The things she had to do to save her family business! That night Emily Quest had dressed to the nines-in a tight slinky dress, killer heels-and had gone to an awful champagne-drenched party with Auckland's elite where she'd been rescued by a handsome stranger. Despite the sizzling, heart-stopping attraction between them, Emily had thought she'd never see him again. But now, years later, he's right in front of her, as sexy as ever.
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April 30, 2008
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Excerpt from Accidental Mistress by Susan Napier
By the time Emily Quest realised what sort of party it was, it was too late to storm out in a fit of moral outrage.
After all, she had lied and cheated her way into this exclusive den of iniquity for her own less-than-honest purposes, so it would be hypocritical to condemn her fellow guests for their immoral behaviour.
And, dressed as she was in the height of trash-fashion, it was hard to blame anyone but herself for the obnoxious kind of attention she was having to endure. Playing the brainless bimbo had been an essential part of her hastily conceived plan, but unfortunately it had pitched her headlong into situations she was ill-equipped to handle.
At least she was wearing underwear, she consoled herself, which was more than she could say about some of the other girls who had been invited along to liven up the party for the unattached males! A number of them were from a well-known local escort service but others were merely "gifted amateurs", as Emily's hairdresser--from whom she had conned her invitation--had cheerfully put it. Chasing trophy males on the private-party circuit was apparently a hotly-contested competitive sport in some social circles.
Emily collected her drinks from the self-serve bar, averting her gaze from the crystal bowl of pills being touted with brazen effrontery by a baby-faced young man with a fake American accent and a large diamond stud winking in his ear. Given the nature of her invitation she had been braced for a certain degree of sophisticated decadence, but she was shocked at the squalor of some of the goings-on. If this was the way the rich and notso-famous carried on behind closed doors, no wonder society was in trouble!
She doubted that the absent owners of the luxurious water-front mansion in the middle of Auckland's "Millionaires' Row" had given their house-sitting adult son permission to run drug-riddled orgies while they cruised the Mediterranean but, given what she knew of their snobbery, she had a depressing feeling that they would be more disgusted by the questionable social status of many of the guests than the rampant abuse of drugs and alcohol and sexual promiscuity. Junior and his friends obviously liked to spice up their lives of gross overprivilege by walking on the wild side, if the number of patched gang members hanging around in raucous thickets of denim and leather were anything to go by. More unsettling still, some of the tattooed hulks were employed as de facto security guards and bouncers, and the casual vandalism that was being carried out in the name of having a good time gave Emily a renewed sense of urgency about her mission. She just needed to hold onto her nerve for a little while longer...
Pinning on a brilliant smile to mask her growing unease, Emily wove her way through the overcrowded pool room which was serving as a bar, holding the two brimming glasses and square bottle above her head as she squeezed between well-fuelled party-goers screaming at each other over the driving dance music that pulsated through the walls.
Her hopes of a quick exit had long since faded and her head was starting to ache with the noise and the tension of pretending to enjoy herself, the spiky brown curls that normally formed a jaunty halo above her heart-shaped face wilting in the claustrophobic heat. A haze of smoke had made her tear-ducts sting and robbed her sky-blue eyes of their eager sparkle. The only thing she was eager to do right now was get back to her semi-incoherent host, do what she had to do, and leave.
Unfortunately, the intoxicated state that made him so suggestible was off-set by an infuriating inability to concentrate. After offering her a tour around the opulent splendour of the private wing locked away from the rest of the party, he kept getting sidetracked by his baser impulses--and just when Emily had finally laid eyes on her goal she had been sent off to act as barmaid!
The monotonous throb of the music poured out through the network of ceiling-mounted speakers, pursuing her with relentless insistence as she pressed her way back through the heaving mob of people jamming the marble hallway. Even the polished floor beneath her slender high heels seemed to vibrate, and it didn't help her progress to discover that the polished surface was already dangerously slick with spilled drinks and a scattering of broken glass.
Emily skirted the door to the ground-floor bathroom where she had earlier blundered in on two glamorous, model-thin waifs bent over streaks of white powder on the onyx vanity. Their giggling invitation to join them had been punctuated by the hoarse cries of an anonymous man and his stridently vocal sex partner making boisterous use of the adjoining toilet cubical.