Celebrity Free Pass – Excerpt

"Cheers." Ivy clinked her wine glass against Tom's, splashing some of the content onto her fingers.

"Is it customary in Australia to do that with every refill?" Tom asked with a laugh as they finished off their second bottle of Penfold's Chardonnay.

"Absolutely, and it's especially important to have eye contact during a chink, otherwise it's seven years bad sex."

He snorted into his glass. "You're telling me this now? Jeez, did I do it right the other times?"

"Yep, you're fine, I was paying attention." She sat back in the comfortably padded dining chair and took another sip of the crisp, cool white. "That meal was delicious, although you probably shouldn't have trusted me to order the wine."

"Why not? It's fantastic."

"It's pretty pricey."

Tom grinned and took another sip, watching her with those deep, brown eyes over the rim of his glass. "I think I'm good for it."

Ivy had to use every ounce of strength and composure to not hurl herself over the table and plant her mouth against his. She was having a brilliant time. The hotel restaurant was beautiful, and as they sat in the glorious atrium, the well placed, indoor greenery created a wonderful privacy, allowing her to feel as though she and Tom were the only two people in the whole room.

There had been moments throughout Ivy's life when she'd felt uncomfortable meeting new people. She hated making small talk and having to go through all the intimacies of getting to know someone. She didn't consider herself to be shy, more just a little awkward at times. Like an adolescent, stuck in the body of a twenty-seven year old. But being with Tom was nothing like that. In fact, it felt incredibly easy to sit opposite him and engage in conversation as though they'd been friends for years.

"Fancy dessert?" he asked, with that handsome smirk he did so often.

She studied him, trying to decide if there was some kind of sexual innuendo in his words. Hoping there was. But then he grabbed a menu and began oohing and aahing over the selections. Damn it.

"I thought you Hollywood types had to watch your calories."

Tom scoffed. "I can see I'm going to have to teach you a thing or two about us Hollywood types."

"Really? Please, enlighten me."

He put down the menu and placed his hands flat against the white tablecloth. Ivy did her best not to dwell on the theory of massive hands, massive…other bits.

"Ask me anything about being an actor and I'll tell you the truth, no holds barred."

She took another sip of her wine, finishing the glass. "Okay, Mr. Famous, do celebrities such as yourself…"

He rolled his eyes.

"…get free stuff all the time? Like haircuts, for example."

Tom chuckled. "Has that question been eating away at you all your life?"

Ivy, still holding her empty wine glass, pointed at Tom accusingly. "You promised me a straight answer."

"Okay, okay. No. When I'm not shooting, I pay for my own haircuts, or I just do it myself."

Her face obviously showed confusion because he turned his fist into an electric razor and made a buzzing noise over his cropped hair.

"Oh, right. Well, here's another question. At the Oscars, do all the guests really get to take home a goody bag?"

"I've never been to the Oscars so I couldn't say with one hundred percent certainty. I would hate to feed you the wrong information."

His face was a picture of absolute seriousness, yet she knew he was teasing her. The way his lips twitched into that now familiar smirk made it all too easy to envision reaching over the table and pressing her mouth against his. Ivy forced her weight firmly into her chair.

"Any further questions, Ms. Flockheart?"

"Yes, Mr. Famous. Do all celebrities get to sleep with whoever they want, whenever they want?" The effects of two bottles of wine seemed to have finally taken their toll.

Tom raised his eyebrows. "I can't speak for every celebrity…"

"What about just you then?"

The muscles in his jaw tightened, and he picked up his wine, finishing the final mouthful. His fingers toyed with the stem of the glass before he finally looked up and stared directly into her eyes. "I'm not sure, Ivy. Do I?"