Authors: Charlotte Boyett-Compo
© copyright April 2007, Charlotte Boyett-Compo
Cover art by Dan Skinner, © copyright April 2007
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Angela Evans was stunned when she rang the bell and Rory Keith, himself, answered the door. She actually took a step back in surprise--her face turning red--as she encountered his world-famous cocky grin and the blue-green-gray--what the heck color
his eyes?--that crinkled so merrily at the corners.
“Angela?” he asked in the Scottish brogue that set the hearts of women young and old racing recklessly.
“Yes, sir,” Angela managed to say, taking the strong, tanned hand he held out to her and feeling positively fragile as he encompassed it within his own.
“Come on in!” he said, drawing her with him into the airy expanse of his New York loft apartment. “Terrible day to be out interviewing, isn’t it?”
She could only nod, for she was lost in that handsome face she’d spent hours watching on movie and television screens. His hand was warm covering hers, and that smile--oh, God that smile--was doing shameful things to her libido.
“I love bad weather, myself,” he said, finally releasing her hand as he fanned it toward the sitting area of the loft. “You can’t be born in Scotland and not like the rain.”
A tremulous smile hovered on Angela’s lips as she followed him to the plush sofa and took a seat at his urging. She couldn’t look away from the crisp white cotton shirt and black jeans that hugged his muscular frame so lovingly. That he was barefooted just made her melt inside.
“How ‘bout you?” he asked in that brogue that sent shivers down her spine.
“I’m not fond of bad weather,” she said, “even though I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida and we have more than our share of storms coming in.” She flinched, telling herself she had given far more detail than he’d required.
His eyes lit up and his expressive mouth did the cute little quirking of his upper lip that was his trademark. “You’re a southern woman!” he exclaimed. “God, I love your accent!” He took a seat across from her, leaning forward so his elbows rested on his knees. “Please tell me you know how to make good sweetened tea.”
Angela’s left eyebrow crooked upward. “You like sweet tea?”
He was like a little boy as he sat hunched there, his smile bright and his eyes dancing. “When I was in Pensacola filming, I fell in love with southern food. God, barbeque ribs and cornbread and ….” He groaned. “When I asked the agency to find me a housekeeper, I wanted to make sure she knew how to cook fried okra and make sweet tea.”
“It’s fried okrie,” she corrected, unable to keep from grinning as broadly as did he. “Tea with or without lemon?”
“Oh, with! Definitely with!” he replied. “When can you start?”
She laughed. “To make the tea or as your housekeeper?”
“Both!” he answered and was on his feet, holding out a hand. “Let’s go do it now!”
His words drove straight through Angela’s soul. Making tea wasn’t what she would have liked to be doing with him, but as he pulled her up and began walking her to the kitchen part of the loft with her hand cupped in his, she followed willingly, looking up at the nape of his neck where the curly brown hair just brushed his collar.
“I’ve Earl Grey,” he said. “Will that do?”
She hated to tell him that it wouldn’t. “Actually Tetley loose tea would be ….”
“Let me get my shoes! There’s a market ‘round the corner,” he said, letting go of her hand and practically sprinting away from her to disappear down the hallway.
She laughed as she heard him rummaging around in his bedroom. The man was a vortex of nervous energy and everything he did, he did at breakneck speed.
Outside it was pouring rain with lightning flashing now and then to light up the large expanse of windows in the loft. When he returned, he had on a baseball cap, tennis shoes without socks, and what she had come to realize must be a favorite leather coat for she’d seen him wearing it in several of his movies.
“I’ll ring down and have the car sent for us straight away,” he said, picking up the receiver.
She watched him, thinking he had to be the handsomest man she’d ever seen. Tall and thoroughly masculine, she could imagine he broke at least a dozen female hearts a week just by flashing those mesmerizing green eyes and that crooked grin. Single--and supposedly quite content to remain that way--he had been linked with every Hollywood goddess coming down the pike and the paparazzi pictured him with women who were constantly hinting marriage was in the works. It was going to be a challenge to work for a man who she wanted to throw down on the rug and have her way with.
“That was a strange expression,” he said, cocking his head to one side. “What were you thinking?”
Angela felt the heat branching up her neck and into her cheeks. “I’ll never tell,” she said and when he slowly grinned at her, she knew damned well he had some idea of where her feeble mind had flown.
“Don’t fall too deeply in love with me before you make my tea, wench,” he teased, opening the door for her.
“I’ll try not to,” she countered.
“Good, ‘cause it gets so bloody boring, you know?”
“Having to fight off the girls?” she asked as she walked out into the hall.
“Girls, guys, damned Labrador retrievers, too!” he replied with a hand to the small of her back.
She reached for the umbrella she’d propped outside his door, but he tugged her away from it.
“You won’t need it,” he promised.
She stumbled along in his wake, for he was like a tornado of nervous energy as he stabbed repeatedly at the button on the private elevator, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet. He reminded her so vividly of her sons when they were boys.
“Trying to quit,” he said, “and I’m climbing the walls.”
She knew he meant smoking. “Have you tried hard candy?”
He snapped his fingers. “Lemon drops! Aye, remind me to grab a few hundred bags at the market!”
“Ah, now that’s just cruel,” he said. “I bet you don’t smoke.”
She shook her head. “Never have, never will.”
“Evil woman,” he pronounced in that sexy brogue. “Rub it in, why doncha?”
“Mind over matter,” she told him.
“If you don’t mind, it don’t matter, huh?” he queried, wagging his dark brows.
The elevator door opened and he ushered her inside, standing so close to her she could smell his expensive cologne. She felt him looking down at her, and she looked up to see him staring at her, his eyes dancing with merriment, his lips twitching in a reckless grin.
“So, tell me about you,” he said. He leaned over. “I don’t see a wedding band.”
“Divorced,” she said.
“Ah …,” he drawled, nodding sagely. “Kids?”
“Two grown sons and two grandkids,” she replied.
“Whoa!” he said, sparkling eyes flaring wide. “I’ve got meself a real live Granny! What are the odds of that?” He slipped his arm around her shoulders and hugged her. “Just what I’ve been needing! Someone to take me in hand and make me a good boy.”
Angela felt his touch all the way to her toes. She was pressed up close to his side as he briefly hugged her then let her go. His entire attitude was so infectiously, almost manic, and she found herself relaxing with him as though she’d known him for years.
“Did they tell you at the agency that you’ll have to sleep with me?” he asked, his gaze wicked, his lips twitching with humor.
“I believe they mentioned it would be a live-in job,” she said.
“Noooo,” he said, drawing out the brogue. “I mean sleep
me?” he said, nudging her with his hip.
“I don’t think so. I imagine you snore,” she countered, knowing he was teasing.
“I do not!” he said, highly offended. “I might breathe heavily but I don’t snore, wench!”
She shook her head at his playfulness. When the elevator settled and he once more put a hand to the small of her back, she felt like the sexiest, prettiest woman alive. She knew damned well she was very lucky, for millions of women would give their left teat to be where she was at that moment.
He was as friendly and personable to those in the lobby of the building where he lived and to the doorman, who held the car door for them beneath the sweep of a huge umbrella. As he scooted into the backseat with her, he waved at several women who had stopped to stare with open mouths.
“Think they’ll drown if they stay that way?” he asked with a boyish chuckle then made a gurgling sound.
“How old are you?” she asked, laughing at his antics.
“Thirty-seven going on ten, my mom says,” he replied and then began tapping out a rhythm on his knees. “I need them lemon drops.”
“Yes, you do,” she said and fished in her purse for a piece of peppermint candy, which she handed over. “Here, suck on this.”
He stunned her by grabbing her hand and sticking her thumb in his mouth. The warmth and wetness of his mouth made her womb clench and heat flood between her legs. She could only stare at him as he sucked hard on her thumb, and then took it out of his mouth with a loud popping sound.
“Oh, you meant the candy, didn’t ya?” he chortled, plucking the candy out of her hand to unwrap it. He tossed it into his mouth with a wide grin.
“Are you always this strange, Mr. Keith?” she asked.
“Mr. Keith was my Dad. I’m Rory,” he replied. “And I’m not strange, just a bit daft. Ask anyone.” He leaned over the front sea and pointed at the market. “Over there.”
Their time inside the market was like a trip to a fun house. He took charge of the cart and piled things into it that caught his eye. Questioning every purchase she made, wanting to know what it was for and how she’d use it, he was like an inquisitive toddler who--at one point--shook his head firmly when she put a bunch of asparagus in the cart.
“No,” he said. “I draw the line at vegetables with names I can’t spell. Besides, that shit is slimy when it’s cooked.”
“I’m not going to cook it,” she told him and put the asparagus back in the cart.
He narrowed his eyes. “Then whatcha gonna do with it?”
“You’ll see,” she said and continued on down the vegetable bins.
“Something evil, I bet,” he said, thrusting his hands into the pockets of his jeans.
“Utterly wicked,” she agreed.
“Are you gonna make me eat healthy shit?” he asked with a sniff.
“I’m gonna make you eat healthy food,” she replied. “If you want to eat shit, you can do so when I’m not looking.” She stared him in the eyes.
The left side of his mouth quirked up and he stunned her again by bending over and kissing her on the cheek. “I like you, wench,” he pronounced then strolled off, abandoning the cart, looking for the gods only knew what among the aisles.
By the time Angie pushed the cart to the checkout, he was surrounded by three women and a little girl who were all looking up at him with complete adoration. You could almost hear the estrogen bubbling away.
“Gotta go, now,” she heard him say. “The warden is shooting daggers at me.”
All four females turned to glare at Angie, and she could have sworn one of them actually growled at her. She rolled her eyes as he came strutting up to her and dropped something into the cart. She looked down at it then up at him, one eyebrow arched.
“A man has his needs,” he defended his purchase.
“Umm,” she said, eyeing the issue of Playboy with a smirk.
“I buy it for the articles,” he said with a straight face.
“Sure you do,” she agreed.
As they waited to checkout, he plundered through the cart. Spying a bottle of Bloody Mary mix, he picked it up and the smile left his face. “I can’t have this in the apartment.”
She frowned. “Why not?”
“I can’t have booze in the …”
She had read all about his drinking problem and how he’d spent several months in a rehab center earlier in the year. He was upfront about the boozing whenever he was interviewed.
“The mix is for the asparagus and the green beans,” she told him.
“Ugh,” he said with a snarl, his upper lip quirked. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Trust me,” she said, taking the bottle out of his hand and putting it back in the cart.
“I think I’d rather have the shit,” he mumbled, then winked at the cashier who was staring at him with lust in her eyes. “Gimme that bag of lemon drops, darlin’.”
The cashier obediently handed over the candy and laughed when he broke the bag open and crammed several into his mouth.
There were things in the cart Angie had not seen him sneak in there, and when he crammed his hand into his pocket to pull out two hundred dollar bills, she was amazed at the total. Happy to hear the groceries would be delivered to the loft and they wouldn’t have to lug them out into the rain, she took the hand he offered and started out the door.
On the sidewalk, several fans rushed him wanting autographs and he obliged every one of them, posing for several throwaway camera shots with the giggling, salivating females. With his long arms draped around the girls’ shoulders, he mugged for the shots then kissed each girl on the forehead before finally grabbing Angie’s hand and sprinting for the car, squealing girls close behind. They barely made it inside before the driver--used to squiring Rory around town--pulled away from the curb.
“How ‘bout I buy you supper tonight, then you can start cooking for me tomorrow?” he asked, popping a few more lemon drops in his mouth.
“What are you in the mood for?” she asked, shaking his head when he offered a lemon drop.
“Wild, passionate monkey sex in front of the fireplace on me bear skin rug,” he answered.
She chuckled, getting used to his teasing. “Before or after we eat?”
He leaned over, his broad shoulder bumping hers a couple of times. “I was thinking of having you as the meal. How’s that?”