Playing Hard to Masters

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Chapter 4: Chase Family

Atticus

What a night.

I lay quietly on the bed, my eyes closed, thinking about the girl and the incredible night we’d just shared.

Yesterday happened to be my cousin’s thirtieth. It had probably been a year since his last encounter with a woman, though. If you asked me, that made you age extra.

In my head, my cousin was about fifty.

Though he did look rejuvenated today.

I smiled at Julian as he read the note for the tenth time. Everly had definitely made a lasting impression on both of us.

I mean, we were used to the attention. Chase Enterprises was among the top 5 on the Forbes list last year. As it would be this year and the next.

Julian and I had little to worry about as inheritors of the insurmountable wealth that came along with it. Including girls. They seemed to find their way to us and do whatever we wanted from them.

It could get really boring.

But last night, oh gosh.

And then- the hundred-dollar bill and the note this morning. I grinned once again.

I’d never been called a manwhore before. It was a refreshing change.

“She’s something, isn’t she,” Julian wagged the note at me.

“Hm. Sexy as hell and equally confident. They don’t make women like that anymore. So, would you call your birthday party a success?”

“I wasn’t sure about leaving Washington to just spend a night at a sex party in Soho, Att. But if anyone could convince me, it’d be you. I’m glad you did.”

“You have a very poor way of saying thank you.”

Julian whacked my face with the note. “Oh shut up. I’m just saying that I had a really good time.”

I noticed a desire flick through his eyes as he remembered the events of last night. There was little my brother could hide from me.

We’d always been this way, ever since I lost my parents in a car crash a decade ago. All of us- my family and Julian’s- were going to a family wedding when the incident happened.

I was with my parents in our Fortuna, and Julian followed with his family.

The last thing I can remember about the accident was the way our car caught fire. It toppled upside down and everything became indescribably hot. Like my soul was burning.

Julian ignored the screams and rushed out of his car to pull me out. It exploded seconds later, reducing my parents to cinder and ash.

Without Julian, I’d be dead, a withered offshoot of the Chase Family Tree.

I owed him everything. I couldn’t remember crying after the accident. Sometimes, the grief you feel is too raw and too dry. I guess some wounds just never heal. They fester.

But Julian picked me back up and brought my sense of joy back . He took a personal interest in my education and grooming. He made me into the man I am today.

Without Julian, my childhood would have been a nightmare.

When I told him about the sex party, he was momentarily stumped. He put his foot down, but so did I.

Between the two of us, I liked to think that my persuasion powers were greater.

I was happy to see it had paid off.

I got up and fetched a glass of water for Julian. He was still running his fingers over the note- a little obsessively by this point.

“You’re smitten, aren’t you?”

“I’m not!” He pouted like a child before regaining his composure. “She’s very different,” he mused. “From anyone I’ve ever known.”

“Yeah, she reminds me of someone.”

“Who?”

“You. She has your charisma and the same spirit. She’s a fascinating lady.”

“She is. Hey, have you spoken to Marjorie this week?”

“She called last night, but we were busy with other pursuits. I’ll give her a call tonight.”

Julian nodded, momentarily distracted by a phone call from his secretary.

The doorbell to the VIP suite rang, and I opened it. A butler bearing a tray of champagne and caviar greeted us good morning.

“Whoa, champagne and caviar in the morning? That’s quite something, but we didn’t order room service.”

“Compliments of Everly Jones, sir.”

Okay, this girl was my hero. I grinned at Julian, who looked from the waiter to me to the plate, as stunned as I was.

Finally, a girl after Julian’s heart. Maybe. I couldn’t deny the attraction I felt for her either.

I settled down on the patio with the champagne and the caviar. It was unusual for breakfast. But given what we’d done last night, we’d pretty much crossed all boundaries of what’d be considered “usual.”

I heard Julian talking to Rosemary, his secretary. Damn that killjoy- whenever she called, a relay of bad news usually followed.

I sighed. I’d know soon enough.

Julian hung up and told me that he was needed back in Washington DC. The party was over for him- work was calling.

I felt resentment bubble inside me. Well, he could go back. I intended to explore the city a little more.

“Are you coming with me?”

“No, you go. I want to stay in NYC. Maybe I will visit Everly- if I can find out where she lives. I’d like to know more about her.”

I knew I wasn’t mistaking the look of discomfort on his face. I wanted him to feel things like a typical 30-year old male with insanely good looks and a Herculean fortune. Good, I thought savagely.

“Look at you, getting all jealous.”

He shrugged his shoulders and got busy with his phone, avoiding direct eye contact with me. “We both know I’m already married to work.”

“No time for love, then?”

I ran my hand over the russet red lingerie Everly had left behind. It smelled of her- a curious mix of Jasmine and pine. I really did want to get to know this girl better.

The next second, Julian had snatched it away. He blushed as he shoved it into his backpack. I could have sworn he pushed the vibrator we’d used on her last night too. I grinned.

“What?” He asked defensively.

“Nothing. Is that… something to remember Ev by?”

“Ye… I mean, no. Shut up. I’m going to keep this as my philter.”

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