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How To Pleasure A Playboy

By:Talia Hunter

A Rich List Romance


One


Nose wrinkled, Lacey knocked on the front door of her neighbor's apartment.

"Crystal, I have your medicine," she yelled over the yapping of the elderly woman's dog.

Black mold speckled the ceiling. Under the soles of Lacey's Doc Martin  boots, the carpet had rotted to the floorboards. It broke her heart to  watch the once-beautiful Baxter Apartments falling to pieces around her,  but the rich playboy asshole who owned the place refused to spend a  cent on repairs.

Crystal's door opened with a creak of rusty hinges. A haze of incense  smoke drifted out. "Lacey, come in. How's your father doing?" Her  neighbor was wrapped in an enormous rainbow-colored blanket, complete  with tassels. Crystal's dog bounded out to sniff Lacey's feet, his  fluffy tail wagging. Wolf wore a colorful knitted coat.

"About the same." Lacey handed Crystal her package and eyed the blanket. "Your radiator's not working again?"

"I was hoping you'd fix it."

Good thing Lacey always wore her sturdy boots. She followed Crystal into  her freezing living room and gave the metal fixture a hard kick. Pity  she couldn't do the same to Bronson Reyne, the owner of the Baxter  Apartments. Even if it didn't fix his arrogance, it would be satisfying  as hell. Especially if she aimed just right.

The radiator let out a loud gurgle. "That's it." Crystal gave a little  laugh. "I know it's silly, but I can't bring myself to kick it hard  enough. And you're so sweet to pick up my things for me. I'm going to  miss you like crazy."

"Miss me?" Lacey checked the radiator to make sure it was getting warm.

The old woman sunk into one of her patchwork armchairs and Wolf leaped  into her lap. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. It pains me to say it, but I have  to accept that awful man's offer."

"You what?" Bronson Reyne had sent his tenants letters offering them  each ten thousand dollars to rip up their fixed-rent tenancy contracts  and move out. Lacey had burned hers, and she'd assumed her neighbor had  done the same. "But you can't move out. You've been here, what, forty  years? Longer?"

"Thirty-nine years." Crystal sighed. "Now the place is so damp, my son's  insisting. And I have to admit, the stairs are starting to best me.  Poor Wolf doesn't get to go outside as often as he used to. Sometimes he  has to cross his legs and hold on."

"Then Bronson Reyne should fix the elevator. If we stick together, we  can pressure him to repair this place. I know we can do it."

"I'm afraid it might be getting too old." Crystal scratched Wolf's head,  gazing around her trinket-filled living room with a sad smile. "It'll  hurt my heart to leave, but it's Mother Nature's cycle. None of us can  deny her, no matter how young we feel inside."

"You know how Dad feels about the Baxter. All he talks about is coming  home. Letting a rich playboy pull it down would finish him off." Lacey  ran her hand over the plaster filigree on the wall. Like everything in  the building, it was crumbling. "We can't let Bronson Reyne turn Dad's  home into rubble."

"I remember the day you were born. Right across the hall, so I was sure  I'd hear you crying at night. But you were so good, even then. An angel.  And your mother so proud."

Lacey looked away, pushing her glasses up her nose. All the times  Crystal had told that story, she'd never mentioned Lacey's father being  proud of her. Now he was dying, and she had one last chance to do right  by him. If Bronson Reyne thought she'd let him pull her father's home  down without a fight, he was dumber than a toupee in a tornado.

"You know what?" she asked. "I'm going to pay him a visit and tell him where he can stick his new development."

"Who, the owner? You think he'll see you?"

"I won't give him a choice. His new nightclub's opening in King's Cross  on Friday night. He'll be there, and I'm going to get an invitation. He  can hardly refuse to talk to me in a public place."

At least, she hoped she could get an invitation. When she went back to  her own apartment across the hall, she called her business partner,  Ally, to ask her.

"Ally, I need to get into Play nightclub on Friday. Think it's possible?"

"Opening night?" Ally sounded surprised. "You're not much of a clubber."

"My landlord will be there."

"Okay. Let me make a few calls and see if I can get you in."         

     



 

Lacey thanked her and rang off. Waiting for Ally to call back, she  checked Myrtle's tank to make sure he was okay. Then she turned the  heater in her bedroom on and climbed into bed fully dressed, propped up  on pillows with her laptop and a bar of chocolate. She was typing up her  father's old newspaper columns, but it was boring work, and hard to  focus while her bedroom was still so cold. When her phone finally rang  again, she snatched it up.

"Bad news," said Ally. "I called the club's manager to get you a press  pass, and he hadn't heard of Liaison. Can you believe it?"

"What? He doesn't know who we are?" Lacey put on a mock-horrified tone.  When Ally had published her insider stories about movie star Max Oberon,  their blog had hit record readership numbers. They'd had an exciting  year, but it was quietening down. Perfect time for a juicy story to pick  things up again.

"He said you'll have to dress nice and line up with everyone else."

"Dress nice? I suppose he means sexy?"

"Well, you know what these clubs are like. So, yeah, it wouldn't hurt."  Ally hesitated. "No offense, but do you own anything sexy?"

"Depends how hot you think jeans are. I have a pair that's ripped high above the knee. Positively indecent."

"I'll loan you something."

"Listen Ally, I'd like to write a series about Bronson Reyne and the  Baxter. He's an arrogant playboy throwing working folk out on the  street, and I want to tell the story. What do you think?"

"You could give it a try and see how it goes over."

Lacey let out her breath. Now Ally had agreed, she could make saving her  home her full-time mission. "I'll work it on social media too. Get some  buzz going."

"Okay. Push it hard and we can monitor how our readers respond."

As soon as Lacey signed off, she opened Twitter and sent a tweet:

#PamperedPlayboy Bronson Reyne wants to destroy my home, but I won't let him. #SaveTheBaxter

Then she pulled up the Liaison blog and started writing a new post.

I live in the Baxter, a lovely old building in desperate need of repair.  My parents moved into the Baxter thirty years ago, and now my father's  coming to the end of his life. All he wants is to spend his last months  in the home he loves.

She wrote a long article, filled with anecdotes about growing up in the  apartment building, and signed it off with a final thought.

If we put enough pressure on Bronson Reyne, together we can save the  Baxter. Join me on Twitter and help me prove that money won't always  triumph over heart.

After publishing the story, she sent another tweet. And by Friday  evening, she'd started collecting dozens of replies and retweets each  time.

Ally had promised to bring her something to wear to the nightclub, and  turned up with a slinky red dress. "The lights in your hall keep  flickering," she complained when Lacey let her in. "With all the stains  on the walls, and the broken elevator, it feels like a scene from The  Shining."

"It's nicer in here." Lacey led her into the living room. "I have the fire going."

Ally draped the red dress over the back of the couch and held her hands  up to the flames. "Thank goodness for the fireplace. It makes your place  feel much cozier."

"I'm lucky. Only four of the top floor apartments have them, and mine's the only one that works."

"Think you can convince the owner to fix the building up?"

Lacey picked up the red dress and held it against herself. Tossing her  hair back, she struck a sexy pose and dropped her voice into a throaty  purr. "One look at this dress and he'll agree to anything." Then she  wrinkled her nose and switched to her normal voice. "At least now I  might get close enough to ask."

"As soon as my fingers defrost, I'll do your hair and makeup. Shall I try straightening your curls?"

"Good luck." Lacey lifted a hand to push at her mop. "You'll need it."

Sure enough, it took over an hour before Ally finally stepped back with a grunt of satisfaction. "There. What do you think?"

Lacey blinked at herself in the mirror. All that spraying, cursing, and  straightening had forced her hair to hang in a glossy sheet, and Ally  had done a great job with her makeup. Running her hands over the tight  red dress, Lacey gave her friend a slow smile. "I feel like a juicy  piece of bait on a very sharp hook."

"Ready to catch a playboy?"

"Hope so. If they let me in the club." Lacey adjusted the front of the  low-cut dress, pulling it further up to cover her tattoo. At least the  fact that Bronson Reyne was a sleazebag gave her a better chance of  getting in. With his reputation as a womanizer, he probably told the  doormen to admit anyone with boobs. The man was as shallow as a bird  bath.         

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