Dorothea Benton Frank
New York Times Bestselling Author
Dorothea Benton Frank
"...a soul-satisfying tale of chance, honor, and star-crossed love, infused with wit, grace, and Southern charm." —HarperCollins Publishers
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Bulls Island (Continued)

Relieved when the doors opened, I left him to slither back to his cubicle on the sixty-eighth floor.

"Have a great day," he said.

"See ya." I said. Loser.

Dennis was like a swarm of gnats at dusk, annoying and confident that he would eventually get to you. He was fortunate that I had not reported him to human resources for sexual harassment and that I spoke to him at all.

Dennis Baker was one of a dozen male and female secretaries with a degree in chiropractic medicine, culinary arts, or medieval literature who hunted the halls like a hungry animal, searching for prey, married or single, with a mid-seven-figure income that could give them a life of ease. Married with children didn't bother them one iota. And they seemed unaware of a greater truth, which was this: Why would anyone of actual significance be interested in anyone so pathetically amoral? Even the occasional drunk partner or lonely associate knew the difference between a sporting screw and a relationship that could cost them a marriage and, not to be overlooked, a painful division of assets. Dennis Baker was a stellar bartender and amateur sommelier, hence his longevity at the firm.

But back to the more important issue. I had been summoned to Ben Bruton's office, or rather I should say the real estate he occupied in the pent house of the five floors we owned on Fifty-second and Fifth. When his gatekeeper, Darlene, spotted me, she smiled and pressed the button to his inner sanctum, whispering the news of my arrival as though we were gathered in an ICU with a priest. I sat in the waiting area and then got up to pace. What did Bruton want? I was nervous.

Bruton wasn't the chairman of our private equity firm, but he was well positioned on the launchpad. Our chairman, Doug Traum, who had been on the aura of his own retirement for at least the last decade but was still in the game "for the thrills," was currently aboard the firm's two-hundred-foot yacht, cruising the coast of Croatia, wooing some unfathomable amount of oil money into one of our funds. There, the perfectly toned arms of well-trained shipmates/nymphets were pouring vintage Cristal into Baccarat flutes as the Croatian investor, stupefied by Traum's style of extravagance, wasted on sun and salt, mesmerized by bountiful female blessings and long tanned legs, was wondering how much could be had for a price.

Or was it free? Part of the deal?

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