Part of the Wicked Hollywood Kings Series
This is a free novella available only for Karine’s newsletter subscribers.
Fake dating a movie star…
Here I was, winner of a dinner date with sexy movie star Shawn McCall for a contest I didn’t even enter myself.
I was quite nervous. I even tried to get away from the dinner. You see, he was the type of guy you couldn’t resist even though you knew you’d get burned. I had the habit of falling in love easily, and he was known for his multiple hookups. Basically, not the best combination. And at dinner, just like I feared, he was as flirtatious as ever, even attempted to kiss me and asked to see me again.
Of course, I turned him down. He was the opposite of what I was looking for. That didn’t stop him, though. He came back to my place with a proposition: to fake a relationship for three months. He needed to show he was boyfriend material for a role. And since my yoga studio needed some publicity, I accepted.
But pretending to date had its share of problems that I had a hard time dealing with: Shawn’s determination to rehearse being madly in love, my fear of falling in love with him, his fans….
Could our fake relationship blossom into something more, or was it just not meant to be?
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2021: Previously published in the anthology, Sexy AF
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“Okay, ladies. I’ll see you next week.”
I sighed in discouragement at the three yoga students as they rolled up their mats and left the room. We would need a miracle in order to bring in more people to the studio.
Having a short break before my next class, I ordered a fresh fruit cocktail at the bar and, once served, slumped onto a chair. Amanda, my best friend and business partner, joined me with a coffee in hand. She was two years older than me and newly married to her high school sweetheart.
“Hey, girl,” she beamed, her gray eyes sparkling as she settled onto the seat across from mine. “How was the class?”
“Good, but we only had three students. We need a new strategy to attract more customers.”
“We’ll figure out something.” She sipped her coffee. “Hear from Kevin?”
I fiddled with my phone. “He came by last night to pick up the rest of his stuff.”
Kevin had been my boyfriend for six months, and out of nowhere, he’d said he didn’t love me that much and thought it would be better to end things now.
“To hell with him,” Amanda said, sliding her fingers through her auburn hair. “Soon, you’ll find someone who deserves your love. Just have a little patience and faith.”
“Right now, I’m over men. I can’t take them leaving me each time anymore.”
As I sipped my cocktail, I went through my Facebook page. There was a new message from a guy named Holden. I opened it.
“What is this?” I asked myself while reading the message.
Congratulations, Miss Winters! You’re the winner of the dinner date with Shawn McCall. I’m Holden, his personal assistant. Please share your contact information so I can reach out to you with more details.
“What?” she asked absentmindedly, focused on her own phone.
“I don’t know. It must be a prank. I got a message on Facebook saying that I won some date with Shawn—”
“Oh my god!” she shrieked. “You won? I can’t believe this.”
She snatched the phone from my hand. What’s with her? She typed something quickly on my phone.
“What are you doing? I hope you’re not answering this crazy person. Imagine if he’s a serial killer.”
“He’s no serial killer.” She gave me back the phone. “He’s Shawn McCall, the movie star, and I entered you in the contest.”
“A contest to have a date with him.” “Why the hell did you do that?”
My phone vibrated on the counter, making me jump in my seat. I checked the caller ID but didn’t recognize the number that flashed on the screen. I hesitated to answer since my next class was starting in less than ten minutes.
“Hello, Miss Winters?” “This is she.”
“I’m Holden, Shawn McCall’s assistant. Like I told you in the message, you’ve won the dinner date with—“
“Look,” I interrupted him, “I didn’t enter this contest.” “What do you mean?”
I got up from my seat and took a few steps away, pacing back and forth. “My friend entered the contest; I didn’t.”
He gave a sigh of exasperation. “So, good for you, you still won. There’s no rule saying somebody can’t enter you on your behalf. I don’t see the problem.”
“The problem is you need to pick someone else. I’m not interested.”
“Noooo!” Amanda wailed. “Are you out of your mind?” She snatched the phone from my ear and spoke into the phone. “Please don’t listen to Sky. She’s out of her mind. Hold on a minute, and don’t you dare pick another winner.” She covered the phone with her hand to stifle the sound and whispered, “You won. Out of thousands of women, you won. This is a huge deal, and it’s only one evening. Think about how much good it would do for the studio.”
This could, indeed, be an opportunity for the yoga studio to get more exposure. But it would be selfish to accept when thousands of women had voluntarily participated in the contest for a chance to meet Shawn McCall.
I brought the phone back to my ear. “You should pick someone who’s dying to meet Shawn McCall. I’m sure it won’t make a difference to him.”
“Mister McCall wants to talk to you.”
“What?” Panic raced through me. “He’s here?!”
“Hello, Miss Winters,” Shawn McCall’s sensual voice made my heart miss a beat. “Um, Mister… Mister McCall,” I stuttered, unable to find my words.
“How do you know it’s really me?” “Yes… um… I can recognize your voice.” “Are you a fan, Miss Winters?”
“Um, not exactly… I mean, I saw your movies, and you’re very talented, but—” His laugh traveled through the phone.“It’s all right to admit you’re a fan.”
“I didn’t enter your contest. A friend of mine did it behind my back. I don’t think it’d be fair if I accepted your gift. Find someone else who deserves it more.”
Amanda’s face paled as if she were about to faint. “Are you crazy?” “Do you believe in fate?” Shawn asked.
“For some reason, you’re the winner, and we have this opportunity to meet. I don’t want anyone else to be on this date but you. My chauffeur will pick you up at your place tomorrow at 7 p.m. What’s your address?”
I caved in and gave him my address. “And Miss Winters?”
“Thank the person who entered you in the contest, will you?” I sighed, still dazed about the whole conversation.
“See you tomorrow, Miss Winters.”
“See you… tomorrow.” Those words felt like they didn’t belong to me even though I knew I had just said them. When I hung up, I was still wondering if the conversation had really happened. Oh, my goodness, I just talked to Shawn McCall.
“You’ll pay for it,” I warned Amanda in a playful way as I went for my next class.
But she shouldn’t have done it without telling me.
She grinned. “You’ll thank me someday.”
“That won’t ever happen.” I looked back over my shoulder, and as I walked to my next class, I started to register that I was about to meet Shawn McCall for real.
The limousine parked in front of the Marceau Restaurant. Shawn had ordered his chauffeur to pick me up at my place and take me to our dinner date. The middle-aged chauffeur with a piercing in his ear opened the door for me. It was still daytime, and surprisingly, no paparazzi awaited around. They must have planned everything to
avoid any disturbance. I drew in a couple of quick breaths, trying to curb the fluttery feeling in my stomach.
“Thank you,” I said as I got out of the car.
A dark-skinned young man, who seemed to be in his early twenties, approached me with his hand stretched out. “Hi, Miss Winters. I’m Holden, Shawn McCall’s personal assistant.”
“Oh, hi.” I quickly swiped my sweaty palms on my red dress and shook his hand. “How are you doing?”
“Nervous,” I admitted.
“After a glass of champagne, you’ll feel better.” He laughed. “Mister McCall’s waiting for you inside. I’ll take you to him right away.”
We entered the high-class restaurant, brightly lit with crystal chandeliers, the tables dressed with white cloths on a sea of light gray carpeting, and went through a narrow hallway. Holden pushed open the double doors, and we stepped into the private room with its softened lights and table for two set in the middle. Two huge men in black suits stood by the door. His bodyguards, most certainly.
“Mister McCall, Miss Winters is here.”
Shawn had his back to us, and he was talking on the phone. “I want this role, Jerry.
Negotiate the deal and—”
He turned around, and his honey stare locked on me. A myriad of emotions glinted in his eyes, making my legs turn into jello, then a warm smile stretched across his face.
“I’ll call you back later.” Shawn killed the connection, his gaze never leaving me. “Enjoy,” Holden said to me before leaving and closing the double doors behind
Shawn marched toward me, his gait fluid and sensual. He was wearing black pants with a long-sleeved burgundy shirt. As he wrapped me in his muscular arms for a quick hug, I jolted in surprise and instant electricity zoomed through me.
Hearing my name in his husky voice caused an involuntary shiver to pass through
“Mister McCall.” “Please, call me Shawn.”
“Um… okay,” I stuttered, unexpectedly impressed by his beauty.
“Gentlemen, you can leave us now,” he said to both men. As they left, Shawn’s
attention focused back on me. “Congratulations.” “For what?”
Shawn’s laugh reverberated through me. All right, my body seriously needed to get a grip.
“You’re adorable, and you look beautiful.” “Thank you.”
In my body’s defense, Shawn’s flirty attitude made it quite impossible to take control, but I wasn’t about to fall for his lines. He was known for being friendly and flirty with women. Getting smitten by his charms would do nothing good to my heart. I would just go through the date and be done as soon as possible, not being affected by him, or at least trying not to be.
“Shall we sit?“ he offered. “Sure.”
He pressed his palm on the small of my back, heat zipping up my spine, and led me to our table. That evening would be more challenging than I’d anticipated.
“I’m so glad you’re here.”
He pulled out the chair for me, and I sat. Okay, I might be in big trouble here if he continues to be so charming.
“Thank you for having me, but I still feel like I’ve stolen this date. You were looking forward to meeting a fan, and I’m not… I mean, you have bigger fans and—”
He relaxed on the chair opposite me. “You’re here because I want you here, so stop beating yourself up and enjoy my company. I intend to do the same.”
“I just didn’t expect this to happen to me.” He lifted his brows. “Disappointed?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Your friend cares about you. Cherish the moment.” I let out a breath, loosening up. “You’re right.”
“Hi, miss. Welcome.” A bubbly server in her thirties handed us the menus and poured ice water into our glasses. As she moved away, she added, “I’ll be right back to take your orders.”
“I’m curious about one thing. Why did your friend enter you in the contest?” “That’s a great question, and I don’t have the answer to that… Actually, I guess
Amanda thought that this dinner would keep my mind off of things if I ever won.” “What things?”
I slid my finger over the rim of my glass. “My ex-boyfriend broke things off just a few weeks ago.”
“Are you heartbroken?”
“I once thought he was the one.”
I was surprised by how easily I could talk to him despite us being so different. “I’m sincerely sorry.”
“But I’m also glad.” His eyes gleamed with intense emotion. “You wouldn’t be here with me tonight if you were still with him.”
“Have you dated since the breakup?” “I’m not ready for that.”
“I’m going to tell you a secret.” He grabbed my hand, sending shockwaves through my body. “Winning this contest is the best thing that will ever happen in your life.”
A nervous laugh escaped my lips, and I pulled my hand free of his touch. He was shamelessly full of himself.
“Mister McCall, allow me to disagree. After tonight, I bet both our lives will be exactly the same.”
A huge smile spread across his face. “The bet is on, Sky.”
The server took our order and came back with our appetizer and drinks. That evening was going quite well, perhaps too well, and I was surprised at the ease of our exchange.
He took a bite of mushroom tart. “Tell me about yourself.”
“There’s nothing much to say. I’m a yoga teacher. I run a yoga studio with my best friend.”
“The one who entered you in my contest?“
“That’s her, yes. But right now, we’re struggling to keep the studio afloat.” As I savored the melting tart, I grew curious about one thing. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Why set up this contest?”
He put down his silverware and pressed his elbows on the table. “I do one at least every year, you know.”
“Every year? Why?”
“It’s just my way of saying thank you to my fans.”
“Wow, that’s nice. Your fans are lucky to have this opportunity.” “Thank you. Are you having a good time?”
I sipped my wine. “I won’t complain.”
He chuckled, his honey gaze staying on me. “I’m having the best of times.”
I breathed out, his flirty attitude becoming too overwhelming, despite having a good time.
After dinner, Shawn insisted on driving me home in his blue Lamborghini. The drive to my place was quite short, and a part of me was sad that our date was coming to an end.
Once Shawn parked in my street, he helped me out of the car, his touch awakening sensations throughout my body.
“I’ll be fine. You don’t need to accompany me to my door.” “I’m taking you to your door.”
It felt like I was dreaming the perfect dream, but I needed to wake up fast because I knew it wouldn’t last.
I lived on the fourth floor of my building. We took the elevator, definitely a space too small to be in with a movie star like Shawn McCall, and we arrived at my door.
“I had the perfect time with you.”
Everything he said aimed to seduce me, and the last thing I wanted was to fall for his charms. Not seeing him again would be like being free, free from having desires he couldn’t fulfill.
“Thank you. It was….”
A grin curled across his face. “What?” “Surreal.”
His stare locked on mine, then descended to my mouth. His fingers brushed my temple, causing butterflies to awaken in my belly. He leaned in closer for a kiss. Oh god. He was the most gorgeous man I’d ever encountered in my life, and my whole body hummed for more of his touch. But I didn’t have the capacity to separate my heart from my body, and succumbing to his kiss would no doubt get my heart shattered.
I pushed off his chest and took a step back before his lips could touch mine. “Um… It’s getting late and….”
“You don’t know me, and I just came out of a relationship.” “So?”
“I don’t do just sex.”
He invaded my space again, his hand pressed on the door above my head, his fruity scent teasing me. “Can I see you again?”
“What?” Shock raced through me. This couldn’t be what I heard. “I’d like to see you again.”
“It’s… um… I can’t.” “Why not?”
“I just don’t think it’s a good idea, that’s all,” I said, trying to remain unaffected. “Why’s that?”
“We just don’t live in the same world.”
He stared, making me uncomfortable; then, after a few seconds, he nodded. “Goodnight, Sky.”
The elevator engulfed him before I went into my apartment. I sank down into the sofa, my senses numbed. I’m an idiot. I’d just turned down a kiss from Shawn McCall, and every part of me yelled at me for doing so.
It was too late now. Too late to turn back time. Too late to have regrets. For I would never see him again.
end of excerpt
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