Authors: Harper Bliss
FOOL FOR LOVE
High Rise Novella One
Copyright © Harper Bliss 2012
Depositphotos / Yuri Arcurs
Published by LadyLit Ltd - Hong Kong
All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorised duplication is prohibited.
Warning: This title contains graphic language and f/f sex.
Other books by Harper Bliss
“We have to stop doing this.” Maddie tucked her blouse in her skirt and leaned against the door. She should have said it before allowing June into her office again—and in her panties. “It can’t go anywhere. We both know that.”
“Yeah.” June avoided Maddie’s eyes while she zipped up her pants. They’d had this conversation before, but it wasn’t easy for Maddie to resist June, and the delicious molten copper of her skin, when they had to work side by side every day. “I know.” Maddie realised June didn’t take her seriously anymore when she said it.
“Would you consider transferring to another department?”
This caught June’s attention. She fixed her black eyes on Maddie. “Really? You want to get rid of me?”
Maddie felt guilty already. She should never have let it come to this.
“Look, babe.” She cursed herself for using the term of endearment she resorted to when approaching orgasm. And June had given her plenty of those. Usually against the closed door of Maddie’s office. Their affair didn’t have room for beds or sleep-overs, which was exactly what was wrong with it. “I’m not the one who’s unavailable.”
“You know how I feel about you.” June inched closer. Too close. Maddie could smell her perfume and the musky scent of sex clinging to her skin. “Boss.”
Maddie sighed and let June kiss her neck before pushing her away. “That’s hardly the issue.” She held June at arm’s length. “When I go home tonight, it’s to an empty apartment. And when I wake up tomorrow morning, it’ll be in an empty bed. I can’t do it anymore.”
“So I should just up and move? I don’t think so.” June shook herself free from Maddie’s hold and took a step back. “I’m not ruining my career over this.”
This irked Maddie, but she restrained herself. “I’ll make sure your new position is better than the one you have now.” She took a deep breath. “How does Team Manager of Operations sound?”
“If you don’t want to fuck me anymore, you’re just going to have to work on your willpower.” June pouted her lips and narrowed her eyes. “I didn’t do this to get a promotion.”
“I know.” Maddie threw her hands up in despair. “But you must understand my point of view.”
“I do.” June’s face softened. “And I’m sorry, but I can’t just run off with you. We’ve discussed this and I was always very upfront about it.” A sharp pang of jealousy coursed through Maddie’s bones as June checked her watch. Hubby must be waiting. Maddie didn’t understand how June could lie to herself, and everyone around her, like that. She was born in Australia, for heaven’s sake. She didn’t need to be so Chinese and repressed about it.
“Fine. Go home to Mark. Snuggle up to him closely tonight.” Maddie stepped away from the door and opened it. “I hope you sleep well.”
“It doesn’t have to be like this.” June smoothed out one last wrinkle from her blouse before positioning herself in front of Maddie. “It’s not easy for me either.” June’s voice was soft and sultry. “Give me a little credit.”
Maddie wanted to pull June close again and kiss her until day break. She also wanted to run away from this mess. She’d always believed she was smarter than this. What a joke.
“Good night.” She pulled her face away from June—the time for meaningless displays of affection had passed. Her eyes followed June’s tall, slender form as she walked away. Maddie wondered how long she’d be able to resist this time.
She retreated back into her office and dropped down into her leather chair with a big sigh. Maybe she should be the one to leave. This city wasn’t really working out for her anyway. Swivelling around to enjoy the view sprawling out around the windows of her corner office, she reclined and let the city’s evening glow surround her.
“Not that jaded yet,” she whispered to herself. “This view still kills me.” She’d stared into Hong Kong’s illuminated skyline countless times while June delved her fingers into her depths. It added romance to the act.
Maddie reached for her phone and called the first number in her speed dial list. Isabella picked up after the second ring.
“Hey neighbour, please don’t tell me you’re still at work?”
“I’ve no choice if I ever want to make a bid on your penthouse.”
“My time is for sale, but my home will never be. You know that.” Isabella chuckled on the other end of the line. “But I do agree that you should become a bona fide home owner.”
“Buying here feels too permanent. Anyway, I didn’t call to get a lecture on my real estate status. I’m willing to give that body combat class a try tonight.”
“At last, she relents. Rough day?”
“Hong Kong has beaten me to a pulp again, I need to fight back.”
“Hong Kong or a certain resident of this decadent Special Administrative Region?” Isabella was the only person Maddie had confided in about June. She was a psychiatrist and her body language invited confessions like that.
“I ended it. Again.”
“Body combat it is then. Meet me in the lobby at eight.”
Alex had energy to burn. She always had. Rita always said she was born with way too much of it. Then again, Rita had also looked her in the eyes and told her she loved her. She’d whispered it in her ear before they went to sleep and before she left for Mandarin class and started chatting up her teacher. Rita was a big fat liar.
Scanning the studio for newcomers, Alex shut down the road her thoughts were going. All the familiar faces were present. Her Wednesday evening class was always full. She’d give them a good workout. She’d taught five sessions today already, and still she felt as if she could go on for days. Maybe she didn’t have a girlfriend anymore, but at least her lean muscle mass had increased after the break-up.
“Do we have anyone new today?” Two people raised their hands. An older Chinese man with an impressive moustache and a blond lady who’d come in with Isabella.
“Don’t overdo it the first time. Let your body get used to the new movements. And don’t lock your elbows when you punch.” Alex nodded at the newbies and shot them an encouraging smile. “I’m Alex and I’m here to kick your butt.” She grinned at the two dozen of people in front of her. “Let’s do it.”
She searched for the first track on her iPod and began the class with a taxing warm-up. People who attended body combat didn’t come to mess around.
During the boxing round she locked eyes with the blond newcomer a few times, impressed with the intensity of her punches. Maybe she had as much frustration to burn as Alex. In all honesty, most people looked quite ridiculous when cleaving their fists through the air—always catching up to the beat, or racing way ahead—but the blonde had a certain elegance to her movements.
After class, she walked up to Isabella, a faithful regular, and her companion. They both had sweat running out of their hair, their faces sporting a healthy pink flush.
“Not bad for a first timer.” Alex wiped her brow with a towel. “Will I be seeing you again?”
“I really needed that.” The new woman had an Australian accent, just like Rita. “And yes, I might be persuaded.” She smiled confidently at Alex.
“Excellent.” Another convert always filled Alex with professional pride. “What’s your name?”
“Madison, but everyone calls me Maddie.”
“Maddie it is then.” Alex noticed the peculiar colour of her eyes, not quite blue and not quite grey, but very distinct. “Let me know if you have any questions.”
“Thanks.” Maddie curled the corners of her mouth into a smirk. “I’m about ready to collapse.”
“You’ve earned it.” Alex shifted her attention to Isabella, whose shoulders stood out nicely in her tight lycra tank top. “You’re in great shape, Isabella. Keep it up.”
“All because of you.” Isabella winked at her. She always messed with Alex's gaydar. Then again, most women in sweaty workout clothes did.
“Have a nice evening, ladies. I hope to see you again on Friday.”
They both nodded enthusiastically. Alex shot them one last smile and headed out of the studio to make room for the next class. She was done for today. Back home, her new home, she had two more boxes to unpack, and then she’d be done with Rita too.
She’d moved out as soon as she’d found out about Rita’s extracurricular activities with her teacher, crashing on Nat’s couch the first night. The next day, Nat had made up the spare bed in what had fast become Alex's new room.
“Frankly, I don’t need the rent but I could sure do with the company,” Nat had said. “I hate living alone.”
Without even looking for it, Alex had found a new place to live. In a building she’d never be able to afford on her own. With Nat no less, for whom she’d had a soft spot since meeting her three years ago. A small silver lining to a very dark cloud.
“Did you knock the wind out of them, roomie?” Nat asked as Alex entered the apartment.
“I’m sure some will have difficulty getting up in the morning.” Nat sat at the wooden dining table in the silver glow of her flipped open laptop, surrounded by a stack of dishevelled papers. “Where were you, anyway?” Nat took most of Alex's classes, assuring her rock hard abs Alex had, admittedly, glanced at a few more times than strictly necessary among flatmates.
“The muse called… you know how it is.” Nat sipped from a glass of whiskey flanking her computer.
Alex rolled her eyes. “We both know you hate the M-word and it’s only Wednesday. Go easy on that stuff.” She’d probably taken advantage of Alex's absence and brought a girl home for a few hours of no-strings-attached fun.
“Yes, mom.” Nat leaned back in her chair and gave Alex her signature cocky smile. The one Alex was such a sucker for. “Did I miss any hotties?”
“No one you’d be interested in.” Since her sudden break from Claire, Nat only went for younger women—plenty of them and never for longer than a fortnight. Alex sank down on the sofa and picked up the TV remote. “Has the great Nathalie Orange finished for the day? Can we finally watch
Snow White and the Huntsman
“I told you not to wait for me for your drooling session over Charlize Theron. And you know I prefer my entertainment a bit more intellectually stimulating.”
Alex propped her feet up onto the coffee table. “Fine.
it is then.”
“You’re an excellent negotiator, Pizza. I’ll give you that.” Nat closed the lid of her laptop and settled next to Alex. “I can live with that compromise.”
Alex playfully nudged her in the ribs. “Don’t call me that.”
“Only if you give me control over the remote.”
“Never.” Alex dangled the remote in front of Nat’s face. “You’ll have me watch some pseudo-intellectual indie movie again where no one ever stops talking.” She fixed her eyes on Nat’s bright blue ones. “I still haven’t forgiven you for
Synecdoche, New York
. Two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”
“May I respectfully remind you that you slept through more than an hour of that unrecognised masterpiece.”
“You can hardly blame me for that.” Alex used the remote to flick to the iTunes movie channel and sank down into the soft cushions of the couch until her shoulder comfortably rested against Nat’s.
Maddie couldn’t wait for her morning espresso as she stepped into the elevator at seven thirty. Her muscles ached from last night’s workout, especially in the area around her shoulders, which felt as if it had taken a nasty beating. Good thing the instructor was cute, she thought as the elevator stopped on the forty-second floor.
“Morning,” a cheerful voice Maddie vaguely recognised chirped. She looked up and stared straight into Alex's eyes.