Heather’s brow crease deepened. Set construction? How exactly would that work? Like one of those home improvement shows where a carpenter built items within a limited time? And even if that could work, who would be…
Oh God. No.
But before Patrick continued she knew. She knew and she wanted to die.
“Seth here is going to be building all the pieces for us. It’s very exciting, isn’t it?”
No, it wasn’t exciting. Seth wasn’t a member of Montblanc or Urban Arts. He wasn’t from the Broad Stage. He was a crewmember after all.
Heather Wainwright, Hollywood A-list actress, had been flirting shamelessly with a carpenter.
Celebrities held no special interest for Seth Rafferty. They were simply people. People he worked with. Nothing exciting. Their shit stank just like everyone else’s. His job kept him in close proximity to them on a daily basis and, while that part of his occupation was what interested his friends and family the most, he’d become immune long ago.
Which was why he hadn’t been prepared for Heather Wainwright.
He first spotted her when she’d entered the private dining room. She’d stood alone, watching the group at the table, not knowing that she’d caught his gaze. She was pretty, yes. All right, she was goddamn beautiful. And sexy. Her legs were long and lean under her knee-length skirt and her br**sts pressed nicely against her low sleeveless shirt. But she was a mega-star—those qualities were standard package.
Except there was something about her that Seth hadn’t expected—a vulnerability he’d rarely seen in other actresses. A bewilderment at her place in her world. A softness that he’d thought must be impossible to maintain in Hollywood.
She pulled it all in when she’d been called out. Seth watched her out of the corner of his eye as she put on her celebrity façade and greeted the others at the table.
But when she’d sat next to him and they’d talked, he saw glimmers of it again—pieces of a fragile soul he sensed she kept hidden from other people. A longing to drop the I-got-it-going-on persona and instead let someone else take charge.
And oh, what he’d do to her—for her—if he was in charge of her. His pants had tightened at the thought.
It wasn’t just a sexual attraction. He’d also enjoyed the conversation, even though they hadn’t talked about anything important or of consequence. There was something in her easy tone that made him feel like he could keep talking to her forever. About nothing. And he could certainly keep looking in the deep chocolate pools of her eyes forever.
Prepared for her or not, Seth Rafferty was star struck.
Then she found out what he did for a living—or what she thought he did for a living—and everything changed. The playful sparkle in her eyes vanished while the color drained from her face and her smile curled downward into a look of disgust.
And Seth was struck again, this time with disappointment.
“So what do you think?” Patrick asked, eager for Heather’s reaction to the new event format.
“Hmm,” she said as if trying to decide how to phrase her response. Seth sensed her delay wasn’t about the format at all. She was grappling with the realization that he wasn’t an exec for Montblanc. That she’d been conversing with someone beneath her.
He shook his head slightly trying to shake off the fascination he’d had with her, disappointed to find she was one of those actresses. One with an ego as big as her reputation proclaimed. Too much of a diva to even recognize the names of prominent crew members like himself. What a shame.
He’d been with her type before. His ex-girlfriend—ex-fiancée. Erica. She’d been the type who only cared about him when his status proved worthy. It was bullshit, and he’d changed the way he dated after her, careful to only involve himself with women who liked him when they didn’t know dick about what he did for a living.
After more hemming and hawing and three sips of wine, she spoke. “Actually, Patrick, I think the idea’s terrible.” And once she’d found her voice, she couldn’t stop. “I mean, a set? For the 24-Hour Plays? Why? The lack of a set—the impressionism of the whole situation—that’s part of the beauty of it. Why would you change it? What do you hope to add with this element?”
Patrick’s eyebrows rose. “Oh, well, we just…”
“No offense to you, Seth.” She glanced toward him, not really looking at him and he winced at how arousing it was to hear her say his name. “I’m sure you’re amazing with a hammer and everything. But…it’s just…it’s wrong.”
He shrugged, not daring to talk. He was too appalled and pissed and turned on to speak. Anything he said would just get him in trouble, and not the good kind of trouble.
“I’m so sorry to hear you feel that way, Heather.”
Seth sneered inwardly at the sincerity of Patrick’s amends. Patrick held power in this situation. Why did he feel he had to smooth over the ruffled feathers of some snotty actress? What she needed was a good spanking.
And then thoughts of her creamy skin turning pink under his hand had him needing to adjust himself under the table.
Settle down, boy. She’s not worth it.
“Does Rosie know about this?” Heather jutted her lip out in challenge.
If she’d jutted that lip out to him, Seth was pretty sure he’d have to bite it. Not worth it, remember?
“Yes, and Rosie was completely behind it.” Patrick took a swallow of his martini— more of a gulp. “In fact, Heather, you’re the first person who’s opposed it.”
“Maybe you aren’t asking the right people. I’m sure people like Seth here are all for it because, you know, set construction is his thing and all.”
Set construction really wasn’t Seth’s thing. Not anymore. He’d moved beyond that years ago, but for some reason, he was strongly opposed to letting Heather know that. She’d probably calm down and relax if she realized his true occupation. She might even pick up the flirting again.
The thought sickened him, mostly because that led to other thoughts of how far their flirting could go. And, to quote Heather, that was just wrong. He had standards. He didn’t need Heather Wainwright. He didn’t need to be a star f**ker.
No, it was better that she thought he was a carpenter—a nobody in her world. That way it would be easier to keep her out of his world. He had no interest in such blatant snobbery.
Except Patrick was about to spill the beans. “Actually, Seth’s more about the big picture,” Patrick said. “You know he’s a—”