The Fall of the Misanthrope: I bitch, therefore I am
Valerie Anthrope doesn't believe in happy-ever-afters and has no time for relationships. Her heart is as hard as her acrylic nails. She runs a small back-street brokerage, happy with her own company and financial reports.
But she has a secret. She doesn't admit it to anyone--even herself. She's depressed. And her lack of sleep and too many caffeine pills are beginning to have an effect. She has dreams that don't make sense, but know they hold the key to her illness.
Ellen Semple is a middle-aged busy body who thinks a 'nice cup of tea' is the cure to all ills.
Lex Kendal is sexy and rich, and thinks he can have any woman he wants--and he wants Valerie.
Would a one-night stand matter? After all, Valerie isn't into relationships. Could she remain disinterested enough, and keep her secret away from the ever-prying Ellen?
'You're not the cold, hard-nosed businesswoman you make yourself out to be.' He took a step forward. 'You enjoy my company, you purred beneath my hands when we made love.'
'I didn't!' I could feel the heat of my face.
'Tell me that you enjoyed me making love to you.'
'I shan't say any such thing!'
He stepped closer, and I moved around the desk to keep it between us. 'Oh, this could be fun,' he said. 'I've never chased anyone around a desk before. What do I get when I catch you?' He moved to the right, and I moved in the other direction. 'Ever had sex across the office desk before? I bet you have, you saucy bitch.'
I picked up the stapler and threw it at him.
'Ouch!' He stood clutching his shoulder, with the stapler lying on the floor at his feet.
'You're out of control!' I told him. I was breathing hard. I smoothed my hair, my blouse and then my skirt. 'The weekend was an error -'
'I thought you were the type of man who could handle a one-night stand. I'm sorry. I don't want a relationship, sexual or meaningful.'
'Yes. Are you having hearing problems?'
'A miscalculation is an error; a computer can have an error. A surgeon taking out a healthy lung leaving the cancerous one behind is an error.'
'A - a mistake on my part then. No need to take it personally.'
'You took advantage of me! You led me on wearing a tight little dress, letting me wine and dine you, while flirting outrageously. And now you have the audacity to tell me you made an error! God, I feel so cheap!'
I saw the sparkle in his eyes, and found that my heart was pounding. I didn't mind confrontation; I relished people's caustic replies. But Lex hadn't been angry. He'd been playing.