Authors: Christa Wick
Melanie Archer moved to L.A. to pursue her dream of becoming a top costume designer. Slowly, she's working her way up as a wardrobe girl helping whiny starlets and pompous, blowhard leading males strap in.
Declan Bain may be a leading actor and a certified prima donna, but dressing his lean, muscular body is the only perk to her current gig.
Unfortunately, the job is up before things can get interesting. Or so Melanie thinks until she is summoned home and arrives to discover two men present who have no business being in the home of her quiet librarian mother. One is a complete stranger to Melanie, the other is all too recently familiar.
Melanie finds herself more than a little star struck.
Declan's definitely curve struck.
He's also her new stepbrother.
A special thanks to Heather Roebuck for answering my questions on the roles and work of the costume department on a movie or series production. Check out her
listing and her two short films on youtube:
(don't blame me if you cry) and
Naturally, any errors or mischaracterizations are solely mine.
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The smooth metallic rustle of chain mail joined the sharp crack of boots along the hallway floor, alerting Melanie Archer to the incoming danger. Hunched over her workbench, she tensed a heartbeat before the door to the wardrobe room slammed inward.
A warrior's lean, muscled frame filled the doorway. The fingers of his right hand clenched a longsword. Its hilt clinked against the metal battle kilt once and then he tossed the weapon onto the workbench.
Melanie glanced up, uncertain whether it was safe to acknowledge the man.
It wasn't -- it never really was with him. Of all the actors and actresses she had worked around in her three years in Los Angeles, the man towering over her had to be the prissiest, snobbiest person she had encountered.
He was also Hollywood's current golden boy and, for the last two months, she had fantasized about fucking him raw as she drifted off to sleep each night.
Declan Bain scowled down at her, hands on his lean hips. Above the line of his leather pants, he was bare chested, the hairless flesh lightly oiled and glistening with strategic smudges to make him look like he'd been battling in an environment that was both dirty and bloody.
A thick silver torque visually separated his broad shoulders from his neck, a mix of alien runes and hieroglyphs she found ridiculously overdone inscribed on the object's surface. A few inches from the right side of the torque, an intricate but murky tattoo covered his arm from the top curve of his shoulder down to his elbow. Unlike the piece of neck jewelry that had been created for the film, the tattoo was all his.
"This damn skirt," he growled, flicking a nail against the chain mail, "keeps banging against the inside of my knee."
With the workbench between them, Melanie couldn't see what he was talking about. She didn't understand the need to talk about it at all. Not only did he have a protective layer of leather between his skin and the war kilt, but it was time for him to change back into his street clothes so she could wrap up work and leave the studio lot.
At least it should have been time. Suzanne, her boss, had rudely called her at five in the morning from some exotic, insanely expensive location telling Melanie to haul ass to the studio and lay out four specific outfits that had been worn during production. Apparently the original photographer who had done the promotional shoot for the film wasn't turning the photos over after an unrelated dispute with the studio. Now another photographer had been brought in to replicate the originals and this was the last of the four costumes.
Unless there was a sequel, Declan wouldn't have to wear the outfit again.
"Aren't you done with it?" she asked, refusing to look at his face after seeing the earlier scowl.
Instead, she tapped her phone and looked at the time. She'd been up ten hours, at the studio for nine of them and she was in danger of missing her evening flight to Denver -- and her suitcase wasn't even packed for the weekend thanks to her boss springing the assignment on her.
That's what she got for letting Suzanne turn her into a pushover, Melanie thought as Declan swiped a roll of paper towels from the workbench.
Ignoring her question, he wiped at the oil covering his skin. Watching him from the corner of one eye, Melanie had the impression that the actor was preening in front of her as he caressed one outstretched arm then moved on to his perfectly sculpted chest.
Declan showing off for Melanie was, of course, nothing more than a ridiculous pipe dream. The man had barked orders at her for the last two months, treated her like she wasn't in the room most of the time even when she was helping to dress him, and, when he did bother to look at her, he couldn't shake the scowl that turned his sensuous mouth into a thin, forbidding line.
"Aren't you done?" she repeated.
"They want one with the gold torque and matching skirt, which hangs the same," he answered curtly with an underscore of snarling on "they" that told Melanie he was talking about the studio execs and not the photographer.
If it had been just the photographer going off plan, she had no doubt Declan would have told the man to shove his camera -- lens, body and attached tripod -- up his ass.
"Shit," she swore, standing up and heading over to the bins she had hauled into the room. The ceremonial skirt and torque weren't on the list her boss had provided and might still be in storage. "What else do I need to get out?"
She pulled the lid off the first bin, her mind busy with the logistics of a quick alteration to the metal. "So you're wearing the same pants?"
In the film, the gold war skirt had been paired with skin hugging red velvet pants that may or may not have produced a mild orgasm in her the first time she had helped Declan with the costume.
His tone and answer sent a trickle of heat down her spine.
Looking over her shoulder, she saw him slip off the war kilt then work the inside fasteners on the leather pants. He tilted his pelvis, his already trim, muscled abdomen seeming to shrink as he tucked his ass in and drew his stomach tight to make room within the waist band for his thick fingers.
The trickle of heat turned into a lava flow melting every nerve ending it touched. Her nipples peaked, their ache as instant as the flood of juices between her thighs. She bit down on her lip hoping the sharp pain would distract her.
The strategy worked -- marginally. She was at least able to look away from him and back to the bin where she saw the second war kilt made from a golden hued tin.
"This one is lighter," she said turning toward him.
"Don't care," he answered. "I don't want it hitting that spot."
Her lips pursed at the curt reply and the irritation reddening his cheeks. Staring a nanosecond longer, she decided she knew why he was being a bigger jerk than usual. Filming had ended a few weeks ago and he was in that between phase of promoting the movie he had just finished and doing pre-production for the next one.
That meant he had free time to engage in some of the extreme sports that he liked and that the studios, and their insurers, hated. He'd probably injured the knee recently, not so badly he had to limp but just enough for the outfit to irritate. And he didn't want anyone to know because it could impact funding on future films.
Not to mention, the man was as private as he was famous. The longer he had been in the business, the less leaked out to the press about him.
Stepping behind a three-drawer filing cabinet that barely stood high enough to reach his hips, Declan yanked off the boots, then shucked the leather pants from his body.
Melanie felt her legs begin to wobble. Making it back to the bench, she sat down with a heavy plop that caused the wood seating to creak. An internal groan rumbled inside her but didn't make it beyond her tightly pressed lips.
Nine days out of ten, she could forget the fact that she was a world away from the Hollywood ideal she worked around. But, on those days, she didn't have Declan Bain, the hottest A-List Bad Boy the movie industry had to offer, standing naked behind a cabinet, with no one else on set except the photographer and his crew, all of them down a long hall with two closed doors adding further privacy.
"I can adjust the waist to hang lower. That would be the fast--"
"Think about it," he interrupted.
Right, he wouldn't have pants on, just him, the kilt and the torque.
She bit at her lip again but the pain did nothing to chase away the heat or the ache squeezing at her body. Her pussy was wet, sobbing almost, and her nipples were so erect it felt like someone was pranking her with some kind of itching powder, the tips sensitive to the faintest shift against her bra.
Snap out of it, Melanie. He's not the first hot dude you've had to dress.
True, but none of those other guys were Declan Bain, the man leading the next generation of Boston-born megastars with their six pack abs and Southie accents, the words often leaving their mouths like machine gun fire.
While he had seldom talked to her on the set, she knew he was a brain as well as a body, with an academic scholarship first to some preppy Boston all boys high school then another academic scholarship to Harvard, earning straight As until he had dropped out before his junior year for reasons unlisted on his industry bio or Wikipedia page.
The actor's combination of brawny smarts had lust galloping in her chest, the beast's hooves striking hard between her legs.
Declan cleared his throat, impatient where he waited behind the filing cabinet. Melanie squirmed, struggling to focus on a quick fix for the golden chain mail that wouldn't need photo editing given the deadline for the promotional shots to go to press.
"When in doubt, get the duct tape out," she mumbled and reached into her kit.
Placing the chain mail skirt with the inside of the front panel facing up, she carefully folded it to eliminate one row. She tore off a length of duct tape and secured the tin plates then repeated the process with a second row a little higher up.
She flipped the material, ready to do the same on the back when Declan stopped her.
"Don't waste time on the back," he ordered, his tone coated in fresh irritation. "This bullshit with Landon and the old shots has already pushed back my flight schedule."
Melanie wanted to commiserate with him but knew anything she had to say wouldn't be welcomed. The man was notorious for ignoring anyone who wasn't a studio executive. But he had been even more of a prima donna on this film, one the studio was supposedly forcing him to do to get out of his contract with them.
She was sure, in Declan's mind, her concern over the Colorado flight to see her mom for the weekend was inconsequential. But, unlike the naked jerk distracting her from her job, she didn't have the luxury of booking private charters. No one was going to reschedule for her or hold the plane until she got there.
"Here," she groused and handed the golden war kilt over to him.
Calling it a "kilt" or a "skirt" wasn't all that accurate. There was only a front and a back panel held together by a waist chain, leaving the sides of his hips and thick, muscular legs exposed when it wasn't layered over additional clothing.
His hands moved out of sight behind the filing cabinet. Once the kilt was secured, he tested where the bottom fell, leaning to one side and then the other, wincing as he bent his right knee.
Gotcha! she thought, dipping her head to hide the smirk chiseling at her right cheekbone.
"Is it still too long?"
Now that he was wearing the kilt again, she could make a more accurate adjustment, but the possibility of doing so wiped the smirk from her face as panic crept around inside her chest.
Declan was naked underneath, his dingle dangle untethered. If her mind started wandering, if it started to dwell on how close her mouth was to that tasty morsel, she might pass out at his feet. And wouldn't that earn her a barrel or ten full of disdain from Mr. Perfect!
"No, the length is fine," he answered, reaching up to remove the torque as he stepped from behind the filing cabinet.
She spun, looking at the standing closet and cursing herself for not digging out a robe for the photo shoot. "Do you want me to find you a robe?"
"Do you want me to miss my plane?"
Strain and frustration ran through his tone, but he had annoyed her just enough that she ignored it and turned to face him, her voice going up high as she responded.
"You know, you're not the only one with--"
Seeing his face purpling and the veins on his arms standing out against his flesh as he struggled to remove the torque, Melanie shut up and raced to help.
"Here," she said, sliding a small step stool behind him for her to stand on. "Let me."
His hands fell to fidget at his sides as she worked the release. Encountering the same resistance, she leaned lightly against Declan's broad back for leverage.
"This shouldn't be doing this," she said, exertion turning her words into a growl.
"Thank you, Miss Obvious," he hissed.
She huffed but kept her mouth shut. Unlike a traditional torque, this one had been designed for the science fiction movie as both an ornament and a weapon that came apart in four pieces that, through their collective vibrations, could fictionally level a skyscraper in minutes and an entire planet in less than an hour.
The threaded internal rods that joined the four pieces meant that the piece of jewelry wasn't as flexible as a real one.
"Let me try the side piece."
She expected another curt, sarcastic response, perhaps him telling her he wasn't an idiot and had already tried them, but he remained quiet. A glance toward his face and then a second look following his line of sight explained his missing reaction.
Declan had noticed his favorite object in any room -- a mirror. His intent stare would have freaked her out because the surface was big enough to show both their reflections, but the appreciative, satisfied smile on his face was a sure sign he was looking only at himself, his skin still shiny from what was left of the oil and the muscled contours of a side view on him worthy of being displayed in the finest of fine art galleries.
She snorted, musing that the many tabloid claims that Bain was the most ego driven actor of his generation were spot on.
Returning to the task of removing the torque, she grunted.
"It's like someone took a vise grip to the pieces."
"Just what are you accusing me of, Mel?"
Him calling her anything other than "wardrobe girl" -- which the jerk had actually done any number of times while shooting the film -- caused Melanie a moment's hesitation. She didn't like people shortening her name like that, but she also knew that he didn't bother learning very many names on set. He hadn't learned her boss's name, for example, and Suzanne had dripped venom around Melanie for a full week after hearing him casually toss out a "Mel."
"I wasn't accusing you of anything," she grunted, letting go of him suddenly.
Losing her balance, she windmilled her arms to keep from falling. The strategy failed. Too much of her weight was at the edge of the step and she was going down.