Through the Lens (BelleCurve #2) by K.K. Allen
“He thought I was his muse. Turned out, he was mine too.”
Maggie Stevens is done feeling objectified.
After spending her entire life in the spotlight and climbing the high fashion ranks as a model in LA, she’s willing to leave it all behind for a fresh start. Moving to Seattle seems like the perfect solution.
A clean slate.
All is going according to plan. Until she meets the drop-dead gorgeous cooking instructor who delights in adding to her misery.
Desmond Blake is determined to make a name for his culinary school—one that speaks to his hard work and undeniable passion.
When his food photography hobby garners attention from an unexpected source, his dreams are finally within reach. The obstacle he never sees coming is the sharp-tongued bombshell with a distaste for all he stands for.
When Desmond accidentally captures a photo of Maggie during a moment of weakness, he starts to see there’s more to the fashionista than meets the eye…
Sometimes what can be seen through the lens is a skewed version of reality. A bent perspective. Manufactured, therefore losing all sense of authenticity. And sometimes all it takes is a different angle to see what’s right in front of you.
Excerpt Through the Lens by K.K. Allen
I can’t remember the last time I went to a concert and felt like this—free, floating, intoxicated from the music and the audience’s energy. There’s simply something magical about live music. It’s like the surrounding sound streams into my pores with a direct line straight into my soul. Six songs in, and I feel like I’m floating on the puffiest cloud.
I don’t stop moving. I can’t stop. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fast song or a slow one. My hips move with each beat as I down my drink then turn around to pass it back to Desmond so he can put it back on the round table. When my eyes connect with his, I realize he’s just as into the music as I am. He may not be dancing to every beat like me, but his eyes have been glued to the stage like it’s the most fascinating sight, and I can’t help but smile at him. “Having fun?” I shout.
He gives me an expressionless nod, but I can see a glimmer in his eyes that expresses something more than total indifference. I consider it a win.
“You?” he shouts back with an uptick of his brows.
My smile widens, and I swivel around to answer his question with a shake of my hips while raising my arms above my head. “Can’t you tell?”
Something dark yet endearing flashes in his eyes, something that halts my next breath. I should turn around. I know I should turn around. Focus on the music, Maggie. But my body doesn’t listen to the screaming voice in my head. My arms start to fall, and the sway of my hips slows, just as one fast song transitions into a slower one.
Timing is everything.
If I hadn’t turned around at that exact moment, then I wouldn’t be standing here now, locked in a dangerous gaze with a man I should find repulsive. This the same man who refused to give me a cooking certificate I worked for for three months. And the man who gives zero fucks about the history I share with my father because he idolizes the man.
The first verse of the song “Run” doesn’t help either because Matt Nathanson is singing about watching some woman undress. All I can think about is how Desmond is looking at me in that exact same way. His sharp blue eyes are burning so brightly, and I can’t seem to tear my eyes from him.
Then a body chooses that moment to slam into me from behind, pushing me into the man I’ve managed to keep inches of distance from since the night started. My palms find his chest to break my fall. “I’m sorry,” I say, feeling my face flush with my words.
What is wrong with me? Desmond is not someone I get hot and bothered over. He’s a jerk. A careless flirt. A cocky chef. And my beating heart only quickens because of it.
I tear my eyes away and start to take a step back, but he’s pulling me back toward him faster than I have time to think. I gasp and fall against his chest. My gaze slams into his and holy shit if his cold blue eyes don’t electrify every fiber of my being. It’s like shock therapy, reviving me from a sleeping spell I’ve been cast in for months.
I swallow and look down to my midsection, where I felt the pull, and find Desmond’s pointer finger hooked into the belt loop of my black jeans. His forefinger has a firm grip on it, so I look back up just as he’s leaning down and sliding his scruffy beard along my cheek. Chills shoot over my skin, and I inhale sharply. I don’t even trust myself to breathe right now.
“You didn’t answer my question.” He pulls back slightly and tilts his head, waiting for my response.
My brain feels foggy. “Huh? What question?”
His lips tip up at the corner, and there’s another gentle pull on my waistband. “Are you having fun?”
My heart won’t stop beating like it’s in a freaking track race. How am I supposed to answer that? I was having fun, unquestionably. But now… I have no clue how to make sense of my feelings.
Why don’t I want him to unhook his finger?
Why do I want to find a way to get closer?