“I lost it all, baby. There’s nothing left.”
Glen rolled his eyes skyward, apparently mentally calculating his net worth now that he’d returned from a week’s debauchery in Vegas.
“Well, I still have the house in Aspen. And the Bentley you love. And the Macy’s card probably has some room on it.”
Marissa tapped a manicured nail on the custom-designed Italian granite countertop. She hated the house in Aspen. It wasn’t located on the most prestigious street and besides, she hated skiing and with no money to peruse the shops, what was the point?
“I don’t love that Bentley,” she said. She had loved him in the Bentley. The things he did to her while they were parked in a not-entirely secluded area in that Bentley.
“And Macy’s? Really?” In her mind she was already planning, calculating her next move. She felt a twinge of regret for leaving, because Glen had been pretty damn phenom when he was between her legs, even when they weren’t in the Bentley. But sex didn’t make Marissa’a world go ‘round. Money did.
“I’ll send someone to pick up my things,” she said, sweeping her Louis Viton bag over her shoulder as she strode toward the door. To his credit, Glen didn’t even try to talk her out of leaving. He knew the rules, too.
Good thing he showed his true colors before she grew too old to stand a chance against the young tarts and starlets and blue bloods flooding the market, seeking their next sugar daddy. Glen had paid to make her breasts twenty-two, her face twenty-five, and the rest was up to her personal trainer and chef. She needed to find a replacement soon, because Paulie’s pricetag—while worth every red cent—was not one she intended to come out of her own pocketbook.
Marissa found her next mark in a matter of days. She bumped into him, literally. Tall, dark, brooding, he practically had a sign affixed to his forehead proclaiming, “New Money. Come and get me, ladies.”
So she did.
“Oh,” she said, while using his steel band of an arm to steady herself after their collision. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there.” Liar. She had seen him, mentally calculated his net worth, and marked him all in the course of forty-five seconds.
Marissa was an expert at this game. And this would be her best conquest yet. Maybe she’d even marry this one. Hell, her uterus had been begging her for years to put it to good use. Maybe she’d let this one be the other half of her child’s perfect genes. And then he could pay for whatever necessary surgery was required to give her back her pre-baby body.
Her mark arched a sleek dark brow. “Do you normally wear glasses?”
Marissa blinked rapidly. Was that an insult? Or was he trying to be funny? She cleared her throat and threw back her shoulders, letting the girls brush against the bulges on his arm.
“Of course not. I have perfect eyesight. I’m Marissa, by the way.” She lifted a hand, tilted slightly, in case he was the sort to lift it and kiss the back instead of shake. Those men still existed in the world. Somewhere.
He slammed the webbing between his thumb and pointer finger against her hand, squeezed, and pumped vigorously. “Ben. Nice to meet you, Marissa.”
Ben. Like Benjamins. Marissa flexed her hand after he released it, trying to return the feeling. Hopefully he would be a tad gentler when manhandling her girly parts.
Or hopefully not.
“Are you free this evening, Ben? Would you like to take me to dinner at my favorite restaurant?” Often with men, it was best to be direct. Her gut said Ben needed more directness than most.
He threw his head back and laughed, a hearty, rolling sound that bounced off the walls of the nearest buildings.
What the hell?
“Are you asking me out on a date, so I can buy you dinner?”
Marissa flipped an ash blond wave over her shoulder and placed her hand on her hip. “Yes.”
“That’s reality,” Marissa snapped. What was this guy’s deal? And why was she still trying so damn hard?
“Nope. This is reality, sweetheart.” With a cheeky grin, Ben gave her cheek a light slap and turned on his heel and walked away, no backward glance, his laughter trailing behind him.
Furious, Marissa determined to put him out of her mind and went in search of a new mark.
Three months later, Paulie had quit returning her calls, her nails were chipped, and she’d gained two pounds. Which was almost laughable since she hadn’t stepped foot in a decent restaurant since she left Glen.
Speaking of—there he was, and damn, did he look good. Marissa stopped speed walking through the park and pulled her designer sunglasses down her nose. Yep, definitely Glen. And he was with an equally as attractive guy.
Fury propelled her forward, despite knowing she was not even remotely at her best at the moment. Sweated off makeup, hair in a pony, sports bra and biker shorts would have to do. Something wasn’t right about this scene, and she was damn well going to find out what.
“Marissa,” Glen called out when he spotted her heading toward them. His smile appeared genuine, and he even opened his arms as if welcoming a hug. She stopped short and he glanced at Ben.
“How do you”—she stabbed her finger into Glen’s chest—“Know him?”
“Ben? He’s my new financial adviser. And a friend. Convinced me I needed to stay the hell away from the tables in Vegas. You wouldn’t believe how much he’s grown my assets in the last few months, too. Crazy. Unreal.”
“I’ll bet.” Marissa crossed her arms and gave Ben the stink eye. He arched that perfect black brow and said nothing. “So I suppose this means you want to get back together now?”
God, she hoped so. Supporting herself was not going well. Besides, Marissa was beginning to think sex played a bigger role in making her world go ‘round than she initially thought.
Glen’s brow furrowed, as if he didn’t quite understand her question. Perhaps she needed to be less gruff about it. Forcing her unpainted lips into some semblance of a smile, she stroked a chipped nail down his arm.
“I may have reacted a tad severely after your last trip to Vegas. Maybe we should go back to your place and get reacquainted. Are you driving the Bentley?” She glanced around, even though the parking lot was beyond that hill over there.
Glen stepped away from her, practically behind Ben. “Actually, Marissa, uh, I’m seeing somebody else.”
Ben grinned. The goddamn asshole grinned. Marissa narrowed her eyes and watched him, while Glen responded.
“She’s great. Runs a small nonprofit, helping homeless kids. So altruistic. She’s the one who introduced me to Ben, actually. She doesn’t make much at her job, but what she does makes it worth it. And what’s really awesome about her is, the more Ben grows my money, the more she wants to give away. Isn’t that sweet?”
Sweet? “That’s asinine.”
Glen shuffled his feet. “Yeah, I figured that’s what you’d think. Listen, Marissa, I want to thank you. You did us both a favor by leaving. I had no idea how shallow you were, and I probably would have kept on the way I was in life—trying to make as much money as I possibly could in an attempt to make you happy, and then blowing it all by gambling because deep down, I knew I wasn’t happy. And now I am. Maybe someday, you’ll find happiness, too. Trust me, it’s not at the bottom of a designer purse.”
He turned to Ben. “Listen, I’m going to get out of here, go meet Brenda. I’ll talk to you later.”
Ben waved and he and Marissa watched Glen leave. When Marissa turned back to face Ben, he was still grinning.
“Who the hell are you, anyway? Are you some sort of freaking guardian angel or some shit?”
He chuckled and slung his arm around her shoulder, guiding her in the opposite direction. “Nope. Far from it. But Glen did let me borrow his Bentley. Want to go for a ride?”
Did you enjoy that peek into the randomness that spews from Tami Lund’s mind? Check out her website for more great stories: https://tamilund.com/