“No, but I watch those entertainment shows sometimes. Guilty pleasure. I think I saw the news on XYZ. Sounds like both of you are single. Are you two dating?”
“No, but I asked her to be the face of my new line.”
“Oh, son, that’s great news. I love it! She’ll be perfect.”
“That’s what I thought, too. But now I realize there may be a problem.”
“I used to have feelings for her years ago. There’s still an attraction.”
“And that’s a problem because?”
“Because it complicates the workplace. I don’t need the drama. Don’t know if I can handle the distraction. It might be too much.”
“Sounds like a challenge. My son doesn’t usually run from those. Will she be at the show in New York?”
Ace sighed. “I guess.”
“I’d like to meet her.”
“Mom, I’m calling to discuss what I perceive as a problem and your answer is that you want to meet my problem. What’s wrong with this picture?”
“There’s nothing wrong with the picture, son. Everything about the picture might be right. And that’s what scares you. Don’t let what happened with Jessica rob you of a life with the right woman. I can tell you from personal experience that there’s nothing like living life with the one you love.”
“How is Hank?”
“Your stepfather is fine. He’s not coming to the show, though. Says he doesn’t do froufrou stuff.”
“But you still want two tickets, right?”
“I’ll let you know.”
The office phone rang.
“Hold on a moment, Mom.” He muted the cell phone and picked up the landline’s receiver. “This is Ace.”
“Ace, it’s Tyler. The photographer’s here and everything’s set. We’re ready for your direction.”
“On my way.” He switched calls and headed toward the door. “Mom, I’ve got to go take care of business.”
“All I have to say is that hopefully part of that business includes London.”
He ended the call and headed to the warehouse where Tyler and Lucien were coordinating looks. Ace was ready to decide on outfits but braced himself to endure London’s photo shoot. No doubt she would look incredibly stunning, beyond desirable, good enough to eat. And Ace knew from last night’s experience she was one tasty treat.
Definitely a problem, but maybe his mom was right. London Drake just might turn out to be the best darn problem he’d ever had.
It did not surprise Ace that London was good. She’d been modeling for years, had done hundreds of shoots and was the utmost professional. Yet he hadn’t expected her to be all that she was that night. The shoot took hours. Her hair was filled with waist-length extensions. Headache heavy, Ace assumed. The stilts were high, hard, uncomfortable and necessary for most of the shots. There was not one complaint. She didn’t just wear the clothes. She embodied them, made them come alive. As the photographer and crew set up the last shot of the night, Mira joined Tyler and Ace on the roof. It began to rain.
Ace frowned at the sky. “You couldn’t wait another ten minutes?”
“It looks like that’s a wrap,” Mira said. “See you two inside.”
“I was hoping, too, bro.” Tyler took an umbrella from an astute assistant and passed one to Ace.
The two watched a flurry of activity on the other side of the roof. Assistants rushed to London, one with a tarp, another with an umbrella, a third with a stepladder to help her down. London called the photographer over.
“I’m going to go see if she can come in tomorrow and finish the shoot,” Ace said to Tyler, already walking toward the group.
Tyler nodded and turned to go inside. London was still on the ledge, huddled under the tarp. The photographer was bent over his equipment case. Ace decided to start there. No need to see if London was available if the photographer was already booked.
“What do you think? Did we get enough for some great ads or should I add another day?”
“Yes and no,” the photographer said, rising, another camera in hand. “Is that material waterproof?”