Never trust a man who gets paid to take off his clothes for a living and then uses it as a pick-up line to get girls in bed with him.
That should’ve been enough for me to call in sick that day.
I’ve worked with male cover models like him before and they’re all the same—smooth-talking, sexy as sin, egotistical know-it-alls who think they’re God’s gift to women—all traits I know to steer clear of.
Assisting authors comes with many perks—reading on the job, using my organizing skills on a daily basis, drinking coffee by the gallons—but Maverick Kingston barges into my life and demands more than I can handle.
When we’re forced to road trip across the country together, he pushes every boundary I have and rearranges my thoughts on playing it safe. And when he “accidentally” drops his towel, he makes it very clear what he’s offering and proves he’s packing more than abs of steel under his clothes.
Working with him was brutal, but falling for him was unexpected.
And playing by the rules will be impossible.
“Can I turn off this church music?” Maverick asks thirty minutes into our trip. He leans forward and starts messing with the knob.
“It’s nice driving music,” I argue, swatting his hand away.
“You can’t be serious. This shit is gonna put you to sleep and then we’re going to crash and die. You really want that on your conscious?”
The corner of his lips tilt up just the slightest.
“Guess it wouldn’t matter. I’d be dead.” I flash a smug smile right back at him.
“Oh I see how it is. You look all innocent and smart but deep down you have this morbidness to you.”
I shoot him a look. “You’re the morbid one with all your crashing and dying talk.” I turn my music back on. “Now no more talking about it because if I don’t get you to these events on time, Rachel will actually kill me.”
“Why you so scared of her anyway? I could fit her in my pocket. She looks harmless enough.”
Glancing at him, I try to focus on the road and shake my head. “You know she’s anything but harmless.”
He chuckles, shaking his head. “Yeah, you’re right. She’s not a firecracker like you though.”
“I’m not even sure what that means, but you can’t label me when you just met me.”
“Oh, like you haven’t labeled me already?”
“I know your kind. I’ve heard plenty about you to form an opinion,” I tell him with purpose.
“God, you’re so hypocritical. You think you’re the first prissy, stick-up-her-ass assistant I’ve met? Doesn’t mean I know you just like it doesn’t mean you know me.”
He kinda has a point, but I don’t tell him that. His ego is already taking up all the space in the car.
Ignoring his comment, I focus on driving. We’re in heavy traffic and I’m not used to eight lane highways.
“You better get over,” he says.
“I’m trying.” I look over my shoulder, searching for a spot to move into.
“Might wanna try the blinker. I heard it’s a signal for turning or moving over.”
I sigh and put it on. He’s distracting me.
“Stay quiet so I can focus.”
His chuckles are the last thing I hear from him as I attempt to merge across the lanes. Finally, I make it and we coast down the highway in silence until we’re leaving the city.
“When are we stopping for food?” He speaks up for the first time in hours. I look over at him and see he’s sticking his lower lip, making a pouty face. “I’m shriveling to nothing over here.” He slightly lifts his shirt up and pats his ridiculously cut stomach.
His eyes meet mine, and I quickly look away although he saw me staring. Swallowing, I look at the GPS to see how much further until our first stop.
“We have about an hour left,” I tell him. “Think you’ll manage to stay alive for that long?”
He groans, loudly and it makes me laugh. I quickly catch myself and stop.
“You have a nice laugh. It’s a pleasant change from your short fuse and snarl.”
“I don’t snarl!” I argue. “I just like having a plan and sticking to it.”
He noticeably rolls his eyes. “Okay, Miss Priss. Letting your hair down won’t kill ya.”
“No, but your arrogant, self-absorbed attitude just might,” I throw at him, holding back a smirk.
“Well, I think that’s debatable. Most of the women I date think it’s charming.”
A loud snort bursts out of me, and I’m unable to keep in the laughter this time. “I think that says more about who you’re dating than anything. They must be desperate.”
“Damn, what a burn.” He chuckles. “Adding hostile to your personality resume.”
I inhale a deep breath, realizing that was a really mean thing to say. “Okay, sorry. That wasn’t nice. But I’m not taking back what I said about you. You’re arrogant and there’s no denying that”
“Oh well then thanks, I guess.” He smirks. “You say it like being arrogant is a bad thing though. In my profession, I kinda have to be. I’m constantly selling myself to photographers and showing them I’m worthy of being in their magazines and advertisements. If I don’t act confident and prove I’m the best guy for the gig, I’ll lose it to the thousands of other people pursuing the job.”
I think about his words for a minute. “Okay, well I can certainly understand that. But I think you’re just naturally that way.” I shrug, biting down on my lower lip so he doesn’t see right through me. He has every right to be confident, there’s no doubt about that. He’s got it all—the body, the face, the perfect white teeth and smile. His abs are plastered all over Rachel’s covers and book promo graphics. He even has that annoying muscular V that trails from his hips to down below his waistline. Annoyingly sexy. “However, that doesn’t mean you can’t be humble in other aspects of your life.”
“That’s a pretty big accustation for someone you just met. How do you know I’m not? You haven’t been around me long enough to know anything about me. Don’t you think?”
Damn. He’s right. “Fine. Prove me wrong then.”
Brooke Cumberland & Lyra Parish are a duo of romance authors who teamed up to write under the USA Today Bestselling pseudonym, Kennedy Fox. They share a love of You’ve Got Mail and The Holiday. When they aren’t bonding over romantic comedies, they like to brainstorm new book ideas. One day, they decided to collaborate and have some fun creating new characters that’ll make your lady bits tingle and your heart melt. If you enjoy romance stories with sexy, tattooed alpha males and smart, independent women, then a Kennedy Fox book is for you!
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