Celeste summoned one of the clerks. “She will need the appropriate undergarments as well as accessories. The jewelry is being provided. Please see to it that Miss Taylor is completely outfitted. Also,” she whispered to the clerk. “Clear?”
“Yes, Madame,” she said with a bobbing curtsy.
Soon, all the bags and packages were secured in the car and the women drove Celeste back to her office. She invited them in for a light luncheon, then they went back to Jason’s mansion.
“I can’t believe that dear man okayed a dress for each of us,” Eva gushed. “We’re not even going to the party!”
“Didn’t I tell you? You are going.”
“Really? You’re kidding!”
“Remington agrees that we can’t have enough backup. He wants people who don’t look official supporting the security team. You girls can circulate and have access to places the men won’t.”
“This is the most exclusive event of the year! Maybe of my life!” Eva almost screeched.
“And you got the golden ticket,” Taylor said with a grin. “Enjoy it, because an opportunity like this doesn’t come along every day.”
“Neither does a hottie like Jason,” Eva replied with a pout. “If you two weren’t so perfect together, I’d be horribly jealous. Okay, I’m horribly jealous, but not resentful.”
“I got incredibly lucky. What if he’d decided he didn’t like me? I was rotten to him when we first met. He changed my mind by being wonderful.”
“And gorgeous and incredibly wealthy.”
“He could be a street rat, I’d still love him.”
“Well, rich or poor, he’s the hottest thing on two legs. Remind me to thank him properly when we get in.” And she did.
The other girls did too. They all lined up and kissed him on the cheek, hugging him. Blushing, he grinned.
“You’re welcome. You all owe us a show after dinner.”
“You’ve got it, baby,” Eva said, strutting back to her desk.
“You made a lasting impression on those women,” Taylor told Jason quietly. “They adore you.”
“Me?” He chuckled, holding her close. “And how about you?”
“Well, I guess I’ll keep you. You are the hottest thing on two legs, you know?”
“According to Eva.”
“Well, she would know. Obviously she’s personally observed everything on two legs. Couldn’t make a mistake like that.”
They kissed for a moment, then remembered they had an audience. Parting shyly, they went back to the kitchen to confer with the others. The rest of the day was spent rehearsing their parts and practicing martial arts. By 10:00, they were all pretty tired. Remembering to set their alarms, they went to bed.
Jason and Taylor lay in bed with him at her back, holding her close. Their love making had left them tired but relaxed.
“Tell me about the Harper Star Diamond,” Taylor said. “I never heard of that incident.”
“Got hushed up, that did. International incident.”
“Really?” She glanced over her shoulder at him.
“Damn near started a war. And entirely my fault.”
He nodded solemnly. “Harper is an American businessman. He had the Star at a huge expo in Dubai. I tried to get it there, but those Arabs are a paranoid lot. I had to wait for it to get to Moscow. Bitsy’s good, but she was working with some idiots on the other team who didn’t like taking orders from a woman. Getting in and out was wickedly easy. I walked in and took it without anyone the wiser, until one of Bitsy’s men spotted me on a video—she’d added a couple cameras at the last minute. I didn’t see them. He told her and she signaled a lock down, but I was long gone.”
“How did you find out about that?”
“Had them bugged, didn’t I? Foolish not to. I knew exactly where they were the entire time.”
“How could they not get you with a video of you?”
“Tragically, the video files were erased a few moments later when an electromagnetic pulse went off in the computer room. Wiped everything, including cellphones, and was designed to destroy my bugs so no one could find them. Brilliant, that was.”
“Devilishly so. Ever thought of working for the Bureau? We could use men like you.”
“Me? I’m a thief, love.”
“Who knows more about security than some agents I know. Can you imagine working for the Secret Service? You’d be amazing.”
“They don’t pay enough. Corporations, that’s where the big money is.”
“You’ve got your business and investments. Do you really think money’s all that’s important?”
“The more I’ve got, the more I can spend helping other people. I do that, you know. I don’t just hoard it all and buy fancy dresses and tailored suits for federal agents. I support a number of charities—anonymously, of course.”
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm