How to Love(8)By: Kelly Jamieson
She turned away with a brief duck of her head. “Oh, I’ve just been lucky to have such good subjects.”
Maybe. But he sensed that a lot of Jules was in those images, and it made him want to know more, to explore her depths even though she was backing away. It made him want to grab her, drag her out of there and spend a few hours talking to her…or maybe doing other things too. He smiled.
She looked back at him and met his eyes, and another emotion flared briefly in those beautiful eyes that he thought was…fear.
“You should pose for me,” she blurted out.
His mouth dropped open. “Uh…”
Her smile changed from wary to wily, and he knew it was because she thought she’d taken control of the conversation again. And truthfully…she had. Because her statement had definitely caught him off guard.
“Yes, I mean nude,” she continued, still smiling. She dragged a finger down the middle of his chest, over his T-shirt. “The nudes are really popular, but this is all I have left. Finding models is tough.”
“Um…yeah.” His brain scrambled for words. “I mean, no…I…”
“Think about it,” she said lightly. “You don’t have to decide right this minute. You’ve seen my work, so give it some thought.”
“Er…okay.” Christ! He was not going to pose nude. “You don’t even know what I look like with my clothes off.”
Argh! What was he saying? That sounded like a come-on.
Her smile deepened, her eyes sparkled, and her gaze swept over him. Heat suffused his body. “True. Maybe I should see you without your clothes first.”
“Uh…” Yes, she had definitely taken the upper hand in this conversation and dammit, she knew it. “Should I strip?”
She laughed. “If I didn’t have other customers, I’d say sure. But hey…we’re neighbors. I’m sure we’ll have opportunities to…see more of each other.”
The suggestive gleam in her eyes made him instantly hard as concrete. Because they were talking about him getting naked, but Christ, he’d like to see…more…of her too.
“Maybe we will.” He’d gotten a little control back, but when it came to talking about sex she didn’t seem as nervous as she did talking about the emotions in her photographs.
Their eyes met and held in a long, sizzling look.
Heat flowed through his veins, straight to his groin where he ached fiercely. He wanted to groan. “You do other things besides nudes though,” he managed to say. “I saw the other pictures out front.”
“Yes. Some of those sell well too. But it seems once people heard of the nudes, word spread and now most customers who come in here want to see them.” Her eyebrows slanted downward. “I feel like my landscapes are all the same old, same old. Maybe that’s why nobody wants them.”
He turned to face her, close enough to see the creamy perfection of her skin, her long dark eyelashes, the glint of blue and gray in her lavender eyes. She tipped her chin up as he did so, and he realized she was small, probably a good nine inches shorter than him. She had such a strong presence he really hadn’t noticed that she was so fine-boned and delicate.
“I doubt that,” he said. “I thought they were amazing too.”
Her mouth curved upward. “Thanks.”
“Well. I guess I should go. You have customers.”
“So. I’ll see you around.”
“Actually, I’ll see you tonight.”
He paused. “Oh yeah?”
“At the Surf Sisters’ party.”
Hey, there was a good thing. “Great.” He’d already been looking forward to the party and meeting people from the neighborhood and San Amaro, but now, knowing Jules would be there, the party seemed even better. “I’d better let you get back to work. I’m glad I came in though… I really love your work.”
“Thank you.” Appreciation glowed in her eyes, her mouth still curved appealingly.
He smiled too and left the gallery, emerging onto the hot sidewalk and blinding sun with a hard-on the size of a baseball bat. Christ. It wasn’t only the sexy photographs, it was the sexy photographer that had him all wound up. He slid his shades onto his nose and started down the sidewalk to the side street where he’d parked.