I’d seen this photo more than a couple of times in a couple of different places. I’d mentioned to my BFF/Crit partner that it would be a good picture for ‘visual inspiration’. Boy were we both right! For my contribution to the Inspired by Joe Blog Hop, Joe’s name is Stephen and he’s a naughty photography subject. Read on!
Shannon adjusted the lens on her camera and scratched the wispy hairs at the back of her neck. This had better be worth it. The model still hadn’t emerged from the dressing room. She rolled her eyes and tapped her foot.
“Not out yet?” Professor Sinclair said from over her shoulder.
Shannon suppressed the whimper. Professor Dreamy aka Sinclair could talk to her any day. One word spoke in his gravelly tone and every cell in her body quivered. She’d taken all the course offerings he taught, even when her fine arts degree didn’t call for so many photography classes.
“Children.” He squeezed her shoulder. “I’m glad you were on time. You were the only person I had in mind for this shoot.”
She blew out a long breath and fanned herself. The heat from the greenhouse hadn’t gotten to her. Nope. His words rattled her to her core. Only person in mind? Her heart leapt. Maybe all her time slaving in the photography labs had paid off. Maybe.
“He got here half an hour late and claimed he needed food before he could work, Professor.” Her voice cracked. Damn. Way to sound professional.
“He did, eh?” Sinclair stood shoulder to shoulder with her. “And call me Stephen. You’re my co-worker, not my student.”
She gripped the handle on the tripod to keep from stepping away from him. Steven winked and a slow smile curled the corner of his mouth. He leaned in close. “if I didn’t think you could do this, I wouldn’t have suggested you.”
The model, a twenty-something grad student with lanky hair and an equally lanky build ambled out of the dressing tent at that moment. She gritted her teeth—happy the model emerged and a little disappointed. The shoot called for a work man. Someone a little dirty, with muscles in all the right places. This person wasn’t going to work. Not only did he look too thin, but even if she mussed his hair, he wouldn’t have the rough-hewn work look she needed.
“He looks like a damned kid.” Stephen stomped across the path and yanked the curtain on the tent aside. “Who hired this model?”
Someone inside the tent spoke, but Shannon couldn’t make out the words.
“I said working man. I wanted tough. Shannon and I can’t work with him. Too thin.” Stephen folded his arms, bunching the muscle beneath his dress shirt. She’d forgotten how ripped he was. Her mouth watered. Every hour he spent at the gym became glaringly, deliciously obvious.
He raked his fingers through his rumpled hair. “Why do you do this to me?”
A blonde pushed out of the tent and rubbed against him. “I can do this shoot. You know I can. You loved me once.”
“Calista, this wasn’t your call. Go.” His brows knotted and lines formed on his forehead. “No more. Excuse me, what’s your name? Kyle? Thanks. You’ve done enough. Have Eunice in HR schedule you for a modeling session for my 202 class.”
Shannon turned away from the scene. So they hadn’t actually had any kind of thing between them. So she’d never told him she had feelings beyond the professor-former student fashion. So she hadn’t imagined in her wildest dreams that he had a life beyond the school. How...foolish.
“I’m sorry you saw that.” Stephen stopped somewhere behind her. “This got so fucked up so fast.”
Shannon shrugged. “Crap happens.”
He turned her around to face him. “Crap? You can swear. I won’t dock you.” The chuckle bubbling in his throat turned to full belly laughter. “I forgot what it sounds like when people don’t swear.”
She didn’t see the humor in her embarrassment. She stared at the packed dirt floor of the green house, unsure of anything to say.
Stephen’s laughter subsided. “What’s wrong, Shannie?”
Shannie. Great. He had a name for her. She shook her head. “This is nuts.”
“Hey.” He cupped her jaw, forcing her to look in his eyes. “Whatever you think is going on with Calista, isn’t. Yeah, we dated but I can’t handle a drama queen. She’s more trouble than meets the eye.” He closed the gap between them. “I asked you to help me do this shoot because I wanted to spend time with you. Professionally and off the clock. Shannie, we’ve got something good between us. I want to see where it’s going.”
Well that was a revelation she hadn’t seen coming. She swayed on her feet and rubbed her temples.
“You’re not gonna pass out on me or something, are you?” He wrapped one arm around her. “Are you okay?”
“Just shocked.” She shoved a lock of his hair from his forehead. She had to say something else. Had to be smooth. “Why don’t you model?” Not quite the smooth she was looking for.
“I come on to you, tell you I want to see you after the shoot and you want me to model?” The smile returned to his mouth and he tipped his head. “I never know what to expect from you and I love it.” He nodded and the serious expression returned to his face. “I’m going to trust you on this. Tell me what you see for this catalogue cover.”
Shannon stepped out of his embrace and dipped her fingers into the pot of black grease paint. “Take off your shirt.”
He crooked one brow and unfastened the buttons one at a time. “If you’re trying to seduce me, it’s working.” He shrugged out of the dress shirt. “Now what?”
The heat between her thighs spread throughout her body. She’d seen him in t-shirts, but nothing beat seeing him in the tank top. She streaked a bit of the tacky paint over his brow and cheek, then rubbed a bit into his bicep. The heated temps in the green house created a sheen of perspiration on his skin. She stepped back to assess her work. Stephen stared at her with a slow burn in his eyes.
“If I can capture that look,” she darted behind her camera and dropped the camera height to about a foot off the ground, “the cover will rock. Get down onto your stomach and rest on your elbows.”
She focused on his prone body. The same sweltering look simmered in his eyes as he leaned forward. His muscles bunched and rippled.
“Sex on film,” she mumbled. She snapped ten shots of his pose. “Raise up a little.” She came out from behind the camera and ruffled his hair. “That’s better.”
“I meant what I said,” He rolled onto his side and touched her cheek. “I want to see you once this is done. We’ll get a beer and hang out...watch a movie...anything you want. I’m yours.” He scooted close to her. His breath tickled her skin as his mouth met hers.
The world spun and faded away around them. Stephen tasted like mint and sex. She broke the kiss first and touched her tingling lips.
“Pretty intense for me, too.” He smoothed a loose lock of her hair between his fingers. “What’s next?”
She traced her finger over his lips. “You pose. I take a couple more shots. Then we clean you up.”
“I love you how you think.”
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