But it was her. Maddie was there, everywhere, every day. Her job as camera assistant kept her on set at all times. Focus puller was the term for her crew position. Focus puller was right—she pulled his focus anytime she was within a hundred feet of him. Most the time she was closer than that. Her job kept her near the camera. And since the camera was always in his face, so was she.
Maddie barely acknowledged Micah while she worked. She stayed out of the way during blocking and took all her camera measurements with the stand-ins. If she noticed he had missed a mark, she informed Adam instead of Micah directly. Which was what she should do. And it was what he had wanted. But it drove him crazy—having her so close yet so ambivalent about him.
Not that he was going out of his way to talk to her either. It took all his willpower not to find an excuse to touch her or strike up a casual conversation, but he’d managed so far. Just at the detriment of his concentration.
He looked at his watch for the fourth time in ten minutes. His costar, Heather, was exactly forty minutes late for call. She had a reputation for being unreliable, but this was the first time in several weeks that she’d blown call time. It was unprofessional, and a lesser star would have been blacklisted a long time ago. But this was Heather Wainwright, the top female actress in Hollywood. She could do whatever she wanted.
He sighed as he turned back to his script. He really wasn’t that pissed at the blonde diva—he didn’t mind the delay. He needed to work on his lines. No, his irritation came from the brunette camera assistant.
Without lifting his head, he glanced sideways at her. She was in video village, the area set up with monitors from all the cameras. Beaumont, Adam, and Joe—the show’s assistant director—stood talking with her, probably planning what to do about the scenes they were supposed to be filming. He smiled at her outfit, black jeans and a tank top, a black button-down shirt over it. The black absorbed light, rather than reflected it onto the actors. It was supposed to help her fade into the darkness, but Micah didn’t think Maddie could fade into anything. She shone, vibrant and gorgeous at all times, no matter what she wore. It surprised him that every guy wasn’t falling all over her. She was hands-down the most beautiful woman on the set. Probably the most beautiful woman in the state and no one, except that yuppie assistant Sam, seemed to notice.
Christ, he was absolutely pathetic. Pining over a woman? Maybe he should be making romantic comedies. Or movies for Lifetime, since he’d totally seemed to have lost his balls.
He glanced at Fudge, who sat who sat nearby reading a magazine. At least he didn’t know the reason for Micah’s pining. Fudge would never let Micah hear the end of it.
“Chin up!” Darla, his makeup artist fluttered over him, applying powder to his face. “Sugar, you keep sweating off all your makeup. Why don’t you sit under the tent where it’s cooler until they’re ready to shoot your scene?”
He shook his head. That was where video village was—where Maddie was. “No, I’m fine here.”
“But you’re getting too much sun, sweetie.” Darla mothered Micah, which was why he liked working with her.
Today it irritated him. “I said I’m fine.”
“He can’t stand to be too near the hottie that’s assisting Adam,” Fudge said. “He’s gotta bit of a crush.”
“What the… That’s not true.”
“Then I guess the hard-on you’ve been sportin’ since the airport is from that cheerleader assistant, Sam.” Fudge flipped a page casually in the magazine.
“You’ve been checking out my dick, man? That’s just weird.” Of course Fudge would have noticed Micah’s behavior regarding Maddie. But he didn’t have to bring it up in front of his makeup artist. Better yet, he didn’t have to bring it up at all.
Darla laughed. “Oh honey, you don’t need to be embarrassed. I’ve been working with you for five years now and this is the first time I’ve ever seen you so unfocused. It’s a nice change. You should go talk to her.”
“It’s not—” Micah cut himself off, then started again at a more reasonable volume. “It’s not the girl. It’s the altitude.”
“Whatever you need to tell yourself, sweetie.” Amusement sparkled in Darla’s eyes.
Fudge tossed his magazine on the grass. “What I don’t understand is why you don’t just hit it and get it over with.”
Now that was a good question.
Micah thought about it as Darla patted more powder over his face. Why the hell not? They had the chemistry. So she reminded him of the past. That didn’t have to interfere with his present. And he was already distracted by her. Wasn’t that what his no-strings rule was meant to avoid?
But he’d already been an ass to her. Who knew if she’d even be receptive? All right. If she showed some interest, then he’d consider pursuing it.
“By the way, that girl jogs by the hotel every morning,” Fudge said. “Her hotel’s about two miles away. It’s funny she chooses that same route.”
Hmm. That sure sounded like she was interested.
“I need more coffee.” Micah stood, rolling his script under his arm and grabbing his still half-full coffee mug from his cup holder. It was a lame excuse, but he couldn’t bring himself to say outright that he planned to corner Maddie.
“I can get it for you,” Darla offered.
“No, I’m getting it.” Micah heard Darla and Fudge chuckling at him as he made his way toward the main tent. Yeah, who was he kidding? They knew where he was headed.
He didn’t have far to walk before reaching the tent. Generally only a few members of the cast and crew hung out in the video village, but since the show was at a standstill without Heather, more people were around than usual.
Seeing that Maddie was still conversing with Beaumont, Adam, and Joe, Micah slipped behind her to the coffee center. A whiff of apples caught on the breeze, a scent he’d learned to recognize as Maddie’s. Was it her shampoo, her lotion? It drove him mad. He glanced at her, his c**k stirring at the view of her curvy h*ps and round behind. God, she was beautiful. He could strip her na**d and f**k her right then and there. Maybe that would help his concentration.
The sound of his name pulled him from his lustful thoughts.
“We could shoot Micah’s closeups,” Joe said. “That could keep us rolling at least.”
“Maybe that’s the way to go,” Beaumont said. Then, noticing Micah, he said, “Hey, Preston. We’re going to shoot your C.U.s now.”