Home > Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell #1)(14)

Heaven and Hell (Heaven and Hell #1)(14)
Author: Kristen Ashley

But they also cost more than Cooter and my monthly mortgage.

I bought them.

She then whisked me back to my hotel, ordering me to put on my bathing suit and sit by the pool, “Because, ma chérie, your glow is lovely but that dress, we need gold.” Then she assured me she’d be back and she took off.

While I spent time deep breathing at the pool, she called me and told me I’d have a visitor and I did. And, get this, right beside the pool, a woman showed up, sat beside then at the foot of my lounger on a low stool and took off my bright, summery, berry pink finger and toenail polish I’d had my nails adorned with just the day before and painted my fingers and toes a peachy gold that was gorgeous and would go freaking beautifully with my dress and, better, my shoes.

I didn’t even pick the color. Celeste did.

Seriously, she was the shit.

While lying in the sun, hoping I was going gold, I tried not to think about the fact that I was going out on a date with Sampson Cooper.

And I tried hard to achieve this feat.

And failed.

I also tried to stop myself from calling and/or texting Paula, Teri and my other friend, Missy (who was not a Sampson Cooper devotee, as such, she appreciated him, as any woman would, but she had a different stock of famous hot guys she obsessed about, still, she was my friend) to tell them about this astonishing turn of events.

I tried hard with this too and, luckily, I succeeded.

I succeeded mostly because part of me didn’t think it would actually happen. He’d stand me up. Or something better would come along and he’d send a note to say he couldn’t make it. I didn’t want to tell them this was happening, have them freak in a good way, as in, I’d probably hear them scream all the way from Indiana, that kind of good way, and then have to tell them it didn’t happen.

So I didn’t call or text.

What I did was nurse my nerves until they became panic.

Luckily, before my panic escalated and I became paralyzed or did something equally stupid, like run away, Celeste showed, whisked me back to my room and into the shower. By the time I did my business in the shower, taking more care with every aspect of that daily occurrence than I ever had in my life, even on my wedding day, it was after six. I walked into my room folded in a robe with a towel wrapped around my hair and Celeste had a bottle of champagne in a bucket on ice and an enormous antipasti platter waiting.

I stared at the platter then moved my stare to Celeste. “Sam told me not to eat, there’d be a spread.”

“Indeed,” she inclined her head, “but a lady does not arrive at a party famished, and, chérie, you’ve had no lunch,” she reminded me then went on, “and then commence in devouring every morsel available to her all the while drinking and becoming intoxicated quickly because she has nothing in her stomach. She sips champagne. She nibbles. Food, she can take or leave. Champagne, she drinks like its nothing more than water. She is beautiful and enchanting because she’s beautiful and enchanting and gorging on hors d’ouevres and guzzling champagne are not beautiful or enchanting.” She tipped her head to the platter. “Eat, Kia, every bit.”

I saw the wisdom in this and ate every bit while drinking champagne. This wasn’t easy either since my stomach was tied up in knots but I knew one thing for certain, Celeste had it going on and she was sharing her worldly ways with me so I did it.

The hair dresser and makeup artist showed when the hotel guy took away the empty plates. This, Celeste also arranged. I did not quibble mainly because I had to admit that I wasn’t all that hot with doing either. I didn’t look like a clown or skank when I was done with my makeup and I could make my hair look decent but I had one way to go, the blowout. Sam had seen that twice and my dress was not a dress you wore with your hair blown straight, it was a dress you wore with your hair looking hot.

It took an hour but was worth every minute when the stylist curled every strand of hair then pulled it softly back from my face and arranged it at my nape in a thick, wide, beautiful mess of tucked and pinned curls. The makeup artist went golden, more than likely at Celeste’s command, including dusting a hint of gold powder along my collarbone. Her handiwork highlighted my tan in a way I never would have been able to pull off if I was doing it myself; I wouldn’t have even thought to try.

Then they left, I put on my white, lace panties (another Parisian purchase, they cost more than the contents of my whole underwear drawer at home and they weren’t the only pair I bought) and Celeste instructed me on the proper use of perfume.

“Your scent does not precede you, it also doesn’t define you. Any scent you wear is a discovery.”

This made no sense to me so I asked, “A discovery?”

She smiled a small, very cool smile and said softly, “Yes, Kia, a discovery. The kind of discovery your partner, if he is very fortunate, makes when his nose encounters the flesh the scent adorns.” At her imparting this nugget of wisdom, a nugget I not only processed in my brain but three other parts of my body besides, I made not a peep and stared at her so she went on, “A touch behind the ears, at the wrists, behind the knees and at the cle**age… a touch, half a spray if it is spray or just a dab if it is not.”

My mind became consumed with Sam’s nose being in any of those places so it took Celeste’s rich, cultured laughter to snap me out of it.

I did the half the spray route for that was all that was available to me.

Then I pulled on my dress. It was white, one shoulder bare, it fit like it was made for me down my torso to the very tops of my thighs then it dropped into a full skirt to my ankles, the clingy, silk jersey hanging and moving beautifully around my legs but, the best part, it had a deep slit just to one side and up to the upper thigh that exposed my legs in an awesome way when I moved and, better, the inside hem was embroidered intricately and subtly with gold thread.

Told you it was awesome.

I strapped on my shoes and Celeste pulled a pristine white evening clutch with a gold clasp out of her bag and tossed it on the bed beside me. Then she lifted my right hand and slid a dozen very slim gold bangles on my wrist. Then she handed me a pair of tiered gold earrings sprinkled with tiny pearls.

After I put them in my ears, her hand came out, she gently touched my earlobe with the tip of her finger, my head went back, my eyes went to her and she spoke softly.

“Nothing at your neck, your lovely collarbone is enough. A touch, only a hint, of everything. An intriguing woman does not share her secrets in any way. She does not speak of them, she does not give them away through her manner and she definitely does not make the mistake of giving them away through her appearance.”

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