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Acting Counsel: A Close Proximity Hollywood Romance (EBOOK)

Acting Counsel: A Close Proximity Hollywood Romance (EBOOK)

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Lawyers are meant to fight, but when her notorious celebrity client makes a play for her… she just wants to surrender.

Catrina

My firm has one rule: never sleep with the client.

Too late for that. Not that he was my client when we slept together. But now he is, and I’m stuck in an impossible situation.

Closing this deal could make my career. And his, for that matter.

But he doesn’t seem to care.

The renowned Hollywood flirt who could have anyone is determined to have me. Our attraction could ruin everything. For true love, it might be worth the risk. But with Nathan, it’s hard to know what is real and what isn’t.

Nathan

Power, fame, success— I have it all. Until I meet her.

She’s my attorney, and until the deal is done, she’s off limits.

I'll be damned if I let her go. She's the first woman to see beyond the glamour of my life, into the real me.

She’s all I want, even if having her means losing everything else.

Acting Counsel is a forced proximity Hollywood romance with forbidden vibes set in the Kings of Screen world. It can be read as a standalone.

 

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TROPES

✓ An unexpected Hollywood romance
✓ A one-night stand gone wrong
✓ A determined British actor who knows what he wants
✓ A straight-laced Canadian attorney
✓ A destination wedding with consequences
✓ And a forbidden relationship waiting to implode.

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CHAPTER ONE
Catrina
Bright and early Monday morning, I rolled into the office with a noticeable bounce in my step. I’d worked hard trying to prove my worth — weeks and months of late nights, early mornings, and endless briefs — and they’d finally taken notice.
Today, I started my first solo case: acquiring an LA film studio for one of the most popular actors in Hollywood. Not that I could put a name to the face if a celeb walked past me.
Even if I couldn’t care less about the celebrity goings-on, one thing remained: I was one step closer to making partner.
At some point, I’d stop grinning like a loon each time the thought cycled through my mind.
It wouldn’t be this week.
If my colleagues saw me, they’d blame my unusual pep on my boss’s decision to trust me with the Starlight Studios acquisition, and I didn’t care if they did.
Only I knew the truth.
Only I could feel the ache of disused muscles as I walked, reminding me with each step how I celebrated my step up.
I’d never been the one-night stand kind of girl, but I have to admit, it was exhilarating.
“Knowing my luck, I’d get swept out to sea and eaten by something.”
“I could teach you, if you’re up for the challenge.”
“Are you going to stop a sea monster from eating me?”
“I’ll keep you safe from any sea monsters.” He grazed my cheek with his nose. “Besides, I’m the only one allowed to taste you.”
Nathan.
I could feel the ghost of his hands mapping every curve of my body, leaving marks I wished would never fade.
Mike knocked on my door. Thankfully, I’d completed all of my preparations for this meeting and got myself as caught up as the sparse notes from my predecessor allowed.
“Catrina,” Mike’s voice boomed from the doorway, snapping me out of my thoughts. “I hope you’re ready for a big day.”
“Good morning, Mr Nelson. As ready as I’ll ever be.” I set my coffee cup down on the desk and stood, pasting a bright but confident smile to my lips. “I’ve been preparing all weekend.”
“Good.” He stepped inside, his tall frame taking up much of the space in my modest office. “I told you she was my best, Mr Logan, and I never lie.”
A tall, blond man followed Mike into my office. My heart lodged in my throat.
Nathan. Those piercing blue eyes instantly found mine.
Two days. It had only been two days since I kicked him out of my apartment at dawn, banishing him from my home and my thoughts. Yet here he was, conjuring up memories I’d spent days savouring.
Nathan strode in casually confident as if he owned the place — and perhaps a part of me too, after a single unforgettable night. His blond hair was tousled, a reminder of tangled sheets and roaming hands. That knowing look in his eyes said he recalled my bed as clearly as I did.
“Cat,” Nathan mouthed, his eyes widening briefly before a sly grin spread across his face.
Panic surged as the ramifications hit me. If he said the wrong thing, my career could be over before it truly began.
“Catrina Sinclair, meet Nathan Logan,” Mike introduced us with a wave of his hand, completely missing the tension in the air. “Nathan is purchasing Starlight Studios. He’s agreed to get you up to date on any additional details you might require.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr Logan,” I said, extending my hand for a firm handshake, but keeping my desk between us.
His gaze dropped to the hard surface, flaring with a look I recognised far too well. My breath caught as Nathan’s heated attention raked over me, reminding me without words of how thoroughly he had explored my body. I fought the impulse to squirm under his scrutiny, composure wavering.
“Please, call me Nathan,” he insisted with a warm smile, his eyes locked onto mine.
That accent. For a moment, I’d forgotten, but oof. I’d always had a weakness for a good English accent.
The memory of it whispering into my ear while he hovered above me sent a shiver down my spine. “See, it’s not so bad giving up control, is it, Icy?”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Catrina,” Nathan said, his lips quirking as he clocked the flush of crimson trying to break through my foundation.
I nodded, my voice trapped. I forced myself to release his hand, hyper-aware of Mike’s eyes on us, and I refused to give him any reason to doubt my abilities.
Mike cleared his throat, clueless as to the cause of the tension thickening the air. “I need to make a call. I’ll leave you two to get acquainted. Be back in a jiffy!”
The door clicked shut behind him, silence ringing in his wake. I stared at Nathan, his knuckles white on the back of my guest chair, as a slow grin curved his lips.
“Surprised, Icy?” His gaze bore into me, hinting at pleasures we had shared mere days ago. “Did you miss me?”
I swallowed hard, searching for some cutting reply. But the sight of him left me tongue-tied.
Nathan rounded the desk. “No need for shy glances — we’re well past that, aren’t we?”
His cologne filled my senses as he leaned in too close, intent eyes catching me in their snare. He reached out, fingers grazing my flushed cheek. I stiffened as warmth sparked beneath his touch, threatening my composure.
“Mr Logan, this is highly inappropriate.” I said sharply, putting space between us. “I’m your legal counsel, nothing more.”
“You can drop the act. It’s just us, Cat.” His gaze softened, that charming smile fading as a glint of awe filled his blue eyes. “I never thought I’d see you again.”
I faltered, caught by the earnest longing in his voice. His hand rose again, slow and questioning, giving me time to pull away this time. Instead, I found myself leaning into his touch, palm against my cheek as memories rose unbidden.
Nathan smiled, thumb brushing my lower lip. “There you are. I was hoping you’d come back to me.”
I caught my breath, stunned by the tenderness in his gaze. His words slipped past my defences, hinting at something vulnerable inside of me.
“Don’t look at me like that.”
“Like what?” he whispered.
“Like I’m the only woman in the world.”
Nathan smiled, free hand tangling in my hair as he tilted my chin up. “You are, for me.”
His words struck a chord deep within me, prodding an ache I hadn’t felt in years. The promise of being someone’s centre. Actually caring about one another and not in the ‘Oh good, you’re still breathing’ way my mother had me. It was a pipe dream I’d forced myself to stop living for.
And I won’t start now.
I blinked, scrambling for a response that wouldn’t reveal how much his unexpected appearance had shaken me. “I apologise if I gave you the wrong impression.” My fingers caught his wandering hand, tugging it away from my face. “Friday night was a mistake and I have no interest in repeating it. Especially not now that I’m your attorney.”
I stared up at him, all six-foot, five glorious inches of him, willing him to believe the lie. If only the complications of my job and the firm’s rules against client relationships didn’t stand in the way, I’d happily go back for a repeat of round two.
Nathan’s eyes darkened, a spark of challenge in their depths. “Is that so? Because your body tells a far different story.” His gaze tracked down the length of me, leaving tiny fires in its wake. “Admit it, Cat. You felt the same spark... and you want more.”
My pulse leapt but I tilted my chin up, forcing an unaffected air. “My personal feelings are irrelevant. I’m here to represent your legal interests, nothing more.”
Nathan’s gaze dropped to my mouth, a slow smile curving his lips. “Your lips say one thing, but your eyes confess the truth. You want a repeat of Friday night... and so do I.”
He reached out, knuckles grazing my cheek in a touch that momentarily wiped common sense from my mind. I swayed toward him before catching myself, panic setting in at how easily my body responded to his.
Nathan had slipped past all my defences with unfair ease, leaving me on edge and struggling against the pull of desire. I couldn’t afford a single mistake if I wanted to achieve all I had worked so hard for, but part of me yearned to close the scant distance between us, regardless of the consequences. His tempting smile might just prove to be my undoing if I didn’t find the willpower to resist.
I took a shaky step back, desperate to put distance between us before I did something I would regret. “I insist we remain professional. My career is at stake here, and I can’t afford any... distractions.”
Nathan’s smile faded, expression sobering. “I didn’t expect to see you here. But now that I have, I’m reluctant to let this go.” His gaze bore into me, more serious than I had seen him. “Friday was more than just physical for me. I haven’t felt a connection like that in a long time. Did you feel it too?”
I looked away from the intensity of his gaze, at a loss. I had told myself it was merely lust and impulse, refusing to consider anything deeper. But there were moments when we understood each other with no need for words.
“It doesn’t matter.” I straightened my shoulders, adopting a brisk tone. “We can’t do it again, Mr Logan. My career depends on maintaining a proper distance from clients, and…”
“Nathan.” His gentle rebuke gave me pause. I glanced at him to find a small smile curving his lips, but a hint of vulnerability in his eyes. “When we’re alone, it’s Nathan. And your career won’t suffer, Cat. I want to do this right.”
I stared at him, unsure how to respond. Doing this — whatever ‘this’ was — would go against everything logical.
“Have dinner with me tonight. No distractions, just two people exploring whatever this connection between us might become.” He smiled, coaxing and genuine. “Give me — give us — a chance. I dare you.”
A knock on the door interrupted us.
“I can’t do that.” I turned away from him, smoothing down my skirt. “From now on, I’m your attorney. Nothing more.”
His smile faded before he nodded. “If that’s what you want.”
While Nathan rounded my desk and assumed a more natural position, I walked to the door, willing my hammering heart to settle down. He’s just a gorgeous but pushy man who gave you the best orgasms of your life–but he is now off limits. It’s okay, he’ll get bored soon enough.
I opened it to find Mike waiting, breezing into the room with a thick folder under his arm. “Sorry about that.” He sat in his usual seat without hesitation, missing the tension between Nathan and me. “Shall we?”
Nathan’s expression smoothed into polite professionalism in an instant. “Of course.”
“Absolutely,” I agreed, settling into my seat and forcing my focus back to the task at hand. “Please have a seat, Mr Logan.”
The sooner we got started, the sooner I could prove my worth to Mike and cement my position in the firm. I was prepared to do whatever it took to make this acquisition successful, even if it meant resisting the undeniable charm of Nathan Logan.
Nathan took a seat across from me, sprawling into the chair with a roguish grin. His expensive suit did little to hide the muscles beneath. I tried to focus firmly on my notes but felt his presence like a gravitational pull.
“Let me give you a bit of background on the acquisition,” Mike began, leaning back in his chair and tapping a pen against the papers he held. “Starlight Studios is a major player in the industry, and they’ve been seeking a buyer for some time. Mr Logan,” — he gestured towards Nathan — “is prepared to make that purchase.”
I tried my best to concentrate on Mike’s words, but I couldn’t stop glancing at Nathan.
His gaze slid to mine, blue eyes smouldering with a heat that threatened to make me squirm. He masked it in an instant if Mike glanced his way. But in that fleeting moment there was a promise of passion waiting to ignite again, if given the chance. Nathan leaned forward as if riveted by Mike’s words, but a sly quirk of his lips said his thoughts mirrored my own.
“This case is of the utmost importance to our firm,” Mike continued, his voice firm and authoritative. “Our reputation is on the line, so we need to ensure that we handle everything impeccably.”
“You can count on me.” I forced myself to maintain eye contact with my boss.
“Good.” He nodded approvingly. “Let’s dive into the specifics of the deal.”
I could feel the weight of Nathan’s gaze on me, and I struggled to keep my composure under the pressure of his attention. Every time I looked at him, our shared secret seemed to shimmer in the air between us like an electric charge.
“Catrina,” Mike’s voice brought me back to reality. “Do you have questions about the agreement terms?”
“Uh, yes,” I stammered, racking my brain for something relevant to ask. “Mr Logan—”
“Nathan.”
“Right. Nathan.” I forced a weak smile. “You’ve spent some time working on this deal. Besides the misfortune with your previous attorney, why do you believe the process has been so drastically delayed?”
“I believe the shareholders cannot separate fact from fiction.”
“That’s quite the accusation.”
“Hmm. Is it an accusation if it’s true?” He held up his hand before I could answer. “That was rhetorical. The gossip rags have made a sport of portraying me as a ladies’ man, and the shareholders have used those rumours as an excuse to question whether I’m truly serious in my bid.”
“I… see.” I frowned, sorting through this new information. “And this perception has directly impacted negotiations?”
“To put it mildly.” Nathan’s smile turned wry. “My ‘moral failings’ have been cited more than once as cause for concern in handing over the reins of their studio. As if my personal life has any bearing on my ability to run a company.”
“That does seem rather absurd.” I hesitated, unsure how much to reveal of my own opinions. “Tabloid gossip is hardly evidence of poor business sense or judgement.”
“Exactly.” Nathan threw up his hands. “Now, I’ll be honest, once upon a time, some of them might have been true, but that hasn’t been the case for some time.”
His tone was sincere, and it left me feeling weak in the knees. We held each other’s gaze. I’d never been one to shirk eye contact, but I might have had to start before I closed the lid on this purchase.
“Now the sad truth about Hollywood is that scandal sells, so where the lies about me weren’t legitimately harmful to my reputation, I let them slide.” He winced. “Unfortunately, the image of me the tabloids used to drive their site traffic does not lend itself to a level-headed businessman.” He paused for a moment before continuing, his gaze still fixed on me.
“My priorities have changed, and I have instructed my agent to shut down any further rumours before they take root.” He bit his lip and smiled at me, the sight of it making my core tense. “I believe that once the shareholders meet me, I’ll be able to ease any of their fears.”
His voice wrapped around me, low and intense as he focused all of his attention on me.
“I can understand why that would be aggravating.” I met his gaze, pulse skipping at the glint of approval there. “Well, you can rest assured I have no interest in tabloid gossip or moral judgments. My only concern is representing your best interests in acquiring this studio, and ensuring all parties come to an equitable agreement as swiftly as possible.”
Mike started to respond, but his words were lost on me. I stared at Nathan, feeling as if he had just let me in on something far greater than the acquisition of Starlight Studios.
“Have you ever been on a studio lot?” Nathan asked suddenly, his voice warm and inviting. The sudden change in topic caught me off guard.
“Uh, no, I haven’t.” My fingers nervously tapped on the table. “I’ve always been a behind-the-scenes kind of person.”
“Ah, that’s a shame. It’s quite an experience,” he said with a charming grin, then added softly, “Perhaps I could show you around one day? You know, purely for professional reasons.”
My heart skipped a beat at the thought of spending time with Nathan outside the office. “That sounds interesting. Thank you for the offer, but I think we should focus on the acquisition right now.”
Mike cleared his throat. “Exactly right, Catrina. You only have two days until the shareholder’s meeting and it’s taken nearly three months to get them to agree on a date.”
When we finally finished, Mike shook Nathan’s hand eagerly. “A pleasure doing business with you. We’ll have the contracts ready for signing next week, hopefully.”
Nathan smiled. “Likewise, thank you both for ensuring a smooth process.” His eyes met mine briefly, regret flickering through them. “I appreciate your efforts on my behalf.”
I nodded. “You’re welcome, Mr Logan. I’ll be in touch.”
With a nod to us both, Nathan left. An odd mix of relief and disappointment filled me. I had done right... so why did it feel like I had let a once-in-a-lifetime chance go?
Mike chuckled, gathering his papers. “Quite the charmer, that one! But don’t worry, you handled yourself well.” He stood, smiling. “This was a big day, Catrina. The partners will be very impressed.”
I returned his smile. “Thank you. That means a lot.”
Mike headed for the door and my smile faded, doubts crowding in. This deal was everything I had worked for, yet Nathan threatened my ability to stay focused. Ten minutes in an office with him and I could barely ignore his draw. Our history — however brief — left him a distraction I couldn't ignore.
As difficult as it was, I had to be upfront with Mike — he deserved my unbiased best, and if that meant stepping aside, then objectivity demanded it. Even if the thought of losing all my progress stung.
“There’s something I should tell you,” I said to Mike before he could leave my office. “Regarding Nathan Logan — ”
He turned, waving a hand and dismissing my concerns. “You worry too much. I know you've got this under control.”
I frowned, thrown by his nonchalance. “No, that’s not — there are complications —”
“Don’t you start second-guessing yourself now!” Mike interrupted with a laugh. “You were born for deals like this.” Mike smiled, placing a hand on my shoulder. “I never doubted for a second you were right for this.” He chuckled.
“Mike, please listen— “
But he swept on, buoyed by enthusiasm. “You have my complete support, Catrina. Keep your eye on the prize. We’ll make a partner out of you yet!”
Despite my misgivings, I couldn’t help but smile at the praise.
“Before I forget…” Mike shuffled through his suit pockets, patting himself down with a look of pure concentration on his face. He reached into one and his expression smoothed out. “This is Mr Logan's agent, Maisy Michaels. Give her a call if you need anything.” He handed me the card and spun away. “Keep up the good work, Catrina.”
The door clicked shut behind Mike, and I sank into the luxurious leather chair at my new desk. I had to hand it to him, he knew how to motivate me when it mattered. His confidence in my ability steadied my nerves.
If Mike trusted I could handle the negotiations, who was I to argue?
Nathan’s intoxicating cologne still permeated the air, tickling my senses and threatening my concentration. His confident voice lingered in my ears as I considered the high stakes of this case and my precarious position.
“Get a grip, Cat,” I muttered to myself, raking my fingers through my hair, messing up my carefully crafted curls.
Focus on the promotion and the shiny new office.
Still my heart raced at the memory of Friday night, threatening to dismantle my carefully constructed facade of professionalism. I needed to get a handle on it. Letting the attraction run unchecked would not only jeopardise my ability to do my job but also my position at the firm.
Although with Mike’s confidence in me, maybe it wouldn’t affect my position as much as I’d first assumed.
You might as well give up now. You’ll only fail in the end, and end up right back where you started: trapped here with me. My mother’s voice echoed inside my mind, a replay of her goodbye before I left for law school in the States.
Growing up in a small town, the pressure to succeed and excel had been intense. Even with my mother’s apathetic expectation that I would fail no matter how hard I tried, I had an entire town fixated on my smallest wins, pushing for more and more.
Moving thousands of miles away for law school had been the best thing for me.
I couldn’t go back to that.
“Is it worth the risk?” I whispered, staring intently at the gold-lettered nameplate on my desk, Catrina Sinclair – Associate Attorney.
It had taken years of hard work, sleepless nights spent buried in law books, and countless hours to get me to this point. I was so close to making a name for myself. Was I willing to jeopardise everything for a tantalising yet dangerous attraction that might be one-sided?
Exactly.
No reason to believe Nathan actually wanted to see me again. Hotshot Hollywood actors probably had women offering themselves up to them on a platter.
Except he outright asked you out and just spent the better part of an hour eye fucking you with your boss in the room...
That meant nothing. It could have been nothing more than a game.
“Focus, Catrina,” I chided myself, forcing my gaze away from the nameplate and onto the thick stack of Starlight Studios documents cluttering my desk. “You’ve got a job to do.”
As the swirling storm of doubt and desire threatened to consume me, I replayed the meeting in my mind. Nathan had been nothing but professional in front of Mike, answering my questions with honesty and openness. The perfect actor with nothing on the line if his inappropriate interest ever came out.
Unlike him, I had everything on the line, and I had to find a way to ignore him. For the sake of my sanity and my career.

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B
B.L.
A forbidden romance

I have always loved lawyer characters. And Catrina did not disappoint. What a fierce, loyal and smart woman ! How Nathan could have resisted ?
And so the chase began. With sexy banter and hot encounters these two overcame barriers and it was a treat to be at the front row of their building HEA.

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