Home > The Tycoon's Seduction Plan

The Tycoon's Seduction Plan
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - The Tycoon's Seduction Plan

The Tycoon's Seduction Plan
Elizabeth Lennox



Chapter 1

Lana stared at her editor in horror. “You want me to change what?” she asked, her body tense and almost shivering with the revulsion she was feeling. The bland cream walls receded and all she could see was the red glare of humiliation, that sickening feeling of dread and horror as the painful memories came back to haunt her.

“Sex,” Nancy Kirkpatrick, Lana’s editor replied succinctly, a grin forming on her face as she watched her favorite writer’s shocked reaction. “We need sultry, exciting, passionate sex scenes,” she went on to clarify.

Lana blinked and stared. Had her friend and mentor just said the one word in the English language which could horrify her more than any other? Spiders, sharks, snakes….ick. Public speaking…terrifying. But sex? Oh no! That one word sent her mind into a tailspin of painful memories.

Lana suspected that her mouth had fallen open but she couldn’t do anything to change her stunned reaction. That word hadn’t really just been uttered, she told herself. It was impossible. Lana tried to convince herself that Nancy had said something else, something that probably rhymed with the word “sex”, all the while wondering if it was possible to spontaneously explode from anger and frustration.

Snapping her mouth closed, Lana shook her head, as if she were trying to clear it. “Could you repeat what you just said?” Lana asked as politely as possible, ignoring the trembling that had started in her stomach and was quickly spreading outward.

Nancy chuckled, misunderstanding Lana’s expression but she was genuinely amused at her stunned features. “It isn’t like I just said you need to murder the hero, Lana. The stories just need more sex, more ‘oomph’,” Nancy replied encouragingly. “Just add a few sex scenes and everything will be perfect!”

It hadn’t been a bad dream, Lana realized. Nancy really had said The Word. Multiple times, actually. It was a word, a concept that Lana had done her best to banish from her mind for the past couple of years. Just hearing it made Lana feel queasy. She shook her head, trying to dispel the nausea that was threatening to overwhelm her.

Closing her eyes, she counted to three before opening them again. Nancy was still watching her curiously and Lana dropped her gaze to her hands which were folded demurely in her lap. Taking a deep breath, she accepted that her next statement was potentially life altering, but she just couldn’t change that. “I can’t do it. It’s just not possible.”

Nancy laughed, not understanding the depth of Lana’s fears. “Of course it’s possible. I’m sure you have a boyfriend,” she replied, eying Lana’s long blond hair, almond shaped blue eyes and full pouty lips. If Nancy had to name one person who was genuinely beautiful inside and out, it would be this gorgeous woman sitting in her office. She lifted one shoulder casually and said, “Just ask him to help you come up with some new ideas. I doubt he’ll mind reading about his sexual prowess in a romance novel in a couple of months.”

Lana licked her dry lips and shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t have a boyfriend and what’s more, her husband had considered her impossibly frigid in bed. So even if Lana were to go out right now and find a man, the experience would be doomed to failure. She just wasn’t a sexual creature. She’d never been interested in sex in any way and would be completely okay if she never had to deal with the issue again in her life. Unless it meant being homeless, she thought, looking at her editor with rising panic.

Lana’s huge blue eyes pleaded with her editor. “But why?” she asked, needing to understand this new change in policy. “Why, all of a sudden, do I need to add sex to my novels?” She stood up and walked to the window of the office, wishing it were big enough to pace in. Unfortunately, the stacks of manuals, plus desk and chairs took up most of the available space so nervous pacing wasn’t an option. Getting a window office in New York was a prime deal. Only the extremely well paid executives rated large offices. “I thought my stories were good just the way they are, without the sex scenes.” She frantically looked around but salvation didn’t magically appear in the office while her hands waved in the air helplessly, “I mean, isn’t just the implication of sex good enough? It always has been in the past.” She crossed her arms over her chest in a defensive move as she looked back at Nancy. “Don’t women want to imagine things instead of being told outright what is going on?”

Nancy’s eyes slid away and she sighed. “Apparently, sales have been dropping for the past year so we’ve all been ordered to pull in more sex scenes.” Nancy grimaced as she sat back in her chair, obviously resigned. “You know the old line; sex, money and murder sell.”

Economics? Finally, this was something she could understand; something she could sink her teeth into. Having been broke before, desperate for her next meal and a way to pay her rent, she could easily understand money. “Yes, but the economy will pick up. I don’t see why an entire company needs to alter its established practices just on an economic whim which will be over soon anyway. Where’s the integrity? Will the readers who like subtlety want to follow us back when we switch to the non-sexual, but wonderfully romantic plots again?” She sank into the chair she’d just vacated since pacing was useless.

Nancy shook her head, sighing with sadness and frustration. “It isn’t just the economy, Lana. We’ve been bought out because of our diminishing sales,” Nancy explained painfully. “I’ve seen how the sales figures had been slipping over the past several months but I hadn’t thought much about it. Just like you, I thought it was only because of the economy and things would pick up soon. But the rest of the industry isn’t feeling the same trend. In fact, the publishing world is flourishing. It’s just us and we’ve now been bought out by one of the big corporations with huge resources that could really help us out with advertising and other expenses. Our line is going away and only those authors who can produce romances with hot, steamy sex will be published in the future.”

Lana felt as if a steel band were wrapping around her chest. It was difficult to breathe and she wanted to scream out or cry, she wasn’t sure which. Looking at her editor, she knew that this wasn’t a battle she was going to win. She had to deal with this latest obstacle, no matter how overwhelming it appeared right at the moment. How she was going to deal with it, well, she wasn’t exactly sure. Her mind wanted screaming and arguing but logic told her that she’d get no where. Nancy had mentioned that a big corporation had bought out the publishing company and that meant one thing to Lana; profit won out over loyalty.

Instead of screaming about the unfairness of the situation, she pasted a smile on her face and stood up. Forcing a bright, optimistic expression to remain even though it felt as if her cheeks were going to fall off with the pain of the exercise, she maintained the attitude, not wanting Nancy to see inside too easily. “Okay, then I think I have some more work to do, don’t I?” She took Nancy’s hand and shook it. “Thanks for your advice,” she said and turned to leave the office.

Lana could feel Nancy’s worried eyes on her back but she lifted her chin and walked out of the room with as much dignity as possible. The hallways were teeming with traffic as people moved busily from one task to another. Everyone looked so harried that she didn’t want to break down in front of them. With a stiff upper lip, she moved along the carpet, praying in her mind to just reach the elevators and she could relax. It became a mantra in her head, echoing with each step she took.

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