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10 Dates Sample Chapter

Photo by Castorly Stock from Pexels


Libby closed her eyes again and willed sleep to take her. She had checked her phone only moments earlier and it had read 1:33 am. She should have been deep into a REM cycle by now, instead of standing in the middle of her kitchen waiting for her lactose-free milk, cinnamon, and turmeric mixture to boil on the stovetop.

She had been in bed since 11:30 pm, since arriving home after bolting from Skybar and getting into the nearest taxi she could find on Sunset Boulevard. She had spent the first hour in bed just staring out at the magical Hollywood skyline through the floor-length windows that led from the master bedroom in her Sierra Towers condo onto the outdoor terrace. The next hour was spent trying to force herself to sleep by forcing her eyelids shut but to no avail. How was she supposed to sleep when her mind was racing a mile a minute with a million and one things?

She knew Willa was going to ask just as many questions about her unexpectedly bailing at Skybar last night and she was going to have to come up with an elaborate lie. She’d already lied to Anita within the last twenty-four hours, so a lie to Willa was just going to be more practice. Lying was a skill she would, no doubt, need because she was sure that more lies to her friends were in her near future. Despite how important her friends were to her, though, her impending lies to them were not at the forefront of her mind right now.


Buzz. Buzz.


Libby’s eyes narrowed in confusion as to why the intercom to her condo was ringing. She stood completely still as she waited for the characteristic second buzz that would confirm that it was, in fact, her intercom and not her imagination that was making noises at odd hours of early Sunday morning.


Buzz. Buzz.


Libby moved to the stove and quickly turned off the burner before setting the cast iron teapot onto one of her ceramic Pottery Barn trivets on the marble benchtop. She then readjusted the pink silk Victoria’s Secret robe around her body as she moved out of the kitchen toward the intercom on the right-hand side of her front door, pressing the large grey button on the small machine mounted on the wall.

“Miss Evans, I realize—” Paul the concierge spoke from the lobby downstairs.

“That it’s 1:30 in the morning?” Libby said. “Seriously Paul?”

“My sincere apologies, Miss Evans,” Paul replied. “However, there is a gentleman from Caterpillar Deliveries here to see you. He says it’s an emergency.”

“At 1:30 in the morning? What kind of delivery shows up at…?” Libby asked before she finally registered what Paul had just said to her. “Wait, did you say ‘Caterpillar’ Deliveries?’”

“Yes, that’s correct, Miss Evans,” Paul replied. “He said his name is Mr. Turner?”

“Let him up!” Libby squeaked, as her eyes widened in panic. “Let him up, Paul!”

“Yes, Miss Evans,” Paul replied.

Libby instantly let go of the intercom button as she tried to slow down her breathing. Wentworth Turner was here. It was 1:30 am and Wentworth Turner was here. He had just showed up, without an invitation, at Sierra Towers where he could have been seen by anyone. The security and the concierge, and probably the valet too, had seen him here. Any one of the celebrity residents, and their respective guests, could have also seen him. It was early Sunday morning, after all, and some would just be returning to their condos after a night out on the town or after attending another swanky Hollywood party. This was not good. This was very much the opposite of good.

Libby knew she had two minutes, at least, until Wentworth Turner was at her front door. After all, her condo was on the twentieth floor. Anita’s condo was also on the twentieth floor, though, which meant that she had less time than that to make sure that Anita did not hear the knock at Libby’s front door that would announce Wentworth’s arrival off the elevator. It took Libby thirty seconds of mental umming and ahhing before she decided that the best thing to do would be to simply wait in the corridor outside her front door until she heard the elevator arrive at the twentieth floor, and then whisk Wentworth straight into her condo before he could knock or speak. Her decision was made, and now she just had to wait the excruciating seconds until she put her plan into action. It was then that she realized that she was bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet in anticipation.

Libby heard the elevator doors open, ridiculous in their loudness. She stood across the threshold facing in the direction of the elevator. As expected, Wentworth stepped straight out of the elevator dressed in exactly what he was wearing when Libby had caught a glimpse of him at Skybar just hours earlier. Dark blue button-up shirt, black jeans, and some ugly brown lace-up shoes. Regrettably, she had a momentary memory lapse as soon as she noticed how sexy he looked with his hair pushed back. When she realized he wasn’t Aaron Samuels and this wasn’t Mean Girls, she straightened herself up and started hand gesturing in silence like a crazy woman for him to hurry across the corridor and straight into her condo. Judging by his freaked-out expression, but his quick shuffle the twenty feet to her front door, she had made her intentions clear enough. The next thing she knew she was quietly shutting her front door and ensuring that all the locks were done up before she breathed a sigh of relief. A wave of déjà-vu washed over her from yesterday morning when she’d arrived back at the condo after this whole nightmare began.

“What the hell are you doing here?!” Libby exclaimed in a hushed whisper as she spun around to face Wentworth, who was now standing in the middle of her living room.

“Nice to see you too,” he smiled as he started casually wandering around the room.

Libby followed, eyeing him closely.

“OK,” she said. “Let me repeat myself so I can be sure that you’re listening this time – what the hell are you doing here at my condo at this ridiculous time of the morning?”

“I wanted to talk,” Wentworth casually replied, as he turned back around to face her after inspecting the feature painting on the wall in front of him.

Libby’s eyes were drawn to the painting as his gaze left it. It was an Australian sulfur crested cockatoo on a bright pink background, and it hung proudly between the grey armchairs on the east-facing wall of the living room. It was something she had picked up in Australia after the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show last year. It had been more than a hassle to get home, but it was worth it. That cockatoo was always going to remind her of Australia and the best time she’d had walking the Victoria’s Secret runway again.

“You wanted to talk?!” Libby asked, cocking an eyebrow in disbelief as Wentworth helped himself to a seat in one of her armchairs. “You wanted to talk at 1:30 am?!”

“Well, I actually wanted to talk to you earlier at Skybar,” Wentworth replied, “but you seemed like you were in a bit of a rush to leave.”

Libby closed her eyes to avoid having to see the grin that she knew was spreading across the smug photographer’s face again. It didn’t help that his green eyes, the ones that she remembered well from the first night they’d met, sparkled like hell every time he smiled.

“Fine,” Libby replied, crossing her arms across her chest. “What do you want to talk about?”

“I thought that was pretty damn obvious,” Wentworth replied.

“What do you want to talk about?” Libby replied, not bothering to try and hide the frustration in her voice.

“OK,” Wentworth replied with a chuckle as he leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees as he clasped his hands together in front of him. “Maybe we should talk about what happened at the Niven a couple of nights ago?”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Libby said.

She was getting more and more infuriated at how much enjoyment he was clearly getting out of this whole interaction, but she tried her hardest to maintain a straight face.

“Nothing to talk about?” Wentworth laughed.

“Nothing happened a couple of nights ago,” Libby replied, trying to pass off the comment as nonchalantly as possible. “So, we have nothing to talk about.”

“OK,” Wentworth replied as he leaned further forward, reaching behind him for the back pocket of his jeans as he did so. “So, I’m assuming that these are not, in fact, yours that I found in bed with me at the Niven the other morning?”

Wentworth held out Libby’s missing pair of red and pink Victoria’s Secret French knickers. She’d pulled them out of the gift bag that she’d received after the show in Sydney, and they’d quickly become one of her favorites. She’d been quite disappointed when she had realized the other morning that she was missing them. She was, however, even more disappointed now that they were literally being dangled in front of her by the paparazzo she had let take them off in the first place. Taking a deep breath, Libby closed her eyes for a moment to compose herself and control the red rising in her cheeks. She then stormed over to Wentworth and snatched the pair of knickers right out of his hand.

“So, what’s it going to take?” Libby asked as she balled the knickers in the palm of her hand.

“What do you mean?” Wentworth asked, the tone in his voice and his facial expression giving Libby the impression that he was genuinely confused by her statement.

“What’s it gonna take to keep your mouth shut about whatever happened at the Niven that night?” Libby asked, slowly and clearly so she wouldn’t have to repeat herself. “Money? Is that what you want?”

Shaking his head in amusement, Wentworth let out a small laugh.

“That is so typical of you Hollywood girls,” he said. “You think you can buy anything and everything you want.”

“Everyone has their price,” Libby shrugged.

“Oh really?” Wentworth asked, still slightly chucking.

“Yes, really,” Libby replied. “So, the question is, what’s yours?”

“Maybe I just came to chat with you about a deep and meaningful connection we had the other night?” Wentworth suggested as he leaned back to get more comfortable in Libby’s armchair.

“A deep and meaningful connection?!” Libby exclaimed. “Do you even remember anything about the other night?!”

“I do remember saving you from that douchebag Spencer Stevenson,” Wentworth replied, “and while I was also fairly drunk, I do remember a few other things that happened after that.”

“That’s a lot more than I remember,” Libby mumbled under her breath.

“Oh, and you bailing on me the other morning in the penthouse suite at the Niven of course,” Wentworth replied.

Libby paused as she thought carefully about what she wanted to say next. It was obvious that he was trying to get her to talk about the details of what she remembered of their night together at the Niven. He did remember more than she did, but it didn’t sound like it was by much. He seemed to also blame his patchy memories on alcohol. It was one of those situations where she wanted to know more, if only to confirm that they had in fact slept together, despite how obvious it already was. At the same time though, she knew that the longer she spent in this conversation, the more she would feel like she was stuck in a nightmare that she just wanted to wake up from.

“I have a boyfriend,” Libby decided to reply with, her eyes locking with Wentworth’s.

She wanted him to know how deadly serious she was being. She wasn’t a cheater. She had never cheated before, and even though it wasn’t the first thing that came to her mind the morning after, it made her uneasy when she thought about the fact that she was a cheater now.

“Oh yes, the glorious Ace Thatcher,” Wentworth replied.

His eyes nearly rolled out of his head and his words dripped with sarcasm.

“I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been so drunk!” Libby exclaimed defensively.

She was, after all, defending both her reputation and her relationship.

“Yes, you would have,” Wentworth nodded, his eyes fixed on Libby.

It was his turn to let her know how serious he was being with what he was saying.

“Excuse me?!” Libby exclaimed.

“The only reason you regret what happened between us was you found out what my job is,” Wentworth replied.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Libby lied.

“You do realize you left my business card and wallet strewn all over the floor just before you bolted the other morning, don’t you?” Wentworth replied. “After you finished snooping through my stuff, that is.”

Libby was busted. He was right. She had been snooping.

“This conversation is ridiculous,” Libby replied, shaking her head. “I have a relationship and a reputation to protect so I’ll ask you once more, what do you want?”

“How do you know that I want anything?” Wentworth asked.

“You definitely wouldn’t have come here if you didn’t want something,” Libby answered.

Wentworth shrugged in reply.

“Despite the usual assumptions,” Libby continued. “I’m not as dumb as you think I am.”

“I don’t think you’re dumb,” Wentworth replied, causing Libby to narrow her eyes in suspicion. “I know you’re not.”

If Libby could have narrowed her eyes further, she would have. She wanted to believe he was just trying to butter her up before he dropped the metaphorical bomb. The expression on his face, though, looked too genuine for buttering up, which meant that he’d just given her a genuine compliment. She was not expecting that, which made her feel uneasy.

“But you are right,” Wentworth continued, a smile forming at the corners of his mouth. “There is something that has crossed my mind.”

"Which is?" Libby asked.

She wasn’t sure whether she was going to like the next words to come out of his mouth. In fact, she was sure she wouldn’t.

“Ten dates,” Wentworth said.

“What?” Libby asked, her nose scrunching up at how cryptic his answer was.

“I don't want any money from you,” Wentworth explained. “If you want me to keep my mouth shut, all you have to do is give me ten dates.”

“As in you want me to go on ten dates with you?” Libby clarified.

Wentworth nodded.

“In exchange for your silence, all I have to do is go on ten dates with you?” Libby asked again.

Wentworth nodded once more.

“I can’t,” Libby replied. “I have a boyfriend and the tabloids would have a field day with it. The reputation and relationship that I’m trying to save would both be in the trash.”

“I can guarantee that we’d go places you won’t be recognized,” Wentworth explained. “I mean, it’ll be hard because after all, you are the great Libby Evans.”

Libby rolled her eyes at his blatant use of sarcasm yet again.

“But I can guarantee it,” Wentworth quickly added. “Easy done.”

Libby considered his condition. As big of a star as she always considered herself to be, as a member of The Brat Pack and a Victoria’s Secret supermodel, there were still places that she could go in LA and Hollywood where people didn’t give her a second look. She knew a lot of those places well. Those were the places she would go to escape the paparazzi. Unfortunately, the Niven hadn’t been one of those places, nor apparently was her own condo at 1:30 on a Sunday morning.

"You give me ten dates,” Wentworth continued, “and I give you my silence about the mind-blowing, heart racing, out of breath, passionate sex that we had the other night."

Libby closed her eyes and cringed at his description of that night’s events. She had gotten her wish. That was all the confirmation she needed that they had done the deed. The French knickers were first base, and that last comment Wentworth had just made was the entire home run. When she opened her eyes, she wanted nothing more than to slap the grin off that silly photographer’s face. Taking a deep breath, she finally realized that the deal wasn't going to get any better. This was pretty much the easy way out. Had he been any other jerk who had gotten a piece of Libby Evans, he would have suggested ten bedroom tumbles to keep his mouth shut as opposed to ten dates. Or perhaps ten lap dances in a public place with lots of paparazzi. It seemed that Wentworth was giving her a pretty easy way out. This was a case of relatively easy blackmail, if such a thing even existed.

“How can I be sure that you’re not using this as a way to set me up with another one of your photographer buddies so you can sell the photos to the tabloids?” Libby asked, her suspicion getting the better of her.

“I give you my word,” Wentworth replied.

“Your word?!” Libby laughed. “Your word means nothing to me. I don’t know anything about you or how good your word is.”

“My word is good,” Wentworth insisted. “I give you my word that there will be no cameras, no photos, no hidden photographers. Well, at least no hidden photographers that I have organized or set up. Anything else?”

“Nothing physical,” Libby said.

“So, no holding hands?” Wentworth replied cheekily.

“You know exactly what I mean,” Libby replied, pointing a stern finger in his direction. “Just because you’re taking me on more than one date, doesn’t mean that you’re entitled to anything physical. No kissing. No hugging. No doing whatever else we did the other night at the Niven.”

“I’m not a bad guy,” Wentworth replied. “I don’t force myself on women.”

“You’re not a bad guy?!” Libby laughed. “Have you forgotten where you are right now? Showing up at my place unannounced at 1:30 am with a deal that sounds a lot like blackmail?”

“Not blackmail,” Wentworth winked. “Just a bit of fun really.”

Libby rolled her eyes. He was actually blackmailing her with a side of cute and funny right now.

"So, Miss Evans," Wentworth said, "do we have a deal?”

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