. “What do you mean?”

“After his comment about women and careers…” She didn’t want to pry, but it had been a glimpse at a different facet of Dean, and she couldn’t help but be curious.

He dug his index finger under the knot of his tie and loosened it. “Don’t worry about it. I backpedaled, and he seemed fine. Besides, my mishap should just feed into him understanding why we don’t work out. Which
is
what you want, after all.”

That sounded great on the surface, but reality was she’d agreed with Dean, she simply didn’t understand why he was so passionate about the issue. “I’m not worried, exactly—more curious.”

He turned so quickly she had to brace her hands against his chest to keep from running into him. “Answer a question for me first.”

“Okay.” This close to him, staring into the pools of his eyes, she would have done anything he asked.

“Tell me where you and I stand—after the argument earlier, after dinner… Where are we at, Jade?”

The sound of her name from his lips sobered her immediately. “I thought we were still at ‘kitten.’ I’m sorry again…the argument was stupid, and dinner didn’t change anything between us—not as far as I’m concerned.”

His hands skated over her hips to cup her ass, and he leaned in close to whisper, “Then the rules still hold. We’ve got realistic couple down—no one is questioning our relationship. Which means you don’t get to be in my head any more than I get to be in yours. Bed, yes; head, no. That was the deal, wasn’t it?”

“What if I want to change the deal?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to open up only to walk away from him in a few weeks, but not knowing him was painful in ways she couldn’t have anticipated just days ago. There was a depth to Dean Hartley that went beyond the fathomless pools of his eyes, and she was desperate to know what lurked beneath the surface.

“Not tonight, kitten.” Dean shook his head slowly, sadly.

She could accept that—give him the space he needed. Tomorrow she could ask again, maybe offer him something to sweeten the deal. Too bad she had a feeling it would have to be bigger than an ice cream sundae. For now, she wanted that sadness gone from his eyes, and there were two things she knew would drive it right off. Sex…and sarcasm—she was more than willing to provide both. “Got a headache?”

His lips twitched. “And if I do?”

Letting a bit of grin peek through, she reached a hand between their bodies to cup him through his pants. She rubbed his length up and down, savoring the feel of him getting harder and harder in her grip. “I’m pretty good at head massages. A few minutes in my hands and the pain will be all gone.”

His fingers were digging into her ass cheeks, ten points of pressure, of subtle pain, of exquisite pleasure. “And what if it’s not your hands I want to spend my time in?”

“Then pick your poison, handsome. I’m all about making you feel as good as possible.” It was strange how easy it was to slip into life with Dean, how comfortable. Only minutes ago, she’d still been tense from dinner. Now? All she could think about was losing herself in him and forgetting the rest of the world existed.

“In that case,” he said, sliding his hands closer together, his index fingers putting pressure between her cheeks and making her previously quiet clit start to throb with need, “I’m thinking tonight’s poison is of an untried variety.”

Eyes rolling back in her head, Jade did her best not to moan as she said, “Like to live dangerously, do you?”

“You have no idea.”

But she wanted to. Oh, how she wanted to.


He had the condom on and lube in hand, but Dean drew to a stop before he quite reached the bed and asked, “Are you sure you’re okay with this?”

Jade looked over her shoulder at him. She had her ass in the air and a vibrator pressed to her clit. The thing was doing its electronic best to bring her to orgasm before Dean even touched her. But he looked…nervous, which
gave her pause. There was no way… “I have to ask—is this your first rodeo?”

Something about the question made his dick twitch, and her insides clenched around a whole lot of nothing. “I’ve thought about doing it before, but willing partners aren’t as easy to come by as you’d think.”

“Willing partners your age, you mean.” She hadn’t meant to bring up their age difference, but she’d been in her twenties not so long ago. At twenty-one, she’d honestly believed that people only had sex missionary-style and orgasms were a myth. She knew better now. A lot better. “I’m totally sure. Just…don’t rush your entry and it’ll be fine.”

Dean crawled on the bed behind her, and just the heat of him there, naked, his cock throbbing and ready to plunge into her had her shifting her ass toward him. Then he kissed her right butt cheek, and she let out a sigh of pleasure. His lips on her—anywhere on her—was one thing she was sure she’d never get enough of.

Of course, when he moved to the other cheek, he bit her—hard. She shrieked in surprise and could feel his lips shift into a grin against her skin before he backed off and said, “Can’t have you getting too comfortable.”

“Trust me, I’m not in the market for comfort tonight.” She was, however, in the market for pleasure. When he slid two fingers inside her, she arched her back, pushing against him with a groan. She didn’t want to come until he was hilt deep, but it was getting hard to hold back, what with the vibration and the fingers and the simple knowledge that this was his first time.

She was so wet, there was a chance he’d just wind up fucking her like normal. It’d be easy. If he was really nervous, he could even claim he slipped and then decided to go with it.

But…she wanted this. More than that, she wanted it with him. She wanted to be his first more than she even wanted her damn orgasm right now. For reasons she wasn’t willing to examine too closely, she wanted
something
special between them, and for a lot of guys, this was as special as it got.

Right before he pushed her over the edge with his fingers, Dean slid his hand free and slicked the wetness between her cheeks. Her ass clenched every time his fingers brushed against her hole. She was sure he was having second thoughts—or third, or whatever damn number he was on—when he flipped open the lube. He worked some into her and then pressed the head of his cock against her.

“How slow is slow?”

Just the pressure of him there was making her eyes roll back. “Faster than this, but slow. I’ll let you know if it’s too much.”

Blowing out a breath so she could focus, she bore down as he pushed. His speed was perfect, easing into her, stretching her, filling her. She didn’t breathe again until the head of his cock was inside.

“Holy fuck, you’re so tight.”

All she wanted was for him to keep going, to fill her entirely, but she couldn’t resist a smile. “Careful, or I’ll start to think you don’t like my cunt anymore.”

“Kitten,” he said, pushing deeper into her ass, “you have the most beautiful, amazing cunt of any woman I’ve ever known. I love your fucking cunt.” He exhaled as his groin met her butt cheeks. “I just really love your ass, too.”

And she loved him
in
her ass. The instant he drew out and thrust back in, she lost control of the orgasm she’d been holding back.

She screamed into the pillow, and for a minute, he stopped moving. “Are you okay?”

“I won’t be if you don’t fuck me.” Her breath came in small gasps as the last ripples of the orgasm dissipated. “It was a good scream—you’re just going to have to trust me on that.”

Bending over her, he kissed her shoulder. “I trust you completely. Do you still want me to go slow?”

She twisted her face to the side, and he was nearly close enough to kiss, but not quite—almost like he was trying to torture her by staying just out of reach. “No. I want you to do whatever feels right to you.”

His eyebrow shot up, and the devilish grin she loved so much made an appearance. “Oh really?”

The next thing she knew, his hand was in her hair, fisting it right at her skull and drawing her head back enough to pull her upper body off the mattress. His other hand found her breast, pinching at her nipple as he plunged into her ass over and over again. Too much. Too much…

The vibe. Get rid of that…

But the instant she shifted her hand away from her clit, Dean put it right back. “I want you lost in feeling. I want you coming until you can’t orgasm anymore.” He thrust into her so hard her breath caught. “I want you drowning in sensation, just like I am.”

She couldn’t speak, but her nod apparently told him enough because he rode her hard, thrusting into her ass with abandon, pulling her hair, fingers digging into her breast, teeth biting down on her shoulder. Jade didn’t know what sounds, if any, she made as his relentless assault on her senses pushed her to another orgasm and then another. All she knew for certain was she felt him everywhere.

And it was the most erotic experience she’d had in her entire life.


Dean had never felt so fucking alive before. Or so fucking tired.

He curled next to Jade, tugging her close to spoon against his front. She murmured sleepily, “Not sure I can go another round tonight, tiger.”

“Tiger?” He growled against her neck. “Since when?”

“Since you left that delicious set of dental records on my shoulder.”

He brushed her hair, still damp from their cleanup shower, off her shoulder, reveal
ing the teeth marks. Damn. That was going to bruise. “I really didn’t mean to bite you that hard.”

“Never ever apologize to me unless I actually sound mad, otherwise I’ll worry you didn’t have as much fun as I did.” She gathered his arm to her chest and kissed his fingertips one by one.

Fun. He’d enjoyed the hell out of himself, but he wasn’t sure fun was the first word that came to mind when he thought about what they’d done together. It didn’t seem big enough.

He’d known Jade was older and more experienced than him when they first hooked up, but he was starting to wonder if there was anything she wouldn’t try. Any fantasy he had, she’d likely offer to indulge, and the more they had sex, the more he started to think—to hope—that maybe, just maybe, when the time came, she wouldn’t want to give him up, either.

Life in the system had taught him that
forever
was a pipe dream, but she was starting to make him believe that dreams really could come true. If they didn’t, he never would have found her to begin with.

He didn’t know how to tell her how much what they had together meant to him. How much he didn’t want it to end. One thing he knew for sure was he never wanted her to feel taken for granted, not when she was with him. “Thank you for tonight.”

Laughter shook her body. “Why are you thanking me for sex? I didn’t do that for you.
I
wanted sex, too. It was for both of us.”

It was more than a little silly when she put it like that, and the last thing he wanted was for her to feel like sex was a chore to be gotten through. “Not for the sex exactly, more for not balking at me being a first-timer.”

“Everyone is a first-timer at some point. I like that I was your first.” Her words were slow, drawn out with sleepiness.

“I like that you were, too. Go to sleep, kitten.” He kissed her softly on the back of her neck.

As she drifted off, he stared out the window at the lights of the city. He hadn’t lied—he was glad he’d been with her, but he couldn’t help but wonder how far into his bag of fantasies he’d have to dig until he found something where they could be
each other’s
firsts.

It wasn’t anything he’d even considered wanting…until right now.

BOOK: Playing the Perfect Boyfriend (Gone Hollywood)
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