Daughter Trilogy Bundle

Daughter of Aphrodite

 

Published by C.M. Owens at Smashwords

 

Text Copyright 2013 by Christie M. Owens.

 

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This eBook may not be re-sold or given to other people.  If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient.  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, events, or incidents are products of the author's imagination.  Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to places or incidents is purely coincidental.

 

Chapter 1

 

First Impressions

 

"Come on Adisia.  The limo will be here any minute," Clara screams to me from the living area.

"This is the shortest dress I've ever worn.  To say I'm a little apprehensive would be a profound understatement," I shout back while glaring at the incredibly short dress that is leaving the bad taste of
easy
in my mouth.

"Well get over it.  This is my weekend, and this is our last night to get a little crazy.  My maid of honor is going to look hot as hell, and maybe she'll entice a New Yorker to free her mature mind for one frigging night.  We're not going back to Connecticut until I know for a fact you've had a good time."

I laugh a little as I wobble out of the room in the incredulous high heels I've been forced to wear.

"I can barely walk barefoot.  What made you think these walking stilts of death would be a good idea?" I chuckle out.

Her eyes widen when she sees me, and a blushing hue stains my cheeks now.

"Wow!  Sweet hot girl in red!  You look incredible.  If you can't find a man in that, then New York is completely devoid of straight men," Clara gasps - jaw unhinged, eyes still gaping.

I roll my eyes as I stare into the full length mirror which is decking the wall of our extravagant suite.

"This really isn't me," I whimper.

"I know.  That's why it's so frigging killer.  You're a goddess in that outfit.  I don't know if your dark locks have ever looked so good.  Your hair pops against the red."

Great
.

"I don't want a man," I grumble while returning to her earlier wish.  "I sure as hell don't want a man from New York.  Do you realize that sexually transmitted diseases are at an all time high?  The men in this city are probably a cesspool for such.  I wish you'd quit trying to get me infected."

She laughs wildly at my voiced concern, and I just scowl as we're joined by the other girls.

"Well, Clara, in three days you're going to be Mrs. Henry Whitman the third."

I roll my eyes at the anti-feminist remark Clara's friend - Jenny - makes.  I have to keep my mouth shut though.

She's Clara's friend.  Play nice, Adisia.

"I know.  It's so exciting," Clara squeals.

The lavish surroundings we've spent the past few days in remind me of how wealthy Clara's soon-to-be-husband really is.  The suite is embroidered with luxury.  The decadent folds of fabric that sway from the full wall of windows leading to the wrap-around balcony probably cost more than my entire apartment combined with all of its contents.  Hell, the dining table we have yet to use probably cost more than my car.

"I don't suppose we could stay in and maybe order takeout?" I ask timidly.

The group of girls glare at me with mocking disbelief.  Clara joins them in their scowl, and I slump under their disapproving glower.

"You guys head on down to the limo.  I need to speak with Adisia for a minute," Clara says.

Oh boy
.  I know that look.  I'm in trouble.  Clara's third grade teacher face has emerged.  She's about to speak to me like a nine-year-old from her class.

The other girls quickly abandon me, leaving me alone with
Ms. Richards
.  Damn them.

"Okay.  I know you're not usually the social type, but this is my last weekend as a free woman.  Henry has been too busy to have a bachelor party, so he's living vicariously through me.  I'm not going to let him down by sitting in like a group of prudes.  I want to enjoy my last night in New York with my very best friend since kindergarten.  Please don't act so miserable.  Just have fun, for me."

Well, that's not quite the scolding I was expecting.  She went with total guilt trip instead.  She's very good at chess, and she just moved the right piece to capture my queen.

"You're right.  This is your weekend.  I'll dance like a fool and enjoy the New York air for one last night," I mumble in defeat.

"Thank you.  I wouldn't mind if you got laid while we're here.  God knows you need to."  She exaggerates an exhausted sigh, her mischievousness surfacing.

"You're so crude.  Does Henry know what a romantic you are?"

"Why do you think he fell in love with me?" Clara smugly retorts.

I just giggle with my soon-to-be married friend.  Then she places her hands firmly on my shoulders while staring into my eyes.

"Tonight, you're not Aphrodisia Titan, which by the way could second as a stripper's stage name.  Tonight, you're not an assistant to a ball-busting bitch for a marketing agency in Connecticut.  Tonight, you're Alexius Smith - a gutsy, sexy goddess with zero inhibitions.  You're not going to overanalyze every possible consequence of every decision.  You're going to live for once in your life.  Then when we get home, I'm going to introduce you to Henry's cousin... Irvin."

"Irvin?" I ask while wrinkling my nose at the libido-killing name.

She laughs a little, noting my reaction.  "He looks much better than his name leads you to think."

"I would hope so, because the mental image I have is of an old man relying on a cane," I giggle out.

She rolls her eyes, but she can't stifle her grin.

"Let's catch up with the others,
Alexius
," she says menacingly.

I huff a little at the false name she's apparently going to call me for the remainder of our stay.

We climb into the elevator, and she's so giddy she's almost shaking when she pushes the lobby button.  When we walk out, a man is holding the door open to a long, exquisite, white limo.

"Good evening, Mrs. Whitman," he says so formally.

She's not Mrs. Whitman just yet
.  Clara doesn't correct him though.  She actually smiles as she tests the feel of the name and seems to enjoy the sound of it.

"Good evening," she responds with an air of prominence I'm not used to hearing from her.

I sigh a little as I follow her through the open door.  My best friend is about to be married to Mr. Mega Bucks, and she'll be busy with the serious collection of business and charity events that tie up most of his time.

The car starts moving, and Clara loops her arm through mine as the other girls discuss how excited they are about the club we're going to.  It's an impossible club to get into, but Henry assured her we'd all get in without fail.

Suck up.

Her phone buzzes in her purse, and she pulls it out with a goofy grin spreading. 
Obviously
Henry is calling.

"Hey, honey," she squeals.  "Yes it's perfect
… Thank you… I will… I love you, too… I can't wait."

She hangs up and smiles at the blank screen as though she's waiting on Henry to jump out of it.

"Should I leave the two of you alone?" I murmur teasingly while motioning to the inanimate device in her hand.

She rolls her eyes and puts it back into her purse.  "I wish you were a little happier for me."

I huff as she pushes a little more guilt my way.

"I
am
happy for you - very happy.  I'm actually a little envious of the two of you.  You make it look so easy."

"I wish you'd give love another chance," she says while nudging me with her elbow.

"Well, the flavor I tasted wasn't quite as delicious as yours.  As a matter of fact, I'm still trying to rid myself of the lingering, rancid aftertaste which refuses to go away."

My face distorts as though there really is a bad taste in my mouth, which is always my reaction when speaking about my ex.

"It's been almost a year, and not all men are creeps like Jerry," she replies softly, keeping our conversation between us and away from the ears of the other girls.

"Well, Jerry was just the creep who broke the camel's back.  Picking the wrong men at all the wrong times seems to be my niche.  I don't feel the need to continue letting Mr. Wrong invade my life, and they're
all
Mr. Wrong when it comes to me.  Don't worry.  We can have a good time without me being in love.  I'll smile, drink, and dance - although it will be hideous dancing with these death traps you've strapped to my feet."

She starts laughing, meaning I've done well to divert this topic. After forcing a reassuring smile, I stare out the window at the brightly lit streets of the animated night life that is New York.  I swear there are more people out at night than during the day.

A long, dreadful line wraps around the corner of a large building, and my breath rushes out in a frustrated groan when I realize this is our stop.

I wore the wrong heels to brave this line.

The door opens as our driver greets us with a smile.  "We're here Mrs. Whitman."

Clara smiles, giggling a little at her premature surname, and climbs out first.  The other girls squeal excitedly and then sigh when they see the ridiculous line there is just to get in.

Clara smirks smugly as she takes my hand and leads me to the front entrance, bypassing a bunch of pissed-off glares.

"We should be on the list.  Check for Whitman," she confidently spouts to the bouncer.

He stares at the list of names and then looks up and nods.  He ushers us in through the decadent doors, and we can hear the frustration pouring out of the people who have most likely been waiting for hours.

"Wow," I mumble very loudly.  "Henry really did pull out all the stops."

She smiles with a twinge of pride in her eyes.

"He's sweet like that."

I can hear the music beating as my body jitters involuntarily from the heavy vibrations.  The dark lighting offers a perfect backdrop for the colorful laser show splashing around.  The bar extends across the entirety of one wall, and waitresses walk around in dresses that look to have cost more than my usual wardrobe.

"I need a drink," I yell over the music.

"So do I," Clara screams back.

We walk arm in arm to the bar, and as soon as we reach it, a guy yells in my ear.

"I'll get you whatever you want, baby."

Oh gross

Say it don't spray it,
I think while wiping my ear with the back of my hand.  I certainly don't want his spit in my ear.  I'd need to drink the whole bar before I let this ape buy me a drink.

"Sorry, I'm with her," I murmur very misleadingly while wrapping my arm around Clara's waist to add to the charade.

Clara laughs a little as she orders for us.  The guy frowns with a slighted attitude, but he quickly finds a new prey to stalk.

Sleaze
.

"Here," Clara yells while handing me my drink.

The other girls join us and order their own drinks while I begin guzzling mine.  I don't plan on getting laid, but I definitely plan on getting drunk.

"We're going to the VIP room.  It's supposed to be quieter," Clara yells.

I nod appreciatively, and we start climbing the spiraled stairs to the left of us.  After Clara drops her name on the clipboard-wielding bouncer that is guarding the door, we walk into a far less obnoxious room.

The lessened blare of the music helps to alleviate the pressure inside my head, and the congestion is no longer an issue.  People are gathered around several monitors overhead.  Some people observe the view from the large window that hangs over the dance floor.

It's like two different worlds in one place.  The downstairs area holds the wild, savage partiers, and the upstairs realm plays host to civility.  I'm not sure which one I should be classed in, but I prefer the quieter room to the loud rage going on below.

There are tables set up all around, and ours is marked with a card - "Whitman," it says proudly.

Clara orders me another dirty martini while I keep my gaze on the crazy scene below.  It does look kind of fun, but I need more to drink before I dare to join the partiers.

When I look up, I see a guy in his late-twenties propped against the wall and staring at one of the monitors broadcasting the news.

Really?  He's watching the news?
  And Clara thinks I don't know how to have fun.

His tall, strong body offers mystery beneath the perfectly tailored suit.  One hand holds his drink, while the other hides in his pocket.  Of course it is his left hand hiding, so I have no idea if he is married or not.  Perhaps he's hiding it intentionally because he's married but is keeping his options open.

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