One thing was certain: Beth was good. She knew exactly what she wanted before she even started shooting, and usually got it quickly. She made the models feel comfortable and at ease with their nudity, which showed in the pictures.
But Nathan's gaze wasn't on the nude model in the water. It was on Bethany. Those long legs, that tight ass he'd caught in bikinis that made his cock twitch, and long blonde hair he thought often of running his fingers through.
“We got it,” he heard her say, and everyone broke out in applause. “Great job, everybody.”
The model smiled broadly as she stepped out of the water, and someone came forward to wrap a terry robe around her. She and Beth spoke softly for a moment; then the model went back inside to change while Beth scrolled through the pictures on the computer.
Nathan moved to stand behind her. A soft wind blew, carrying her scent to his nose, and he inhaled deeply. Leaning down, Nathan moved his lips close to her ear but said nothing, just watched the screen over her shoulder. It didn't take her long to notice him. She jumped, turning to stare at him in surprise.
Her hand fluttered to her chest as her eyes narrowed at him in annoyance. “Don't sneak up on me like that!” she snapped.
His lips twitched in amusement. “You didn't see my reflection in the computer?”
“Not at first. I was studying the picture.”
He nodded toward the screen. “Nice shot.”
She scooted her chair a little farther away, making room for him. “I like the way the light catches the highlights in her hair,” she replied, pointing toward the model's blonde curls.
Despite the light, Beth's hair was prettier. Or maybe he was just prejudiced. She'd lightened her hair, going more platinum. It suited her.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
There was a slight quiver to her voice. Nathan turned to study her, wondering at her nervousness.
“I couldn't get an answer on your cell. Jacob wanted me to remind you about the dinner planned for tonight.”
She nodded, her throat twitching as she swallowed. “The rodeo place, right?”
“Yeah. They're leaving for dinner at eight thirty. The usual publicity pictures at the mansion around eight.”
Beth nodded. Her tongue flicked out to lick at her lips, and Nathan's heart skipped a beat. He wanted to do that, run his tongue along her mouth, taste her lips, and inhale her essence and the evidence of her arousal.
“Are you going to edit those today?” he asked, nodding toward the pics.
“I think so. I also want to edit Sarah's.” She glanced around quickly before continuing. “Jacob asked me to get a few test shots of her. I think she'll be our next centerfold.”
Nathan raised an eyebrow, and she pointed at him, giving him the most adorably firm stare. “And don't you say a word.”
“I wouldn't dream of it,” he replied with a chuckle.
She pursed her lips before turning back to the computer. “Are you going tonight?”
“Do you want me to?”
She spun around and stared at him, her eyes wide, her mouth opening, then quickly closing. “I was just asking, Nathan. It doesn't really matter.”
“No?” he asked, studying her closely.
She started to say something, but Jeremy interrupted. Nathan frowned at the intrusion but stood by patiently. He was determined to get an answer. After a few moments of listening to them discuss what needed to be done, Nathan blew out a harsh breath, leaned down to grab Beth's arm, and tugged her from the chair.
“Jeremy, if you don't know what to do by now, you're a lousy assistant. I need to speak to Beth in private. Handle it.”
“Nathan,” Bethany argued but followed behind him without too many objections as he pulled her to the dark alcove behind the waterfall.
The temperature inside the darkened space dropped drastically, and he noticed Beth shiver slightly at the dampness. Was she nervous? Or was it something else?
“What on earth did you want to talk to me about?” she snapped in aggravation.
“This,” he said as he gripped her chin with his thumb and forefinger, holding her still as he slanted his mouth softly across hers. He couldn't wait another second to kiss her, taste her. His need was quickly driving him insane, and the more time he spent with her, the harder it became to ignore it.
She stiffened instantly and tried to pull away, but he wrapped his arm around the small of her back, holding her against him. Not hard, but close enough so he could feel every inch of her body pressed against his. The last thing he wanted to do was frighten her, but the instant she melted in his arms, he knew he hadn't.
His lips became more insistent, brushing over hers, encouraging her to open for him. She did, and her soft sigh feathered across his lips. He could smell her sweet, rosy scent, taste her minty breath as he slid his tongue inside, slowly exploring.
She responded, stroking her tongue along his. His cock hardened instantly, and he pressed it against the soft flesh of her stomach. She moaned, raising her arms to wrap around his neck. Her response surprised as well as excited him. She was kissing him back. He could feel the hard pebbles that were her nipples pressing against his chest even through the material of their clothes.
“Nathan, what are you doing?” she whispered against his mouth, and he smiled.
“Doing what I wanted to do last night. What I've wanted to do for months.”
“I…” She swallowed, then took a deep breath, trying to pull away. “They need me…out there.”
“I need you in here,” he murmured, holding her tight and letting her feel the length of his rock-hard cock. He slid his hand to her cheek and gently sucked at her bottom lip. She shivered against him. “Let them handle it, Beth.”