Badd luck, p.1
Badd Luck, page 1part #5 of Badd Brothers Series
Copyright (c) 2017 by Jasinda Wilder
* * *
* * *
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
* * *
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
* * *
Cover art by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations. Cover art copyright (c) 2017 Sarah Hansen.
Created with Vellum
Deleted Chapter 7
Deleted Chapter 8
Also by Jasinda Wilder
* * *
"I don't care if this photographer is the best in the world, he's a sleazeball," I whispered to my twin, Aerie.
Aerie adjusted the top of the maroon tankini she was modeling, tugging it lower and assuming a different pose in the sand. "No kidding," she murmured back. "He's giving me the heebie-jeebies."
We were on location in the Caribbean doing a shoot for a fashion manufacturer that was poised to become a very big deal. It had been a last minute job, the girls originally booked for the shoot having canceled at the last minute. We'd almost declined, but our agent, Lacy, and our manager--who was our mom--had insisted it would be great for our career. We were already reaching the top of the profession, and Lacy said this job would seal the deal. We decided we would put a vacation on hold for a little while longer and, besides, wouldn't a job in the Caribbean be sort of like a vacation?
So, here we were on a beautiful beach, with a crew of people looking after our every need, yet both of us could hardly wait to take a shower--and it wasn't because of the heat, sand, and makeup.
I was wearing the same bathing suit as Aerie, although mine was a deep indigo color. The suits were part of a sleek new tankini line made by one of our Instagram sponsors, who was a new designer getting a lot of buzz.
I shifted my pose slightly, drawing my left thigh up and leaning against Aerie. The photographer, who went by the name of Ulf, was a middle-aged man with a paunch he was desperately trying to hide along with the bald spot on the back of his head which did nothing for his skinny little manbun. He dropped to his knees in the sand, shimmied forward, closer to Aerie and me, angling his camera just so, snapping a dozen photographs in rapid succession before checking them. His two assistants stood by to hold reflectors and provide whichever camera or lens was needed.
"Very good, very good," Ulf cooed. "Now, Aerie, I think you should sit up and play with your hair. Tate, go to your belly and look backwards at me."
Ulf watched--a little too closely, if you ask me--as Aerie and I assumed the poses he'd suggested. His eyes followed our every movement, whether through the viewfinder of his camera or not, and when we bent or shifted so our assets jiggled, he would adjust himself...and not subtly, either.
Ulf was the best photographer in the business, our manager insisted, and she told us to just do what he said and get the shoot over with. In other words, deal with Ulf being a sleazy perv. Don't insult him, don't call him out, just let him ogle you and snap his shots--deal with it. Just deal with it.
Easy for Mom to say, since she was our manager, and all she had to do was arrange our bookings and schmooze her way around the various media events. She wasn't the one being ogled and photographed and leered at, since she was safe and sound in her New York penthouse with our dick of a step-father, Bob.
We went through at least a dozen different outfits and a dozen different poses for each one, all provocative, with Ulf snapping hundreds and hundreds of photographs. The sun rose higher as the morning wore on and it got hotter and hotter. The glam squad had to constantly dab at the beads of sweat on our foreheads and reapply and retouch, and twist our hair back into the perfect spirals, and keep the flyaways matted down...so yeah, modeling is not easy. It really isn't. It's a hell of a lot more than just getting photographed.
As usual, we'd been patient and professional, doing all that was asked of us but, finally, my patience was running out.
"How many more shots do you need, Ulf?" I asked. "We've been here for four hours now."
"We're almost done, my dear, almost done." He said this to my breasts as I stood up. "Just a few more poses."
He moved over behind me, toying with my hair, twisting the strands just so. And then he bent and scooped up a handful of sand, and smeared it over my butt so it stuck to the sticky layer of sweat. He didn't just smear it on, though. Oh, no. He cupped, and squeezed, and petted, and got all kinds of handsy with me. I know one of his assistants saw it happen as I heard him take in a sharp breath and mutter "Jesus" under his breath. He stepped forward to diffuse the situation, but he was too slow.
Four hours in the hot sun on a Caribbean beach, dealing with the gallery of tourists watching us, sweating, without craft service, without coffee, without so much as fresh bottles of water, working our asses off and then, on top of it all, dealing with this old, overweight, leering asshole...
I just lost it.
I danced back out of his reach, twisted around, and socked him square on the jaw. Have I mentioned that Aerie and I train three days a week with the best Krav Maga teacher in New York? So this pretty little model knows how to hit, and hit hard.
Ulf spun around like a hippo in pointe shoes and hit the sand flat on his back, camera bouncing off his chest. He was out cold.
"What now, BITCH?" I shouted, stepping over him. "Grab my ass? I don't think so!"
Aerie was the first to pull me away. "Tate, calm the hell down."
"Calm down? Calm down? He's been staring at my tits for the last four hours! And now he grabs my ass like he owns it, and you tell me to calm down?"
Lacy, our agent, stepped quickly but carefully across the sand in her four-inch-heel Louboutins. "Tate, what in the world has gotten into you?" she hissed, as she reached me.
"He grabbed my ass," I huffed. "And I don't mean a little, like, oops I accidentally copped a feel. It was a full-on grope."
"We talked about this, Tate," Lacy said, ice in her voice. "I told you he can be difficult but he's the best in the business."
"I don't care!" I shouted. "That doesn't give him the right to grope me."
"That's debatable, especially if you want to make it to the top. He can blacklist you, and no one will photograph you or Aerie ever again. He has that much influence in this business."
Aerie had my arm in a death grip. "I know it sucks, T, but..."
I whirled on her. "Oh, no. No. No. You are not going to turn on me right now, A. You're not. No. You are my twin. He groped me. This isn't dealing with your average sexism, this is goddamned sexual assault."
"Now that's a little overly dramatic," Lacy said in her "let's be reasonable voice".
I took two slow, prowling steps toward Lacy, which put me in her personal space. I stared at her, glaring with every last ounce of irate fury I possessed...which at that moment was quite a bit. There aren't ma
"No, Lacy. It's not overly dramatic." I was speaking in my quiet-and-sharp-as-a-razor voice. "It's exactly the truth. When a man--any man, famous or important or the best, or just an average dick on the street--puts his hands on my body without my permission, that is sexual assault. Ulf here--" I gestured at the photographer in question, who was starting to moan as he regained consciousness, "--touched me without my permission. He's lucky all I did was punch him. If I ever see him again, I'll break his damn arm, Lacy. How's that for melodramatic?"
"Tate!" Aerie hissed, hauling me aside. "What are you doing? We need this sponsor, which means we need this shoot, which means we need Ulf, like it or not."
"No, Aerie, we don't need Ulf, or the sponsor, or the shoot; they need us. Vela Fashion is nobody. They're nothing right now. Nobody has ever heard of them. We, on the other hand, are among the most well-known Instagram models on the fucking planet. This shoot we're doing for Vela will put them on the map." I gestured at Ulf, and Lacy. "I'm not going to take this shit anymore, A. I'm just not. I'm tapped out. I'm done. The last shoot we did, what happened? You remember?"
She sighed. "Of course I remember. The photographer propositioned you."
"He didn't just proposition me, A. He offered me five thousand dollars to spend the night with him."
"That's propositioning you."
"That's him thinking I'm a fucking whore!" My temper was up, and once that happens, there's no calming me until my fury has blown itself out. "And besides, five grand? Really? I'm not going to whore myself out to a poor, ugly, dumpy-ass middle-aged fucking photographer, for one thing, and I sure as fuck wouldn't do it for any money, never mind a measly five grand. I'm worth a hell of a lot more than that."
Aerie sighed. "Tate, please." She was trying the sweetness and light routine, which, TBH, was often rather effective in talking me down from a temper tantrum. "You're right about Ulf being a dirty sleazeball, and you're right about not taking it. I'm with you on this, okay? I swear I am. I've been hit on and propositioned too. You know that. I just..." She rubbed her forehead with a knuckle. "I don't want to get blacklisted. I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to give this up just yet."
I groaned in irritation, because I hate it when she's right, and I hate it even more when she manages to diffuse my temper. I'll let you in on a little secret: deep down, I really like getting all pissed off. It feels good to let the anger out.
"Neither am I," I said, "but I'm not going to take that bullshit from anyone."
Ulf was staggering to his feet, rubbing his jaw, and the crew stood around not knowing what to do. I would have put money on the fact that if they'd had to choose sides they wouldn't have sided with him.
He glared at me. "You'll never work again, slut. In fact, you two are done in this business."
Aerie was the one who stomped over to him. Her hand shot out and clutched his testicles in a vise-like grip, making him go purple in the face, gasping. "Or how about this, Ulf? You're going to shut your filthy mouth, and you're going to get your nasty ass out of here, and you're not going to say shit to anyone about Tate or me." Her voice was sweet as sugar, saccharine and honey and sunshine, making her words sting all the harder. "You know why you're going to do that, Ulf? Because if I hear you've been talking about us, I'm going to rip your teeny-tiny little mouse-man balls off. You got me, Ulf? So take your camera, and your teeny-tiny little mouse-man balls, and just do your fucking job. And, in case you've forgotten, your job is to take pictures, Ulf. You don't get to touch the models. In fact you don't even get to sniff the same air Tate and I breathe, Ulf." She released his sac, and he staggered backward, gasping, clutching himself, clearly struggling to hold back tears of agony.
With that she pivoted on her heel and swept past Ulf, the crew, and a stunned, silent Lacy. All she said was, "Let's go, T."
I followed her, trying desperately to suppress my laughter. We walked up the beach, past the tourists who were clapping and giving us a thumbs-up, and made it out of sight of Lacy and Ulf, when I gave in to snickering, giggling hilarity.
"Oh my god, A! Teeny-tiny mouse-man balls?" I collapsed backward against the side of the tiki bar. "That was epic, seriously epic."
She let out a breath and shook her shaking hands, and then laughed with me. "It was, wasn't it?"
"You don't even get to sniff the same air?" I said, through wheezing gasps of laughter. "Where did you come up with that shit?"
"I don't know! I just lost it."
"I thought I was the one with the hair-trigger temper?"
She shrugged. "Nobody calls my sister a slut but me."
I sighed. "Seriously, though, thanks for having my back."
"I've always got your back, you know that." She peered around the corner, watching Lacy arguing vehemently with an enraged Ulf. "I think we may have just sunk our career, though."
"Nah. No way. We're too pretty for that."
Aerie just rolled her eyes at me. "Tate, looks can only get us so far. If we develop a reputation for assaulting our photographers, Ulf won't have to blacklist us, we'll do it to ourselves."
"Everyone knows Ulf is a handsy pervert," I said. "He may be the best photographer around which is why people work him in the first place, but everybody knows who he is and what he is. We'll be fine."
We slipped into a hotel bar further up the beach and took seats, ordering coffee and breakfast burritos. As we waited for our food, we pulled out our phones and spent a few minutes just sitting quietly--it wouldn't be long before Lacy would come to find us. I eyed my twin. "So, Aerie, now what?"
Aerie rolled a shoulder. "Our dear sweet momager has us in Portland in three days for some kind of festival. And then we're back in Manhattan to shoot for Prada, I think. Or maybe it's Mui Mui. Something like that, I don't remember right now. And then we have that music video thing we're doing in Venice."
"Venice, Italy, or Venice, California?" I asked.
"Um. Italy, I think? I don't know, now that you mention it."
I sipped my coffee and looked out at the ocean and thought about the nonstop, itinerary our mother/manager--or, momager, as Aerie called her--had us scheduled for. I felt overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it.
"I'm thinking, A," I said, turning to her.
She snorted. "Careful, sis, you might hurt yourself."
I threw a creamer at her head. "Oh, shut up, dweeb." I leaned forward and grabbed her wrist, directing her attention from her phone and onto me. "I feel like Mom is overextending us."
"Well, we are busier than ever, that's for sure."
"We're modeling, blogging, auditioning for TV slots, acting in music videos...we never have any downtime, like ever," I said, squeezing her wrist. "We've been on the go, without a single day off, travel time excluded, since we were sixteen. I'm tired, A."
Aerie sighed, nodding. "The only downtime we ever get is traveling from one shoot or audition or event to another. I don't even remember the last time we got to just sit around in sweatpants watching TV."
"We don't even own a TV, and Mom would never let us be caught dead wearing something so pedestrian as sweatpants." I let go of Aerie's wrist as the server brought us our food, and we were quiet as we dug in. Once I'd taken a few bites, I said, "My point is, we need a vacation."
"Mom won't let us."
"Is this our career, or Mom's?"
"Mom's, obviously," Aerie joked. "When you say vacation, what exactly do you have in mind?"
I shrugged. "Something extended, and remote. Something that will allow us to get back to being who we really are--normal girls who watch The Bachelor and attend baby showers and backyard barbecues, girls who don't have to deal with all the unrealistic bullshit of modeling and international travel."
"How about Fiji for a week?" Aerie offered.
I shook my head, washing down my breakfast burrito with too-hot coffee. "I was thinking about something m
Aerie paused, I'd obviously surprised her. "Home? You mean Mom's condo on the upper east side?"
I shook my head. "No, Aerie, that's never been home. You know that."
She swallowed hard. "What are you suggesting, T?"
"I'm suggesting we take an indefinite leave of absence from our career and hole up in Ketchikan until we're ready to face the world again." I waved my hand at the beach. "That, back there? That was the last straw for me. I'm sick of being photographed. I'm sick of being made up and having my hair done and eating like a damn bird and exercising like I'm trying out for the fucking Olympics. I'm even more sick of sleazy photographers, and being hit on, and propositioned, and molested, and talked down to, and treated like I'm nothing but an ornament. I want to eat cheesecake and cheeseburgers, and drink myself into a stupor, and maybe even have sex with someone and actually stick around for coffee the next morning instead of doing the walk of shame from the dude's bed to a photo shoot, smelling like condoms and apathy."
Aerie got up and came around the table and just hugged me. "Oh, honey, I know. I know. Me too. But...Ketchikan?"
I looked her straight in the eyes. "Think about it, A! Who the hell would look for us in Alaska? Nobody, that's who. We shut off our phones, literally. No social media, no Insta posts, no Snapping, no Tweeting, no swiping left or right on fucking Tinder, no Reddit AMAs, no Tumblr, none of that bullshit. We can eat what we want, and not wash our hair, and get pimples and fat asses and drink whatever we want and when we feel like going back to work, we can. Mom can't run our career for the rest of our lives. We have to take charge. I'm burnt out, A. I need a break." I lifted an eyebrow. "Plus, our twenty-first birthday is coming up soon."
She nodded, thinking about it. "That does sound pretty awesome, now that you put it that way. I like the idea of just dropping out and doing whatever we want. Besides, I think we'd look pretty good with thick asses, actually."
by Jasinda Wilder / Romance / Suspense / Paranormal have rating 5 out of 5 / Based on25 votes