Piper Sullivan
Romance Author

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Jackson

Armed with a brand new European cut tux for the charity ball tonight, I walked out into the crisp New York air with a smile.

That little spitfire was still on my mind. It wasn’t often that pretty women called me an asshole. At least not until after I’ve had my fill of them. But her eyes had blazed fire, a beautiful steely gray that should have been ice cold, but wasn’t.

Nope, they were hot like melted steel.

And as I opened my car door, I remembered her last move. Tossing that cup of coffee at me. I’d watched in horror as it landed on the seat of my Lamborghini Huracan Spyder. It was ballsy, and I was thankful for the leather seats as I called one of my assistants to have him pick me up while the detailing service worked on my Lambo.

While I’d waited, all I could do was laugh at her guts. She had them in spades. She’d been furious, and yeah, it was an asshole move, but people let me get away with being an asshole because I’m rich and beautiful. I’ll admit that I often took advantage of that fact, because it was convenient.

I wasn’t always an asshole, but given who I am, Jackson Steele, people let me get away with a lot. I started my career as a model, a child model actually, and I kept going until I hit superstar runway status. But I got sick of the dieting and the drugs, and I returned to my first love, music. From there I made albums, toured the world and then got bit by the acting bug, as people loved to say in interviews. And producing, both music and movies. Basically, I was the definition of a super star and the world bowed down to me because of it.

But not her.

I couldn’t remember the last time a woman had piqued my interest the way she had, and I had no idea who she was. Or how to find her. And that’s what had me feeling so uneasy as I arrived home, showered and got dressed for the ball.

I hated these functions, but this one was for a good cause, and I was expected to be there as were all the members of the private jet club I belonged to. Women would be dressed to impress, hopefully in something tight and revealing, and I would be there with my signature swagger and the smile that had made me a star.

The long walk from my hotel suite to the ballroom downstairs should have been relaxing, but with my hand in so many financial pots, business didn’t stop. Not even for fucking charity. I grabbed a drink of the good stuff and knocked it back while I waited for the doors to open for the royal blue carpet.

And when it was my turn, I flashed my smile at the waiting members of the press. They loved me, and I loved them because we had an agreement. I gave them enough to make some money and they didn’t harass me.

“Lookin’ good, Jackson. Who are you wearing?”

“You’re lookin’ better, Marie. I’m wearing who else but Armani? No one else can do this body justice.” Arms spread wide with a killer smile on my face, I let the photographers earn their keep for a couple minutes before I made my way into the lavishly decorated ballroom. And by lavish, I meant tacky as hell, but rich people like tacky. Pink and red and white was everywhere, hearts of all shapes and sizes hung from pretty much every damn thing. The lights were low and the music was soft as I scanned the room in search of someone worth talking to.

Tired of looking, I hit the bar. “Lagavulin 25, neat.”

“Still drinking like a pretentious jerk, I see.”

Those were fighting words, at least they would have been if I hadn’t recognized that voice. “Eric, how’s it going man?”

“Good. It’d be better if I didn’t actually have to attend these damn events, but Becca says my presence will increase the donations.” He rolled his eyes, but the small smile said he appreciated Becca’s advice. Whoever she was. “Do you know Aaron?”

I looked over at the dark haired guy who had at least two inches on me, and more on Eric. He looked like the brooding sort, but Eric seemed to know him. “Nah, can’t say I do. I’m Jackson Steele.”

Aaron smirked and accepted my hand. “Yeah, I know who you are man.”

He didn’t say it like it was a good thing, so I just shrugged.

“Aaron and I went to school together. He’s been like a brother to me, even though he’s been gone a while.” Eric clapped Aaron on the back and herded us off to the main table up front, always wrangling the talent. “Aaron is a good friend and former client. Also, a member of the club.”

“You fly too?”

Aaron nodded, but he didn’t seem all that excited about it. “Not as much as I’d like to, but I get out a few times a year.”

“You guys chat, I have to go check on a few things.”

Aaron and I were silent, watching Eric saunter off. But I perked up as I saw a familiar blond march up to Eric and lean in close. Too close. “Aaron, you know the blond? She and Eric an item?”

Aaron laughed and shook his head. “Becca? No way, man. That’s his cousin. She’s also his assistant. Hands off.”

My brows rose at his harsh words. “You’ve got your eye on her too?”

“No, I don’t. Maybe you didn’t hear the part about her being Eric’s cousin. You can’t mess with a man’s family.”

Yeah, I heard him, but I wasn’t listening. “You don’t understand, Aaron.” I gave him a quick version of our meeting earlier and he laughed his ass off. “You see, I can’t let it go, right?”

He nodded, still chuckling. “Yeah, I get it. Be careful though. I won’t hesitate to kick your ass on his behalf.”

“Noted,” I told him and stood, fully prepared to seek out the beautiful Becca in that sexy blue gown that showed off every sexy curve she owned. Damn Becca, I can’t wait to make you mine for the night.

* * *

Becca was avoiding me. It would have been amusing if it wasn’t so damn frustrating. I almost caught up to her that first time I spotted her because she was so engrossed in what she was saying to Eric. But she’d spotted me. I knew she recognized me, because a moment later, she turned on her heels and walked away. Giving me a fine look at her ass.

And what an ass it was. Round and heart-shaped. Totally fucking perfect.

She did an impressive job avoiding me most of the night, but once the lights dimmed and the mistress of ceremony took the stage, I put Becca on simmer and paid attention to the reason we were all dressed up and gathered in this ballroom. Charity.

It was good for the soul and better for publicity.

And an excellent tax deduction.

A beautiful songbird took the stage, and her golden voice lulled the audience into an uncanny silence. But as good as she was, my gaze immediately found Becca’s, who’s eyes were on me as well. She looked away, but now I knew her secret. She was as fascinated with me as I was by her. Only she was fighting it.

So, I bided my time and waited for the perfect opening. This wasn’t my first charity ball, so I knew exactly when to make my move. As we moved from entertainment, to the begging for money portion of the evening, I spotted her. Occupied and unaware. I made my move.

“Blue is my new favorite color,” I whispered in her ear.

She froze, but not before I saw the small shiver shoot through her at the sound of my voice. Her skin dotted with goosebumps, and flushed beautifully. She turned slowly, and damn, in those fuck me heels she wore we were practically the same height.

“You! Mister I can park wherever I want because I’m so big and important. What do you want?”

I flashed a grin at her fiery response and leaned in close. “You. Obviously, Becca.”

She growled at me and it was the hottest damn thing ever. Women didn’t growl at me, they giggled and simpered, and eventually moaned, but they didn’t growl. Ever. “Get real.”

“Oh baby, I am one thousand present real. You’ll find out soon enough.”

She rolled her eyes, but she didn’t walk away and that meant I was still in the game. “I have no doubt I’ll read all about it in tomorrow’s paper.”

“Gun metal.”

“Excuse me?”

“Your eyes. Earlier I wondered what color they would be when I got close to you. Gray or light blue, or some mixture of that. But no, gun metal gray.” I reached for a tendril of thick blond hair and wrapped it around my finger. “You’re beautiful, Becca.”

A low moan escaped her sweet mouth, and it hit me right in the cock, bringing Jackson Junior to life. She covered her reaction quickly, but not quickly enough. Then she totally shut down.

“Thank you, Mr. Steele, but I have other things to attend to. Enjoy the ball.” She hurried off like someone had set her dress on fire and I grinned, because she could deny it all she wanted, but we both knew she wanted me.

I had her so hot and bothered she was running from it.

Run along Becca. I’ll find you.

When the time is right.