WELL. I certainly didn't expect such an overwhelming response to my spontaneous David Gandy fan fiction project! But I'm SO grateful. Thank you everyone for being so encouraging. I hope you enjoy the second round of installments starring Devin and his Cara <3
The Devin Randy Chronicles (Scenes 8-14 + Epilogue)
The day of your dance company audition has come and you’re more than a little preoccupied. Why? Oh, probably because you’re being actively pursued, not by a male supermodel—by THE male supermodel. The man who makes men consider batting for the other team and reduces women to steaming puddles of hormone juice. Unfortunately, Devin’s pursuit is cramping your style. Ever since the press labeled you Orgasm Girl, you’ve become pretty popular with photographers and Devin has insisted two bodyguards accompany you in your every endeavor.
You didn’t tell Devin about your reason for taking the day off, much to his irritation. But you have a damn good feeling the bodyguards are reporting your movements to Devin, who, thankfully, is scheduled to race this afternoon at Mille Miglia. Still, when your name is called to the stage to perform first, you’re relieved. The sooner you (hopefully) nail this mother-effer, the sooner you can head home and shake the goons shadowing you.
You feel Devin’s presence in the auditorium as soon as you take the stage. Apparently everyone else does, too, because the buzzing energy is intense. Focus. You have to focus on the dance and ignore the simultaneous surges of pleasure and irritation. He has skipped his important race for you. But he’s come despite your wishes to keep the audition private. Deciding which emotion to battle first isn’t an option, though, because your music filters in though the speakers, awakening…lust.
Yes. Lust. You chose this piece because it takes you away. Narrows your awareness down to nothing, save your body. The way it moves. How the air feels caressing your thighs, your bare stomach. The song is halfway over before you realize you’ve moved at all, the sweet fluidity hijacking your consciousness. Hard stage beneath your feet, bass pumping in your stomach. You turn, leap and reach…reach…
When it ends, you smile at the three people watching from the front row, noting the way their pens scribble notes onto clipboards. How did you do? Your lack of self-awareness during the routine sort of stole your objectivity, so finding out will have to wait. In your periphery, you catch Devin standing slowly at the far right of the auditorium, his handsome face the picture of astonishment. And it’s too much. The passion of the dance already has you flushed, ready. Your breath is rasping up your throat, drowning out all other noise. If he comes near you now, you’ll go off like a firecracker.
Devin seems to realize that, because when you jog backstage, he follows. Of course he does, because the man has zero boundaries and does whatever the hell he wants. Too bad your annoyance is only fueling your desire at this point, stirring it like one does a boiling cauldron. You’re a few yards ahead of him, aiming for the empty dressing room, when the other dancers begin to lose their flipping minds, gasping, squealing and…yeah, you’re pretty sure one of them fainted. No way you’re turning around to witness that. You enter the dressing room and start to close the door, but Devin catches it, striding inside in all his giant, commanding glory.
“Devin…” Oh Jesus, he looks good enough to eat in that gray suit and tan, brimmed hat. “You’re supposed to be racing.”
“Yes. I am.” He’s looking at you differently. As if seeing you all over again for the first time. “I find those events aren’t as enjoyable anymore without my assistant in attendance.”
You want to wrap both arms around your exposed stomach, but at the same time you like the twist in your belly when he looks. And holy wow, he’s looking. Looking like he wants to eat it for lunch. But this man has made mincemeat of your resistance twice now—you need to regain some ground, so you rekindle your earlier frustration. “You can’t just follow me like this, you know. I agreed to the bodyguards only. Not to be tracked and have my location reported back to Randy Headquarters.”
Without so much as a flinch at your rebuke, Devin closes the distance separating you, removing his hat as he comes. It’s all in slow motion. Like the world’s sexiest Tumblr GIF. “If I hadn’t come here, I might never have seen you dance. And what a shame that would have been. You were…” He shakes his head. “Words fail me, Cara. I’ve never seen the like.”
Pleasure sweeps through your veins, your body reacting to his nearness like a flower blossom opening beneath the sun. No one has praised your ability in a long time. Not since—
No. Don’t go there now. “Thank you.”
Devin tosses his hat onto the dressing table at your back. He takes one more step into your space, brushing the front of his suit jacket against your breasts, racking your body with a shudder. “When do you find time to practice?” His sculpted lips twitch at one end. “Am I not keeping you busy enough?”
His nearness works like a truth serum. “Actually, I’ve been practicing a lot at night to keep my mind off you.”
A wrinkle forms between his brows. “Why in God’s name would you want to do that?”
You eye-roll his arrogant confusion. But there is an actual answer. Because if you start thinking about him, how he makes you feel, you might never, ever stop. Not that you’ll tell him that bit of damning information. Although you’re kind of damned no matter what, because his fingers slide into your hair, his hand curving around the back of your head. God, he smells like rich cologne sprayed on new leather. Topped with gold dust. Too good. Too much.
“What else have you been hiding from me, babe?” His lips brush yours—and there’s an answering pull deep in your stomach. “Come to dinner with me. Sit beside me.” Another potent drift of his mouth over yours. “Be patient with me while I figure you out. Pick me even though I’ve given you the day off.”
“I don’t think”—Breathe. Breathe.—“that’s a g-good idea. It sounds like a date. I work for you, Devin.”
His sigh is fierce. “Everyone else seems to desire my company, Cara. Why can’t you?”
“God, you’re conceit—”
He silences you with a long, soul-sucking kiss, before pulling back and hovering close while you catch your breath. “You turned me inside out on that stage. You’ve been turning me inside out for weeks.” His forehead meets yours. “Please, Cara. Your conceited, high-handed boss is asking please.”
“Okay.” What? Who said that? “Just dinner.”
When he smiles—all eye crinkles, white teeth and twinkling blue eyes—the way your body reacts is insane. You’ve never seen anything more extraordinary in your life. He’s…Devin Randy. And despite what you said, you’re pretty sure it’s not going to end with just dinner.
Since you need a shower—and to rustle up a decent dress—after the audition, you convince Devin to meet you at the restaurant, instead of picking you up. Despite the stuffy, disagreeable MANitude produced by your request, he’s made reservations at some place in Mayfair called The Square. Which in hindsight, you probably should have Googled, because based on the clientele walking toward the entrance, you are horribly underdressed in your short, simple, cream-colored shift.
Devin must have arrived earlier than you, too, since dozens of photographers are camped outside. You’ve gotten used to their antics, so when they begin snapping pictures as you approach—and calling you Orgasm Girl—a smile and fluttery-fingered wave is all you offer. Devin, however, appears to have different ideas, because he exits the restaurant, regards the scene through narrowed blue eyes…and does something you never expected.
He goes still, waiting for everyone’s attention to transfer away from you. Then he drops a hand to his abdomen, fisting his tailored dress shirt and giving just the beginnings of a strangled moan. His head falls back, the cords in his neck straining, that arrogant mouth falling open. Another husky, masculine growl that has gooseflesh breaking out on every inch of your skin. His abdomen and chest puff in and out, faster and faster. The street is immersed in dead silence. Every soul in the vicinity is arrested by the sight of this man—this outrageously sexy man—apparently having a spontaneous orgasm on the sidewalk. In the hottest, most masculine fashion possible. At one point, you nearly groan along with him, but the flashbulbs going off break you from the trance.
“Devin.” You weave through the crowd, taking hold of his hand. “I-I think that’s enough.”
Throwing an arm around your shoulder, he winks at the assembled photographers. “There. If you’re going to be Orgasm Girl, I bloody well better be Orgasm Guy.”
In utter shock, you enter the restaurant hauled up against Devin’s side. Did he actually just fake an orgasm in front of countless news outlets…just to ease your embarrassment? This man who never missteps in public—ever? Yeah, he did. That insanely erotic footage will be viral in fifteen minutes and whether it was silly or not, he did it on your behalf.
As you follow the waiter into a private dining room, you are so turned on, walking straight is nearly impossible. Even the beautiful, candlelit table blurs under the power of your arousal. Good God. He’s already gotten under your skin, but proving he has a sense of humor? Going out of his way to join you in public humiliation with so much at stake? Yeah. You are toast.
Devin orders a bottle of wine without looking at the menu, sending the waiter out of the room to retrieve it…and you move. You just move, because your body won’t remain stationary while this man, who has just finished scandalizing the public, retreats to his usual, unruffled self. We’ll see about that, you think, pushing back your chair to stand.
“Cara?” His words are crisp. “Are you—”
Using his mile-wide shoulders for balance, you slide one leg over a powerful, male thigh and straddle his lap, whimpering over the bulge you encounter upon sitting, upon scooting closer, your legs dangling on either side of him. His raised fly rasps against the silk of your underwear, creating a sensual soundtrack as you go in for a kiss. And to be fair, it’s not just a kiss because you give him so much tongue, with your hips rocking against him, it has to be considered sex in some remote parts of the world.
“Christ,” Devin rasps, his big hands sliding around back to clutch your bottom. “If the sight of me climaxing gets you this hot, babe, we could have come to terms weeks ago.”
You half laugh, half sob against his mouth. “Thank you. For doing that for me. Outside. I’ve been pretending it didn’t bother me…”
“But it did.” Distress cuts through the need in his expression like a lightning bolt. “I want to know every single time something bothers you, Cara. I demand it.”
“Don’t ruin the awesome thing you did by ordering me around,” you say on a gusty exhale.
Devin’s hands are moving with hypnotic perfection on your backside, kneading muscles you weren’t aware existed, making you restless, anxious, hot. “Awesome, you say?” Devin asks, his focus zeroed in on the spread juncture of your thighs, where you know the nude material of your panties is stretching, hiding nothing, making his breath stutter. “What do I say now to keep you on my lap? Tell me.”
You bite your lip to prevent a moan. “You could try ‘please.’”
He leans in, that tongue licking out to tease your upper lip. “Spend the meal on my lap, please?” His fingers dip beneath the material of your thong, just a whisper before they glide back out. “Come home with me afterward. Let me worship you.”
Oh…wow. Wow. “Don’t push it, boss,” is all you manage, before turning around to face the table. Perched on one of Devin’s sturdy, muscular thighs, you’re so high off the ground your feet don’t even touch the floor. “D-did someone say wine?”
Devin’s fist winds in your hair, his mouth pressing a wet kiss to the back of your neck. “Lord, I’m fucking crazy about you, Cara.” He tugs your dress back into place over your bottom and thighs, just in time for the waiter to reenter the private dining room. “But I realized today how little I know about you. That changes tonight.” His breath ghosts over the damp spot left by his mouth, big fingers tracing circles along your inner thigh. “In more ways than one.”
Your heart is pounding as you reach for the just-filled wineglass. “What do you want to know?”
“What do you want to know?” An invitation for questioning you’ve issued to exactly no one. Ever. What does it mean that you’re issuing it to Devin?
Danger. That’s what it means. And yet with the satisfied expansion of his chest, the hum of anticipation rumbling in his throat, you’re finding it difficult to be sorry.
You barely manage to strangle a gasp when his voice vibrates the skin of your nape. “I’d like to know who taught you to dance like that.”
“Uhmm.” Melancholy tangles with the heat Devin is kindling, but his hand massages the tension from your lower back, as if he could sense its arrival. “My mother was a dancer. An extraordinary one. She’s gone now.” You swallow. “She’s gone and that’s why I’m in London. I could see her in all my old classes, the auditoriums and stages. Performing in the same places hurt too much…and I needed new ones.”
Devin pulls you backward into his warmth. “Ah, I’m sorry, Cara. I…”
After too much silence passes, you prompt him. “What?”
“I don’t like this feeling. Where I have no way of fixing what’s wrong.” His tone is brisk but halting. “How come the first time I experience it…you, babe, are the one in need of a fix for your pain? Fate continues to put me at a disadvantage with you, after years of delivering advantages in all the places that don’t matter anymore.”
Oh dammit. Dammit. This man is going to blow your heart into smithereens. Right here, all over this fancy white tablecloth. “I’m fixing it. Being here is fixing it.”
“Being here…with me?”
After a moment of self-exploration, you turn your face into his neck and nod.
Devin’s exhale is slow. “That song you danced to. Is there a special meaning?” You sense him searching for the right words. “You were missing until it ended. I couldn’t see you anymore and I got…nervous.”
“I was there.” Your voice sounds far off. “I was more there than I am anywhere.” Your eyes go wide when Devin’s muscles stiffen. What caused it? He doesn’t say anything to break the sudden silence, so you hasten to fill it. “That song is from the Broadway show Cabaret. It’s my favorite show. My mother took me to see it five times…and it was the last one we saw together.”
“It means a lot to you.”
You nod, relieved that whatever seemed to upset him has faded away. “Tell me something about you now. Something I wouldn’t anticipate.”
The waiter chooses that moment to return to the room. You expect Devin to wait for the man to finish refilling wine and arranging cutlery before continuing…but he doesn’t. His hand winds into your hair, tugging your head back while the waiter is a mere foot away. “I find myself feeling very possessive over you, Cara,” he rasps in your ear. “I’m a man who sees people come and go from my life constantly. Using me to further their interests and leaving just as quickly. I’m afraid of what I might do to prevent the same from happening with you.”
Indignation spears your chest, clogs your throat, and you jerk away from his grip. “You can’t be accusing me of looking after my interests.” Your words tumble out in a furious whisper, but thankfully, the waiter has moved on. “I didn’t apply for this job, Devin. You found me.”
He’s already shaking his head. “You misunderstand, Cara.” He picks up your fisted hand and brings it to his mouth, closing his lips around your knuckles, one by one. “It’s only the leaving I’m worried about. Nothing else. I know what I’ve found here. You rub me raw, you suture me. You’ve become my need. I’ve let everyone else walk away without a fight. Agents, managers, friends…” A drag of his stubbled jaw across the back of your hand. “That wouldn’t be the case with you, I’m afraid. I’d fight, Cara, and I’d fight hard.”
The gravity in his voice kidnaps your anger. It vanishes in an instant and all you can see is this beautiful, successful man, without a single stable relationship in his life. More money and adoration than he knows what to do with, but no one who can reach him. Except you? Are you the one who can sink past the exterior and touch the real him? There’s one way to know for sure and the permission yielded by that realization sends a ribbon of heat to your middle. Permission to explore the possibility that this mesmerizing draw in Devin’s direction goes as bone deep as it feels. “Then take me home to your bed, Devin,” you whisper, excitement—and something you’re scared to name—closing its hands around your throat. “Take me home, take my body. Don’t let me leave.”
Okay. All right. You’ve basically just asked Devin Randy to bring you home and make sweet love to you. Which was all fine and good in the restaurant, but now you’re walking through the giant, intimidating double doors of his house—which could fit the inhabitants of a small country—and insecurities are bobbing to your surface like Granny Smith apples. A legion of winged flying animals—you forget what they’re called—are partying down in your belly and you can’t…you can’t breathe…
“Cara?” Devin shakes you by the shoulders, looking like he might be considering the benefits of an ambulance. Or a sanitarium, more likely. “You’re shaking, babe. What the devil is wrong?”
“I’m, uh…” What? You’re going to lie now? After being more honest with him than you’ve been with anyone in recent memory? No. No backward steps now. Engage big-girl panties. “I haven’t done anything like this in a long time. And you probably do it all the time.” You press both hands to your cheeks. “I’m not judging. I-I’m non-judging. I just—”
His mouth cuts you off. Just a hard pressing of lips for the space of five seconds. Canaries swirl around your head. And you’re melting, melting, drooping backward over his forearm, which is low against your hips…and it moves lower, beneath your bottom to lift you up off the ground. “Put your legs around me, you silly girl,” he grates at your lips. “I never thought I’d say that about you, Cara, but honestly, I’m more turned on by the way you chew your thumbnail than I’ve ever been by anyone in my life. Would you like to know a secret?”
The way you wrap your legs around his waist is desperate and breathless, but you can’t play it cool. He’s big and commanding and acting like a displeased, stuffy lord…which is exactly who you’ve fallen for. “Yes, I want the secret,” you gasp upon greeting his erection with the juncture of your thighs. “Ohhh.”
“Yes, babe. Ohhh.”
He walks you toward the stairs and begins to ascend, carrying you with no apparent effort. You’ve been in his bedroom before, but only in an official capacity—never like this. Never at night in the dark. In three long strides, he reaches his massive bed and drops you onto the plush surface, flat on your back, sending the clutch purse in your hand falling to the floor. The ability to inhale leaves you once again as Devin prowls over you, filling your vision, becomes your entire consciousness. Your…world. And that’s before he unbuttons his shirt, tearing it down his arms and exposing that mouthwatering, corrugated wall of muscle. Did you just whimper? Yes, you did.
“Here’s my secret, Cara.” Devin dips his head to nip at your chin. “If you’d been the one to drag your tongue down my stomach at that first shoot, I would have unloaded my seed on any part of you I could reach, marking my territory.” His huge hands drag the hem of your dress up, up, over your hips. “And I wouldn’t have given a shit if they caught it on camera and published it, either. That would have just guaranteed sooner that everyone stays the fuck away.”
Oh God. Oh…no. There’s a torrid whirling in your loins, but he’s blocking your thighs from closing and squeezing, the way you require to prevent the inevitable. He pushes the dress farther up to reveal your breasts, leaving the thin, slinky material bunched at your collarbone. You are divested of your panties by skilled, insistent hands…and then Devin slides down your body, settling between your thighs like a king settling in for a banquet. You hear his zipper come down, a harsh groan, just as his lips deliver a kiss to your bare privates. And there’s no way to stop the rush of sensation that blows you out of the water, wrenching your hips up and twisting your insides like a pretzel. “Oh my God, oh my God.”
You glance down to find Devin shaking his head, wicked lips in a tilt. “Ah, babe. Now you’re just taking away my fun.” Embarrassment isn’t an option, though. Devin doesn’t allow for it. His blue eyes blaze with promise and his right arm flexes, one hand stroking the thick, distended flesh that hangs between his thighs. Fast. With intent. All the while, he’s focused on your sensitive core, rolling his lips inward to wet them. The first few licks of his tongue almost put you in a blackout, your thighs falling wide, and at once, you’re a loud, whining, sobbing prisoner of pleasure.
You can’t take it, can’t take it, can’t take it. Fire races over you, blistering your skin. You throw your arms wide, desperate for something to hold onto, gathering the comforter and pulling…uncovering pink sheets. The same shade as the dresses he sent you for the Dolce & Gabbana event. And maybe it’s cheesy or silly or whatever, but something in your chest sighs and sprouts glorious flowers.
“I need you inside me.” Your back arches on a gasp. “Devin. Please.”
You’ve barely gotten the words out when you’re pulled into a sitting position, Devin arranging you on his lap, those powerful thighs flexing beneath your bottom. Holy hell, you’ve never seen him look so…lusty. His eyelids are at half-mast, his mouth wet from being between your legs. Oh Lord, he’s the Adonis everyone thinks he is. Your Adonis. His erection is smooth, pressing up between your legs, readying to be inside you.
You slide your fingers into his already messed-up hair. “Pink sheets?”
His breath grows unsteady, sweat forming on his forehead. “I needed to touch you while I slept. I needed you to surround me.” Your mouths tangle in a heated kiss before Devin pulls back just long enough to retrieve protection from his bedside table and roll it down his arousal with gritted teeth. “Take me into your body, Cara. Make me your fuck. Make me your obsession, the way you’ve become mine.”
Poised at your entrance, Devin is so hard it only takes him holding his erection steady in a fist while you sink down on top of it, your mutual moans crashing together like tidal waves. You’re so full, so full, your hips beginning to buck out of sheer necessity. And something about the way his head falls back, his face screwed up as if in pain…it emboldens you. You’ve been turned into a puddle time and time again by Devin and now you’ll return the favor. As if you have a choice with this crescendo building, heightening. Making you wild. You urge him backward onto the bed and begin to ride him in earnest. Faster, faster, encouraged, dazzled by the play of his corded muscles bunching and shifting. His open mouth. His rasping breath.
Devin’s hands grip your thighs with bruising strength, his muscled chest heaving up and down. “Tight, tight, so fucking tight. Don’t stop, Cara.” His back arches, his erection growing larger inside you, stretching, devastating. “Don’t stop, oh God, oh God, don’t stop.”
Seeing Devin shatter drives you over the edge again, makes you take him deep and hold, your body clenching as he shouts into the dark room, shouts your name. Grips the sheets like he might fly away. When it’s all over, you fall forward onto his chest like a lifeless doll, sighing when his strong arms gather you close. He turns you both onto your sides, giving you a view of his back, and lower, in the bedroom mirror.
“I have a confession to make,” you whisper. Pulse still racing, you watch your fingertips trail down the valley of his insanely sexy ass. “That first day we met, when I said I’d seen better backsides on a man?”
You feel Devin smile against your throat. “Yes?”
A beat passes. “I meant it,” you say with forced seriousness. “You really need to switch up your workout regimen—”
Before you even finish speaking, Devin has tackled you onto your back, his fingers tickling your sides, sending you into an embarrassing round of panicked squeals and laughter as you try to get free. But Devin pins both wrists above your head, your lower body stayed by his hips. You’re sure he’s going to seduce you into taking back your obvious joke, but his smile dims. “What would I do with myself if you weren’t here, Cara? What would I do without you?”
Your heart squeezes so tight, you gasp. “Don’t find out.”
He’s lowering his head to kiss you when your cell phone rings.
Why is your phone ringing at eleven o’clock at night?
And Devin is not having the disruption. At all. He’s leaning up against the headboard, sculpted arms folded, watching through narrowed eyes as you dig through your clutch. “Let it ring and come back to bed, goddammit.” He crooks a finger at you, his voice hoarse from shouting your name. “I’ve become addicted to making you come. Only doing so twice tonight has left me less than satisfied.”
Oh, mama. You are feeling mad frisky. Perhaps it’s to do with having ridden this amazing man to an orgasm so powerful, it strained his vocal cords. Or maybe it’s the way he’s looking at you, as though he’s considering lunging off the bed and punishing you for leaving the tangled pink sheets in the first place. But you’re programmed to think something is wrong when a phone call comes this late at night and your curious nature wins.
“Is this Ms. Cara Hurley?” You answer in the affirmative. “I’m calling from Rambert Dance Company. Sorry for the late call, but some new additions to our performer roster will be announced in the news tomorrow morning and we like to inform the dancers first. We’re very pleased you’ll be joining us, Ms. Hurley. You’ll be a strong addition to the group.”
When you hang up the phone after another minute of breathless conversation, your fingers are numb, your jaw somewhere on the floor, heart pumping out of control. You turn around to find Devin standing behind you, regarding you with concern. His warm, reassuring hands close around your shoulders, massaging the strain. “What was that about, Cara?”
You don’t think. You can’t. You simply throw yourself into his arms, sobbing when they close around you, lift you up against his strong chest. “I made it. Rambert. They loved my audition. They want me to start training right away.”
His arms band tighter, expelling the oxygen from your lungs. “Cara, that’s amazing. I never had a doubt. Not one. God, babe. You were brilliant up there.”
He’s kissing your neck, your face, your hair…when he goes still.
And stiller, yet.
Enough silence passes that nerves find their way to your skin, creeping and crawling along the surface. “What’s wrong?” you whisper.
Devin pulls back, a frown marring his features. He has retreated somewhere. In the space of mere seconds, you’re suddenly being held by…a total stranger. “I assume you’ll still be available to fulfill your duties as my assistant.”
Icicles form in your midsection, blowing cold over the elation you were feeling. Deep down, you never expected to pass the audition process. Not for such a prestigious company. But you did, dammit. You did. And now everything has changed without notice. It’s supposed to be happy news, though. Right? “No, I…no. I wouldn’t be able to do both. There’ll be rehearsals and performances…”
His jaw is locked so tightly, you fear it’ll break. If it weren’t for the hint of vulnerability in his blue eyes, you would swear the man who just loved you so passionately has vanished. “So that’s it, then.” He steps back, releasing your shoulders and leaving you freezing. “Hung around just long enough for a better opportunity to roll around, didn’t you? No different than the rest. Are. You.”
You stumble back, feet catching in your discarded underwear, which you snatch up on instinct and wrench up your legs in sudden desperation to cover yourself. “Devin, no, I—”
“Did you drop my name for good measure, Cara?” His voice is flat, expanding the distance between you and him. “I can drop my own name, too, just as easily. One phone call and I can make sure your schedule is clear to continue working for me. Spending your days, your nights, with me.” He stabs the air with his index finger. “I told you I would fight to keep you from walking away. And I meant it.”
The pitiful, broken sob that falls from your mouth is so heartbreaking in its intensity, Devin steps forward and reaches for you with comforting hands, and in that instant, he’s there again. Your Devin in there. Clearly horrified by the brutal pain housed in that single sob. Horrified by your heart, which surely must be bleeding on the floor. But it’s too late. Way too fucking late. “You wouldn’t do that,” you whisper, clutching your dress to your naked breasts. “You wouldn’t.”
Shame glides over his features, so swiftly you might have missed it if you weren’t so attuned to him and his moods. He’s positively godlike, standing there with moonlight bathing his shoulders, shadows swimming in his muscles, but you refuse to see any of it. Refuse.
“I quit. And you can call whomever you want. You can take away what I worked all my life to achieve. You can go ahead and do it, Devin.” You pull the dress over your head, trying and failing to keep the tears at bay. They pour down your cheeks like twin waterfalls. “But I promise you, clearing my schedule—as you put it—won’t bring me back here. Nothing will.”
“Cara.” He takes a few steps in your direction, chest heaving. His last resort, that’s where he has landed. You’ve just taken away his power over you and it’s almost painful to witness him grasp, finding nothing. With no other purchase to hang onto, he plows both hands through his hair. “I don’t understand,” he shouts. “I want to give you everything.”
“I don’t want everything.” You back toward the door, purse in hand, but leaving your shoes behind. “I wanted you. I wanted us, while still keeping myself.” You suck in a deep breath. “I won’t give myself up for anyone. Goodbye, Devin.”
Just before you dive through the double doors into the night, you hear him bellow your name, rattling your bones as you run down the driveway. “CARA!”
Five days have passed since Devin broke your heart. In that time, you’ve been wondering if there was a disconnect between your mind and the tattered organ in your chest, beginning from the time you met him, right up until the ugly scene in his bedroom. Because the reality of how thoroughly he dragged you under his spell is glaringly real, now that you’ve been forced to go without him. Misery tugs your limbs down toward the earth like unbreakable iron shackles.
Facing the day is a struggle in itself when you can still hear the echo of him roaring your name as you ran away. But reaching deep and finding the passion to dance has been the real challenge. A challenge at which you’re throwing every ounce of energy you possess. If you stop, you’ll think. And if you think, it’ll be about Devin. So you dance until you form blisters on your feet. Dance until you know you’ll safely collapse with exhaustion upon crawling into your empty bed each night.
One such evening, you hobble into your building and collect the mail, only to find a white envelope with your name written on it. The handwriting is bold, all too recognizable, and your knees begin to shake, just from holding proof that Devin was once a presence in your life. Proof that he stood in your building vestibule sometime that day. Maybe it’s pathetic, but you sniff the air, hoping to catch his distinctive cologne-spilled-over-leather scent…but no.
You tear open the envelope and two tickets slide out into your palm. Theater tickets? No…not simply theater tickets. Cabaret. It’s playing in the West End…two hours from now. You didn’t even know that your favorite show—the show you attended so many times with your mother—was in London. But why two tickets? If Devin wanted to meet you there, wouldn’t he keep the other for himself?
Doesn’t matter. You can’t go. If you see Devin, if he’s there, you’ll lose all the progress you’ve made to get over the breakup, which is, admittedly, little. Okay, none. Zilch. Nada.
An hour later, you’re still performing your mental chant that you cannot use the tickets, but you’ve also showered and dressed in a simple black dress with matching heels. Half an hour after that, you’re being ushered down the aisle of the theater, a tennis ball stuck in your throat. Although you will your eyes to remain on the plush carpet, they are intent on finding Devin among the buzzing, shifting crowd. You don’t see him, but a glittery prickle travels up your spine, telling you he’s here somewhere. Watching.
You neglected to notice your tickets were for the front row and nearby patrons eye you speculatively as you pass, sinking into the expensive seat, mere feet from the stage. All by yourself. The seat beside yours remains empty, but a “Reserved” sign is taped to the backrest. And after a closer glance, you see it doesn’t merely say, “Reserved.” It says, “Reserved: for Cara’s mother.”
The words blur as tears fill your eyes, but you read them again and again. Devin. You only told him about Cabaret once, what the show meant to you and your mother. But he remembered. He gave you the closest thing to your most treasured memory as he could. When you attempt to hide your overflowing eyes with the show program, a piece of paper slips out, coming to rest in your lap. It’s an insert, added by the theater…and scanning your row, you can see each patron has the same one. At the top, the theater has included an announcement in flowery script:
Tonight’s performance is dedicated to the memory of Natalie Hurley.
And at the bottom of the insert, another italicized message awaits: Missing you with every breath I manage to draw, Cara. Arrogance, fear and love are a terrible combination. I’m so sorry. –DR
The lights begin to dim, the curtain rising, which is lucky because the tears have welled over, plopping onto your hands and the program like melting snowballs. The wrenching in your chest is so intense, you clutch at your heart. Devin. Where is he? You’re going to be in agony until he’s in your sightlines. Twisting in your seat, you search the theater but he’s nowhere…nowher—
Just before the theater goes completely black, you catch his unmistakable silhouette in one of the boxes, all alone, staring down at the front row—you—like he hasn’t seen you in a decade. A decade full of anguish. And that’s how it feels for you, too. You curse the wavering light because it’s taking him away from you, but it continues to flee. Stealing Devin from sight.
A voice screams in your head. Run to him. Run. But the show starts, tugging you in the other direction. Forcing you to breathe and take stock. You’ve been given this gift, this chance to remember your mother. You owe it to her—and yourself—to experience every minute. To savor this chance Devin has given you. With one last longing look up at the balcony, you settle back in your seat and encounter the familiar strains of the opening number, Devin’s message pressed against your chest.
Tonight, you will bask in your memories. Tomorrow, you go to Devin…and begin to make new ones.
You hear a loud crash upon entering the studio, followed by a muffled, yet familiar, shout. Oh boy. You hadn’t expected to run into Docile Devin today—as if such a thing existed—but scurrying interns and wide-eyed PAs clue you in. Apparently the world’s top male supermodel is in somewhat of a mood this afternoon.
“I won’t do it,” you hear him say in the next room. “I don’t want anyone’s hands on me. No one but…hers.” So much misery in that single word. “Deal with it.”
A female model you recognize from the pages of Vogue storms out of the room, throwing a scowl over her shoulder, accompanying it with some sharply delivered Russian. You’re already piecing together the issue when a whispered conversation between two nearby assistants confirms your theory. Devin won’t pose with the female model. Any female model, for that matter. He only wants the one whom the assistants refer to as Orgasm Girl.
Damn. You’re really never going to live that down.
The assistants were wide-eyed before, but their eyeballs nearly pop out when you stroll past on your way to the room where Devin’s shoot is taking place. When you open the door, his back is facing you. And God. What a back. Ripe and greased up, his muscles are nonetheless coiled with tension. Good thing you know the cure. Actually, it’s still a little hard to believe, but…you are the cure.
“Maybe he just needs someone who won’t take his bullshit,” you say, bringing the room to a standstill. You only notice the heads swiveling toward you in a peripheral sense, because all your focus is on Devin.
He doesn’t turn around, but his hands curl into shaking fists, his shoulders rising and falling with hastening breaths. Long moments pass before he speaks. “I’m afraid to look at you, Cara. If you’re not here to forgive me, looking at your face might finish the job of killing me. I’m already more than halfway there.”
The weight in your belly grows almost unbearable, the urge to throw your arms around him fierce, but you lift your chin and circle around to his front, stepping over a smashed coffee mug on the way. And when those blue eyes drill into yours, his intensity is so potent, it’s an effort just to stay upright. “That depends on a couple of things,” you say unevenly, noticing the photographer lift his camera, aiming it at you and Devin. Doing a mental rundown of the month-long, color-coded schedule you made while working as his assistant, you recall this shoot is purely editorial, not advertising anything specific…and a plan formulates. “Should we let these people do their jobs while we talk?”
“That would be nice,” the photographer mutters, earning a sharp look from Devin, before he immediately returns his riveted attention to you.
Okay, maybe this isn’t the best plan, but you need a distraction from this gravitational force named Devin. Something to prevent you from giving in too easily. Without allowing yourself any time to chicken out, you grip the hem of your dress and pull it over your head, leaving you in the lacy, white lingerie set you donned that morning. With a curse, Devin sways toward you, nostrils flaring, those big palms tracing down your sides. Smoothing, squeezing, his breath bathing your forehead. And the photographer begins to shoot.
Swallowing hard, you tilt your head back to meet his eyes, your knees weakening with the way he’s watching you. Like you could vanish if he’s not careful. “Thank you for the show last night. For having it dedicated to my mother…I’ll never be able to thank you enough.”
“The way you looked watching the show. That was the only thank-you I needed,” he rasps. Both of his big hands glide up the back of your neck, burrowing into your hair. “Except when you cried. I hated when you cried.”
He dips, one of his thighs sliding in between your legs, nudging your core, before he lifts again, dragging those muscles along your juncture. “I’m tired of crying,” you gasp, thankful the camera crew are just out of earshot.
“Tell me that’s why you’re here.” One hand leaves your hair, the fingers tracing along your bottom lip, over your cheeks. “So I can make sure you never have a reason to cry again.”
“Maybe,” you whisper. “As long as you understand I’m here as your girlfriend. Not your assistant.”
“My girlfriend.” His eyes shut tight, so tight. “If I could call you my girlfriend for only one week, I would gladly give up my eyesight at the end of it. What would be the point of having eyes anymore? There’d be no chance of laying them on anyone more precious to me.”
Oh. Oh God. Wow. Your legs turn to liquid, but Devin catches you before you fall, laying you down on a nearby couch. And he’s not done devastating you with his words yet. Knees planted on either side of your hips, he traces the curve of your throat with a single finger, so subtly, yet you feel the touch all over.
“But a week isn’t enough, Cara. No amount of time, save forever, is enough.” Absently, you hear the camera going off, again and again. “Tell me how to have forever with you.”
You’ve come so far, held out against all odds, but you have to gain Devin’s agreement or walking away will have been pointless. Hurting him will have been pointless. “My free time will be spent with you, Devin, because I want to give it to you,” you manage. “Not because you pay me. Or because of a schedule. Just because we hate being apart.”
“I do hate it,” he groans into your cleavage. “I’m a wreck. Need my Cara.”
“I need my Devin,” you return, bringing his blazing eyes back to yours. “I need you. I need your trust, too, though. You have to know I’ll come home to you of my own free will. Not because I work for you…just because I can’t stand being without you. I’ll give you all the time I can, but I need time to be Cara, too.”
“Yes, to all of it. Yes to anything that gives you back to me. I’m so sorry.” He sinks into the space between your legs, his mouth fusing together with yours…then seems to realize there is a flashing camera twenty feet away. With eyes already lust-glazed, he shouts, “Everyone out.”
By the time the door closes on the final production member, you and Devin are already making out like two starved creatures, your hands all over his incredible ass to drag him closer. “I missed you. I missed you so bad,” you whimper as Devin’s mouth finds your neck, licking, biting. He wrenches the white panties down your body, making your eyes fly open. “Y-you can’t make love to me here. Can you?”
“I’m a king who has just won his queen back. I’ll do whatever I damn well please.” His arrogance has returned, but there’s so much longing and desperation in his voice, you forgive it. Without any further warning, he thrusts his hard length into your body, muffling your scream with his mouth. “Missed me, did you?” His head falls forward on a growl. “Did you miss your fuck, too?”
Your teeth rattle with the force of his drives. One right after the other. No mercy. Just all-out, unrelenting need on display. “Yes. Yes,” you moan. “I missed it. I missed the man I love.”
Devin’s movements cease, but he’s so thick, so thick, locked inside your entrance, you hold your breath while waiting for him to speak. “I love you, too. I love you to the bottom of my goddamn soul, Cara Hurley.”
Your breath expels in a rush, your body writhing beneath his. “Don’t stop.”
“Stop loving you?” Devin shakes his head slowly. “Not in this lifetime.”
His hand covers your mouth, his body taking absolute possession of yours, as thoroughly as he’s done with your heart.
It’s closing night of your first season with Rambert Dance Company and you are flat-out exhilarated. Standing backstage with your fellow dancers, you’re waiting to take the final bow on stage before a sold-out crowd. Devin is in his usual spot tonight—front row center—right beside the empty seat he permanently reserved for your mother. You could feel him watching you during the performance, his hot gaze sliding down your back, up your legs, but couldn’t return his attention. Oh no, you learned that the hard way months ago by making eye contact with him during an opening number…and having your train of thought obliterated.
Devin still does that to you. Whether he catches your eye across the kitchen during breakfast or across a ballroom at one of his many events, those blue eyes can stop you in your tracks. In fact, you’re wondering where this fascination with your boyfriend will end, since it only grows stronger and more multifaceted as time progresses. Fortunately it goes both ways.
You moved into Devin’s home three weeks ago. Although “moving in” doesn’t exactly do justice to coming home and finding a surly, six-foot-three supermodel angrily stuffing panties and socks into a suitcase, claiming you’d made him wait long enough. So, all things considered, you were forcibly relocated. And thank God for that. Waking up beside a voracious man who’s grown particularly fond of morning sex—with you on all fours—is the opposite of hardship.
One of the company directors pats you on the back and you return her smile. One more minute until the final curtain call. Wowza. You can’t believe the whole season is over already—performing every night to a packed house. A fact—you are unashamed to admit—has something to do with the public’s interest in your relationship with Devin. The photo shoot that brought the two of you back together was splashed all over the Internet and various print publications by the following morning, despite its decidedly steamy content, thus spurring the press to commence calling you and Devin the Orgasm Couple.
There are worse things, right? Maybe you should be miffed at Devin’s involvement in your life bringing interest to your dance career. After all, you’ve made a point of finding success on your own merit. But when you accepted the man, you accepted everything that came with him. And you love every single facet.
The curtain begins to rise, prompting you and your fellow dancers to take the stage—but wait. What’s going on? There’s no applause. It’s like crickets in the theater. When the audience comes into view, they’re all standing silently with giant smiles on their faces, holding flickering candles. And then you realize everyone—even the other dancers—are holding candles, lighting the theater up like a night sky full of stars. Confused, you seek out Devin’s reassuring figure in the front row, but he’s missing, leaving only an empty seat.
“Cara.” Devin’s deep timbre comes from behind, calming and perplexing you at the same time. He’s there on the stage when you turn, his presence larger than life. Commanding. Oh my God, you live with this guy?
“What’s going on?” you breathe, scanning the smiling faces of dancers who have become your friends over the last few months.
Devin strides toward you in all his masculine grace, that potent focus intent on one thing and one thing only. You. And then the most powerful, arrogant, frustrating, gorgeous, kind, passionate, wonderful man you know gets down on his knees—both of them—and takes your hand. He kisses your palm and lays it on the side of his face, drawing dramatic sighs from the female audience members. “I lie awake at night, Cara. Wondering what would have become of me if you hadn’t come into my life and shaken it up. What would have happened if you hadn’t seen any good in me.” He turns his face into your hand, rubbing his cheek there. “If I’m lying awake forty years from now wondering the same thing, I’ll be a truly lucky man. As long as your head is on the pillow beside mine.”
The lightest, bubbliest feeling tickles your chest…a fizzing slide of champagne. Love wants to burst out of you in the form of rainbows and unicorns, but all your stunned body will allow is stumbling forward, taking his face in your hands and leaning down to plant your foreheads together. “Oh God. You have to stop making me love you so much,” you gasp. “I’m running out of places to store it.”
His lips curve into a smile—which basically knocks any remaining capacity to breathe out of the park. And then…oh then, he pops open a ring box between your barely separated bodies, revealing a sapphire you were pretty sure was thrown overboard in the movie Titanic. But you could be wrong. Oh Lord. Your legs are spaghetti…tears are slipping down your cheeks.
“Could you be persuaded, Cara Hurley, to take just a bit more of my bullshit, by becoming my wife?”
You throw your head back, your laugh pure, undiluted joy. “Yes.”
The crowd goes wild as Devin stands, taking you in his arms, his relieved breath whooshing against your ear. He takes you home, takes you to bed, and you wake up beside one another for the rest of your lives.
If he winks at me one more time, I’m going to introduce his nuts to my size seven stiletto.
Hayden Winstead circled her ankle slowly underneath the bo...