Chapter 1.2 : Asher

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She tasted like honey and milk. Her body yielded to his caresses like butter to a hot knife. Asher had made her climax twice in the past half hour as he promised. And without taking their clothes off, because that was an important part of the deal.

He smiled upon seeing her blouse open to reveal a fire-red silk and satin bra. That was not his doing. She had unbuttoned her shirt herself while he was busy between her thighs.

"I'm glad you think so." Emily was still breathless from the delights he had introduced in her. "Although this wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I called to meet you here."

"Would you like to go over the latest revisions on the contract now, Emily? I think there are one or two more stipulations I have to insist we reconsider."

"I know what they are. I'll have Portman and Stewart take care of it." She had her hand on his wrist as he ran his fingers up and down her navel, urging him on.

She was hungry for more.

"Are you sure about this? Your father was adamant about letting his brother have that 10 percent stake."

"My uncle has been a useless piece of trash since he dropped out of three colleges thirty years ago, and my father is a fool for thinking he'll get him to ever amount to anything more than a waste of space." She leaned forward and hooked her fingers on his belt buckle. "My fiancé is on his way here for dinner. Would you rather talk about my loser uncle or get inside me?"


"Ash, where the hell are you?"

"Nice to hear from you too, Charlie," said Asher, leaning comfortably in his seat. "I'm out having a drink, if you must know." His gaze strayed across the old Hollywood style restaurant to rest on a tall redhead in a clingy white dress and come-fuck-me heels. She was with two other young women sitting at the bar, talking excitedly. But every so often, she would glance over and meet his gaze. "I thought I'd celebrate my coming back to L.A. with some good scotch and ..."

The redhead tossed her hair and licked her lower lip.

"... some red velvet."

"You hate cake," Charlie said. "And you especially detest red velvet."

"I seem to find myself in the mood for it tonight. The kind with the white cream cheese frosting." He gave the redhead a small smile. "In fact I can practically taste some of that frosting right now. Would you care to join me?"

He could picture his best friend rolling her eyes. "No thank you," Charlie said. "I have an early breakfast meeting tomorrow. How did the meeting go yesterday?"

"Perfectly. You're speaking to the new majority owner of Ritter Media Holdings." He pulled out a hundred-dollar bill with his free hand and held it loosely in his fingers as he signaled a waitress.

"You got your 90%?" She laughed. "But of course you did. Old man Ritter really has lost his touch."

"Oh I don't know about that. Emily Ritter handled the negotiations. Quite a shrewd businesswoman, I must say. Her reputation is quite well deserved. Hang on."

Asher clasped the waitress's hand so the money was between their palms, and pulled her down to whisper in her ear. "Is it here?" he said.

"Yes, Mr. Darcy," she said. "Would you like us to send it over to your friend now?"

"That would be perfect, thank you, Vera."

She pocketed the cash with a smile, and left.

Charlie sighed. "You slept with her, didn't you?"

"I can say with all honesty, my dear Charlie, that neither of us got any sleep."

"Congratulations, I guess. Will she be your date to my party next Saturday? You haven't informed my assistant whether you're bringing a plus one, but she's learned from experience that it's just more convenient to assume you will."

"Very sensible. It's good to know Darlene's Princeton education is being put into good use. No, it seems Ms. Ritter is entirely engaged to a very boring middle-aged gentleman from Texas with the most appalling table manners."

He smiled as he watched the redhead and her friends gasp in surprise when Vera set down the beautifully designed cake in front of her on the bar top. Vera spoke to the redhead briefly, and gestured towards him. The redhead smiled at him — palms on her chest, her face flush with excitement. He nodded at her, and raised his drink.

"Well, whoever your plus one is," Charlie said, "be sure to inform her of the dress code. I'll not have another costume party ruined by one of your last-minute dates who show up with whatever they were wearing when you picked them up." 

"I promise she will be in full costume, even if I have to dress her myself. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm just about to have some birthday cake. Lunch tomorrow?"

"Of course. I missed you, Asher."

"And I missed you, my love. Goodnight."

He put the phone in his pocket just as the young woman came over. "Hi," he said. His gaze moved from her long slim legs up to her exquisitely formed breasts to her face.

"Have we met?" she said. "How did you know it was my birthday?"

"I didn't."

"Oh?" She looked confused. "So why..."

"Will you sit with me?"

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