Tough Enough(6)

By: M. Leighton


Having worked for Cinematic Studios for two years, I’ve been assigned to her before, and I despised every minute of it. I was thrilled when Kelly, our key makeup artist, assigned someone else to fix her up.

Before anyone can comment, Victoria is sweeping me into a hug. Her arms feel like scrawny, steel traps.

Or maybe like spider pincers.

I’m stiff as a board. Even after she releases me and smiles down into my face. Her blue eyes are soft and her expression is warm. I have no idea what to think of her right now. Other than that she’s possessed.

“Katie! I’m sorry I haven’t been around to see you in a while. I’ve missed you, girl!” I’m not sure how I manage to keep my mouth shut, but I’m glad that I do. I just stare at her like she’s sprouted wings and a tutu as she makes her way around me to accost Mona. “And, Mona, how are things with White?”

Although Mona is not only the girlfriend, but the personal assistant to the executive producer, just like me she is far, far, faaar beneath the notice of Victoria Musser. Well, until today, that is.

Mona looks dumbfounded as she, too, gets drawn into the cold-fish embrace of Victoria. I suppress a grin, wondering if that’s what my face looked like when she hugged me.

“And, Rogan. God, it’s been too long. How have you been?”

Like a slinky kitten, Victoria eases herself into Rogan’s lap, wrapping her arms around his neck in that familiar way that says, “Yeah, we’ve seen each other naked a million times and it was awesome.” When she leans back from her hug, her face still very close to his, Rogan returns her smile. Even from this distance, I feel the effects of it. Like a drug, which is what reminds me that men like him are toxic. Especially to me.





FOUR


Rogan

“Tori. I thought you were filming on location in Ireland for the next few weeks.”

I hide my irritation behind a smile.

I didn’t think she was filming on location; I was assured she was filming on location. That’s the only reason I agreed to do this little project my agent suggested. Said it would open all kinds of doors for me. I’m not too concerned about that right now, but I’m a smart enough guy to realize that I won’t be able to fight forever. At twenty-eight, my time as a viable champ in the MMA is getting shorter with every passing day. These acting gigs and paid appearances are just retirement for me. I’ve got more money than I should ever need now, but I’m not stupid enough to pass up good opportunities when they present themselves. So here I am.

And, damn it, so is Victoria.

She was fun for about a minute until I realized, like so many of the others, that she’s a clingy, demanding princess who will use any weapon at her disposal to manipulate people. People being me, in this case.

She found out in a hurry that I’m not the type to be led around by some top-shelf pussy with nothing in her eyes but dollar signs and photo ops. Unfortunately, she doesn’t catch on to subtlety very quickly, nor does she give up very easily. And now here I am, stuck in a six-episode contract that will put me within claw distance of this beautiful yet vapid vixen.

I glance over Victoria’s shoulder to see Katie watching us, an odd expression on her face. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was a mixture of disappointment and disgust. And, judging by the rebellious jut of her rounded chin, maybe a little determination, too.

No idea why the hell her disappointment or disgust would bother me, but it does. Something tells me she’s the kind that’s the opposite of Victoria in every way, including her looks.

It’s obvious from her comments to her friend Mona that she’s not the least bit impressed by me. But even so, I saw a little fire in her eyes when I got close. It was reluctant as hell, but it was there nonetheless. It’s that glimpse of heat, that tiny spark that makes me want to see her melt like butter in my hands. If she’s determined to resist any attraction she might feel, then I’m even more determined to make sure she can’t.





FIVE


Katie

“Change of plans,” Victoria purrs, drawing Rogan’s attention back to her face, only inches from his. “I’ll be very close while you’re here.”

There’s a long, tense pause during which I work to suppress my gag reflex.

“Well, I need to get upstairs,” Mona blurts. She’s possibly even less fond of Victoria than I am. “But I need coffee first. I’ll bring you some on my way back by,” she directs at me.

I turn grateful eyes to my friend. “That’d be great. Thank you.”

“Any for you, Mr. Rogan?” she asks, raising her voice and purposely interrupting Victoria’s assault.