Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chapter Two: The Ground Beneath Her Feet

"So shall I pick you up at seven?" Jon swung back in his office chair, "yeah we'll go to Sam's and I know them there so we’ll get in no problem." He flicked the dome on his iPhone case and rolled his eyes. "Wear whatever you like babe." Dating should not be this hard. Truth was he couldn't be bothered dating right now but it seemed like the right thing to do, and oh it would get his friends off his ass.

He hung up and rubbed his eyes, he was tired as hell and he looked like crap. He leaned forward into the mirror and the dark grooves under his eyes stared back at him. It seemed when he was off tour he was just as busy as when he was on tour. He couldn't help himself, part of it was he liked to be busy and the other part was he didn't want to dwell on the demolition of his marriage and home-life in the last twelve months.

Arching back he groaned, his back was playing up again and he needed to see his chiropractor but he was out of town for the next two weeks. He didn’t know how being off tour aggravated his back as well. He knew acupuncture could sort him out and conveniently down his street there was a place that advertised it, he hadn't taken much notice of the stone and green building on the corner but his doorman's wife had raved about the spa service she received in there. 

Yeah, he was picky where he went but he had to be. He wanted to make sure they were legit and he also wanted to make sure above all, they were discreet. When he peered in the window this afternoon it had been manic so there was no doubt it was doing good turnover and that meant something in Soho. He popped a couple of Advil and snagged a bottle of water out of the fridge. Ribbons of gold and pink banded across the sky as he decided he’d go for another look. Maybe he could have a chat to the manager and scope out the facilities while it was quiet.

It didn’t take long as he blended into downtown Manhattan until he was at the bottom of the heavy stone steps to the forest green double doors. A few lights were still on and the place was immaculate like it had hardly been touched. He lifted his brow when the turned the door and was able to walk right in. Bono was singing about looking and finding as he edged in quietly.

"Hello?" The first thing that hit him was the smell. He expected it to be clinical but he was surprised as butter-cream and cinnamon sat lightly in the air. He tucked his hands in his jeans and looked around rolling back on his heels. The walls were tall, creamy and clean with deliberate splashes of colour around the room, blooming pots or brightly coloured furniture. Classy but welcoming he thought.

A woman wondered out with a large ledger open scanning it, she was only a wee thing but had generous curves in the right places. Her sunny hair fell just past her ears and her skin glowed. The pale pink shirt was sat neat on her on top of a short knee length skirt. She looked immaculate for someone that was still in her office after six pm. Their eyes met and the ledger smacked to the ground.
"Holy crap!" She clutched her heart and took a deep breath of relief.

"Shit, sorry..." He leaned forward and scooped up the book and handed it to her. Her startling blue eyes sliced right through him as she recomposed herself. She had pretty pink lips and she smelled sweet like candy.

"I thought the door was locked." She hugged the book closely to her chest and ran her eyes over him. 

"I was just passing and I wanted to ask you about acupuncture, the lights were on and well… the music." He raked his hand through his hair as she set the book down and moved to her reception desk. She had a different accent and it definitely wasn't American, more an off-British mix of Australian.

"Have you had acupuncture before?" she asked clicking her mouse and staring at her screen.

"Yes, yes I have and for my back." He frowned, no it wasn’t Australian. He’d heard it before though. The floor space was huge and everything was open plan, crisp and had a very professional vibe about the place. He hadn’t spent a lot of time in places like this but he had to admit, he was impressed.

She looked up and then back down at her screen with a hint of a smile. "Like the place huh?"

Jon raised a brow as he noticed her small dimples on each cheek as she grinned. Hell, she was cute. Pick up and put in your pocket cute with all the good things about woman to measure.

He approached her desk and smiled, "It’s very nice. How long have you been here?" 

“About two years.”

“Wow, that long? I live close by and have to admit I hadn’t really noticed this place before.”

“Well we can change that, did you want to have a seat right over there?”

He followed her gesture to one of the stations set up with a leather chair, similar to what was in his home office in front of a granite counter and large mirror. “Ok, sure.” What was she going to do with him?  He slipped into the chair and propped his feet up on the matching footstool under the counter top.

The soft light amplified the lines around his face and the rings around his eyes. She was fussing around behind him in a barister’s station that he hadn’t noticed before and then strolled over and set down a bright blue mug in front of him.

"It's green tea and lemon."

"Uh--I just wanted..."

"Just drink it. And stop frowning its bad for your head."

His brow lifted, bossy little woman wasn't she?  Yet, he felt very calm around her.

"Thanks. I think." He lifted the cup as she returned with a clipboard.

"Antonio does my acupuncture therapy, he's only part time but he's in tomorrow if you'd like a booking."

Jon nodded.  "That's perfect, it’s been giving me a little trouble since I stopped touring.” There weren’t any signs that she’d recognized him but he figured he wasn’t the first famous person she’d come across being where she was set up.

She scribbled some notes down and then stared at him.

"What?" The tea was pleasant, high grade. Probably from one of the many delis around this area he mused.

She put her clip board down and leaned in closer inspecting his face. The cup nearly took a dive as she ran her fingertips gently down his cheek.

"Ah, Miss... I."

"Sit still." She gently commanded as she tilted his chin up and looked under his neck. She made some notes and then her eyes met his. "Your skin is so dry and coarse. What do you use after shaving?”

"Well I--" He held his breath as she leaned in, her face just inches from his. Her lips coated with gloss and he found wondered what she tasted like. The small puff of air against his skin jolted him. Clearly he’d not had sex in a few months, Jesus Christ.

"You’ve been working a lot?” The tip of her pinkie traced under his eye.

He shook his head, was he annoyed that she kept touching him and was all up in his spaced or was he aroused by the fact if he hauled her into his lap she’d fit perfectly straddled across him? “Kind of, I’m not on tour as I said but I’m still doing other projects. I’m Jon by the way, I usually know a woman’s name before she man-handles me.” Her gaze flicked to his and a bemused smile played on his lips.

“I’m Devon and I’m the owner.” She made a note on her board and then leaned forward.

“Well I look—“ he stopped midsentence as her finger ran lightly around his lips. She hummed gently and his jeans started to feel uncomfortable. How did he end up here again?

"You use hand cream but not face cream huh? It’s nice to meet you.” She stepped back and held her hand out.

He laughed and shook her hand. "I usually do. I just got lazy. Things got a little crazy and I've been doing a few projects, I tend to just lose track of time if it's not on a tour schedule. And I'm Jon, it's nice to meet you Devon." Very nice indeed.”

"Well I'd like to offer you our revitalise package with your acupuncture treatments, it's a short series of facial treatments just to bring the life back to your face and make you look like you spend time on a stage, not in a mine.”
He swung back in the chair. "Ah, well I'm really not into that sort of thing. I have a good skin care range at home as I said I've just been a bit lazy." The thought of being holed up in a salon all day getting girly treatments was about as appealing as sticking needles in his eyes. She nodded and made another note on her clipboard. He was tempted to snag that damn thing in a minute.

She set it down and he flinched, more from shock as she ran her finger tips down his jaw line. "Men always have a tough jawline from shaving. It can take its toll on the skin here, see how it's all dried and cracked if you look a little closer?" She handed him hand mirror from the counter. 

He narrowed his eyes and wondered if it was some sort of magic mirror that lighted to show your imperfections at a hundred times magnitude. That would be a smart business ploy. "Yeah I see what you mean but hell..." She pointed to his lines at the edges of his eyes, wrinkles from years of being on the road. He'd done pretty well for his age and everyone knew it but still... maybe there was something she could do.

"I could lessen the density of those. And here." She pointed to the patches of skin on either side of his nose. This is a common spot of dryness and an area that doesn't get a lot of attention. Do you have a lot of allergies?"

"Uh, yeah...you could say I was more susceptible than most. Why?"

"I can just tell and smoking speeds up the ageing process by more than double."

He raised his eyebrows. Oh she was good. "You know I smoke just from that?" He angled the mirror again. "Do I really look that bad?" Damn him for being just a little vain. 

She chuckled. "No, you don't but it's clear you're not taking care of yourself the way you should be. You still look better than most of the men around your age."

He cocked a grin and met her gaze. "You calling me old now?" Just to see the small spark of shock in her eyes and her cheeks flush momentarily was completely worth it.

"No, of course not that's not what I meant. All I'm saying is one day with me and you'll be People's sexiest man of the year in no time."

He laughed. "Well that's a promise. But I don't really care what a magazine thinks of me." He paused thoughtfully. Hmmm. "Have dinner with me."

She stepped back. "Wha--excuse me?" Her eyes grew wide and Jon was pretty sure he'd just shocked the living hell out of her."

He carefully placed the mirror down and looked at her again. She was cute. "Have dinner with me tonight."

She turned away and picked up her clipboard. "Sorry I can't I'm busy." If she could have run away from him, she would have he thought. Interesting.

Jon noted her apprehension and left it, for now. Maybe she was married? Or maybe had a boyfriend? That would have been an easier and more obvious excuse. And he knew pretty much everyone from around his area, why didn't he know of her?

She circled behind him and placed her hands on his shoulders and he met her in the mirror. "I bet you're all kinds of tense here as well."

He groaned as she kneaded his shoulders, god he was either about to be de-sexed or he was going to have sex with this woman shortly. Since dinner was off, he'd have to work a little harder at the last option. "I'm really not into this sort of thing Devon...it's a little..."
"Girly?" She asked as she continued kneading. 

God, her fingers felt like heaven as she turned tight knots in his shoulders into butter. Massages were not his thing unless for a medicinal purpose with his troublesome back over the years. He snorted, "Right, girly."

"There is nothing girly about looking after you. You obviously need to relax a bit, you feel stiff as planks."

Speaking of stiff...he closed his eyes and let her fingers work their magic. Hell, right now she could have whatever she wanted as long as she kept this up.

"I'll make you a deal." He opened his eyes and grinned. He knew a businesswoman when he saw one so this couldn’t hurt at all.

"Aren't I meant to be making you the deal?"

"You can do whatever you want to me...if you have dinner with me in the week, when you are free."

Her hands retracted and she picked up her clipboard. Damn. "I don't think that's a good idea Jon. I appreciate the offer." She didn't even look at him, she had no ring maybe her boyfriend was overseas in the country he still couldn't pick her accent from? 

He cracked his knuckles, he'd anticipated she would say no so it was time for the heavy artillery. "What if I could get all my band's wives in here for full day spas, my daughter and her friends? It would just take my word."

She like him was a good businesswoman. She'd already successfully gotten him into a chair and lined him up with a stack of procedures off one inquiry about acupuncture. She was smart and he could see her mind adding up numbers of full day spas let alone the word of mouth she'd gain from his circle. Word of mouth, the type of money marketing just couldn't buy. 

She sifted her fingers through his hair examining the ends. "While that is very generous, I can't force you to look after yourself. If you don't want to look every bit as good as I can make you look. Well that's up to you."

Damn she retreated so quickly as well. Now he wanted to know what her deal was even more.  He was arrogant enough to realize that most women would go to dinner with him without a business proposal. And sure, there would always be ones like Devon that just weren't interested but the way she was around him, so on edge and nervous made him wonder if the something that was crackling in the air between them wasn't just one-sided.

Alright then. He knew a good fight when he saw one. He'd do the damn treatments and whatever else she had in-store for him. He knew deep down he'd been shit at looking after himself so he was going to get something out of it and more importantly. He'd have another shot at cracking the cool-shell she was holding up against him tomorrow.
He nodded. "Ok, I'll do the treatments. On one condition."

She pursed her lips together and tucked a strand of sunny blond hair behind her ear. "And that is?"

"You do the treatments obviously apart from the acupuncture of course."

She blew out a breath. Relieved obviously no more dinner dates were offered. "I can do that."

He'd use his mother and all her high society friends to bargain for sex if he had to, he would find a way and it would have to wait till tomorrow. "Great, so how long am I going to be here tomorrow and do I need to kiss my manhood goodbye?"

She giggled and for the first time he saw her eyes dance. Damn, she glowed when she let go and he bet under all that cotton and ties she was all kinds of soft and sexy, just like her hands. "No we don't specialize in de-sexing. I guarantee you'll have all parts still in working order at the end of the day." 

He smiled as he noticed her cheeks flush just a little. "Great." He rubbed the back of his neck. "And if you could throw in another one of those shoulder massages that'd be great." Already he was loose around the neck, not realizing how much tension he'd been holding there.

"Done. Ok, well I won't keep you Jon. I've got to finish my books before heading home."

"No problems...I have to ask and sorry if it's rude but you're not from around here are you?" 

She tucked her hair back and leaned back against the counter. "No, I'm from New Zealand."
"A Kiwi? Wow...you certainly are a long way from home." He decided to leave the rest of the questions around that until their dinner date, that yes he was still certain he was going to get. "Do you live close by?"

She pointed up. "There's a two story loft above the shop."

Wow, she was his neighbour all this time and yet he'd never seen her around or in the local restaurants around this place or anything. Then again he did mix in many different circles so that was justified. "Handy. I don't live far from here either."

"Great so being here at nine is ok?"
He groaned, "Yeah nine is fine."

She laughed and walked back towards her reception and twisted the ring on her finger as she walked. "Ok rock-star, no sleep in tomorrow. I barely sleep in and I’m up by six most mornings."

She almost looked embarrassed giving away too much of herself. She was an intrigue and he had a good handle on people but something about her, he couldn't figure her out. "That's just ridiculous. Only way you'd get me up at six-am would be a good round of morning sex." See he wasn't exactly withholding either and watching her squirm just a little was worth it.

"Well I'll remember that." She didn't look at him though but it was undeniable and that something sizzled in the air between them again.

"Ok, you're all booked in Jon. I'll see you at nine."

He nodded and headed towards the door and stopped. He was going to blame her magic fingers for the parting shot. "Maybe one day you'll see me at six am. Goodnight Devon."  And he slipped out the door grinning like a cat, which had just got the cream.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chapter One: Life as she knows it

She glanced over her shoulder, slipping the last hundred dollar bill on the stack before tucking it safely in the box with the rest. Neat rows of Benjamin Franklins stared back as she snapped the other remaining four stacks in next to them. She skimmed her finger along the edge of the brushed steel box and flicked the heavy combination lock.

“Two hundred and forty three…four…five…” She walked her fingers over the stacks and frowned. That can’t be right.  Papers scattered and she rose out of her chair to make sure bills hadn’t scattered around her on the floor. “Dammit.” She raked her hand through and her hair slid back into the chair, took a deep breath and recounted them.

It was all here. It was always all here.

Jerking the draw open she reached in and felt nothing. Where in the hell was it? She crawled under her desk, five thousand dollars just doesn’t vanish into thin air. Had someone found her stash? Her heart knocked in her chest as she rose and dusted herself off.

Just calm down and think Devon, think!

Jonathan had been in here earlier but he couldn’t have? He wouldn’t have. She paced the room and rubbed her temples, she needed coffee. She needed an insane asylum too but since that wasn’t an option and she wasn’t truly insane coffee would do. She blew out her breath and slid back into her seat and rubbed her palms down her pants.

One by one she lifted each stack of bills out of the box and started again. She smiled as she lifted the square of paper she kept at the very bottom of the box and unfolded it.

Kia Kaha Devon.

Three simple words but one very important message. Stay strong, stay safe.  Her finger traced the edge of the paper before she closed it again. Under the simple note was another small piece of paper, a receipt.

Her shoulders eased as she realized it was a receipt for four thousand and ninety-nine dollars from Bathworks inc. The damn sinks in the extensions! Of course, far out this was ridiculous. She quickly arranged the stacks and slammed the lid down and cranked the lock.

Devon bent down and slid the box into the hollow back of the desk and slid the draw in tucking it safely in the back. She stood, flicked her hair back from her face and applied some lip gloss. It was ok, things were exactly where they needed to be.

The hum of the head driers, the spray of one of the sink stations, and the rattle of curlers outside her door made her smile. That was what she worked for, and that would help her make good on her promise to herself. 

"Dev? Are you in there?"

Bugger! "Coming!" She grabbed her apron and looped the strings around her waist tying it at the front. She quickly fluffed her sunny cap of hair in the mirror and opened the door. Her eyes widened as Jonathan stood in his apron complete with a large slash of red across the front. "What the hell happened?" She leaned in and dragged her finger through it. "It's not blood is it?"

He blinked. "I wish. Mrs Rutherford's hair colour."

Devon coughed. "She's going red? Are you sure?" She grabbed a clip and pinned the sides of her hair back.

Jonathan rolled her eyes. "Yes I'm sure.  I reminded her, oh…three hundred times that she had the perfect shade of blonde, and not to mess with perfection. But no, red is in.  And sure enough she's ready to string me up by my balls for it."

"Oh lord." Devon fussed with his collar until it lay just right. Freaking great, just what she needed. They had a number of appointments to get through today, and she needed to do the end of the month books before the night was out. Her Friday night would consist of wonton soup and stacks of financial bullshit. Wasn't she just the luckiest girl in the world? She could hire an accountant, in-fact she probably should have, but that would mean giving up control of her books and that just wasn’t happening.

"Sorry babes, I thought I had her under control but she's asked for you. Miss Scott." 
Devon smoothed down her apron and linen pants and walked out to the salon floor. The familiar smell of hair toner, honeyed wax and chamomile tea lifted her spirits. She didn’t even have to force a smile. Allure was nestled in the heart of Soho. It had taken two years to get it established. She'd built from the ground up. Starting with basic beauty routines, and then expanding into specialities in hair design, and spa treatments for any budget, she’d finally added on a coffee shop a few months prior. She'd never expected Allure to be as successful as it was.  Jonathan, her manager and best friend, played an integral role in each stepping stone from fledgling new business to what they were now.

Beauty First magazine had called them "Soho's best kept secret in beauty" and raved that her shop had better value than some of the overpriced beauty clinics in New York City. She had just finished an extension out the back which would be fitted for two more rooms where she'd hope to set up microdermabrasion and laser treatments in the fall.

Her heels clicked on the marble floor as she made her way over to Mrs Rutherford's station. Each station was personalized before a client arrived so they were comfortable in their surroundings thanks to a meticulous client database Jonathan had invented. It made Allure classy and personal and kept her customers coming back for more. She forced the smile on her lips and walked in front of the caped woman who was dressing down one of her assistants.

"Mrs Rutherford," she gently swung the chair around to face her.

"Miss Scott, it's about time! Your staff is the most incompetent I've ever seen. If I didn't love this place so much, I would bring my business back to Manhattan."

She kept her voice calm and low. "I'm sorry you feel that way. Mrs Rutherford. Why don't I have Jackie get you a new Perrier and lemon, just the way you like it." She nodded towards Jax, she was a sweet kid that Devon loved, but someone like Mrs Rutherford could chew her up and spit her out. "And we'll discuss what the issue is with your hair. Jonathan tells me you wanted to go red?"

The woman, in her mid-fifties sneered at herself in the mirror. "And look what he's done to me."

Devon sifted her fingers through the woman's cherry red hair. "It's a very dramatic change for you, but it works. It brings out the green in your eyes." Jonathan, as per usual, had done an impeccable job on her hair and there was nothing wrong with the execution at all.
The woman’s rings glinted in the low lights of the salon as she touched where Devon's fingers had been.  "You think so?"

Devon studied her. Evelyn Rutherford was a tough woman. A real estate tycoon in the area and her opinion on anything was always taken seriously. "Honestly, while the red is gorgeous, I do miss your blond. How about we keep the red underneath and we bring the blond through in foils?"

Evelyn held her poker face and nodded. "OK---but you have to stay here while he does it. I'm not convinced.” Her chin lifted and her eyes sharpened. “You're fixing it if it doesn't work. For no charge."

Devon smiled and nodded. "Of course. Jonathan, can you mix a 5G?"

His lips curved and his brow cocked. "Of course boss." Jonathan would ream her later at having the magic touch. Even for rich snobby princesses she managed to always appease people without too much effort. Jackie returned with Mrs R's Perrier and gingerly placed it on the counter.

"Thanks Jax, can you go and make sure the private booths are ready for the facials I've got coming in at three?"

"Of course, Miss Scott." 
She leaned back and surveyed the rest of her salon and as promised, she watched Jonathan apply the new colour to her hair. Out of habit, her gaze drifted out the window as people bustled down Mercer on a Friday afternoon. People watching was an addiction.

Her heart skipped in her chest as man in a sturdy leather jacket, mirrored shades, and cinnamon hair peered in her window. She could feel his eyes, even with the glasses. Her fingers twisted the ties of her apron as she managed a casual smile. He didn't smile, he pulled back looked up at the signage of her shop, pulled out his cell phone and continued walking. 

Well, that was weird. 

Drawn to the window, she peered down the street as he walked away. Her stomach twisted when he stopped, looked back over his shoulder, then picked up his pace. Had he recognized her? She shook off the feeling. You’re being ridiculous.

She wandered to the reception desk and scrolled down the screen for the next few days. Booked solid. She'd taken a risk when she opened this place. Businesses in Soho didn't always take off like hers and she'd lived pretty lean in the beginning. Still did if the apartment upstairs was anything to go by. It was a gorgeous loft style apartment in dire need of a touch up or three. But, in this city reputation was everything, and by word of mouth she'd cultivated a good one and a strong base of clients. It was people like Mrs Rutherford that paid her bills. As much as she hated sucking up, she genuinely loved her job. And this was hers, all of her and not many people could truly say that.

Jonathan joined her after then next batch of colour was left to set and sighed. "Saved my ass again Devon. My balls are thankful." 

 She chuckled and flipped over the visitor’s book to a fresh new page and laid out the sharpie. “That’s my job. Schmooze."

"Do you want me to stay back tonight? I know you've got a lot on."

She smiled, Jonathan would give his right arm for her if he was asked. "No, I'll be fine darling." She leaned in and kissed his cheek. "But thank you."

"I just worry about you all gorgeous, locked away here at night. You know if I wasn't taken - you and me we'd be it right?"

Devon snorted, "I couldn't afford you. Is this new Armani?" She fingered the buttery silk cuff of his shirt.

"Released last week." He grinned proudly.

"Lucky I pay you well," she teased. And he was worth every cent.

He pushed his heavy rimmed glasses up his nose and winked. "Yes ma'am." Jonathan's five foot nine well-built frame was impressive. He dressed immaculately, and shirts were made for his wide shoulders and slim hips. His sandy blond hair was neat, but had some flair, just like him. He had an eye for colour which made him a great stylist and he was the best coffee barrister she knew. His lattes were to-die-for.
Jonathan and her made a great team and it was by chance that he came to work for her in the beginning and looking back now she knew he was every part of the success of the place as she was. Not only was he reliable and trustworthy, they now had a rock solid friendship.
She had a team of five stylists and beauticians. Each of them came through her doors with one specialty, but she'd up skilled them all-and paid them to do it. She was rewarded with nothing but hard work and loyalty. Her staff were her family.

"Can I tempt you with a coffee before your next round of appointments?"

"Oh God, yes! A shot of Hazelnut in whatever you do. You know how I like it."

Jonathan picked up her candy pink travel mug. "You watch the dragon and I'll make the coffee."

Devon bit her lip, what the hell would she do without him? Hopefully she'd never have to find that out. Jonathan pushed a latte into her hands on his way back to Mrs Rutherford. Devon floated around, making sure that the dragon was always in her line of sight. She took three more major bookings for her wedding and special events girl Charlotte. She worked on-call but the amount of bookings she was getting she was going to have to carve out a permanent spot for her. It was spring. She loved New York in the spring. All the pretty flowers bloomed out of flower boxes and mini gardens all over her city. Things just seemed brighter.

She cleared a few emails, scheduled in a couple of appointments, and clicked save. She stood back and her little world ticked over in front of her. Some days she could barely believe she'd built this place from the ground up. She'd come a long way from the girl that arrived in this country from little New Zealand. And now, look at this place. She straightened the cinch of one of the floor length mesh curtains and fluffed up the vase of lavender roses on the table. Perfect, everything inside her own little world that she could control was perfect. 
Jonathan rinsed Mrs Rutherford's hair and Devon watched, sipping the best coffee in the world as he dried out the colour. She smiled against the lid, damn if she wasn't good, the colour was gorgeous.

"Oh my," Mrs Rutherford brought her hand over her mouth. Devon strolled over and flicked a golden strand back from her face. It had blended in and offset the cherry red in a style that bled sophistication on these streets.

"You look gorgeous Mrs Rutherford." 

She nodded still fixated on her image in the mirror. "I do, don't I? Oh Devon...." She carefully patted the sides of her hair as if was made of glass.

Jonathan raised a brow and mouthed, "Devon?"

Devon smiled, she'd never used her first name as long as she could remember. "You’re welcome Mrs Rutherford, now is there anything else we can do for you in the near future?" Always an opportunist, she booked the client for their next appointment, before they left the salon--more often than not.

"Oh yes, I read a brochure on the new mud facials you're giving. You'll have to book me in for one of those, as well as my monthly manicure and pedicure."

Devon nodded and set her coffee down. She twisted her ring as Mrs Rutherford flipped through her organizer muttering about dates and benefits. She didn't know how people lived such a fiercely over-social life. It would drive her nuts. She booked in the dates that Mrs Rutherford was free and smiled as she walked out of the salon, one satisfied client.  She spun around and lifted her mug in salute. "And that is how it is done." She winked and took a sip.

"She called you Devon! I thought the anti-Christ was coming, she never uses first names unless they are her children and even then I've heard terrible things."

She laughed, "Jonathan you really are a drama queen sometimes, how does Logan cope with you?"

Jonathan wiggled his eyebrows, "I'm good in bed."

"You better be spectacular in bed baby, as hell..." Devon chuckled, she did love Jonathan. As a valued employee and as close as she had to a great friend.

"Stop teasing or I'll set you up on a date with one of Logan's friends again..."

Devon's eyes popped and she snorted coffee. "Oh god...no, no truce—you win." She shivered.  God that was not an experience she was lining up to repeat. She glanced at the clock. "OK sunshine, I'm going to prep for my facials, send Bella in when she arrives." She left Jonathan at the fort and walked into the facial room, tea tree and eucalyptus oils were warming and she flicked the lemon candles into life. Perfect, she smiled. Everything was exactly where it was meant to be and just the way she liked it.  

Will you share her secret?