From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new, sexy standalone novel.
We met in the least likely of places. It started out innocently enough. I was "ScreenGod" and she was "Montana," but of course, those weren"t our actual names, just the virtual cloaks we hid behind.
Logging in at night and talking to her was my escape"my sanctuary.
Her real name was Eden, I"d soon come to find out.
From the first time we connected online, I found myself transfixed.
She was an addiction.
At first, we knew nothing about each other"s real identities"and she was adamant that we keep things that way. Anonymity had no effect on our unstoppable chemistry, though. If anything, it allowed us to open up even more in ways we may not have otherwise.
Eden was funny, intelligent, gorgeous"everything I"d ever wanted in a woman.
But I couldn"t really have her.
I had accepted things would have to stay the way they were"until the day I found a clue that led me straight to her.
So I took a chance.
And that was when our love story really began.Books by Author:Penelope Ward Books
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Sip. Nod. Smile. Repeat.
I was a master at pretending to give a shit during conversations with fake people.
This blonde had been doing a pretty good job at looking like she was interested in me, and then she had to go and stick in a story about her recent audition on the Warner Brothers lot. That"s when I began to tune her out.
All I could think about was how good it was going to feel to hit the sheets later and pass out alone in my bed"not with said blonde. Not with anyone in this room.
She batted her lashes. "So anyway, anytime you want to see my demo, I"d love to get your thoughts""
There it was. These conversations always ended the same way, with a request for a favor.
"Sure, yeah. Just send it to my assistant, Alexa."
I didn"t have an assistant.
I used the name Alexa to humor myself because it reminded me of the talking app.
"Will you excuse me"" I said, brushing past her.
One surefire way to ensure I never looked at your shit was to straight up ask me to in the middle of a conversation that was supposed to be about something else.
People were so ballsy.
On the outside, everyone probably thought I had the perfect life, the world at my fingertips"a good-looking dude with more money than I knew what to do with who threw the best parties in Beverly Hills, women falling at my feet everywhere I went.
I"m the son of one of Hollywood"s biggest movie producers, so all of the wannabes in this city see me as a direct line to Sterling McNamara.
It must have seemed like I have it all, given that I live alone in this ten-million-dollar house, with walls of glass revealing a hillside view. But what people don"t realize is how freaking tiring it is to never be seen for who you actually are, only for the things you own or the connections you have. It"s real damn tiring. And honestly, lately, I"ve found myself bored"really bored with life. When everything is handed to you, there"s nothing exciting to strive for, nothing to look forward to.
It isn"t that I don"t appreciate all I"ve been given. I have a great job working for my father"s studio. I love my dad and respect how hard he"s worked to get to where he is. But sometimes, it feels like a curse, a shadow I can"t step out of. And I often wonder if I would have been better off not taking the opportunities handed to me, if I should"ve moved away and started from scratch. But I couldn"t do that to my dad. He"s always assumed I would take over his role someday. That"s what he"s always worked toward. His business decisions are based around that scenario"to secure a spot for me, to set me up for when he eventually steps down. I"m his only child.
It was also hard for me to think about giving up that opportunity, so I went along with it all.
My house reeked of alcohol and cologne. I looked around at the fifty or so people congregating in my living room, mostly half-naked women and the men trying to sleep with them.
Who are these people"
I could probably name three people in the entire room. Everyone else was mainly here for the free booze, and by the end of the night, half of them would be drunk off their asses in my pool or passed out in the living room until my housekeeper, Lorena, kicked them out in the morning with"get this"a cowbell.
There"s nothing funnier than listening from the comfort of my bed to her ringing that thing and yelling in Spanish for stragglers to get the hell out of the house. ""Larguense de mi casa!"
Lorena is funny as hell and doesn"t give a flying fuck what people think of her. She"s tiny, but a force to be reckoned with. Her title may be housekeeper, but she"s really keeper of the house. She takes that role very seriously. And I appreciate how protective she is.
I left the crowded living room, meaning to get myself a Sapporo beer, which I kept stocked in the fridge and not at the bar. But instead, I passed right by the kitchen, venturing into my bedroom.
When that door shut, I let out a long sigh of relief. The sounds from my party were now muffled, barely audible.
Peace and quiet.
This was what I wanted.
No way was I going back out there tonight.
It had gotten to the point that lying in my bed and jerking off alone was more enticing than sex with a real woman. Because my hand wasn"t a user"it expected nothing from me. And then I could just pass out right after. I could have had any woman in the house tonight, and that"s exactly why I had no interest in a single one of them.