Hot for Him [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Sarah Mayberry
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Working in Hollywood is always about getting to the top. Or on top, as feisty producer Claudia Dostis prefers. But when she contends with her outrageously sexy adversary, Leandro Mandalor, the stakes change. Her charming opponent is definitely up to Claudia's challenge. He convinces her they must come together--in the office and in the bedroom. Suddenly getting on top has a whole new meaning ... and leads to a new level of sensual satisfaction. But can Claudia let go of her need to succeed long enough to allow someone else to win?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Blaze
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2007
18 Reader Ratings:
HE SMELLED OF LEATHER and musk and warm skin, and his shoulder was a solid wall of muscle against her left arm. Every time he spoke, his deep voice vibrated through her whole body. And every time he laughed, she had to fight the urge to squirm in her chair.
Claudia Dostis was seriously in danger of screaming out loud. In fact, if Leandro Mandalor's big, beefy arm knocked against hers one more time, she was not going to be answerable for the consequences.
It was the organizers' fault. They'd squashed too many people at too few tables at the open forum sessions for the Daytime Television Convention, then they'd compounded their mistake by seating her next to her arch rival.
How was she supposed to concentrate on answering questions from the floor when she was pressed up against Captain Butthead?
He was easily the most obnoxious man she'd ever met. Hands down, without even trying. All he had to do was walk into a room and she was instantly annoyed. It had a lot to do with her innate competitive spirit—his soap, Heartlands, competed on a daily basis with Ocean Boulevard, her baby. It had even more to do with the fact that six months ago he'd tried to get the jump on her by poaching the Boulevard's idea to run a feature-length wedding episode in the winter months.
But mostly it was just him.
He was too tall—six four, or something equally ridiculous. He was too dark—olive skinned, with glossy black curly hair that he wore cropped close to his head. And he was too, too, too cocky. The man oozed confidence and take-charge charisma. He liked to call the shots, and he expected people to give him what he wanted, when he wanted it, stat.
And the way he looked at her—as though she were a private joke that only he understood. His dark brown eyes always held a hint of laughter when they lit on her, and it made her long for a large, heavy object to aim at his big, fat head.
For about the millionth time that afternoon, she felt the warm press of his body alongside hers as he shifted in his seat. Her fingers curled around the edges of her notes as she fought the need to punch him and tell him to keep his distance.
"…it's an interesting point, but I'm not sure that I agree with it," he said in his deep baritone. "What do you think, Claudia?"
She stiffened. She'd been so busy grinding her teeth over their forced intimacy she'd completely missed the comment from the floor.
Her stomach tightening with panic, she ran her mind back over the past few minutes. They'd been talking about audience expectations for daytime drama, and the challenge of both meeting those expectations and providing fresh formats and ideas. Unfortunately, about the time when the discussion had gotten more specific, she'd been mentally sticking pins in his voodoo doll.
In short, she had no idea what she was supposed to agree or disagree with.
Her chin came up and she cocked an eyebrow at the giant hulking next to her. When in doubt, come out fighting was her motto. It had never failed her yet.
"Nice try, Leandro," she said, "but I think we're all interested in hearing what you've got to say."
He held her eye for a beat, a small smile curling his mouth. She couldn't help noticing that he had full, sensuous lips, and that his mouth was bracketed by laugh lines.
"How can I resist when you ask so nicely?" he said. He held her eye for a moment longer—just long enough to make her feel distinctly…uncomfortable—before turning back to face the room full of eager wannabe writers, producers and directors.
"Television is a visual medium, we all know that. The simple answer is that there are always going to be beautiful people on our screens. But it doesn't mean there isn't a place for character actors. In all honesty I can say that when I sit down to cast a part, I'm thinking about the role, the character, not the sexual appeal or looks or body of the actor or actress trying for the part," he said.
Signaling he had finished, he gestured for Claudia to pick up the gauntlet.
"As much as it kills me, I'm going to have to agree with Leandro," she said.
A ripple of laughter washed through the room. Their rivalry was becoming an industry in-joke, she knew.
"The reality is, some of the most popular long-term characters on Ocean Boulevard are played by actors and actresses who fall outside the accepted norms for physical beauty in our culture," she said, warming to her topic. "Particularly in daytime drama, the audience falls in love with people and personalities, not faces and bodies. They spend a lot of time with our characters every week. They love them and hate them—after a while, what they look like becomes almost irrelevant. Having said all that, however…I will plead guilty to casting for beefcake occasionally. I figure our stay-at-home moms deserve a bit of eye candy every now and then."
That scored her a laugh. She sat back in her chair, waiting for the next question. When it was directed to the producer of the Kelly Larson talk show, on her right, she risked a glance at her watch. Ten more minutes and her official obligations for the convention were over. Hallelujah.
"Beefcake. I wonder how they'd react if I said I cast for tits and ass?"
Leandro had leaned close to her ear to deliver his sotto voce comment, and she could feel his breath against her cheek.
Copyright © 2007 by Small Cow Productions PTY Ltd.