Authors: Kim Carmichael
“My guess is he is too self-centered to care about any orgasm but his own.” Not that she didn’t consider sleeping with Logan many, many times, and in those times, none of them dealt with him being a selfish lover. Logan nailed it when he said she thought about him, and she should have let him nail her. She opened the door.
“He’s probably so concerned with his image, he doesn’t even bother with an orgasm.” Giselle giggled.
The woman behind a sleek white desk leaned around her computer and barely glanced at them.
Ivy made her way through the office—everything modern, perfect, and streamlined, but with no personality. The space could have easily been an from an upscale medical office. “Maybe we should table this conversation for right now.”
“Maybe that should be your story,” Giselle mumbled.
“Can I help you?” The woman matched her surroundings with straight, gleaming, dark hair and a matching suit.
Ivy licked her lips, priming herself for a fight. “Hello, I’m Ivy Vermont, reporter with Chargge.com, and I need to talk to Mr. Fleming regarding the story I am working on about
“I don’t know anything about that. You’re not on the schedule.” The woman’s eyes darted between her and the computer screen. “Brian isn’t taking new clients, and he doesn’t see anyone without a referral.”
“Tell her about Logan.” Giselle came forward. “He gave her Skee-Ball lessons.”
The woman’s eyes narrowed. “Logan?”
Leave it to Giselle. “Yes, Logan Alexander referred me.” She tried to smile. “We’re doing a story together, or were.” Her smile faded.
Suddenly, the woman stood. “Honey, I understand. Stay right here.”
“Well, it looks like you’re in.” Giselle elbowed her. “So, about multiple orgasms.”
Ivy put her hands on her hips. “No one is going to be having an orgasm. There isn’t even orgasm potential. I just need a star.”
“Well, that is why they call this place ‘Stars R Us.’” A man in a perfectly tailored suit entered the room with the woman trailing behind him. “I’m not sure if I can help with your first problem, but I’ll see what I can do about the star. So you’re Ivy.” He held his hand out.
“Yes.” With no use hoping he didn’t overhear their talk of orgasms, she shook his hand. “Thank you for seeing me.”
“Of course, your conversation is first rate.” He laughed. “Is there some trouble with Logan?”
The woman at the desk made a huffing noise.
Ivy wanted to give her a high five. Instead, she swallowed and tried to figure out how to tell the man what had happened without whining. “I am under some pretty substantial deadlines, and since I have not heard from Logan in several days, I have no choice but to assume he is not returning to the project.” She used several multisyllabic words—score one for her.
“You haven’t heard from him at all?” Mr. Fleming leaned back on the desk. “Did you try calling him?”
Not wanting to tell him everything, she took a breath.
“She was scared to call him, but she texted several times, and then studied all of his social media to see if he posted anything, because he told her that he did all of his own stuff and not some publicist,” Giselle filled in.
Ivy held up her hand before her friend revealed her bra size or something equally as mortifying. “It was not my job to keep track of Logan’s whereabouts. I had originally asked for Ryder or Erin and would like that promise fulfilled now.”
“I see.” He crossed his arms.
“Or Logan.” She hit her hand against her leg at letting it out. At the end of all the games and banter she wanted Logan . . . for the story. She wanted Logan for the story. “But only with the caveat that we keep in touch. I mean, Logan would be better for the continuity of the story.”
“She wants Logan.” Giselle cupped her hand over her mouth as if she were telling a secret. “If you can produce him, that would be better. Ever since we saw the movie in sixth grade, I’ve heard about Logan. He’s her favorite.”
“I understand.” Mr. Fleming cleared his throat.
“At least he isn’t a cartoon.” Not wanting to go into Giselle’s love of an animated dog, Ivy stepped in front of her friend. Maybe she needed to take off her bra and hand it to the man. “Anyway, the bottom line is, I need one of the stars of
“Aka Logan,” Giselle interjected.
She tried another smile, but she was sure the one she forced was not camera ready.
“Well, as I explained when we talked before, Erin is on location and Ryder is working on his film, so I’ll have to look into this matter.” He stood.
No. The man was supposed to snap his fingers and make someone appear. Her lungs constricted. “What am I supposed to do while you are looking?”
“I’m sure there are many other aspects of the story to cover until then,” he said. “I have your cell phone.”
“Do you find it a bit odd that you are the agent for the three of them?” She couldn’t walk away with nothing. “Or are you the agent for all four of them?”
“I am quite certain Logan set the parameters of questions we would answer.”
“He would answer,” she corrected, and decided to go for everything. “You and I had no such deal, and since we have no such deal, do you think there is a reason Logan seemed to disappear? Do you think it’s possible he isn’t available or not capable for some reason?” She only went as far as to not mention the word
“Consider your deal with Logan my deal as well.” Once more, he held his hand out. “Let me get to work.”
“Please.” She glanced at his hand but didn’t take it.
“I promise I’ll call. Texting and social media are optional.” He patted her shoulder. “I have to get back to my office.”
She watched him leave. Aside from lunging toward him and grabbing his ankles, she was stuck. “What am I going to do?” She might as well start penning her resignation letter.
“Come on. You promised me lunch, and it’s practically dinner.” Giselle pulled her sleeve.
“I have a place for you to try.” The woman behind the desk spoke up. “It’s new.”
Both she and Giselle faced her.
The woman held up a card.
With both hands, Ivy took the offering and read the card. “Wilson’s?”
“It says it’s a bar.” Giselle pointed to the card.
“The owner is Wilson. Don’t tell them who sent you.” She winked and returned to her computer.
“I got my first juicy tidbit.” Wilson. The name hit a button in her memory bank. Her blood sped, and she tightened her hold on what could possibly be the key to her assignment. “Let’s go have lunch.”
“I started this last night.” Logan closed his eyes and pulled the foil off his masterpiece with the same flourish a magician made when making a rabbit appear out of a hat. Only with his work, there were no tricks or sleight of hand. In the kitchen, everything was out in the open. After marinating, grilling, and resting his flank steak, the meat had to be perfection. The aroma of garlic, wine, and the perfect amount of smoke melded together, and at last, he cut the thin, tender slices then arranged them on the plates over the mashed potatoes and topped them with crispy fried onions for the perfect balance. “I can train whoever we hire as a chef to make this if it works.”
“Well, give it. I’m starving.” His brother, Wilson, held out his hand.
“Hold on.” He wiped a bit of errant sauce off the edge of the plate. “Dig in.”
“I’m so glad you took the time to make it presentable.” His brother picked a piece of meat up with his fingers and shoved it in his mouth.
“Must you be a heathen?” He lifted up a fork. “My cuisine is art.”
“It’s my bar, and I’ll eat with my fingers if I want to.” Wilson repeated his action, chomping down another piece of steak followed by a finger scoop of mashed potatoes. “I only allow you to cook here ’cause it’s good.” He swiped the fork away.
“And for you.” Logan gave the second plate to his friend Isaac. “Ask for ketchup and you will be wearing it.”
“I stopped putting ketchup on my food in high school. I opt for steak sauce now.” Isaac took his meal and utensils.
“Hey, Mr. Scientist, anyone knows that steak sauce and ketchup are basically the same thing. My steak is perfect as is. I will not allow even a saltshaker near it. Your meal is chemically perfect.” Between Isaac and Miss Details, his world was abundant with the scholarly types. He turned to his plate and pierced a piece of his creation. Acting as a gentleman, he took in the food with his eyes first. With the ideal amount of char and pink juicy center, his meal should be the centerfold in a magazine.
“So, what do we owe this impromptu menu tasting to?” Isaac asked.
He chewed with his mouth closed like a civilian, taking the time to savor the flavor, the velvety meat balanced with a kick of spice. However, there was one thing missing . . .
“He decided to make a piece when he didn’t get a piece with that chick. Since then, he’s been cooking.” Always the taller, larger one of the Alexander brothers, Wilson came closer, casting his shadow over the table. “You should have heard the pots and pans banging around. Once we open, the customers will be cramming in here when they find out our mystery chef makes more than chicken wings and fries. If he let me say who he was, we would draw twice the crowd.”
“I don’t work here, and I don’t make guest appearances.” Yes, a woman was the only item missing, namely Ivy, which only made his conviction to stay away from her even stronger. Only it didn’t stop him from thinking about her. “If you want food for the bar I helped finance, I will remain behind the curtain training the staff.”
After Wilson had given up a lot of his time to be with him on set, Logan had invested in his brother’s dream. It not only gave him an outlet for his creative cooking, it also gave them both the opportunity to leave their crammed apartments and move to the top floor of the building. The setup was easy and convenient with much more room. Everything would be great if only Wilson would give up on trying to push his ever-dimming star back into the public eye. Though he knew eventually his role at the bar would end up in the tabloids or on the Internet, he wouldn’t seek out the attention.
“I remember when I was in graduate school, he showed up at my apartment and made his grilled cheese during finals.” Isaac patted his shoulder. “That was right around the time that one girl he liked dumped him.”
“Can you call it a dumping when it’s like three dates?” Wilson helped himself to more potatoes. “This is great. Make great big vats of it.”
Logan stabbed another morsel of meat. After that rendezvous, he had given up on the notion of someone for more than one or two nights and had made sure he was the person who vanished. The same celebrity that attracted people to him also repelled them.
“When three dates is a record.” Isaac inched his hand toward the ketchup bottle.
In a flash, Logan leaned over and snatched the bottle right out from under his suave scientist’s nose. “Like you’ve ever done better.” He shook his head at the owner of another one of his investments, Fluent Word Laboratories, Isaac’s nutraceutical company. “Don’t you have something to show me?”
“We weren’t talking about me.” Isaac bent down to his laptop case and pulled out a clear plastic bag filled with small plain white bottles, tubes, and smaller individual bags of capsules. “Try the drinks and tell me what you think. They work synergistically with the supplements, and different ones will address different conditions.”
“This has to be exclusive. I don’t want to ever see these formulations at a drugstore or on television.” Already, Isaac’s lab was making a name in the field of nutrition and antiaging, a no-brainer for Los Angeles. Add in the upscale clientele and they would have something.
“Nope. No mass quantities. Small custom runs. Now to try another small run.” Isaac finally dug into his dish.
Logan waited while Isaac took a bite and chewed. Speed was never his forte. “Well?” While his brother would eat anything practically off the floor, Isaac had a more refined palate as long as the dish didn’t involve ketchup. If the dish passed his criteria, they had a winner.
The man chewed and chewed and chewed. At last, he swallowed and looked up to the ceiling.
Logan slammed his fist into the counter. “Speak!”
Isaac leaned back and tapped Wilson. “He’s touchy. I think someone needs more than his vitamins. I suppose the vintage babe finally stopped texting.”
He took hold of Isaac’s collar, pulling him over. “Tell me.”
Isaac lifted his chin. “I think if you really wanted to sleep with her, you would have. I think you let her off easy ’cause eventually you will have to see her more than three times?”
“Did you ever think I have to see her more than three times because I’m stuck taking care of everyone, including you?” He made sure to glare.
Isaac smiled. “I think this is one position you want to be stuck in, and remember you created it.”
“It’s not you.” His cell phone rang, and he released his friend.
“I bet she finally built up her courage to call her crush.” Wilson gave him a thumbs-up.
“Not even close.” Logan shook his head at the caller ID and answered. “Please tell me there will come a day when you and I will never talk again.”