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Act Like We're in Love [MultiFormat]
eBook by Christi Barth

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: When two people make beautiful music together on stage, can their love survive once the curtain falls? Linnea Larson is appalled when a Hollywood hunk is hired to star opposite her at her family's theatre. He's known for playing a superhero on screen, and a super stud off screen. Neither fact convinces her he's got what it takes to share her stage. And thanks to a pact with her best friend, she never dates actors. Luke Powell has fame, fortune, and an endless string of women, but is dissatisfied with his picture-perfect life. He escapes to his theatrical roots to find wary cast mates, a nervous best friend convinced the show will ruin Luke's career, and an adorable costar who refuses to date him. Far from the spotlights of Hollywood, can he find happiness in the footlights of a tiny theatre? Despite Luke dragging her into his paparazzi nightmare, Linnea can't deny his irresistible charm. But their fling has a guaranteed expiration date. 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? Excerpt: "But there is no way, dollface, we're going back into rehearsal until I taste you." Luke's strong arms pulled her flush against his body. They were touching everywhere--feet tangled, legs, chest .... Linnea couldn't let herself think about the parts touching in between their legs and chest. Then he cradled her face ever so gently between his large, warm hands and kissed her. As first kisses went, it was one for the record books. No hesitation, no slow and steady incursion. Luke's kiss was more of a possession, a branding. His lips settled firmly on hers, and she had no choice but to be swept along for the ride. The power of his kiss lit a long-banked fire inside her. Heat gathered somewhere behind her belly button and spread out, like light rays emanating from the sun. A moan slipped out, and Luke took the opportunity to slide his tongue in, exploring every inch of her mouth. And with every nip at her lip, with every quick lick, her layers of calm, cool reserve melted away.

eBook Publisher: Eternal Press/Damnation Books LLC/Eternal Press, Published: 2010, 2010
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2010

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Chapter One

* * * *

More than anything, Linnea Larson wanted to strip off all her clothes. The quixotic Minnesota spring had caught her off guard with an unexpected burst of warmth. Cold when she left her loft apartment above the theatre, her shirt now clung to her sweat- soaked sport bra. She'd rollerbladed four miles through downtown Minneapolis, long enough to work up a good sweat and short enough she wouldn't be worn out the rest of the day.

Thank God I'm not famous, she thought. Paparazzi loved to catch A-listers in horribly unattractive moments, and panting like a dog certainly qualified. Linnea bent over, hands braced on her thighs and gulping in air as she waited for the light to change. Only three more blocks, she repeated like a mantra as sweat beaded her forehead.

A crowd in front of the theatre caught her attention. Linnea racked her brain, but couldn't remember any press event on the schedule. Curious, she skated faster, flying down the sidewalk. Her eyes fixed on the huge group of what she could now tell were photographers and two television news crews. She didn't see the man turning the corner until too late, and plowed into him at full speed. Their collision was roughly the equivalent of slamming into a brick wall. Two arms wrapped around her, keeping her upright as her skates skidded between his legs and left the pavement.

Sensations bombarded her. In a matter of seconds, she registered the strength of the arms encircling her, the silky tickle of the hair on his legs, and the remarkable definition of his chest tightly pressed against her breasts. It was a lot to take in all at once, especially since she'd been in a dating dry spell for months. They were entwined in an amazingly intimate manner.

Acting on instinct fueled by the primal, lusting portion of her brain, she grabbed onto his shoulders. Unfortunately, the move upset his balance and tipped them both over. Linnea was shocked the stranger was able to twist at the last minute and absorb the impact of the landing with his body as she sprawled across him.

"Nice to meet you," he said with a lazy wink.

Seriously, a wink? Who winked anymore besides sleazy used car salesmen? And yet, somehow, this guy pulled it off.

One of his hands rested heavy and warm at the small of her back. The other lay between her shoulder blades, snugging her close. The intimacy of their initial connection was nothing compared to this. His left leg hooked across the backs of her knees, a remnant of the almost dance-like twist he'd performed to protect her from the sidewalk. And the fall had evidently knocked the ability to speak right out of her, because she couldn't come up with a single clever response. Or maybe the wink threw her off her game. Either way, she couldn't continue to lie there, mute and staring, any longer.

"Do you always sweep women off their feet?"

"One way or another."

The utter smugness of his remark brought her back to her senses. She called on her years of yoga training and braced her arms in the plank position. But before she could push up and off of him, the stranger's grip tightened.

"What's your rush?"

Linnea cocked an eyebrow. "Call me old-fashioned, but I like to be introduced before getting horizontal on a public street with a guy." This time when she pushed up, she met no resistance and managed to scramble to her feet. Remorse set in as she stared at the more than six feet of tan, toned man sprawled below her. With eyes closed and a palm pressed to his forehead, he didn't look well. What if he'd scrambled his brains when he hit the cement?

"Are you all right? I'm so sorry about all this. I was distracted by the cameras, and didn't even see you until too late. Can you get up?"

Then he did something amazing. In a fluid, acrobatic move straight out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he bent his knees and flipped to his feet without using his hands.

"Wow." Linnea thought people only did that with the help of wires and special effects. Watching someone do it up close was impressive beyond words. "How did you do that?"

"Practice." Then he swayed a little and winked again as he wiped his palms against his khaki shorts. "And to answer your question, I'll live."

"Obviously. Here I am worried I've crushed you, or your tailbone is broken, and instead you're ready to tour with Cirque de Soleil."

"Too tall. They'd never take me. Are you hurt?"

She shook her head, retrieved his sunglasses from the ground, and handed them over. "Just my pride. I feel like an idiot." Like a sweaty, disheveled idiot.

"Don't worry about it. No harm done." He hooked the glasses into the neck of his shirt. "And if you hadn't run me over, we might not have met. I should be thanking you."

"Very funny."

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