Final snippet: fourth of four.

His voice was low, intimate- the sound of candlelit bedrooms and moonless nights, clandestine meetings and fevered kisses. And somehow it scared me more than anything he’d said or done. I wet my lips. “Not that you’re complaining.”

Arms trapping me close, the smell of him lingering about us, he’d surrounded me with him. The fingers about my wrists tightened. He growled. The noise rolled down my spine in a delicious cascade. He released my chin, his hand slipping down, whispering against the collar of my shirt. His breath brushed against my cheek. “Not at all.”

Quinn stalked forward, stopping close enough that I could see myself distorted in the glass eye of the camera. He stooped a little and I caught the flush of red at the base of his neck. Beneath the camera, his lips quirked in a small smile; bemusement rang in his voice. “And you aren’t either, are you, Cam?”

The fingers that curled beneath my chin and tilted my head up were hot, steady. The lights flashed in my eyes again, but I kept them open, letting the bright dots subside. Quinn didn’t really need to hold me. The camera itself held me arrested, capturing me even before my image hit the film. I couldn’t look away, even if I wanted to.

The cool night air hit my chest. I gasped, jerking back against Lukas. The lights flashed and he captured my shock and want. The grip on my jaw tightened when I tried to look away. I swallowed, pulse fluttering frantically against my throat as Lukas pushed off the shirt of my shoulders.

My nipples puckered and stiffened against my bra. Each breath I took dragged them against the fabric of the bra; sizzling sensations pulsed through me, making my breaths uneven and shallow. I shivered; my panties clung to me, damp from my arousal.

Lukas chuckled. “Cold?”

My face burned. So did my entire body. I wanted to look down, to check if my body was as obvious as I felt, to cover up and hide the evidences. But Quinn’s fingers kept my gaze fixed on the camera and Lukas’s grip remained tight on my hands.

Quinn’s hand tilted. A shuddering breath fell from my lips as the camera paused at them, performing for him unthinkingly. The focus of the camera slipped lower.

There was nothing gentle or polite about the descent. Insistent, blunt, it stripped me of all possible illusions modesty with a stunning force.

And, God help me, I could feel my body answering the silent call.

I wriggled again and clamped my thighs together, trying to ease the throbbing ache there. The seam of the jeans dug into me and pressed hard against the ball of nerves there. The sensation jolted up my spine, pulling me taunt and my back to arch. Need plowed into me, overwhelming me in both its intensity and urgency. I drew in a sharp breath, my fingers balled up against my belly. It didn’t help when Lukas’s free hand dragged over my jeans, a shadow away from the source of my distraction and distress. Just a few more inches down and then…The plea caught in my throat and instead, low whine flew from my lips.

The ache there built at a terrifying speed, engulfing all of my senses with a near tangible desire- the desire to lick, claw, bite, suck. The raw, primal edges to it shocked and rattled me, enough so that I reined myself back in, away from the precipice that they’d succeeded in dangling me over. I bit down hard on my lower lip, tasting the salt there. What the hell was I doing? That all the blood in my body was being contributed to the monstrous blush on my face must have left me unable to do simple things like, oh, retain common sense.

As if sensing the change, Lukas brought a hand down, slipping it between my legs. He dragged his fingers over the rough fabric. It caught and released his nails; the tugs strummed against my sex, the inner muscles there twitched and clenched in response. My hips jerked and he pulled his hand away. I groaned, frustration and fear robbing me of my words.

“Tsk. Tsk.” I could hear the smile in his voice. Bastard. “Come on, Cam. Use your words.”

But the movements of his hips belied the patience in his words as did the way he flicked open the button of my jeans. I gritted my teeth, shuddering as his fingers slipped along my inner thighs then stopping at the apex of them. The heat of his hand burned me even through the denim, and I could feel myself opening, hungry for attention even against the fabric.

Through my daze, I heard the sound of the teeth of the zippers clicked against each other with each teasing tug.

I froze. The blood drained from my face, leaving behind prickles of numbness. So maybe the camera had uncovered the exhibitionist in me, but like hell I was going to be photographed in all of my naked un-glory.

Whatever showed on my face made Quinn lowered his camera. The grip on my chin softened into a caress. He swept his thumb over my lips. I fought the urge to lick at it, to take it in my mouth, and if I hadn’t been shocked out of my lust-hazed state, I would’ve. But I still couldn’t stop myself from leaning into the steady, warm hand, feeling frighteningly vulnerable and protected at the same time.

His lips swallowed my gasp. Vaguely, I felt the hand about my wrist tightened. Demanding, his mouth devoured my lips, confident, deepening the kiss slowly, as though he had all the time in the world. I melt into the dance of tongues, the brief dual for dominance that inevitably ended with his victory. He nipped at my lower lip; the sharp stab of pain shot straight to my sex, making me shudder against Lukas.

He pulled away, his voice low and rough. “Turn her around.”

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This is actually probably less of a series and more of a short story snipped into a few parts to avoid a big block of text. Anyway, part three. To find part one and two, scroll down or click the tag. And here’s part four.

The sure and steady touches told me that he was back in the mind frame of an artist once more. The way he dipped in and out of it was thrilling, leaving me both breathless and not a little wary. I’d known him for a good part of a decade and worked with him almost as long. This, though, was new.

I hissed as he shoved me against the footboard, the edge of it digging into my hips. The bangs that I’d kept pinned up to the side started to fall into my eyes. “Do you mind?”

“No.” He moved briskly, able, nimble fingers pulling my shirt this way and that. “It’s going to be your shadow, Cam.” I jumped when he freed the top button of my blouse.

“Ow!” My buttock burned from the slap. The sizzling sensation darted through me, alerting every single nerve ending in my body. I curled my fingers against the footboard. “What the hell was that for?”

“Hold still.” There were no rooms for argument in those words. He tugged the collar of the shirt down a little and pulled at the excess fabric. The fabric wound about me, seams tight. “If I don’t do something for your body, it’s going to look like Lukas’s trying to seduce a man into the bed.” I bit back a protest when he left me and went to readjust the soft boxes. One of the lights hit me in my eyes. I squinted. “Now stay there.”

“But I-”

“You’re not in the frame, Cam. I’m just using your shadow.”

The lights flashed with a series of pops. I blinked, my vision going spotty with white circles.

“It helps if you don’t look into the light.”

Lukas.

Quinn’s spiel had unnerved me enough that I’d forgotten about him. Blinking away the glare of the light, I glanced back at the bed.

He’d settled back to the top of the bed. The slacks hung low on his waist, the hard edges of his hips peeked over the top. His pants dipped far enough that I could see the slight curves where the muscles on his stomach began to taper off, drawing my gaze even lower.

I choked on air as I traced out the bulge there.

He chuckled. “My eyes are up here, Cam.”

“Sorry.” Cheeks aflame, my eyes flicked back up to his face. If there was a smile on those lips moments ago, there were no traces of it left. “I, I just-”

“Don’t talk so much.” He shifted slightly. The lights flashed again. Unfazed, he tilted his head. “Or if you do, don’t move.”

These two were switching gears faster than I could manage to follow. They left me off-balanced, feeling as awkward as a newborn giraffe stumbling on uneven grounds. The steady throbbing between my legs intensified, as to remind me of my body’s displeasure at the direction the conversation was heading. “I didn’t move.” I paused. “Did I?”

Quinn had circled around the bed. He nodded Lukas, gesturing with his hand. “You did.”

“Sorry.”

Lukas crawled across the bed, shoulders rolling lazily. “You know, Cam,” he tugged me over to one of the bed posts. “You do have a delicious little body under all those layers. Why don’t you show it off more?”

I let him arranged me against the bedpost, not trusting myself to not make a fool out of myself if I tried. “I wouldn’t be able to run about and do my job if I did. And you know Quinn. He gets grouchy if he doesn’t get his coffee.”

Settling back on his heels, Lukas studied me. I jerked back reflexively when he reached out. A corner of his lips lifting, he twisted a strand of my hair about his fingers. “I don’t think he’ll complain, Cam. I think you’re just scared.” He tucked the strand behind my ear and glanced at Quinn. “This works?”

The lights flashed. “Looks good.”

“I’m not scared.” I held still, fingers wrapped around the wooden spiral, feeling silly and awkward. Perhaps if I were like Lukas or Quinn, confident, unfaltering. “I’m not.”

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Part two of their story. Here’s part three.

I choked on a mouthful of coffee, the hot liquid scalding the roof of my mouth. Coughing, I thumped myself on my chest. “What?”

Quinn leaned forward. “You’re not doing anything-”

I frowned at Quinn. “I’m observing. Like always. You were the one that told me to stay out of the way anyway.”

“-And you’re a woman.”

The way that they stared at me was unnerving. It was all too…eager. And neither man made it a habit to appear to be eager about anything, even when they were. Something about preserving their masculine points and keeping their scores high. “Thanks for noticing.”

Lukas chuckled. “What Quinn is saying, awkwardly so-”

“-Shut up-”

“-Is that we need your help.” His voice dipped into that low, husky rumble. Desire warmed my skin and shot straight to my core. “Please, Cam?”

His gaze bore into me, holding me captive. Tease. Half-lidded eyes shadowed, they made his blue-gray eyes darker, as though his pupils were dilated. I swallowed, my fingers tightening about the cup. “Damn it, Lukas. Don’t try pulling one of your tricks on me. Especially not the one that I taught you.”

So it might be an illusion. But what a powerful one it was. And while my brain understood it, my body was having a hard time reconciling with the fact.

His lips curled. “So it works then?”

I had a sudden renewed sympathy for the mouse that Mao had cornered. It scurried left and right, nose twitching furiously, trying and failing to break past the cat.

Somehow, I didn’t think that Quinn was going to rescue me as I’d done for the mouse.

“What works?” Oh yeah. Sure. Real convincing.

“Oh it works.” I glared at Quinn. He continued, smirking, amusement tinged his words. “Come on, Cam. All you have to do is stand there and try to look pretty. Don’t worry, I’ll protect you if he tries to jump you.”

“Ha ha.” Not that I was worried about it. Lukas was never the type to “jump” anyone. Or rather, he’d never had a need to. His preys always came willingly to him. “Fine, fine. I demand sushi afterwards though.”

Lukas cocked his head. I busied myself with finishing up the cup of coffee, trying to ignore his gaze. “Of course. Quinn, fix her, won’t you?”

“Fix me?” I lowered the cup and scowled. “I’m not going to be in the picture-Hey!”

The empty cup rolled across the floor. I winced as it stopped by the ornate legs of the heavy vanity at the side of the room. At least it made it past the Persian rug. Quinn spared it no second look, his fingers already working through the braid that I’d kept my hair in. “You might not be in the picture, Cam, but you know Lukas hates using his brain too much, so he’s going to need to a little help.”

The barbs all but rolled off of Lukas’s shoulders. He gave me a crooked smile. “Mm-hmm. Don’t worry, Cam. Quinn will pretty you up.”

I rolled my eyes and batted Quinn’s fingers away. “You have a funny way of asking people to help you, Quinn.” But being friends with Quinn for so long had made me immune to his jabs. I pressed my fingers into my scalp, massaging free the strands. “There. Happy?”

“Ecstatic.” And he did look it for once. Ugh. I liked the surly Quinn better. I crossed my arms as he gave me a once over. Grabbing my elbow, he spun me back around to face Lukas. “This work?”

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The story is multiple parts. This is part one. Here’s part two.

“Come on. Just a little more.”

Thump.

“Damn it. Don’t start moving yet!”

A crash. I winced. Oh. That sounded like a soft box.

“For the love of-Haven’t you ever fake it before? It’s the same thing!” A pause. “Ugh…Are you serious? This is what they send me?”

Another thump, then the sound of high heels clicking across the tile floor.

I jumped back as a streak of stain and lace flew out the heavy double door, wrinkling my nose at the waft of cloyingly sweet perfume that followed it.

“Cameron! Get your ass in here! I know you’re hiding out there!”

Uh-oh. Full name this time. With an extra emphasis on “c.”

Taking a deep breath, I pushed past the doors and stumbled through the piles of props that Quinn had tossed about in his “inspired-state” earlier. Though it seemed like that state had continued even after I’d left.
I took a moment to take in the scene, waiting for that flush of anger to pass at the mess that had managed to migrate from the side over to the set itself- the set that I’d spent six hours painstakingly make sure that every single stitch in that damn blanket was neat, and the blankets were cast just so, not to mention trek through the entire furnishing district to find the perfect four-poster bed since Quinn found the original one in the room not “striking” enough.
The man may be a good friend and a genius, but damn if I didn’t want to wring his neck sometimes.

“God, Quinn, I come a few minutes late and you chase a model out?”

Quinn rounded on me, scowling. The ends of his auburn hair were standing up, as though he’d been dragging his fingers through it. Repeatedly. The sleeves of his shirt had been rolled up and his pants were wrinkled, patches of dirt dusting over his legs. “We’re on a tight schedule. I don’t have time to be babying and coaching amateurs. If they can’t behave professionally, they should get off the set.”

I sighed and cast a look at the remaining figure on the bed. “Are you getting ready to leave-” I recognized the lazy, languid way he untangled himself from the blankets before I saw his face. “Lukas?”

He padded over on his barefoot, moving with a prowling grace that made my pulse jump. Stopping by us, he looked down at me, a corner of his lips curling. The top of his shirt was undone, leaving a thin strip of golden skin that just begged to be teased and nibbled on. “Are you insinuating that I’m an amateur, Cam?”

God, he still had a voice to die for. The low, soft croon that made me melt in the most delicious ways- even before I saw him. His face might’ve compelled me to drag Quinn out to see him- despite his many heartfelt threats of murder- but it was his voice that had captured my attention.

Though his hair was as tousled as Quinn, he looked a good deal more composed- if no less predatory- and Quinn looked like he was getting to the point where he would take the “predator” role literally. “You know that I don’t ‘insinuate’ anything, Lukas. If I’ve got something to say, you’ll know it beyond a doubt.” At his grin, I turned back to Quinn. “What happened? I would’ve thought you would be half way done by now. And where’s everyone?” Read the rest of this entry »