Authors: Sadie Grey
(An Alpha Billionaire Romance)
Copyright 2016 SADIE GREY
All Rights Reserved
All of the hot, sexy, and naughty characters in this story are entirely fictional, NOT related by blood, and are consenting adults over the age of nineteen.
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The room was quiet and still, as if the world was holding its breath.
I certainly was.
I clasped the silk robe tightly closed with trembling hands. The smooth fabric felt heavenly against my naked skin. In different circumstances, I would have savored the luxurious feeling of it, but at that moment, all it did was remind me of what I was about to do.
Come on, Angie, I told myself. You’ve got this.
I took a deep breath and stepped through the circle of seated art students. Their chairs were pointed inward, facing a small raised platform in the center of the high-ceilinged room. Each student sat in front of an easel which held a big pad of paper. I wiped a thin sheen of sweat from my forehead and stepped onto the platform.
All eyes in the room turned to look at me.
Thick golden light filtered in through the windows lining the wall. Motes of dust floated in the amber beams. The room felt too bright. I already felt exposed and I hadn’t even taken off the robe.
I chewed my bottom lip and found myself eyeing the exits. I could be off the platform and out of the room in seconds. No one would stop me. No one would blame me. But they also wouldn’t pay me. That simply wasn’t an option.
The professor’s loud, authoritative voice cut through the silence. “Let’s begin,” he said.
I closed my eyes and slipped the white silk robe from my shoulders. It whispered to my feet, baring my nude body for everyone in the room to see.
I tried my best to ignore the jittery feelings in my stomach and struck a pose. My dark, shoulder-length hair had been swept into a pony tail, revealing the lines of my neck. I rested my hand on my hip and bent a knee. My chin jutted proudly, and I made my eyes look fierce as I fixed my gaze towards a paint smudge on the wall.
I would let them see me naked, but I refused to let them see me afraid.
A rustling of pages sounded around me and pencils scratched on pads of paper. The ring of students studied every inch of me. Some were men and some were women, but their gender didn’t matter. They all made me uncomfortable. Their eyes danced from my body to their sketchpads, drinking me in and then pouring me onto the page.
Their expressions were indifferent. Like they were looking at a bowl of fruit or a seaside landscape. But even though they acted professional, I shivered slightly and my stomach continued to churn.
This was my first time posing nude. Up until that point, only a handful of people had seen me naked. Now a room full of people were studying my curves with critical eyes.
I never would have considered doing something like this if I hadn’t just lost my job doing filing at a law firm. My boss was kind, but times were hard, and she had to let me go. Now I needed cash quickly if I was going to be able to pay for next year’s tuition. I had already gotten student loans, but the amount wasn’t nearly enough to cover my expenses. That was the only downside to attending a prestigious private university. The cost was as impressive as the education.
What the art class was paying me would only be a drop in the bucket, but it was a big enough amount that I couldn’t say no. I tried to focus on that goal as their eyes roved over my skin and into my secret places.
Most of them seemed focused on my body but I noticed one man studying my eyes and my face. The other students just looked at me. This man actually
I met his cool blue eyes and my heart beat faster in my chest.
Dark tousled hair framed his rugged face. Stubble shaded his strong jaw. His cheeks dimpled when he smiled at me. He was gorgeous.
Warmth bloomed within me and my skin flushed crimson. I forced myself to avert my gaze from his before I lost my composure entirely.
He was out of sight but not out of mind. Even though I no longer looked at him, I kept seeing his face. I imagined the rasp of that stubble against my skin. I could almost feel his intelligent hands as they traced my curves like the hands of a sculptor.
My nipples hardened into points and my legs began to tremble ever so slightly. I became acutely aware of all the people watching me. I wondered if they noticed my arousal. To my surprise, the thought turned me on even more.
I didn’t know how much longer I would be able to hold that pose if my thoughts continued down that path. The art students would get a real show then.
“Time!” the professor called out.
I knelt quickly and gathered the robe around me gratefully, feeling secure again now that I was covered up. I rolled my neck to loosen the knot that had formed there and got to my feet. The tension in the air disappeared and I could breathe normally again.
The next robed model approached the platform. He was a thick, brawny man. His robe barely closed over his barrel chest. I stepped down from the dais and walked past the circle of students. My eyes gazed steadfastly at the floor.
I ducked into the dressing room and leaned against the wall with my eyes closed. Shame and exhilaration pulsed within me. I had done it. Despite my fears about my less than perfect body. Despite all the voices in my head screaming no. I had done it.
Those fifteen minutes
been agonizing. And yet, a part of me had definitely enjoyed it. Enjoyed it to the point where I had gotten physically excited.
A flush crept over my cheeks. What had taken hold of me out there? No. Not what, but who? I knew exactly who had elicited those feelings from me. His blue eyes still burned in my soul as if they had captured a part of me and refused to let go.
I shook my head to clear it and hurried to put my regular clothes on. My simple cotton underwear went on first, followed by my jeans and a heavy sweatshirt. These clothes were a far cry from the sumptuous silk robe, but they were comfortable and familiar. I was back to my old self again. Whatever had happened out there, I was just glad it was over. I could get paid and get out and put the whole thing behind me.
But I didn’t leave.
I lingered on the edges of the group and watched the students work. I was all thumbs when it came to drawing so seeing them turn pencil lead into living, breathing figures on the page was magical.
I found myself drifting over to Mr. Blue Eyes. I wondered if his sketches were as good-looking as he was. There was no way. No one could be that attractive
talented. Life couldn’t be that unfair.
I stood behind him and leaned in to get a closer look at his drawing. The scent of him tickled my nostrils. He smelled like cinnamon and something citrusy. I found myself leaning closer and breathing him in greedily, intoxicated by the essence of him.
His hands moved skillfully across the paper on his easel. The model he currently sketched was the squat, brutish man that looked like he could grace the cover of a bodybuilding magazine. But the drawing I looked at had redefined the man somehow. It brought out the fire in his eyes. It brought out the determination in his shoulders and in the set of his jaw. The artist had taken a lump of a man and made him graceful. Almost delicate.
“What do you think?” Mr. Blue Eyes asked without turning around.
He caught me off guard. I hadn’t realized he’d noticed me watching him draw. I thought I’d been sneaky. I spoke without thinking.
turn around then, his eyebrows raised in surprise.
The heat rose in my cheeks. I found myself flustered and stammering.
“I mean, the drawing. It’s, well, it’s gorgeous.”
He ran his thick fingers through his messy hair and turned back to look at his drawing. “You think so?”
“Yeah. I love it.”
He flashed a grin at me, and my heart thudded in my chest.
“Can I see the one you did of me?” I asked.
He tilted his head uncertainly and rubbed a hand on the back of his neck. “Are you sure you want to see it?”
My heart sank. “Why, did I look that bad?” I asked in a quiet voice.
“Not at all. I thought you were great. I’m just not sure you’ll like it.”
“Please. I want to see it.” I flashed him my best doe eyes and batted my eyelashes at him.
He rolled his eyes and laughed. “How could I say no to that face? Here.”
He flipped the page in the large sketch pad. The muscle man disappeared, and there I was, staring myself in the face.
My breath caught in my throat and my hand flew to my mouth.
He sighed. “You don’t like it?”
I shook my head. He laughed ruefully to himself.
“Yeah, I knew I shouldn’t have shown it to you.”
I shook my head more fervently. “No, it’s not that. It’s just, you made me beautiful.”
And he really had. The woman on the page was clearly me, but it was not the me I saw when I looked in the mirror. All my rough edges had been smoothed over. The parts of my body that I hated were on display, but instead of being unpleasant, they were elegant parts of a whole. They combined to form the image of a confident, sexy woman.
This version of me looked like how I felt on my best days. The days when I felt in sync with the rhythms of the world. When I was swimming with the current instead of against it. He had looked inside of me and found my favorite me and had somehow laid it out on the page.
Emotion welled in my breast and tears stung my eyes.
“Oh, hey,” he said, standing up. His eyebrows furrowed together. “Are you alright?”
I sniffed and nodded, feeling foolish for getting so emotional. “Yes. Sorry. I just love it.”
“Don’t cry.” He reached out and wiped a tear from my cheek with his thumb. His touch was electric. “I'll tell you what. It’s yours.”
“What?” I smiled and wiped at my eyes. “No. I couldn’t.”
“I won’t take no for an answer.”
I smiled. “Thank you. But let me pay for it, at least. Wait, scratch that. I don’t have any money.”