No Mercy Thea Devine Chapter One Contents - Prev | Next Deep in the night, when plans and schemes and desires and dreams seem within the realm of possibility, what is the one thing a woman wants above everything else? A pair of Mascolo five-inch stiletto heels digging into the prostrate body of the one man who got away. And Regan Torrance was not immune to the allure and the attraction of a Mascolo fantasy, real or imagined, especially when the two collided in the form of The Shoes flung carelessly in the window of the exclusive east side Mascolo shop with the words On Sale in seductive gold letters across the bottom of the display. “Ang…” she called to her former sister-in-law who was already several yards ahead of her and utterly unaware that she wasn’t following. “Ang—” Angie stopped, turned, groaned, and started back toward Regan. “Oh, Regan, we don’t have time for —” She stopped short as she saw Regan’s expression and where she was standing. “Don’t tell me—” “I’m telling you.” Regan shook herself. “C’mon.” She pushed open the door and stepped down into the elegant, minimally decorated shop, with its burnished mahogany wall that showcased the most outrageous and expensive shoes on elegant ledges. “Don’t you have a Mascolo fantasy?” Regan asked, pick-ing up the shoe in question, a black satin sandal with a skyscraper heel and crisscrossed straps studded with crystals, and handing it to the discreet saleswoman. “Size seven please.” “Yeah,” Angie said. “It’s called a bank account. I add to it every time I don’t buy a pair of Mascolos. You’re not planning to wear those things in public, are you?” “Maybe tonight,” Regan said, sounding slightly distracted as she browsed through the several other styles that were on sale. “Jesus. Tony’ll go nuts.” “You think so?” The saleswoman returned with the shoes and Regan sat down, kicked off her own inch-heeled pumps, and reverently slipped them on. “I think I don’t know how you’re going to walk in the those things.” “Oh, it’s easy,” Regan said airily, levering herself to her feet, a little unsteadily. “You just… Just do the model walk thing.” God, she felt like she was walking on stilts. The “things” lifted her as high in the air as a crane, and putting one foot in front of the other instantly became a logistical nightmare of trying to look good while balancing on the head of a needle. “See—?” She wobbled a little. But, Lord, they were the epitome of fuck me shoes, the kind you wore barefoot with deep red nail polish. “Sure, I’ll just get your bustier and whip.” “Just what I planned to wear tonight,” Regan murmured. “Oh, yeah, Ms. All Business All The Time who never walks out of the house in anything but a suit and practical shoes?” Regan wasn’t responding. Angie paused in her tirade and slanted her a look. “You’re serious, aren’t you?” “Sure am. I’ve coveted these little babies for months. And now that Tony’s finally promoted me, I’m going to celebrate for all I’m worth and dress like I’m worth it.” “Wait till you see the bill for those things. It’ll take all you’re worth,” Angie muttered as Regan slipped off the shoes and indicated she wanted them. “Anyone who walks in here knows the price they have to pay,” she said gently. And stumbling onto a sale was just icing on the cake, pure synchronistic luck, when she’d been considering paying full price for them. Which didn’t mitigate the fact she was still signing a charge slip for just over three hundred dollars, but what was the point of being successful if the money didn’t buy you the things you wanted? And she was successful. Tonight was a celebration of just how far she’d come: Regan Torrance, the girl from the wrong side of town, the young ex-wife of Bobby Torrance, the now well-known media mogul and her ex-husband of seven years; and she herself, a top real estate agent, who, along with Tony Mackey,
and his real estate agency, had been instrumental in developing Riverside Heights, the sleepy enclave just north of Manhattan, into the hip and happening place to live. It didn’t take long, once the prices for a Manhattan apartment soared into the stratosphere. The Heights had apartments to spare, and undervalued and roomy homes built in the twenties. And low taxes. And an underutilized waterfront. Not to mention proximity to highways for that East Hampton weekend or that skiing vacation in Vermont. The same highways on which Bobby Torrance rode out of town seven years before, after their divorce. A lot had changed in seven years. The Heights had become a suburb of elegant homes, roomy apartments with priceless vistas over the Hudson River, trendy restaurants, name-brand shopping, and seasonal waterfront events to take advantage of the new park and facilities that had been built under the auspices and sponsorship of the Mackey brokerage firm. And now it was time to bring in big business, to offer them what they were finding on the other side of the Hudson—low-cost space and lower taxes—and that was to be Regan’s purview. That was what she was celebrating: increased responsibility, more money, and the excitement of the chase. Especially more money. And the chase. She just loved the chase. There was something about getting there first and closing the deal that was as satisfying as good sex. And thank heaven for that, because there hadn’t been any good sex for a long time. Not that there hadn’t been offers. Not that she wasn’t looking. She shook off the thought. Not to think about that now. She took the elegant Mascolo bag from the salesperson. “Ang…” “I’m there.” And that was the eloquent punctuation that defined her relationship to her former sister-in-law: Angie was there, always there, never ever talking about Bobby, never taking sides, somehow keeping her brother separate from her friendship with his ex-wife, and how she’d done it all these years, Regan didn’t know. But they never talked about Bobby, and she had to assume that Angie didn’t talk to Bobby about her, either. If Bobby ever came for a visit, Regan never knew about it. He had been discreet and invisible since the divorce. The stormy year she’d spent with him seemed, in retrospect, like a bad novel she’d read, and she’d had no contact with his family, barring Angie, in all that time. “You have a dress to wear with those stilts?” Angie asked as they walked briskly toward the subway. “What time am I supposed to be at Mary’s?” “Six o’clock for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Buffet dinner at seven-fifteenish. I think there’s a cake. You know Mary. If she can go over the top, she’ll jump the barricade.” “She’s Tony’s sister.” “She’d like to be your other sister-in-law,” Angie said trenchantly. Regan knew it. It was nothing they hadn’t discussed many times before. Nothing Angie hadn’t said before, either. But tonight was tonight: the crest of a rolling wave of new money and increased interest in the Heights, and a time when they were all euphoric over annual sales, and the possibility of major expansion into the commercial market. So Tony was thinking about other possibilities, too. Again. She could be certain it would come up again: the partnership, monetary and personal, the thing that rumbled through and underpinned her whole working life at the Mackey agency. “That won’t come up tonight,” Regan said firmly, as if saying it would make it so. “It doesn’t have to. It’s in the air all the time. The way Tony looks at you. The things he says. The way he treats you. Why don’t you just say yes?” “I don’t know what the question is.” “Sure you do. That’s what those shoes are about. You’re sending him a signal as clearly as if you’d issued an invitation.” Was she? She’d made such a point about being businesslike all these years. Only on off hours or when they were entertaining clients did she dress. Only in her dreams did she wear sexy, strappy Mascolo stilettos. And not much else. She kept her buttoned-down business life separate from her unbuttoned home life, and her fantasies were nobody’s business, not even Angie’s. And never Tony’s. Not ever. Not even in gratitude for how much she owed him. And his father. For taking in the notorious Regan Torrance and making her
respectable. Hell, this was a celebration, the dawn of a new chapter in the history of the firm. Angie was making too much of it. One impulsive pair of five-inch heels. It wasn’t unlike her. Angie didn’t have a clue what was unlike her. In fact, Mascolo shoes were exactly like her—the her that she bound up in pinstriped suits and silk blouses. The her of the slender body covered over by long jackets and knee-length skirts, and skin-toned panty hose—or black, if she were wearing black—and sensible shoes. Low key makeup and pulled back hair. That her—the caged lioness. The one who reined in her impulses and controlled her libido, and only let it hang out in private and on rare occasions late at night. She’d learned her lesson all those years ago, married to the possessive Bobby Torrance who wasn’t nearly as sexually mature at age twenty-four as she was at twenty. Gorgeous Bobby Torrance, in jeans and leather, big-time bad boy, born to wealth and privilege, who always got what he wanted. And he’d wanted her—with her smoky blue eyes and tumble of midnight-black hair, her long, long legs and voluptuous body, and high-voltage sexuality that burned everyone in its orbit. Bobby was going to teach her everything. But she discovered too soon that Bobby was not nearly as experienced as she thought. Not nearly as knowledgeable. Not nearly enough. Greedy Regan. Old man Torrance, deceased now, willing to buy her off to get her out of Bobby’s life. Whatever she wanted—Money? Cars? Clothes? All of that and more? A new life for her parents, still living in poverty on the wrong side of town? Oh, he had been ruthless, the old man, and she’d gotten no end of enjoyment out of defying him. How could she have known then that Bobby wasn’t perfect, that his jealousy was like a piston, pumping him, pushing him, driving him, and ultimately...