Home > Secrets Vol. 2 (Secrets #2)(10)

Secrets Vol. 2 (Secrets #2)(10)
Author: H.M. Ward

Chapter 11

The moment I see Cole, my confidence fades. The box of crystals is in my hand and my stomach is twisting so violently that I nearly drop them. I feel hot and cold at the same time. My heart is pounding.

Cole doesn't notice. He strides toward me, lost in his own thoughts with his camera around his neck and a small light in his other hand. He places them on a table in the back of the shooting room. It still smells new, like paint and sawdust. Regina lit a candle to help ease the paint fumes from the room.

I'm standing on the other side of the table with my box of crystals. When Cole looks up, I decide to can Regina's original idea. I'm not that brave, and I wasn't able to apply the jewels myself. There wasn't enough time and I couldn't see what I was doing. When his eyes slide up my body from the box to my face, I realize that I'm in over my head. I can't do this. But I can't back out.

Cole says, "Nice bathrobe. Tell me we're not shooting you in that?"

I shake my head, and put the box on the table. My hands quiver slightly. Trying to hide it, I shove the box and it slides at him. "I thought we could pour these over me." That seems like a tamer version of my original plan. I have no idea how wrong I am until we get started.

He peeks in the box and his brow furrows. Looking up at me, I can see he doesn't understand. "I'm not seeing it, Lamore. Walk me through it. What else are you wearing? Are these just accent pieces?" He dips his hand into the box and when he lifts it, crystals pour between his fingers.

When I don't answer, he looks up at me. My face is flushed. Cole shakes his head and smiles softly, looking down at the crystals. "How are you so shy? You're twenty-two for Godsakes. How do you still blush like that?"

His words make my cheeks flame hotter. My eyes grow wider as he speaks, and I can't hide it. "Shut up, Stevens." I smack his arm. He glances up at me from across the table, a boyish look on his face. I laugh, "My brain's just wired wrong, okay? And you out of all people should have known that."

He presses his fingers to his chest, "Me?" he laughs.

"Yes, you," I say, smiling like an idiot, feeling the blush still burning my cheeks, "You've been around me enough to know that I do everything wrong and backwards."

Laughing, he says, "Yeah, maybe." He grins at me. "Sorry, Anna. I didn't mean to make it worse. I know that this isn't easy for you." He clears his throat, and tries to be serious again. "Okay, so you want to use crystals?"

I nod, "I thought we could pour them across me so there are tons of them in a line - like a ribbon draped across here," I gesture to my br**sts, and then across my hips, "and across here." He's nodding, like he understands what I'm thinking. His blue eyes are sliding over the robe, then they flick up to me.

"What else will you be wearing?" he asks.

"Nothing," I breathe. I hurry on before I have time to notice the flush spreading across my body, "I liked the art you showed me. I thought I wanted something similar, but not so revealing. The crystals will cover me enough."

He's smiling, watching me as I speak. When I finish he looks down at the box in his hands, "Okay, I see what you want to do, but I have to tell you that I lied the other night. I can't shoot the exact same thing. I'm not the same person anymore. And you're - " he glances up at me grinning, "different. So the question is, do you trust me to make something new, something equally alluring and beautiful?"

His question takes me by surprise, "Trust you?" Smiling, I shake my head, surprised that he has to ask. My heart pounds harder when I reply, "Yeah, of course I trust you. I wouldn't be here if I didn't. I'd be hiding out in the strawberry fields, jumping from moving cars, and that sort of thing, remember?" I laugh nervously.

"Anna Lamore, artist, action hero, and a little bit crazy." His voice mimics that deep voice in movie trailers right up until the last word and he laughs.

"Mmmm," I say nodding. "That's right. Better watch your back, jack." I waggle my eyebrows at him and he shakes his head.

Cole glances at me, grinning, and strides around the table, stopping in front of me. "Okay, from here on out, this is my shoot. You'll do as I ask quickly, without question, and hopefully, you'll learn whatever it is you need to so you can do this." I nod once. My nerves are twisting me into insanity.

Cole leans against the table, and clasps his hands in his lap. Explaining the shoot he says, "This will take a few hours. I'll be searching for the perfect shot. It's easier for me to find it if I take my time. The lights will be out, so it'll be totally dark. I'll take some test shots to figure out what pose I'd like you in before we shut the light. Once I chose the pose, we'll get started. I'll use the lights, so you'll see those and you may see me a little bit, but I won't be in the finished product. Remember, you can't move. Even breathing deeply can mess up the image, so no matter what - don't move once the shutter clicks open."

I'm nodding as he's speaking, trying to resist the urge to twist my fingers like a nervous child. I've done enough shoots with him to know how he is, that Cole will be beyond professional, but my heart is still pounding wildly.

His eyes are sweeping over me as he speaks. When Cole stands and walks behind me, I don't move. His voice is behind my ear, "I'll take your robe so we can get started." Cole's out-stretched hand is next to me, waiting.

Slowly, I turn toward him. My eyes meet his. I knew this would happen, but it seemed much more sensible in my head. Breathing too hard, I reach for the bow at my waist and pull. The knot releases and the belt falls to the floor, revealing bare skin from my neck down. My fingers slip under the shoulders of the robe and it slides off and lands on the floor next to the belt.

I'm completely bare and standing in front of him. I resist the urge to cover my body with my hands and ask, "Where do I go?"

A blank expression fills his eyes as I slip out of the robe. When I drop the robe to the floor instead of into his hand, Cole swallows hard. Instead of answering, he points to a white backdrop on the other side of the room. I turn and walk to the place he directs me to, feeling uncertain.

Cole softens, his tone is sweet and uncertain. He asks me to stand here, to pose there. I lay my wrists on top of my head, putting my weight on one foot. The pose forces the curve of my hips, the soft slope of my back, and thrusts my br**sts forward. My n**ples perked up as soon as I dropped the robe. I try not to be horrified.

Cole circles me, his eyes sliding over every inch of my body, examining me. Butterflies flitter through my stomach. He stops behind me and rubs his hands through his hair. He's already put me in several poses and taken test shots, but he seems dissatisfied. He shakes his head, "This isn't going to work. The crystals aren't going to stay put. There's no way to drape them over you, Lamore. You're too curvy for that. Every pose I've put you in shows those curves off perfectly, but that means the crystals will roll right off of you." He pauses, stroking his chin. I feel his gaze on the side of my face, but I don't turn toward him.

My heart sinks into my stomach as he speaks, "So you can't do it?"

Shaking his head, he runs his fingers through his hair, "I didn't say that." He stops in front of me, and looks into my eyes. My heartbeat accelerates. "I can do it; it's just more complicated than you originally thought."

I gaze into his eyes, and when I feel every inch of my skin burning, yearning for his touch, I look away. "Just do it, Cole. I know this is your way of telling me that my idea was good, but flawed. Just make it right and do what you want." My voice sounds curt, but I didn't mean to be. I'm beyond nervous and I don't know what he wants to do.

Cole nods and leaves the room for a moment. The tension drains from me as soon as he walks away. I sit down on a chair and cross my legs, scolding myself, Focus, Anna. When Cole returns, he has an arm full of plastic bottles and a few paint brushes.

Confused, I ask, "What are those for?"

He takes one bottle and pours clear contents into another container, "To make the crystals stick."

I watch him as he mixes three clear liquids and then shakes the bottle hard. The muscles in his arms bulge slightly as he does it. My eyes are on his arms and my brain isn't working. He stops, pours the contents into a cup, grabs a brush and says, "Up." He passes me and walks to the other side of the room. He points to a stool and says, "Sit."

I have no idea what he's doing. It isn't until the brush is dipped in the clear liquid and the brush is coming at me that I pull back and ask, "What are you doing?"

He glances up at me. Cole is in work mode. His eyes have glossed over, but he snaps out of it when he hears my voice, "Applying the crystals. I'll paint on the adhesive and place them by hand. Then we can pour on more so that they still look loose and flowing." He's staring at me, absorbing my confused expression. He laughs, and rubs his face with the heel of his hand. "I forgot the box of crystals on the table. No wonder you were confused." As he hurries off to grab the box, I sit there with my jaw hanging open.

When Cole returns, he dips the brush again, and dots the cold viscous contents three times on my throat. Then he turns to the box and selects three different sized crystals, all white, and applies them. They stick. A smile spreads across his lips and his brush dips into the mixture again, moving lower this time.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)