Wealthy young woman Dray Cooper loses her parents in a terrorist bombing of their airplane, leaving older brother Bredon as her only remaining family. When Bredon's financial empire is threatened by a hugely risky deal, from which his main partner, Rand, wants to withdraw, Dray makes a bargain with Rand, trading two nights of sex on his terms for his remaining in the deal. Set in New York City, What I Did for Love is an explicitly sexy novel without the four-letter words.
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.44(d)|
About the Author
Tessa Dane is a college professor. She writes poetry and fiction.
Read an Excerpt
What I Did for Love
By Tessa Dane
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2014 Tessa Dane
All rights reserved.
I am lying on a narrow bed, a soft white robe tied loosely at my waist. The room is shadowed; there is another bed, a deep sofa, wooden furniture, a large, strange curved shape like a saddle covered in velvet sitting on the floor. The door opens and he comes in quickly, silently, pulling his own robe open, and he drops to the great pillow cushions on the floor at the side of my bed. With a flick of his hand, my robe is half open, my left breast exposed, the nipple hard. He caresses it, and then bends and takes my breast in his mouth, giving me little bites and tongue-flicks. I am hot for this man, his effect on my body a drowning of the senses, pleasure, and the nip followed by the kiss and passage of his lips over and over along my breast. "I am going to leave your breasts very sore," he murmurs, a cool voice thick with desire. I do not care.
He said he would use me. This man, who just days ago I thought I could love and desire forever, now hated me and had bought my body in exchange for money, though not in the usual way these things are done. I was not an escort or prostitute – though I may now qualify for these names. He wanted to punish me for rejecting him, and did not know what pain that rejection had cost me, the greater pain I would have had if I had not rejected him.
All these thoughts were flashes of color in a muddle of sexual arousal, his hands moving over my belly, and downward, exploring and finding my quick, working me and then stopping, so that I was ready to faint into unconsciousness of anything but lust, desire, and the pounding of my heart that I could feel tremoring my whole body.
"I am not going to care for your pleasure," he had said coldly and with a cruel smile. "I intend to have every pleasure from you, though. I've never been with a whore, so you're my first." The words were intended as blows, but my moral sense was off somewhere else. By giving myself to this man, I could rescue my brother, his investments, his financial career, and most importantly, I could assure his emotional survival. My brother would not take my money. I was rich enough, but he was determined to protect my fortune, even if it meant the loss of his own.
So I lay here with the man who had purchased me, crazed with arousal. I heard him mutter, "I can't wait, even though I wanted to do all sorts of things to you." He rose abruptly from the pillows, pushing aside the rest of my robe, and bending swiftly to suck and give darting licks to the firebox between my legs. "Spread them wide apart," he ordered, his open hands pushing my legs outward from the inside of my thighs. He came over me, his erection quickly glimpsed, and he was pressing into me, I gasping a little, wet enough, the chemistry of us powerful, and his quick thrusts, four or five or six, then stopping and rearranging me, scooping my buttocks, grabbing my hips and moving me upward on the bed, then entering me again.
"I want this to last a long time," he said in a stern whisper. "I want you to be sore everywhere when this night is over."
As if I cared. But it was so strange how all this had happened, that what had started as such sweet love, had come to this.CHAPTER 2
I never had an argument with my brother until that fated day that I also met Grenville Rand. That day our three lives became entangled in love and hate, in ways no one could have predicted.
My name is Dray Cooper. Bredon is my older brother and, until this past spring, my legal guardian. He continues to be my self-appointed surrogate father, indulgent, loving, giving me almost everything I want. But our hearts are burdened by sadness, for what he and I want most, only heaven can give. Our parents had been killed three years before on a flight from Paris to New York, their plane exploding from a terrorist's bomb. I was fifteen when they perished, and Bredon was thirty-five. He had been their "honeymoon baby," and I was their "change of life surprise."
Our parents' estate, bequeathed equally to us, left us very rich. Airline settlements and insurance policies added several more millions to each of our fortunes. Bredon's goal was to give me a life that I was not even sure I wanted any more after our parents' violent end. He hired therapists for me, but he was the best help, serving as the anchor for my heart in our now-shaken world. While doctors dealt with my body and psyche under my brother's watchful eye, he was also shaping my financial security. His goal was to protect my inheritance, maximize my income, limit my risk as much as possible. He was a successful financier involved in many high-risk investments, but only let me invest with him if it was "done before begun," if the profit was practically jumping to rapid heights as the venture started. That was a rare thing. Mostly, my money remained in extremely conservative accounts and investments. When I turned eighteen during this, my first college year, my money became my own. My parents had not doubted my ability to handle the wealth they left me, nor Bredon's ability to invest it wisely for me. Bredon had most of my assets hidden behind bland, untraceable corporate names and made sure that all taxes on all my profits were promptly paid. He was not one of the many fools who thought they could evade the IRS forever. He had established two additional trusts that would come to me at twenty-one, "just in case," he had teased me. Just in case I went wild with spending. I never did. My interests were art, science, nerdy things, organizations that protected animals and the environment.
While he guarded the safety of my money, risks were the stuff of Bredon's wealth. It had made him rich in his own right, as a venture capitalist. After his Ivy League college days, with start-up money from our parents, Bredon launched an investment group whose bold financial moves and successes had impressed even the so-called Wall Street wizards. High-powered, energetic, his special talent lay in creating profitable new companies. He was unafraid to do testing and product offerings that often seemed too risky and over-the-top to other investors. In the face of skeptics, he would create companies that in turn created new "needs," and dominated brand new markets. Our parents had been surprised, happy, proud that he used his own trust funds and their gifts to continue the tradition of wealth in our family.
I was not ignorant of the ways in which my family had become rich a couple of generations ago, and how it had remained that way. In our private dinner discussions, our parents told us stories of their businesses and investments, and their own parents' and grandparents' financial coups. None of this went beyond the family. We had learned early that no family business or financial planning was ever to be discussed in public.
Bredon's ongoing tutelage gave me a deep understanding of the modern financial world. And after our parents' deaths he also made sure I knew all the details of his investments and projects. I had full access to his accounts, and he would update me on all their passwords. The world saw me as a young girl, which indeed I was, but age disappeared into necessity and my youth hardly mattered. I was smart, and if I could learn the advanced sciences of my high school classes, I could learn the art and science of making and keeping money. After all, men had entered Yale at fourteen years old in the early days of our country. The very young have more possibilities than people believe today. They are legal adults at eighteen, but are often still treated as dependent children. It makes them feel helpless, prolonging their dependency, expecting their parents to solve every problem.
My parents had no patience for that. They expected understanding, and got it. They praised resourcefulness and problem solving, and we responded to that praise. They had also impressed upon us the importance of family in investing and holding our wealth, and using our skills to maintain our fortunes. My brother and I were the family that mattered now, for although we had cousins and great-aunts, we were all that directly remained of our parents.
Privacy was an over-arching concern of my family, as it typically was of the long-time wealthy rich. But privacy is difficult in a media-driven world. It was public knowledge, for instance, that Bredon was our parents' executor and my legal guardian. In the days after the bombing, the media was wild with rumors, reports, commentary, official statements from several governments; the reporters kept stirring up interest with new angles on the story. They sought every detail online and by gossip, about the famous passengers who had died, and the identities of their rich and newly-rich heirs. Our parents were the only American notables on that flight, but several other well-known society "names" from Europe had been on board. Their families too were hounded by their countries' news media.
Most of our friends sympathized as we avoided reporters and hid from them when necessary. We would look straight ahead, ignoring questions asked or shouted at us when we appeared on the street. Endless newspaper articles, television shows and digital news feeds, discussed the tragedy. Public and commercial radio and television aired programs with panel after panel, on terrorism, flying safety, legal issues, possible military retaliation. Bredon and I avoided reading, looking, listening. We did not attend nor watch the press conferences held by government officials about the bombing, where they tried to explain why our parents' plane had been targeted. It was a commercial flight, middle-class families and poorer families also on board, their loved ones suffering and grieving as much as we were.
The evidence was scanty, and pointed to the relentless malice and spite of a small cult of religious extremists, evil men of bitter ignorance, using guns and bombs to defend Almighty God. The blasphemy of such presumption could not penetrate their distorted mental processes. Were it not such a travesty of religious ardor, it would have been the ultimate cosmic joke. All the media talk was really an attempt to deal with fear, to gain reassurance that we were not going to experience another September eleventh. The pictures of various terrorists that appeared in all the visual media made me want to be sick, to empty my body and mind of the images of such murderous, treacherous psychopaths.
Bredon's friends were very careful to respect our privacy and stoic grief. They avoided asking or saying anything indelicate, except for one, who made an appalling blunder. Head of his own investment group, maybe envious of us as two rich siblings, completely ignoring the gut-deep hurt we still carried, this supposed friend made a too-hearty, sarcastic joke that infuriated my brother. A greedy smirk on his face, he told Bredon that even an heiress's brother was entitled to legal fees as the administrator of her estate. Bredon went cold, dead silent.
The jokester was too stupid to see the startled looks of warning and retreat on the faces around them, the palpable silence. In other times a tasteless comment might simply have been ignored or shrugged off, but this one had unleashed my brother's anger, quiet and lethal. Bredon became distant, dismissive when the man was around, disappearing from his life, no calls returned, no requested meetings agreed to. Even as the truth dawned, he did not really understand his blunder. Everyone in their circle was mystified at his tedious stupidity.
At last, prompted by exasperated friends, he offered reluctant apologies, which Bredon civilly accepted. Still, the friendship was finished. As word spread that Bredon wanted nothing to do with someone so crass, investors also backed away from the man, because he was now perceived as having shaky judgment.
Again with their friends' intervention, Bredon relented somewhat, and endorsed an investment offering the fellow was making. Though it helped, his full range of clients and the power had yet to be regained. I was relieved that Bredon had shown mercy, and told him so. But the incident was clear warning to stay away from "advising" Bredon on anything concerning me. It was a social firewall, like the one he had set on his businesses so that none of his venture liabilities could ever touch me.
Following our parents' long-ago instructions (it seemed so very long ago), Bredon and I never publicly said anything about each other. I lived my New York life, attending college, sharing my love of the city and its culture with my friends and my brother and his inner circle. Those in my own circles had learned, from my angry eyes and cold exit, not to question me about my brother or my family. The women at my college knew Bredon to be a socialite, a "catch," unmarried. They did not know that my brother's heart was spoken for, that his marriage announcement would have been made on the day after our parents' return. Hardly anyone knew, for he and his fiancée had kept clear of gossip columnists and social reporters. At least a few of the more eager social climbers at my college had looked for an introduction to Bredon, frustrated at my unresponsiveness to their overtures and invitations. Only my closest friends had met my brother before the bombing, and now only Robin had met him beyond a quick introduction.
When Bredon and I spent time together and had the strength for it, we would talk about our parents, recounting familiar stories, laughing, tearful. Bredon had told me more than once that our parents had always asked him to look after me if anything happened to them. "Take care of your sister." They only said it a hundred times, maybe, Bredon kidded me, warming me. Only when we were totally alone would we openly cry with each other. The nights when I had screamed myself awake from my nightmares finally seemed to be over. I think they also died, of exhaustion. I do not know if Bredon had such nights. His focus was on getting me through it. He had doctors on call for me as I went through the daily motions mechanically, my heart feeling dead within me. I had slowly come back to life, but of course it was a different life for both of us now.
I still had occasional nightmares over our parents' deaths, and though I tried to hide them from Bredon, I did slip once. I had a private dorm suite at my college in upper Manhattan, so that my brother's early morning calls wakened only me. That morning my guard was down. I was sleepy, having been up late studying for mid- terms, then had fallen asleep to dreams so horrific, they had left me shaken. I must have sounded wild in my sorrow as Bredon asked his usual "How are you, how is everything?" As he pressed me, I told him I had dreamt of our parents' death. Saying it aloud led me to break down, unable to control the tears that sobbed through as I spoke.
My brother waited for a pause, then said very calmly, "Get dressed and wait for me in front of the college gates." He had hung up before I could protest. I scrambled into my clothes, running to Broadway, few people on the streets at that hour. Bredon had canceled his appointments, ordered his private car, and picked me up within twenty minutes of our call.
After a strong hug, all in silence, we drove up the Henry Hudson Parkway to Fort Tryon Park. We spent the morning in the privacy of trees and back trails, walking, talking, with tears, with remembrances, with another hug now and then. Composed at last, we visited the park's jewel, The Cloisters, to contemplate the incredible sculptures and paintings and tapestries born of faith and hope, and to pity the poor hunted unicorns. Thus did we cope. On special days, their birthdays, their wedding anniversary, and the overwhelming anniversary of their deaths, we visited the Columbarium where our parents' names were inscribed as memorials, though even their ashes had been lost at sea.
Life went on, as it always does. Bredon had arranged the purchase of my apartment in one of buildings his corporation owned, which was just being renovated and reoccupied. Pretending he was looking for a hideaway or extra investment, asking for my opinion, I fell in love with the place that now was mine. It was in a charming old building that extended back onto a quiet side street. The small corner apartment gathered light through its wonderful great windows. Bredon had wanted me to take one of the larger apartments, but this one-bedroom place was my true nest. Over the school year, I would take some time to choose among the treasured pieces from our parents' and grandparents' loved antiques, but I kept the furnishings to a minimum, preferring air and light.
Excerpted from What I Did for Love by Tessa Dane. Copyright © 2014 Tessa Dane. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
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