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Her hips mimic my thumb’s movements, rotating in tight circles.

“Mighty is a good start. Scary works. Powerful, impressive are always winners.”

I rub with more pressure. Her hips move faster and in ever-widening circles. She pants. “I’ll keep those in mind for next time.” Then she bites her lip and looks me in the eyes. “I love to f**k when I’m high.”

She rises higher on her knees, lining us up.

“I have a feeling I’m going to love it too.”

“Shit, that was awesome,” Dee exclaims into the pillow, where she’s just planted her face.

On my knees behind her, I remove condom number two with a tissue and collapse next to her. “It really f**king was.”

Doggy style never disappoints.

She lifts her head and looks at the bedside clock. “Damn. I have to get up for work in four hours.”

Just to clarify—this is my cue to leave. It’s the nice way of saying, Thanks for the sex. Good-bye. Most of my one-night stands aren’t sleepovers. Unless I’m completely wiped out, I prefer to sleep in my own bed.

I stand up and start to get dressed. I zip my pants, but still shirtless, I tell Dee, “I had a great time tonight.”

She rolls over to her back, making no attempt to hide her naked glory. “Me too.”

My eyes trail over her lustrous, after-sex-sheen-covered skin, settling on the nipple piercing that begs for more playtime. “I want to see you again.”

Dee smirks. “You mean you want to screw me again.”

I slip my arms into the sleeves of my shirt and admit, “Baby, that goes without saying.” I pick my pack of cigarettes off the floor and put them in my pocket. “I’ll call you.”

She responds with a short bark of laughter and an eye roll. She grabs the silk robe and stands beside me.

“What?” I ask, slightly confused.

She shakes her head condescendingly. “You don’t have to do that. I’m not the kind of woman you have to make promises to, that you have no intention of keeping. It was fun, let’s just leave it at that. If I never hear from you again, that’s okay too.”

This isn’t the reaction I expect from a chick I spent the last hours giving multiple orgasms to. Most of the time, they’re asking to check my phone to make sure their digits are in my contact list. Demanding specifics—dates and times when their phone will be ringing.

Dee’s attitude is refreshing. And intriguing. And definitely challenging.

As we walk down her hallway, I insist, “That’d be terrific . . . except, you will be hearing from me again.”

She pats my shoulder. “Sure I will. But, if it’s all the same to you, I won’t hold my breath.”

I take her hand from my shoulder and kiss her knuckles. She watches. And the smirk falls from her face and is replaced with . . . surprise. Yearning.

“Don’t hold your breath”—I wink—“just make sure you’re waiting by the phone.”

Then she’s smiling again. She holds the door open, but before I step through it, I lean in close and kiss her cheek. “Good night Dee.”

Her hand covers the spot my lips just touched. And her honey-colored eyes meet mine. With a trace of sadness in her voice she says, “Good-bye Matthew.”

When she closes the door behind me, I stick around until I hear all the locks click into place. Then I head home for some well-deserved shut-eye.

Chapter 5

On Thursday night, there’s a Columbia University fundraising dinner at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Normally, I’d send a check and skip the dinner. But Alexandra is one of the organizers, so attendance is mandatory. Although raising Mackenzie is a full-time job, Alexandra’s always been an overachiever and a multitasker. Like many of the women in her station—stay-at-home Manhattanite moms with money to spare—she wants to give back to the community. Plus, I think philanthropic activities help her feel connected to the outside world when her everyday life has fallen into a black hole of Barney episodes, macaroni necklaces, and playdates that could easily turn her brilliant brain to mush. Steven says she’s a lot more agreeable when she’s planning an event—but, when D-Day actually arrives, she has a tendency to get stressed out. Bitchy . . . if you will.

You’ve been warned.

I’m standing with Drew and Lexi, overlooking the elegantly decorated room filled with tuxedo- and cocktail-dress wearing Columbia alums. Seems like a success to me—hors d’oeuvres are being passed, drinks are flowing, chatter and laughter abound. Though her expression is serene, Alexandra’s eyes dart around the room with the exactitude of a long-range sniper, scanning for potential targets.

“Can I leave yet?” Drew asks his sister.

“No,” Alexandra spits out in a way that tells me this isn’t the first time Drew’s submitted this request. “It’s a party—eat, drink, mingle.”

Drew scowls. “You’ve obviously been away from the party scene for far too long. This isn’t a party. This is an excuse for old biddies to whip out their beaded dresses and compare the carats in their diamond rings.” He takes a sip of wine. “Although, the wine is excellent. Good choice.”

Lexi takes a drink from her own glass. “Wine loosens lips . . . and wallets.”

“And tequila makes the clothes fall off,” I offer with an eyebrow wiggle.

Just then an extra-large woman with dark, beehive-styled hair and heavy makeup, wearing a pool-table-green gown, approaches us.

Under his breath, Drew quips, “Let’s hope the tequila is locked up nice and tight.”

“Alexandra, my dear,” she cackles. “You’ve outdone yourself! This soiree will be the talk of the town for days to come.”

Lexi’s hand presses humbly against the chest of her white gown. “You’re too kind, Mrs. Sinclair.”

Sinclair. I know that name. She’s old money—her grandfather made a fortune in steel during the turn of the century construction boon. And her nephew, the heir apparent, is a piss-poor CEO with a legendary coke habit. Here’s a lesson for you: Money can’t buy class, but it can buy a boatload of calamity.

Alexandra turns Mrs. Sinclair’s attention to me. “You’re acquainted with our dear friend Matthew Fisher?”

New York society is a lot like the mob—if you’re not a friend of ours or part of our thing, they want nothing to do with you.

“Ah, yes,” she says, “you’re Estelle’s boy.”

❮❯