Excerpt, His to Lose – Riley and Lucy

“Oh, my god,” Lucy began, her dark eyes darting in excitement. “You are not going to believe this.” She stood the umbrella to drip in Riley’s entry hall and then scooted toward the kitchen carrying a bottle of wine.

Irrepressible Lucy. Riley couldn’t hide her smile. Energy seemed to form mysteriously inside Lucy’s body and radiate outward onto everything and everyone around her. Her dark eyes and curly dark hair constantly darted and tumbled like a mountain stream. Riley shook her head slightly, standing at the kitchen bar watching as Lucy rummaged through the drawers for the corkscrew.

“So I’m in the Perth Center this afternoon, and Charlie is in there hanging his work, he’s got an opening, you know, and you’re going with me, right, tomorrow night?” Her forehead wrinkled as she checked with Riley.

“Yes, I said I’d go.” Actually, she had kind of forgotten. She leaned tiredly on the bar.

Lucy’s curls bounced as she popped the cork out of the bottle. “Well, anyway, he tells me that he overheard Lymon Ames talking about that piece I’ve got in the Halston exhibit, and Lymon said he thought it was powerful, and that he’d like to see more of that artist.” She pulled glasses from Riley’s shelf and splashed them half full of wine. “That artist!” she exclaimed, her smile radiating across the space between them. “That would be me,” she said, swaggering as she handed Riley her glass.

“Shit, Luce,” Riley laughed, “that’s great!” She raised her glass to Lucy’s. “This could be the big break you need. Congratulations!”

“Damn straight,” Lucy replied. “To big breaks!”

Riley suppressed herself for a second then couldn’t keep it inside. “And I had a break of my own—it’s a lucky day for both of us. A new account, a big one. Retainer and everything!”

Lucy’s eyes widened. “Damn! That’s fantastic news, Riley.” She lifted her glass. “Congratulations to you! I know you’ve been hanging on by your fingernails.”

The glasses clanged and the two women smiled as they sipped more wine.

“Pretty much down to one fingernail,” Riley mused, examining her hands with an exaggerated gesture. “Yes,” she allowed herself a moment of jubilation. “Yes! It’s fantastic. Big account. Now if I had about ten more of these, I could relax slightly.” She immediately sobered and took a bigger drink of the wine. “But on the downside, I have to deliver. This guy has problems, looks like money is disappearing and on first glance, I think it’s going to be hard to dig out the cause.” She followed Lucy to the couch.

“Worse,” she continued after a moment’s hesitation, “he’s about the most devastatingly handsome man I’ve seen in my life, I mean, killer magnetism. I’ve got to steer wide around this one.”

Lucy’s face shadowed briefly as she took another drink. “Wow. That’s scary. I thought you’d developed some kind of immunity to men.”

Riley leaned her head back on the soft upholstery and then turned to look at Lucy. Did she think just because she commented on a man’s looks that she had suddenly lost interest? She smiled at Lucy, charmed as always by her intense sexuality. Her green blouse draped over her curvaceous chest, and her tight jeans molded her hips and thighs. Riley let her gaze drift down to the jean’s crease through her crotch before bringing her suggestive gaze back to Lucy’s smiling face. “Yeah, I thought so too. Maybe I need a fresh inoculation,” she murmured, reaching over to run her hand over Lucy’s breast. The nipple hardened immediately, and Riley’s mouth watered.

“Shit,” Lucy swore darkly. She set her wine glass on the coffee table. “Inoculation, stat.”

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