Authors: Valentina Lovecraft
PLAYING THE GAME
BUSINESS AND PLEASURES
By Valentina Lovecraft
Also available as a paperback from Amazon
© Valentina Lovecraft 2014
© Valentina Lovecraft
By Anthony Pike
has asserted the right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Playing the Game is sold subject to the condition that it shall not be, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form without Valentina Lovecraft's prior consent. Except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles.
Typeset: Caecilia LT Std/Italic
This book contains VERY graphic sexual content. This story is not recommended for readers with an aversion to graphic depictions of sex. Not recommended to readers under 18 years of age. Reader discretion STRONGLY advised!
he locations in this book are a fusion of real and imagined.
Please note that I am an English author, so I use English spelling throughout. You will see doubled letters (cancelled), ou’s (colour), ‘re’ (centre) ce’s (licence), ise’s (realise), yse’s (paralyse) as well as a few other slight variations from American spelling.
"Everybody pities the we
ak; jealousy you have to earn."
Also by Valentina Lovecraft from Vixen Ink
Available on eBook and paperback)
Sleeping with the Enemy
in dressed hurriedly, throwing the previous night’s shoes out of her way as she dug around the floor of her wardrobe, looking for two from the same pair. She was going to be late to the last will and testament reading of Michael Altman’s executer.
gone out last night with Anaise and some of the girls from the office. The last Sunday of the month, they always met somewhere for dinner, then on to the comedy club Harlequin to have a laugh. Originally Anaise organized the night, she had discovered the Harlequin club after a date she had been taken on ended up there, she'd been convinced that a scheduled girl’s night would do wonders for office relations. It turned out to be such a good night out, that the group of girls made it a monthly date. It certainly kept the working relationships ticking over.
Rin at last found a pair of patent cream court shoes with a sensible
heel. They would go with her navy skirt and cream blouse. She stuffed a packet of Ibroprofens from the cupboard into her bag, followed by a bottle of spring water and checked herself in the mirror. The good thing was; she didn’t look as awful as she felt, the bad part, was her serious lack of makeup. At least she had had the sense to tame her hair into a refined twist.
Allowing herself a moment longer to dig about
in her bag for a lipstick, she eventually found a slutty deep red. She sighed inwardly,
it would have to do for now, s
After applying and checking for the essentials, she grabbed her keys and left for the solicitor’s office.
She had been informed of her invite to the will reading on the previous Friday. It had taken her by surprise, now she was nervous over the reason.
Surely, it should only be a family affair?
After her former boss’s wake and that day’s events spent with his own son, life had started to fall back into normality.
Light and dark flashed past the windows as the train carriage she sat in wound its way towards her destination. Usually she cursed London’s underground network for the delays, but today, on time, she wished she had a valid reason not to arrive.
She sighed as she allowed herself to think of him again. He would be at the reading of
course; he was the only son of the business tycoon Michael Altman. At least Anaise would also be there too-to defuse any tension.
Anaise was her friend and colleague but also Michael’s daughter, and sister to the man who wouldn’t leave her thoughts; Jensen.
Waking up naked, bathed in the early-morning sunshine that streamed through the penthouse windows, in the bed of an extremely cut rich guy; had been pleasant but reasonably disorientating. Rin had planned to sneak out to a bathroom to freshen up and align her thoughts, but the effort of sitting brought home a painful reality; she was either still drunk or teetering on hung-over, and every muscle ached, particularly in her lower regions.
she had gathered herself together along with her clothing (except for her knickers; they had mysteriously disappeared,) and took refuge in Jensen’s lavish bathroom. She figured she could make a quick getaway and leave him sleeping, but she had no idea where in the city they were, or if she could get home and into work in time. After rapidly dressing and dashing out the front door without glancing back, she had hopped into the lift and was home free.
Although Rin had managed to get home and into the office on time that morning, she hadn’t contacted Jensen again, feeling that their consummation had gotten that day of crazy emotion out of her system. She realised that she had spent most of that Monday in various stages of in
ebriation otherwise that day could have gone very differently. In rightful tribute, the hangover that followed and developed throughout Tuesday was a killer!
She had hoped to hell that Anaise wouldn’t tear her a new one, but when she saw her in the break
room, she was all business as usual, no hint of animosity.
She had caught Rin and Jensen in a compromising position at her father’s wake and expected her to mention
it at the least, but that was a week ago now and Rin could only guess that she had let that one slide.
The train pulled into the tube station and snapped her back
Oooh this is going to be weird.
She thought to herself as she scanned her oyster card. The solicitor's office was a few blocks away,
there is still time to get my game face on,
I don’t need to worry about him
He was just a one-night deal; he is known for his playboy attitude. He may well have had another woman, or more in fact, since our night together last week! He isn’t going to be interested in pursuing me, even if he did, I don’t want to know
It would only cause problems at work. Yes, I'm not interested in him like that.
So why did she still want more?
ensen stepped out of the company car and turned, offering his hand to his sister. Anaise instructed the driver to wait around the back and accepted his hand. Stepping onto the pavement, she straightened her Jacket and looked glumly up at the old stone building.
“Yeah. This is going to be depressing.”
He pulled open the large glass doors of Goldberg and Sidman- his father’s solicitors, and they entered.
The room was decorated in dark wood panels; it had an old boys club feel about the place. They were not the first to arrive. Juliet Altman had arrived with their uncle John, their father’s brother. Other familiar faces sat in the rows of chairs laid out. Sighing as he selected a seat in the back row, he thought again of how strange and wrong it was, that he would never get to share ideas or even just chat about nothing with his father. He had called to talk about his adventures every week with his father, even though he disapproved of Jensen’s carefree attitude towards work, he had supported him in his choices.
Determined not to get upset in public, he looked out of the ancient sash window and let his thoughts drift back to the only outlet he had
found since returning home to this depression: Rin.
Jensen was thankful he had an artistic
mind; he had saved the visual details of that night and accessed them often in the days since...the delicate scent of her skin as he kissed her stomach, the suppleness of her breast contrasting with her firm nipple as he had explored it with his tongue. The taste of her kiss... He could remember and imagine all he liked, but he longed for the real thing.
urmuring from the vultures waiting to grab their share of his father’s life, continued on.
The reading was supposed to have started
he thought with agitation as he shifted position in the uncomfortable chair.
Jensen was not interested in what he was entitled to, he already had everything he could want-apart from his father of course. He just wanted for this to be
over, so he could figure out what to do next with his life.
Turning away from the
window, he scanned the room, his heart jumped then fluttered in his chest- At the other side of the room, a row down, was a glimpse of the bright fire of Rin’s hair!
s she doing here?
He wondered, excited but confused.
When had she got here and did she see me?
He pondered what to say to her; she had left without saying good-bye, and he had not heard from her again. He could have called her of course- after all, she had phoned him so her number was still in his call list, but she hadn’t actually offered to give him her number
. Hmm. She must know I’m here
It is my father’s will, of course she would know I’d be here.
He stewed on whether to talk to her or just play it cool and see what happens.
The room fell into hush as a thin man in a black suit took a seat behind the large oak desk.
Official papers were placed on the
table, the man cleared his throat.
“Good morning, I’m James Sidman. Thank you for your prompt arrival, I shall now begin the last will and testament reading of Michael Altman’s executer.”
t had already been a ridiculously long morning. Rin had arrived at the offices of Goldberg and Sidman moments before the reading was due to start and had dashed into the room taking the closest available seat. She hadn’t even spotted him yet, but she knew he was there somewhere; she just didn’t want to look about too much as wherever he may be, he might catch her looking for him. That would be unacceptable! She was not here to socialise.
he reading had ended and it was clear why she was one of the few non-family members in attendance.
Michael’s beloved company had not been left to the
shareholder's final decision on ownership, as most of the work force had speculated. It was Michael’s wish that it instead be left in the hands of Anaise and Rin to co-run; their various foreign offices could be handled better with a partnership than one new fledgling chairman.
This was massive. Of
course, Michael Altman had been the chairman; he was the company founder, but there had never been a vice chairman. Anaise had been a managing director when Rin had begun working there and there had been a recent shakeup when she made senior executive director. She had always been the obvious successor.
Rin had worked her butt off rising from the ground
up; she had eventually made it to manager, which had made her family so proud, but Rin wanted more and her drive had caught the eye of Anaise, and by extension, her father the chairman. From there she proved herself capable over and over, earning herself the title of deputy general manager then onto general manager and eventually managing director. There had been talk of her running the Milan office only weeks ago, but she had been gunning for executive director at the time.
She had never imagined
that Michael would have willed his company to be dictated by a non-family member.
She wanted to laugh out loud, or do something crazy
What on earth? I had somehow skipped to the top? Michael must have forecasted my constant rise in the company, but had not figured he would be leaving this earth so soon.
This was going to cause a lot of friction among the board of directors for sure. She was only on the first rung of the executive titles and hadn’t been there long.
Anaise lowered herself into the seat next to her. Rin looked at her, unable to form the right words.
“Congratulations.” Anaise simply said with a strange look on her face.
It only occurred to Rin then, that it may also be a big issue for Anaise
; that she would be muscling in on her family right.
She swallowed the lump in her throat.
“Congratulations to you!” She managed in a strained voice,
“I have no idea why I have been g-given this opportunity Anaise, but I won’t let you or your father down.” Rin swallowed again and paused for Anaise to say something.
Anaise just sat staring at the front of the room while people gathered their things and left.
They sat in awkward silence until the room was virtually empty. Anaise
sighed. The shell of coldness that Rin had perceived on her friend moments ago, felt as though it had cracked.
Rin felt she should say
something, but as she opened her mouth…
“Look, I don’t know how to process this at the moment Rin. It’s a big fucking deal for me. For you too, I know that. But I’ve work
ed hard, and for so long in my fathers shadow, it kind of feels like a slap in the face that I have to share the responsibility of my own birth right with someone else.” Anaise frowned.
“Someone who isn’t even family.” She added quietly.
Rin blew out the breath she had been holding and leaned back in her chair.
Yeah that was fair enough, she understood why Anaise was pissed. She couldn’t very well argue with
her, but she really didn’t know how to reply. She was too excited at her new status to let herself feel too guilty. Plus, if she said the wrong thing right now Anaise would probably take her down there and then. She was known for her impatience of incompetence in work; it made her an excellent leader, she commanded the offices with an iron fist. Rin had no interest in being at the pummeling end of that.
Realising Anaise was expecting an answer of some sort, Rin tried to think reasonably.
“Listen Anaise, I’ve never expected anything to come for free. I certainly didn’t think I was requested to attend the will reading because your father had had such plans for me, but it’s out of my hands. I’m sorry to be stepping on your toes, Anaise, your one of my best friends, so I hope you can see a way past this, so we can get on with being the awesome team we were before-but now with even bigger responsibility.” Rin swept up her handbag and stood.
“I’ll catch you later ok? I have a meeting at
4.” Rin stepped around Anaise and left the room before Anaise could reply.
Rin marched to the end of the hall and pushed open the door to the
stairwell; she stepped through and grasped the hand rail waiting for the door to swing shut so she could take a much-needed moment.
Bringing her hands to her face and covering her eyes, she groaned,
but then she heard footsteps from the stairs to her right.
Rin opened her eyes to see Jensen standing in front of her.
Give me strength!
Dropping her hands to her sides and exhaling, she closed her eyes again. Taking a further moments refuge before she had to deal with the next Altman onslaught.
he simply said as she opened her eyes.
Jensen smiled half-heartedly,
“Hey,” he replied.
“Fancy seeing you here.” He gave her a sarcastic look.
“Yeah I was invited a few days ago…I figured I’d see you here.” She didn’t know what he expected from her, an apology maybe? But what for? He is the womanizer after all.
“You look like you could do with a drink.” He cut her off. Rin smiled glad he didn’t let her continue.
“That’s your answer to
everything!” she said shaking her head in exasperation.
Well, it works for me. Come on, there is bound to be somewhere around here where a man in need can find relief!” he said as he took her shoulder and guided her towards the stairs.
Rin’s mood lightened immeasurably. Thank goodness he was so easy going,
yes; she really could do with a drink.
She let him guide her, glad for a reason not to go straight to the office. He made conversation easy as they
wandered along the busy streets. She let him lead the way to an up market restaurant that she had never been to before. It had exotic chandeliers of colourful crystal shards and a number of water features with koi carp swimming within them.
They took a table near the window and ordered some drinks. Jensen continued to
chat, but Rin couldn’t help being preoccupied, the weighty new responsibilities and title she had just been awarded would be common office gossip, by the time she arrived later.
ir drinks were placed on their table and Jensen ordered for the both of them, Rin just stared at the bubbles dancing in her glass.
“Hey Red?” Jensen called as he waved at her.
“Sorry, I’m still processing your father’s will reading.” Rin shrugged apologetically.
do you want to talk about it?” he asked sipping his drink.
Rin sighed and picked up her glass.
“Not really,” He stayed quiet, watching her turmoil.
“Okay, maybe… yes? But I don’t know where to start.” She sighed
again; Jensen waited, watching her roll the stem of the glass in her hands distractedly.
“I’m conflicted.” She took a sip.
“On one hand I’m stoked that Michael chose me to command his empire in his absence. But it’s a massive undertaking. The responsibility is enormous and I don’t know what to expect, which frightens me. I’m also excited about how my life will change; I'll have no issue with money any more, not that I have since I made executive, but you know what I mean.” She stopped to take another sip from her glass.
“It’s the attitude the board of directors will have when they learn that I have just breezed past them.” She
glanced at him, for the first time really appreciating his good looks and allowing herself to dive into the melting chocolate of his brown eyes.
“It’s Anaise, though isn’t it?”
he asked, his voice serious now. He knew more than she had given him credit for.
“I don’t feel like I can enjoy this win, it would be like rubbing it in her face. She is my friend.”
Jensen took the glass from her fingers and replaced it with his hand. Making her nerves tingle where he touched her.
“I think, that Anaise will come around, she was just shocked. Dad had mentioned your name on occasion when he would talk about work, he obviously had great confidence in you. So if he has entrusted you with his greatest creation, he knew that you will face
every problem and take control.
Anaise, well, she doesn’t have to have you rubbing it in her face if you celebrate without her!” He smiled mischievously and held up his glass.
Rin felt the release of relief wash over her.
He is right, why worry? What is done is done, Anaise can’t stay mad at her forever?
She took her glass and clinked it against his.
“To the success of Karina Terry! May your rule be just and fair!” He toasted.