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She felt dejected. Just to attend the convention, set in a four-star business hotel, had cost them a fair amount, and they were used to being more persuasive. They were a good double act, with Jenna, all dark hair and wild voluptuousness, contrasting dramatically with Daisy’s petite frame, blonde and neatly put together. They were like Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly, people often commented. Sadly, they lacked the money of either.
‘No one’s going to make a decision that quickly,’ Jenna said, surveying the room. All around them, business men and women were gathering: some were entrepreneurs looking for capital, others investors, looking for that new, choice deal. ‘They need to go away, maybe show the products to their wives, think about it, then come back.’
‘We made good contacts,’ Daisy agreed, having another sip. She liked her friend’s positive attitude. They’d met years earlier at university and, despite both going into different areas, Daisy into design, and Jenna into marketing, they’d always remained friends and were, during the not infrequent periods when neither had a boyfriend, occasional lovers. Theirs was a special bond, based on friendship, respect, and trust, along with a dollop of mutual sexual attraction.
They’d had the idea one afternoon on a West End shopping trip, when neither could find lingerie and nightwear they particularly liked. Over tea and delicate pink-frosted cupcakes in the café of a chi-chi department store, they began to figure out how they could work together, and their excitement had grown. They would create a range of beautiful, sensual but ultimately grown-up lingerie and nightwear that would look and feel luxurious but was still affordable. Now they had their first prototypes, they were determined to make their joint effort work.
‘And there’s the gala dinner tonight,’ Jenna reminded her. ‘Who knows who we might meet then?’
As she said this, Daisy spotted an extremely handsome man across the room, tall and slim, in his late thirties, with a ready smile and an easy manner. He had blond, boyish hair, piercing blue eyes, and a soft golden tan. ‘Who’s that one there, the one in Armani?’
‘I have no idea, but good God I’d happily die finding out,’ said Jenna.
‘That’s Kieran Devlish,’ volunteered the man sitting at the bar next to them. ‘Devlish Capital Investment. Very wealthy guy.’
‘That’s Kieran Devlish?’ Jenna said. ‘I contacted him three times trying to fix an appointment, and never once did I hear back from him.’
‘He’s from South Africa, originally,’ the man went on, clearly pleased to have such an attentive – and beautiful – audience. ‘Made a fortune in e-commerce at an early age, and now invests mostly in eco-resorts, conservation issues, and sustainable energy. Whatever he touches turns to gold, though. He’s a busy guy, and in great demand.’
‘Devilishly hard to get hold of,’ quipped Daisy.
‘Where’s he headed?’ Jenna asked, her eyes following Devlish as he crossed the bar floor, pausing to work the room, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries like a benevolent king greeting a crowd. ‘You know something, Daze? This could be our last chance.’
They drained their drinks and reached for their bags, ready to pounce.
‘He’s heading for the lift!’ hissed Daisy.
‘Follow that man!’
They rushed after the investor and made it inside the lift just as the doors closed. Kieran Devlish smiled as the two stunning women, as different as night and day, joined him.
‘Mr Devlish. I’m Jenna and this is Daisy, and we’re co-founders of Daisyjen Lingerie. I emailed you several times about making an appointment here.’
‘That’s right, that rings a bell,’ he admitted in a soft but sexy accent. ‘I’m sorry, but lingerie really isn’t in my sphere of operations. The only thing that interests me is how to get it off.’
‘Why don’t you open your mind and give us a chance?’ Jenna persisted.
‘Ten minutes of your time,’ Daisy added. ‘That’s all we need.’
‘I was heading for my hotel room for a nap before dinner,’ he told them. ‘Ten minutes? With two beautiful women?’ The doors opened at his floor. ‘Let’s make it fifteen.’
Inside his suite, they sat around a coffee table, the two women opposite Devlish on the sofa. Jenna flipped open her laptop and began to show him their website, with examples of their made-to-measure lingerie, and, most importantly, detailed instructions on how to measure for bras and underwear to ensure a perfect fit.
‘I love what you’ve done here, and it all looks very pretty, but, as I told you earlier, lingerie just isn’t my thing.’
‘Why don’t you show this to your wife, and get some feedback from her?’ Daisy suggested, offering him a card.
‘I don’t have a wife, I’m afraid. Or a steady girlfriend, for that matter. Too much business and travel. And I just don’t know one bra from the other. If you seriously expect me to take this any further, I’d need to study the merchandise.’
The two friends looked at each other and, in that look, they both understood implicitly what needed to be done, and how to go about doing it. Even if he did turn them down at the end of it, he was so damned hot, they’d have had fun trying.
‘That can be arranged,’ Daisy said, unfastening her blouse and letting it slip off her shoulders to reveal a delicate pale lemon-coloured bra. ‘Look at the detailing here?’ She leant forward, allowing him a peek at the stitching.
‘Our research showed that a lot of women have problems with fastenings, finding them itchy and awkward,’ Jenna explained. ‘So our bras have different ways of removal.’
As she said this, Daisy unhooked an invisible clasp that was holding the two cups of her bra together, just enough to reveal her cleavage, before hooking it together again.
‘Why don’t I get us a drink?’ Devlish suggested, shifting in his armchair. ‘I could sure use one.’ He went to the refrigerator and produced a bottle of champagne, which he opened with a flourish. ‘This has to be the best presentation I’ve seen all convention.’