ExcerptNatalie's tires squealed as she sped up and down the levels, finding every last parking space was filled. She tried to call her assistant, but should’ve known better than to hope for cell reception in the garage. As she reversed the car in an anger-fueled three-point turn, she heard a thump. Shit. Checking the rearview mirror, she saw nothing -- no cars, no cement columns. Whatever. She hoped Kari was able to stall the parties on the video conference...
Suddenly, the door behind her flung open and someone jumped in, rocking the car. “Drive,” a deep voice ordered.
“Oh my god. Just take the car.” She reached for the door handle, thankful she could run straight to her office, now, and maybe make it in time for the--
“I don’t want the car. I want you to drive, lady!”
“I’m late for a conference call!” Before she could push the door open, something hard pressed against the back of her head. She stiffened and slanted a glance toward the rearview mirror, but couldn’t see him since he was directly behind her.
“You’re gonna have to reschedule. Drive the fucking car.”
“Okay. Okay. Where do you want to go?” Her voice shook with panic. Dad’s gonna give me that disappointed look. Can’t believe this shit. What are the frigging odds?
“Just get me out of here.”
Natalie drove around and around the garage toward the exit, trying now and then to see him in her mirrors. As they stopped for the automatic gate to lift she made a move to open the door, but he tapped her skull with what she presumed was a gun barrel. A reminder, like she could ever forget it was there.
“Don’t make me use this.”
“I’m sorry.” Her voice shook a little. She hated that. “Which way should I go?”
“Take me to your house.”
“I don’t have a house.”
He made an exasperated sound. “I assume you’re not homeless. Take me wherever the hell it is you live.”
She drove a circuitous route through the slow-moving maze of Midtown, inching the car down the one-way streets and multiple Peachtrees that confounded even native Atlantans. For fuck’s sake, there’s never a police car when you need one...
Her phone rang, startling her.
Her passenger barked “Don’t answer it!” a half-second too late.
“Sorry! It’s a reflex.” She cringed, half-expecting to be pistol-whipped.
Then Kari’s voice came over the car speakers. “Jesus Christ, Nat!”
“Yeah, I’m having a really hard time parking--”
“Forget it, we cancelled. Are you listening to the radio?”
“All the traffic? It’s not an accident.” If she hadn’t been in a life-or-death situation, Natalie would’ve noticed her assistant’s oddly-excited tone. “They started shooting the movie, and Sam Danmore disappeared! He’s like a fugitive or something.”
“Hang up,” Natalie’s passenger growled low from the back seat.
It dawned on her now that his voice seemed familiar. She risked a glance over her shoulder and holy shit. Holy. Shit. Holy fucking shit. “Holy fucking shit.”
A world-famous pair of sexy brown eyes glared, and she turned back around just in time to avoid rear-ending a city bus.
“I know, right?” Kari’s voice gushed. “They said he raped a teenage girl in his trailer and ran off when she screamed.”
“My god...” Natalie jerked the car to a rocking stop in a loading zone, narrowly missing a few pedestrians.
“Again. Can you believe that?”
“Kari, I’ve gotta call you back.” She disconnected and sat silently a moment, staring straight ahead. Her heart was pounding harder than it did when her passenger first jumped in the car. Without turning, she spoke in her coldest and most professional voice (which barely shook at all). “Is it safe to assume you have not been holding a real gun to my head?”
She heard him sigh heavily. In her peripheral vision, she saw him hold up a strong, tan hand and fold it into a finger-gun.
“That’s a safe assumption, yes. And for the record, I didn’t do it.”
Of course you didn’t. Now try to sell me Braves Stadium. “In that case, would you care to explain why you’re-- uh, naked, and in my car?” Her damn voice betrayed her that time.
“Let’s talk about that when we get to your place.” The words were steeped in his trademark sinful smile. The narcissistic ass was trying to manipulate her.
She wasn’t going to let him. “Never mind. Please just get out.”
The leather seat creaked as he leaned forward and his deep chuckle tickled her ear. “Did you forget I’m naked?”
She stiffened. “No. I didn’t.”
It was a universally-accepted fact that Sam Danmore had a gorgeous body. Natalie had once heard a talk show host joke that his standard movie contract contained a wardrobe clause specifying his refusal to wear shirts in more than three scenes.
He didn’t budge. His hair brushed her cheek. It was soft and smelled like fresh shampoo.
Keep facing forward. Don’t move. Don’t talk.
And for fuck’s sake, don’t look!
There were plenty of people Natalie disliked. Sam Danmore was the only one she could honestly say she hated.
Yeah, silly girl? Then why has your mouth gone dry?
To her relief he finally backed off, taking his scent with him. “Sorry, sweetheart, I’m not gonna walk around downtown Atlanta in the buff.
The BMW’s windows were tinted for privacy, so while many people rushed past them along the busy sidewalk, no one had given her car a second glance.
“Well, I’m certainly not taking you to my home!” Ugh. Could she sound more prim?
He was quiet for a moment and she felt him studying her. “In that case, I’m gonna open the door here, and get all these nice people riled up until the news crews come and we’re all over the internet. You seem like someone who’d be okay with that.”
She reached for her phone. “I’m calling the police.”
The smug bastard laughed at her. “Oh, so you want more media attention? I must’ve misread you.”
He was still laughing as Natalie threw the car in gear and floored the gas to force her way back into traffic.