We have a very special book for you today, lovelies! Feast your sensuous eyes on this:
A 50 Shades of Fairy Tales / Dollhouse Society crossover by Alex Crossman.
Author: Alex Crossman
A 50 Shades of Fairy Tales / Dollhouse Society crossover!
When bachelor and super-slob Ash Bennett is hired on as uber-billionaire Christian Chase’s courtier, no one is more surprised than Ash himself. After all, he has nothing going for him, and he’s the first to admit to it. But it’s said that Chase can sense greatness in people and has an indelible taste in sexual companions. A debutante ball at the Dollhouse and a mysterious pair of shoes are all that’s required to reveal the true magic of the evening.
“Ash, how you would like to be promoted to my sexual companion?”
I forgot I was fitted under Mr. Chase’s desk as I tried to discover what plug was giving him trouble and hit my head on the underside. I barked out a curse before sliding out and standing up.
Mr. Chase stood at the wet bar, mixing a Tom Collins, an intrigued look on his handsome, chiseled face. “Are you all right?”
I rubbed at the smarting crown of my head. “I think I gave myself a concussion.”
“Please sit down, won’t you?”
I sat down on his leather settee, giving him a goofy smile to cover my embarrassment. Maybe I hadn’t heard him right? I mean, I’d been crushed under a desk when he’d said it. Then I saw his concentrated expression—what I called his Wolf Look—and realized he wasn’t kidding. Not at all. “Are you serious?” I croaked.
Mr. Chase narrowed his cattish eyes the way he did when he was dealing with a particularly difficult client or employee. As head of WGR Studios, an all-news channel located here in Upper Manhattan, he fielded a lot of difficult clients and employees. But he’d never used that look on me before. “Perfectly serious, Ash. I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, and I’ve decided I would like you to work as my courtier, if the position interests you.”
I was a little bit flattered, admittedly. Christian Chase wasn’t at all hard on the eyes. A tall, powerfully-built, quiet man, his sharp, determined features, wavy red hair, perpetual 5 o’clock shadow, and broody green eyes always made me think of heroes on pirate romance covers or actors in Robin Hood movies. At forty-five, he was considered the youngest man to ever own and control a TV station in New York.
From what I understood, he’d started out in the mailroom when he was sixteen years old and had steadily worked his way up the ranks, helped very little by formal education. Then, in 2001, he was one of the first reporters on the scene of the 911 attacks. He fearlessly reported all through the burning of the World Trade Center, gaining a reputation as “The Wolf,” the man who could sniff a story anywhere in the city. From there, he’d shot up the ranks of news casting, eventually becoming VP of WGR. Even today, they said he had an impeccable nose for a good story.
When you put all that together, it was hard not to feel a little inadequate. Having grown up a poor farm boy in Iowa, I’d come from similar circumstances, but even aided by an excellent education that my parents had spent half their lives scraping for, I was nowhere I wanted to be in my life. I’d come to the big city with dreams of developing video games. Instead, I was repairing video equipment at WGR.
The station had a ton of competitors, and in today’s field of internet sabotage, a few cyberattacks were all that was needed to bring a huge media empire to its knees. When Mr. Chase discovered I had a knack for cleaning out viruses as well as electronic repair, he promoted me to head of what he called “Tech Security” on his team. The work was important and the pay excellent. Mr. Christian was like a dream to work for.
Well, had been, anyway.
I took the drink he offered. He looked me up and down and I could almost hear his silent disapproval of my outward appearance. For his head of Tech Security, I was a bit of a mess these days.
Since I had a tendency to work on electronic repairs in the oddest of places—under desks, in murky basement corners, and computer rooms crammed with stinking cleaning chemicals—I usually stuck to a uniform of jeans worn shiny from crawling along floors, old washworn T-shirts with fast food stains on them, threadbare pullovers and hoodies, and running shoes patched with duct tape. It wasn’t that I couldn’t afford better; I just didn’t see the point. I was the first one here in the morning and usually the last to leave the building at night, sometimes working up to midnight on repairs that couldn’t wait. When I got back to my loft apartment, I was often so exhausted I just crashed, got up in the morning wearing the same clothes I’d slept in, and ran off to work without a shower, shave or washing my hair.
I was something of a slob. Sue me. But who was looking at me? I was the tech guy, the guy no one ever wanted to see unless their computer crashed or their Blackberry went on the fritz. There was a time before my twenty-fifth birthday when I could still make a man or woman’s head turn, but I knew damned well that those days were behind me. My last partner had left me, citing the fact that he could no longer live with my slovenly, workaholic self. My ship had long sailed. Mr. Chase’s offer made no sense to me.
“I think I mis-heard you…” I began.
“No, Ash, you didn’t.” Again he looked me over, but his look was different this time, more intense, and I squirmed under it. He settled on the arm of the settee and gave me his sharp little wolf eyes. This close, I could smell his spicy cologne—which just made me want to squirm more. I’d always been a sucker for a guy who smelled really good. “There’s no easy way of explaining this, so I’ll just be blunt and go ahead. I’m part of a private society of gentlemen who keep sexual companions. Courtesans and courtiers, depending on their gender. I’ve been part of this society for many years. In fact, I’ve kept a courtesan for more than five years now.”
I drank down a gulp of bourbon as I digested that. “So you have a…courtesan…sexual companion, whatever. What do you need me for?”
Mr. Chase’s mouth quirked up in a brief smile. “The Society has recently opened its doors to same-sex couples in a very big way. Up until now, taking a same-sex companion was discouraged, but the people I know have evolved gracefully into the new century and they want to give those of us who are bisexual or gay more play space, so to speak.”
I almost choked. Mr. Chase had never, ever, struck me as anything but straight up all-natural, boring vanilla. “I don’t know what to say,” I admitted. “Isn’t soliciting sex from someone a crime?”
Mr. Chase looked unperturbed. “The Society predates such laws. And I am not soliciting sex from you, Ash, although sex would be involved. I’m offering to make you my companion in the Society. Being my companion—my courtier—is much more involved than just soliciting your services as a stud.”
I couldn’t believe I was actually considering this…