Never Tied Down (The Never Duet #2)(5)

By: Anie Michaels



His words weren’t unkind, creepy, or out of line. He was being sweet and obviously trying to flatter me, but I couldn’t ignore the way my heart raced with anxiety. It took everything in me to remain unfazed as I said to him, “I’m sorry, Logan. There’s something I forgot to take care of in the dressing rooms. If you’ll excuse me.” I didn’t wait for him to respond before I took off to head backstage.

When I made it into the lush dressing rooms of the ballet company, I walked straight to the large vanity counter and rested my weight against it, arms stretched out in front of me, head dipped between my shoulders, and breathed deeply.

I feared this was how the rest of my life would go. Any time a man showed any interest I’d lose my composure and panic. It had only happened a few times. I’d sheltered myself so much in the last months, no man really had a chance to get close, but every now and again, someone would say something complimentary or ask me if I was free for a date, and I would close up. Snap shut. Completely lock down. Then I’d spend the next minutes, hours, or sometimes even days trying to block out thoughts of Riot.

I’d been so clear in my desire for him to go away, I made every effort to turn off any residual feelings I had toward him. All of which were unsuccessful. And even though he’d left and gone away, he was still all around me. Sometimes I was convinced I was crazy, and truly I felt that way. If I wasn’t thinking about Marcus then I was thinking about Riot, and it was enough to make me scream. I didn’t want to think about Riot. I wanted the idea of him to be wiped from my memory altogether. I wasn’t angry with him anymore and in truth, I had deep regret for ever being angry with him at all. But there was no way I’d ever be able to be with him.





Chapter Two

Celebrities and Hangers-on

Riot

“Riot, good to see you.” I looked up at the sound of her voice, a polite smile crossing my face. “Thanks for meeting me on such short notice.”

I stood up as Maryanne pulled out the chair across from me, and we both sat down.

“You know I’ll always make time for you.”

“Well, you’ve obviously not been in this business long enough if you’re still willing to drop everything for your agent.” She put her giant bag down on the floor next to her feet and then looked at me, giving a big sigh, as if she were already exhausted by her day, even though it was only 9:00 a.m. “Okay, so, how’s the show going?”

“It’s going great. We’ve shot a few episodes of the new season and I’ve got a really good story line. So far everyone’s been incredible.”

A waitress came and took our coffee orders, and when she left I turned my attention back to Maryanne. “So, I assume there’s a reason you wanted to see me.”

“Yes. I received a phone call and you’ve been invited to a movie premiere.”

“Oh. All right. Sounds fun.”

“Yes, and the most fun part is that you’ve been invited to be Lexi Black’s date.”

“Lexi Black? Isn’t she dating George Lebowitz?”

“It’s irrelevant who she’s dating, she wants to go with you to the movie premiere.”

My eyebrows were drawn to the bridge of my nose and I tried to connect the dots Maryanne was obviously laying out for me. “I’m confused. Why would she want to go with me?”

“It’s a Hollywood thing. She doesn’t want to date you, she just wants to be seen with you, and honestly, I think it could do a lot of good for your career as well.”

“But I haven’t seen her since I did her music video almost a year ago.” I forced my mind to stay in the present, to focus on Maryanne and our conversation, even though I could feel the images of Kalli surfacing, pulling me down. I ran the back of my hand under my chin as a distraction, probably looking as if I were unsure about going to the premiere with Lexi when, in reality, I was trying to keep thoughts of Kalli from taking over.

“That is still her most successful music video, and her people and I agree it would be beneficial for you both to be seen together in public.” She paused, then added, “It’s not a big deal, Riot. You don’t have to sleep with her or anything.”

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