Read Secret Gifts (Steamy Version) Online

Authors: Elena Aitken

Tags: #Contemporary Romance, #steamy romance, #holiday romance, #Romance, #movie star romance, #sweet series, #romance series, #sexy romance, #love, #sweet romance

Secret Gifts (Steamy Version) (9 page)

BOOK: Secret Gifts (Steamy Version)
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Lisa laughed. “You get used to the smell,” she said. “But you feel free to take that shirt all the way off.” She winked and gazed openly at his exposed abs.

He smiled and dropped his shirt.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “You’ll take it off in a minute. Come here.” Lisa grabbed his hand and tugged him up a small grassy hill. They stopped in front of a pond. And by the amount of steam in the air, it was a very hot pond.

“What is this place?”

“We call them King’s Springs.” Lisa knelt down and trailed her fingers through the water.

Gage followed her lead, and tested the water. “It’s like a hot tub.” He looked up in amazement. “Incredible. How does it…how can it…”

Lisa laughed again, but the sound was sweet. “It’s a natural hot spring,” she explained. “The mountains are full of them, but they’re usually pretty hidden. Either that or they become mass developed tourist traps.” She rolled her eyes and her smile faded. “That’s why we keep this one a secret. We don’t want it becoming all commercialized. No one knows, Gage. You can’t say anything.” Her face was lined with worry, likely as she realized she’d just brought a mega-star who was almost constantly followed by reporters up to her secret place. “Some developers found out about a set of hot springs not too far from here and the word is they’re turning them into a major spa with a big hotel and—“

“I swear,” Gage said. He tilted her chin up with two fingers. “I won’t tell a soul. I promise.”

Satisfied, Lisa smiled again and stood up. “So,” she said. “What do you say we go for a swim?”

Gage looked up at her. “You mean, now?”

“When else, silly?” Lisa tugged her t-shirt off and started walking away. “Come on. There’s another pool over here.”

Despite the fact that he knew nothing good could possibly come out of skinny-dipping with Lisa, and the last thing he wanted was anything at all to come of it, Gage stood and followed her, pulling his own t-shirt off as he went.

“See?” Lisa said when she turned around and saw him. “Didn’t I say you’d be taking your shirt off in a minute?” She grabbed the loops of his jeans and pulled him close.

“Lisa, I don’t think—“

“You don’t want to swim?” Her voice was husky, and Gage would have to be deaf not to hear the desire laced in her words. “We can leave.”

Indecision raced through him and he hated himself for it. Only a week ago, Gage wouldn’t have thought twice about getting naked in hot water with a gorgeous woman. But a lot had happened in a week. His thoughts flashed to Megan’s smile when they were climbing the rocks, the softness of her hand, the way her body had melted and come undone with his touch, the hardness in her face when she told him her interest in him was professional only. Period.

“We’re not leaving.” He tossed his shirt to the side and slipping away from Lisa, he made short work of his shoes and jeans as well before sliding into the hot water.

CHAPTER SIX

Megan was going to kill Gage. She’d only been gone for forty minutes. Forty minutes that she needed to clear her head and calm down. And when she’d returned to the suite, he was gone. Surely she should be able to leave him alone for a few minutes without him sneaking off and getting into trouble. It really didn’t seem too much to ask. But after what had happened between them…and worse, the words they’d exchanged, all bets were off.

After calling his cell phone and getting voicemail, Megan called Carmen at the front desk, because she had no idea who else to call.

“He’s probably just gone for a walk, Megan,” she’d assured her. “I’ll tell everyone to keep an eye out but we’ll call you as soon as we hear anything. Don’t worry, he’s a grown man. He’s not going to get into any trouble.”

But that’s exactly what Megan was worried about. And hadn’t that been exactly why she was there? All day, while she waited for Gage to walk in the door or Carmen to call, she replayed Ryan’s phone call in her head for the umpteenth time.

A suicide mission. A train wreck.

Was it really impossible to keep Gage Mitchell away from scandal? Was Lois really angry enough at her to take it out on her career?

When the phone rang shortly after lunchtime, Megan answered it without checking the caller ID.

“Gage? Where the—“

“Megan,” the voice on the other end of the line was very female and definitely not Gage. “Are you missing someone?” Lois asked, although when her boss said it, it sounded more like a statement rather than a question.

“No,” Megan answered quickly, forcing herself to sound much calmer than she felt. “Not at all.”

“Really? Because it sounded like you were asking where he was.” Her boss’ voice was cool and slid over Megan like ice. “You do know where your client is, don’t you, Megan? Because I would—“

“Of course I know where he is.” Megan definitely didn’t imagine the satisfaction she heard in Lois’ voice. “I was just asking him where the remote is. He ran over to the main lodge to pick up some lunch.”

“They don’t have room service in the mountains?”

“Not today,” Megan lied easily. “Besides, Gage likes the fresh air. He says he’s never felt better and has totally lost his desire for partying.” Okay, she knew she was pushing it with that last bit, but she couldn’t help herself. She shook her head and forced herself to take a deep breath. She couldn’t afford anymore slip-ups.

“Well,” Lois said. “That’s a good thing because the production company has decided instead of waiting for the premiere party, they’d like to have a special launch party for
Tumbleweed
early. It’ll be a small affair, only cast and crew and a few select industry professionals. No media at all.”

“How early?” Something in the other woman’s voice wasn’t right.

“This weekend.”

“This weekend? That’s only two days away.”

“Is that a problem?”

Megan wanted to laugh. Of course it wasn’t a problem. She could keep Gage out of trouble for only two more days. She glanced around the empty room and a shadow of doubt crossed her mind. If she could find him, anyway.

“No problem at all,” she said. “Should I book us some flights to LA?”

“The party won’t be in LA, Megan.”

A chill ran down Megan’s spine. “Where will it be?”

“At Castle Mountain Lodge.” If Megan could have stuffed the cheeriness in Lois’ voice back down her throat, she would have. “Ryan actually suggested it to the producers as a perfect location for the launch.”

“Ryan did?” Despite the sudden chill, Megan needed air. She went to the sliding patio door and stood facing out.

“He did,” Lois continued. “After all, the mountains are the backdrop for the show, and Gage is already there and—“

“It’ll be lovely,” Megan choked out the words.

“Oh, I knew you’d think so,” Lois said. “And since the Grace Agency suggested the location, we’ll be taking on the party prep, and naturally, since you’re already there…”

“Naturally.” Megan sagged onto the couch and let her head flop back so she was staring up at the vaulted ceiling. “I’ll take care of it,” she said.

“Perfect. Oh, and Megan?”

Megan sat up, instantly alert at the shift in Lois’ voice.

“Don’t screw this up,” Lois said. “I don’t think I have to tell you, it’s a very important party and just as it’s crucial that we avoid scandal,” she emphasized the word, “it’s crucial this party is fabulous. Do you understand?”

“I do,” Megan said, and with a bolt of courage, added, “Lois, can we talk about what happened with Ryan and—“

“Megan,” she interrupted. “You know I don’t mix business with personal.”

She didn’t know that.

“I know, Lois, it’s just that this job…me being here, it’s—“

“It’s important, Megan. Now, is there anything else? I’m very busy.”

“No.” She rubbed her eyes and stared, unseeing, out the window.

“Good. We’ll touch base with regards to the party details later.”

And with a click, Lois was gone and Megan was left to wrap her head around the change of plans. Plans that seemed more and more like they’d been designed for her to fail.

She took a deep breath and walked back inside to call Carmen again. She had a lot of work to do; there was no point in dwelling on it.

The plus side of being tasked with planning a last-minute Hollywood-style event was that Megan had something else to do besides obsess about where Gage was and what he was doing. After a very productive chat with Carmen, who gave her the name of the party planners that the Lodge liked to use, Megan spent the next few hours sketching out some ideas and chatting with the owners of Party Hearty, Andi and Eva. It was decided that Eva would be the one who would be in charge of the party since her boyfriend, Jeff, actually worked on the set of
Tumbleweed
, and they’d be attending the party anyway.

It was almost four o’clock when the door burst open and Gage sauntered in, completely unaware of her anxiety level that had only been magnified in the passing hours. Or maybe he was. Either way, he walked in and headed directly for the kitchen, where he grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge.

Megan’s anger grew as she waited for him to say something to her, to acknowledge her at all. Finally, she couldn’t wait any longer.

“Well, I hope you had a good day,” she said, sarcasm dripping from her words.

Gage turned around and smiled his slow, infuriatingly sexy smile. “As a matter of fact,” he said, “I had a great day.” He took another long pull on the water bottle.

At least he didn’t look like he’d been drinking and she wasn’t close enough to smell it on him. Her body responded with a shiver at even the slightest thought of being close to Gage, and she immediately cursed herself, refocusing on her anger.

“You’re kidding me, right?” She put her hands on her hips. “You’re really going to stand there and be an ass without one word about where you’ve been or what you were doing? Don’t you care about how worried I was?” She only briefly considered the fact that she sounded like a stressed-out mother of a teenager instead of a PR rep to a major celebrity.

“Did you call me an ass?”

She shook her head, but said, “Yes. I did. But that’s not the point.”

“What is the point?” He put the bottle down and took a few steps closer to her.

Megan forced herself not to back away as he approached. His physical presence unnerved her, and the last thing she needed was for him to see that he affected her the same way he affected every other woman on earth.

“The point is it’s my job to make sure you—“

“I know,” he interrupted. He reached out and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. The action caused goose bumps to race up her arms, and she fought the urge to relax and close her eyes at his touch. “It’s your job to keep me out of trouble. But has it ever occurred to you that I’m a grown man and I’m perfectly capable of keeping myself out of trouble?”

“No.” She shook her head. “I mean, yes. Of course it’s occurred to me, but Gage…you…”

“I know.” He stepped away and Megan wanted to reach out and pull him back. “I haven’t done a very good job of doing it on my own. Trust me, I’m very aware of what’s going on with my career and how the producers of
Tumbleweed
feel.” He walked to the window and with his back to her, crossed his arms. “I know exactly what’s on the line.” His voice was so quiet, Megan couldn’t be sure he was talking to her anymore.

Despite the fight they’d had, and the worry he’d caused her, Megan couldn’t hold on to her anger. Especially when anyone would be able to see that there was more to Gage than what was on the surface and in the news. She remembered his conversation she’d overheard the night before.

“Gage, I—“

“I’m sorry I—“

They spoke at the same time.

“Go ahead,” she said.

He turned around and faced her, the smile firmly back in place. “Look, I am sorry if I worried you or made your job harder. I heard you this morning when you said you were just trying to do your job and that was all.”

She flinched at his words because she knew exactly what he was talking about. “Gage, about what I said—I didn’t mean it the way it—“

“It’s fine, Megan. I know this is your job.”

“But it’s not just that,” she said before she could stop herself. “Being here with you, spending time with you, it’s more than that, and…”

When she didn’t finish, he stepped towards her and took her hand in his. Megan’s body responded instantly to his touch and heat flowed through her. Dammit. She’d spent the better part of the day convincing herself nothing could happen between them. Not again. But as she looked in his eyes, every reason she’d had for staying away from Gage disappeared.

“And, what?” His voice was quiet but persistent, and she looked up to meet his dark eyes with her own.

She didn’t want to feel the way she was feeling. It was complicated and completely unprofessional to get involved with clients. Especially one like Gage. Her brain tried to list all the rational reasons she should step back and pull her hand away from his. But it didn’t matter. Megan leaned forward and ignored what her brain and every bit of logic in her was saying. She closed her eyes and when Gage’s lips met hers, every objection or reason there’d been to stop flew out the window.

His free hand reached around the back of her head and pulled her closer. His thumb stroked her cheek while their lips explored each other’s. It was a soft kiss, but there was nothing gentle about it. The heat of their passion could be felt clearly in their connection. Intellectually, Megan knew what she was doing was a mistake, and that things couldn’t go any further with Gage, but in that moment, intellect didn’t count for a damn thing.

CHAPTER SEVEN

It was like a moth to a flame; Gage couldn’t stay away from her. He’d never been so drawn to a woman before and as soon as his mouth touched hers again, his body remembered the sweet taste of her and there was no going back. He deepened the kiss and reached around her, cupping his hand on her ass, and pulled her up hard against him. He was not letting her go this time. His whole body had been burning for her all day, despite everything they’d said to each other. Those were just words, and this…this was what mattered right now.

BOOK: Secret Gifts (Steamy Version)
6.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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