Beguile her: Laws of Seduction Book 2

BOOK: Beguile her: Laws of Seduction Book 2
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Contents

Beguile her title page

Copyright

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

About the Author

BEGUILE HER

 

Laws of Seduction

Book Two

 

AVA HAYWORTH

 

Copyright © 2016 by Ava Hayworth.

All rights reserved worldwide. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, businesses, locales, or events is purely coincidental.

No part of the book may be reproduced, uploaded to the Internet, or copied without express written permission from the author.

To join her mailing list for new releases, please sign up here:

avahayworth.com

 

Cover by Domi, Inspired Cover Designs

 

CHAPTER 1

 

By the time I have returned home and gotten ready for my date with Davis, my emotions are once again under control. I would have liked to have rehashed the whole incident with Sam, but she is out with Dylan. To show off my tan, I have chosen to wear a black shift dress with a square beaded neckline and embroidered straps. I had just finished slipping on my black strappy platform heels when I hear my mother’s ringtone. After considering letting it go to voice-mail, I decide to answer. I have been so busy with work that I haven’t spoken to her recently, and I am feeling a bit guilty.

“Hi Mom,” I answer brightly.

“Elaine, how are you, honey? I haven’t talked to you for so long I was beginning to worry.” The sound of my mother’s faintly southern accent makes me feel homesick.

“I’m fine. Just super busy at work.”

“For heaven’s sake, I will never understand why they work you like slaves.”

“It’s not that bad. I got off early today.” I lay back on the bed and look at my bedroom ceiling.

“Do you have anything nice planned for this weekend?”

“Not a lot, but I am going out tonight.” I close my eyes tightly anticipating the next question. Although her own marriage to my father did not end well, my mother is terrified that I will not find a husband.

“Oh really, with whom?”

“Well, his name is Davis, and he is a photographer.”

“That sounds interesting. Is he handsome?” 

I think of Davis’s tall, honed physique, tanned skin, and brown eyes. “Yes, very. He’s from Australia.”

“Oh no. I don’t want you to move there.”

I laugh. “Don’t worry. I have no intention of moving to Australia.”

My mother’s voice shifts up an octave. “That’s what you say now, but love can make you do anything. Is he the one you went to the Hamptons with last weekend?”

I am surprised that my mother knew I was in the Hamptons, but then I remember my conversation with Jett. He is such a gossip. “Have you been talking to Jett?” I ask accusingly.

“Yes, he called me the other day. Now answer my question.”

I let out an exasperated sigh. “No, I didn’t go to the Hamptons with Davis.”

“Well, Jett said you were with someone. If it wasn’t Mark, who was it?”

I realize I have let the silence draw out for too long, so I answer in a rush. “His name is James, but we aren’t seeing each other anymore, so it’s not important.”

The silence on the other end of the line makes me nervous, so I try to divert my mother’s attention away from my nonexistent relationship with James. “How is Little Miss Muffett?”  Any mention of my mother’s Bichon is guaranteed to lead into a five-minute rendition about how she is currently groomed and her latest visits to the doggie playground. Disaster averted, I settle in to hear about the latest run between Little Miss Muffet and her arch enemy, a Yorkshire Terrier from down the block. 

My mother has been blessed with the gift of gab. She entertains me with the latest as I make my way out the door. I interrupt her briefly to give the cabbie the address of the Grammercy Tavern. It is a popular restaurant in the Flatiron District, on 20th Street between Broadway and Park. I am an expert on Little Miss Muffet’s schedule as the taxi pulls up in front of the restaurant. The hostess walks me back to the dining room where Davis is waiting. He stands up when he sees me, then moves forward to give me a kiss on the cheek. So far he is definitely getting points for suaveness.  

When I look into his warm brown eyes, I can’t resist smiling. We don’t have much time to talk before the waiter comes to take our order. I choose the red snapper, and Davis orders a steak. He also picks out a bottle of wine. We spend the time before the food arrives on the usual small talk. I learn that Davis is currently working on the Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. “I am actually surprised you are a photographer and not a model,” I confess.

He grins at me self-consciously. “Actually, I started out as a model, but I was bored most of the time and found myself more interested in what was happening on the other side of the camera. I was lucky, and a photographer that I worked with saw my interest and mentored me. He was a great teacher, and before long I was being hired to do shoots myself.”

“It’s great when you can find something that you really love.”

“Isn’t that the truth? How about you? What made you go into law?”

I shrug. “It just seemed like the natural thing to do. My father is a lawyer and so are my brothers. I guess you could say it is the family business.”

“Do you work with your family then?”

“No, I suppose that would make sense, but I want to make it on my own… not because I am so and so’s daughter or sister.”

“Very commendable.” Davis smiles warmly at me. “I like an independent woman.”

I can’t help the blush that I know is staining my cheeks, and I am relieved when the waiter arrives to clear our dishes and hand us the dessert menu. We decide to split a dessert. On the recommendation of the waiter, we opt for the chocolate bread pudding.

The waiter comes back almost immediately with the bread pudding on a plate with two spoons and places it in the center of the table. It looks heavenly, and the chocolatey goodness melts on my tongue. We both agree that it is one of the best chocolate desserts we have ever eaten. Davis puts down his spoon. “Maybe we should have ordered two.” 

I feel myself blushing again. “I’m sorry. Am I eating more than my share?”

Davis laughs. “No, have all you want. You just seemed very intent.”

I smile back at him. “I guess you have discovered my weakness.”

“What? Chocolate?”

“Among other things…” I flirt back.

Abruptly, the laughter disappears from Davis’s eyes and is
With
d with a speculative look mixed with what? Desire? The bread pudding sticks to the back of my throat, and I put down my spoon as well. The light banter throughout the evening had done wonders to restore my ego, but I wonder if I am ready for anything else. I suddenly feel like I am swimming in waters a little too deep.

Davis leans back in his chair and regards me solemnly. I am not sure I like the serious turn of the atmosphere. “Lainey, I want to ask you about the last time I saw you. When we were at the club…” he trails off as if uncertain how he should continue. “That guy… are you involved with him?”

I gulp. I should have anticipated this question, since I left with James that night. I realize all at once that I have not thought of James once the entire evening. At the same time, I wonder how to answer Davis’s pointed question. I clear my throat uncomfortably and look down at the table, unable to meet his eyes. “Did you know that I had been drugged?”

When I am met by silence, I finally look up to see him regarding me compassionately. He reaches over and takes my hand. “Not until the end did I question your behavior, but Nick told me later what had happened. I thought you’d had too much to drink.”

I nod my head, but pull my hand away in agitation. “I can’t remember the last part of the evening. I hate the feeling of not being in control, so I would never get that drunk.”

“And that guy? You obviously knew him well.”

I look at my hand as I smooth out an imagined crease in the table cloth and deliberate a moment before responding. “To be honest I don’t know what to tell you about him, because I don’t know what he was to me. He was definitely not my boyfriend, and he is not in the picture now.”

Davis reaches over and places his hand on mine once again, stilling my nervous fidgeting. I look back up as he says, “You don’t have to say any more.” I feel the tension that had seized me at the mention of James ease away.

“Good,” is all I can think to respond.

Everything moves quickly after that. Davis pays the bill, and we are soon in a taxi heading back to my apartment. I am a ball of nerves wondering if I should invite Davis up, because I can’t help feeling that things are moving too fast. On the one hand, I am not over James, but on the other hand I do find Davis attractive and fun to be around. I am working up my courage to ask him to come up when his smart phone pings. Davis looks at the message and then over to me. “My friend Selene is having a party, and I told her I might stop in. Do you want to swing by?”

The relief I feel is palpable, and I smile broadly. “Why not?”

The party turns out to be in a Park Avenue apartment on the Upper East Side. Now is my chance to see how the other half lives. Only people with serious money can afford this address. We are greeted at the door by Selene, who is extremely blond and drop-dead gorgeous. I wonder if she is a model. She seems a little startled to see me with Davis, and I guess that she did not expect him to bring a date. Either Davis is clueless about her interest in him, or he is trying to send her an “I am not interested in you” message. I try my best to ignore the awkwardness of the situation and take her up on the offer of a drink. Davis and I move toward the open bar, and yes, she has a bartender and wait staff working the party. This is a far cry from the student parties I am used to. We take our drinks out on the balcony. I would actually classify it as a terrace, since it seems to wrap around half the building. 

“How do you know Selene?” I ask Davis curiously. It is hard to see in the dim light on the terrace, and I am not positive, but I think he is blushing.

“She is… or was… I’m not really sure which… a friend of my ex’s.”

Huh, interesting. I give him a sympathetic smile. “Bad break up?”

Davis’s lips quirk up in a semblance of a smile. “Yea, something like that.”

It doesn’t seem like he is going to expand on the matter, so I let it drop. I take a big sip of my wine. It is definitely too soon to be trotting out past relationship woes.

Looking around at the guests and hearing snippets of conversation, I discover that I have landed in Manhattan socialite land. Almost all the women are dressed in black, so I guess I fit in, although my dress is not designer. Davis puts his hand around my waist and pulls me closer so he can speak in my ear. “I’m sorry to have dragged you here. I didn’t realize it was going to be this kind of party.”

I lean back and smile up at him. “No worries. I’m enjoying myself.” 

Davis gives me a skeptical look before turning around at the sound of someone calling his name. Selene joins us with a man who resembles her remarkably, and I wonder if they are related. They both have white blond hair and pale blue eyes. 

“Davis, I want you to meet my cousin Tobin Wells. He’s a photographer too.” Selene beams proudly at her cousin before turning her polite smile to me. “And this is… forgive me, what was your name?” she asks a little too sweetly.

I resist the impulse to roll my eyes. “Elaine Hart.”

“Yes, that’s right,” she breaks back in quickly. “Elaine.” I for one am not taken in by her syrupy charm. Davis doesn’t seem put off by it and starts chatting away with Selene. I turn to see Tobin gazing at me speculatively before giving me a smile and a shrug that seems to say, “What can you do?” Tobin draws me away from Davis and Selene, and I guess that Selene has brought him over to separate me from Davis, because he doesn’t seem that keen on discussing photography. After the usual small talk, I conclude that he is a trust funder who flits from one hobby profession to the next. Photography is his current interest. I am actually having a good time chatting with Tobin. He has no problem laying on the charm, but the long week is beginning to catch up with me. The thought of sleep becomes more and more appealing. Finally, with a promise to let me know when his photographs will be in a show, we exchange numbers. I look around for Davis so that I can tell him that I am ready to go. He is inside with Selene talking with a group of people. When he sees me, he excuses himself from the group and walks over to me.

BOOK: Beguile her: Laws of Seduction Book 2
5.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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