Lipstick Kisses : A Sexy, Standalone Contemporary Romance

BOOK: Lipstick Kisses : A Sexy, Standalone Contemporary Romance
3.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub







This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Copyright © 2016 by C. C. Cartwright 


Cover Design: Louisa Maggio

Table of Contents



Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four




























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Chapter One

We were from different worlds, Chandler and I. He’s from Big Sky, Montana. He grew up on a ranch and loves the outdoors, the fresh air, the simpler life. But for some odd reason, he landed in Los Angeles and fell into modeling because of his good looks. Go figure.

As for me, I grew up in a modest bedroom community, not far from downtown LA. Always been a city girl, always will be.

Makeup has been my obsession from a young age. Always wanting to make myself look pretty. Kind of vain, huh?

Well, I turned my obsession into a multimillion-dollar business.

I was sucked into the glamour and the glitz of it all, with not much time for dating. The few guys I did date were chumps, looking for a good time with the latest ‘It’ girl and her million-dollar lifestyle. None of them stuck around. None of them were sincere. Typical in this city filled with players. Who needs them anyway.

That is, until Chandler crosses my path on a photo shoot for Lipstick Kisses, my cosmetic company.

Damn, I can’t keep my eyes off his sinful six pack abs and that chiseled chest of his. He’s hot and he knows it.

His swagger and his drawl are a bit different than I’m used to, and it grabs my attention in more ways than one.

“Nikki, this is Chandler Winslow. He will be modeling for us on this campaign.” Kelsey, my assistant, introduces us.

“Hi Chandler. It’s nice to finally meet you in person,” I say, extending my hand. I’ve seen his portfolio, and those photos didn’t do him justice. He’s even more striking in person.

“Nice to meet you, too,” Chandler says, giving me a firm handshake. We lock eyes, and I’m a goner. He’s got the most striking light grey eyes, and those eyelashes! They’re the most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen on a man.

Then my eyes scan down his body and I admire him in his tight black tee shirt that hugs his incredibly fit body. His tanned biceps peek out from the short sleeves. Damn, this guy is sex on a stick if I ever saw one.

Can you tell it’s been a while for me?

And of all days, I look like total crap. I’ve been up since five a.m. and just threw on my “uniform” of black leggings and a cream cashmere sweater that just barely covers my bum. I always wear sky-high stilettos. I have them in every color.

I didn’t even have time to style my unruly long mane.

But at least I have on some makeup and my signature cherry red Lipstick Kisses lipstick. I never leave home without it spread across my lips.

I sense Chandler checking me out, in spite of my slightly disheveled appearance. I run my hand through my hair, feeling a little self-conscious under his scrutiny.

My assistant, Kelsey, finally speaks, since I can’t seem to find my words.

“Wardrobe and makeup are this way. Follow me,” she says to Chandler, breaking the awkward silence.

“Sure thing. See you around Nikki,” he says with a smile and a wink.

This guy is trouble with a capital

“Yes. See you in the studio,” I reply, trying to regain my usual all-business composure.

I head back to my office to cool off for a while. Why do I feel warm all over? Was it just me, or was there some kind of undeniable attraction?

It’s just me. I’m sure every female reacts to him that way. I mean, look at the guy. I’d better keep my distance from him. I know that much.

Kelsey pops her head in my office and tells me they’ve started the shoot, and they want me to come and check out some of the shots they’ve gotten so far for approval.

My palms start to sweat and my heart starts pounding in my chest. I’m nervous to go into my own studio. Can you believe it?

I take a deep, calming breath, stand in my stilettos, and walk in there like I mean business.

My breath catches at the sight of him: bare-chested, in low-slung cutoff jeans. I bite my cherry red lips. Then my eyes travel to his gorgeous face. There’s our signature lipstick kiss on his cheek, planted there by a giggling blonde wrapped around him like a serpent. The stunning model is Bella Hughes, the latest
girl of modeling. Too damn cute for her own good, if you ask me.

“Nikki, over here.” I hear Kelsey calling me, breaking my trance. Chandler noticed my gawking, I’m sure. Everyone in the studio probably noticed.

“Eye candy at its finest,” Kelsey teases as I walk up to her. I give her an eye roll.

“Let me see the shots you’ve gotten so far,” I say as I lean over to get a good look at the screen.

“These look amazing. Chandler is a natural.”

Of course he would be.

“Definitely. I knew you would be pleased with them,” Kelsey says, elbowing me. I hear more giggling coming from Bella. Chandler still has his arm draped around her waist. What a flirt. A typical player, male model type.

“It’s a wrap, then?” Kelsey asks.

“Yes, we’re good to go for today,” I reply, casting my eyes over to Chandler.

“We’re done here, guys. Nikki loves the shots we got today,” Kelsey tells the models.

I casually follow close behind. I want to get a look at his body, up close and personal. Aren’t I bad?

“Thanks, Bella. Thanks, Chandler. You guys looked great. We got perfect shots today for our new Cherry campaign,” I say to both of them.

“Great, glad to hear you were happy with them. Can I see the shots?” Chandler asks.

“Sure,” I say as I turn on my heel. He trails behind me.

We both huddle close together by the computer screen to have a look at the images.

My pulse starts to race being so close to him. I come up to his shoulder, even in my high heels. He must be over six feet of all-male hotness. It’s getting hot in here again. I’m hyper-aware of our arms touching, and I shift away from him slightly, but he just moves closer.

“These did turn out nicely, if I do say so myself,” Chandler drawls out.

“You’re a natural. Have you been doing this long?” I ask.

“Doing what long, smiling at the camera?” he says with the sexiest little grin spreading across that kissable face of his, which still has the cherry red lipstick kiss on his cheek.

“Yes. Modeling professionally, I mean.”

“Not really. I just started once I got to LA,” he replies casually.

“Where are you from originally?”

“Big Sky, Montana. Ever been?”

“No, I can’t say that I have.”

“You would love it. It’s beautiful back home,” he says.

Chandler has a down-home quality about him. He hasn’t been ruined by the LA city life—yet.

“How long have you been living in LA?” I can’t help asking.

“Only a few months.”

“How did you get started modeling? Aside from your good looks, your personality doesn’t scream vanity.”

“I don’t know. I guess you could say I was discovered on the beach in Santa Monica one day.”

“That makes sense. You have the most gorgeous eyes I’ve ever seen.”
Did I just say that out loud?
Oh my God, what a come-on. “I—I—I didn’t mean that as a come-on or anything,” I stammer out, losing my cool. “Just professionally speaking, of course. I’m in the beauty business, after all,” I say, trying to recover.

“Too bad. I was hoping it was—a come-on that is,” he whispers, inching closer and closer to my lips.

I turn away, flustered.

“Are you always all business, little lady?” he asks. I can feel his breath on my neck, and it sends shivers down my body.

“Do those lines really work on women?” I ask.


“As a matter of fact, they usually do. You’re just too sassy for your own good, darling. You need some lovin’ from someone who knows what he’s doing,” Chandler replies.


“Really? And I suppose you’re going to tell me you do?” I ask, crossing my arms over my chest.


“I’d rather show than tell,” Chandler says with a wicked grin that leaves me panting in the heat of the studio.

Kelsey walks in interrupting the moment. Thank goodness . . . I think.

“Nikki, Jonathan is on the phone for you. He says it’s urgent,” Kelsey says.

“Isn’t it always urgent with Jonathan?” I reply as I start to walk out of the studio.

Jonathan Frost is my real estate agent. I’m in the process of looking for a new place to call home. I’ve lived in my high-rise condo for too long. I would like to live by the beach, with a view of the crystal blue Pacific. Enjoy the ocean air, for a change.

My company is doing well, so why not splurge?

Whenever I go to look at a new home, I get a little wistful. It will just be a place for my loveable Norwegian Elkhound, Kahlua, and me. No man in my life, no little ones running around. I’ll be turning thirty soon, and it makes me sad that I have no one to share my success with.

I’ve had great success in my professional and business life, but not so much in my personal life. Having money and all the luxuries I can afford can almost be a curse. My success either scares off men or draws the wrong ones to me.

I was engaged two years ago, but I broke it off. In the end, something wasn’t quite right about it. I need to be really careful with whom I marry, if I ever get married at all.

Jonathan is my current real estate agent and past lover—a disappointing one at that.

We met about a year ago.

He talked a big game, but when I finally let him take it to the bedroom with me, let’s just say it was disappointing.

Also, yes, size matters, if you get my drift . . . about Jonathan, that is.

“Nikki, I found THE house for you in Malibu. You will love it,” Jonathan says.

“That’s what you said the last five times you’ve dragged me over in that neighborhood,” I complain.

“No, I mean it this time. Come to my office and I’ll drive you over.”

“All right, but I won’t be there for another couple of hours.”

“Great. We can grab dinner, too.”

Jonathan still tries with me, but it’s just not working for me in that area with him. He accepts that we’re just friends.


The next day at work, Kelsey tells me we are doing one more shoot today.

“With the same two from yesterday?”

“Yes, why? Are you going to get all hot and bothered again?” she teases.

“Look. Today, clothes on. I want that guy in a black button-down shirt and some dark jeans. It will look crisp against his golden skin.”

“Why? The bare chest is just too enticing, isn’t it?”

“Uh—duh, yeah!”

“He asked me if you had a boyfriend yesterday,” Kelsey says, and my ears and other parts of my body perk up.

“Oh really? And what was your answer?”

“I said, not at the moment. Am I right? You’re not still sleeping with Jonathan, are you?”

“No, we’re just friends now.”

“No longer friends with benefits?”

“Believe me, he offered no benefit,” I smile and Kelsey let’s out a giggle.

“So, would you go out with Mr. Hottie if he asked you?”

“I don’t know. He’s not my usual type, nor am I his usual type.”

“Maybe you should try something different.”

“Maybe . . .”

I wander into the studio later. I just can’t stop myself.

Bella is draped all over him again today, and he doesn’t seem to mind. I walk over and stand behind the photographer as he continues shooting the
too beautiful

Damn, Chandler not only has a gorgeous face, but his physique is perfect to me—not too buff, but toned and sculpted in all the right places. He’s tall broad-shouldered, with that golden tan of his and those eyes. A girl could get lost in those eyes.

Stop, girl. Stop your lusting.
A guy like that no doubt dallies with the numerous women who line up at his door.

I leave the studio and head back to my office. I have work to do and calls to return. No daydreaming for me. I have a business to run.

After my long afternoon, I decide to call it a day.

Once I get out to the parking lot, I notice a big, shiny pickup truck parked next to me, with a surfboard thrown, in the back. I don’t recognize the car as my eyes scan the lot.

No one’s around.

I cautiously approach the driver’s side of my Maserati. This is LA after all.

I glance in the truck when I get closer and see a man sitting in the driver’s side. His window is down.

My heart starts hammering in my chest and my adrenaline starts pumping. As I unlock my door, the strange man starts to get out of his truck.

“Hey, Nikki,” a deep, very masculine voice says.

I look up and recognize that it’s Chandler.

“You scared the shit out of me,” I exclaim, placing my hand over my chest.

“Don’t you know it’s unladylike to cuss?” he drawls out.

BOOK: Lipstick Kisses : A Sexy, Standalone Contemporary Romance
3.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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