Seducing Lola is a sexy romantic comedy with tons of laughs and heat. Have you one clicked yet?
“And you won’t believe what that asshole you call a father did this time!” My mother’s voice echoed through the receiver, drowning out the honking cars and the clicking of my five-inch Gucci heels on the pavement as I crossed 7th Avenue. The typical bustling city sounds were lost as Elise Abbatelli ranted and raved through my cell phone.
“No telling, Ma,” I answered with a roll of my eyes.
“Well I’ll tell you!” she continued. “He showed up at The Met with that… that… woman! It was like he wasn’t the slightest bit embarrassed to have a call girl on his arm during the mayor’s birthday celebration! I tell you, Lola, that man has no shame whatsoever. It’s humiliating to know we run in the same circles.”
I let out a deep sigh as I shoved open the glass door of the Starbucks near my building and joined the line of customers, all of us in desperate need of a morning pick-me-up. I inhaled the rich scent of brewing coffee and the sweetness of the pastries as I searched for my calm. Talking to my mother had a tendency to drive me a little batshit. Then again, I came by it honestly, seeing as my own mother was more than just a little crazy.
“For the last time, Ma, Chelsea isn’t a call girl. She’s a gold digger. Contrary to popular belief, there really is a difference. And you wouldn’t run in the same circles if you’d just stop attending all the events you know Dad’s going to be at. The only one you’re torturing is yourself. Hell, no one would even know you two had been married once if you’d quit going around and announcing it to all of Manhattan.”
“Don’t you sass me, Lola Arianna Abbatelli!”
The irony that my father’s surname stood for “little priest” in Italian wasn’t lost on me. The last thing Roberto Abbatelli could ever be compared to was a priest. The man was toeing the line of sixty and still couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. But then again, why would he? He built his investment firm from the ground up, eventually earning so much success he’d been listed in Forbes more times than I could count. With money and power like his, fidelity and commitment were a joke.
“I’m not sassing you, Ma.” I sighed again, moving up another step as the long line shuffled forward. “I’m just stating facts. You’ve been divorced for over two decades. With the money you got from that settlement, you could go anywhere, yet you insist on staying in Manhattan where you know you’ll run into Dad constantly. What’s the point? Move to the Caribbean or something! Find a smokin’ hot cabana boy to fill your free time.” I heard a masculine snort of laughter come from behind me but was too entrenched in my mother’s rantings to give it any thought.
“I have a life,” she insisted haughtily. If I’d been standing in front of her, I had no doubt her chin would have been tilted up, nose in the air. “I have friends—”
“You have acquaintances. And I’ve met most of them, Ma. Believe me, you wouldn’t be missing out by shirking them off first chance you get.”
She didn’t argue with that, knowing good and well most of those so-called friends were nothing but bloodsucking leeches. “I have my work.”
I let out an indelicate snort. “You don’t work!”
“I’ll have you know I’m on the boards of many very influential charities.”
Another eye roll. “You can write a check from the beaches of Barbados.”
“Well… I have your brother!”
There was no way I could suppress my eye roll just then. “That’s just sad, Ma. Dom’s a grown man. You should’ve cut the cord a long time ago. You’re making excuses.”
“I am not!”
I lowered my voice, making sure to keep my tone soft as I said, “I get it, Ma. I do. Dad was the love of your life and it sucks having to let him go, but you’re never going to move on if you’re constantly bumping into each other. And I’m tired of seeing you get your heart broken. You deserve better than anything he could ever give you.”
The line was silent for several seconds before she finally declared, “I’m happy with my life, thank you very much.”
My shoulders slumped ever so slightly. It wasn’t the first time we’d had that particular conversation, but it didn’t hurt any less. My mother was in pain and refused to do anything about it. I tried to be understanding, but it was just so damned frustrating. It was like beating a dead horse, then turning around and banging my head against a brick wall. Trying to make her see reason was pointless.
“If you say so,” I told her as the line shuffled again. “But it’s your loss. There’s probably a young guy named Marco on one of those islands just waiting for you to come and show him what it means to be a real man.”
“So scandalous,” she chided, but I could hear the smile in her voice. “If you’re really concerned with making me happy, you’d quit this nonsense and give me the grandbabies I’ve been dying for.”
I finally reached the front of the line, holding my phone to my chest and placing my order before moving to the side and lifting the receiver back to my ear.
“Hate to break it to you, Ma, but if you want grandbabies, you need to start annoying Dom about it. Odds are he’s got at least one illegitimate kid out there anyway. He is his father’s son, after all.”
Mom gasped loudly, the very definition of scandalized. She was probably clutching her pearls just then. “You watch your mouth, young lady!”
I ignored her chastisement. It had always been like that. As far as she was concerned, Dominic would always be her “perfect little boy,” philandering man-whore and all.
“As it stands, if some guy’s spunk manages to break through the condom I’ll definitely be making him wear and my birth control pills, we have some serious problems of the biblical variety.”
“Language, Lola!” my mother admonished at the same time someone let out a choked cough from behind me.
I chanced a quick glance over my shoulder, my face drawing in the “sorry, didn’t mean for you to hear me” look I seemed to have to paste on my face every time I was out in public. That filter most people were born with, you know, the one that kept them from spewing totally inappropriate things when in crowded places? Yeah, I so didn’t have that. And it wasn’t something that had ever embarrassed me. Maybe it was the Italian in me, but I’d always said exactly what was on my mind right when I thought it, eavesdroppers be damned. I mainly apologized because it was the politically correct thing to do.
The man who’d just heard me trying to convince my mom to get her groove back Stella style while shooting down her hope for future grandbabies all in the same conversation was standing two feet away, hands in his front pockets and a knowing smile stretched across his picture-worthy face.
“Sorry,” I mouthed as I did a quick scan of his body. In just those few moments, I was able to tell his suit was high quality, no doubt designer. And judging from the broad expanse of his shoulders, tailored to fit his body. And what a body it was. Slightly disheveled chocolate brown hair, amazing green eyes, a square, chiseled jaw, and a nose that was just crooked enough to make him appear rugged without going Owen Wilson overboard wrapped up the insanely hot package. The dude was most definitely spank bank material.
I’d made an art out of reading men over the past decade, and this guy, with his expensive suit and casual confidence, screamed money and power. Both of those attributes, while hot as hell, were something I stayed far, far away from when it came to the opposite sex.
I tended to go for middle-of-the-line good guys who didn’t take life too seriously. I found they were the easiest to scrape off whenever the sex became monotonous or I just got bored and wanted to move on. Men who wielded power in their professional lives had a tendency to think they could carry that over into the personal side—including the bedroom. And when it came to sex, I always had the power. I didn’t allow it any other way. Losing power only led to heartbreak, and despite what my career would lead people to believe, I was of the firm opinion that heartbreak was for suckers.
So, despite the fact that the man behind me was the type to rev my engine, sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
“Lola? Lola, you there?”
I spun back around at my mother’s voice, determined to put Mr. Power Suit out of my mind. “I’m here.”
“You know, there’s nothing wrong with settling down,” she told me, the same line she used every single time we talked.
I snorted--loudly. “There’s nothing right with it either.”
“Abbatelli, I raised you better than that,” I interrupted, imitating her nasally, put-out tone as I finished her trademark sentence for her.
“I do not sound like that,” she harrumphed, causing me to smile.
“How about this. You don’t push me for marriage and babies, and I won’t push you for hot, sweaty island sex. Deal?”
“What did I do,” she started, undoubtedly looking at her ceiling as she spoke to God—yet another thing I’d grown accustomed to seeing during my life, “to deserve such a crass, uncouth daughter?”
“Just lucky, I guess,” I answered snidely as the barista called my name and sat my drink on the counter. “Now I have to go,” I told her as I pushed through the morning crowd, trying to get to that big cup of caffeinated goodness. “I need to get to the station and I haven’t had coffee. I’ll call you back tonight and we can talk shit about Dad for your allotted thirty minutes.”
“I do not talk shit, Lola,” she said, as if the very thought were beneath her. “I simply express my exasperation at his childish antics.”
“Tomato, to-mah-to.” I shrugged, even though she couldn’t see. “Gotta go. Love you, Ma.”
“Love you too, sweet pea. Talk soon.”
I disconnected the call and slid my cell back into my red Kate Spade bag before reaching for my venti white mocha. “Mmm,” I hummed, eyes closed in delight as I sucked down that first necessary sip. That first hit was always the best. And yes, I was aware that comparison made me sound like a crack addict, but whatevs. I was a hardcore coffee addict and wasn’t the slightest bit repentant.
“If that conversation I heard a few minutes ago wasn’t intriguing enough to catch my attention, that noise you just made certainly would’ve done it.”
I opened my eyes and landed on a pair of slightly familiar grassy green ones. “And if a lame attempt at a pickup line like that were enough to catch my attention, I’d have to shoot myself,” I replied with a sweet smile as I blatantly looked Mr. Power Suit up and down. Damn, what a shame.
“Grayson!” the barista called, setting a drink on the counter behind me. “I have a venti Americano at the counter for Grayson Lockhart!”
“I take it you’re Grayson Lockhart?” I asked, quirking an eyebrow as he stepped closer and reached past me to grab his coffee, paying extra attention to brush the sleeve of his jacket against my arm as he kept his stare focused on mine. I had to give it to him—he was good. His eyes never once deviated past my chin, and I was rocking some pretty sweet cleavage if I did say so myself. Not slutty cleavage, mind you. Classy cleavage. I was a professional woman, after all, but I’d also been blessed with the Abbatelli curves. I might’ve only been five feet, two inches tall, but I rocked a full C-cup, had a teeny waist, a J-Lo booty, and what my nonna lovingly referred to as “child-bearing hips.”
Even if I wanted to cover up what God gave me, I wouldn’t have been able to. At present, the short-sleeve, boatneck red and black Versace dress I was wearing hugged my curves and bared a modest half inch of décolletage. It wasn’t too much, just enough to hint at the more that lay beneath, but Mr. Power Suit made a conscious effort not to look. I was impressed.
“And you’re venti nonfat, no-whip white mocha for Lola,” he said with a devastatingly handsome smile. A smile that would make any woman—other than me—shudder with need.
“You got it, Suit.” I sidestepped, prepared to go around him when he spoke up again.
“I’m clearly at a disadvantage here. See, you have my full name, but I only have your first name and drink preference.”
I scrunched my face in mock speculation as I tapped my chin. “That’s quite the conundrum you got there, Grayson Lockhart. Hope you get it straightened out.” I patted his chest and moved around him, heading for the door.
“You’re really not going to give me your name?” he asked, a bewildered smile on his face that said with his good looks he was used to getting what he wanted. Unfortunately for him, so was I, and he wasn’t currently on my list of wants.
“I’m really not. Stings, I know. But I have no doubt your pride will bounce back, someone as handsome as you and all.”
“So you think I’m handsome?” he called out, shamelessly watching my hips as I sauntered toward the exit, his lips turned up in a seductive grin.
“I might not be interested, but I’m not blind,” I scoffed, one corner of my mouth tilting into a smirk as I turned and walked backward to continue our banter.
“Not interested, huh?”
I shrugged nonchalantly as I pushed the glass door open with my shoulder. “I’ve made it a habit never to date someone prettier than me. See ya around, Lockhart.”
The door closed on his hearty laugh as I headed back out into the gray Seattle morning.
Nothing like a little harmless flirting to brighten a girl’s day.
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