She narrowed her almond-shaped eyes. Her brows etched a row of fury across her forehead. “You’re twisting my words to suit yourself.”
So much for his supposed Hollywood charisma sweeping her off her feet. “What can I say? I’m a quick study.” He prepared to lift. “Well? You just gonna stand there and watch?”
Jessie looked away, then back at him. He recognized the desire to bug out of the room warring with the internal honor code she’d followed as a Marine. She tugged her shorts down a notch to cover more of her scar.
“Fine. I’ll spot you.” Jessie came over to stand behind him, grabbed the bar beside either side of his hands, touching them. “On one condition.”
She smelled good—sweet and tart like a splash of limeade on a cool summer day. He wondered what it would be like to taste her skin, slide his tongue along the long column of her neck. The pulse in the hollow of her throat fluttered, but she maintained her position. That garnered his respect. He’d take her nibble of concession and work it to his advantage during the next two hours.
“Typical Marine.” He touched her gloved hands, then prepared to lift. “Not about to give up without a fight. Name your terms.”
“I’ve got a buddy who would kill to be on a movie set,” Jessie said. “You willing to give a one-legged, one-eyed, former Marine a walk-on role in the next Quinn Sawyer movie?”
He could make that happen even if he walked away from the franchise and didn’t direct the next movie. “Can he act?” he asked. That she didn’t ask for anything herself spoke volumes.
“Constanza’s a natural.”
“Then I’ll make it happen.” Once he finished the script and convinced the franchise to accept his terms to stay on the set, he’d make damned sure the man got more than a walk-on if he had talent.
“Great. Then let’s get started.”
He pushed the bar off the stand and hefted the weight. “Spot me, then we’ll switch off. Better catch your breath while you can ’cause this workout comes with a warning sticker.” Only one way to win her over. He’d show her that not everyone was intimidated by a spitfire-of-sassitude fueled by internal fears he couldn’t fathom.
An hour and a half later, sweat glistened on her fair skin and slicked the spiky hair on her forehead as Jessie finished her third round of lunges. “What next?” She pulled a pink bandana out of her waistband and tied it around her head.
“Squats,” he said, though he wanted to end the workout to stop her from hurting herself.
Pain bracketed her mouth, and there was a slight limp in her gait as she moved across the room toward the weight station. A strange sensation banded around his lungs. God, she was strong, unwilling to give up. Just like the character he’d been writing about for two months in the hopes that the studio would take a risk on an emotional Quinn Sawyer movie. Someone with depth. Someone with a need to overcome the wounds of the past. Someone who would learn to trust again.
Someone like Jessie.
“We’ll rotate them into tomorrow’s workout,” he said.
“What’s the matter? You afraid I might kick your action hero butt?”
“Nope.” He grabbed a towel, swiped it through his hair. “I’ve got to meet my sister and her fiancé’s family for breakfast. I’ll make up for the lost time later.” Alone. When he’d ramp up his reps and run the resort’s five mile trail.
She rubbed the back of her neck, squeezing the muscles cording her shoulders. “You need a lot of time to primp before you show up?”
The subtle movement tightened the soaked fabric hugging her breasts, outlining her pebbled nipples. Lust blazed in his groin. Blake moved the towel to the front of his shorts. “Yeah, I got a flower petal bath planned followed by a cuticle treatment,” he said.
She laughed, turning to pick up her dumbbells. “Smartass.”
More lust slammed low. The only ass he was interested in was the sexy, tight bottom bending over the weights. Crap. Make that double crap. This was not what he’d expected to happen when he’d walked into the gym this morning.
He glimpsed down again. Yup. That was one sweet behind. And he’d always been into legs and ass. Shit. This was Shannon Sullivan’s wounded daughter’s ass he was scoping out. Jessie was completely off-limits. Wanting this sexy woman was totally wrong.
Not to mention he didn’t want to complicate his life after making the decision to take his career to the next level. His agent hadn’t wanted him to change direction, but his sister had encouraged him. If his producers didn’t go for his script, Blake planned to walk away from the franchise and start over. It was a calculated risk where the outcome could set the stage for the second half of his career. And that was where he needed to concentrate his focus.