Heart of Fame, Book 5.5
Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.
Copyright © 2016, Lexxie Couper.
All rights reserved.
One day, Sir Addison Ellis Lancaster, knight of the British realm, award-winning wildlife cinematographer, champion beer-pong player and all-round rake, would take some time out to sit down and decipher how he came to be here. Here, at an exclusive party full of insanely rich people and beautiful celebrities in Northern Beaches, Sydney instead of where he was meant to be, which was at his cousin’s bachelor party two hours north.
One day. But not right now.
Right now, he was determined to taste the sublimely lush lips of the woman standing at his left. That there was a ten-of-hearts playing card currently on those sublimely lush lips only heightened his growing obsession. Every time she twisted toward him and offered her upturned face, every time her soft warm fingers came to rest gently on his biceps as she leant forward slightly, every time her nipples brushed his chest, a shiver of need he hadn’t experienced for a long time licked through him.
He’d been on the wagon for almost a year now. For close to twelve months, he’d curtailed his rakish ways. After losing his heart to an American photographer—the very American photographer seven days away from marrying his cousin—he’d stayed clear of women. Had, in fact, hightailed off to Madagascar to film an in-depth documentary on the lemur. But then a fortnight ago, his cousin had sent him an email telling him to drag his British arse out of the wilderness and get said arse to Australia, and he’d done so.
Somehow, between touching down in Sydney and collecting his rental Aston Martin four hours ago and now, he’d found himself at this party. If it weren’t for the woman on his left and her gorgeous lips, stunning blue eyes, burnished-copper-auburn hair that fell about her shoulders in a cascade of wild curls and exquisite body, he’d be feeling guilty.
But she was here, currently with a ten-of-hearts playing card covering her mouth, gazing up at him with smiling eyes, waiting for him to lower his head to hers and suck the heart from her.
The card, that was. That was the object of the game after all. The last time he’d played Suck and Blow was the last time he’d been in Sydney. It was years ago at a wild party not too far from where he was now, hosted by a super model he knew well. He’d thought he may have been in with a chance with Lillian McDermott, but laughed when she’d promptly started snogging her older brother’s best friend. However, if he’d known parties in Sydney always turned out like this he would have found an excuse to come to the city more often.
It had been a super model who’d suggested he come with her to this party, the invitation extended mid-flight as she flirted with him halfway over the Pacific and offered again as he collected the keys to his rental. He’d tagged along for some reason, most likely due to ridiculous jetlag and sleep deprivation, and then realized—five minutes into the party—the super model was as vacuous as they came. Still, the party had the makings of a fun one, and after almost twelve months in the wilderness, it was nice to interact with humans again. Even if they were insanely rich humans who thought they were better than anyone else.
He could spot that arrogant attitude a mile away. He was, after all, very familiar with the strutting behaviour of those in the animal kingdom.
The male with the most impressive bluster won the female. It hadn’t taken him very long to discover there wasn’t a single female here who made him want to bluster.
Until he’d joined the game of Suck and Blow that was.
When he’d laid eyes on the exquisite red head on his left, felt her hands on his biceps, felt the warmth of her lips radiate into his through the thin cardboard and heard her laugh, all his rakish traits and tricks came back to him in a flood of awareness.
“Come on, ya pommy bastard!” a man a few players behind him yelled. “You’re holding up the game.”
Addison flicked the man—the country’s highest-paid rugby union coach—a quick look over his shoulder. “And you’re holding up the evolution of the species, sir.”
The crowd watching the proceedings burst into raucous guffaws. The man glared at Addison. Addison dropped him a wink and then turned back to the redhead. What was her name? He wanted to call her Ruby. Clichéd, but then again, he was a cinematographer, not a wordsmith.
Ruby was looking up at him, her eyes dancing, the ten of hearts still against her lips via the slight suction she exerted on it.
His groin tightened a little. Lord, she had mesmerizing eyes, the same breath-taking blue as the glaciers of Alaska. And without any makeup to detract from their beauty, they were even more hypnotic.
In fact, nothing detracted from any part of her beauty. No gold or diamonds or ostentatious jewelry or ludicrous avant-garde designer dress or barely decent hemline.
For the first time since he’d positioned himself beside her in the game, Addison realized she was the least-coiffed, least-primped and least-overt woman here. Just a simple pair of white jeans, an emerald-green scooped-neck T-shirt, the waterfall of auburn curls and those lips.
Lips currently hidden from him by the ten of hearts. Lips he wanted to taste so sodding much.
“Suck the fucking card from her mouth, wanker!” the rugby coach bellowed behind Addison.
Above the rim of the card, Ruby’s eyes danced with mirth. She stroked her fingertips over his biceps again, a feather-light caress that made his pulse quicken.
He gazed down at her, his heart doing a very good job of thumping its way into his throat, and—with the belligerent complaints of Mr. Cheerful Encouragement rising above the noise of the room—lowered his head to hers.
He pressed his lips to the card, directly where he knew her lips would be if the cardboard weren’t there. Her warmth seeped through the thin cardboard, as it had done every time they’d preformed this movement previously. His body responded, as it also had every time previously. His gut clenched, his balls rose up and his heart turned to a sledgehammer. He braced himself, ready to remove the card from her lips with a simple intake of breath…and froze as the ten of hearts slipped past his chin. Froze for a split second before Ruby’s soft, full, lush lips were brushing his.
The room burst into raucous cheers. Feet stamped on the floor. Ruby traced a line along his skin, down to his elbows. Wild heat ribboned through him, knotting around a base need deep in the pit of his belly. He groaned and, before he could stop himself, sought out her tongue with his.
He found it, stroked it. Mated with it in a tentative caress.
Only to be stopped by numerous slaps on the back and jostled about by his fellow partygoers.
“Well done, you pommy bastard!” the rugby coach yelled. “Now stop hogging all the fun and get out of the fucking line.”
Addison blinked, straightening from Ruby, his body on fire. She grinned up at him, playful mirth twinkling in her eyes, and then dipped into a brief curtsey. “Sir Knight.”
Before he could respond, she pivoted on her heel and walked away from the line.
The crowded enveloped her. Around Addison, his fellow partiers continued to congratulate him with exuberant enthusiasm for his failure to win the game but land a kiss. Even the super-rich and famous got off on a brush with a live, in-the-flesh British knight of the realm, it seemed.
He wasn’t interested in being congratulated. He was interested in tasting Ruby’s lips again. Once was definitely not enough.
With a grin and a wave, he left the line and followed in the direction she’d headed.
The house was huge. In each room, people reveled. He wondered for a brief moment who was actually throwing the party and why so many rich people were behaving like horny teenagers, and then the sight of Ruby in the crowd banished all thought except getting to her.
He ducked and weaved through the hordes, his stare locked on the back of her head. His body reacted to the sight of her hair bouncing in gentle waves around her head as she moved. Every time she smiled at someone—usually a sodding man trying to get her attention, Addison noted with a growl—his groin tightened.
He lost sight of her for a heart-quickening second as a massive man shuffled between them carrying a giggling woman over his shoulder, and then he found her again.
Just as she crossed the threshold leading out to the backyard.
Addison launched into a run. He’d be buggered if he was going to let her slip away without one more kiss.
He pushed through the crowd, hooked his fingers around the doorjamb and flung himself through the open door, searching for Ruby as he all but burst out into the night.
He stumbled to a halt a second before crashing into her.
“You’re persistent,” she said, looking up at him, her arms crossed under her breasts, a dimple flashing at him in her left cheek. “I’ll give you that.”
Addison rested his elbow on the wall beside his head and grinned. “A knight never lets a fair lady disappear at a party without returning her curtsey.”
Her lips twitched. “Doesn’t a knight?”
He shook his head. “Not a real one.”
With a chuckle, Addison straightened from the wall and dipped low at the waist, keeping his gaze on hers. “Fair lady.”
She laughed, the sound soft and wonderfully unassuming. “Persistent and a charmer.”
Addison straightened. “And a champion Scrabble player. Not to mention a mean maker of scrambled eggs, excellent foot massager and brilliant conversationalist. Oh, and I’m not too shabby at facing down hungry tigers and have been known to dissuade a bear from eating me a time or two with just the power of my voice.”
Ruby cocked an eyebrow. The dimple flashed at him again. Why hadn’t he noticed that before? “Is there anything you can’t do well, sir knight?”
Addison grinned. “Not that I’m aware of. But I sense you doubt my sincerity. Which item on that list would you like to discover to be true first? Foot massage? Scrambled eggs for breakfast? Conversation?”
Blue eyes twinkled. “How about facing down a hungry tiger?”
“Ah, excellent choice. Do you have your passport with you? We can be in Africa by sunrise.”
He let his grin widen. “I’m very fast.”
She ran her blue gaze over him, from head to toe and back up to his face again. The dimple flashed again. “Oh, such a pity. And you had so much going for you, what with your Scrabble skills and all.”
Heat prickled over Addison’s scalp as he realized she’d twisted his words into a playful insult. He opened his mouth to continue the flirtation, but all that came out was, “Err…”
Mirth dancing in her eyes once more, Ruby chuckled. “See you later, sir knight.”
She turned on her heel, showing him her back as she strode across the expansive deck and headed for the steps leading down to the garden.
Addison’s stomach clenched. His throat grew tight. A wave of sheer enjoyment flowed through him, followed by a ribbon of nervous anticipation. It took him by complete surprise. He was used to women flirting with him. He wasn’t used to being worried he’d fail in flirting back. Perhaps he’d shunned his rakish ways for too long? Lost his touch?
“Hey!” He chased after her. Chased. When was the last time he’d chased after a woman? “Hey! Hey, hey, hey, hey!”
He dodged a couple snogging on the top of the stairs before propelling himself down to the ground in a single leap.
He landed on his feet with a jarring thud and hurried after Ruby, now well and truly close to disappearing into the yard’s dark shadows.
“Hey,” he called again. “You can’t go yet.”
She turned in a nimble little skip and cocked an eyebrow at him. “Why not?” she asked, walking backwards.
“Because…because…” Crap, what did he say? Because he wanted to kiss her again?
Ruby’s lips curled. “Oh, I see what you mean about your brilliant conversational skills.”
He laughed, hurrying to catch her. How could someone in heels so high walk backwards so quickly? “It’s your fault I’m fumbling,” he answered, giving her a mocking glower.
“My fault?” she echoed, continuing her backward strides.
“Your fault. Don’t you know you can’t just throw a game of Suck and Blow like that and not be held accountable?”
Dark-auburn eyebrows rose high on her forehead. “Throw? Are you implying I deliberately let the card fall from my lips, sir knight?”
If it weren’t for the adorable blush creeping over her cheeks, Addison would have blurted out an apology. But she was blushing. And he noticed her nipples were pinching tight, straining against the green material of her shirt in much the same way his cock was straining against the crotch of his jeans. “I am.” He nodded. “I think you wanted to kiss me.”
“Do you now?” She let out a soft chuckle and shook her head. “I think you need to go find a hungry tiger.”
Addison ran a slow gaze all over her. “I think I already have.”
With a roll of her eyes, Ruby showed him her back again. “I think you’re deluded, sir knight,” she tossed over her shoulder. “Which again, is a pity, given how cute you look when you think you’re being charming.”
She grinned and, with nimble grace, sidestepped a group of rowdy men heading straight toward her.
Out of Addison’s line of sight.
Casey-Louise Marley hurried away from Sir Addison Lancaster, her heart racing. Holy moly, what the hell was she doing? Flirting with a British knight? Her grandmother—she of the proud British heritage and portrait of Her Royal Highness the Queen hanging above the fireplace—would have a pink fit. Of course, her grandmother would also have a pink fit about what Casey was wearing. What with the fact people could see the shape of her butt in her white jeans as well as more than a hint of cleavage. But still, flirting with a knighted Brit was beyond her flirtation skills, no matter that he was flirting back. It didn’t help that his lips had felt exquisitely wonderful on hers when the playing card had fallen to the floor.
Yeah, about that, Casey Louise. Just how exactly did that card fall?
Dodging a couple making out with abandonment next to the house’s side entrance, Casey pulled a face at the internal question.
Okay, maybe she’d had something to do with that. Maybe, just maybe, she’d released her intake of breath and let the card slip from her lips. After all, she’d seen the way the Brit had been eyeing her when he’d joined the game of Suck and Blow, and damn, he was so freaking sexy, and when would she ever get another chance to kiss a knight? A real knight? And Christ, he smelt so good. And his biceps were so amazing, hard and sculpted and perfect. And really, she was just a simple veterinarian from up the coast who would never see him again, so why shouldn’t she get to have some fun and live a fantasy just this once?
A warm throb pulsed in the junction of Casey’s thighs at the thought. Once. Man, she would seriously have liked to kiss him twice. Or maybe even three times. But as she really didn’t fit in at this party and really didn’t belong here, the chances of kissing a sexy British knight three times while surrounded by women who looked like supermodels and actresses—some who probably were supermodels and actresses—were pretty slim. Hence letting the ten of hearts fall from her lips.
A tickling heat filled her cheeks and she closed her eyes, remembering the way his lips had claimed hers.
Holy moley, was it—
She ran into something hard.
Something hard that smelt so good. Something hard that grabbed her upper arms with long, firm fingers.
“Did I also mention—” her British knight grinned down at her, tracing his thumbs in soft circles on her biceps, “—that I’m an incredible hunter?”
Casey gaped up at him. Long enough for him to release one of her arms and close her mouth with a gentle tap under her chin.
He chuckled. “Finally.”
“Finally what?” she asked, forcing herself to recover. She hadn’t forgotten how delicious he was this close. That would be impossible. What she had forgotten was how quickly her body told her to throw herself against his body and do wicked things to him. Things like unbutton his shirt and explore his chest with her lips and tongue. Things like slide her hands down his torso until they dipped below the waistband of his jeans so she could feel how tight and toned his arse was. Things like—
“Finally, I get to do this again,” he murmured, a second before he lowered his head and kissed her. His lips brushed hers, a hesitant caress of skin on skin, before he buried one hand in the hair at her nape and delved his tongue into her mouth.
Casey shivered. Her belly knotted. Her pussy contracted. Holy moley, this guy could kiss. Her knees trembled and, before she could stop herself, she smoothed her palms up his chest and clung to his shoulders.
Lancaster growled into her mouth and rolled his hips. The long steel ridge of his arousal pressed to Casey’s belly, making it knot tighter. Making her pussy squeeze again.
She moaned, digging her nails into his shoulders. God, she could come right there and then, the kiss was that hot. He plundered her mouth, nibbled on her lips, sucked the bottom one and then explored her mouth with his tongue again. His hand at her nape directed her head, positioning her exactly where he wanted her to be. She didn’t fight. Why would she? This was the most intense, incredible kiss of her life.
With a whimper, she surrendered completely to the rapture of his lips on hers. She pressed her hips forward, seeking more of his erection’s hardness through their layers of clothing. He raked his other hand down her back, grabbed her arse and kneaded her right cheek for a heartbeat before yanking her closer still to his groin.
Fresh need blossomed inside her. She moaned, grinding the curve of her belly to his rigid length. She should stop what was happening. They were in public. People were everywhere. And Lancaster was famous, not just for his knighthood, but for his Academy awards and BAFTAS and…and…oh God, was he sliding his hand down to her boob? Was he sliding his hand… Yes, he was. He was. Oh God, he was cupping her boob. Cupping and kneading it. Worshipping it with his hand and fingers.
Liquid pleasure flowed through Casey, pooling in the junction of her thighs. A shudder followed, making her nipples pinch tighter.
Lancaster growled his approval, scrapping his thumb over the puckered tip as he did so. His lips feasted on hers, growing hungrier with each nip and swipe of his tongue.
She met his ferocity. Fucked if she was going to deny herself this one moment.
With a low groan, she raked her nails up into his hair, caught his tongue with her lips and sucked.
He responded in kind, massaging her breast with increasing pressure, pinching her nipple, grinding his erection to her belly.
Casey’s head swum. Another shudder rocked her. Her clit tingled with heat, desire swelling the sensitive nub of flesh. She pressed her thighs together, the ache and need building in her sex almost painful.
Holy moley, had she ever been so turned on by a—
Something hard slammed into her.
She stumbled sideways, out of Lancaster’s grip.
“Shit,” a male voice slurred. “Sorry, doll.”
Fighting against the fog of her pleasure-stupefied brain, Casey blinked up at the bulky man standing beside her. He was familiar, but she didn’t know why.
“Oh,” he said, turning to sneer at Lancaster. “It’s the pommy bastard. Why don’t you fuck off to the mother country and leave our women alone, eh?”
“Are you always this belligerent?” Lancaster asked, sliding a hand up Casey’s back as he drew closer to her. She couldn’t help but feel like he was protecting her from the inebriated mountain of man. It was unexpected. And nice, even if she didn’t normally like the notion of being a damsel in distress. “Or are you still pouting about the thrashing we poms gave you convicts in the Rugby World Cup?”
Murderous rage etched the man’s face. “I’ll give you a fucking thrashing,” he slurred, reaching for Lancaster with a wild hand, the other raised in a fist beside his jaw.
Lancaster moved. Fast. With fluid grace, he maneuvered Casey behind him and slammed his head into the lunging man’s forehead.
The guy staggered backward. Gaped at Lancaster with stunned shock, swung his gape to Casey and then, as if in slow motion, crumpled to the floor, eyes shut.
Deafening cheers erupted around them. People surged forward, slapping Lancaster on the back. Casey couldn’t stop herself flinching. Jostled from all sides by the jubilant partygoers, she stared at the unconscious man at her feet, her heart pounding fast in her throat.
“Well done,” someone shouted over her head, no doubt at Lancaster. “The guy’s been a tosser all night.”
“And he can’t coach for shit,” someone else contributed.
“’Bout time,” another voice joined in. “Wish I’d had the balls to do it myself.”
More people pressed at them, all eager to shake Lancaster’s hand or pound him on the back. When an elbow collided with Casey’s temple, she knew it was time to get out of there.
Ducking under the arms, she shoved herself through the crush of hot bodies. It would have been easier without the ankle-breaking stilettos she’d borrowed for the evening, of course. Christ, how did women wear these all the time?
Finally free of the madness, she allowed herself a glance back at the boisterous crowd—mostly men—engulfing Lancaster in congratulatory cheers. He stood in the middle, bemused merriment on his handsome face, a bright red spot glowing in the middle of his forehead.
Casey’s pussy fluttered. He was so gorgeous and sexy and she’d kissed him. She’d kissed him. The night couldn’t get any better…or surreal. Which told her it really was time to go.
Heart fast, she turned from her British knight and hurried away.
Somewhere in amongst all this expensive debauchery was her cousin. The one who’d dragged her to the party. She’d find Sharon and they’d head home. As a breakfast-show DJ, Sharon had an early start the next morning and the drive back to Newcastle was a long one. Fingers crossed, her cousin remembered she’d agreed to be the designated driver for the night. Casey wasn’t drunk, but she’d had at least three cocktails. Too many to consider driving.
Not drunk on alcohol, Casey. But seriously drunk on Lancaster’s kisses.
She rolled her eyes at her own corniness. Still, she’d never forget this night, that was for certain. Or Lancaster’s touch. Damn, there was a lifetime of serious fantasies and vibrator fodder right here. In fact, as soon as she got home, she’d pull her rabbit from the top drawer and revisit the wickedly wanton lust the British knight had awoken in her.
It took fifteen minutes to find Sharon. And another thirty seconds to realize her cousin wasn’t driving anywhere.
Standing at the door of what looked like some kind of sexual torture chamber, complete with cameras mounted to the walls—just who’s house was this?—Casey watched her half-naked cousin lick her way up the incredibly sculpted six-pack of the country’s newest soap-opera heartthrob before lifting her face to the country’s newest pop sensation, who began pouring Moët straight from the bottle into her open mouth.
Casey cleared her throat. “Err, Shaz?”
Without pausing in the rather unorthodox consumption of champagne, Sharon wriggled a finger that clearly said not now at her. And then she wriggled her hips on top of the soap-opera heartthrob stretched out on the shag rug beneath her.
Casey licked her lips. The erotic sight was stirring up the lingering pleasure of Lancaster’s hand on her boob. “Shaz, it’s almost eleven and you’ve got to start work at four a.m., remember?”
Her cousin rolled her hips against Actor Heartthrob and smiled up at Pop-star Heartthrob. “I’ll call in sick. They can play a best-of compilation. Besides, no one listens to the radio early Sunday mornings.”
Both men chuckled. The pop star threaded his fingers into Sharon’s hair and directed her face to his stomach. “Want to join us?” he asked Casey, gazing at her with lidded eyes.
“Oh, good idea,” Sharon purred against his six-pack. “Strip off, Casey and come sit on Bobby’s face. He’ll make you come with his—”
Casey spun on her heel and hurried away, her cheeks on fire. Okay, she’d been wrong when she’d thought the night couldn’t get any more surreal. Now what did she do?
Chewing on her bottom lip, she studied the goings on around her. Things were getting wilder. People were making out all over the place. Couples were dirty dancing, there were threesomes and, good Lord, foursomes taking place on almost every sofa. Lines of white powder were disappearing up peoples’ noses. Alcohol was being licked from naked bellies and breasts. She swallowed. Obviously this was how rich people partied.
What did she do?
A moan from the room behind her, followed by a man’s grunt and another moan, told her exactly what Sharon was doing. And it wasn’t excusing herself so she could drive Casey back home. Argh!
Catch a taxi to Central Station and then grab a train home.
Casey’s stomach clenched. Not exactly the best plan, but the only one available to her at the moment, it seemed. If it weren’t for the fact she’d removed a cyst from Mrs. Osborn’s poodle that morning, she’d book into a hotel room. But she’d promised the sweet elderly lady she could come in at six to see how her beloved dog was going, and Casey wouldn’t let her client down.
Which meant taxi and then train.
“Yay,” she muttered, turning away from the particularly open display of sexual gratification taking place against the wall before her. “Travelling on a train all alone in the middle of a Saturday night. This will be fun.”
“I tell you what else is fun,” a deep voice with a smooth British accent murmured on her right. “Head butting a rugby coach.”
Casey’s throat slammed shut. Her pussy fluttered. Her heart quickened. Turning her head, she gazed into dark eyes she could only describe as mischievous.
Sir Addison Lancaster smiled at her, his lips twitching, his face so close to hers she could feel the warmth of his breath tickling her lips.
Her lips instantly remembered how incredible his lips felt against them and promptly told her body in no uncertain terms how much they’d like to feel them there again.
What was the delay?
Lancaster drew closer. “But nowhere near as fun as kissing you,” he murmured. “Do you mind if I do it again?”