"You work too hard, Eve. When will you come down to visit?"
Evelyn Bright finished putting her eyeliner on and inspected the results in the mirror. She looked ridiculous. She'd spent countless hours watching online make—up tutorials but she could still never get it quite right. She looked like someone had given a five—year—old a marker and told her to go for it.
She sighed and reached for another wet wipe. Before this job, she had worn make—up probably only a handful of times.
"Soon, mum. You know what it's like with all the placements at the hospital."
That lie came out of her mouth so easily these days.
"It's ridiculous that you can't have a break even when the semester is over. We all miss you. At least you only have one more year. You could find a job closer to home once you graduate," her mother continued. "It's too expensive in London."
As always, the guilt ate her up. It had taken her longer than others to even start university and her parents had been so proud. First in the family. But here she was...
"Ah... yes," she answered. "But I've really got to go now. Love you, and pass my love to everyone."
Once her mother came off the phone she sighed and put the phone aside. She would find a way to break the news to her soon. Hopefully.
She fluffed up her curly, auburn hair and inspected her face again. Her skin was olive toned. If she was going to try this again she would have to have an expert choose her make—up. At least she never actually had to go out anywhere, because she would have failed at this job in the very first week.
She finished her usual light make—up without bothering to experiment anymore with the bolder styles and inspected the results. She looked natural and her green eyes popped. It was probably the excitement that was making them look so bright. She pushed the excitement down, or rather, she tried to squash it as much as possible. Hopes and dreams were not allowed here.
With a sigh, she stood up from the dressing table chair and looked in the floor to ceiling mirror. She had bought a new babydoll lingerie set for tonight. It was white, gauzy material and open at the front with a lacy bra that pushed everything up while the knickers were barely there. Hardly anything left to the imagination. It was all there on show, nothing to unwrap.
She didn't know why she even bothered. She would be better off walking around with her tits out all day because none of her efforts ever lasted long anyway. Everything would be ripped off the moment he arrived. She had spent more on knickers this year alone than she had spent in her whole life.
She walked out of the dressing room to look around her bedroom with a critical eye. The huge oak wood pedestal bed stood in the centre as the focal point with its canopy and lacy curtains. It looked like a real Princess' bed; nothing she would have chosen for herself because she was no princess. Matching oak bedside tables, comfortable fluffy rugs everywhere, a chaise lounge on the other end with an oak coffee table in front of it. The quality was obvious, and just this room alone cost more than she would ever be comfortable spending on anything. It was not her.
Nothing was out of place so she picked her wine glass off the custom made tv stand, built around the huge TV that was mounted on the wall. It had been almost a year since she had moved in here and everything was still the same. Maybe because she expected this to end at any moment. She hadn't wanted to form any attachments but lately, she had been failing. Failing so terribly.
She felt the excitement start to build up again but squashed it down.
With a sigh, she headed down the stairs barefoot. It was still summer so the house was nice and warm, but even in the winter, the modern house was economical and efficient, despite its size. It was perfect, and she expected nothing less because he had built it himself.
Once she settled on a sofa in the lounge, she sipped her wine and waited. The clock said she still had ten minutes. She couldn't stop the excitement building up this time. One year in and she still got butterflies like she was a virgin. She should have taken that as a sign to say no to this stupid deal but it was too late now. The ink had dried on the contract many months ago.
Seven on the dot her doorbell rang.
She put her glass down and took a deep, calming breath before she stood and walked out of the lounge. Every step she took down the large entranceway increased the knots in her stomach until she finally pulled open one side of the double doors.
And then her breath stopped.
Roman Ashfield. Still the sexiest bastard in all of England. One look at him turned her knees to jelly so she had to hold on to the door in case she fell and embarrassed herself.
"Good evening, Evelyn," he said in his deep, raspy voice.
The voice got her all the time. Like sweet, sweet music to her ears. He could have been a singer instead of a businessman and would have raked in the same billions.
"Hi," she answered breathlessly.
"Are you going to let me in, or are we putting a show on for the neighbours?"
"Sorry. Yes, come in," she said as she opened the door wider.
He strolled in like he owned the place. Which he did. He owned everything in this house, including her.
She had no neighbours. Roman had planned it that way. Her nearest neighbour was over a mile away, so she was tucked away in the country where no one could see her. Like the dirty secret that she was.
"You could just use your key," she reminded him as she shut the door.
"That would be rude. This is your house," he said.
She tried to stop her eyes from wandering over his body as he took his coat off and hung it in the cloakroom to the side of the entrance. Which was stupid, because she was allowed to look. He belonged to her as much as she did to him, on paper at least.
Roman was six feet five worth of pure muscle. Broad shoulders, an eight pack, the works. And when he turned back to face her, she was struck again by his piercing dark blue eyes. A woman could drown in those eyes. There wasn't a single lock of his luscious dark brown hair that was out of place but by the end of the night, it would all be deliciously tousled. With his neatly trimmed stubble and bone structure of a god, he was always in the Top Ten Bachelor lists in London.
"Ready?" he asked, holding out his hand.
Yes, a woman could drown in those eyes, especially if he looked at them like this.
His gaze slowly travelled down her body before it met hers again, and the scorching heat she saw in them made her breath catch again. She would never understand why he had chosen her, an average Jane from an estate in Birmingham, to do this with, but yes. She was ready. So ready.
She took the hand he offered and let him lead her up the stairs to her bedroom. And then the moment she was in, he closed the door and slowly backed her against it before he brought his lips down.
This was why she was failing. This was why she couldn't separate real life and pretend. This was why she was getting so attached.
Roman kissed like he was made for it. His lips... They fueled heat in her veins that melted her bones. All the time. He worshipped her body like it was just the two of them in the whole world, and she supposed it was. He was her whole world.
When he finally released her, he took a step back as he loosened his tie. She didn't dare move until he told her to, but judging by the way his eyes hooded as he looked at her body, she knew she had been right about the lingerie. It wasn't going to last long at all.