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.”

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