Unfortunately, being forced into a premature property purchase by the combined efforts of her stalker and the paparazzi had put her in a deep financial hole. She now had a monster of a mortgage; her security team didn’t come cheap either. Neither did the gardening team she’d had to hire to maintain the property. The instant she let things go, rumors would start, and right now she needed to fake it until she made it.
“The cosmetics deal will get me mostly out of my mortgage hole unless something goes horribly wrong—like if I break out in a sudden case of acne.”
Noah snorted. “That’s what airbrushing is for.”
Laughing, she shook her head. “I’m not kidding, it’s in the contract.”
He shot her a disbelieving look. “Acne?”
“Not that specifically—any facial injury or outbreak or general hideousness,” Kit said, her shoulders shaking. “They can airbrush the ads, sure, but if a paparazzo gets a real-life shot of me looking unacceptably rough, there goes my value as a promotional asset.”
If Kit hoped for a renewal after the initial one-year term, she had to make sure she looked good even if she was heading to the gym or popping out to grab groceries. “There’s also an ‘unacceptable weight gain’ clause, but hey, at least my lawyer got the ‘moral turpitude’ one struck out.”
Noah scowled. “You should’ve told the assholes to shove it where the sun don’t shine.”
“Giant mortgage, remember?” She shrugged. “It’s almost like another acting gig for me, and to be honest, the cosmetics people treat me nicer than most directors.”
“You’re fielding movie offers left and right.” Noah angled the plane east in the crystalline blue sky. “You don’t have to do anything that makes you unhappy.”
He was so protective of her, always had been. He’d come to her town house in the middle of the night when she’d freaked out after catching a photographer peering through the window; he’d also made the police take the stalking seriously from the very start. That protectiveness was part of the reason why his betrayal had hurt her so badly. It was as if he’d become a different person that night, a person who didn’t care about her at all.
“That’s just it.” Chest hurting, she looked out the window. “The cosmetics deal will give me the freedom to sign more movies like Last Flight. Not that I didn’t have fun doing the superhero movie, but my heart tends to sway toward script-driven dramas.”
“You’re an amazing actress.” Noah loved watching her on-screen. “Whatever you choose, you make it better.”
“Some scripts can’t be saved, Noah.” An unexpected laugh.
His lungs began to work again. He’d caught Kit hesitating and choosing her words several times during the flight, and her body language… there was distance there. Distance he’d created, so he couldn’t fucking cry about it now.
“Harper got this one offer for a movie about erotic insect-women who wanted to sex men to death.” She was no longer staring out the window, her smile like sunshine. “I was meant to be the insect empress, and oh, I got to wear the ‘diamond’ string bikini.”
Noah tried very hard not to imagine Kit in a string bikini; the last thing he needed was a hard-on. Kit was flat out the sexiest woman he knew. “Tell me you still have the script,” he said, managing to pull off a light response.
“I might have saved it.”
He smiled. “Was that the worst one?” Talking to her this way, it felt like having his Kit back again. “No wait, I want to know something else more.”
“Did Hugh make an offer yet?” he said, referring to the owner of the most well-known adult magazine in the world.
“Yep. Hundred grand.”
“Pfft. Total lowball. Hold out for at least nine figures.”
Open laughter. “I don’t think they paid that much even for Abigail Rutledge, and she’s the reigning queen of the A-list.”
Noah was suddenly sorry he’d brought up the topic. The idea of random men jacking off to Kit’s naked body made him want to punch out the lights of every other male in the fucking world. “Would you do it?” he forced himself to ask. “Pose nude for the right money or the right photographer?”
“Nope. And I won’t do nude scenes either—it’s in all my contracts. If the director wants a flash of breasts or whatever, they bring in a body double. No exceptions, and I don’t care if the stance loses me roles.”