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Authors: Rebecca Royce

Under the Lights (4 page)

BOOK: Under the Lights
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He moved in and then out of her again. The longer he could hold off, the better he could make it for both of them. Ian couldn’t believe he’d actually gotten to be intimate with Teirney, not after thinking about her for so long. She was a dream for him, and it was coming true.

She lifted her hips, and he dove in again. Beneath him, she moaned. Yes, he wanted her to crave him as much as he did her.

She lifted her head and kissed him. She tasted of fire, and he thought he might become addicted to her. He didn’t have drug or alcohol problem; he was drunk on Teirney.

“So good.”

She made a sound in her throat, and he smiled. Yes, she had to be lost in the moment, too. Another few minutes, and they’d both be there. The couch squeaked, and somewhere in the house a clock dinged twice.

Finally, when his balls felt like rocks and he knew he couldn’t take another second of it without blowing into a million pieces, he came, bracing his weight from crushing her when he did. He wouldn’t hurt her. She was so much tinier than him. When he could breathe, he pulled back even further.

She stared at him, with her big brown eyes, and smiled. Her hands moved, and she ran them over his nape as she had done before. It sent shivers through his spine. He loved how she stroked him.

Ian gently pulled himself out of her, and, with a quick walk to where he thought the bathroom was, he discarded the condom. When he returned, she was dressed and standing. God, she was so beautiful. He wanted to be able to see her, touch her, just be with her as much as she would let him. Had he ever felt so gooey inside? Ian pulled her into his arms. She smelled so good and fit against him so perfectly, he wanted to take care of her, make sure she had everything she needed.

“Was tonight good for you, sweet baby?”

She rolled her eyes when she looked at him. “Nice name.”

“Thanks.” He tweaked her nose.

“And, yes, it was fine. Totally unexpected way to end the evening.”

Fine? Ian waited for the word to mean something different than he thought it did. When a sudden burst of understanding didn’t occur, he finally spoke.

“Fine?”

“Hmm.”

“Oh.” Hadn’t it been better than
fine
? “I thought you enjoyed yourself.”

“I did. As much as I sometimes can. I don’t know. I’m sure it’s me, not you. I don’t always come. I hope you didn’t take it personally.”

Her words buzzed in her ears. He hadn’t made her come? Moreover, he hadn’t known he hadn’t? How had this happened? What the fuck was happening?

 

****

 

The hours had never passed as slowly as they did the next day. Ian stared at his coffee. He had hardly slept a wink. After his car retrieved him from Teirney’s, at about three, he’d gone straight home. Presently, it was nine. He should still be sleeping. But all he could think about was the night before.

He winced at the memories.

Ian took a big swig of the caffeine and let the black tar burn his throat. It didn’t feel any different than the utter shame tearing his insides. He hadn’t made her come. Of course, he thought she had, she’d been wet, and she’d been ready. Why hadn’t she gotten there?

It had been fine
.

Was he a lazy lover? He never thought so. The other women he’d been with—not that there were crowds of them—never complained. They always acted as if he was the best thing they ever had.

A thought panged his head, and he hated the chain of worries which followed it. What had Presley said to him recently? He was a movie star. Some things people gave to him because of his status, not because of who he actually turned out to be. Had his lovers been humoring him?

He stood. Teirney deserved better. She wasn’t going to ever kiss his ass, in or out of the bed.

Ian looked at his phone. He had hours until he had to be in the theater. Maybe there was something he could do. If she ever let him inside of her again, he’d have to do better.

There were books. Romance novels. Erotic ones. They would tell him what women liked. Hadn’t there been some book they turned into a movie, which had gotten the entirety of the female population all hot and bothered?

In seconds, he’d have a collection on his tablet. That would work. A how-to for a lazy actor who had to do better. In a lot of different ways, in and outside of the bedroom.

 

****

 

Ian looked at the time. Shit, he’d wanted to be on time. Yet the book he’d been reading had caught his total attention. The novel showed not only how the hero got the heroine to come, hard, but it also was a suspense story. He’d worried a great deal about the characters getting away from the bounty hunter chasing them.

If it helped him with Teirney, he’d get the rights and produce the movie.

He jumped out of the car practically before it quit moving and rushed to work.

Ian made it through the stage door and whirled into the makeup area. In seconds he was in a chair and two different artists were going at his face, a tribute to how late he truly was. The makeup ladies were a nice bunch, and usually he enjoyed their chatter. Tonight, however, he had to interrupt their stories.

“Seen Teirney?” He tapped his feet on the ground. Somehow he had to breathe. There was an audience forming which needed his best performance. And, after the night before, it was clear he didn’t always do his best work.

Ian shook his head. He might never get her
fine
out of his head. Maybe he didn’t deserve to.

“She breezed in earlier, checking to see if you were on time. Boy was she in a bad mood.”

He gritted his teeth. “Really?”

“A big grump today. I’d avoid her if I were you.”

Yeah, he wasn’t staying away. If anything, he planned to be trying to be very close to her again. Deeply, personally, near her.

He had to change into costume. Think about his lines. Find his character.

“Well, I mean who could blame her, after what happened? That kind of disappointment leaves a mark.”

He choked, his throat threatening to actually close. Oh, my God, did they know? Had Teirney discussed his ineptitude with the crew? He could see the blogosphere. Would his laziness make the press? No, Teirney was not the type. She barely spoke, certainly not to gossip.

“What?”

“You know Jed the electrician who runs the lighting board? The guy who is right below the lighting director? Well, he walked right in here today and quit. No notice. They’re scrambling to find someone to replace him. Plus, they’re worried about the cues. It’s supposed to be managed by computer, only Teirney calls the cue audibly every time. Teirney is sweating it. Jed seems to have done purposeful damage before he left, messed with the computer.”

“Oh, how awful.” Was it bad he felt so relieved? He didn’t wish her work stress. God, he’d really become such a narcissist. “Am I done?”

“Yes, beautiful as always, Ian.”

“Great.”

He rose. His costume would be in his dressing room. If he got changed fast, he would at least be ready for his cue with more than enough time to spare. His getting it right would be certain to temper her anger quite a bit. On his way to the dressing room, he nearly collided with the woman who had consumed his thoughts all day.

Teirney skidded to a stop. “Oh good. You’re here.”

“Yes.”

He waited for her to scream. She didn’t and instead turned around to speak into her walkie-talkie.

“The flash happens in act two. We need the lights to dim right before the curtain. It should be in the notes. Cross check it and call me back.”

She didn’t seem to have noticed how late he was, which was wonderful, although concerning.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, thanks, Ian.”

She smiled at him only it didn’t reach her eyes. He wanted to wipe it off her face.

“I’m fine.”

Shit.

 

Chapter Three

 

 

Teirney listened to the voice talking in her ear. Brad, the lighting director, swore before he finished speaking.

“We’re really fucked. He took the cues, and he messed with all of them. I don’t know if any of the ones plugged in is actually correct or for the right time.”

She nodded, although Brad couldn’t see it since she sat alone at her desk. If she ever ran into Jed, she’d really tear him a new ass. Getting angry over money she could understand. Leaving the people he worked with every day up a river without a paddle? Not acceptable.

It was her job to stay focused, her role to be calm.

“Okay. Well, then, we’ll have to go through these one-by-one until we’re where we need to be. We’ll push through as many as we can. The first act at least before the audience gets here. We have twenty minutes. Then we can do the rest during intermission with the curtain closed. It won’t be pretty tonight. We’ll get it done if we don’t lose our heads.”

“Right,” he answered. “Take me through it. Let’s start with the first cue.”

She looked at her script. This totally ridiculous scenario was why she always put pen to paper at some point when it came to the light cues. If all else failed, she’d read what she wrote.

“It’s pre-curtain. Five minutes before cue.”

Teirney sensed rather than saw Ian come near her. The air moved differently around him. Or maybe it was because he made her body buzz. Not that being with him had, in reality, actually been what she imagined. She wasn’t unhappy about having had the night before with him. Some sex was better than no sex.

Intimacy very rarely met her expectations.

Brad was fixing a cue on his end, so she turned to Ian. He looked off, a wariness in his gaze and slight circles under his eye.

“You okay?”

She’d already told him so. Why ask again? “Yes. Are you?”

“I’m doing well. I’m more concerned about you. Backstage is all worked up. Are you managing okay tonight?”

His concern was sweet, if misplaced.

“It’ll be fine. Don’t worry. We’ll have lights to show you off tonight. I promise.”

“I’m not worried about….”

“Ready to go, Teirney?” Brad interrupted via the headset and drowned out Ian’s response.

“More than.” She spoke into the mic before glancing to Ian. “If you don’t need anything, I’ve got to focus.”

Nodding, he left her without another word. For an actor as typically even-tempered as Ian, he had chosen a bad night to get needy.

It was practically time for the curtain to open before she was able to think about anything beyond the light cues. They’d managed to rescue the whole show and wouldn’t need to use intermission to finish. She rested her chair and stretched her arms over her head.

What had Ian’s visit signified? He wasn’t in the habit of stopping by her workstation. Was he wanting to share some kind of personal friendship now? Had things changed so drastically because of their fast romp on her Granny’s couch? She didn’t expect anything from him—wasn’t sure how a relationship could work—were they officially friends?

She drummed her fingers on the desk. Had she been rude before? When she got busy, focused, things or people that interfered with her immediate goal were often pushed aside until later. Teirney knew it wasn’t her most attractive personality trait.

Ian waited across the stage, actually lined up for a change, and got ready for his cue. Her assistant stage manager was manning the desk over there. There wasn’t time for her to dart across or make it around through the theater to reach him without being completely disruptive. Considering the night they were all having, the stage manager rushing around might get everyone into a tizzy.

She picked up her headset and signaled Marie, the assistant, to come on the line. The other woman answered immediately.

“Teirney?” Marie had a solid voice. She was pleasant to work with, even if she did have a horrible habit of sleeping with the directors of her shows. Fortunately, in
Loopy
the director was a happily married woman. A lot less drama than the last time they’d worked together, which appealed to Teirney’s sense of order.

“Can I talk to Ian for a second?”

“Oh, sure.” There was a rustling sound, and Teirney watched from across the stage as Marie handed the set to Ian.

She couldn’t make out his expression, although his voice sounded pleasant when he answered. “You okay?”

He kept asking after her. Did she not look normal? Was she pale or green?

“I’m doing fine.”

Ian sucked in his breath. She hadn’t told him he was facing a firing squad. Was something else off on the far stage? They didn’t have time for him to be having issues.

“I wanted to tell you to break a leg.”

As she said the words, she felt utterly ridiculous. They were in the fourth month of a six month run. He really didn’t need her best wishes. He had it down.

“Thanks.” The lowering of his voice made her shiver. God, she was so pathetic and he had to know just how much. Ian had sex appeal. He wore it like most guys wore socks.

She disconnected the microphone and groaned. Across the stage, Ian took off the headset.

A few seconds later, Brad spoke to her again. “Careful there, Teirney. You and I have both been doing our jobs long enough to know how easily they play with people like us. Temporarily useful to manage their boredom and then they move on.”

She shut off her mic and groaned. Brad had been on the line when she’d spoken to Ian. He wouldn’t gossip, but she needed to be more careful. She’d guarded her reputation in the industry for years. She couldn’t allow a single semi-exciting night with Ian Mackenzie to screw her entire career.

Even if Ian gave her butterflies in her stomach like a sixteen-year-old girl.

She was a grown woman with an important job. She’d do it and put Ian Mackenzie out of her mind.

 

****

 

The show had gone off without a hitch. Ian hadn’t flubbed his line again, something she intended to tell him she had noticed, if she got to speak to him. The post-show routine took so much of her time she never saw the actors before it was time to leave. The crowd forming around him outside was huge for a Thursday night show. The weekends would be worse. Each night after the Wednesday evening performances, the audience was growing progressively loaded with the fan girls.

BOOK: Under the Lights
11.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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