2. The Play

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Valerie forced herself to be busy through the remainder of the week to distract, but memories of that lip brush, complicated by being at the horniest time of her cycle, had led to a frequent need to relieve tensions.

Saturday morning, a maroon Bentley pulled to the kerb, and Lorne stepped out from the rear door to greet her with another lip brush. Valerie trembled in anticipation as he assisted her into the car and sat holding her hand while the chauffeur drove eastward.

After looking into each other's eyes in a long silence, Valerie shrugged and blushed. "I had my people research you."

"And what did they find?"

"You're very private."

"As are you."

"You checked?"

"Of course."

"Sorry about Selmortec on Tuesday."

Lorne snapped his head. "How do you know about that?"

"The company fits perfectly into our portfolio, so I instructed the acquisition team to be particularly aggressive. Appears you also wanted it."

"That's why I was late to the soup kitchen."

"I figured that."

A pleasant conversation later, they passed through the security gates onto the tarmac of London City Airport, stopping beside Lorne's Bombardier.

A pleasant conversation later, they passed through the security gates onto the tarmac of London City Airport, stopping beside Lorne's Bombardier

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Once they had settled into the cabin, Valerie asked, "Where's Kreesyay? My people were stumped with every conceivable spelling."

"Spelt C-R-I-S-S-I-E-R. It's outside Lausanne."

"Aha! No wonder. Switzerland, not Britain."

"Yes, sorry, l'Hôtel de Ville there has again been named the finest restaurant in the world."

"Started by Frédy Girardet, wasn't it? Always wanted to dine there."

"And so you shall." Lorne paused as he tilted his head and stared at her lips. "May I kiss you?"

"Oh, please do. That's the next step in our negotiations."

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