They were all watching her, but it didn’t matter. People only saw what they wanted to see. What she wanted them to see. The artfully applied makeup, the designer gown, the artificial smile, the armor of wealth.
Only on the second floor of her Malibu home–where even the servants and security weren’t allowed to tread–could she be herself. The shy, Midwestern tomboy, who loved to watch basketball and wear ripped jeans with a cotton T-shirt, had free reign only when she was alone.
How much longer before she could leave this party for her sanctuary? Her team was playing tonight. If she left soon, she might catch the second half of the game.
“You don’t remember me, do you?” the man holding her on the dance floor asked.
“No. I’m sorry,” she said. “Where did we meet?”
She would have remembered. Thomas Moore was a media darling of the business world. Self-made billionaire, uncommonly handsome, and single. People Magazine loved him. They’d shared a cover, but they’d never met.
He gave her a heart-stopping grin. “Mrs. Leffler’s algebra class. I sat in the row next to you.”
Tara stopped dancing and squinted at him. She’d known a dark-haired, blue-eyed boy once, but his name had been… “David?”
“One and the same,” he said with a nod. “Thomas is my middle name.”
David Moore. She’d almost forgotten about him. He’d worn glasses then, and at fourteen he’d still been gangly. That would definitely not be the word for him now.
“You’ve changed a lot,” she said, unable to keep the wonder out of her voice.
“Only on the outside,” he said, skimming his fingers across her cheek. “I’m betting it’s the same for you.”
She froze. She gave so much of herself to the world, but not the real her. Never her true self. David could threaten that.
Pulling out of his embrace, she said, “I should go. It was nice to see you again.”
He held her hand. “Tara, wait.” His fingers raked through his hair, leaving several pieces askew, and he let out a loud breath. “I have a private media room upstairs. I was hoping…that is, would you like to watch the game with me?”