When two people make beautiful music together on stage, can their love survive once the curtain falls?
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Linnea Larson is willing to do anything to keep her family's Minneapolis dinner theatre from going under. Anything, that is, besides accepting a date from the Hollywood hunk her father hired to inject a dose of star power into their production of Guys & Dolls. It's a toss up whether his greatest claim to fame is playing a superhero on screen, or a super stud off screen. Neither fact convinces her he's got what it takes to share her stage. And thanks to a life long pact with her best friend, she never dates actors.
Luke Powell has fame, fortune, and an endless string of women, but also a lingering dissatisfaction with his picture perfect life. Looking for a change, he escapes to his theatrical roots. What he finds are wary cast mates, a nervous best friend convinced the show will ruin Luke's career, and an adorable costar who stubbornly refuses to go out with him. Suddenly singing and dancing aren't the only challenges he'll tackle over the summer. Far from the spotlights of Hollywood, can he find happiness in the footlights of a tiny theatre?
Despite Luke dragging her into his daily paparazzi nightmare, Linnea can't deny her mounting attraction to his irresistible charm. And even if she's crazy enough to chance getting involved, their fling would have a guaranteed expiration date. He's leaving at the end of the run, and she's tied to her family's theatre. Why risk the inevitable heartbreak? Their job is to act like they're in love, but will they decide it's worth the leap to fall in love for real?
A peek behind the curtain at Act Like We're In Love
This time she claimed his mouth. Something untamed in her broke free and took control. Fueled by passion and need, her hips ground against him while their tongues danced with abandon. The tree trunk anchoring them became an impediment to her hands exploring even more of his fabulous body. Linnea took a step back and Luke followed her lead, dropping to his knees on the scant patch of grass. Now they were able to embrace fully, arms sealing each tight to the other. His back was rock solid beneath her hands, his thighs equally hard against hers. He was so thoroughly masculine, as proved by a commanding hardness pressing into her abdomen.
The loud horn of a police boat caused them to jerk apart. Luke laughed while Linnea sank back onto her heels and waved while it motored past them down the river. A few seconds ticked by. Linnea had no idea what to say, where to begin. To her immense relief, Luke cleared his throat and took the lead.
“Gotta say, this was a great way to end lunch.”
“And much less fattening than the brownie I had my eye on,” she added. The light, playful tone felt right. Whew, no big, serious conversation about ramifications and the future needed. Good, because there were so many different emotions flitting through her head like butterflies it was impossible to zero in on a single feeling, let alone discuss it. Especially since the overriding thought in her mind was how soon she could come up with a reason to kiss him again!
“Now, about our date...” his voice trailed off, the question hanging like a thought balloon in the sky.
Hmmm. Guess he wouldn’t let her escape the big talk after all. But she still couldn’t pin down how she felt about what just happened – aside from being unbelievably, undeniably turned on. Evasion was her best tactic. Linnea stood and brushed dirt from her legs.
“Okay. Given what just occurred, I’ll concede that our lunch can now officially be labeled a date. Consider my debt to you paid in full.”
Luke surged to his feet. “No way. You’re not whitewashing today as follow through on a promise to a pathetically over-sedated stranger. You didn’t kiss me like that to pay off a marker. This,” he used his thumb to wipe a smear of lipstick from her chin, “was more, and you know it. At the rate we were headed, it practically became a third date.”
His thumb brushed back and forth against her lower lip. Tiny nerve endings sprang to life, and Linnea struggled like crazy not to let her eyes drift shut in pleasure. “What’s your point?”
“Call today anything you want. But I still want the whole package with you; dinner, soft music, dim lights in a place that doesn’t have a steady stream of traffic overhead.” He shook his fist at the bridge and its unending flow of noisy cars.
Linnea fluffed her skirt and straightened her top while she considered. There were so many reasons to say no. If things went badly, doing the show together for the next two months would be awkward at best. Ingrid was guaranteed to be pissed if she broke the sacred ‘no actors’ pact they’d upheld together for over fifteen years. Then there was Luke himself; complicated, always in the spotlight, and different from everyone in her world. Or did that make him so darn attractive?
“Don’t think. Feel,” Luke urged.
He smoothed his hands down her arms. A trail of goosebumps rose in his wake. Linnea looked up into his sea-glass eyes and saw barely contained heat flare. This fervor had snared both of them equally, which was reassuring somehow. And it gave her the courage to be brutally honest.
“You were right. Don’t let it go to your head, though!”
The naked vulnerability that had flashed across his face as he awaited her answer vanished. It was replaced by a cat-who-ate-the-canary smirk of satisfaction.
“Always like to hear when I’m right. Care to be more specific?”
“Only if you wipe that smug grin off your face.”
“Purely an involuntary reaction, I swear.” Luke nosed aside the edge of her shirt and began to drop a string of kisses along her collarbone. His voice slightly muffled but still understandable, he asked, “Is this better?”
How did he do it? The moment his lips touched her skin, her brain wiped clean. Not that she planned to register a complaint or anything.