Please enjoy this scene from the comic mystery novel RED HOT LIBERTY. Broker's Best of Blackstone is the real estate office where Molly O'Malley works. Sexy Englishman Robin is her new assistant. Talisman is Molly's dog. Jake is the managing broker. Ted is the office Trekkie. Brooklyn is a rookie with creative marketing ideas.
When Molly pulled up to the office on Monday morning, she was surprised to see the outdoor marquee that was normally used to advertise new house listings had been changed to read OUR BACHELOR BROKERS ARE A BUNCH OF STUDS!
Robin pulled up next to her. They got out of their cars and regarded the sign with mutual wonder.
"I don't even need Mum's gift to tell me that somehow Brooklyn's involved in this," Robin said.
Talisman had ridden with Robin. He helped her out of the car, adjusted her new SEMPER FIDO scarf, and they entered the lobby where they were met by a chaotic crowd of brokers amid the forest of ecologically-friendly greenery. Jake stood in the middle of the group tugging on his beard. Brooklyn was at his side.
"It is infernal!" Lois said. "Take it down this instant."
Coco threw her hand to her hip. "In all my years in this industry, I've never seen anything more unprofessional."
Paula pointed at Brooklyn. "Is this her doing? I swear that she's an undercover agent from another brokerage firm out to entrap us in some sort of vice sting in order to ruin our company's reputation."
"What does the sign mean?" Mrs. Rosen asked.
"It means that some of us are very studly," Ted said. "It's nice to finally be acknowledged for all our many talents."
"You're an ass," Babylon told him.
"Okay, everyone settle down," Jake said. "See folks, here's the thing. Brooklyn ... well, Brooklyn, do you want to tell them?"
Brooklyn hopped up on a chair and flashed everyone her perky smile. "In these tough economic times, companies like ours need to think outside the box in order to attract clients. I don't know if any of you know this, but my mother's the editor of the New York-based magazine Women at Play."
Surprise rippled through the room. Women at Play was one of the most popular women's magazines for the chic and sophisticated. Its content included articles about the world's most eligible bachelors, hot vacation spots, top fashion trends, and the best in women's entertainment.
Brooklyn's smile broadened. "Mom's going to do a feature called 'The Bachelors of Broker's Best.' Jake, Ted, and Robin are going to be showcased."
Molly gave Robin a startled look.
He shrugged and shook his head.
Molly glanced at Jake. He didn't appear to be surprised. Actually, he had an expression she had never before seen him wear—he looked all puffed up like a proud peacock.
"To boldly go where no Broker's Best stud has gone before," Ted said.
Coco shook her head. "Lord have mercy."
"Women at Play sent out a press release about them coming to town for the photo shoot," Brooklyn said. "The Blackstone Daily News is running a story about it in this morning's paper. We'll get lots of great press that can only benefit us all."
"You're not going to participate in this, are you?" Molly asked Robin.
His smile was sheepish. "Well, it is a bit flattering, don't you think?"
Molly rolled her eyes. Men and their easily stroked egos. It was pitiful.
The crowded lobby erupted in chaos once again.
Brilliant Bouncing Brooklyn jumped up and down and waved her arms to regain everyone's attention. "Oh, and I'd like to take this opportunity to make an announcement of my own. Also featured in the 'Broker's Best Bachelor' edition of Women at Play will be an article about my first novel that's coming out this spring. It's called Blue and is an eco-erotic tale about the green movement."
A cacophony filled the lobby once again.
Jessie's shrill voice overrode the chaos. "The phone's ringing; will you all please shut up!"
Somewhere behind the green wall of foliage that shrouded the reception desk, Jessie's phones were ringing like crazy. She could be heard struggling to handle the flood.
Molly pushed her way through people and plants to answer one of the phones. "Broker's Best. May I help you?"
A somewhat breathless woman's voice on the other end said, "I've been trying to decide what company to list my house with and, well—" she giggled, "—I saw the morning paper and, well, I'd like to have one your bachelor brokers come out and do it."
Molly rolled her eyes again and took down the information. When she hung up, she raised the note and said, "This lead is for one of our bunch of studs."
Ted quickly made his way through the room to grab it from her hand. Paraphrasing one of his favorite Trekisms, he held it aloft and said, "Let history never forget the name, Broker's Best."