Micah studied Maddie. “What’s with you and Heather? That look could shoot daggers.”
She bent her head, hoping to hide her irrational envy. “Nothing. Can I have my measure?”
“No, that wasn’t a nothing look. That was most certainly something.” He pursed his lips. “Hmm. Anger? No. Jealousy.”
Her cheeks went warm. “My measure, please.”
“Maddie, you’re blushing. You are jealous.” He peered over at Heather and the crew. “You can’t be into any of those guys. At least, I hope not, because you’re way out of their league. Is it…” His face broke into an electric smile. “Are you jealous of her and me?”
She burned with irritation. “Oh my God, you’re so full of yourself.” It was true, but that he thought it was true was downright narcissistic.
“I’m right.” He uncrossed his arms and stroked her chin, the end of the measure held tightly in his other hand. Goose bumps rose on her arms as his finger moved across her skin. “No need to be jealous, Maddie. That was acting. Not like our kiss.”
She couldn’t help herself. She moved her eyes to his crotch where his hard-on was evident. “Looked like it had the same effect.” She meant to insult him with her words, but after she said them she realized she’d just confirmed his accusation. Man, she was so much better with dialogue when she had a chance to write and rewrite. Spitting it out in real time was incredibly more challenging.
Micah chuckled. “You’re adorable when you’re jealous. And this”—he removed his hand from her face and waved it over his pelvis—“is still from you, baby.”
Her insides twisted at his endearment. “I can’t believe I blue-balled you again,” she muttered, mostly to herself.
“Again? Oh, yeah. That night…” His brow rose. “Now if you’re interested in paying me back…” His eyes glimmered with his tease.
They stared at each other for several heated seconds. Then he let go of the end of the measure. It snapped back into the metal compact Maddie held in her hand, but her eyes never left his.
Softly, he said, “Talk to me?”
She clipped the measure on her belt and chewed on her chapped lip, dry from the Colorado environment and the intense assault it had undergone earlier. She did owe him for leaving him unfulfilled the night they met. Of course she wasn’t expected to pay him back, but that evening with him…she’d had a really good time. She’d let loose in a way she never did, and though she couldn’t get involved with Micah Preston, she did appreciate the bold, sexy girl he elicited from her back then.
Maybe she could relive it just once more and return the favor at the same time. It might prompt him to leave her alone. An idea formed.
“Okay.” She couldn’t believe she was doing this—should she actually be doing this? “A bunch of the crew is going to the bar next to our hotel after wrap tonight. You’re welcome to join. Maybe we can talk there?”
“I’d like that.” He moved his mouth near her ear, his breath on her skin raising all the hairs on her arms. “Don’t be jealous,” he whispered. “If it’s convincing, it’s because I’m thinking of you.”
Her pulse sped up.
“Places!” Joe called.
Maddie started toward the camera, surprised that his words had relaxed her. Not enough to make him and her a possibility, but enough to get through the workday. “Just remember, Micah,” she said over her shoulder. “Paybacks are a bitch.”
She ignored his puzzled look as she rubbed ChapStick over her lips, smacking them deliberately for his benefit. Tonight, he’d understand. Tonight, she was paying back what she owed.
Micah vacillated about what time he should arrive at the bar. He didn’t want to seem too eager, and he knew the crew had at another hour of clean up after he was dismissed from the set at nine.
He decided to shoot for eleven, filling his time with a light dinner in his room while he ran lines, followed by a shower to scrub his makeup and the lingering scent of Heather Wainwright from his body. Not that Heather was unappealing. They had good chemistry, having hooked up a few times over the years. Now Heather almost seemed repulsive after he’d had the sweet taste of Maddie in his mouth.
Ah, Maddie Bauers. Thoughts of her roused his cock. He mentally repeated her name over and over while he took care of his hard-on in the shower, recalling her fingers in his hair and her firm br**sts pressed against his chest.
Jesus, this woman had a hold on him. And, if he played his cards right, he hoped to have a hold of her too, preferably naked. Perhaps even later that night.
After he’d finished cleaning up, Micah dressed in tight dark jeans, a white T-shirt and a thin gray mid-sleeved button-down shirt. He met Fudge in the lobby and they hailed a cab to the Golden Well, the bar next to the crew’s hotel.
The Golden Well was brightly lit and crowded. Micah stood with his bodyguard near the door while he scanned the room, hoping not to be spotted by any fans. He preferred dimly lit restaurants and exclusive night clubs, and he felt awkward and exposed, but his resolve to see Maddie was not diminished.
Fudge seemed to share his displaced feelings. “Why are we here again? You never hang with the crew.”
“I should try something different.” He hated the way Fudge’s words made him sound snobby. Really, it was the nature of the business—different call times and jobs on set—that created different social circles for production crew and actors.
Fudge shook his head. “It’s her, isn’t it?”
“No. Not at all. Who?”
“Fuck, Micah. Just bang her and get it over with.”
Micah frowned. “I’m not going to bang her. God, don’t be so crude.” Banging implied hard and fast, and though Micah imagined some of that with Maddie, he was also counting on long and slow.
Micah turned his attention back to the crowd. “You don’t have to be here. I gave you the night off.”
“What else am I going to do?”
Micah spotted the back of a brunette head—hair pulled into a neat, high ponytail, and knew it was Maddie. His breath caught as she turned to—what? Look for him?—and their eyes met. She was so beautiful. He could stare at her face for hours.
“Isn’t that the A.D. over there?” Fudge didn’t realize Micah had already seen them .