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As he approached, he said, “Good morning,” with a smile that held even as the crowd pushed in closer to him.

One smile and two simple words was all it took for a woman to reach out to shake his hand. She pressed a piece of paper with her name and phone number on it into his palm. She was dressed in a tight V-neck top and short skirt despite the cool fog hanging over the square.

“I’m so excited about your new movie, Smith,” she purred. She ran her hand up his arm as if they’d met before, and knew each other well enough that he’d want her to touch him.

“Thank you…” He paused for her to fill in her name, since he’d never set eyes on her before this morning.


He smiled down at her. “I’m looking forward to you watching it, Brittany.”

“Oh, I can’t wait,” she said in a husky voice. “And I want you to know that I’m free any time while you’re filming, if you want to talk about it. Or—” She licked her lips. “—for anything else you want to do while you’re in San Francisco.”

Taking her lead, one after the other, the women shook his hand and passed him their phone numbers while telling him that he was their favorite actor and they’d seen all of his movies. The same scene had played out hundreds of times over the past fifteen years, and the truth was that if he’d still been in his twenties, Smith would have been more than happy to take his pick of the beauties back to his place for a night, a week, or even longer, if the woman was easy enough to be with.

But thirty-six was a long way from those early, wild years...and he was tired of waking up next to naked women whose names he didn’t remember, who had never made him laugh, whose families he’d never meet. What a contrast it was to the way so many of his siblings had recently found love and were getting married and having children. Every week he updated the screensaver on his phone with a new picture of his little niece, Emma. Soon, his sister Sophie would have her twins, and he couldn’t wait to put a picture of all three Sullivan babies on there.

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