Wednesday, March 16, 2016

First Chapter Reveal: Changing Teams by Jennifer Allis Provost






Title: Changing Teams
Author: Jennifer Allis Provost
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Pages: 36
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Britt Sullivan, part time model and full time aspiring artist, is sick of living alone in the city… 

Taking lame jobs just to make ends meet is leading Britt nowhere, and she knows something has to change. She needs some excitement, and when she meets blue-eyed Midwesterner Sam MacKellar at a photo shoot, she realizes he’s perfect for her in every way—well, except for the fact that he’s gay. 

A devastating childhood trauma turned Sam’s whole life into a lie… 

Sam came to
New York City to escape an existence that had become unbearable, and when his job as a photographer’s assistant leads him to Britt, he realizes he’s finally met someone who sees him as he really is. But plagued by nightmares and trapped by his own deception, he doesn’t know how she can truly be part of his life. 

Friendship leads to a passionate encounter and hidden dangers… 

Britt comforts Sam though his nightmares, and they begin to explore their mutual attraction, but the tables are turned when Britt faces unwelcome attention from a manipulative art instructor and Sam must come to her defense. 

Sam is terrified to reveal the source of his nightmares, sure the truth would shatter his complicated relationship with Britt, but when she suffers an unspeakable trauma of her own, only Sam can help her pick up the pieces. 

When Britt learns the magnitude of Sam’s lies, will his reasons and the depth of their feelings be enough to allow her to forgive him? Does she have a future with Sam, or does his deception also include the reality of changing teams?

For More Information


Chapter One
Britt

“So, how much cleavage?”
I blinked. “Um, what are you talking about?”
“Cleavage. Boobage. The girls.” Sam nodded toward my breasts. “How much are you comfortable showing?”
The question was a valid one, being that I’d been hired as the cover model for a romance novel and was standing in costume at said novel’s photo shoot. Since the story was set in the eighteenth century, my costume consisted of miles and miles of rich ochre silk and frothy white lace; as gowns went, it weighed a ton. It came equipped with a set of underpinnings that resembled torture devices more than garments, including a corset that pushed my breasts almost up to my chin.
Since I couldn’t resist flirting with the cute boy, I gave Sam my slyest grin. “Well, it is a bodice ripper, isn’t it?”
Sam threw back his head and laughed. He was the superhot assistant to Nash Williams, currently the hottest photographer in New York City, and we’d been teasing each other with abandon since we’d met earlier that day. “That it is, darlin’.”
I glanced down at my already overflowing cleavage. “Aren’t I showing enough already?”
“C’mere, darlin’,” Sam said. “Let me, the master of fluffers, fluff your breasts to perfection.” I stepped closer, letting Sam straighten the side seams of my bodice, then he tugged at the lace edging. “We have a few options here, darlin’, and it all depends on how daring you’d like to be.”
I could do daring. “And those options are?”
“We can keep the lace edging right here,” Sam said, running his index finger along the top edge of the silk but below the lacy ruffles. “It’s a good, sexy look. Or, we could place this seam right below your nips.”
“Below?” I repeated. “What is this, porn?”
He waved my concern away. “Please, a nipple or two hardly constitutes porn. Turn around and face the mirror, and let me show you what I mean.”
Eyeing him dubiously, I turned toward the full-length mirror. Sam stood behind me and began his demonstration by pushing my breasts together to deepen my cleavage. Since I’d been modeling for years I was no stranger to nudity, or having my body and clothing adjusted rather intimately by someone I’d just met, but I’d never had someone that looked like Sam doing the adjusting. He was well over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and thick quads that bespoke a muscular frame, and had this sexy accent that I couldn’t quite place; Southern, maybe? His dark hair was boyishly tousled, his blue eyes were piercing, and that devilish, lopsided smile of his completed a rather attractive package.
Too bad he was gay. Also of note: that gay man was lowering my bodice way past my nipples.
“Hey,” I said, trying to squirm away.
Sam clamped a strong hand on my hip, and nodded toward the mirror, “Have a look, darlin’.”
I did, and saw that while the gown’s upper edge was indeed resting just below my nipples, the lacy ruffles still covered most of my breast. I’d worried such a low neckline would make me look sleazy, but this was more like decadent elegance.
“Wow,” I said. “That does take it to the next level.”
“Sure does.” Sam grinned. “Best of all, anyone looking straight at you won’t even see your cute little nips.”
I smirked at his reflection. “But anyone standing over me, like you, gets a show.” Seriously, anyone taller than me would be treated to a full view of my naked breasts. It was like they were sitting out on a platter.
Sam nestled my hips against his, cupping my breasts as he adjusted them further. “Don’t worry about me, darlin’. You don’t have the equipment I’m after.”
“Then why do you keep touching me?”
“Hey now, it’s my job to make you look good. Not that you weren’t gorgeous to begin with,” he added. Sam’s hands left my breasts as he focused his attention on my hair, which had been looped and curled into a rather fussy up-do. “Now, if you’re being ravished by our hero, I imagine a few of these pins would have come loose,” he said, freeing a few tendrils to float around my shoulders. “That’s better, softens up your look a bit.”
“Who’s this hero going to be?” I asked, meaning the other model for the shoot. As if on cue a door opened behind us, and Sam and I watched in the mirror as a fortyish man entered the studio. My counterpart for the shoot was almost as tall as Sam, but he had shoulder length blond hair and wasn’t half as muscular. He was wearing a gentleman’s version of formal eighteenth century dress, complete with frilled cuffs and a frock coat. He strode directly to the cyc wall, with three assistants—who needs three assistants? The queen of fricken’ England?—following close behind. Then, he unbuttoned his coat and shirt and one of the assistants started rubbing something on his chest.
“Are they oiling him?” I looked up at Sam. “Really, oiling? Is he pretending to be a romance novel sex god or something?”
Sam snorted. “Giovanni wishes he was a sex god. I’ve seen him naked at more than one shoot, and I happen to know that his cock bears an uncanny resemblance to an uncooked French fry.”
I laughed out loud, the force of which sent my left boob popping free of my corset. “Maybe we should keep my nipples covered.”
“Nah, let’s give ol’ Gio a run for his money.” Sam turned me around, then he set to work on my bodice. “I mean it, you really do have great breasts,” he said as he wrestled my breast back inside my gown, pinching my nipple in the process. I wondered if that was accidental. “Nash has this ongoing harem girl series; you should audition for it.”
I stared at Sam, unsure how I felt about the hot gay guy telling me I should sign up for a bunch of topless photos, not to mention all the fondling. “If you keep it up with the cupping and pinching, I’m going to cup and pinch something of my own,” I warned.
“I love it when you tease me, baby.” Sam extended his arm and I tucked my hand into his elbow. As we crossed the set toward Giovanni, Sam whispered in my ear, “Now darlin’, you need to keep your nips up,” he advised. “If you let them go flat, your dress will slip and it’ll ruin the look.”
“I can’t exactly control my nipples,” I said, wondering if men were capable of exerting some sort of influence over their mammary glands that women just couldn’t mimic.
“Don’t worry, darlin’, if they go down I’ll just come after you with an ice cube.” When my eyes widened at his threat, Sam laughed and gave me a gentle push toward the cyc wall. “Now, don’t you fret over a bit of ice. Just get over there and be beautiful.”
I tried glaring at Sam, but his infectious grin won me over. “You come after me with ice and I’ll retaliate in kind.”
“I’ve no doubt you will, darlin’.”

***

The photo shoot hadn’t exactly gone as planned, and it was only partially the fault of my breasts. Since Giovanni was taller and therefore looking down at me, he was treated to the full view of my cleavage. As it turned out Giovanni was a breast man, and decided to enhance his already extensive view of my assets by dipping me backward until my breasts popped all the way out of my gown. Ever the gentleman, Giovanni then sought to conceal my wardrobe malfunction by hauling me upright and pressing my breasts against his oily chest.
A world of yuck.
Chivalry notwithstanding, that move left my skin and the bodice of my gown covered with greasy stains. What the hell had he spread across his chest, rendered bear fat? Since the only available period gown was now ruined, the photographer, Nash, ended up positioning me so that my back was to the camera, my face in profile as Giovanni speared me with his sultry gaze; Giovanni’s description, not mine. Of course, Giovanni’s oily chest remained in full view.
Despite the mishaps we had, the final images were breathtaking. For all my griping, Giovanni really could turn on the smolder, and the uber-tight gown showcased my waist and back. All in all, Giovanni and I could pull off a cover.
“You’ve got a great look,” Nash said as he signed some paperwork so I could collect my fee. “I’d like to use you in a few other projects—if you’re free, that is.”
For the three hundred dollar fee he offered, boy was I ever. “Sam mentioned you had a harem-themed series going?”
Nash smiled. “Did he, now? Yes, I do have that series in the works. Do you have a comp card?”
“I do,” I replied, grabbing one from my bag. It featured a rather sexy shot of me on the front, with the reverse listing my measurements, eye color, shoe size, and other fascinating things about me.
“I’ll call.”
With that, Nash gave me a courtly nod and went off to deal with whatever photographers deal with after a shoot wraps up. As for me, I handed in my paperwork to the accountant, then I headed home to my studio apartment, intent on washing off Giovanni’s oily residue. I hoped it wouldn’t make my chest break out. That, I did not need.



Chapter Two
Sam

After the cover shoot wrapped and most everyone else had gone home, I puttered around the studio seeing to things that both were and were not part of my job description. While Nash employed several individuals who were perfectly capable of making sure that models were booked and sets and costumes were available, I didn’t mind handling those tasks myself. What I did mind was the chance that one of those tasks wouldn’t be completed, and the subsequent delays we’d suffer.
There was also the fact that I was soaking up information like a sponge, and fully planned to use every last detail when I opened up my own studio. I’d come to New York intent on being a photographer, not some other photographer’s assistant, and my pride had taken a hefty blow when I accepted Nash’s offer of employment. The common sense portion of my brain had recognized the opportunity for what it was, so I shelved my dreams for a time and made myself indispensable to the fashion scene’s current favorite photographer. In another year or so, I would open my own studio and take the city by storm, not to mention take Nash’s place.
As I made my final circuit of the studio proper, I spied a woman’s denim jacket flung across the back of a chair. Since I didn’t recognize the jacket as belonging to one of our employees, and that we’d only had a few for-hire individuals on site, I deduced that the garment was owned by one Britt Sullivan, the lovely young thing who’d stood for the cover.
No, calling Britt lovely was an understatement. When she’d shown up at the shoot wearing skinny jeans, black cowboy boots, and a slouchy gray and black off the shoulder tee, I couldn’t help but notice her. She had long, light brown hair with just enough wave, clear honey brown eyes, and curvy hips that I wanted to grab hold of and never let go. If we’d been back home in Iowa, all the local jocks would have been vying for her, enticing her with pop and cotton candy, and winning her musty stuffed animals at the local fair. Thank God we weren’t in Iowa.
I managed to play it cool when Nash introduced me to Britt, and I’d even flirted a bit with the new model. Then Britt put on her costume for the shoot, an eighteenth century gown made of a tawny silk that paled next to her rich, almost golden hair, and I nearly lost it. I’d been an artist and photographer for years, and worked with many models garbed in sumptuous costumes as well as nude, but none of them had ever taken my breath away.
What the hell was wrong with me, getting all worked up over a woman?
I shook my head, clearing all those unsuitable thoughts from my mind, and picked up the jacket. It wasn’t remarkable in any way, just a generic cotton garment from a department store chain, but it held my attention nonetheless. After I stared at it for a few seconds, I went to my laptop and looked up Britt’s number. I was punching it into my phone less than a minute later.
“Hello?”
“Is this Britt Sullivan?” I asked.
“It is,” she replied. “Who am I talking to?”
“This is Sam MacKellar, Nash’s assistant,” I explained. “I believe you left your jacket at my studio.”
“Oh! I’m so glad you found it. I’m sorry, I don’t usually leave things behind.”
“No worries,” I said. “I can deliver it to you, if you’d like. Are you near the studio?”
“I’m a few blocks away.”
I glanced at the time on my laptop; it was just before six. “Want to meet up at Catalonia at seven?” I asked. “It’s that new tapas place.”
“Is that the one with the raw bar?”
“I believe so.”
“All right, Sam MacKellar, it’s a date.”
With that Britt ended the call, and I stared at the phone in my hand. Had I really just asked a girl out on a date? Well, the lady was mistaken because this event was not a date. This was a jacket-returning, nothing more.
I left the studio and swung by my apartment to change my shirt; just because I was going out on a not-date didn’t mean I couldn’t look good. After I’d exchanged my black tee for a dark purple one and swapped my black Chucks for my favorite Doc Martins, I headed on over to Catalonia.
I found Britt seated at the bar, sipping a glass of red wine. She was wearing the same slouchy gray and black striped tee and skinny jeans from earlier, her long hair pulled forward over her shoulder. Since she wasn’t wearing her jacket I saw that the back of her shirt had a low neckline, exposing her to below her shoulder blades. I’d never known that a woman’s back could be so beguiling.
“Your jacket, darlin’,” I said, presenting her the garment as I claimed the chair next to her.
“Thank you,” she said, draping the jacket across the back of her chair. “I hope you don’t mind, but I ordered for you.”
“Ordered what for me?” I asked, then the bartender set a pint of beer before me. He glanced at Britt and winked at me before wandering back down the bar; wow, did he ever have the wrong idea. Seemed like everyone did except me. “No wine for me?”
“You strike me as more of a beer guy.” Britt eyed my shirt. “I see you changed. Sort of.”
“Sort of?” I shot back, then that nosy bartender returned with a plate of raw oysters and another set of winks. He deposited a rack of various sauces and lemon wedges before us a moment later. “Did you order us half the place?”
“You have to get oysters at happy hour,” Britt said. “They’re only a dollar each—and they’re frickin’ awesome.” She grabbed an oyster and slurped it right off the shell, then she grinned. “Go ahead, try one.”
“I’ve had oysters before. One of my favorites, in fact,” I said, then I made a show of squeezing lemon over one before downing it myself. Man, those were good oysters. “You know, there’s a better way to eat them.”
“Is there?” Britt asked, raising an eyebrow. “Tell me, O Wise One.”
“There surely is.” I got the bartender’s attention, and ordered two oyster shooters.
“They’re in tomato sauce?” Britt asked once our shooters were delivered. Being that each shooter consisted of a raw oyster nestled in a tall shot glass of red liquid, she’d made a reasonable assumption.
“No, Bloody Mary mix,” I clarified. “Along with a shot of pepper vodka and a bit of horseradish.”
Britt looked down into her shot glass. “Sounds decadent. And spicy.”
“Correct on both counts.” I raised my shooter; a moment later Britt did the same and we clinked glasses. “Cheers,” I said, then I downed my shooter.
“Cheers,” Britt reciprocated, though she only downed half of the liquid in one gulp, and none of the oyster. She scowled at her glass, then she chugged the rest like a champ.
“Oh!” Britt fanned her face, then she reached for her wine. “I think I got horseradish up my nose.”
“Have my beer instead,” I said, sliding the pint glass toward her. “There’s a reason why no one adds horseradish to Merlot.”
“Thank you,” she said after she gulped down some beer. “You’re right, that would have been gross.”
I grinned. “Up for another?”
She grinned back. “Bring it.”

***

Britt and I spent the next few hours talking, drinking, and downing all the crazy seafood concoctions we could handle. My dining companion proved to be the adventurous sort, sampling everything from squid cooked in its own ink to a plate of yellowfin crudo. However, she drew a hard line at the octopus salad.
“Those tentacles are just so…tentacle-y,” she said, poking at the item in question. “You’re really going to eat that?”
“I’m really going to eat it.” Then I made good on my words and downed the sucker. Truth be told octopus wasn’t my favorite, but the look of sheer horror on Britt’s face made eating it more than worthwhile.
“Ugh,” she shuddered, clutching her stomach. “What if one of those tentacles grabs hold of your insides?”
“Well then, I reckon I’ll have me a permanent pet,” I replied. Britt shuddered again and sipped her wine. I withdrew my phone from my back pocket, frowning when I saw the time.
“Getting pretty late for a Wednesday evening, darlin’,” I said as I set my credit card down on the bar. “I’d best be getting you home. We don’t want you showing up for a shoot with puffy eyes.”
“Oh, I’m not modeling tomorrow,” she said. “But you probably have work.”
“That I do.”
The bartender took my card and the check, and Britt frowned. “Did you just pay for the whole thing?”
“Seems that way,” I replied. Since Britt had arrived with the intention of eating dollar oysters and sipping four dollar glasses of Merlot, I couldn’t expect her to foot the bill for the culinary adventure I’d taken her on. “Take care of the tip, if you like.”
She scowled at me, then she fished in her purse and dropped a twenty on the bar. “You really didn’t have to do that.”
“Where I come from, a gentleman pays the bill.”
She laughed shortly. “Yeah, well, it’s not like we’re on a date.”
Okay, that comment stung. I knew Britt wasn’t trying to be hurtful, and she was right, this was not a date. However, when she said it out loud it made me realize how much I wanted to be on a date with her. I wanted it a lot.
God, why did I want this woman so much? Had I taken a blow to the head?
The bartender brought me my receipt, and I scrawled my name on the dotted line. I also added an extra twenty to the tip. Yeah, maybe we’d gotten a bit too extravagant with all that seafood. The bill thus settled, I stood and Britt followed suit.
“Which way to your place?” I asked once we were outside the restaurant.
“Seeing me home?” she asked, batting her eyelashes at me. “You really are a gentleman, aren’t you?”
“My momma raised me right,” I said. “If she, or my gran, had the slightest notion I hadn’t walked a lady home they’d tan my hide but good.”
“Even now?”
“Especially now, since I’m old enough to know better.”
Britt looped her arm with mine, and we headed down the sidewalk. “Well, I’d hate for you to get in trouble on my account. Come on, it’s this way.”
A block and a half later found us standing in front of an apartment building. “This is it,” Britt said, then she stood on her toes and kissed my cheek.
“What was that for?” I asked.
“For bringing me my jacket, for buying dinner,” she replied. “And for hanging out with me. I know you must be busy.”
“I’m not that busy,” I said, “but you’re very welcome.”
Britt smiled, then she petted my cheek. “And let your beard grow in, will you? This stubble’s all scratchy.”
“Yeah, we wouldn’t want you getting beard burn on your lips.”
“That would be awful.”
We stood there grinning at each other, only stopping when a passing pedestrian sneered that we should get a room. “Well, upstairs with you,” I said, jerking my chin toward the door. “Get some rest, young lady.”
“Yes, sir,” Britt said. “Night, Sam.”
I watched Britt enter her building, and was still watching a few minutes later when a light flickered on up on the third floor. A moment later Britt appeared in the window, waving at me. I waved back, then I turned and headed toward my own apartment. Normally I would have taken a cab, but I needed to clear my head. I’d just spent the best few hours in longer than I cared to remember, and I’d spent them with a woman on a not-date. A woman that I was seriously considering calling again.
What the hell had I just gotten myself into?


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