“This is just amazing,” Mary whirls, flaring the silky black skirt of her Christian Dior dress.
“Wasn’t it grand of AJ to send these outfits over?” Lyn fluffs the ruffled neckline of her Calvin Klein below-the-knee length dress. “I’d never be able to afford one like this on my income.”
“You and me both,” Patsy agrees. She runs her hands down the slinky off-the shoulder cocktail dress. “The label in this one says Anna Sui—whoever that is. I feel so…svelte.”
“You look svelte,” Mac laughs as she admires herself in a full length hall mirror, one of many in the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. “We all look svelte.” She arches back to see behind. “My tag says Fendi.”
“This is going to be one heck of a cocktail party if we’re dressing like this.” Mary’s brows scrunch together in thought. “I wonder why they call them cocktail parties?”
“I can think of a few good responses to that one.” Mac grins. “But I’ll keep them to myself for now.”
Lyn’s gaze follows a male figure clothed in a black tuxedo. “I just love a man who can dress up and look good.”
Mary sighs, eyes following the disappearing male. “He does look great but personally, nothing is more thrilling to me than a guy in uniform.”
“I’d have to go with the muscular beach bum in a thong bikini,” Patsy admits, dimples flashing.
“As long as he’s walking, talking and packing, you’d be happy,” Mac says dryly. “I’ve never known you to be particular as long as he’s breathing.”
They follow AJ, gawking at the sophisticated and beautiful crowd. Men in tuxedos and women literally glitter with expensive jewels beneath the lavish many-tiered candelabra.
“This is right out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!” Lyn stops by a waterfall cascading down the wall. “I wonder how they do this?”
“Maybe it’s all an illusion,” Patsy leans into see better. “But I can feel a light spray hitting my nose.”
“Oh, it’s real,” AJ says. “Just to be sure, I stuck my hand in it before everyone showed up.”
“How can you afford all this?” Lyn follows stumbles on the spike heels. “I didn’t know you made this kind of money.”
“Me?” AJ shakes her head laughing. “Not even. My friend Tessa is the events planner and all the famous dress designers are just wild to have their creations on display at these parties.” She whispers conspiratorially. “The man who’s hosting the event is worth half a billion dollars easy.”
“Oh my,” Mary fans herself. “I just know I’ll say or do something stupid.”
“How about an alcoholic libation to loosen you up.” AJ motions to a passing waiter who just happens to look exactly like Oliver. “Bring the ladies a nice drink, something really refreshing. Tessa is so creative and there’s a variety of flavored martinis. Everything from pomegranite to chocolate to key lime to the Waikiki Martini which is flavored with pineapple. For the more adventurous, there’s spicy martinis with jalapeno stuffed olives.”
“Oh, I don’t want one of them,” Mac reaches for a key lime cocktail. “My stomach would be groaning the rest of the evening if I even thought of drinking one.”
“Well,” AJ’s brows arch and she taps her lips. “We don’t want you getting sick, not with the spread Tessa has planned. Just for starters, she’s put together mushroom ravioli, stuffed peppers with goat cheese, tuna nicoise crustini, grilled scallops wrapped in proscuitto, shrimp cocktail, bacon-
wrapped dates, crab canapes, carmelized onion tartlettes, and I can’t even remember all the rest.”
“Oh!” Lyn groans dramatically. “There goes the old diet.”
“Why are you dieting?” Mac asks. “You look great just the way you are.”
Even if you are dieting,” AJ laughs as she leads them to a buffet table. “When you see what’s for dinner, the diet will go right down the drain.”
Tables covered with lacy off-white cloths line the wall, laden with extravagant creations never before seen by the women. Hors d’oeuvres on one table, dinner items including steamed lobster, oysters on the half shell, pheasant under glass, and filet mignon in the center, and, finally, a long table of scrumptious looking desserts including everyone’s favorite--chocolate triple layer cake with fresh fruit on the side including fist-sized strawberries.
“Oh YUM,” Patsy gasps. “I could graze here all night.”
“And so you shall.” AJ glances around the crowd. “There he is!” She almost dances with excitement. “Look while you can! That’s a walking, talking billionaire.”
The four women strain to see. Elegant and controlled, he strolls through the assembly, shaking hands, kissing cheeks and for every beautiful woman he nears, he graces them with a light caress.
AJ mutters for their ears alone. “I hear he’s somewhat of a gigolo.”
“Gigolo or not, he’s about the most thrilling thing I’ve ever seen,” Mac murmurs.
He stops in front of them. “Ladies,” he smiles a million dollar smile. “Welcome to my party.”
SHE'S GOT DIBS
True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted—twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents' plan to destroy his life-long dreams.
Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal? Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand—his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have—a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams. His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiancé be their final undoing?
"Dibs." He extended his hand.
Frowning, she accepted his greeting. "Dibs on what?
"No." He chuckled. "That's my name. Or well, actually, my nickname. Either way, it's what everyone calls me."
"O-o-okay..." The guy definitely had the smolder covered...and those incredible ice-blue eyes. Yikes!
"And you are?"
"Oh, Tessa Adams." She laughed.
"And everyone calls you...?"
Her frown returned. "Tessa."
"Oh." He scanned her face. "No nickname, huh?"
"Not that I recall at the moment."
He pressed his full lips together as if restraining a smile, eyes twinkling with merriment, and handed her the notepad. "Here's your confirmation number. The room's at the Waldorf Towers over on Park."
Two suites at the Waldorf? In this mess? What was he, a wizard? "Wow, great. Thanks so much for the help."
"Glad to be of service." He retrieved his briefcase and started down the corridor, abruptly stopped, and peered at her over the perfect slant of his shoulder. "And don't worry, Tessa, I'll think of a good nickname for you."
She offered him a blank stare. "Hey, knock yourself out."
Mischief danced along his lips before a grin broke free and he continued down the hallway.
"What a whack job," she muttered.
Award-winning author and editor, AJ Nuest, lives in a small farming community in NW Indiana with her loving husband, two beautiful children, and a bevy of spoiled pets. She and the cat are currently vying for dictatorship.
She’s Got Dibs, won 1st Place in the Contemporary Category, Heartland Romance Authors, Show Me the Spark! Contest, 2010.
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/
She’s Got Dibs Pinterest Page: http://pinterest.com/ajnuest/
Contest ends on Sunday and everyone who comments is eligible.