Sweet Persuasion(9)

By: Maya Banks

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.

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