Authors: Olivia Evans
“Do you want flowers, Ivy? A pretty arrangement of your namesake?” His voice lowered in tandem with his gaze as he focused on where her tattoo lay hidden.
Josie’s eyes dropped as well, her skin heating with aggravation and something else. She waved her hands in his direction, her face tucked to the side. “Will you put on your pants? And no, I don’t want flowers or anything else for that matter.”
“Well, if you hadn’t avoided me, I wouldn’t have had to take such drastic measures.” He stepped into his pants, a small chuckle escaping when he caught her staring.
“For someone known as the king of fuck and ducks, you seem to be confused about the mechanics of how a one-night stand works.” Josie crossed her arms and lifted her chin.
Anders fastened his pants and stepped closer, his eyes soft yet playful. It was game time. “Maybe that’s not what I want.”
As soon as she processed his words, a laugh burst from her chest. “Of course that’s what you want! Are you kidding me?” Of all the things she’d expected him to say, that wasn’t one of them.
Anders’ lips twitched. He wanted to be pissed that she was laughing at him, but it was better than yelling or throwing clothes. Well, unless they were her clothes.
“I’m serious. Let’s have coffee. We can even talk a little.” Anders wrapped his hand around her bicep and squeezed gently before loosening his grip to trail a path to her hand where he linked their fingers.
The goose bumps that broke over her skin were involuntary, the spike in her heart rate was unavoidable, and the anger she felt at her body’s reaction was unsurprising.
“Wow,” she gasped in mock surprise. “Coffee and a little conversation before you expect me to fuck you again? How gracious.” As angry as Josie was that Anders was trying to run a game on her, and as angry as Anders was that Josie wasn’t falling for it, neither could deny their physical attraction.
“Isn’t it?” Anders winked playfully.
“I know.” Anders’ chuckle turned into a full-blown laugh at the look of disbelief etched in her features.
“Okay, stop. I don’t want to be present when that inflated ego of yours causes your head to explode. It’s going to be messy.”
“Come on, Ivy. It’ll be fun.” His heart beat a little faster when his eyes drifted to her lips. The air surrounding them changed. Postures tensed and breaths quickened. Anders’ single-minded need to have her again, to see her pretty lips wrapped around his cock, made his stomach tighten. When he spoke again, his voice was rough and thick. “You know it will.”
Josie leaned in closer, the movement bringing their chests together. Anders smirked. He knew she’d break. He was happy she wasn’t going to drag things out. The idea of chasing her was not appealing. He wanted to fuck that stubborn will right out of her and then walk away.
So focused on the idea, Anders failed to notice the dark glint in Josie’s eyes. “Know what else will be fun?” Her voice dropped, the words rolling off her tongue with promise and deception.
Josie smiled and pulled her hand free. Rolling onto the balls of her feet, she brought her mouth to his ear and whispered, “When I see the realization cross your face that I’m never going to fuck you again.”
She stepped back and dragged her eyes over the length of his body. She avoided his eyes as she grabbed the waistband of his pants and tugged. With a sharp nod she released her hold and clasped her hands.
“Everything seems to be in order, Mr. Ellis. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Anders blinked as Josie turned to leave. With his mind reeling, he hadn’t even reacted to her hand slipping into the top of his pants. He grabbed her wrist just as someone rapped twice on the door.
“Two minutes, Mr. Ellis.”
“Got it!” Anders yelled, his eyes boring into Josie. Her gaze drifted from where he held her wrist to his face.
“Was there something else?”
Anders’ jaw ticked at her dismissive tone and impassive expression. “You can fight it all you want, but you’re not as unaffected as you’re pretending.” He pulled her arm until she stood in front of him. “You forget. I know what you look like when you’re turned on.” He trailed his finger down the side of her face to her neck, pausing at the hollow of her collarbone before sliding down to her blouse. “And this”
he chuckled, looking pointedly at the flushed skin disappearing beneath her shirt
“doesn’t stop here.”
Josie retorted, pulling his hand away
“does.” Her heart thundered as she spun toward the door. Her only thought was getting away from him and whatever voodoo he was working.
Anders buttoned his shirt, his stance relaxed and self-assured as Josie darted out of the trailer. “We’ll see.”
s expected, Anders refused to accept that Josie wasn’t interested. Over the next several days, he poked and prodded at her, causing more than a few heated arguments. His teasing, negative comments about her work never failed to garner a reaction, so he brought it up whenever she tried to ignore him. Because of this, when he had a legitimate complaint, it came as no surprise that she blew him off.
“Something isn’t right.” Anders tugged on the waist of his pants, his face scrunched in annoyance.
Josie crossed her arms over her chest. “No way,” she scoffed. “There is nothing wrong with those pants.”
The pair stared at each other in silence. After a beat Anders exhaled and closed his eyes. If he couldn’t rein in his skyrocketing temper, another pissing contest would soon follow. “Look,” he began, relaxing the tightness in his jaw. “We both know why you’re here. I could continue to pretend it’s because of your work, but it’s time we stopped dancing around the real reason.”
“Oh?” Josie lifted her brow. “I’m not sure I understand. Tell me, Mr. Ellis. Why am I here?”
Anders let out a throaty chuckle and stepped closer. “You’ve presented me with a challenge.” He trailed the back of his fingers down the length of her arm, his laugh becoming louder when she flinched away from him. “I love a good challenge.”
“You’re an asshole.”
He nodded. “I’ve never denied that, but it doesn’t change the fact that you want me as much as I want you.”
“If I didn’t dislike you so much, I’d worry about these delusions you’re suffering from.”
Anders shook his head. “You don’t dislike me, Ivy.”
“My name is Josie.” She fought to ignore how her stomach fluttered when he called her Ivy.
“Not to me.”
“Wait,” he huffed, wrapping his fingers around her bicep and halting her movement. “I’m not kidding about these pants. They don’t fit. These are for the new scenes, right? They weren’t part of the original set?”
Josie eyed him for a minute before nodding. “Yes, they’re new. That’s why you’re being fitted early.”
“Okay then. I’m telling you, something isn’t right.”
Josie pushed her annoyance to the side and stepped closer. While she doubted there was anything wrong, she couldn’t let personal feelings get in the way of work. “Okay, what’s wrong?”
“The inseam is too short, and the waist is too snug.”
The thought of measuring his inseam appealed to Josie as much as setting her hair on fire. Still, refusing wasn’t an option. After pulling in a calming breath, she tugged the waist of his pants. They didn’t fit. “Shit,” she whispered. The room and its annoying occupant faded as her mind locked into work mode. She grabbed her phone and sent Madison a text to come to his trailer.
“Lift your arms,” she instructed, pulling out her measuring tape.
He did as she said, taken aback by her sudden change in demeanor. She wrapped the tape measure around his waist and pulled it together. The plastic pen lodged between her teeth cracked when her jaw tightened. In a swift motion, she pulled it from her mouth and jotted the measurements on the back of her hand. “You can put your arms down. Spread your legs.”
Anders smirked and shifted his feet apart as Josie crouched in front of him. “Isn’t that supposed to be my line?”
Josie’s balance tipped when his words registered, causing her to rock forward. All thoughts of teasing vanished when he saw her on her knees. His lips parted as he dragged his eyes over the arch of her neck, the hair spilling down her back, and the flush creeping over her exposed skin.
Josie was ready to tell him off, but when their eyes locked, the look on his face stopped her cold. His eyes were intense, his expression darkened with determination, desire, and trouble. So much trouble. He brushed his fingers along the curve of her jaw as he used his thumb to trace the outline of her parted lips. He wanted to drop to his knees, replace his thumb with his tongue, and taste the plump swell of her lips. Josie saw it—the desire—but still, she didn’t move.
“Hey, Josie, what’s going on?” Madison asked, pushing open the door. Her mouth fell open and her eyes widened as she took in the scene in front of her.
Anders snatched his hand away from Josie’s face like it burned and stumbled back. As soon as the contact broke, Josie let out a shaky breath and rose to her feet. Not sparing Anders a second glance, she moved to Madison and thrust the pen and measuring tape into her hands.
“These pants are the wrong size. I’m pretty sure these measurements were for Walker. I have somewhere I need to be. Will you finish up here then call the design department with the correct measurements, please?”
A look of concern crossed Madison’s face. “Sure.”
“Thanks.” Josie fled his trailer without wasting another second, and Anders didn’t try to stop her. Anders knew she didn’t have anywhere to be, but he wanted her to leave as much as she did. He wasn’t sure what just happened, but he didn’t like it. He needed to clear his head, and he couldn’t do that with her there.
“Well,” he snapped, flicking his gaze to Madison. “I don’t have all day.”
Madison smiled and sauntered over to him, amused by how frazzled he appeared. It seemed Josie wasn’t the only one who got her panties in a twist when they were alone together. She wasn’t sure what that meant, but at least it evened the playing field.
s one week blended into two, Anders’ persistence and Josie’s stubbornness caused the tension between them to grow. So much so that it began to affect their interactions with others. For Anders, who always had a chip on his shoulder, the change was subtle. Josie, however, was a different story. It wasn’t until she nearly reached the end of her rope that she realized something about Anders that would save her sanity. When anyone else was around, Anders behaved. No innuendos, no accidental contact, and no mention of wall sex 2.0.
She also didn’t miss the utter looks of disdain he gave to anyone who interrupted them. She knew it was a game. His goal was to sleep with her again, but she couldn’t deny that a part of her was beginning to enjoy the attention. She was positive he’d never had trouble getting what he wanted before. The fact that she was the current object of his frustration gave her more than a little thrill. If she had to suffer his advances, it was nice to know he was suffering as well.
That knowledge was why she found herself smiling in front of the mirror Friday morning as Madison let herself in the front door. Pulling a brush through her hair, she twisted her leg to the side to check out her ass. Josie wasn’t conceited by any means, but she wasn’t lacking confidence either.
“That’s some outfit you’re wearing, Josie,” Madison commented, noticing Josie’s sly smile when their eyes connected.
“Oh, this old thing?” With a flippant wave, Josie rolled her eyes and spun to face Madison.
“You’re up to something.”
Josie laughed as she led Madison to her car. “Of course I’m up to something. As much as I love to dress up, wearing shit like this to work isn’t the least bit practical.”
“Josie,” Madison began, her voice gentle. “Do you really want to play this game?”
“Look.” Josie sighed and pulled in a deep breath, taking a moment to figure out a way to explain how she felt. “He drives me crazy. He called my boss and demanded I be at his beck and call because he doesn’t like being told no. He’s rude, pushy, and an all-around womanizing asshole. But I can’t deny that part of me gets off on the fact that he’s trying so hard. Turning him down has completely floored him. If I have to endure his shit every day, don’t I deserve to have a little fun in return?”