Title: Never Lost Series: The Dirty Heroes Collection Author: TL Mayhew Genre: Dark Romance Release Date: May 11, 2020
Shadows are formed by objects blocking rays of light.
Just not mine.
Its darkness is ever-present, taunting me, tricking me into doing things a man should never do, but I've learned to embrace it.
Lost in dreams of a life anywhere but here, she's ignorant to the danger perched just outside the window.
Taking her will be easy.
But can I teach her to fly?
Chapter 1 Winsley The French maid costume glides easily against my bare skin, puckering my nipples as he lifts it over my head. Role-playing was his idea. Being an actor, he’s the perfect teacher and he’s more than happy to coach me along, but not because of what he does for a living, instead it’s because tonight, I’ll call him Sir. Once the costume is in a puddle on the floor, he raises his hands and cups my face. Nothing could have prepared me for this moment. His lips inches from mine. His warm breath caressing my skin. When our lips finally connect, the kiss weakens my knees both figuratively and literally, and now, I’m looking up from my place at his feet. Larger than life, he towers over me with crossed arms and a stare only the devil could have created. Our eyes lock, he gives me an approving nod and I make quick work of loosening his belt and unfastening his pants. They drop to the floor with a light thud. What lies beneath is long, thick, and intimidating but not beyond my abilities. “No pain, no gain. Isn’t that what they say?” I mutter before relaxing my jaw, opening my mouth as wide as it will go, and... “He’s hot, isn’t he?” Jennifer asks, ripping the daydream from my mind like duct tape from skin. The magazine falls to the floor and my face tints red. I shrug in response. “Eh, he’s okay.” “Liar! You’re totally into him, look at your face.” When she realizes just how much, her lips form a giant O. “Wait, look at your face. What in God’s name were you thinking about?” “Nothing,” I mutter, secretly eyeing the sexy smile shining back up at me from the floor. “You’re so full of shit. Tell me.” Picking the magazine up and tossing it back on the rack, I push the shopping cart forward and begin placing items on the rubber belt, ignoring her pressing look. If I don’t, the daydream will surely gush out on a waterfall of words. I’ve known Jennifer since we were in elementary school. We both ended up in Los Angeles for different reasons, hers was an agent. Discovered at the tender age of nine, her acting career began early. Starring in commercials and kid shows she was an instant hit. Mine, was my mother. Seeing Jennifer’s success, my mother was insistent on me following in my best friend’s footsteps. Which meant picking up and moving across the country. Unfortunately for her, it never interested me as much as it did my best friend. Until now. “Okay, I guess I won’t tell you about the open casting calls for extras on his next film A Taste of Yesteryear,” she retorts. One sentence and I’m frozen in place. Did she say what I think she did? She couldn’t have because it’s not possible my luck could be this good. Being on the set of his movie could mean a chance at meeting the infamous Preston Pace, in actual fucking person. “You’re joking…right?” I ask, turning to face her. “Because if you are, I will strangle the life out of you right here in this store.” My fingers circle around her neck, but she brushes me off with little effort. Pointing a finger in my face, she confirms, “So you do like him. I knew it.” “Jennifer…” I warn. Her grin goes wider. “I’m not joking, but I’m also not telling you any details until you tell me what you were fantasizing about with Mr. Six Pack Abs here,” she says, slapping a cover with the back of her hand. “Seriously? You’re incorrigible.” “Seriously,” she replies, crossing her arms. It’s a sign I’m not getting any further until I spill my thoughts. I could lie, give her some fluffy tale about picket fences and a family with two point three kids, but when you’ve been friends for as long as we have, she’d know I’m not being honest, so I tell her the truth. “I was thinking about him ripping off my French maid costume from Halloween last year. If you must know.” “Girl…I knew you were dirty, but damn. You’ve been reading too many romance novels.” Or watching too many Preston movies, I think to myself. “Maybe I shouldn’t say anything you might end up…” “Will you just fucking tell me?” I whisper-shout. “Ma’am?” a male voice sounds in the back of my mind. “Okay, don’t get your panties in a wad.” She glances to the right and then back at me. “The casting site said Thursday at 6:00 a.m. I’m planning on trying out for one of the costars.” “That’s in two days! When were you going to tell me?” I ask her, with a hand on my hip. “Ma’am?” The voice again. On a huff I look around Jennifer, where a heavy-set man leans against the handle of his cart. “You’re holding up the line,” he says flatly. Jennifer laughs and nods behind me. When I turn, I’m met with a bored stare from the cashier. My cheeks tint red for the second time this morning. I don’t know what is wrong with me; I haven’t blushed this much in a single day—ever. After apologizing profusely, first, to the man behind us and then to the cashier, I move forward. She’s indifferent about my very existence, picking at her nails while she reads off the total. “Forty-six seventy-three.” Once I’ve paid, and placed all our things in the cart, we head for the door. “So, like were you going to just keep this to yourself?” “I was waiting for the right time. When I saw you eye fucking the magazine, that’s when I knew…it was the right time.” She chuckles. “Very funny, but seriously though?” I encourage, placing the items in the car. She doesn’t readily respond, instead she grabs the empty cart and pushes it into a bay. I suspect tempting me with the suspense of what exciting things she has to say. Once we’re both back in the car, I twist in the seat and demand all the details. “Tell me everything.” The time of secrecy is over, and she’s more than happy to fill me in, clapping her hands excitedly. “Yes! Okay, so my agent told me there were these casting calls online. She said I should visit the site, check out the story lines, and if I liked any, I could put my name in. That’s when I saw it, the post for extras. They’re only looking for a limited number, like ten or something, and it’s a restaurant scene, so you’d be inside. Not out in the elements. And you might be fake eating with some handsome actor, but that doesn’t matter because you’ll get to meet Mr. Preston Pace.” She takes a breath then starts again, “You just have to do this Winsley, please.” “I don’t know, Jen. I love you, and the thought of meeting him raises chill bumps all over my body, but it’s been so long since I’ve done any acting,” I explain, but the words coming out don’t match what I’m feeling. My answer should be an immediate yes. Any chance at meeting Preston is one I shouldn’t hesitate in taking, but I’m not sure I’m ready to live outside of my fantasy quite yet. In my world, he ticks all the boxes of the perfect man: respectful, funny, smart, and sexy. But what if we meet and he’s a total asshole? I know it’s not how they portray him in the media. It’s a given they’ll say whatever they’re told and then some. All it takes is a good PR rep and a few good words. I’m just not ready my dreams to be shattered yet. “You eat, don’t you?” “Yeah…” I answer with creased brows, wondering where she’s going with this. “And you know how to converse with others, right?” she asks, somehow with a straight face. I roll my eyes. “That my lovely, lovely friend is all the acting you’ll need to do.” She takes my hand in hers and flutters long lashes over big brown eyes. “Please.” On a deep sigh, I drop my head back to the seat. “Don’t make me regret this.”
Without warning, she leans over and kisses me on the cheek. “Girl, we are going to have so much fun!”