...Theo kicked off his shoes. He then locked and bolted the outer door, and hung his and Stef’s coats in the hall closet. Yes, he wanted Stef, but he felt nervous, unsure, and already he was beginning to think he’d made a huge mistake. He should have played it smart and left Stef to find himself a hotel for the night rather than offer himself up as some kind of sacrificial lamb. Stef was an up-and-coming celebrity, a real mover and shaker, the kind of person who thought it was his God-given right to take whatever he wanted. He was everything Theo was not. And just because Stef had found a way to give him a firsthand taste of his dream, it didn’t mean Theo owed Stef or that his life had suddenly changed, because it hadn’t. His life was the same as it was before the fashion show, and the same as it would be next week and the week after that.
He slid the closet door closed and pressed his hot forehead against the cool wood for a moment. “Feel like a coffee?” he inquired. “Or would you prefer a real drink? I should know better than to drink champagne. It always makes my mouth feel as if it’s been sandblasted dry.”
His taste of stardom had been a one-off, nothing more and nothing less. Simply a case of Stef and Lance being desperate to save face and ensure the success of the show, and he’d been their very willing accomplice. He’d been a means to an end and nothing more. They hadn’t cared about him or about how that one taste of the limelight might affect him. Tomorrow, they’d be off on their next big adventures, and he’d be back working at the beauty parlor, listening to everyone else bitching about their impossible dreams. And how, if only life had been a little kinder and given them this, that or the other to make those dreams come true, they’d all be happy as a bucketful of clams.
Stef’s arms closed around Theo’s body from behind, and Theo stiffened, a little surprised by the clear message conveyed by the intimate embrace. He’d expected the two of them would have sex at some point before the night was over—that had been implicit in the giving and accepting of his invitation—just not this fast.
“Relax,” Stef murmured, kissing the area around Theo’s left ear and sending messages that made Theo’s cock stand up to attention. “We both know what we want, and it’s much more than something to drink.”
“I’m not sure what I want any more,” Theo said, knowing it to be true. Maybe he was confusing gratitude with lust and needed to back off before he got really hurt. “Tonight was a complete mind blower for me in many ways. Now, I need time to come down from the mountain and get myself back to reality.”
“You feel I used you, right? That I didn’t stop to think how something that could never amount to more than a temporary solution might affect you?”
“You’re saying I’m wrong?”
“No, but desperate situations often call for desperate measures. You were our only option and, to be honest, all I thought about was finding a way around your problem so you could solve ours.”
Theo felt a surge of white-hot anger. “Right. I can guess what you were thinking—sacrifice anything and anyone. Do whatever it takes, but just make sure you and Lance don’t come off looking like a pair of incompetents. Well, congrats, bro, you succeeded.”
“It was an emergency. I didn’t stop to think. I simply acted. Please, you must understand that.” He stroked Theo’s neck with his tongue and pressed another kiss just below his ear. “But isn’t it better to have loved and lost, than just to have dreamed about it?”
“You think?” Theo tried for a laugh that failed miserably. He wanted to push Stef off, show him the door, and tell him to get lost. However, he couldn’t do any of those things—didn’t want to do them. He knew Stef had acted in the exact same way anyone in the same position would have acted—in everyone’s best interests, but it didn’t make it any easier. “Tell that to a starving man when you show him a plate of food and then take it away...”