The Wrong Type of Seduction

33 Val vs. An Old Acquaintance


33: Val vs. An Old Acquaintance

Early one Wednesday morning, three days before the gala, Val stopped for breakfast.

She sipped her green tea and watched the street traffic honk. The small café in Manhattan had the best tea so far that she had tasted in the big city. Then again, there was a unique café on nearly every corner and she had yet to sample them all. Not all of them served tea, but many of them did because the local population was so diverse.

She sighed, mind drifting to Matt again. For the past week and a half, they had been meeting on and off for sex. Some days at his place, some days at a random hotel, or just at a random…anywhere. Why was she so horny when it came to him? Her mind seemed to go stupid when Matt was involved despite her better judgment.

Occasionally, they grabbed a quick bit to eat and talked. But it was about his work, her work, his music, his schedule, sometimes hers. He rarely talked about his family, giving sparse details. But she couldn’t blame him because she never talked about her past or family. He never asked more than what she would offer, especially about her ex-husband. Though he tried to be thoughtful, Val knew she was going to start hurting him if she didn’t decide what she was going to do. She couldn’t keep dangling him along no matter how much she enjoyed him.

The waitress had brought her bagel and cream cheese when a man took a seat across from her. That broad muscular build and intimidating stare made most people shrink from those pretty pale green eyes. 

Not Val. 

Instead, she ignored it and asked the waitress for an extra cup of tea. When the woman left to fill her order, Val zoomed into her bagel, shutting out the imposing presence who hadn’t been invited to her table. Leisurely spreading the cream cheese on the lightly toasted bread, she looked past him at the people going to work in droves in their business suits and uniforms. Brown, black, white, olive, tan, yellow, red, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist… there was a little of everything in New York City. It was quite impressive and yet almost confusing as to how so many cultures would live so closely together and still separated themselves into neighborhoods by their culture.

“Absolutely fascinating…” she said watching a young man help a pregnant wife out of a cab.

The man sitting across from her turned to see what she was looking at.

“It’s good to see that chivalry isn’t completely dead,” she said bringing her bagel to her lips. She smiled briefly at the fact that she got this man to turn around as she wanted. He was a hard man to manipulate, but even he was fallible. She quickly did a peripheral check without turning her head. There were at least three others in the restaurant that weren’t there before. He brought his security. He didn’t insult her by coming alone even if she didn’t have her own guards.

“How long have you been in this country?” He asked in that dark demanding tone she remembered. Slowly he turned back around, clearly preparing for something. Maybe he realized he just let his guard down around her. That was dangerous for someone in his line of work. He knew better than to show such a blatant weakness.

“Does it matter?” She asked after swallowing the food in her mouth. Then she took another bite enjoying the barely sweet blueberry taste and the creamy texture of the spread.

“Everyone thought you were dead. Even Domenic.”

Domenic thought she was… So he never thought she’d survive? Did he think her so weak? Of course he did. Now it all made since why people from her past seemed so surprised to see her.

She chuckled finally looking at that hard intimidating face she almost remembered. Except he didn’t look as stern as she recalled. He seemed softer around the edges. Maybe it was that new mistress of his that she heard so much about — Cody. The one pregnant with her boyfriend’s child. The fact he was having an affair with the woman wasn’t public knowledge. But in certain circles it was known to keep a wide distance from Cody Delarosa or incur Walthour’s wrath. Val respected that.

She continued eating not answering his question. With her legs crossed at the knee, she used her angled foot that hovered in the air to begin sliding up his slacks.

His eyes narrowed.

A smile reached her eyes as she continued to chew.

“I know what you’re trying to do.” His voice grew deeper, threatening.

She shrugged even as she continued to let her foot travel up his leg. There was a time Walthour flirted with her just to irritate Domenic. She respected Walthour for those moments of amusement. In those days, she needed every little moment of humor she could get.

Taking another bite of her bagel she turned her attention back to the window where she noticed a man in a suit pass by with sunglasses on. He walked by carefully peering into the shop, trying not to appear obvious in his surveillance.

“Val, answer my question… And move your foot.” He ordered when her foot started traveling up his thigh.

“She’s done a number on you.” Val grinned moving her foot and re-positioned herself to plant both feet on the floor before leaning forward. “I heard she was a beauty, but I didn’t think even a beautiful woman could tame you.” She licked her lips of cream and said, “I’d love to meet her.”

Though it was slight, she noticed the man’s spine straighten. “No.”

Not only was he in love, but he was super protective. Poor Walthour just gave her his weakness. Hopefully, she would never need to use it. Finished with half of her bagel, she picked up her tea cup and began to sip watching a taxi drive by.

“Why are you here?” He asked again.

“I was born here, remember?”

“You haven’t lived in this country for years.”

“I visited enough. And I am a citizen.”

“Val,” he said losing patience.

“Lloyd, when was the last time I answered to you?” She asked before taking another sip and looking pass him to another man in a suit who positioned himself across the street to speak to a street vendor. When the man didn’t answer, she looked back at her uninvited guest and noticed a brooding expression.

This was a man who was uber wealthy and powerful. Accustomed to destroying any opposition against him, Gabriel Lloyd Walthour III didn’t know how to handle someone outside of his reach or who wasn’t threatened by him. If he had snuck up behind her and kidnapped her, maybe he would have the upper hand. Maybe.

He took a long slow steady breath and said, “You have been off the grid for more than five years. And even before then, you were nearly non-existent to the rest of the world. Now, you’re seen all over the city flirting with various people, shopping, doing volunteer work, and-“

“If you know what I’ve been doing, why ask?”

“You know very well why I ask. I want to know your motive.”

“To live. Quietly. That’s all.” She sat her cup down and relaxed back in her chair looking up at the ceiling. “I had five long years to rethink my life. And after so thoroughly being released from Domenic’s service, severed from anything involving that life, I decided to start new. I built myself up with my own hands and skills. And when I had enough money, I decide to sit back and just enjoy life.”

“What about your pet project?”

“What project?” She feigned ignorance.

He grew quiet looking her in her eyes. He knew to tread carefully with his words. “Radford is dead. Do you…know anything?”

She laughed. “Other than that he was your man? Why would I know anything…unless there is something I’m missing?”

He grew quiet again and Val wondered if he knew something she didn’t. Instead, he said, “So you haven’t picked up on your hobby since you left Domenic?”

She clasped her hands on her lap and relaxed the tension building from being interrogated. She would have to end this soon if he didn’t.

Walthour watched her for a moment before he said, “You know you have been caught with Radford’s youngest son.”

She sighed knowing that was coming. Sounding as callous as she could she said, “Not that I haven’t tried to dissuade him… The puppy has grown attached, no matter how much I try to shake him. I’ve been tempted to tell him everything so he goes away. But I don’t want my delightful past out in the public eye.”

His eyes glinted humor even though his face still remained impassive. “I can understand that.”

“I’m sure he’ll get tired of me,” she said as if bored even while her body and mind reeled with thoughts of him.

“What man has ever grown tired of you?” Lloyd asked.

“You seem tired of me.” She pouted, pretending to be hurt.

“I’m not tired of you, Val, I’m just not interested in you in that way.”

“Lloyd, were you implying sex? Naughty… What would your mistress think?” she asked in mock surprise.

He grunted impatiently. 

Val laughed inwardly enjoying his discomfort. The man really was too uptight.

He swallowed visibly before saying, “Domenic has called me several times already wanting to know why you are here and what you have been doing?”

She rolled her eyes, pretending that the need to curse his name wasn’t rising like vomit.

“I’m concerned that he’s planning a trip here.”

Val thought for a moment and said, “Question. How many men did you position outside of the restaurant?”

“None. My people are in here with me.”

She nodded. “Then the three…now four I’ve seen trying to act casual outside on the street must be his.”

Walthour’s eyes lifted up to look over her head, probably to get confirmation from one of his people. When his eyes met hers again, she saw the slight unease.

“He’s not here, but that doesn’t mean his people aren’t in the area.” Lloyd confirmed.

She frowned taking her napkin from her lap. “Prepare for his visit.”


“Lloyd, neither of us wants an incident. But you know how he gets. He made a clean break from me and made it crystal clear he never wanted to see me again. Now he’s circling like a shark? Either he wants me dead or he wants me back. If he wants me dead, then so be it. But if he wants me back, I’d rather take death.”

“Think this through-“

She stood and leaned forward, hands on the table. Then she calmly said in Italian, “He humiliated me, took all that I had, and left me for death. If he comes for me, there will be blood. Mine or his. He is your family, so do as you must. But know, I will do as I must.”

He didn’t lean back from her, but all of the muscles in his body tensed in the ready for anything. She threw her napkin on the table. His security moved, closing in on them. “If you need me, call.” She picked her clutch purse from the table and rummaged through it. She noticed from the corner of her vision that his people were moving in further. Walthour waved his finger slightly, ordering them to stand down. She found her business card holder, pulled the thin silver case out, clicked it open, and pulled out a card. She sat in on the table. “Next time we talk, make sure it’s about something…more pleasant. I want to leave the past behind me.”

“What about Matt? He needs to know what he’s walking into.”

“I’ve tried to push him away…” Because she wanted to save him from her shadows and protect him from…this. “He’s…hard-headed. Fine, Lloyd. Tell him what you will.” Because she vowed never to tell a soul…and especially not Matt. She began to walk smiling at his cautious guards.

Before she got far, she heard, “Who is Andrew Christophe?”

Her steps faltered but she kept walking. “Not a threat, unless you keep digging.”

“Is he the one who helped you after your…separation?”

“I owe him more than anyone. So for your sake and safety, as well as mine, leave it alone.” But she knew he wouldn’t. The man prided himself in being well informed. It was moments like these, she was glad she always had a back-up plan…several back-up plans. She took out her emergency phone that had no GPS, the black market kind that couldn’t be traced. Then she sent a text that read: Code Yellow.

When she got outside, she hailed a cab. The first empty one, stopped for her. She climbed in and made it a point to stare at the man watching her outside of the restaurant. She got a good look of his face, before the taxi pulled off. Instead of going home, she went to her volunteer job and helped the women there who were working on the final touches of the gala. The work helped her to get her mind off her increasing worry of the past coming back to nab her.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: