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Addicted to You-Chapter 1

Prologue

 

The early afternoon was cold and gray with the sun occasionally peeking out, promising warmth that it never gave. After having lunch nearby, Elin Prescot leaned against the wall of the Empire State Building viewing deck and looked at the vast expanse of the city. When life threw her a curve ball and she needed grounding, she always came to this place. Something about the immensity of it all made her realize just how insignificant her woes were. But, for some reason, Elin just couldn’t get her head around what she was now considering. She had a wonderful life and her career had just taken a new and exciting turn. Yet, here she was, considering throwing it all away for something that experience told her would never work out. Elin unconsciously rubbed her arm while recalling every detail from the moment she first met Marissa Banks. After all these years and despite all that had happened, she could still feel the tug of the woman, and released a growl.

 

“How did I get here? How did I let this happen?” Elin wrapped her arms around her body looking for warmth but found none.

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Elin stood at the front window in her apartment, with her arms folded, watching rain and recalling the day she started toward her dream life…

 

“Mommy, she needs more clothes.”

 

“Sweetheart, I don’t have the money for that.”

 

“But, Mommy, she only has two outfits. How can I play with her without clothes?”

 

“Tell you what we can do.” Dorothy Prescot knelt and took the doll from her daughter’s hands. “I can show you how to make clothes for her.” She smiled. “That’s what granny did for me.”

 

“Really?” Elin’s eyes opened wide and she clapped her hands before jumping up and down. “Oh, Mommy, can we do it now?…

 

From that moment on Elin began designing clothes. She had the best-dressed dolls around and all her friends continually begged her to make outfits for their dolls too.

 

Thirteen years later, after all the self-teaching and mentoring by her mother, her dreams finally came true. She could still see the look on her mother’s face the day the mail came…

 

“Mom, Mom, look at this!” Elin came flying into the kitchen.

 

Her mother took the official looking paper and read it before smiling broadly. “I’m so proud of you, darling.” Dorothy wrapped her daughter in a warm hug.

 

“Thanks, Mom. Can you believe that it is really happening? Parsons accepted me, and once I graduate from there anything is possible.” She grinned. “I just know it.”

 

 

Five years later, Elin graduated from Parsons School of Design at the top of her class with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Her dream was on its way to fulfillment when she accepted an apprenticeship at the upscale Boutique La René that specialized in all types of apparel for women in business. The shop, situated in the fashion district of New York City, had a long, impressive list of clients that included executives, politicians, stockbrokers, and many renowned businesswomen from around the country. She had spent the last six months learning the business from the boutique’s owner, Bess Matthews

 

“Good morning, Elin, did you have a pleasant weekend?”  Bess asked when Elin walked into the store.

 

“The usual—cleaning, washing clothes, and shopping for groceries.” Elin smiled. “How about yours?”

 

“I spent it with my daughter and her family.” Bess shook her head and then laughed. “I’m getting too old to chase a three-year-old around.”

 

“When I go to my cousin’s house and watch her kids run around, I always wonder where they get all that energy. I think their mother tunes it all out because it never seems to faze her.”

 

“My daughter is the same way. Well, the day has come, you are no longer an intern. We have a new client coming in and I want her to be your client. I know you will do a fantastic job with her, Elin.” Bess clapped her hands, then picked up a folder and held it out. “This is her information and,”—she looked at her wristwatch—“you have three hours to familiarize yourself with her.”

 

“Um. Thank you. Wow, what a way to start the week.” Elin could feel excitement bubbling but there also was a modicum of fear. This had the potential of making or breaking her. She could feel Bess’ chestnut brown eyes appraising her and, for a fleeting moment, she wondered if Bess was regretting the decision.

 

“It certainly is. I remember my first client and how the owner at that time had to come to my rescue.” Bess had a bemused look on her face before she patted Elin’s arm. “There is nothing to worry about, you’ll do fine. I’ve watched you work, and of all the interns I’ve had over the years, you are by far the most promising.”

 

“I won’t let you down and you won’t be sorry for trusting me.”

 

“There is no doubt in my mind that you will do wonderfully.” She handed the folder with Marissa Bank’s name on it,. “Here is the information I obtained from Ms. Banks’ phone interview and the information she sent me. Are you clear on how to handle everything?”

 

“Yes. First, we will have a friendly conversation over coffee so I can get to know about her life, her job, and her clothing preferences. Then I will make an additional appointment to show her what I would suggest she wear.” Elin thought for a moment. “Do you want to sit in?”

 

“No, my dear, I am sure you will do wonderfully.” Bess smiled fondly and patted her shoulder.

 

 

Elin picked her favorite consultation room and went inside. The room was decorated with antiques and had a warm, comfortably friendly atmosphere. She sat in a chair that was at a highly polished square table and laid the folder in the middle. Elin ran a finger across the name and smiled while a thrill of excitement coursed down her spine. Marissa Banks, my very first customer. With that thought firmly in her mind she opened the folder and saw an eight by ten of a woman with black hair standing beside a desk with her arms akimbo and her ankles crossed. She had on a designer pencil suit with a red silk blouse and a string of black pearls around her neck. Elin had to catch her breath. In a word, her new client was stunning. There was a raw power exuding from the her and Elin began worrying that she would never sell Marissa Banks anything.

 

On the next page, Elin learned that the Marissa was forty-three-years old, and held master’s degrees in both finance and business. Her eyes tracked down the page to see the woman’s occupation and she frowned. What the hell was a venture capital firm? She’d better look that one up. The last thing she wanted was to look ignorant during the initial interview. She shook her head as she noted her new client’s height, five foot nine, and weight, one hundred and fifty-two pounds. She flipped back to the photograph. If she had to guess, Elin would say she weighed less than that.

 

After turning on her laptop, Elin did a search to find that venture capital firms invested in startup companies. They pooled funds to invest in businesses that they thought would provide investors with high rates of return. For a moment, she puzzled over what it all meant and then decided to delve into the job description more. She learned her new client was a senior partner of the venture capital firm Rosen, Blake, Banks and Schiefer, and her salary was in the millions.

 

“I wonder if Bess knew?” Elin tapped a pen against the prepared document before she stood and left the room.

 

 

“Bess, do you have a moment?”

 

“I can tell by your frown that there’s a problem. What is it?”

 

“Do you know anything else about Marissa Banks?”

 

“I’m not following you. I checked her file and from what I could see everything was there. Is something missing?” Bess had a perplexed look on her face.

 

“Well,” Elin blew out a breath, “I’ve looked into her job and I think she is the kind of person who would eat me for an appetizer then spit me out.”

 

“Why do you say that? I vet all of our clients and there were no red flags with the woman.” A reassuring smile came to Bess’ face. “I think you have the first client jitters.” She patted Elin’s arm. “Trust me, you’ll do fine. I remember my first client and—”

 

Elin’s eyes then darted around the reception area. “Where’s Camille? Who is going to great my client?”

 

“Breathe, Elin. Camille’s mother took a tumble and they took her to the hospital.”

 

“Oh, no. Is her mother okay? What about Ms. Banks? Should I just stand here and wait for her?”

 

“Elin, you need to calm down…everything is going to be fine.” Bess patted Elin’s shoulder. “I am going to do Camille’s job today so there are no worries.”

 

“Okay.” Elin blew out a long breath. “Right. First client jitters. I’ve got it under control.”

 

Just then the bell over the door jingled as a tall, well-dressed woman walked in. Elin felt another surge of panic and it wasn’t the excitement that one feels when starting down a new road. The lady oozed power and something else. Danger.

 

She gulped in a breath. “I can do this,” she told Bess and walked briskly toward the client with her hand outstretched.

 

“Ms. Banks? I’m Elin Prescot and I will be helping you today.” She held out her hand.

 

“I understood that I’d be working with Ms. Matthews and not some underling. Isn’t she here?”

 

“Bess Matthews is the owner and she has assigned me to advise you.” Elin took a deep breath and lowered her hand, a look of anger and irritation crossed her face. Elin trembled as she gave the woman a discrete once over. “If you object, I can get her for you.”

 

“Ms. Matthews came highly recommended, and frankly I know nothing about you.”

 

Elin shivered. Marissa Banks’ eyes seemed to be sizing her up much as Elin guessed she would a business proposal. There’s no way I’m letting her intimidate or bully me into giving up.

 

“I understand. Listen, I’ll make a deal with you.” Elin’s stomach, which seemed to be erupting in waves of nausea, belied her outward confidence.

 

“I’m listening,” came the growled response.

 

“We can go into the consultation room and have a conversation about my credentials and what your expectations are.” Elin searched the eyes that were a darker blue than hers and saw no objection. “If at any time you feel that you would prefer that Ms. Matthews be your consultant, I will happily get her for you.”

 

“I don’t deal with underlings, but since I am already here, I will give it a try.” She sighed deeply clenching her jaw.

 

 

I don’t need this shit. Marissa surveyed the shop girl’s body, then she squeezed her thighs tightly as a wave of pleasure surged through her body. I can do with some eye-candy for a bit before I dismiss her for her boss to take over.

 

“Please, take a seat, Ms. Banks. Can I interest you in something to drink?”

 

“Coffee, black would be good.” Marissa sank down in the overstuffed chair surprised at its comfort. She had spied two Spode cups, a plate of crackers, brie, and fruit, and her stomach grumbled, reminding her that she hadn’t eaten yet.

 

Elin filled one of the cups with coffee, placed it in front of her, and gestured toward the plate. “Please help yourself.”

 

Once settled, Marissa listened as the young girl began her interview and looked at her watch. I’ll give her five minutes and then demand someone else.

 

“May I call you Marissa?”

 

“That will be fine.”

 

“Thank you. I know you answered a lot of questions when you made the appointment, but if you don’t mind, I would like to ask them again.”

 

“Why? Didn’t you read what I told Ms. Matthews?” Marissa fixed the young girl with a look of annoyance and all thoughts of toying with the shop girl vanished. This girl doesn’t know a damn thing. God, what have I gotten myself into? Incompetence is unacceptable.

 

“I didn’t read the document, Ms. Banks, because I wanted to have an impression of you that is not tainted by previous knowledge.” Elin straightened her shoulders. “I graduated the top of my class from Parson’s with a degree in fashion design and then an MBA. I have interned with Alan Steven and just finished another internship at this shop, and I’m now a full time consultant at Boutique La René.”

 

“Frankly, that means nothing to me, Ms. Prescot.” Marissa gave her a skeptical look.

 

“I know what I am doing. Do you think Bess…Ms. Matthews would assign you to me if she thought I couldn’t assist you in your choices?”

 

“Fire away with your questions but know that my patience is rapidly becoming exhausted.” Marissa’s lips curled into a tentative smile before she looked at her wristwatch. Three more minutes. She wantonly eyed the girl again. This might turn out to my advantage.

 

“Thank you. I can see by your clothes that you have impeccable taste. Are you looking to maintain that style?”

 

“If I wanted to do that, why would I be here? I want something that screams success, power, and money.”

 

“I see. Do you want to incorporate the traditional reds and blacks, or do you have something else in mind?”

 

“Well, I think that if I want to say power those are good colors.” Marissa picked up her coffee cup and took a sip covertly watching Elin over the rim. The girl certainly was attractive. Her mouth moved in ways that sent waves of pleasure over Marissa as she imagined the lips working their way over her body. She knew then that she wanted her and would have her.

 

After an hour of a lively and revealing conversation, Elin had a clear idea of what her new client needed in the way of business clothes. Because she was a partner in a venture capital firm, it was important that the woman look conservative and very professional, but Marissa wanted to go beyond the traditional banker image.

 

“Now that I have a very good idea of what your preferences are, Marissa, the next step is to arrange a time when will it be convenient for you to return and go over a selection that I select for you.”

 

Marissa flipped open her phone and punched a few buttons. “What about Friday? I have meetings in the morning, but I could get away around three.”

 

“That will be good.” Elin wrote a notation about the appointment. “Thank you. Would you like me to write the date and time down for you?”

 

“No, I’ve already made a notation.”

 

“Well then, I will be looking forward to seeing you this coming Friday. Come with me and I will show you out”

 

Marissa stood and followed her out of the room

 

 

As Elin watched Marissa walk out of the shop, Bess came up behind her.

 

“How did it go? Was it as bad as you thought?”

 

Elin shook her head.

 

“I knew you could do it.”

 

“Actually, it went really well. A bit shaky at the start because she was expecting you.” Elin turned around blushing slightly before a smile crossed over her face. “Did you see her? Can you believe she is forty-three and a partner of a venture capital company? She certainly doesn’t conjure up my idea of what someone in investments should look like.”

 

“Remember the number one rule, dear...never mix business and pleasure.” Bess shook her head and gave her a serious look. “It will only cause heartache in the end.

 

Elin hadn’t disguised her sexual preferences and Bess didn’t seem to have a problem with that. Although Elin had always known she was gay, she had never acted on those feelings in a relationship. She’d had her share of crushes and even dated a few women, but the extent of her physical experience was only passionate kisses with girls she had met and danced with in lesbian bars. Her life had been all about excelling in her work and she had little time for a social life. She figured that once she proved herself in the designing world, she could devote time to finding a stable, permanent relationship. And, maybe, come out of the closet to her family.

 

“Trust me, Bess, I know the rules. She’s more than twenty years older than I am. I can’t see me in a relationship with someone that old.” Elin screwed up her face. “It would be like dating my mother. And that idea is gross.” She saw the look of humor on Bess’ face and laughed. “Of course, you are not in that category, Bess, for you are still a young chickie.”

 

“Okay, if you say so. I can’t wait to tell Frank that someone thinks I am a chickie.” Bess waved off the comment with her hand.

 

“I just want to thank you again for the chance you gave me today.” A sense of exuberance washed over her.

 

“You’ll do just fine. Do you want to confer about the client?”

 

“No, I’ve got it but if I run into problems, you’ll be the first one I ask for help.”

 

Bess patted her hand. “Anytime.”

 

The door opened, and both women turned to the next client.

 

 

Marissa Banks left the store with a predatory smile. She had watched the sway of hips as she followed Elin to the store’s door. The shop girl would no doubt satisfy her every need and maybe some she didn’t know she had. She grinned. Yes, Elin Prescot will do quite nicely. Her body was tense at the thought of what was to come. Her last conquest had ended several weeks earlier and she wanted—no, needed—a replacement. The naïve young woman would be the perfect distraction. She had noticed the light in the girl’s eyes when Marissa had told her she lived an alternate lifestyle.

 

“Yes, she is batting for the right team and I am going to be the pitcher that throws her a fast curve ball,”

 

Relationships had never been her strong point. She preferred to love them and then leave them wanting more. She, of course, never gave more. The hunt was her lifeblood much the same way she sought out investors. Marissa smiled as she remembered following what she thought was a nurse because she was dressed in scrubs into a hospital. An investigation revealed that the she wasn’t a nurse but was a resident, so she made an appointment for a physical. Research, patience, and charm had worked on every woman she went after. She never remembered anyone’s name except for the select few she allowed back into her bed. She was certain Elin would succumb to her seduction. They always did. After taking her cell phone out of her purse, she pressed a speed dial number.

 

“Marcus, I need you to adjust my schedule for next week.”

 

“Sure thing. What do you want me to change, Ms. Banks?”

 

“I need Friday at three open this week. Next week I’ll need from one to three open on Thursday.”

 

“Okay. You do know that Mr. Heath is scheduled at two on Thursday, don’t you?”

 

Marissa bristled at the young man’s comment. Heath was an eight-figure account and her most important biggest client, but she didn’t like Marcus telling her something she already knew. “I am aware of that, Marcus, that is why I’m calling you. I will be back at the office in less than thirty minutes and expect that you will have taken care of the schedule change by then.”

 

She raised a hand, a cab stopped, and she got in.

 

“Fifty-fourth and Park. If you get me there in ten minutes there is a twenty in it for you.”

 

She would be at her office in less than a half hour and that would rattle Marcus. She grinned. By now, she would have thought he knew better than to question any of her words or actions. She also knew that Fredrick Heath would not be happy with the schedule change and Marcus would have to face his wrath. How she loved to play this game. Delicious.

 

“No problem, lady.”

 

As the taxi weaved in and out of the heavy traffic, Marissa wondered if the cabbie would sell out his family for a fifty. The vehicle screeched to such a sudden stop that Marissa had to stretch out her arm and brace herself from lurching forward. After opening the door, she handed the driver the exact amount for the fare.

 

“Hey, where’s the twenty you promised?”

 

“I said ten minutes not eleven. You lose.” She opened the door and got out before slamming it shut. As Marissa walked briskly toward her building, she laughed as she heard the driver bellowing obscenities.

 

 

“Marcus did you change the appointment?” Marissa smiled slyly knowing exactly what his response would be.

 

“Ms. Banks, I called his secretary and she said there was no way the appointment could be changed.” The young PA followed her into her office.

 

Marissa turned around and eyed Marcus. “Did you ask to speak with Mr. Heath directly?”

 

“Ah, no, ma’am.”

 

Marissa angrily flipped through her Rolodex and picked up the phone.

 

“Hi, Janet, this is Marissa Banks, I need to speak with Frank.” She waited for a moment. “Frank, it is good to hear your voice too. Listen, I need to change our appointment for next week...Yes, I know you don’t like changes but what if I made it worth your while?” Marissa had developed a voice that she knew dripped with sexuality mixed with persuasion. It always got her what she wanted. “What if we met at Rao’s around eleven thirty? It will be my treat. We can discuss new acquisitions and the funding for them.” Marissa laughed. “Yes, I know it’s your favorite. Do we have a date?” Her face glowed with victory. “I thought so.”

 

Marissa hung up the phone and turned to Marcus before piercing him with a cold stare. “You know when I hired you, I really wanted someone older with more experience. But I took a chance on you. It looks like I might have to reconsider that decision.”

 

“But, ma’am—”

 

Marissa held up her hand. “I don’t want to hear excuses. Go see if you can do something right and find the Holcomb file for me.”

 

Marissa watched as Marcus closed the door quietly behind him. She grinned recalling the dejected look on his face when she picked up the phone and called Frank directly. Priceless. His dejected hang-dog expression was exactly what she wanted to see. Either she’d mold him into precisely what she wanted or he’d be out of a job. She could not tolerate a PA that had no initiative. Her mind turned to her new target, Elin Prescot. A wolfish smile crossed her face.

 

“Ah, how I love the hunt.” It had begun, and she knew exactly how to woo the shop girl. She’d done it more times than she could remember, but each one was a new challenge. Marissa wondered which was more stimulating, the hunt or the challenge.

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