Three Effing Stories of New York City
Three couples in New York City are about to discover that love can strike where and when you least expect it. Like most people on the city streets, they've been walking with their head down and their eyes on the ground, but three chance encounters will change all that.
In The Truth About Numbnuts and Chubbs- Ben and Bryony, both raised in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood, are scrappers who have survived their share of struggles. But Ben turned his bad-boy reputation into a billion-dollar business empire and now he lives in a Central Park penthouse, travels in his private jet and gets everything the way he wants it.
That is, until he runs into Bryony again. The girl he once called "Chubbs" is all grown up, smart as a whip and has curves that silicone can't recreate. She also has no patience for "Numbnuts" Petruska. Sure, she might have had a crush on him...once. But if he plans to trap her in his web of sex games, turning her into another submissive conquest, he's in for a surprise.
In Falling for Sir - Marianne's just started a promising new job in the city, but there's nothing new or promising about the men she's meeting. One thing remains the same—her Neglected Clitoris Predicament. Desperation and the chance discovery of a business card under her desk, leads Marianne to an exclusive club where she'll find out exactly what it takes to make her tick. And who.
Unfortunately, there's a hitch. The enigmatic "Sir" who wins Marianne for the night in a sex auction, is unknowingly about to make an appearance in her real life. As her new boss.
In Whatever it Takes - Scandal-wracked playboy, Charlie Marchetti, arrives in New York two days before his brother's wedding, determined to prove he's a reformed man. Unfortunately fate is not on his side. First, the airline lost his luggage. Second, all five of his ex-wives are coming to the wedding, probably just to remind Charlie he's an ass who takes nothing seriously and will die alone and unloved. Oh, and third, he has no date for the wedding.
Then he meets Persey Chancellor at lost luggage. Within minutes she's summed him up as a "pervert". Damn it, but he's intrigued. With gum in her hair and tattoos up her arm, this uninhibited, potty-mouthed stranger could be his shocking trump card—an ultimate prank on the ex-wives. Can the man dubbed "Charming Charlie" by the paparazzi, convince Persey to spend two days posing as his unlikely girlfriend? Hey, he'll do whatever it takes. But the last laugh might just be on him.
NOTE: This is a previously published work. The three originally separate titles inside were edited and given a new collection title for TEP.
A cop trotted up to the car and told them to turn around. "Gas leak." The entire street was being evacuated and he had no estimated time of when it might be safe to return. "Crews are working on it, buddy," he assured them mechanically before splashing off into the rain, hand raised to halt another car.
"Shit," she exclaimed, hunched in her corner of the seat, arms folded.
There was no hesitation from her fellow passenger. "You'll have to come home with me."She felt her scowl deepen. "I could just check into a hotel."
"Don't be ridiculous." Sliding back into the seat, fingers spread over his knees, he looked at her. "You're coming home with me."
Bryony sucked on her lips and turned her face to stare out of the window. It had gotten colder just in the short time they were in the car and the rain began hitting the glass harder as it transformed to pellets of ice. If it was that cold outside, why was she hot?
The city would be a mess in a few hours. It was winter and she should be prepared for massive inconveniences, but still the first storm of the season always seemed to take her by surprise.
"I'm not dumping you at a hotel," he added. "Wouldn't be chivalrous. My grandmother would never forgive me."
Hopefully it would only be a few hours, she thought. It was nine thirty now. She gave him a quick glance over her shoulder. He was humming a tune, fingers tapping his knees. Of course an ice storm wouldn't bother him much. He never had to rely on public transportation to get anywhere. If he didn't feel like going in to work tomorrow, he didn't have to. The beauty of being his own boss.
She said nothing and he didn't wait for any agreement, just told his driver to take them home to his apartment. And as she stared at the window again, catching her reflected expression, she knew what the night held in store. It was readable there in her eyes, large print.
Where he'd held her waist earlier she still felt the warmth of his hand, the strange possessiveness she'd never expected from him, never experienced from anyone. The night was passing like a weird dream where things were only normal on the surface. Underneath it all, nothing was really quite the same. She ought to pinch herself, she thought, quirking a little smile at her reflection.
It made her look naughty. Wicked.
Bryony Kathleen Mulligan, are you going to get laid tonight?
Yes, ma. If I have my way.
What the hell was she thinking?
She quickly shook her head, straightened her lips. It was not going to happen. She couldn't let it.
Numbnuts? She must be crazy. So she'd had a crush on him years ago. Maybe—just maybe— she could admit that now. Because she was over it, right? Her tastes had matured since then. And as Helena said, she knew what he was. The Casanova of Manhattan and various international locations.
He could have any woman in New York and frequently did if the rumors were true. Just because he'd looked at her in a heated way and touched her waist, she'd let her mind wander off into absurd porno territory. Maybe it had simply been too long for her since her last boyfriend.
She stole a quick glance sideways and saw his fingers still tapping idly on his thigh.
Damn it, Mulligan, don't look at his dangerous hands.
Too late. There was nothing she could do, was there? In her head she worked out an excuse to give Helena.
The peckerhead practically kidnapped me. I couldn't open the door and leap out, could I?
Tap, tap, tap went his long fingers.
Sex. It flashed and buzzed in her mind like the neon letters luring tired motorists to a seedy motel. Right above the "vacancy" sign.
A few years ago she would have made a run for it, lost her guts. But New Bryony was still discovering her powers and learning how to use them.
She was getting ahead of herself, she decided. He hadn't mentioned anything about going to bed together. He'd simply invited her to his place until it was safe for her to return home.
Besides...did she have her good panties on? The new lacy ones? She panicked for a moment, staring out at the rain and trying to remember what she had on under her dress. It was the sort of dress that showed every line, so had she worn those ugly but practical, nude, high-waisted elastic things that took forever to get off, like a rubber wet suit? Dimly she recalled standing over her undies drawer, trying to decide which panties to wear, with a glass of white wine in one hand and one eye on the TV. But what had she finally chosen?
She wriggled a little on the seat, trying to figure it out.
Then she realized Ben was looking at her, eyes squinting with curiosity.
"I need to pee," she muttered.
"Should have gone before we left the gallery."
"Yeah, well, I couldn't, could I? Our cousins were making up in there."
"Oh, right. Horny Helena and Crazy Carl. But if you gotta pee, better try to think about something else."
She scowled. "Like what?"
He thought for a minute, looking out of his window. "Let's see...so how was France? You said you'd been living there. Did you go alone?"
"Yes. Why? Think I can't do anything by myself?"
He whistled. "You're awful jumpy, Mulligan. Just trying to make conversation."
"I went to Paris to learn how to cook. And to get my head straight." Bryony felt him looking at her, but she kept her gaze on the road ahead.
"Did it work?"
"Yes. I think so."
"I like a woman who knows her way around a kitchen. That's where a woman should be." He sighed heavily, one arms stretched along the back of the seat. "Cooking, cleaning...making her man happy."
"Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen?"
"Sure. When are you going to cook something for me then?"
He'd like that, she mused, picturing him sitting at a kitchen table, wife-beater on, shouting for his supper, while she pottered about in an old apron, screaming kids in diapers clinging to her legs. "How does the twelfth of never sound?"
He laughed. "I guess you're not so confident in your abilities to satisfy my appetite."
"I might be tempted to lace it with arsenic."
Twenty minutes later they were walking out of the private elevator into his penthouse apartment. It was everything she expected—sleek, modern, masculine. Luxurious. The press of a remote achieved instant life. Five blue and gold flames shot out of large pebbles in a center fire pit, and muted, recessed lighting glimmered into action, stroking the lush curves of large, spotless white couches. On the exposed brick wall, an enormous flat screen TV blipped awake, while a coffee maker in the kitchen purred in unison. All this from one micro-chip command. Like his women, she mused darkly, his appliances came in coordinated colors and worked obediently on the push of a button.
"At this time of night?" Bry kicked off her shoes, afraid to mark his wide plank floors and expensive-looking area rugs.
"No. Thanks." Anyone else would offer tea next, or water. He went straight to the liquor. But Bryony was too fidgety, too interested in his apartment to sit still just then. Didn't want to risk spilling anything else. Not here in this pristine show room.
It wasn't the sort of home in which she could imagine anyone relaxing. Those white couches wouldn't withstand five minutes with her and a bag of Doritos. Her tatty bunny slippers would be out of place, for sure.
No personal photos, she realized. In fact, the decor was quite sparse, certainly not cozy or lived-in. Probably had a professional designer pick everything out for him.
While he poured his coffee, she found the guest bathroom and slipped inside. Her heart was racing quite a bit, just because she was there with him. Well, not just because of him, for heaven's sake! She was in a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park, standing in a glitzy bathroom that probably cost more to decorate than her entire apartment. It was about the same size too. The hand towels were neatly aligned and no gunk jammed the soap dispenser.
This was the last place she'd expected to end up when she set out that evening. Then he went and put his hands on her—on her waist, her shoulders, her arm.
You're coming home with me.
Bossy. Gave her goose bumps. Made her panties moist. But it wasn't as if she was a clueless, slack-jawed, virginal coed who had never seen a pecker before and had no idea why she was there. This was real life and the only shades of grey were in his dull, fucking decor. So why was she perspiring under her dress and standing in his bathroom trying to catch her breath? Sheer lunacy.
Stop it, Bryony Mulligan. Get a hold of yourself. You are a new woman now. At least have the presence of mind to act as if this apartment isn't on another planet, or you just rode there with the Beverly Hillbillies in their jalopy.
Thank god! She was wearing the lace panties, not the heinous "hold it in" garment of torture. She should have known, considering her ovaries were not in pain from being crushed.
Anyone might think she'd had a premonition of where tonight would lead.
Having cooled off for a moment and completed what she went there to do, Bry checked her face in the big mirror over the sink.
Lipstick was still in place. Mascara not yet melting. Looking good, Mulligan.
Ready. Fully charged.
He wouldn't know what hit him.
It was going to happen. Sex. The slow, steady thump of expectation passed up and down her body on a determined march toward misbehavior. There didn't seem to be anything she could do to stop it. Bryony felt sure she was safe from forming any deeper feelings. She knew what she was getting into with him. Nothing more could come of this. Nothing.
It was part of the cleansing, she assured herself, all part of the new Bryony. Getting herself straight. Being bold and confident. Seizing life by the balls. By the...numbnuts.