The Wrong Type of Seduction

43 Val And The Pest


43: Val And The Pest

Heavenly. That’s the only way to describe the massage Matt arranged for Val. It was just what she needed. Matt seemed to always know what she needed. But she couldn’t let him keep spoiling her no matter how much she liked it, desired it…

Val walked out of the massage room feeling more refreshed than she ever had only to stumble to a halt. There in the lounge area, straddling Matt’s lap was a very popular female singer.

Matt had the most shocked expression on his face like he couldn’t believe the situation. What Val wanted to know was how Ms. Pop Star got so close without his knowledge if he was so shocked? Or was the shock about something else?

“A-Alyssa, funny meeting you here.” Matt’s face morphed into a half charming, half disgusted look that actually worked for him. “Can you get off?”

“Oh, Matt, you know you owe me. We still have a date to schedule.”

Oh did they?

“I don’t really have time for-“

“You’re in a spa, Matt. You have time.” The young woman sounded amused.

“I’m here on business, believe it or not.” He lied.

She leaned into Matt, her face far too close. “Make time anyway.” The girl whispered seductively.

Val took in a deep breath, sucking in the need to claw a superstar and haul her puppy from the spa like a mad woman. Instead, she put on all the control she possessed and walked up to Matt. She drew on her knowledge of a professional who used information as a weapon to learn and assess.

Alyssa Swan.


Biggest flaw?

Fear of not being loved and losing her stardom.

Val opened her eyes and absorbed everything. The veiled panic in Matt’s face, unsure what to do. His discomfort alarmed Val. Alyssa leaned forward and wrap an arm around him. Val’s vision tinted with the unnatural hue of murder. She shook her head and cleared her throat, because she wasn’t that kind of killer. And he wasn’t hers. But he definitely wasn’t hers.

Taking in a breath and wrapping her cloak of indifference around her and she said, “Mr. Delarosa. I thought I was still on the clock.” She lifted her wrist to check her gold watch.

“Shit…” Matt’s head swiveled to look at her in shock. “It’s not what you think.”

“It’s not?” Alyssa smirked looking over at Val. A frown slightly marred her pretty face as she glanced Val up and down. Though Val didn’t have her usual business suit on when she worked as a consultant, she did have on heels, blue slacks, and a tasteful collared shirt that passed for professional.

Val pulled in her menace and smiled politely. “What I think doesn’t matter,” she said like a teacher scolding a student as she circled the room toward the receptionist’s desk. She plucked the phone from the excited young woman.

“Hey!” The woman tried to protest as Val deleted the picture that had been taken.

Val then sat the phone camera side down on the raised part of the desk. Picking the pen holder up from the surface she sat it on top of the phone. “Do not move to touch that phone until we leave, or I will sue you for everything you’re worth after I have you fired and ruined indefinitely. And don’t think I can’t. I’ve set-up and destroyed those far more powerful than you can imagine,” Val said very low for the woman’s ears only, with enough steel in her voice she was ready to slit a throat with it. She stared at the woman’s name tag. “Are we clear, Melissa?”

The receptionist nodded visibly shaken.

Raising her voice back up to normal volume so all could hear, she said, “Mr. Delarosa.” Val turned back to the sicking couple. “I believe I mentioned before that relationships this early in your career could derail your future.” She looked pointedly at Alyssa.

Matt slowly nodded, face losing some of its shock. “I apologize, Mrs. Braun. I…wasn’t thinking,” he said trying to sit up, but Alyssa leaned closer into him keeping him from going far. Val’s need to snatch blonde hair, thundered inside her.

“Matt, who is this woman?” Alyssa turned her nose up at Val clearly not liking what she was seeing.

“Ms. Swan, I’m Mrs. Val Braun, Image Consultant to Mr. Delarosa. And I would advise you to please get off my client so that we can be on our way to our next appointment. You are costing Mr. Delarosa money. Unless of course you are willing to pay?” Val asked keeping her tone even and cold.

The girl scowled at Val for a moment before turning to Matt. “Matty, if you had another appointment, why didn’t you tell me?”

“I did try. And you surprised me, I didn’t expect you to land in my lap.”

Alyssa smirked. “Sometimes surprises can be a good thing.” The girl cooed.

“Mr. Delarosa?” Val looked at her phone pretending to look at her schedule. “I’m leaving. I don’t have time for clients who aren’t punctual and don’t heed my advice.”

“Alyssa, I need to go. I’ll talk to you later-“

“About work.” Val added.

“Look, lady,” Alyssa finally stood, getting off Matt, and stepped up to Val standing an inch taller. “I don’t know who you think you are-“

“My name is Mrs. Braun.” Val opened her purse, reached into her transparent glass lined business card holder, and pulled one out. “If you need an image consultant I suggest you speak to my office.”

Alyssa took the card and crumpled it up. Val kept her business face on even while she wanted to laugh at the brat.

“I will never need to work with you or your company. And I’m sure the rest of New York will soon catch on-“

“Alyssa.” Matt got between her and Val, facing the other woman. “I apologize. Mrs. Braun is just doing what I pay her for. This is business. You’re a very business minded woman, so I know you understand how important it is to my career. And you know me, music first.”

She nodded as if understanding. “So you’re so busy with music and business you don’t have time for any fun?” She shrugged. “Your loss, Matty. The people want music that is fun, not stuffed in a business suit,” she said in a tone that sounded like she had found her next new song. “You better learn to cut loose.” She sauntered through the spa’s curtained area waving goodbye to them. “Wouldn’t want your career ending before it began.”

Matt blew out a breath. “That could’ve been worse.”

Val checked to see the receptionist still sitting statue still, before she started walking needing some air.


“Did she just threaten your career?” Val asked not looking back or she might do something very unladylike to Alyssa. 

“Probably. But I’m not worried. I figured I’d end up as one of her songs eventually. But I was hoping later than sooner.”

When they got into the building’s empty hallway, making their way to the elevator, Val took out her phone and called Tiffany.

“Val?” The woman answered.

“Ms. Alyssa Swan. American Pop Idol. She’s going to fall ill in the next twenty-four hours. Once she does, that gives you seventy-two hours before she recovers. Don’t ruin her completely, but make it bad enough she needs a little help.”


Val hung up before she was whirled around when Matt grabbed her arm pulling her into the stairwell.

“Fall ill?” He asked looking concerned once the door closed behind them.

“If you ever go into my purse, never touch the business cards in the clear holder.”

His eyebrows rose in shock.

“If you haven’t built up an immunity, some…chemicals can make you sick. Of course if you meet the right conditions they can be more lethal than others, but…” Val shrugged. “Hopefully she’ll be fine.”

“You poison-“

“Oh, right…” Val said interrupting him before he said too much. She reached into her purse and pulled out a pill bottle. “Take this. Just in case I touch you thoughtlessly. I have residue on my hands. It’s chewable so you don’t need water.” She opened the bottle and tapped one into the palm of his hand. He took it without hesitation, trusting her. Val inwardly melted at that. He knew she was an assassin, yet, he was certain she’d never harm him. She couldn’t help but stare at him, awestruck. Those brown eyes looked down into hers and a gleam seemed to reflect back at her.

“Just because she’ll be sick, doesn’t mean she won’t write that song,” Matt said stepping forward crowding Val, clearly wanting to kiss her.

“Oh, she’ll be too busy to write anything when the world starts closing in on her.” Val turned away heading down the stairs.

“Val, she’s a mega superstar. She’s not going to go down easily.” Matt followed, hands reaching out and tucking her hair behind her ear. The light touch tickled her.

She chuckled. “It wouldn’t be fun if it was easy. Now, why was she on your lap?”

“Closed my eyes for a moment. Felt someone crawling on me. Opened my eyes. There she was.” He explained.

“Hmmm…” Sounded reasonable. When she heard him chuckle, she turned to look up at him. “What?”

“You’re so hot when you’re jealous and possessive,” he said grinning.

“Sir, I’m sorry, but what are you talking about?” Val continued down the rest of the way pretending not to be affected by those dimples.

“Your business mode is sexy.” Matt followed her out of the building. “Can I do you right here in public?”

“Sir, you have an image to maintain. And I don’t want to be part of your scandal.”

“So tell me more about what you plan to do to Alyssa,” Matt said hot on her heels. “I want to help.”

“Matt.” She gasped surprised he sounded so interested. “You’re a musician with a stellar record to keep. And I will not discuss that aspect of my…work.”

“How about over ice cream?”

“I’d rather discuss sex over ice cream.”

“Damn you know how to change subjects.” He laughed that heady sound that had her grinning.

“Shall we?” She asked looking up at his strong profile.

“We shall.”

They went to her favorite gelato spot and ate out of each other’s ice cream bowl.

“Have you ever killed someone during sex?” Matt leaned into her and whispered as he dug his spoon into her spumoni.

She shook her head while they walked up the street as the setting sun brought out the sidewalk lights. “Messy and too much evidence to clean up. If I had to use sex, it would be with someone I needed to gain info on the target.”

“Well if you ever kill me, please make it during sex.”

Val laughed. “You’re horrible.”

“I prefer the term…honest,” Matt said lowering his bowl for her to get a scoop of his fudge chocolate.

“And absolutely ridiculous.” She shook her head, surprised she could talk about that part of her life so freely with him.

Val had never dated as a teenager. She had been married by fourteen so there was no dating. But if she had been a normal teen, she imagined that this was how the dates would have gone — laughing, talking, sharing, and being generally stupid.

By the end of the night, they were in a bar, Matt playing piano after getting the manager’s permission. Val sat in the crowd watching in delight. He’d never been in that bar before, but the moment he saw the piano in the window, he made a U-Turn, dragging her with him, and there they were.

Most of the night, he played show tunes and the customers either danced or sang along. One woman, a thick woman with dark skin and beautiful dreadlocks stood up and sang in a tone that nearly overwhelmed Matt’s playing. Her voice was amazing. Matt’s light and playful sound became more intense to match the ferocity of the woman’s voice and the whole bar became hypnotized by the performance. Val felt chills it was so powerful.

When they were done, the bar roared in applause. Hell, it was Broadway worthy. Matt ended on that note and thanked the manager who told him he could come by anytime. Then Matt got the singer’s name and number before leaving.

“She was amazing…” Val said wishing she could sing like that.

“She better be, she’s won three Tony awards.”

Val gasped and stared up at him.

Matt grinned. “Most Broadway actors aren’t as famous as movie stars or television stars so they are overlooked, especially since you can’t see their faces as well when they are on stage and you’re in your seat. But because I’ve helped with some of their stuff before, I remember her. She’s awesome. I’m hoping to recruit her for a play I’m working on.”

“Oh, why didn’t you introduce us?” Val was curious about her now.

“How? As my…fill in the blank.”

Val sighed. “You win.”

He chuckled. “Just say the word and I’ll let the world know you’re my girlfriend.”

She shook her head. “No, just…” She almost confessed she wanted the role, but didn’t want the world to know. Too many disreputable people knew about her. Another reason Matt needed to stay away. Instead she said, “No.”

Matt looked at her curiously with that thoughtful face. He held a patience that most young people didn’t possess. That most men didn’t possess. Why had he stuck with her so long? Even knowing what she was…what she was capable of? Was it the sex?

She remembered what Cody said and asked, “How long are you willing to wait for me, Matt? What if I never want more than this?”

“Okay,” was all he said.

“Will you be satisfied with that? With me disappearing for stretches? You couldn’t even handle five days,” she said watching him flinch. “What if I leave for a month or two?”

“I’d find you.”

“What if I want time away from you.”

Matt grunted frowning. “Then tell me. I’ll give you time.” His jaw clinched. “I won’t like it, but… fuck, if it makes you happy I’ll give you time. But I don’t want you to just leave. I worry about you. Especially, now that I know that asshole ex is interested in you again.”

So sweet… He was going to give her tooth decay. And heart palpitations. Val took a giant step and grabbed his hand. She walked with him hand in hand down the street feeling terrified, glad it was night a no one could see them well. “I hope I don’t get you killed.”

“You’re the only one allowed to kill me.” He squeezed her hand.

“Matt, I told you I don’t kill out of emotion.”

“Good. Then its settled.” He pulled her to him, brought their hands up to his lips, and kissed her knuckles. “Stay with me tonight.”

She opened her mouth to protest, not wanting to intrude more on his life when he cursed.

“Never mind. I forgot my brothers are in town.”

She looked at him questioning what that meant.

Matt smiled wearily. “My brothers will pry.” He answered the questions she didn’t ask. “I want them to meet you so bad, but…”

“They’re protective. Cody warned me.”

“And I don’t want them scaring you off. Especially Tyler. He’ll test you. And test you… And test you.” He groaned.

“Test me how?”

He paused. “Anyway he can get under your skin.”

She frowned remembering the reports about Tyler, Walthour’s intern. It didn’t fit. “Really?”

He nodded twisting his lips. “I plan to keep you, Val, so I’m going to let you in on a little secret. But it has to remain a secret just like your…other thing.”

“What did you say, Matt? Something about our secrets stay between us?”

He nodded kissing her knuckles again. Then keeping his mouth against her skin he said, “My brother’s a chameleon. He plays people based on their personality. He can get the world to love him just by being whatever they want. He manipulates people. And that’s just the tip of his twisted personality. The only weapon you can ever use against Tyler is to see through his bullshit. But you have to constantly remain on guard because he’s always looking for an angle. Even us, his family, keep our guard up.”

Val smiled getting a clear picture of Tyler.

“I’m serious, Val.”

She shook her head, giggling. “That’s not why I’m amused. I’m laughing because he sounds like your father.”

Matt cocked his head surprised. “True?”

She nodded and looked around before she waved for him to lean down, “I study all my opponents before I complete my assignments. I studied Radford for weeks. Didn’t take long to see the real him.” She whispered in his ear.

Before he stood up straight again, he stole a kiss. She didn’t chastise him, but she let his hand go. “Be careful getting home, puppy,” she said before stepping on the curve and hailing a cab.


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