How To Pleasure A Playboy

By: Talia Hunter

Lacey looked around her cozy living room. “Sure. I’ll just reverse all the things I had to do to make this place liveable. And the toilet’s stopped flushing, so that’ll help.”

“Pity you’ll have to suffer with him.”

“It’ll be worth it. Besides, I can keep my bedroom nice. He won’t be allowed in there, and it’s the only room that doesn’t leak.”

“And you can leave, right? So you won’t have to spend your days with him.”

“Thank goodness.”

Once she’d hung up, Lacey collected every heater she had in the house. She’d take them across the hall to Crystal’s place for safe keeping. And once she got rid of her firewood and swept all traces of ash out of her hearth, she could say her fireplace was blocked and unusable. The only thing decorative thing she’d leave in here was Myrtle’s tank. It was too heavy to move, and she didn’t want to disturb her pet. Lacey had gotten Myrtle for her tenth birthday, and now the old girl was nineteen. She deserved respect.

When Lacey opened the door to her old, empty bedroom, the rusty door hinges creaked mournfully, making her shiver. Every time she came into this room, it looked worse. Black mold was spreading over the ceiling and creeping down the walls. Like Ally had said, it stank. And it was cold in here, too. But not cold enough.

She prised the old window open with an effort. After a squirt of super glue on the hinges, it’d be impossible to close. No matter how hard Bronson tried, there’d be no shutting the freezing wind out of this room.

With the water stains, the rotten-wood smell, and the way the floor sagged and groaned under her feet, the room was guaranteed to make a pampered playboy run away screaming. And she hadn’t even started getting the rest of the apartment ready for him yet. She’d make his life miserable.

Lacey smiled, feeling decidedly wicked. Bronson Reyne had picked the wrong woman to mess with. And she couldn’t wait to see his face when he saw what he’d signed up for.


The Baxter was in worse condition than Bronson had expected. Good thing it only had three floors, because the elevator was dead. He carried his suitcase up the dark stairwell to the top floor, while the flickering lights buzzed and cast weird shadows, and water dripped somewhere inside the walls. The entire place smelled of decay.

The rent the tenants paid was ridiculously cheap, but now it didn’t seem like a bargain. He’d assumed Lacey would try to make his stay unpleasant, but if her apartment was as bad as the rest of the building, she wouldn’t need to try too hard.

Lacey lived in Apartment 304, but she wasn’t the one who answered the door. Instead, it was a brunette with a mass of tangled curls. Lacey’s friend wore faded jeans, a worn old hoodie, and a pair of thick-rimmed eyeglasses.

“I’m looking for Lacey,” said Bronson.

Instead of calling for her, Lacey’s friend just folded her arms across her chest and tilted her head down to glare at him over the top of her glasses.

Bronson almost called out for Lacey himself, then he recognized her brown eyes. This was the woman who’d come to his nightclub in that sexy red dress?

“It’s you.” He kept his voice level so his surprise didn’t show. “Nice to see you again.”

“Wish I could say the same.”

“Is this how the next seven days is going to be?”

“Wishful thinking. You won’t last seven days.”

Bronson suppressed a smile. Lacey’s tongue was as deadly as a sniper’s rifle. “Nice place.” He stepped forward so she had to move aside and let him in. As he walked through the short hall, the old floorboards creaked and groaned. “Remind me why you’re not taking my money and getting out as fast as you can?”

She followed him into her living room. “Check out those high ceilings and big windows. And if you exposed the brick behind the walls, can’t you imagine how beautiful it would be?”

He had to admit, she had a nice view looking down Glebe Point Road. Her fireplace was striking too. Unusual to have one in an apartment block, even a low-rise. But she was on the top floor and the Baxter had been built in the nineteen thirties, so maybe they were more common in those days.

“Does the fireplace work?” It was almost as cold inside her apartment as it had been outside in the wind. He put his suitcase down, looking at her threadbare couch and the ugly stains on the walls. An enormous plastic-covered bookcase took up the longest wall in the room. On a low table below the window was a fish tank half filled with water, dirt, and rocks, but no fish.

“Nothing works, because you haven’t spent any money on the place in years.”

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