Panties in the Bunch: Models behaving badly! The male version of America's Next Top Model with all the drama of the reality TV show except these men aren't on film. Brendan Kushtev is tops in the modeling arena but has always had a bone to pock with 2 of his top rivals. And why oh why did they have to be his co-models on one of the biggest shoots of his life!
Brendan Kushtev frowned into the mirror. He disliked the lighting in the dressing room, convinced it didn’t present him in the best possible light. Tousling his hair with one hand, he balanced his cell in the other, carrying on a conversation in his native Russian tongue with his agent/lover.
“I thought you said we’d be going out tonight?” His r’s rolled smoothly off of his tongue; he loosened his tie to relieve some of his tension. “This shoot is taking for fucking ever!” He rolled his eyes, listening. “Some trouble with the cameras. I thought you said this guy was a professional? “What do you have to say about that?” He grabbed for his can of cola, listening with a barely contained snarl.
“Well, like I said,” he continued, dropping his glance to his manicured nails, “I am only the best model in the world.”
He cocked a skeptical eyebrow. “I’m not sure what’s taking him so long, but I’m due for a mani-pedi after this shoot and I fucking don’t want to miss it.” He heard the door behind him open. At last. “Yeah, okay, listen, I gotta go!” Brendan blew a kiss through the phone and pressed the disconnect button. Glancing into the mirror, he saw Jean, along with two other men.
You gotta be kidding me.
Jean him a wry smile. “Brendan, this is…”
“I know who they are,” he interrupted, putting his hand up. “This is supposed to be my shoot. I didn’t know I’d be sharing the camera with amateurs.” Brendan petulantly folded his arms, glaring at them through the glass.
Both men chuckled and shook their heads. “Now, now, don’t get your panties all up in a bunch.” The blondish-brown haired man laughed. “I’m sure we can all work together.”
Brendan knew exactly who this guy was. Joey Quaid. The American model who’d turned him down flat a couple of years ago when they were both drunk, attending the birthday party of a mutual friend. At that time he claimed to be straight, not even interested in being with another man—until Brendan had caught him red-handed. With the guy standing next to him, no less. Aldo Martinez.
Aldo dramatically sighed, casting his eyes toward the ceiling. His accent was sensual, and very Spanish. “You’re so sad. So much anger for such a gorgeous, young man. You need to grow up, mi amigo. You need to see the light and realize you aren’t the only model in the world.”
Rising, Brendan swayed toward them, taking mincing, determined steps. “But I’m the best. Too good to be working with amateurs! Jean, I swear…” He clenched his fists, determined to get his way.
The photographer ran a hand over his smooth head. He looked up at the three hot men, a worried expression flitting across his face. “Look, we have a great idea. A way for the three of you to get all that aggression out, all right? Brendan, if you’re mad at these guys, for whatever reason, sweetie, please keep it for the shoot. The magazine wants something different for this spread, so please, just cooperate with me. This will work in your favor, I promise.”
Brendan glanced at the other two and sighed. “You better be glad the money you’re paying me is enough. I wanna show these two who’s boss here.” Brendan crossed his arms over his strong chest again, lips pushed out in a petulant pout. He hated the very idea of sharing these pictures with this couple.
Why couldn’t it be Anyone but them?
Jean sighed and rolled his eyes “Uh okay, then. Let’s get started, shall we? Gentlemen, here’s what you’ll be wearing.” Hastening to the closet before the divas could change their minds, he pulled out three pairs of small, white bikini underwear that resembled Speedos. Handing one to each man, he smiled. “They want to sell power, aggression, and sexy in this spread. Wear nothin’ but these, please. I’ll leave you all to change.” Without another peep, he sped out the door
Brendan exhaled the breath he’d been holding, darted glances at both of them. “Well, we meet again and… I suppose now, Joey, you’re claiming to be gay when before you denied even liking men?”
“Can’t a man change his mind?” Joey wrapped his arm around Aldo’s waist and pulled him in closer, meshing their mouths together in an obvious message.
Brendan pursed his lips, narrowing his eyes. “Hmph, not really, since you were so adamant about being straight.”
“Oh God.” Joey’s laughter shook Aldo’s frame; he turned in his embrace to face Brendan. “You’re such a bitch! You’re envious just because I turned you down, aren’t you, hot stuff? Why do you care now? Aren’t you datin’ some hotshot agent?”
“Yeah, but…he’s, well…Damn, Joey. I don’t hafta talk to you about this.” Brendan spun on his heels. It was true. Why did he care? Maybe because it burned his craw that someone had rejected him. He was the hottest man in the world. He was Brendan Kushtev—he rejected men, no one rejected him.
“You’re the one that’s brought up the old story, Brendan. I guess you’re upset I picked Aldo over you?”
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