How To Pleasure A Playboy

By: Talia Hunter

“The grand opening. Had to make like I was enjoying myself.”

“And again tonight?” She laid the food out on the big table that took up half his office.

“Every night for the next couple of weeks.”

“That long?” Her tone was sympathetic. She was the only one who suspected that Bronson was a little tired of his nightclubs. But non-stop partying was part of his reputation. If he let that slip, it might affect business.

“Before opening the next one, I might take a holiday.”

“That’s what you’ve said for the last eight years.” She took hold of the trolley to push it back out. “Well, if I can’t make you sleep, at least I can feed you. But you’ll have to eat fast. You’ve got half an hour before your next meeting.”

Before eating, Bronson checked his phone. Sure enough, Lacey had replied to his tweet.

You know what’s sexy? Doing the right thing. Save #TheBaxter

He snorted. Then typed.

Here’s a list of sexy things. 1. You. 2. My new building. #GoodbyeBaxter

The reply came back a moment later.

Ready for a protest outside your nightclub? Bad 4 business. #TheBaxter

Bronson let out a long breath, then called out to Carla. “Find this Lacey woman’s number and get her on the phone.”

“Will do.” A few minutes later, the phone on his desk rang. “I have her,” said Carla’s voice when he picked it up. Then he heard the click that told him the call had connected.

“Lacey, it’s Bronson.”

“Your assistant already said that. Can’t believe you’re so pampered you can’t make your own phone calls. When you go to the toilet, does she wipe for you?”

He gritted his teeth. “What would it take for you to move out?”

Lacey snorted. “Forget it. I can’t be bought.”

“I’m doubling my offer to all the remaining tenants. Twenty thousand dollars if they’re out by the end of the week.”

There was a long silence. Then, “You’re offering twenty thousand dollars?” She sounded stunned. “Why can’t you spend the money repairing the building instead?”

“There’s no point fixing it when I’m pulling it down.”

“It has beautiful bones. Have you even been inside? Believe me, it’s worth saving.”

“Have you seen the plans for the new building? There’s no comparison.”

“At least take a look inside, see the high ceilings and the plasterwork. If you fix it up, it’ll be amazing.” The passion he’d seen in her face last night came through in her voice. She’d lived in the Baxter a long time, so Bronson could sympathize. But his brother had put a lot of effort into the design for the new building and Bronson was counting on him wanting to come back to Sydney to see it built.

“I’m leveling the Baxter,” he said. “One way or another.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means, take the money.”

She drew in a sharp, angry-sounding breath. “Go to hell.” The phone disconnected, leaving him with nothing but dead air.

He replaced it, then got up and paced to the windows and back again. How long had it been since anyone had hung up on him? And how many people would turn down that much money to move out of a building that had to be falling to ruin?

An alert flashed up on his phone. A new tweet, and of course, it was from Lacey.

Public protest at Play nightclub next week. Hit @BronsonReyne where it hurts! #TheBaxter

He cursed. A group of protestors waving placards could put people off going into the club. If she wanted to play dirty, he’d have to fire some shots of his own. First he’d notify the other tenants about his increased offer. Maybe once she was living in an empty building, she’d see sense.

Carla stuck her head into his office. “I’ve had a message from the boss of your construction team. He’s asking if you’ll be ready to set a start date for the demolition soon.”

“Getting those tenants out and pulling the building down is my top priority,” said Bronson. “Tell him to have the team ready to go by the end of the month. He can count on it.”


Lacey’s father harrumphed, peering at the book Lacey put in his lap. “Is this Carter? His chapter comparing socialism to religion is garbage. Calls himself an intellectual. What a joke.”

“I thought it was the book you wanted. But I can bring you a different one if you like.” Lacey’s heart sped up like it always did when he asked for one of his books. Thirteen of the most valuable ones were gone. Sold. And if her father found out, he’d never forgive her.

Her father propped the heavy hardback against the arm of his wheelchair. “Bring Winston, maybe. Or Peake. They’re a little more intelligent than some of the others, though that’s not saying much. But if you stopped messing around and let me come home, I could choose for myself.”

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