Noah’s blood boiled, but he grabbed the fury in an iron fist, squeezed. Kit wouldn’t thank him for making a scene at her place of work. “You’ll be waiting one hell of a long time,” he said lightly, unable to stop himself from adding a cocky smile designed to piss Terrence off.
The other man stepped forward, arms unfolding as if he was going to take a swing. Noah wasn’t about to allow that to happen. “You want to take me on?” he said in a frigid tone. “Fine. Choose your time and place, but it sure as hell won’t be at the studio.” They were surrounded by people with phones, many of whom would love to make a few extra bucks by selling a shot to the tabloids. “Someone’s probably already gotten a snap of you approaching me.”
Terrence stared at Noah for a minute longer before turning and walking away. He’d unfisted his hand, but his shoulders remained bunched up. Though Noah tried to stay pissed off at the guy, it proved impossible—Terrence had a right to be angry. Yeah, the scriptwriter had apparently been a dick after the gala photos came out, but jealousy could do that to a man. All indications were that prior to the gala, Terrence had treated Kit with utmost care.
He crushed his paper coffee cup and threw it in a nearby trash can, then walked back to the car. There was a small yellow flyer on the windshield. Probably a sneaky promotional attempt by a small-time movie company hoping to catch the eye of a studio bigwig. Everyone had to hustle.
Not against such self-starting behavior, he pulled the flyer out from under the wiper blade and turned it over. “Fuck.”
Printed on the yellow paper was a black-and-white photograph of him and Kit. It had been taken at the festival and had the look of a professional shot. If he had to guess, he’d say it had been printed off a news or magazine site. From what he could tell, it had originally been a shot of Kit sitting in the circle of his arms on the Zenith grounds, a smile on her face and his head bent toward her own.
On this copy, however, the stalker had scrubbed out most of Noah’s face with a black marker until he’d torn a hole in the paper. He’d then switched to red ink to write the word “WHORE” across Kit’s face.
About to crush the fucking thing into a ball, he remembered what Kit had done and dug around in his glove box, found a plastic bag he’d stuffed in there. He placed the flyer inside, then put the whole thing in the glove box. He didn’t want to tell Kit about it and ruin her hopefully amazing day, but he had to so she’d know the creep did in fact have access to the studio lot.
He wanted to demand he come along with her every day she needed to be here, but knew she’d never stand for that. At least she’d have Butch and Casey with her. Damn it, how had the fucker known she and Noah had left the guards at home today? The most likely explanation was that the stalker had made it a point to learn the faces of Kit’s security staff, been confident no one was watching the car.
Glancing around, Noah saw crew from the outdoor shoot walking this way and that. A lantern-jawed action star was standing talking to a bearded director. The actor and Kit had dated just over a year ago, and according to what Noah had picked up, the breakup had been anything but amicable. Kit and Action Dude had barely had two dates when the fuckwit leaked their “hot and heavy relationship” to the media. Apparently, it had all been pure fantasy—and Kit had broken things off at once.
Terrence stood not far off, arguing with a short, plump woman over something.
Those two were hardly the sole or even the best suspects. Action Dude was banging a centerfold-turned-reality-star now—and lapping up the attendant media coverage. As for Terrence, the jealousy-laced venom had continued to pour forth even when Kit had been dating the writer.
Still, stalkers were mentally unstable, so that didn’t automatically take Terrence off the suspect list. He could’ve thought to scare Kit to force her to rely on him. And the action star could be banging one woman while obsessed with another. Noah would make sure the bodyguards knew to keep an eye on both men if they were nearby.
But there were so many others around, any one of whom could’ve become obsessed with Kit after she smiled at him politely, or maybe said “thank you” for a cup of coffee. That’s all it took for the deluded to create a whole life, a whole relationship inside their head. That gaffer or that set-construction guy, or even that overweight character actor, it could be any of them.
Frustrated, he turned to face the door through which Kit had disappeared. It opened at the same instant to reveal the woman at the center of his thoughts. Her face was expressionless. Noah knew that could mean either very good news or very bad news. Taking his cue from her, he stayed silent as they got in the car and drove away.