That was on purpose. Kit had studied actors and actresses who managed to land big deals without being constant paparazzi fodder, intended to follow their lead: be classy, be elegant, don’t hang out at the celebrity hot spots, and don’t wear things that shouted for photographers to take snaps.
“Why do you do this to me?” Basil put a hand on his heart, his English accent incongruously posh. “I don’t suppose you two will hold hands? I can sell it as a secret romance. It’ll be great for both your profiles.”
Noah, dressed in ripped black jeans and a black T-shirt featuring a band he loved, paired with his usual scuffed boots, gave the photographer the finger instead, careful to time it so it was between shutter clicks.
Basil swore but walked off to stalk more financially rewarding targets. Forgetting him because, in truth, Basil was one of the more reasonable paps Kit ran into on a regular basis, she nodded at an upcoming boutique. “In here.”
There were four other women inside already, including a glossily put-together clerk. Every single one—from the eighty-something matriarch with a face kept youthful by an excellent surgeon, to the ten-year-old in sparkly sneakers—took a deep breath when Noah walked in behind Kit, having held the door open for her.
Kit couldn’t blame them. He was impossibly beautiful, but he wasn’t pretty. No, he had that hard edge that said he’d break hearts and beds too. Women gravitated toward him. Was it any wonder that he took advantage?
Hand fisting at her side, she forced herself to smile as the clerk came over.
“Ms. Devigny,” the clerk said, her curly hair ruthlessly tamed into a neat knot and her body clad in a black tunic-style dress. “It’s so good to see you. I have a lovely dress I think you might like.”
“Thank you, Hailey.” Accompanying the rail-thin part-time model to the back wall of the boutique, she examined the jewel-green sheath dress with a gorgeous design element on the right side of the lower half.
“The beading is hand-stitched,” Hailey told her. “Just a touch, so it’s light enough for daytime but can be dressed up for the night if you’re going day to night.”
“I like it,” Noah said from behind her, her body prickling with a primal awareness of his masculine presence. “It’s too long for you though.”
He was right. The dress looked as if it would hit her at the wrong part of the calf, and it couldn’t be brought up without ruining the beading. “I’ll try it anyway, just in case.”
When she did, she found her and Noah’s doubts were justified.
“Hey, Kit,” he said from outside the large changing room. “Fashion show.”
Opening the door, she stepped out to twirl with a hand on her hip. “Definitely too long but I wish it wasn’t.”
“You make it look gorgeous,” Noah said, and for a moment, as their eyes caught and held, it was too much, too painful, too beautiful.
Thankfully, Hailey hurried over right then to exclaim over the dress, though she, too, had to admit it was the wrong length. She showed Kit three other pieces, but nothing worked.
“Next stop is on the other side of those traffic lights,” she said to Noah after they left the boutique.
“What’s with that dress?” He was pointing toward a designer piece in red leather in the window of an exclusive salon. “It looks like a deranged serial killer took a shredder to it.”
“Fashion, darling,” Kit said in her best fashionista voice. “You clearly have no taste, no je ne sais quoi.”
“Nope,” said the gorgeous man who constantly wore disreputable jeans and whatever T-shirt he could find, and looked hotter than any other man on the planet. Right now he had a thick metal chain going from the front left pocket of his jeans to the back. That was dressing up for Noah.
Dropping the phony accent as her traitorous, addicted-to-Noah body threatened to focus on the way his butt looked in those jeans, she said, “The dress is a monstrosity. Want to go ask the price?”
“They let you ask the price?”
Kit shrugged, they looked at each other, then went in. Keeping a straight face at the five-figure price tag was difficult, but they managed it until they were outside and past the shop.
“What are you wearing to the gala?” Kit asked once she’d caught her breath and they were safely across the street. “I assumed it was black tie.” Thea had already lined up a couple of designers who wanted to put Kit in one of their gowns.
“Yeah, it is.” A sigh. “I’ll put on a fucking penguin suit because it’s my aunt’s deal.”