Excerpt from: Asset Management coming out in August

Toni glided into the ballroom and watched as several heads turned in her direction. She was scanning the room hoping to set her sights on the redhead.
Almost as if she felt her scrutiny, Toni turned her head right and locked eyes with her object of desire for the evening. A practiced glance at the table revealed an open space. The dinner portion of the evening was almost ready to start and she wanted to make sure she was sitting at the same table. Toni made a beeline for the table before her golden opportunity passed her by.
“Is this seat taken?”
“It is now. We were wondering who would be brave enough to join our boring little group.”
Toni noticed the woman openly appraising her dress. Gaydar intact. Yep she definitely plays for our team. Toni quickly glanced at the other table guests who were all distracted with their own conversations. Several others in the group pinged her gaydar.
Toni raised one eyebrow. “Boring, huh. Well in that case, I ought to seek out another table. I was hoping this was the one to start the table dancing.”
“Attorneys never table dance. We buy the table dancers. How much?”
“How much what?”
“How much will it take for me to get you to table dance?”
“A kiss and you have to join me.”
The woman chuckled and her husky laugh sent shivers down Toni’s spine. Damn this woman is sexy, even her laugh causes me to tingle.
“Touché. You are certainly going to liven up my evening,” the attractive redhead remarked.
“Camille.” Toni offered her hand. “At your service.”
The woman extended her hand. “Heather. I’m glad you decided to join us. Can I ask an entirely rude and inappropriate question?”
“Such a sweet talker. How can I resist such a request?”
“Why are you here by yourself?”
“Oh that’s easy. My date had a sudden onset of food poisoning and she insisted I go.”
“Hmm, it must be going around, I just met a woman in the bathroom who also mentioned having food poisoning. I hope it didn’t originate in this hotel.”
“No, definitely not. Probably a coincidence. Do I get reciprocal license?” Toni paused and then continued, “How come you aren’t here with a date?”
“I’m married to my work, so I have very little, if any time for a social life. When I’m lucky, like tonight, I snare unsuspecting women into my web.”
“Promises, promises.”
“Would you like a glass of wine? White? Red? Take your pick.” Heather pointed to the two bottles of wine on the table.
“White please.”
“At the expense of sounding cliché, what do you do when you’re not attending boring fund raisers and livening them up with table dances?”
“Oh, a little of this and a little of that—mostly related to technology.” Toni learning a long time ago that the best cover stories usually have an element of truth to them, offered up this partial truth. This woman seems like a person who can detect a bullshit cover easily.
After graduating from Stanford with a degree in Computer Science, Toni expanded her knowledge base entering into the fascinating world of biometric security. Learning how to break nearly fail-safe security systems led to her prototype development of a high-resolution camera that would capture near perfect retinal displays—good enough to break any biometric security installed. Her crowning achievement was placing the camera into a paper-thin contact lens.
“Technology, huh? Sounds riveting.”
“Are you making fun of me?” Toni asked smiling flirtatiously.
“No, never. I am a bit of a geek myself in my limited spare time.”
Waiters began delivering salads to each table and the women’s conversation subsided momentarily. Toni was well aware of her prior commitment to complete the mission and assist Sophie with the security breach and asset movement, but she couldn’t help inquiring about this beautiful woman’s plans for the evening after the fundraiser ended.
“So, do you have any specific plans for the evening, after this little shindig ends?”
“I thought maybe I would hit a strip club or two, get a lap dance, and gamble away my entire inheritance. You?”
Toni burst out laughing. “Oh I plan to accompany you to those strips clubs, give you that lap dance, and steal several of your thousand dollar chips while you are distracted and getting drunk on cheap liquor.”
“Perfect, shall we begin our festivities at ten pm on the dot?”
“I think it might take us a bit longer to get to Vegas, unless we take your private jet. You do have a private jet, don’t you?”
“Of course, but we’ll have to find a different mode of transportation to get us back to DC, because I plan on putting up my jet as collateral and I am sure to lose that at the roulette tables.”
“Fine, I’ll call my buddies to spring us from jail and provide first class transportation back to the land of politics.”
“Wait, why will we be in jail?”
“Oh, I plan on counting cards and then telling them that you put me up to it. Then you’ll vigorously deny the accusation. I’ll take that as my sign to throw a punch at the smelly security guard you’re in a nose to nose argument with, but the police have already been called and gun beats fists any day of the week,” Toni joked.
“Will you finally make a pass at me in our cozy jail cell?”
“I’ve been making a pass at you since I saw you enter the room,” Toni quipped.
“You do realize that before the night is over you and I will be in a passionate lip lock.”
“I’m definitely not opposed to a quick bathroom break.”
“I thought you would never ask.” Heather smiled.
“I might as well find out whether you are a good kisser, before we start our wave of crime.”
“I don’t think you will be disappointed.”
“No I don’t suspect I will.” Toni stood up and offered her hand to the redhead. “Shall we?”
Toni glanced at her watch to make sure she had enough time to enjoy her rendezvous’ in the bathroom. She knew that Kim didn’t have time to get a picture yet and suspected she would have to join Byron in his hotel suite. I’m glad I’ve never had to play that role.

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