Nate stood off to the side and watched Brady and his team prep the next set. He knew there was no guarantee this would work, but he had to try. Kara was still holding back, and getting her to open up was proving to be a challenge.
When the opportunity to have her model in the shoot presented itself, Nate had jumped at the chance to get Kara out of her comfort zone. He wanted to see her come alive the way she had before. Even though it had taken some convincing, Brady eventually agreed to help. Nate knew he hated playing Kara. She was like a sister to him. But after he explained what they were up against, he knew Brady wouldn’t be able to say no.
A commotion near the dressing rooms caught his attention and a second later Brady emerged. “She won’t come out.” He frowned and rubbed a hand along the back of his neck. “I don’t think this was such a good idea, bro.”
“She’ll come out.” Nate strode to the dressing area and walked through the entrance.
“Nate, I don’t th-”
He glowered at Brady and resumed his search. Ducking to peek under the curtains, he bypassed all the stiletto studded heels and stopped at the very last room, smiling slightly when he spotted Kara’s bare feet. Nate stood there for only a second before she called out to him.
“You win. There’s no way I’m going out there.”
“Yes, ok,” Nate said. “Go ahead and get dressed. Then we can discuss the terms of my reward.” A strangled sound escaped from behind the curtain and he smirked. “Show me.”
“I’m going to have to see it eventually,” Nate said.
“No, you won’t. Feel free to go. I’m sure your partner in crime can verify my compliance.”
“I’m not going anywhere. It’s my shoot, which gives me every right to barge in there right now.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Kara said.
“Are you sure about that?”
A pause. “I didn’t think it would be so…revealing.”
Nate quirked an eyebrow. “It’s lingerie. I think that’s the point.”
“Are we going to continue to have this conversation through a curtain? Because if you would just come out here I can–”
The curtain slid open and whatever Nate was planning to say was forgotten. Kara stood in front of him, a vision. A lethal combination of black satin and lace slid down her body in a silky sheet. Her dark hair had been freed and tumbled in waves around her shoulders, hiding the gown’s straps but not the deep V that angled down just below her breasts.
Nate swallowed hard, his fingers flexing of their own accord. He stuffed his hands in his pockets again to keep himself from reaching out to pull her close. His gaze raked over her once more before returning to her face. The makeup artists had already left their mark and her red lips matched the flush of her cheeks. Her green eyes were brighter that he had ever seen and were fixed on him, waiting expectantly. It took all his willpower to stay in place when all he wanted was to pull her back inside the curtain and never leave.
“Say something,” she said.
Nate lifted a hand and swept a stray curl from her neck. She flinched at the movement, relaxing slightly when his eyes locked with hers and her soft hair slid through his fingers.
Nate looked back to find his brother staring at Kara, eyes wide and mouth agape. He scowled at Brady and pulled his hand back.
Kara bit her lip and uncertainty marred her flawless face. The simple act nearly pushed him over the edge. He fought against the raw desire he felt rising inside of him and tried to keep his expression neutral.
“It’s not too much?” she asked, turning to the side to see her profile in the mirror.
Nate stifled a groan when he caught sight of the back of the negligee, what little there was of it. It was backless save for a patch of lace at her tail bone.
“That thing was made for you,” Brady said. He clapped his hands and rubbed his palms together, excitement lighting his face. “These pictures are going to be amazing. Every woman is going to want to be you and every guy is going to want to–”
Nate’s steely blue eyes stopped his brother cold, but Brady still shoved past him and offered Kara his arm. “My lady,” he said, with a slight bow.
Kara still looked unsure, but she took his arm and stepped around Nate. He didn’t move, just held her gaze as she passed, so close that he became drunk off the scent of vanilla that hung in the air. She stared back at him, unblinking, and he nearly came undone at the glassy look in her eyes.
What had he done?