The Hunter (Orion the Hunter)

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© J. D. CHASE 2012 (All rights reserved)



For R.M.D. with all my love xxx


Chapter 1


Oh god, not again,” I groaned, wrapping my pillow around my head.  When that failed to drown out the erotic noises coming from the bedroom next door, I reached out to by bedside table to turn on the radio.  Days Like These by the Foo Fighters filled the air and I cranked up the volume, moaning myself when I saw that it was only 8am.  My roommate’s groans and cries of ecstasy had forced me to go to sleep listening to my iPod the night before.  Then her cries in the affirmative, yelling to the sex deity, had dragged me from my slumber in the early hours and now this. 


I sang along to the rest of the track before grabbing my iPod, stuffing the ear buds in my ears and selecting a track before turning off the radio and venturing out of my room in search of a much needed coffee.  “There’s nothing worse than listening to someone else going at it at full volume when you’re getting none,” I muttered to myself as I stomped into the kitchen.  I seriously doubted that I could keep up by self-imposed sex ban for much longer if I had to listen to Angel and Chad every night  … and morning.


Sipping my coffee and waiting for the caffeine to hit my system, I was drawn to the window by the spring sunshine that was flooding in. As I looked out, I could hardly believe that I was living in Manhattan - in the Upper West Side no less!  Excitement coursed through my body and I began to dance around, closing my eyes and surrendering to the pulsing beat that was pumping through my headphones.  I gasped when I felt a hand on my shoulder.  I turned to find a rock star standing before me, well, a very small scale rock star with major rock star looks. 


“Chad!  You made me jump!” I cried, before exhaling loudly. 


A grin spread across his handsome face before he gently tugged on my headphone chord to release an ear bud.  “Do you want a refill, Issy?  I am making one for Angel,” he explained.  “Nice moves by the way!”


“Thanks and yes please,” I said, following him in to the kitchen, yawning.  “I need the caffeine this morning.  Even listening to rock music and dancing isn‘t enough to get me going today.” 


“Oh, did you have trouble sleeping?” Chad asked, deftly pouring my coffee. “I guess it takes some getting used to the Manhattan night time noise.”


“Hmmmmm,” I muttered. “Night time noise … you could say that, but I don’t think you can blame Manhattan for the noises that kept me awake last night!  Angel on the other hand …”


Chad laughed throatily as Angel appeared - a vision of post coital beauty, her blonde hair was mussed up around her small elfin face - the tell tale signs of a recent orgasm were visible on her cheeks and neck. 


“What about me?” she muttered, raising her eyebrows above her baby blue eyes. 


Chad drew her to his side and kissed the top of her head.  “Issy was just saying how noisy Manhattan is at night,” he said, winking at me. 


“What has that got to do with me?”  Angel asked, looking puzzled. 


I grabbed my coffee, laughed and shook my head.


Angel looked up at Chad questioningly and he raised his eyebrows at her, knowingly.  “Ahhhh,” she said, turning to me as comprehension dawned.  “Sorry about that Issy.  I am just pleased to be reunited with my man!”  Chad squeezed his arms around her and rested his head on her shoulder, a look of complete contentment on his face.  “Anyway,” she continued indignantly. “It makes a change for the disturbance to be coming from my room.” 


“Yeah,” said Chad, his eyes twinkling.  “It makes a change for you to be home all night, alone! What gives?” 


I squared my shoulders and raised my chin in indignation.  “I don’t know what you are implying.”  I said pointedly.  


Angel had the grace to stifle a giggle but Chad guffawed loudly which made Angel slap her hand over her mouth in an attempt to stop her from laughing. 


“What?” I raised my eyebrows at them.  “I am a respectable business woman now and I need to prepare for my big day tomorrow”.  I kept my chin in the air and stalked out of the kitchen haughtily. 


I just made out Chad’s voice saying, “Bet she gets laid by the end of the day” as I reached my bedroom. 


I turned to shout something back but Angel’s reply stopped me.  “No, she won’t, she is determined to lay off guys for a while until her new business is established. I think it will do her good”. 


My heart swelled to hear her jump to my defense.  Yes, there will be no distractions of the male kind, I vowed as sat down in front of my dressing table. I was so determined to make a success of my new interior design company that I had sworn off men indefinitely.  Angel’s words of faith further strengthened my resolve.  I looked at my reflection in the mirror, noting the slight dark circles around my sleepy green eyes and cursed my pale skin and black hair.  I hoped that I would be able to grab some sleep later in the day before Angel and I went along to see Chad’s band play at a club in Queens. 


I dressed in sweats and a tank top then set about deciding what to wear to work in the morning.  I had given my credit card a serious workout the day before, trying to find the perfect outfit for the first face to face meeting with my prospective client.  It was a prestigious commission and I was determined to land it. I had eventually decided upon two possible outfits but I couldn’t make my mind up which one to get so I had rashly gotten both.  I pulled them both from my closet.  Holding a beautiful grey pantsuit in one hand and a cream shift dress with matching jacket in the other, I was still trying to make my final decision when there was a soft knock on the door. 


“Come in,” I called and Chad’s head popped around the door. 

I’m off for a rehearsal with the band.  See you later, yeah?” he asked, frowning slightly as I turned to face him fully.


“You know that I shouldn’t.  I have a big day tomorrow; the last thing I should be doing is having a night out,” I muttered wryly.


“Ah, but you are one of our best groupies, Issy, you must come,” he said, batting his eyelashes and attempting to give me his best puppy dog eyes but breaking into a large grin before he continued. “We have asked to perform first tonight instead of our usual slot before closing time just so that you and Angel can get home early enough to get your full quota of beauty sleep.”


“I take it that you aren’t staying over tonight then!” I said, raising an eyebrow pointedly.


Chad shook his head and laughed.  “No, Angel won’t let me.”  He looked miffed.


I laughed at his sulky face before holding up the two outfits.  “Which one should I wear tomorrow?” I asked.


His eyes flicked from one to the other before he held up his hands and shouted, “Angel, get in here quick!  Your flat mate is trying to emasculate me!”


As she entered my room, Chad grabbed her and gave her a peck on the cheek before murmuring “Issy needs your help.  I am out of here babe.” Angel laughed as I rolled my eyes at him. 


As he left he called back, “See you later ladies - yes, Issy - both of you!”


I shook my head at Angel then asked “How on earth do you put up with him?”


“Ahhh, he isn’t all bad,” she grinned.


“Yeah, so I heard!” I grinned back.


She pulled a face then said “The grey one” as she sat on my bed.


I slid both outfits back into my closet and exhaled loudly.  Immediately Angel was at my side, sliding her arm around me.  “I’m really not used to seeing you be nervous.  You are the most confident person I know.”


“Um, hello …Travis?  Bass player, playboy and exhibitionist?” I said, mentally picturing him on stage with Chad and the rest of the band.


“Well, yes obviously, excluding Travis - nobody is more confident than Travis!” she agreed, laughing. “The most confident
that I know then.”


“I don’t feel it,” I said.  “I need to land this job.  If I can pull it off, it will be quite an achievement and the photos of the completed design will look amazing in my portfolio.”


“You will knock ‘em dead tomorrow, you know,” she said softly.


I hugged her and, not for the first time, thanked my lucky stars that I had such an amazing best friend.  We had become friends at college.  An unlikely pairing, it must be said.  Angel, or to call her by her full name, Angelina Roberts, was the only daughter of exceedingly rich parents that weren’t around most of the time.  Sure, they loved her but they also loved their obscenely rich social lives. They were extremely kind and generous (they had purchased our apartment and gave Angel a fabulous allowance every month) and would be at Angel’s side in an instant, should she need them.  Most of the time however, they were content to let her live her life as they continued to live theirs.  I, on the other hand, had no family and could only be described as a destitute student, relying on a generous scholarship and a very modest income.


It was thanks to Angel’s mother that I had gotten started in the interior design business.  It had been my dream to become an interior designer and last year, when we were staying at her parents’ winter home in Jekyll Island, I got my break.  It was totally by accident really.  Angel’s parents had hired two well respected interior designers to plan a major refurbishment of the place the following spring and the plans had been left spread open on a tabletop.  I couldn’t help but take a peek at them and was caught snooping by Angel’s mother.  I quickly learned what it was that she wanted to achieve and before I knew it, I had made some suggested amendments to the plans.  She was delighted with my suggestions because they were so sympathetic to the original design of the building and not just about the latest styles.  She confessed that neither of the designs were what she truly wanted but that mine was.  I was hired on the spot and, though I hadn’t intended for it to happen, it all went beautifully and, despite my protests, I was forced to accept the astronomical fee that had been quoted originally. 


I still assumed that I would have to take a junior position and work my way up through the ranks to become a fully fledged interior designer but, almost immediately the job was finished, demand for my services from friends and acquaintances of Angel’s mother went crazy.  I had earned more in the last year than I had assumed I would in the first five years of my new career.  And now, things were moving up a notch - I had my own premises. Two weeks ago, I had taken plunge and leased an office nearby, thanks to a local scheme that subsidizes rents for new small businesses.  It was in a prestigious 20 storey building called The Orion Building that housed a variety of businesses.  Within a week, I had been commissioned to redesign the reception lobby and conference room of Norman & Wilde, a management consultancy that occupied the whole 15
floor of the building.  Although they denied any involvement in it, I suspected that Angel’s parents may have had a hand in the recommendation of my services.  I was meeting with the Mr Norman and Mr Wilde tomorrow to unveil my plans.  I was so nervous that they would hate them and cancel the commission. 


I sucked down a deep breath and blew it out slowly, trying to calm my nerves.  Angel quietly whispered in my ear “They would be so proud of you, you know.”

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