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Authors: Avery Aster

Unscrupulous

Unscrupulous

Avery Aster

 

Book 2 in The Manhattanites series

 

At thirty-three, Warner Truman is one of the richest men on the planet, a spa mogul who buys and sells resorts at will. He holds powerful executives’ careers in his well-groomed hands. Nothing is beyond Warner’s reach…until he meets
her
.

Stunning, tantalizing and perverse, Taddy captivates Warner’s carnal desire like no woman he’s ever met. A self-made millionaire, Taddy is tougher than steel, more brilliant than diamonds and, at twenty-seven, she’s never depended on a man for anything…until she meets
him
.

The more Taddy plays with Warner’s affections, driving him to erotic heights, the more she is confronted by a dark past. Before she can love him, Taddy must meet her worst fears head-on or risk losing it all, including herself.

 

A Romantica®
contemporary erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

U
NSCRUPULOUS

Avery Aster

Dedication

 

To my acquisition editor Krishan Trotman, an elegant Manhattanite who just happens to dress incredible in hot pink. You rolled out the red carpet welcoming my narrative voice to share in these stories with open arms into the Ellora’s Cave family and I’m forever grateful. I luv u! We’re going to have fun with this new series. I look forward to breaking all the rules.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

Much praise to my Development Editor Victoria Reese for making this novel special. Huge hugs to Ellora’s Cave Art Director Syneca Featherstone for yet another gorgeous cover, and Publisher Raelene Gorslinky for all of the handholding while this series takes off. It’s an honor to work with you ladies!

Big Apple love to Julie, for all your Taddy Brill contributions. Many kudos to my beta-readers, Nicole, Chrissy, Jackie, Jenifer, Kateria, Jodi and Jenifer for being the eyes in the back of my head. As well as to the book reviewers at S&M’s Book Obsessions, I Love Lady Porn, Harlequin Junkies, Book Whores, Under the Covers, Midwest Book Reviews, The Book Enthusiast, We Love Kink, Romance Reviews Today, Ever After Romance, Swept Away by Romance, Tiffany Talks Books, USA Today Happily Ever After, Reviews by Crystal, Kricket’s Chirps, Storm Goddess, Jessica Loves Books, My Reading Obsession, Sensual Reads, Show Me the Smut, and Please Another Book for the wonderful media coverage on The Manhattanites series.

Brenda, thank you always for the unconditional support and for pushing me forward. J.B., your humor through my plot twists helped me not lose sight for what mattered. Courtney Howell, your feedback and preparation meant the world to me. You kicked my ass and I liked it. Lauren Jameson, my erotic romance gal pal, I’ll always have your Hawkeye, boo! Marisa Corvisiero, my literary agent and lawyer, you are the best. And to my family and friends whom I ignored this summer to finish this novel, George, Pauline, Adam, Sara, Kelly, Shari, Edward, Manuel, Hector, Lynn, Michele, John, Holly, Nackie, Patrick, Ronnie, Bailee and Shane, I owe you many beach vacations.

Author’s Note

 

Manhattanites are noted as a jaded bunch. We own designer footwear in excess, overspend on vodka cocktails and work sunup to sundown. By accident love takes a backseat but we always find time for sex (wink). You’ll notice the characters in my novels are no different. They are true to New York form. Often ruthless, always brilliant and without question built to include überhigh sex drives, they require a match who exceeds their expectations.

When Taddy Brill leapt onto the pages in
Undressed
(Book One) as Lex Easton’s best friend, several readers who followed The Manhattanites series prepublication thought she was pretty fierce. I did too! If you didn’t read
Undressed
, don’t worry, you won’t be lost. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone.

Readers asked, “Why is Taddy so hardcore? And how did she meet the man she calls Big Daddy?” The answer is in
Unscrupulous
(Book Two), a prequel to
Undressed
. Writing Taddy’s past left a hole in my heart, which you’re about to read. She deserved something she never imagined, a lover. A close-to-trillionaire wealthy, Newport-Rhode-Island-sophisticated, Harvard-graduate-intelligent—Big Daddy (double wink)! You will see this couple throughout The Manhattanites series as the novels progress.

Break out the bubbly, pour yourself a flute and let’s get our Park Avenue adventure started. Lex Easton, Blake Morgan, Vive Farnworth and the entire star-studded cast are thrilled to be back and share their stories with you. After you’ve read
Unscrupulous,
be sure to join Blake in
Unsaid
(Book Three) as he shares his sexual fantasies with a Latin lover you’ll find dominatingly
caliente
.

Feels like Forever,

Avery Aster

[email protected]

 

Cast of Characters: Major Players

 

Warner Truman: (33) a billionaire widower who owns Truman Enterprises. He’s tired of gold-digging hanger-on types.

Tabitha “Taddy Brill” Adelaide Brillford: (27) an obsessive masturbator who is Lex, Vive and Blake’s lifelong friend. She’s a self-made millionaire and owns Brill, Inc.

Alexandra “Lex” Easton: (27) fashion designer to the stars and founder of Easton Essentials. She’s the late rock-n-roll legend Eddie Easton’s daughter.

Blake Morgan III: (27) a gay, gorgeous top who is estranged from his husband. He co-founded Brill, Inc. and is the brains behind many of Taddy’s accounts.

Viveca “Vive” Farnworth: (28) a party girl who met Lex, Taddy and Blake in boarding school. Vive is the editor-in-chief of
Debauchery
Magazine and liquor heiress.

 

Supporting Cast

 

Kelly “Kiki” Ivy Kailyn Izatt: (21) a virgin Mormon assistant to Taddy Brill. She moved to New York from Provo, Utah, with dreams of making it in the big city.

Countess Irma Brillford: (51) Taddy’s estranged mother. She’s married to Joseph Graf and abandoned Taddy when she was thirteen.

Birdie Easton: (48) Lex’s pill-popping addicted mother recovering from sexual compulsive disorder. She’s a former ‘80s playmate, heavy metal icon and former friend to Irma.

Sheldon Truman: (32) Warner’s younger brother. A retired male fashion model, he travels the world jumping from one circuit party to the next.

Aunt Muffie: (age unknown) Countess Irma’s sister who remains the only relative Taddy keeps in contact with. She was on the socialite scene in the ‘80s with Birdie.

 

The Companies Involved

 

Truman Enterprises: The third largest hotel and resort chain in the world with properties on every continent ranging from upper mid-level to luxury.

Brill, Inc.: A Fortune 500 company and New York’s eminent fashion, beauty public relations and branding firm that co-created Easton Essentials.

Easton Essentials: North America’s fastest-growing luxury apparel brand for women seeking to contour their figures.

Debauchery
Magazine: Read by four million people weekly covering all things salacious in the fashion, beauty and celebrity arena.

Part One

Hot Topless Beaches in December or Bust

 

“I used to strive to live my life for happiness, not money or status. I don’t know what happened or why I stopped.” —Warner Truman, CEO of Truman Enterprises, and third richest man in the world

Prologue

Her Measurements 36C-25-35

Fifteen Years Ago

Upper West Side, New York City

 

Tabitha Adelaide Brillford stood back from her bedroom wall where she’d measured her height with yellow tape then marked it in pencil. “How tall is seventy-two inches?” she asked her best friend, Lex Easton, who sat on her pink canopy bed.

Lex put down the latest
Manhattanite Times
issue she was reading and replied, “About six feet.”

“Holy shiiit! Mommy and Daddy are both under five ten. What other measurements did I give you?”

Her friend grabbed the
Hello Kitty
notepad off the pillow and read, “Thirty-six C, twenty-five, thirty-five.”

A few weeks shy of starting the seventh grade, Tabitha had blossomed over the summer into a woman.

“Remember when my mom took us to Milan to see her friend’s spring show?” Lex’s mother, Birdie Easton, a rock-n-roll legend, received invitations year after year to the best parties, extravaganzas and fashion shows in the world.

“Valentine?” She puffed on a cigarette. Unable to inhale yet, Tabitha exhaled from her mouth.

“Valentino,” Lex corrected. “Anyways—there’s a resemblance between Elle Macpherson, the model who wore the red dress, and you.” She held
Vogue
’s fall issue up. Macpherson graced the cover. The season’s periodicals were spread out on Tabitha’s bed. At twelve, Lex was already a slave to fashion, especially couture.

“Red is my favorite color, it goes with my look.” Tabitha laughed. She happened to be the only redhead in her class, as well as the only girl rich enough to furnish a complete wardrobe from Yves Saint Laurent. “Why do you read those crummy gossip rags? You know our folks told us not to pay the press any attention.” Since her parents announced their trial separation a few weeks ago, she’d stopped looking at the tabloids.

“They also told us not to smoke.” Lex’s face sobered as she shoved a Swedish fish in her mouth. She chewed the candy, swallowed and announced, “There’s an article in here titled ‘High Society Marriages Headed for Ruin’.”

“I bet my parents are featured.” Tabitha didn’t have to ask. She took the page from Lex’s sticky hands and glanced at the exposé. It shed light on America’s most prominent family—hers. Considered fierce academics, the Brillfords remained regular art patrons and noble philanthropists. With five generations celebrated in their community, they were the town’s toast and invited to all social events, but not in recent weeks. No, they’d become outcasts. “This is why my parents have been fighting all summer.”

She’d heard her parents’ hoarse voices ringing through their eight-thousand-square-foot residence pretty much night and day.

“When my parents argue, Dad sleeps in the guest room. Yours?”

“Daddy moved his stuff into the east wing.” Tabitha frowned. Countess Irma, Taddy’s mother, had remained in the west quarters.

Lex shifted on the bed. “I saw it mentions why your mom spent time in the hospital. Didn’t you wonder?”

“Yes, Daddy wouldn’t tell me.” Tabitha focused on the article, reading closely and hanging on every word. “Says here, after one knock-down, drag-out fight my mom flew headfirst over a spiral staircase with a pair of shears in her hands. That’s when the NYPD arrived.” Tabitha recalled the incident where Irma had lost her little finger after a botched effort to cut her husband’s penis off.

“Why didn’t your dad press charges?”

“Daddy knows better.”
Jesus. I can’t believe this is in the paper about my parents
.

“Keep reading,” Lex bossed.

“Says the fight started after Daddy filled her lingerie chest with South American killer insects, whoa!”

“Killer bugs?”

“Do they exist?” she asked Lex, hoping this wasn’t true. However, she remembered her mother being in the hospital. This made perfect sense.

Her friend rolled her eyes. “If you’d come to biology class, you’d learn from Mr. Kauffman there are many insect species known to harm animals—and humans. They live in South America. So what brought on the bug attack?”

“Mom tried to run his ass over with her car.”

“When?”

“While Daddy was jogging alongside the West Side Highway.”

“Get outta here!” Lex shouted.

“Her car flew off Pier 92.” In horror, Tabitha held up the paper showing Lex the photo of Irma’s Rolls-Royce being pulled out of the Hudson River. “They’re going to kill each other.” She threw the paper in the trashcan next to her desk. “This started when my daddy ordered that test.”

“What test?” Lex asked as she switched her attention to
Marie Claire
. Lex’s own family life equated to heavy metal groupie hell, but she escaped into the glossy fashion magazine pictures. Her favorite designer, Donna Karan, lived in their building.

“The parent test.”

“Don’t you mean the paternity test?” Lex popped another candy and continued with a mouthful, “Explains my mom’s call with yours a few days ago. She blabbed on and on about some test results.”

“Right.” Tabitha wished Lex would ease up on the candy. The boys in class already tormented her over her weight. It seemed the more they teased, the more Lex ate. “You better quit with the sugar. Birdie will lock the fridge again.” Lex’s mother believed starvation preserved one’s figure.

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