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The Feeling of Forever (Love Unplugged #2)

By´╝ÜJamie Howard

The Feeling of Forever (Love Unplugged #2)
Author: Jamie Howard

Chapter 1: Juliet

There was nothing in the entire world that I hated more than planes. I hated the way they smelled. I hated how even the big commercial ones still felt about as big as a shoebox. And I especially hated the way they made me feel as I dangled tens of thousands of feet in the air with nothing but carefully constructed metal and science keeping me airborne.

It was a good thing I was a big believer in science or they'd never be able to get me on one of these things.

My seat rattled as we hit another pocket of turbulence and, deep in my chest, my heart was getting ready to collapse from exhaustion. Beside me, Ally chewed at her lower lip, completely ignoring my struggle and skimming through a never-ending stream of e-mails. The quiet strains of Rachel Platten danced quietly through the air, buzzing from her laptop speakers.

"Hmm . . . have you nailed down your Christmas plans yet, Jules?" she asked, her eyes never leaving the screen.

I forced myself to relax back into the plush leather seat, letting my Kindle plop into my lap. As interesting as I Am Malala was, nothing was holding my attention at the moment. "That's still three months from now. I barely know what I'm doing tomorrow."

"Right, so-"

"Actually, that's a lie. I know exactly what I'm doing tomorrow-absolutely nothing." Closing my eyes, I imagined the softness of my bed-a bed I hadn't slept in for months-lulling me to sleep; I pictured all the food I'd been craving that I hadn't let myself indulge in while I was on set that I sure as hell was treating myself to tomorrow. God, I couldn't wait.

"So yeah, about that."

My eyes narrowed as I turned to face her, and she cringed under the weight of my glare.

"Don't look at me like that!" Her pink-tipped fingernails ran through her blond hair. "I just found out yesterday-"

"Found out what?" My voice ratcheted up a few decibels.

"That you won this year's Sexiest Woman Alive. Yay!" She waved imaginary pom-poms in the air, a Joker-sized smile plastered to her face.

Dread curled in my stomach, my spirits sinking. It's not that I wasn't appreciative of the award; a part of me reveled in the compliment that came with it, but the other part cringed. This was just one more reason that the world could look at me as nothing but another pair of tits and ass. A hot body with a pretty face and nothing more.

I tapped my fist against my forehead as my long-awaited plans vanished into the thin wisps of clouds surrounding us. "Tell me you didn't."

"What was I supposed to say?" She flopped against the back of her seat with a huff. "It's not like you were going to turn it down. And I told them, I told them, you weren't available for at least a week, but they said it had to be tomorrow because that's the only day they could get this year's Sexiest Man to show up. Speaking of . . ." Holding up a finger, she bent to rummage through her purse, coming back with a few pieces of paper that were stapled in the top left corner. She handed them to me. "You need to sign this."

I skimmed over the first page. "A non-disclosure agreement? What the hell for?"

"Beats me. I had to sign one too. It's already been through Larry and he said it's okay to sign. It's all standard terms."

A frown instantly took up residence on my face. Larry, my attorney, was just about the slowest moving person on the planet. How he ever managed to sustain a stable practice was beyond me. Despite maintaining the general speed of a lazy sloth, he'd been with me from the beginning and, to me, that counted for far more than his response time. But if he'd had time to look at this, then it meant . . . "I thought you said you just found out about this yesterday?"

"Ah, I um, well I found out they rescheduled the shoot yesterday. Technically I found out about the award a few weeks ago, but you were so swamped I didn't want to bother you with it."

My fingers curled around the edges of the paper, wrinkling them. "I'm going to kill you."

"No, you're not." Ally gave me a shit-eating grin. "You need me too much to do away with me."

Damn her, she was right. Ally was my personal assistant, my best friend, pretty much the only reason I was able to keep my head firmly attached to my body. I honestly couldn't imagine my life without her in it.

I tossed the NDA back in her lap. "I hate you."

"I love you too."

Outside my window, thick fluffy clouds like white cotton candy floated by. I sighed and scrubbed a hand over my face, brushing back a few loose strands of my blond hair. "All right, so what's the plan for tomorrow?"

"Paperwork needs to be back over to them tonight. Call time is ten o'clock tomorrow and it hopefully shouldn't be that long of a day. That's assuming Mr. Sexy doesn't make things difficult." Her nose scrunched up as she read through another e-mail. A second later her finger slammed down on the delete key with a quick shake of her head.

"And did they happen to mention who Mr. Sexy is?"

"Nope." She popped her "p". "They weren't willing to disclose that information."

Of course not. With my luck I'd get saddled with someone difficult. Or worse, some uber-cocky asshole who was going to enjoy tomorrow's shoot way too much. I flexed my toes in my ballet flats, mentally rescheduling my much-needed downtime. One more day. I could make it one more day. Twenty-four short hours. That was nothing. Just a blink.

The past year had been a blur. A draining, tiring blur. And the worst part? It was only one year in so many that I'd been practically running myself into the ground. Jet-setting from one continent to another, ducking the paparazzi, and playing so many roles that I barely remembered who I was anymore.

I needed a break and I was going to get one. End of story. Even if I had to push through one last obstacle to finally get it.