Leaning up against the mansion's beautifully decorated wall, Mikayla fumed silently.
That bastard had the nerve to mess up her name. Intentionally, of course!
As she pouted, she watched the said bastard from afar. Ren Kurosawa remained unaware of her intense glare. He was too busy chitchatting with one of the crew members from Love Locket. Probably boring them to death too. All the man ever talked about was camera angles, box office numbers, and everything Mikayla did wrong.
I can't stand him, Mikayla insisted to herself, although she couldn't seem to keep her eyes off of the way his full lips lifted up into a smile at whatever the other guy was saying. Ren never smiled at her. Not once. The whole time they worked on Love Locket together, the only thing he did with those perfect lips was scowl and chide her.
Wait. Did she say perfect?
The distinguished director was FAR from perfect. Cold, dismissive, and uptight were more accurate words to describe him. Just because he was physically attractive didn't change the rest of him. So what if he had lush smooth hair that would be exhilarating to run her fingers through. So what if he had smoldering gray eyes that never lit up when he saw her, like she desperately wished they would. But even if they never did, she still wanted to lock eyes with him. If nothing more than to show him the disdain between them was mutual.
Look at me. Look at me, you oblivious jerk.
Then he did. Ren looked at her from across the room and her heart jumped. Shot out her chest like a horse at a derby race. She stared back as hard as she could, letting him know "I hate you too." It seemed to work as Ren's trusty scowl made its appearance and he looked away. She did such a good job that Ren actually excused himself from his current conversation and left the room.
For some disturbing reason, Mikayla found herself following him. Why was anyone's guess. Mikayla didn't make it a habit of stalking people. It's not like she was crazy. It was just...Ren. HE made her crazy. However, she wasn't as good at tailing people as she thought since she lost sight of him in the crowded hallway. There was a crapload of people here for the wrap party and it was easy to get lost in the crowd.
Mikayla went outside for some fresh air and to figure out what the hell was wrong with her. She didn't chase after men! She'd never had to because everyone liked her. Whether it was as a friend, romantic interest, or an employee, everyone liked her. So why didn't he? What had she done, when had the moment happened, where he decided to write her off and despise her? And why the hell did she care so much?!
Mikayla turned when she heard the patio door behind her open. Ren had just stepped outside, loosening his tie with a sigh. Being nice and sociable as a party host was wearing on him. His mood soured more when he spotted her.
"Oh. Kayla," he said, finding her as lacking as usual.
"It's Mikayla. I know you know that," she said defiantly. Hell, he wasn't her boss anymore. She didn't have to be pleasant about his inconsiderate behavior.
"Sorry. Well, I'll just leave you to it," Ren said, starting to head back inside. Mikayla gaped in astonishment.
"Leave me to what? We're literally the only two people out here right now." Mikayla brandished her arm around to show off their surroundings. While there were some people on the other side of the grounds near the pool, the patio was empty.
"I thought you wanted your privacy."
"Clearly you do. You can't stand to be around me. Why is that?" Mikayla challenged him, daring him to tell the truth.
"I don't have a problem with you, Mikayla."
"Oh really? You certainly seemed to every time you criticized me on set." Mikayla went on to list her supposed offenses. "I was being too chummy with the actors. I didn't notice a loose string on a shirt sleeve. My shoes were too loud during rehearsal or what the hell ever that means."
Ren sighed, and for a moment, Mikayla thought he might apologize. He might show he had a sense of decency.
"It means that I could hear your clomping in the background while we were doing a sound check," he said instead.
Mikayla's mouth opened in shock. "That's all you have to say to me?"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "What do you want me to say? It was nothing personal. As a director, it's my job to notice these things and correct them so the film goes smoothly."
Mikayla frowned, knowing he was right. Ren was determined to have everything go smoothly. Even if that meant fixating on her flaws.
"Well, you certainly did notice a lot about me," she admitted.
At her words, Ren's posture stiffened and he did that thing she always hated: intentionally making his expression blank, and therefore, unreadable.
"I don't know what you mean." His tone was blasé enough but the man had begun tugging on his tie, working it back up into its firm knot. And yet, his hands were shaking.
That's when it hit her.
"I think you know exactly what I mean," Mikayla said, a small thrill running through her.
She had a hunch. One she'd actually been simmering on for awhile, but the tie tugging was what confirmed her female intuition.
Ren watched her, his eyebrow lifted warily, as she waltzed toward him. He didn't know what she was up to but he was about to find out.
When she yanked on the aforementioned tie and pulled him towards her, it dawned on him.
"Mikayla, what are you—"
Her lips crashed down onto his. Ren tried to speak again but Mikayla simply took this as her golden moment to stroke her tongue against his, making it clear no more conversation would be tolerated. She was only minimally surprised when Ren moaned and, at last, kissed her back. More so, she was thrilled she'd been right. Their hatred for each other had been covering up something else: lust. Mikayla knew it the second Ren wrapped his arms around her and pushed her up against the wall.
His kisses grew more feverish as his arousal rose. Literally. She felt Ren's growing erection pressing against her leg. So, she threw the last of her inhibitions aside and did what she was desperately longing to do. She used her thigh to rub against Ren's cock. He was steel hard even through all their clothes and it made Mikayla wetter for him.
However, she didn't get to relish in the feeling for long. Ren jerked back from her and readjusted his pants.
"What the hell are you doing, Mikayla?" he hissed. His severe tone was like a splash of cold water on her face, instantly cooling everything.
"Getting you off, apparently," she said, eyeing his crotch knowingly. No way was he going to blame this all on her. However, he didn't yell at her but went on adjusting his clothes to make himself presentable again.
"I'm going to go back inside now," he said. "I strongly suggest you don't mention how you tried to 'get me off' on my porch to anyone."
"I wasn't trying. I was succeeding," Mikayla snapped. Ren flushed at her boldness and moved towards the door. She yanked on his arm to stop him from going inside. "So you're just going to pretend like this didn't happen? You're going to go on acting like you don't want me?"
As she waited for him to respond, it finally happened.
Ren smiled at her.
But it wasn't a smile of warmth and affection. It was wistfully resigned.
"Precisely," he said before disappearing back into the house.
Meanwhile, Mikayla stayed on the patio, reliving the best kiss she'd ever had with the man she'd never get.
*** Thanks for checking out this teaser. Mikayla and Ren's novel, The Bottom Line, will be coming in Early 2020!
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