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Authors: Sam Crescent

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BOOK: Time to Play
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“Mom,
erm
, what do I do?” she asked. She’d
spent most of her life outside of the public eye. The moment her father
divorced her mother, she and Helen became old news fast. She’d never needed any
protection or help. No one wanted to know about the daughter no one cared
about.

Her mother loved her. Her brother cared about her, but her father
couldn’t stand her.

“Honey, you’d be wise to start with covering up the damage.” Simone
gasped when she saw her apartment entrance on the front door.

“This is not possible. This is a nightmare, Mom. I don’t want this. We
were only supposed to be strangers.”

“Baby, I think you need to talk to this man. I can’t come to you. The
cameras will be flashing away, and you know how I hate that,” Helen said.

“I know, Mom.” When the break-up had first occurred the press wouldn’t
leave her mother alone. They wanted to know everything about the divorce.

“I love you, sweetheart.”

“Love you, too.”

She ended the call staring at the news. The small amount of food she’d
eaten was enough to make her run to the toilet and vomit everything back up.
Simone brushed her teeth then wiped her face on the towel. The longer she
stared at the images the more she felt sick. How could they be interested in a
one night stand?

Simone went to the phone and dialled her work’s number. She was
immediately put through to
Callum
.


Callum
Gallagher,” he said.

“You manipulating bastard. You’ve ruined my life, and for what, a fuck?
You were not even that good. How could you do this to me?”

“I have to say your walk of shame looks dazzling. Not many women could
look so tempting leaving an apartment. You make your exit classy.”

She cursed some more. “I can’t leave my apartment because of you.”

In the next moment, her anger got the better of her, and she slammed the
phone back in its cradle. Running her fingers through her hair, she looked at
the television. The phone began ringing, which she ignored. This was a huge
disaster. She couldn’t handle this. Sitting on the couch she watched the news
reporters talking.

“None of us are allowed in. Miss
Allusifa
has
not made a statement and refuses to take any calls.”

“Because there is nothing to say,” Simone yelled at the television.

“Oh my God,
Callum
Gallagher has turned up,
followed by his business partner and head of security, Cole Turner.”

She tensed watching the two men make their way through the chaos of the
press. “Mr. Gallagher, could you please tell us about your relationship with
Miss
Allusifa
?”

“Please, a gentleman never tells,”
Callum
said, smiling at each and every one of them.

“Smarmy bastard,” Simone muttered. Didn’t they have any clue that they
were lying?

“Simone is a little shy. Please, give her some privacy.” He walked
inside the apartment building’s doors. Any moment he’d be tapping on her door
wanting to come inside. The knock sounded a few minutes later. She debated
ignoring the sound. No matter what happened she needed to sort through the mess
he’d created. She didn’t like it.

Opening the door, she let both men in, and then she locked the door and
walked past them.

“Simone,”
Callum
said. Her anger rose. Without
thinking she moved closer to him, raised her hand and slapped him around the
face. When the sound of flesh hitting flesh wasn’t enough, she did the same
with the other hand. Simone raised her hand to hit him once again, but Cole
caught her hands in mid-air, stopping her attack.

She fought him in an attempt to wipe the smirk off
Callum’s
face. “That’s enough,” Cole said, making her slump in his arms. “I’m going to
let you go. Will you keep your hands to yourself?” he asked.

“I should tear his eyes out.”

“I don’t think that will work, baby.”

Cole let her go. She glared at
Callum
and
stormed away into her kitchen. “How could you do that?”

“Some things needed to be done.”

“No, you couldn’t handle a woman walking away from you.”

“How did you not know who I was?”
Callum
asked.

“Hello!” She shouted opening her arms in exasperation. “My father is in
all of those magazines. I don’t need to see what slut is hanging off his arm. I
don’t follow the current show business.”

“Even though you’re in marketing,” Cole said.

“I’d heard of you but never actually saw a picture of you, and I only
handled financing and helped with some ideas. Oh, it was complicated, and I’m still
not talking to you. I bet you’re the one to leak that crap to the papers.” She
turned to
Callum
. “You should fire him.”

“Why? He’s very good at his job.”

“I don’t give a crap. You’re both awful.” She poured her beer into a
glass, ignoring both men. Simone stayed in the kitchen, sipping her brew.

“It’s a bit early in the day to be drinking, don’t you think?”
Callum
asked.

“I’ve just been plastered all over the daily news. My walk of shame has
been broadcast for everyone to see. I think I deserve a drink or ten.”

She sipped more of her drink even though she knew she needed to keep a
clear head. The phone began ringing once again. “Will you stop them calling? I
can’t handle this.”

Cole moved toward the phone then disconnected the cord. Next he turned
off the television.

“My mother refuses to come to me because of this. She can’t stand the
cameras because of what my father did to her. Thanks for nothing. I can’t even lie
low with her because they’d drum up all the crap from the past.”

Simone didn’t know why she was telling them her problems, she couldn’t
help it. They were staring at her, and she needed to say something.

“Someone has been stealing money out the accounts and are trying to
blame you for it,” Cole said.

Her head shot up. “What?”

****

Callum
looked at his friend surprised at
what Cole had admitted to. “Why would someone steal from the company?” Simone
asked.

“We don’t know. This is why we’ve taken over the company, and we intend
to investigate,” Cole said.

“Why don’t you suspect me?” she asked.

“Look where you live and who your parent is. You don’t need the money.
Also, you put your figures in correctly. Even your boss goes over them to make
sure you haven’t missed anything. Someone inside your sector is doctoring the
figures and taking out thousands of dollars into an alternative account.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

Callum
sighed, moving closer. They all
stood in the tiny kitchen staring at each other. She looked shook up and
nothing like the sensual woman he remembered from earlier. He’d never given a
thought to the exposure bothering her.

“Because we need your help,” Cole said.

“I don’t know how I can help.”

“You can find the errors. We look at
them and see a load of numbers that do not look out of place. You took down the
original figures.”

He heard the soft way Cole was
talking to her. “Why did you have to do this? There is nothing going on between
Callum
and me.”

“Because the person didn’t know who
you were. This will shock them, and we hope they, he or she, will make a
mistake,”
Callum
said.

She brushed past them to go and sit
on the couch. “This is insane. I can’t go back to work for you. Working in that
office will be a nightmare with all this,” she said.

This is where
Callum
came into the arrangement. “We’re setting everything up in my condo. You’ll be
free to come and go as you please,”
Callum
said.

“That will also give the media the
frenzy of you two spending time together.”

“What happens when all this dies
down?” she asked.

“When the person is caught, you and
Callum
can go your separate ways with a mutual agreement
not to kiss and tell to the press,” Cole said.

“I can’t live with you. I want my own place and my own space.”

“We’re not asking you to. You’ll be collected from here every morning
and brought to the condo. There you’ll work to figure out the problem,”
Callum
said.

“Why do I feel that is not where this is going to end?”

Cole laughed.
Callum
watched her as she stared
at his friend. His need for her had grown the moment he walked through the
door.


Callum
is a public figure around the city. He
needs to be seen. You’ll be expected to be on his arm.”

“Eye-candy.
Great, just what I need. Tell me, why
should I
do this again?” she asked.

“Because we can make sure you’re never bothered with again,” Cole said.

She dropped her head in her hands. He saw the moment she gave in with
the slump to the shoulders and the pursing of the lips. “Fine, I’ll help.”

“Great, I think it will be best if you two are seen leaving the building
together,” Cole said, standing up.

“Wait, what? Why can’t we start work tomorrow?” Simone stood.
Callum
stayed close. He inhaled her musky scent. The
temptation inside him was rising. He wanted her. No other woman had tempted him
the way she was, and she wasn’t even trying to capture his attention.

“This will give you an opportunity to see where you’re going to work,
Simone. I thought you’d like that,” his friend said.

Callum
watched her swallow. The action
reminded him of when she’d taken his dick down her throat. He needed to get
himself under control.

She groaned. “Fine, let’s go.”

Simone marched to the door. Cole stopped her before she passed him.
Callum
watched his friend run his fingers through her hair
then his fingers under her eyes. The mascara wiped away cleanly. Next his
friend bent close and kissed her lips, smudging her lipstick.

His cock thickened at what Cole was doing. He loved watching his friend
please his woman. It was like a thickening in his blood.

“There, you look much better.”

Cole turned to him with a smile. Simone looked dazed from what had
happened. Neither said a word as they made their way down the stairs.
Callum
took her hand when she saw the press and flashing
lights. Her grip tightened around his.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Yes, they’re everywhere.”

They walked out to face the music.

****

Cole knew he was never going to forget the feel of her lips against his
own. Her lips were warm, plump, and made him want to dive in without waiting.
Every inch of her body was made to entice a hot-blooded male. Her pleasured
cries still filled his mind from Friday. He’d heard her through the walls as
Callum
claimed her. There was a passion lurking in her
depths that was waiting to be tapped. He wanted to be one of the men to tap her
raw beauty. The cameras flashed at the couple. He saw her shaken from the
attention. She wasn’t looking to score any bonus points by having
Callum
on her arm. In all the years he’d been with his
friend, Cole had witnessed some spiteful women who were only after the added
money and fame that could come from an association with a man like
Callum
.

Simone was not like that. He saw it in the way she was. There was no
need to be better than who she was. All she wanted to do was get through this
period and leave.

They all moved toward the car with the press following close behind
them. Cole ignored the questions being shot at him. He helped Simone into the
car, lingering on her touch for far too long. She stared at him for several
seconds then he closed the door. His body was on high alert. His dick thickened
in his pants. Her lips would be so soft around his shaft. He wondered if she’d
deep throat him or take only the tip.

Fuck, he was already thinking of sharing her with
Callum
.
His thoughts should be stopped. Not every woman was into being shared. He drove
the distance into the centre of the city.
Callum
liked being in the main chaos of the city centre. The houses were expensive,
and he knew his friend liked looking over the city at night.

“How do you cope with them hounding
you all day?” she asked from the backseat.

Cole looked back at her wondering
how she was feeling at being thrust into
Callum’s
world. “We deal with it.
Being wealthy and successful goes
with the cameras.”

“I couldn’t do it.”

She settled back staring out of the
car window. There were press waiting around
Callum’s
condo.
The underground parking was fenced off from the press. They paid for the added
security, which he’d be checking at the first possible moment.

BOOK: Time to Play
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