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Model Perfect? Book Blitz

Halfway down the block I came upon a small queue outside a tidy brick establishment which proved to be Color. The distant thrum of Ariana Grande leaking through the double wooden doors onto the sidewalk reminded me I was close to a generation older than most of the guys ahead of me waiting to get in.

I joined the line, ignoring a low whistle of interest from one of the guys as I passed. I took his appreciation as reassurance that my skinny black jeans paired with one of Rhys’s new season tight black-and-white-checked T-shirts passed muster. I checked my phone as I waited and fired off a text to my younger sister knowing it was afternoon in New Zealand. A few seconds later the phone rang in my hand, and I smiled and swiped it open.

“Hey, sis.”

“Hey, you. I’m heading to the supermarket. What’s up?”

The line shrank by a couple of guys, and everyone shuffled forward. “Not much. I’m waiting to get into a bar and thought I might catch you.”

Silence. “Hunter Donovan is in a queue?” She chuckled. “You don’t do queues, bro. I thought you rarefied fashionista types skipped those pesky things.”

“It’s not that level of club,” I explained. “Think popular, off-the-beaten-track gay bar. I doubt I’ll see anyone I know and certainly no one who knows me.”

“A gay bar? Ohhhhh, are you on a date?”

“No, I am not on a date. You know me. Besides, I’ve only been here two days.”

“You’re right. I do know you. Which means you’re cruising for some pretty arse. You after a bit of downtown rough, big brother?”

“Jesus, Patty, you sound like a low-budget movie, and we are not having that conversation. Ever. If you must know, I met a guy I worked with in Auckland and he happens to tend bar here. I said I’d drop by.” Kind of, almost.

“Riiiight.” She sounded sceptical. “Do I know them? You’ve always said the best thing about your trips to New York was all the great clubs. I’ve never known you to waste your time on suburban bars.” My sister was way too perceptive.

“True, but this is that model from fashion week last year? The guy Rhys discovered—”

“Oh my god,” she blurted. “That gorgeous hunk of drool you shot for Flare. Alec someone, right?”

“Alec Williamson. He got signed by Cage Talent after the show and has been in New York since. I ran into him quite by chance.”

Patty was quiet for a few seconds as the cogs in her brain ticked over. “But you liked him, right?”

What the fuck? I said nothing
.
“You can’t lie to me, Hunter. I know you. He’s the one hanging in your office on your wall of fame, aka my personal wall of hotness. He’s wearing Rhys’s design. Holy shit, Hunter. Do you have a thing? Are you—”

I needed to shut this down fast. “He’s hanging there because it was my best friend’s signature shoot for his new label,” I argued. “Not because it’s Alec.”

“Mm-hmm.” There was an irritating smile in her voice. “Pull the other one. I called into Flare that day, remember? You couldn’t take your eyes off him. Neither could I, to be honest, but you were a little smitten kitten.”

I so was. “I so wasn’t. You’re dreaming. Alec is a great model, that’s all. If I was smitten, it was on a purely professional level.”

“And yet you’re queuing to have a drink at the place he works?”

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