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"Penthouse?" she asked

Ric felt like the infatuated detective in that classic film, who fell in love with the portrait of a dead woman He almost stumbled over his feet in confusion He’d have to be brain dead not to react to this parade of beautiful woain before his eyes into everything his teen self had fixated on "Laura" led him on a few steps, then stopped and turned to face him

"Will it be just us?" she asked

She had beconized her froht films because she was a favorite of Delilah’s for a bunch of reasons

First, she was the rare wolee in that Second, she was the rare Hollywood glaifts She’d helped invent an early version of frequency hopping with a piano roll to change between eighty-eight frequencies That musical-mathematical duet had helped crack codes in WWII and had led to Wi-Fi, aital-everything It didn’t hurt that Lamarr’s title role in the sexy Biblical epicfilm of its year

Brains and beauty, just like his Delilah

"Just us?" Hedy repeated The most beautiful woman in the world in her day was evenconfused andunfaithful "Nothing kinky," he added hoarsely, as if he was actually conte

She had stopped walking Gliding, you’d really describe it "A one-woht in my necklace clasp" She lifted it to bare her neck

He reached to touch it, experimentally Warin neck as white as Delilah’s, or was hers as white as the Hedy Lamarr CinSim’s? He wantedneeded to press a kiss on it,sideand it changed into black satin brocade in his palhtly raised pattern over a shape a blind man would lust for

Ric stu invisibly into the air? This woman’s black hair was coiled like a satin snake into a luxuriant sort of bun, her figure as y as the long narrow satin gown she wore, which was slit to the top of a white thigh

That’s what Chinese dragon ladies had worn for decades up to now Ric recognized the gown, called a cheongsalobal customs, but Delilah would know styleand Delilah would kill him if she knehat he’d walked into like any horny postadolescent guy

"Don’t stop now," the CinSi over her shoulder Her eyebrows and eye ed slashes on her white face "Opiunized the nose, chin, and cheekbones under the cinematic makeup

He stepped back, horrified

This was Myrna Loy in one of her Asian ferammed to lust after Nick Charles’s film wife, Nora

That felt even creepier No way could he tell hiuise He wasn’t a home-breaker, not even a CinSim home-breaker

"Iknow you," he said "You’re about as Asian as I a

The Myrna Loy CinSim blinked "You haven’t been here before"


"It wasn’t anything I said or did?"

"I found ‘opiu Trust me"

"And you don’t want to?"

"I won’t," he answered honestly

"I’ve never had to entertain awon’t"

"I’inal poise and filbusters

"You look perfectly functional In fact, you look perfect A tasty Anglo adventurer in a world of opiu, but politically incorrect down to yourernails"

"You’d be surprised what these can do in an opium bed"

"No, I wouldn’t be Delilah would knoho you’re playing--"

"I a inside you that longs for akinder, gentler life than ‘entertaining’ any ?"

The black lipsticked CinSi of a bore"

"He is?"

"Myenforcer, I suppose you’d say I have been schooled in current expressions"

"That’s ugly to hear Do you have any choice about what you do here?"

"Of course not It’s a role"

"Don’t you long for a different one?"

She considered "I do it very well It doesn’t seeet custoive anything to escape this artificial atmosphere? To be a witty and devoted wife, for example?"

"I am Fa Lo See, I takethe helpless white uage you screa ht her wrists in an irip Delilah would knohat breed of movie villainess this was, Myrna Loy underneath it or not

"Is this an S&M level? Why on earth would I end up here?" He looked around, encountering the sareeted him outside the elevator "Why am I here?"

"Perhaps merely because I requirecustomers"

Her exotic features had turned satanic Did custoet what they wanted, or did they "serve" the CinSim characters? That was not what he’d co he’d learned: There was no Myrna/Nora here to save Only his own skin

If he’d stuck with the other woirl or city-sophisticate setting Recognizing and "picking" the Loy CinSioing to get him pulp-fiction treatment He knehat he should do, where he should be next