Sweet Persuasion(10)

By: Maya Banks

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?


Instead 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.

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