Jessica Hunter lost her heart and her husband at the same time. He died, and she discovered his infidelities, leaving her a shattered mess. Five years later, Jessica still isn't interested in a relationship. That is until she meets sexy, lead actor Penn Jackson on the set of a popular tween movie- and her life gets turned upside down. Swept away by Penn's carefree attitude, she lets him into her heart-and her bed- even though Penn warns her that being with him will change her life. Penn's warning doesn't mean much to her. But when his publicist begins a campaign to get rid of her, and a trip to the emergency room turns into a tabloid explosion, she doesn't just lose her anonymity, but also her job. Now, Jessica will have to choose between the man she loves and the life she's always known.
           Chapter One

is totally hot,” Emily whispered.
      “I’m not denying it. I’m simply saying it isn’t appropriate for me to think that about someone the same age as the kids I teach.” I leaned against the trunk of my car while we waited.
      “He’s not really in high school. His character is. He’s like twenty-six. You would have to be dead to not notice his hotness,” she said with finality.
     “I don’t think that’s even a word,” I shot back. Emily had talked non-stop about her infatuation with the lead in this movie. She practically drooled over the photos she had. 
      What was I doing here? I questioned my sanity at this decision. I should have never agreed to come.  
      “Emily, I think you can handle this without me. I should wait in the car. Maybe the mall?”
      “Not a chance. Don’t you dare go anywhere. You’re supposed to be supervising me," Emily hissed over her shoulder.
      “What am I supervising?” I laughed. “We’re standing in a parking lot.”
      “Ms. Hunter?” A slight woman came toward us.
      “What? Oh, yes, that’s me.” Damn, my escape was foiled. Shoving my niece in front of me, I added, “And here’s Emily.” Emily rolled her eyes.
      “Well, congratulations on winning the contest. I’m Stephanie. I’ll be with you this weekend. Come. We’ll get you into position.” Her voice was a quick staccato that lacked much in the way of humor.  
      Emily looked over her shoulder making sure I followed. Waving my hand, I shooed her ahead. Emily had entered a contest, winning the chance to sit in on the filming of a new movie, a sequel to a very popular “tween” movie. When she won, she was beside herself. A chance to fly to
Vancouver, Canada, to watch filming. 
     I was the only one that had the flexibility to leave work for three days; I also was the only family member with a passport. Oh, and according to my family, I had no life.
     Emily was sixteen and “completely and totally in love with the lead actor,” Penn Jackson. She’d required me to watch DVD’s, read the series the movies were based on, and then scour the Internet for information about the stars. She was not going to be embarrassed by my ignorance, she
said. I’d passed the test and was now the “coolest aunt in the world.” However, now that we were here, I felt my status slipping. I was way out of my element around these famous actors.
     Stephanie had the pace of a sprinter. Emily flitted quickly after her, oblivious to the feeling of inferiority coursing through me. I reluctantly trailed in the rear. All my research had done was make it possible to converse with my high school students and see that these people lived in a world
of glitz and flash I knew nothing about. I had my eyes focused on Emily’s head when I was hit from the side, tripped, and knocked flat on my butt. The wind whooshed out of my lungs as a body landed hard on top of me. My hands caught the impact of my fall, scraping along the concrete of the walkway. 
     “Shit. I’m sorry.” A heavy British accent drifted down like molasses. I looked up to meet unusual amber eyes. He planted his hands on each side of me and lifted his chest, which, in turn pressed his hips into mine. One of his legs was jammed between mine, putting additional pressure on areas that were warming quickly at his proximity.
     He continued to stare at me, his breath making a few stray strands of hair flutter against my cheek. The pain from my fall slipped away as I dropped my eyes to the amazing mouth hovering just above my own. I couldn’t help but imagine what those lips would feel like pressed against mine.  His tongue snuck out and ran along his bottom lip. I felt my breath catch. I wished I could read his emotions, but his eyes stayed a consistent orange-brown. Before I could think about what
he was doing, he lowered his mouth, brushing his lips against mine before pressing harder and tracing my lower lip with his tongue as he intensified the kiss. I froze, shocked at the fact that this man was jamming his tongue down my throat.  Before I could get swept away by the animalistic needs he was arousing in me, a loud female voice filled the air around us. “Penn, you’re needed on set.”
      With a sigh, he left my mouth. Leaning his forehead against mine, his breath came faster. “Wow,” he breathed into my face. Reluctantly, he pushed back, balancing on his knees. “Let me help you up.” His words pulled me back to reality and I felt my cheeks heat in embarrassment over
the show I just put on in the middle of a movie set.
     I put my hands down and scooted out from under him, wincing in pain. “No, I got it. Shit,” I hissed out, turning my hands over to assess the damage caused by the gravel embedded in my palms. 
     “Fuck. I’m so sorry.” Moving to the side, he took my arm and hoisted me to my feet.
     I took a step backward when the pieces fell together and I realized whose body had just been pressed against mine. Whose lips were moving against mine. He had a thick layer of pale makeup covering his face and now I could see the unrealistic amber of his eyes was created by large contact
lenses. But more importantly, there was no denying Penn Jackson, the star of this movie, had just made my insides turn to goo. He was taller than my five foot three inches and dressed in a conservative jacket and wool pants. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I wished he would pin me
to the ground again and press his body against mine without so many clothes in the way.
     “Penn!”  the voice yelled again.
     “That’s me…sorry, I’m wanted on set. I’m sorry, I got to go. Are you okay?” His head turned back and forth while someone continued to call his name. Finally, a well-dressed woman appeared behind him, an irritated look on her face. 
     “I’m fine.” Well, at least my hands were fine. My body felt like an electrical current was running through it.
     Penn took a step back, but kept his gaze on me. I wished he didn’t have the contacts in. I couldn’t read his expression. I didn’t know if his eyes held regret for kissing me or if I was an easy target for his need to prove he was one of America’s sexiest men.
     A small grin tugged at the corner of his mouth as his gaze trailed up my body. 
     I couldn’t hide the shiver that went through me. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the dormant feelings he had stirred or the mortification I was feeling at lying on the wet pavement making out.
     “Penn, you are wasting time,” the woman snipped.
     His gaze caught mine, holding my stare intently. Nodding once, he turned and headed back to the set. 
     I stood frozen in place, simply watching his backside walk into a group of other actors. Blowing out a loud breath, I collected my purse and the dignity I’d left on the asphalt and headed back to where Emily sat poised on a director’s chair.
     The woman had remained, staring at me. As I walked past, she lightly caught my arm. “I understand you are here on invitation to watch filming. It would be in your best interest to keep your distance from the cast.”
     I looked down at where her perfectly manicured nails wrapped around my arm, then up to her perfect make-up and hair. She was older than me, but Botox and lip injections had her skin looking flawless. “He ran into me.”                                                                                             “You’re out of your league here. Stay away from Penn.” Her red lips puckered a little after the words. As if the act of saying them had soured the taste in her mouth.
     “I’m not sure what you mean.” I knew I was out of my league, but I wasn’t sure why she felt it needed to be mentioned. He’d run into me…he’d kissed me. I hadn’t done anything but get a smack down into the asphalt. 
     “Just remember your place. You’re a guest for today. Nothing more. He won’t even remember you.” She let my arm go and clicked off after Penn in her ten-story high heels.             I found my way quickly back to Emily.
     “Oh. My. God. Aunt J!” Emily looked at my disheveled mess but didn’t acknowledge it. “That was him!” She whisper screamed, pointing in Penn’s direction after he passed by. At least it didn’t appear she had seen my run-in. 
     “Thanks for the concern.” I smirked, trying to keep my hands from shaking with the overload of emotions. First, I was kissed like I’d never been before and then chastised like a
schoolgirl by a woman who bled class. Heading back to the hotel was sounding even better now. I carefully rubbed my hands over my thighs and tried to erase the conflicting feelings swirling in my body. It had been years since my body had been stirred by a man and I’d never had another woman
warn me off of a man I didn’t even know.
     “Quiet on the set,” came a bellowing voice from my left.
     I sent a silent thank you for the direction to stop talking. It would give me a chance to pull myself together. Tap down the feelings I didn’t know I still had.
     A high school parking lot was the setting for the scene, which was short and to the point. Lots of extras milled around looking like the average high school student while the camera followed a car. Getting out of the car, Penn said a few lines to a petite girl, who if my tabloid intel was correct,
was his girlfriend in real life. I was now rethinking my information. Ashley and Penn showed up regularly in the magazines, dressed for a night on the town. However, Miss Business Sexy seemed to have a special interest in him as well. Maybe the gossip was true. Maybe he was a player and the kiss he’d left me with was just a game he played on unsuspecting women.
     The group disappeared through the doors of the school. The director called cut and set about repositioning the cameras. The scene was repeated five times, each from a different angle. Same lines, same scenario. I watched the young man who had slammed into me produce a perfect
American accent.
     “You met him, Aunt J.” Emily elbowed me, slyly pointing.         “Yes, I did. Penn Jackson, lead actor and bulldozer,” I said, absently bringing my fingers to my lips. And kisser extraordinaire.
     Sitting quietly under a tent, then moving inside the school and back out again, was tiring. After five hours, I’d lost the tiny bit of enthusiasm I may have had. Even watching Penn had worn off and now I was simply bored. A steady drizzle began, causing a dampness to fill the evening air. Emily was beyond excited, being asked to sit in as an extra. I’d been ready to call it a wrap for the last hour.
     “Are you enjoying your day?” For the hundredth time, I was asked the same question.
     Plastering a fake grin on my face, I absently replied, “Yes, thank you.”
     Glancing over, I met the unemotional amber eyes of Penn Jackson. My cheeks flushed and I tried to sound cooler than I felt. I’d convinced myself that he was playing with me and I didn’t want to give him any hint as to what he’d done to my libido. “It’s long. Must be tedious having to repeat
lines so many times, then sit around waiting for your next call.”
     “That’s the glamorous life on a movie set. It has its benefits.” He shrugged, returning to his English accent.
     “I can imagine. My niece is totally fixated over you.”
     His stage makeup left his complexion pallid and disturbing. I tried to keep my eyes on the action in front of me. I knew if I looked at him, my ruse at being unaffected would be blown.
     “Fixated?” he questioned.
     Ahh…his accent. I tried to remind my beating pulse that he was a player. “Yes, um…crazy for you? Thinks you’re great.”
     “I know what it means.” He nodded his head seeming to think about my rambling. “How about you?”
     “Well…I…” His question threw me and my words jumbled before they could get out.
     With a laugh he continued, “I really am sorry about earlier. I wasn’t watching where I was going. I’m clumsy even without trying difficult maneuvers.”
     “Running is a maneuver?”
     He shrugged and dipped his head, glancing up at me. His expression was one of interest, but his eyes still hid his true intentions. 
     Holding up my hands, I showed the cleaned scrapes and Band-Aids. “All’s well that ends well.”
     “I’d like to make it up to you,” he said slowly.
     “What? Not necessary!” I blurted, shaking my head. “Everyone’s been more than friendly.  They even let Emily be an extra.” I pointed randomly toward the empty parking lot.    His eyebrows shot up in a surprised expression. Surprise at the babbling idiot he was talking to or surprise that someone turned him down. I wasn’t sure.
     “I’d like to invite you and Emily to dinner with the cast tonight.”
     “Oh. Emily and I.” I felt my cheeks warm, worried that he thought I took his initial invitation only for me, which I had. “Don’t you need to check with someone?”
     A smile tugged at his mouth. “I am old enough that I don’t have to check with my mom.”
     I laughed, or cackled. God stop. “Well that’s good to know, but not what I meant. I meant like the contest people, a manager, your friends? The dragon lady that told me I should stay away from you?”
     Laughing, he shook his head. “No. I’ll send a car for you. Nine o’clock?”
     “That’s late for dinner.”
     “Won’t get done for a while. You know we have to say those lines over and over. Where are you staying?”
     I laughed nervously again. God, what was wrong with me? “The Weston.”
     “Me too.” Starting to move away, he hesitated, then faced me. “I’m sorry we haven’t actually been introduced. Penn Jackson, nice to have met you.” The glow of his pale make-up sent a chill down my spine.
      “Jessica Hunter. Your make-up is creeping me out.” I smiled.
      “I’ll wash it off before dinner.” He winked.

  Chapter Two

     EMILY WAS ECSTATIC WHEN I told her of our plans. Never in a million years would she have hoped that a few days on set as an observer would turn into becoming an extra and dinner with the cast. My status as the cool aunt was definitely rising.
    A private car had picked us up and delivered us to a crowded restaurant. We were taken to a private room in the back of the restaurant. Penn hadn’t arrived yet, but the rest of the cast were sitting around a table with drinks. I stood in the doorway not knowing what to do. As far as I knew,
Penn hadn’t shared our invitation with the rest of the cast.
     “Emily!” The voice of a cast member rang out. 
     Emily let out a yelp of recognition and hugged the girl who had called her around the neck.
     Standing, the girl held out her hand. “I’m Nicole…you must be Emily’s aunt. Penn’s running late. He called letting us know to expect you guys.” Nicole didn’t look much older than Emily. I was feeling like the unwanted mom at a sleepover.
     “Yes.” We moved into the room and settled into two open seats. I reached out and grasped her hand in a firm shake. “Jessica Hunter, nice to meet you.”
     The rest of the cast went around the table introducing themselves. Being a low-budget film, all the actors had been virtually unknown; however, the last movie catapulted them into the limelight. Tyler was a young, dark-skinned boy with a brilliant smile. Three girls of a variety of races, representing the diversity of a fictitious high school, huddled around Emily, giggling and pointing down the table to where Tyler sat, surrounded by his pack of guys. Their names escaped me. Emily fell into the banter like an old pro. I ordered a drink. Supervision had some perks.
     “How did you get a chance to come to the set?” Ashley, the girl I thought was Penn’s girlfriend, asked from across the table.
     “Um. Emily wrote an essay to a fan-site and won. I was the only relative that could take the time off to supervise, so I came along.”
     “Great.” She smiled, but the expression in her eyes didn’t hold any warmth at my presence. Maybe they were actually dating. An awkward silence fell between us. We had exhausted our common ground for conversation, unless we wanted to compare Penn’s kisses and I doubted that would be a good avenue to go down.
     “Hey! Was chased by some fans. Had to circle around to get in.” Penn came from behind, grabbed my shoulders, and planted a kiss on my head. “Sorry I’m late.”
     Emily’s eyes almost popped out of her head, while I choked on the liquid in my mouth. Ashley’s jaw clenched and she shot me a nasty look.
     Penn pulled up a chair and rammed himself in between me and the young man sitting beside me. Then he called the waiter over to tell him he could bring out the pre-ordered food.
      “I’m starving,” were the last words I heard before a loud blast of top-forty music came from the lounge.
      The meal was amazing. The portions were small, but the taste overwhelmed my unsophisticated pallet. Colorful vegetables, steak, nuggets of potatoes, I would never be able to enjoy my Lean Cuisines again. I was certain the food cost more than my first car. Penn remained by my side, arm lazily draped over the back of the chair throughout dinner. Curving his wrist, he embraced my shoulder and played with the ends of my hair. Every time he touched me, the same electricity I’d felt earlier rushed straight to my clit. Every time I attempted to scoot away, he pulled me toward him.
     Ashley’s expression got darker the closer Penn got. I felt like I was a pawn in some jealousy scheme, which was ridiculous. How could someone like her be jealous of me?
      I shivered when his lips brushed past my ear. “Dance with me.”
     I leaned away to look at his face. Was he joking? “Your eyes? They’re green,” popped out dreamily before I could filter my thoughts from my spoken words. Minus his colored contact lenses, his eyes revealed a sincerity I wasn’t expecting.
     “Yes, they are,” he cooed back. “And…” he looked deeply into mine, “so are yours.”
     “So, they’re contacts?” I attempted to seem business-like.
     “Hmm. You told me my make-up was creeping you out. The dance?”
     “You don’t really want to dance with me. I think Ashley would like to dance with you.” I tilted my head in her direction.
     He glanced over her way, then back at me. His eyes questioned my statement. He shook his head, then stood and took my hand. Leaning over, his mouth brushed my hair. “I want to dance with you.”
     What was he doing? Flirting? Playing with an unsuspecting civilian in his crazy world of the movies? “What are you doing?” I shouted over the music when he dragged me to dance floor.
     “Dancing?” he yelled back.
     I leaned in. “I don’t want to be put in the middle of a lovers’ quarrel.”
     He leaned away and looked down at me. His eyes entranced me, but this time, they were filled with confusion. “I don’t understand.”
     “You and Ashley. I don’t want to be in the middle of whatever you have going on.”
     He closed his eyes and shook his head. “Dance with me,” he insisted.
     The beat of the song swept us into the mass of people on the dance floor. Penn stepped forward, sliding his hands around my hips, pulling me into him. His hands remained low while he moved. His eyes locked to mine, his fingers kneading into my sides. I was losing myself in him and I
didn’t even know him.
     The music ended and a slower Rhianna song began to play. The dance floor cleared as people went back to their tables. Penn kept our bodies close. Sliding a hand up to my shoulders, he pulled me into him. Resting his chin on my head, we began to sway. His hand ran up, then down my
back. My stomach did a flip at his touch. I tried to remind myself he was famous—couldn’t be interested in the likes of me. But my arms had a mind of their own and they reached up to encircle his neck.
     I leaned back and took in the relaxed expression on Penn’s face. He smiled lazily down at me.
     “I’m not a groupie.”
     He smiled.
     “Seriously. I’m not one of those girls.”
     “Let’s go.” He stepped back and grabbed my hands.
     I planted my feet, refusing to follow him. “I’m not having sex with you” bluntly flew from my lips.
     “Wow! Did I say that?” he stuttered, dropping my hands.
     “No, but I’m not one of your crazed fans. Just want to make the situation clear. I’m not looking to jump into bed with you.”
     A moment passed, his expression flashed, surprised, shocked, and then irritated. “Well, that’s cleared up…my room later, to talk?”
     “Talk?” I questioned, putting my hands on my hips. “What do you want to talk about? Why do you want to talk with me?”
     Stepping back, he shook his head. “The cameras found me. An hour. Suite ten ninety-eight.” Turning on his heel, he headed out a back door, flash bulbs following his escape.
     Understanding flooded through me, then embarrassment. He wanted to get away from the photographers, not get me into bed. I was a fool for thinking someone like him would be thinking of having sex with me.
     When I got back to the table, I was met with a smug smile from Ashley. I sat down and finished my watered down drink.
     “You’re just his flavor of the day.” Ashley leaned back and crossed her arms.
    I put my glass down carefully, looking to see if anyone had heard her.
     “He loves them and leaves them. Well, love isn’t the word I’d use, but we are in public. Just want you to know what to expect. He won’t give you the time of day tomorrow,” she continued.
     “You sound like you’re speaking from experience.” I ran my finger through the watermark left on the table.
     Ashley shrugged. “No. I’m the constant. He plays around, but he comes back to me.”
     “I danced with him. Nothing more.”
     “He asked you back to his room didn’t he?” She had a smug expression.
     I raised an eyebrow, not answering.
     Ashley stood. “Consider yourself warned. If you go, at least you’ll know what to expect.” Looking around, she announced, “Time to head out girls. My trailer in an hour.”
     The girls had planned an impromptu sleepover in one of their trailers on set. The plan was to eat tons of junk, watch old movies, and sit around without make-up. When they asked Emily to join in, how could I tell her no? It was a girl’s dream to hang out with movie stars. Saying a round of
thank yous and goodbyes, Emily and I headed back to the hotel so she could get her pajamas and a change of clothes for set tomorrow.
     “They said they would call up when the car got here.” Emily grabbed her essentials and stuffed them in a bag. “I feel bad that you’re here all by yourself.”
      “I’m fine. I’ll just watch some pay-per-view.” I flopped down in a chair and watched her empty the bag for the third time and reassess what she was going to wear.
     The call came telling Emily the car was waiting downstairs. With a quick kiss on the cheek and a hug, she was gone.
      I flopped on the bed and ran through my potential television programs and movies. Ashley’s words repeated through my head. Penn’s flavor of the day. Day, not week or month, but day. And he’d invited me to come to his room. I wasn’t a flavor of the day kind of girl, but I’d be lying to myself if I ignored the feelings he stirred in me.
     Without another thought, I pulled on some jeans and a fitted T-shirt and headed to the elevator before I could change my mind. Besides, I was just going to talk…nothing more.


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