Authors: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff


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I guess I was too pumped up and pissed off last night
. That scene in the restaurant had been sheer insanity. The final insult being that she’d dreamed of that stupid man all night. Dirty, dirty dreams, too.

She thanked Bob and got the address of the hotel where she was supposed to meet her mystery student the next morning.

She then called her parents for their weekly chat. It was the one thing her father, the most protective guy on the planet, made her swear to do: call him once a week. Her mother—or stepmom, really, but Sadie thought of her like her real mother—was a super laid-back professor who taught mythology at the local J.C.

“Is that my little girl?” her father said, answering the phone.

“Yes, Daddy. Just calling to check in.”

“Any news this week?”

I got fired?
“Nothing yet. But soon. I went on four auditions and a few casting calls, too. I’m close, I can feel it.”

“Baby, you’ve been in L.A. for over a year. Maybe it’s time to come home.”

He said the same thing every week.

“Dad, I can’t leave now. I signed up to help this other actor, and if he gets the part, I get one hundred thousand dollars.”

“Bob get you this gig?” he asked judgmentally.

“Of course. He’s my agent.”

“Uh-huh. Well, you be careful. This Bob person can’t be trusted.”

“Dad, you don’t even know him.” Of course, her father was right.

“Yes, I do.”

“Oh really? How?” she asked skeptically.

“I meant, I know his type. And he’s only looking for a way to exploit you for his own gain.”

“That’s what he gets paid for, Dad. Hey, I gotta go. But say hi to Mom and Nell.” Nell was her twenty-year-old sister.

“I will. Do you need me to send you any money?”

I’m so broke I’ve been washing my clothes with Dawn in the sink for a month
. “I’m good, Dad. Thanks for offering.”

“Okay. I just don’t want you going hungry. You’re not hungry, are you? Because you could tell me if you were.”

She was an actress. She was always hungry. Especially lately.
I think I need to start taking vitamins.
“I promise if I need anything, I’ll let you know, Dad. I love you.”

“I love you, too, baby. And make sure to keep up with your brushing. Break a leg.”

Her father was a dentist and crazy obsessed with having a clean mouth. “Thanks, Dad.” She hung up and sighed. It was great how her father cared about her, but he worried too much.

Better than the alternative, I suppose.
She could be one of those people who had nobody. God knew there were plenty of those in this city, which was a good reminder to always feel grateful for what she had.

But dammit, I want more.
Which meant she’d need this guy to nail his part.

I wonder who he is.




That next morning, at a quarter to ten, Sadie showed up with backpack in hand to the presidential suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel, ready to start teaching—body language, eye contact, conversation styles—but no one came to the door.

Standing in the hallway and wondering if she had the right room, she slipped her cell from her pocket and dialed Bob, but there was no answer.
Dang it
. Maybe she could call the room from down in the lobby.

She was about to leave when she heard a groan just inside the room.
Someone’s in there.

“Hey.” Knock, knock. “I’m here for your coaching lesson. You okay?”

She pressed her ear to the door.


The sound was deep and throaty, almost like the sound of a man…well, getting off.

She cupped her hands over her mouth.
I can’t believe this guy.
The clock was ticking and it was really rude to keep someone waiting so he could wank it.

She gave the door another hard knock. “Listen, buddy, if you’re doing anything but dying, you’d better open this door, or I’m leaving. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want that.”

The man groaned again, but this time the sound was so deep and hard, it sent shivers up her spine and down to her nether region. His voice was just so damned sexy.

What? Sadie, what’s wrong with you?

“Oh. Come on, buddy!” Knock. Knock. Knock. “Can’t you do that later?”

She suddenly heard some rustling and then the sound of something large thumping on the floor. The door flew open and a huge man, wearing partially unzipped leather pants, stood panting in the doorway, no underwear, his pants barely holding to his hips and slung low on his muscular torso. She could see a dark patch of hair and the base of his cock, which looked hard as hell, straining against the inside of his pants.

She gulped. The man was hung.

Her eyes moved up over the snug fabric of his black T-shirt, the muscles of his chest and arms stretching it to its limits. She was sure this guy was some sort of weight lifter or martial arts enthusiast.
Or the next Thor.
Just like Bob had said.

When her eyes finally got to his face, two intense turquoise eyes burned right through her, stopping her breath for several heartbeats until her brain registered the fact that it was the same face who’d visited her the last two evenings in two unwelcome, very erotic dreams.

“So we meet again, meat wench.” His sinful lips flashed a smug little smile. “Why am I not surprised to see you here begging for more?”

Sadie blinked. “Holy crap. You’re the crazy asshole from the other night.” What were the odds? She took a step back, ready to run for the hills when it hit her. “Wait. You’re an actor? You told Carlos you were a veteran!” She stepped forward and punched him right in his very broad shoulder.

“Ow,” he winced, rubbing the spot.

“You asshole! I got fired because of you! Did it not occur to you to do your method acting elsewhere?”

The man—
What was his name? Oh, yeah. Andrus
—Andrus folded his giant cannons over his chest that reminded her of the hard, round cement bags in her mother’s garden used to create a little pond for holding rainwater. It was her favorite place to play as a child.

“I am not an ex-soldier,” he said insolently, “I am an ex-assassin. A lethal one.”

Oh, God. This guy is going to stay in character the entire time.
But at least it explained his weird, archaic behavior.

He added, “And has it ever occurred to you not to run at strangers with carving knives? An invitation for a fight, if I ever saw one. But perhaps you’re the sort who enjoys getting rough.” His gaze moved down to her breasts, and she found herself wishing she’d worn something baggy instead of her white short-shorts and pink tank top. But she’d wanted to be comfortable while they did their warm-ups and role-playing.

“I-I-I do not enjoy getting rough,” she replied, trying to pretend that his sexual undertones hadn’t affected her. “And has it ever occurred to you not to go to a
restaurant if you—or your character—whatever—are touchy about knives? Seriously. And couldn’t you have at least tried to tell my boss it was your fault?”

“Why would I falsely admit culpability? Nevertheless, I attempted to convey to the little man that I wasn’t hurt or upset. I mean,” he laughed, “look at you. You’re harmless.”

Sadie wanted to kick the man in his beautiful face, but it was way, way up there. The guy was like six six or something.

“Whatever. Are you ready to start your lesson, or do you need another decade to finish your weenie yoga?” Her eyes moved down to the X-rated view of his still semi-aroused cock, the base still very visible through the open fly.

And dammit if there wasn’t something about his shamelessly unapologetic raw male sexuality that didn’t make her want to keep looking.

He glanced down at his crotch. “You’re fifteen minutes early; however, I think the moment has fled me. Some yappy little meat wench insisted on knocking down the door for a look.” He cracked a snide little smile. “But feel free to take matters into your own hands. I trust you know how to handle
kind of sword at least?”

She grimaced in disgust. “No wonder you need my help. You’re absolutely disgusting.”
And I really need to stop looking at his huge penis
. “And your junk is far too tiny to interest my hands or any other part of my body.”

He narrowed his smoldering, turquoise eyes. “And you are too small, insignificant, and plain to ever interest me. Don’t ever forget that.”

He did not just call me plain
. Sadly, it sort of stung a little. No woman wanted to be called plain, especially by a beautiful asshole like this.
Don’t let him shame you, Sadie. Just do the job, get paid, and get on with your life.

On the other hand…

She stepped toward him, staring deeply into his eyes, and then reached out her hand, placing it firmly over the enormous sideways-slanted bulge in his leather pants.

She watched as his face and body tensed up. He probably thought she was going to assault his manhood. When she didn’t, she could see that twinkle of hard lust in his eyes.

She leaned in and rubbed her breasts and body against him like a frisky little sex kitten. His chest expanded with a few short, hard breaths.
Oh, yeah, big boy. I know how to act, too.

“Plain, huh?” she whispered, standing on her tiptoes like she was going to go in for a kiss. The moment his head started to lower toward her, she slid both hands slowly to his open fly and zipped him up. “Put your teeny weeny away, Mr. Ass-Sasin,” she pushed past him, “and let’s get to work.”

“That was a dirty trick, woman,” he snarled. “And you could’ve injured some very sensitive equipment with the zipper.”

“Yep. But I didn’t.” She entered the room, attempting to find a place for them to sit and begin going over the basics: table decorum, language, how to make a woman feel at ease. And from what she saw the other night, they had their work cut out.

I can’t belieeeeve it’s the same guy
. The universe had a sick sense of humor. For example, right now, she had this strange urge to do another take. But this time she wouldn’t zip him up.

What? No. He’s such a pig.

She turned her head and took in the room. “This place is a mess. What happened?” Empty liquor bottles and candy bar wrappers cluttered the table near the window, the bedding was on the floor, and a collection of swords and knives were piled up on the dresser right below the wall-mounted flat screen.

“I am a lethal ex-assassin, not a maid. And I do not wish any mort—I mean strangers in my room, for obvious reasons.”

Sadie sighed. She couldn’t work in here like this. And she certainly wasn’t going to clean up after the guy. The other option, her apartment, was way too small for someone this big to move around or do any of the exercises.

“We’ll work at the beach.” She’d just gone the other day with a few friends from her acting group, so she still had her picnic blanket, umbrella, and beach chair in the trunk of her car.

He gave her a look. “I did not bring suitable attire for the beach. We shall work here.” He glanced at the bed.

She didn’t know if he’d meant anything by that little look, but she needed to nip it in the bud. Not that the guy’s body wasn’t smokin’ hot and his face—short black beard, simmering turquoise eyes, plump bad-boy lips meant for melting a girl’s heart as he asked forgiveness for whatever stupid thing he’d just done—wasn’t gorgeous, but he was rude, crude, and barbaric.

Then why does your hand feel like it’s on fire from grabbing his dick through his leather pants.

“It’s too stuffy in here,” she said. “And for the record, before you get any ideas, I’m into gentlemen, which we both know you’re not.”

“And for the record, I am
into little girls, which we both know you are.” He dipped his head.

Okay, you. That was mean.

But I did insult his manhood. Maybe I deserved it?

On the other hand, he called me plain. And he got me fired.

Stop, Sadie. Get to work. Think: one hundred thousand dollars. That’s life-changing money.

She took a deep breath and then pulled herself back together. “Can I be honest with you? I really need this job, and from what I’ve heard, you really want this part you’re up for. And I know we don’t know each other, but it seems like we might need one another. So how about we put down our swords and help each other?”

He didn’t reply. Instead, he stood glaring at her with his hard eyes as if trying to figure something out.

She continued, “I really think we should be somewhere with plenty of room to move around. I’ll try to find a new place for us tomorrow, but let’s try the beach today. It’s beautiful and sunny outside, just perfect for a little acting inspiration. Okay?”

He narrowed his beautiful eyes in contemplation. “You are a very strange, yet oddly persuasive woman.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” she said, inspecting his insanely fit body. Damn, he was huge. They probably wouldn’t have anything beach-like that would fit him down in the lobby. “Would you happen to have any jeans?”

He jerked his head toward a black duffle bag thrown in the corner. “In there,” he said. “Why? Are you planning to strangle me with them?”

She walked over, unzipped the bag, and pulled it open. Right at the top was an unframed photo of a little girl. Blonde curls, big blue eyes, with her arms thrown around Andrus’s neck and kissing his cheek. He looked like a completely different person—glowing, happy, smiling.

“Oh, I didn’t realize you have kids,” she said. “And why are you holding a sword in the air?”

He walked over and snatched the photo from her hand. “I don’t have children, and none of your business.”

She saw the wad of faded denim and pulled them from the bag. “These will work.”

“For what?” he asked.

She grabbed one of the sharp-looking knives on the dresser and made a little slice above the knee.

“Hold on, woman. Those are my favorite jeans,” he protested while she ripped.

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