This scene, in The Housewife Assassin's Guide to Gracious Killing (Book 2 of the series) is one of those. And it rated a "shiver with delight." Read it, and then you'll know what I mean.
How to Choose
a Party Dress
When you’re a guest at
someone else’s soirée, your first impression should be also be a lasting
one—and certainly not because you either overdressed, or underdressed, for the
occasion. When in doubt, keep it simple and elegant: black, with pearls.
If the dress code is not
in the invitation, take the time to query your host regarding the proper
Note of caution: should
your host’s recommendation include, say, crotchless panties, a naughty
schoolgirl plaid skirt, brocade ankle restraints and a head harness with a
muzzle gag, be sure to bring along something you’ll know he deserves, for
getting on your bad side.
A cement overcoat will
“Go with the backless one. You’ve got the
shoulders to carry it off.”
I turn around to see who’s offering an opinion
on my hunt for the right gown to the Breck shindig tonight. My advisor is a man
who sits on a settee in a darkened corner of the Bergdorf-Goodman couture
suite, just off to the side of the circular bank of mirrors.
While I’ve been scrutinizing my profile, he’s
been admiring my shoulders, supposedly. But only now does he lift his eyes—from
somewhere far below my shoulders—to meet mine.
From the look of his suit (made to measure for a
man whose fit physique would look great in a gunnysack, let alone a
fifteen-thousand-dollar charcoal gray Brioni) he has great taste.
He should. He is Jonah Stanford Breck IV, one of
the wealthiest men in the world.
Sweetly, I smile at him through the mirror. “You
like it better than the blue one?”
His eyes sweep over me, appraisingly. “Much more
so. Albeit the blue sets off your… eyes.”
I laugh at his ridiculous attempt to avoid the
obvious. My eyes are brown. What looks great in the blue dress is my ass.
We both know it.
“Great, then. The blue one’s the charm.”
“You’ll be the belle of the ball.”
“Not a ball, really. Just dinner. In fact, I’ll
be dining at your place, Mr. Breck.”
His eyes, gray like his trimmed sideburns, flash
suspiciously for a moment before dulling into wariness.
“Your wife, Babette, extended the invitation. My
daughter, Trisha, has been playing with Janie all afternoon. I presume Babette
felt the diversion would be welcomed.”
“Ah! How thoughtful of her. She’s right. These
business affairs can be deadly without a few petite amusements.”
As if on
cue, a woman in a flesh-toned, sparkly low-cut gown walks out of one of the
dressing rooms and over to Breck. She turns her back toward him, just slightly.
“Zip me up, will you, darling?” Her murmur is deep and soft, like velvet.
Slowly, he runs the zipper along the swayed arch
of her back then pats her ass, not so much to let her know he is done with her,
but as a promise that he isn’t.
His eyes stay with her as she makes her way back
to the dressing room. Finally, as if remembering I was still in the room, he
adds, “She’s Babette’s personal shopper. Unlike me, after eight years of
marriage, my wife finds trekking through stores ‘a chore and a bore.’ Marilyn
is exactly her size and coloring, so these little shopping excursions are
win-win for everyone. Beautiful, don’t you agree?”
“The woman or the dress?”
He points to my profile in the mirror. “A
beautiful woman makes the dress.”
I smile my thanks. “Then I presume I’ve just had
a preview of what Babette will be wearing?”
His smile fades. “Don’t presume anything.
Babette doesn’t always agree with my taste.”
“A shame. So fetching.”
It is his turn to ask, “The woman, or the
“Since you’re paying, you tell me.”
He laughs uproariously at that. “I always do.
“Speaking of the dear, will she be joining us
His smile hardens into a smirk. “Later. Dessert.
I have a voracious appetite, especially for sweet things.” His eyes catch mine
in the mirror. “Remember, dinner at eight. Sharp.”
By the time I leave the dressing room, Jonah
Breck and his personal shopper have already checked out.
When I take my dress to the sales clerk, she
informs me, “Mr. Breck put it on his tab. He asked me to relay his sincere
appreciation for your daughter’s hospitality, and he looks forward to returning
I guess I can tell Ryan he need not worry
whether we’ll get close enough to the summit’s host. If Breck has his way,
we’ll be up close and personal.
Or at least, I will.
Oh yeah, Jack should love that.
(c) 2012 Josie Brown. All rights reserved. This excerpt may not be resold or redistributed without prior written permission from Josie Brown or Signal Press Books (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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