Damon nodded. “Makes sense.”
She drew in a breath. “Her fantasy is to be owned by a man.”
He didn’t outwardly react at all. He merely sat there, watching her, waiting for more.
“I’m unclear as to the precise name for it, but perhaps a sex slave would most suit,” she added in a low tone after a quick glance around to make sure they weren’t overheard. “This presents me with a rather unique problem,” she continued. “Obviously this isn’t something I can set up for her or pay for. I’m not looking for a legal quagmire nor do I fancy spending time in jail for solicitation of prostitution. Faith told me about your . . . The House, and suggested you might be able to help in finding someone suitable for this woman’s . . . fantasy.”
Damon rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. “I see.”
If she’d expected him to be shocked or amused even, she wasn’t prepared for him to take her so seriously.
“Tell me more,” he said as leaned forward in his chair. “You say fantasy. I assume this isn’t a permanent situation she’s seeking.”
“Um, no. Maybe a period of a month. She wants it to be long enough to experience it fully and all the nuances, but it’s purely a fantasy.”
“And Faith thought I would be helpful,” he said with an amused smile.
“Not you personally,” she said hastily. “She mentioned The House and thought you would know someone suitable who wouldn’t mind a temporary arrangement.”
“And what would this man receive in exchange for his . . . service?”
“Well, that’s the hard part,” Serena said.
They were interrupted when the waiter returned with their food. Serena broke off and waited until he’d settled their plates and left before she resumed. She picked up her napkin and laid it across her lap as she glanced back up at Damon.
“I can’t pay him for sex, obviously. I’d draw up a contract outlining the non-sexual aspects of the arrangement. Anything beyond that would purely be left up to the parties involved.”
“But sex would be expected,” Damon said.
“Well, yes, unofficially, of course,” she said hastily.
She tasted the grilled fish and sighed her contentment as the flavor burst in her mouth.
“You’re right. The food’s excellent.”
“I’m glad you approve.”
They ate in silence for a few moments before she peeked back up at him to find him watching her.
“So what do you think?” she asked hesitantly.
“It’s not an unreasonable request,” he said simply. “I could probably find a number of candidates for you to review. I do extensive background checks on all the members of The House but I would, of course, scrutinize a short list of men even further before providing you a list. With their permission, obviously.”
She nodded. “I would want to do my own background check in addition to the information you provide.”
“Of course. I would also ask that you provide me the name of your client so that I can do an appropriate security check on her as well.”
Her eyes widened in surprise.
“If I’m to allow her access to my facilities and ask that one of my members participate in this elaborate fantasy, I have to be assured she is suitable. I understand if she is uncomfortable revealing her identity, but I would require it if I’m to offer my services.”
This was so not going the way she’d envisioned. No, it wasn’t as though she’d be able to keep it a secret forever, but there certainly wasn’t a need to reveal her identity if no suitable candidate could be found.
Buck up and quit being such a wimp.
Clearly she needed a new motivational speech because as inspiration went, that one wasn’t terribly effective.
“I’ll . . . talk with my client and e-mail you the information this afternoon,” she hedged.
“An outline of precisely what she’s wanting would be helpful as well. I’d need her to be as specific as possible so that disappointment isn’t met on either side.”
Serena nodded. “I agree.”
She looked up and locked gazes with Damon. He really was handsome. He looked arrogant but not obnoxiously so. Assured. Confident. Comfortable in his skin.
Subtle power surrounded him like an aura, and she briefly allowed herself to fall into the fantasy of what it would be like to belong to him. Owned.
Just the word sent a shiver straight down her spine. Her groin tightened, and her clit tingled and pulsed until she had to shift in her seat to alleviate the pressure.
His fingers tapped absently at his wineglass, and she watched in fascination as one slid gently over the surface. He had beautiful hands. Long, lean fingers. How would they feel on her skin?
“Is the food not to your liking?”
She blinked and shook her head before staring down at her half-eaten entrée.
“No,” she said hastily. “It’s excellent. Sorry, was just collecting my thoughts.”
They ate the rest of their meal in relative silence, only breaking it occasionally for idle chitchat. When she was finished with the last bite, she checked her watch and grimaced.
“Lunch was lovely, but I really do have to go.”
Damon rose and nodded toward one of the waiters. “I’ll have the car brought around at once. Can I walk you out?”
She stood as he offered his arm, and she smiled at his gallantry.
“Your mother must be proud,” she said as they walked toward the door.
“Well, she is, but why do you say so?” he asked in an amused tone.
“You have impeccable manners.”
He laughed. “My mother would have no compunction about tracking me down and beating me if I ever forgot my manners, especially around a lady. She is a southern belle from the tips of her toes to the top of her head.”
When they reached the entrance, the maitre d’ opened the door, and Serena saw the Bentley parked a few feet away. Damon walked her to the door and opened it before handing her into the backseat. He leaned in, his hand holding the top of the door.
“It was a pleasure, Serena. I look forward to hearing from you.”
She smiled as he withdrew and offered a small wave as the car started in motion. He stood watching her for a long moment before tucking his hands in his pockets and returning to the restaurant.
Nervous little bubbles popped in her belly, and she wilted against the seat like a deflated balloon.
It wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t so bad.
She’d survived, and he’d made it surprisingly easy to talk to him. As they drove back toward her office, a thought occurred to her. Damon owned The House, an establishment that catered to sexual fantasies, which begged the question: What was his?
nstead of returning to his downtown office, Damon drove into North Houston, where the private estate he’d turned into The House was situated. He’d given Serena his e-mail address, and he found himself curious as to the details of her client’s request.
Serena James was intriguing. Stunningly beautiful. Sleek and long-legged with wide, exotic eyes and black hair that fell like silk around her shoulders. His fingers positively itched to touch it, to stroke it and wrap it around his knuckles.
What were her secrets? Her eyes shielded many, with a mysterious aura that enticed a man, beckoned him to come closer, to discover what lay beneath the cool exterior.
Fantasy Incorporated. Interesting business. He wasn’t a big fan of role-playing and pretending, but it was a major part of the goings-on at The House. People liked to escape their reality. Slip away and step outside themselves for a little while. He understood it and encouraged it, but after a while, the façade wore on him.
There were quite a few men he could think of who would be more than happy to guide a woman through an elaborate sexual fantasy and be willing to walk away when it was all said and done. Temporary. An important word and one that held a wealth of meaning in the world of sexual fantasies.
Damon didn’t want temporary, though. He’d long stood back and watched and waited, thinking that if he were patient, the right woman would come along, that the things he wanted would come together. He’d learned patience at a young age, but now he found himself fast running out.
Finding a woman wasn’t the problem. There had been many women—beautiful, intelligent women—who had walked through his life. He’d enjoyed their company, given pleasure and taken it in return, but in the end, they weren’t willing to give him the one thing he wanted most: themselves. Wholly and completely. Into his keeping and care.
He could have settled long before now, but that was the one thing he’d promised himself—that he’d never settle for anything less than what he truly wanted.
The security gate eased open when he inserted his card, and he drove up the winding drive to The House. He parked and got out, blinking as the bright sun flashed over his face. Squinting, he headed for the door. He stepped into the cool, darker interior, enjoying the chill of the air-conditioning as it touched his skin.
The house was empty. None of the staff came in until later in the day. He enjoyed the silence and the solitude that coming in early gave him. His office was comfortable and welcoming, and he was surrounded by things that gave him pleasure.
It was decorated in an old-world style with various models of clipper ships dotting the surfaces of antique end tables. An antique globe rested on his desk, and decorating his walls were paintings of ancient ships, fishing boats and yellowed treasure maps.
He smiled, as he did every time he entered his office, because this was where he felt at home. On his desk were several pieces of mail, but on top was a pale yellow envelope that looked as delicate and feminine as the sender.
He sat down and picked up the envelope, his smile becoming broader. His mom. Who refused to stride into the twenty-first century and use more modern methods of communication such as e-mail or a text message, God forbid. No, she clung stubbornly to her snail mail and said there was no substitute for receiving a handwritten letter in the mail.
And maybe she was right, because he looked forward to her letters. They were always filled with warmth and love, and her voice rippled off the pages as though she were sitting across from him, giving him a motherly lecture.
He’d have to call her later. They could sit and talk on the phone while they enjoyed a glass of wine. The image of her sitting on the wooden deck that overlooked the cypress-knobbed bayou in the Louisiana home he’d grown up in filled him with homesickness.
He hadn’t returned home but once since his father’s death two years ago, and it had been brief. It had been too hard to face his childhood home without his father’s larger-than-life presence.
It was time to go back.
Usually, he embraced the silence of the afternoon and early evening hours, but today, he found it smothering and unsettling. He reached for the remote lying on his desk and punched one of the buttons.
The gentle strains of classical music filled his office, swelling and reverberating off the walls with a soft echo. He relaxed into his chair and leaned back, sliding his hands behind his neck to cup the base of his head.
He closed his eyes and allowed the music to soothe him. Why he suddenly felt restless and agitated, he couldn’t say. But it didn’t alter the fact that he felt as cagey as a lion in captivity.
After a moment, he leaned forward to glance over the letter one more time before folding it carefully. He opened his desk and placed it atop the other pastel-colored envelopes from his mother.
Straightening in his seat, he toggled the mouse to make the screen saver on his desktop monitor go away and then clicked to open his e-mail.
He spent several minutes working down the messages in his in-box. Most were minor issues easily dealt with. The few that required further attention, he forwarded to his personal assistant.
A new message popped to the bottom, and he saw Serena’s name in the sender field. Intrigued, he clicked to open it.
Below is a detailed letter outlining the requirements of the fantasy. Feel free to forward this on to your prospective choice.
Damon scrolled lower to see the letter embedded within the e-mail itself.
To be honest, I feel embarrassed to be revealing my deepest secrets to a stranger, even more embarrassed that I am relying on you to fulfill a fantasy I am barely able to admit to myself, much less anyone else.
How can I explain the urge that overcomes me when I imagine being owned by a man? Possessed. Cherished and cared for. I have nothing missing in my life to suggest such a radical desire for sexual slavery. No deep psychological reasons that feed the appetite for submission. Some things just are, and for me, this is one of them.
I think often of my fantasies. Usually late at night in the quiet of the dark, they come to me, seductive and alluring. I imagine the scene well, how it all starts.
I’m in a room filled with hungry men. The appetite for carnal pleasures lies heavy, like a fog. I am naked save for the ropes binding my hands behind my back. And I wait. For you.
I am to be purchased this night, but by whom? Many men are eager to pay a high price for the pleasure of owning me. It thrills me and frightens me all at once. I wait with trembling legs, my eyes cast downward, for I hear the excited murmurs around me.
And then you enter. I don’t see you, but rather I feel you the moment you come into the room. There is a subtle shift in power, and the others sense it as well. I can feel them holding their breath as they look to you. And then I lift my gaze.
You are staring at me from across the room. The first glance is a shock to my system, for I see the promise in your eyes. You want me and you will have me.
There is arrogance in your manner as you stride with purpose toward me. You stop a few feet away and speak with my keeper. I strain to listen. I am eager to hear what you are saying, but you keep your voice too low.
And then you move toward me once more, and I shiver as each step brings you closer until you stop mere inches from my naked body. You reach out and tangle your hand in my hair, tilting my head upward until my neck is exposed and vulnerable to you. There is satisfaction in your eyes, as if you find me pleasing, a fact that brings me great satisfaction. I find myself wanting to please you more than anything I’ve desired before.
You lean closer still until your lips hover precariously over mine, and then you whisper, “You will be mine.”
As you let me go and ease away, I swallow back the surge of excitement. But more than eagerness, it is need that fills me. A need to belong to you. I want it with my every breath.
A foreign hand tugs at my bound wrists, and I silently protest as I am guided away from you. But your gaze follows me, and promise burns brightly in your eyes. You will own me.
I stumble toward the front of the room as someone in the distance announces that the bidding will begin. My back is to everyone until I am ordered to turn around, and I do so, shyly.
I scan the men assembled and take in their lustful stares, but it is you I search for, you I want. My breath catches in my throat and tiny bubbles of panic fire in my stomach. I don’t see you anywhere.
One man bids and then another, and still I don’t hear you. For several tense minutes, the calls are heard and the price is increased. Then a pause. Silence falls. I hear my keeper as if there is not another as he prepares to close the bidding.
My eyes close as disappointment tightens my chest.
And then I hear you. Your firm voice carries above the quiet murmurs of those gathered. You state an impossible sum, much higher than the bids before, and it is clear that you have no intention of letting go of your prize.
Joy explodes in my soul, for I realize now that I will belong to you. My skin comes alive, itchy, and I’m barely able to contain my excitement. I am reprimanded by my keeper, but it is you I will answer to and no other.
There is a flurry as the bidders processes your offer, but no one comes forward to top it. My keeper smiles, for he has fetched a handsome price for me this night.
He calls an end to the bidding, and you start forward. The crowd parts for you as you stroll to the front. My keeper pushes me to my knees and reminds me to show you proper respect. I need no reminder and go gracefully to my knees as I await your command.
“Look at me,” you say in a gentle tone, but one that brooks no argument.
I tilt my head upward as you stand over me, strong, powerful. Your hand caresses my cheek, and I close my eyes as I nuzzle into your palm. Your touch is magic. Warm and sensual, it begins a fire deep in my loins.
You pull your hand away, and your fingers go to your pants. You unbutton the fly and ease the zipper down. For a moment, your hand disappears as it dips inside. You pull your cock out of confinement. It bobs free in front of my face. You’re long and thick, rigid with arousal and your musky scent surrounds me.
You stroke once and then once again, up and down the length as you guide yourself closer to me. My mouth waters, and I eagerly part my lips, my need to taste you overwhelming.
One hand slides into my hair and firmly cups my head, holding me in place. Sharp tingles dance down my spine and spread chill bumps over my skin.
“Open for me,” you command.
I obey. There isn’t a single thought of disobedience in my mind. I want only to please you and to be pleasured by you. You hold your cock with one hand and slide deep into my mouth as you pull my head to you with your other hand.
Your taste explodes on my tongue. All male. So rugged and earthy. You are firm and yet soft in my mouth. The contrast fascinates me and makes me hunger for more.
I suck you in deeper and run my tongue over your length, but you withdraw and squeeze my jaw as a gentle reminder that you are in control, not me. I relax and give myself over to your authority. I allow you to set the pace and to use my mouth as you wish.
Deeper you thrust, sinking to the back of my throat and pausing. I swallow around you, and I feel the pleasure it gives you. That pleases me.
My body is no longer my own. It sings sharply to a tune that only you play. My breasts are swollen, my nipples painfully erect. When you reach down to pluck one stiff peak, it nearly brings my orgasm crashing around me.
I gasp for breath and for control, for I have not brought you to completion yet. My pussy burns as if someone holds a fire to it. Each nerve is so tightly held that any stimulation will be unbearable, I fear.
You fill me again and again, your cock sliding so elegantly across my tongue. Then you become more urgent, your thrusts more forceful. You are close. Both of your hands grip my head, tangled in my hair as you pull me to meet each forward movement.
Your heated whispers fall on my ears, warm like honey and just as sweet. And then you flood my mouth with your release. Your hands become more gentle as they cup and stroke my face. Tenderness is in your touch as you murmur that I have pleased you.
I lovingly coax every drop from your erection before you finally pull away.
My body screams for yours. Your pleasure is my own. You lean down and kiss me softly on top of the head, and then you help me to my feet. Your hands trail down my body and up again as you explore my softness.
You take a nipple between your fingers and roll experimentally. With just a look, you command my keeper, and he puts his hands around my shoulders to steady me as your hands drift lower.
My breath draws sharply in when your fingers delve between my legs to the wetness at my entrance. You rub across my clit, and I moan. My legs tremble and threaten to collapse, but my keeper holds me up for you.
“You will come for me,” you tell me.
Oh yes, I will come.
I try to breathe, but it’s like inhaling fire. The air scorches my lungs and catches in my chest.
With your other hand, you pluck at my nipples, first one, and then the other.
“Do not let her fall,” you caution my keeper, and his hands tighten at my shoulders.
You slide your fingers through my wetness, back and forth over my aching clit and then to my opening, where you tease unmercifully.
“Do you fantasize about having my cock buried inside you?” you ask in a silky tone.
“Yes,” I gasp. “I want it more than anything.”
You smile and increase the pressure of your fingers. “Soon. Soon you will have all of me. For now I want you to come with your keeper holding you for me, for it is the last time another man will ever touch you. You are mine now.”
Your words more than your touch send my orgasm racing through my groin. It is frightening and splendid in equal parts as I shatter. My keeper’s hands are firm around me as I buck and writhe. My knees threaten to buckle but you both hold me upright.
When the last waves of my release have broken, you command my keeper to release me. There is formality to your actions as you see to the change in ownership. I am not as of yet untied, but you take my arm and lead me away.
Outside the room, you gently untie my arms and then wrap a robe around me to shield my nudity from other eyes. Though you say nothing, I sense your possessiveness when it comes to me.
As we leave, you tell me once again that I am yours, and I am happy to hear it, for I am yours now, and glad to be so.