White Knight Black Knight by Maggie CarpenterWHITE KNIGHT, BLACK KNIGHT, is a steamy, compelling tale of Dominance and submission, good versus evil, a woman's courage, a man's faith, and their souls' enduring love.
Zander Davis, a loving, romantic Dominant, has suppressed his true nature for many years, but a chance encounter with a dark-haired, green-eyed, Brazilian beauty named Gabriela Costa sets to flame the sleeping embers of his fiery, sensuous soul. Though their connection is immediate and deep, they both know Zander must walk away. He bids her a bittersweet farewell, thinking he will never see her again, but the future holds shocking surprises for them both.
While engrossed in their conversation, neither noticed a man scowling at them, a man filled with an egomaniacal, jealous rage; Gabriela was supposed to have waited for him.
His name is Connor Matthews, and he is a conniving, narcissistic sadist who employs social media as his hunting ground, seeking vulnerable, naive, young women. Claiming to be a Dominant, using the screen name Black Knight 007, he carefully selects and nurtures his victim. Once under his roof, his charming facade falls away as he cruelly forces her into domestic servitude, and uses her for his perverted sexual needs.
But Zander and Gabriela will not be the only ones to experience a twist of fate. When Karma comes calling, Connor Matthews discovers the old adage, be careful what you wish for, to be horrifyingly true.
WHITE KNIGHT, BLACK KNIGHT, is a steamy, compelling tale of Dominance and submission, good versus evil, a woman's courage, a man's faith, and their souls' enduring love.
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White Knight Black Knight (Sample Chapter)
Can their enduring love overcome evil?
Copyright 2013 Dark Secrets Press and Maggie Carpenter
Zander Davis pushed open the tall, heavy glass door of his lawyer’s office and walked out into the street. His trench coat hung open, and when the light splattering of rain danced around his feet, he buttoned it up, pulled the belt tight around his waist, and glanced up at the threatening sky.
There were no dramatically formed clouds, just a flat canvas of slate grey, and he knew the color was a harbinger of heavy rain about to descend upon the city. He smiled. The rain would not just wash the dirt from the streets and the smog from the air, it would shower the dreariness and fatigue from his soul. After months of watching tears flow and defending himself against false accusations, his divorce was final.
Ignoring the popping umbrellas and scurrying women worried about their coiffed hair and expensive shoes, he marched the four blocks to his favorite watering hole with a lightness of being he couldn’t ever remember feeling. It wasn’t that he hadn’t loved his wife, he had. Not passionately, but with a caring borne from a life together, and he’d spent hours cursing himself, wishing he was different, despising the hurt he had caused. Mary was patient and kind, a wonderful mother and comfortable companion, and deserved none of the pain he’d inflicted, but after years of covert unhappiness he had been forced to admit that he could no longer live with the itch his marriage could not scratch.
He’d suppressed the ache and the heavy craving since graduating from college. Though he’d often fantasized during his teens, college was where his addiction had taken hold.
His girlfriend would crawl across his lap and ask him to slap her naked backside. Joyfully he’d spank her until her skin was bright pink, and her pussy swollen and dripping with hunger. Only then would he slide inside her luscious depths and stroke her mercilessly, holding back their mutual orgasms until she was almost sobbing. When he would finally permit their release, the tsunami would crash, swirling them into a whitewash of orgasmic splendor.
They’d eagerly experimented with blindfolds and bondage, and after each episode his addiction gained strength. The decadent play wasn’t just something he liked, or even loved, he came to understand it was who he was.
It wasn’t long after college ended and they were forced to separate, that they learned long-distance relationships were frustrating at best. A few months later, he’d met Mary.
She was adorable, warm and loving, and he’d convinced himself that over time he would seduce her into a path of sexual exploration, guiding her through the thrills and spills of his dark, exotic desires, but as the months slipped by, and the years saw the birth of their children, his hopes evaporated.
Mary’s sexual appetite never grew to match his own; quite the contrary. Any attempts he made to gently initiate her into his realm of erotic pleasures were met with puzzled, confused frowns, so he’d adjusted, and learned to live his life of comfort and warmth, squelching the unwelcome decadent thoughts the moment they threatened to surface.
A real estate developer, Zander had started his business with strip-malls, moved on to shopping centers, and graduated to office-parks. He had accumulated wealth, much of which he bestowed upon Mary, which wasn’t completely altruistic, having helped assuage his guilt.
Finally single, able to search out women who were the lace to his leather, he had no idea where to begin, though the internet provided an intriguing starting place
The light shower had turned into a significant downpour, and hurriedly stepping through the door into the shelter of the bar, he removed his coat and hung it on the rack. Moving across to the counter he settled on the barstool and smiled at Gus, the bartender.
“The usual?” Gus asked.
“No. No more ‘usuals’ for me, Gus. Pour me a snifter of your most expensive brandy.”
“You got it, boss,” Gus smiled. “Special night?”
“The beginning of the rest of my life,” Zander replied.
Swirling the warm, amber liquor, he raised his glass in a private toast to the woman who had turned his comfortable existence upside-down. A stunningly gorgeous creature, who, in one hour, two years before, had profoundly affected him; a woman who was responsible for waking his dark shadow from its restless sleep.
At the time he’d been married just over twelve years, and he was meeting a friend, Nick Cordova, at an English pub around the corner from his office. Zander had been nursing a beer, discussing the expansion plans for his business and how Nick might become a part of them, when an exotic looking, black-haired woman had perched herself on the barstool next to him. Her heavy-lidded, deep green eyes had sparkled up at him seductively.
Zander knew he was attractive to the opposite sex, though he wasn’t quite sure why. He had never thought himself particularly handsome, nor was he tall, standing around 5’11, maybe 6’ on a good day, but Nick, a single guy who never lacked female company, had told him it was because Zander was the strong, silent type, and possessed a sardonic grin that women found particularly appealing.
“Hello,” Zander said, not wishing to appear rude.
“Hello,” she replied.
As their eyes connected, he’d felt something, a stirring in his belly, and he unexpectedly found himself drawn to her thick, moist, eminently kissable lips.
“Hi,” Nick smiled over Zander’s shoulder. “I’m Nick, can I offer you a drink?”
“My name is Gabriela, and thank you, no. I’m waiting for someone.”
“Lucky man,” Zander commented, then immediately frowned, silently scolding himself for having been inappropriately flirtatious. It wasn’t like him, but the words had spilled out, seemingly of their own accord.
“Thank you, and you have a happy woman at home,” she remarked, nodding at his wedding ring.
“Yes, I do,” Zander replied, looking away, his discomfort growing.
She had an accent, not one Zander could place, but as they talked, Nick controlling most of the conversation, she revealed she was from Brazil. As Zander finished his beer and ordered another, he consciously made an effort to relax.
Okay, so she’s a beauty, and those eyes, man, but I’m married, and it’s foolish to even consider-
“I cannot find the right man here,” she suddenly declared, breaking into this thoughts.
“You tell me what kind of man you want, and I’ll be him,” Nick offered enthusiastically.
She eyed him suspiciously, then broke into a laugh.
“I think it’s not you. I think you would not know what to do with me.”
Nick rolled his eyes in frustration.
“Please, won’t you at least give me a chance?” he begged. “I may not be an old man like my friend here, but I what I lack in years I make up for in effort,” he winked.
Zander shot his friend a scowl. Nick may have been several years his junior, but he didn’t appreciate being called ‘old.’
“You don’t understand,” Gabriela remarked softly. “The man I look for doesn’t beg a woman, not for anything. It is the woman who begs him.”
Zander had felt a jolt, a sharp, stabbing, prickling in his loins, and glancing back at her, he had an overwhelming desire to see her do just that; beg him.
Beg him to kiss her.
Beg him to suck his cock.
Beg him to fuck her.
Heat traveled across his face, and shocked at his unpredictable and profound response, he quickly downed a large gulp of his fresh beer.
“Ah, so, I was right,” she breathed, touching his hand. “You know what I am speaking about.”
A slice of electricity traveled up his arm and into his heart, making it thump against his chest, and an odd panic pulsed through his veins.
“What?” Nick demanded. “What do you know, Zander?”
“I know nothing. I’m Sergeant Shultz,” he hastily replied.
“Who is this sergeant?” Gabriela frowned.
“Zander has an addiction to old television shows,” Nick chuckled. “Shultz is just a character in one of them.”
“I think Zander has another addiction,” she purred.
“I think Gabriela has an overactive imagination,” Zander remarked brusquely, and turning to face her, added, “and I think she should keep her inaccurate and inappropriate comments to herself.”
The gorgeous girl blushed furiously and dropped her eyes, her submissive reaction propelling the intense and unexpected stirring in Zander’s cock to become almost unbearable. He ached to take her by the elbow, guide her to a table in a dark corner, and whisper in her ear as he traveled his hand covertly up her skirt to tease between her legs. It was the ringing of Nick’s phone that broke the spell, and Zander gratefully took another large swallow of his drink.
“Sorry, I have to take this,” Nick announced, and hurried away for some privacy.
“Your friend is quite a playboy I think,” she murmured, her eyes remaining downcast.
“He’s young and single, and apparently likes it that way,” Zander remarked, barely glancing at her. Her eyes were utterly mesmerizing, and he didn’t think he could look at her and remain centered and calm.
“I’m sorry if I offended you,” she apologized softly.
“You didn’t offend me, and I probably overreacted.”
“Would you like to sit at a table?” she asked.
Zander could feel the gaze from her deep, quizzical, dazzling green eyes.
“Aren’t you waiting for someone?” Zander inquired, continuing to stare at the display of the drink bottles behind the bar, wishing he could take her up on the offer.
“Yes, but he is so late. I wonder if he is coming.”
You could just sit and chat, there’s no harm in having a quiet conversation with someone.
The reassuring thoughts swirled in his head, and taking a silent, deep breath, he turned and looked back at her; it happened again; the stirring, the odd ‘something’ in his belly.
You are so gorgeous...
“So you will sit with me?” she repeated, smiling her invitation. “Just until this man arrives? If he doesn’t show up soon I will leave anyway,” she declared.
Zander knew Nick would be a while. He always was when he answered his phone and excused himself for privacy.
“Sure, why not?” he smiled back, surrendering to the invisible pull, pretending a relaxation he didn’t feel.
They had settled into a corner table and ended up chatting for over an hour. Zander found her smart and funny, charming, and sexy as hell, and when he realized how much time had passed he shook his head ruefully.
“I really need to get home,” he admitted.
“May I ask you something personal?” Gabriela queried softly, “I don’t wish to pry, but...”
“It’s okay,” Zander assured her.
On his fourth beer, he was more than slightly buzzed, and he had given himself over to the conversation, and to her, promising himself it was for that one time only; nothing would follow, nothing at all.
“You can ask me anything.”
“You are what I said, aren’t you? You like things different.”
Zander couldn’t stop the swell in his heart. He hadn’t spoken to anyone about his dark kink since college, and this enthralling creature was asking him to open up. It was a door through which he absolutely had to walk.
“Yes, Gabriela, I like things different,” he confessed, using her charmingly crooked phrase.
“And if a girl is naughty?” she pressed.
“If a girl is naughty, she gets spanked,” he sighed, feeling a huge relief just saying the words, talking about what he loved, what he craved, what he needed, and what he fervently missed.
“And you like her to beg,” she continued, dropping her voice.
Zander leaned forward, propping his chin up with his hand, his elbow resting on the table, and staring at her, lost himself in her extraordinary emerald eyes.
“Yes, I do,” he began, feeling his dark shadow roaring to life. “No, it’s more than like. I love her to beg, especially after I’ve teased her for an hour. I love her to reach for me, I love her to kneel, but do you know what I love most of all?”
“Tell me,” she breathed, completely entranced.
“A woman who lets me be a man for her, a woman who loves to be a woman, who wants me protect her and spoil her, who wants to be cherished,” he finished.
“Your wife? She is such a woman?”
“Partly,” he grimaced, the reality of his life dropping with a loud thump, on the table.
“Yes, I know this. She is a wife and mother, but not the kind of lover you need for the kind of lover you are.”
Before he could respond she had reached forward, taken his hand from under his chin, and brought it to her face, holding it against her cheek.
“In another time, maybe, you and I...” she whispered.
Zander inwardly groaned. He longed to place his lips against hers, to feel her longing, to slide his mouth across her neck while he tweaked a nipple and listened to her gasps of pleasure and pain.
“Maybe in another time,” he breathed.
He watched her close her eyes, knowing she was memorizing the feel of his fingers against her skin, and he let her, basking in the heady connection that had captured them both.
“You must go, Mr. Zander,” she sighed, lifting her eyes, “and be happy.”
“You be happy too,” he managed, not wanting to leave, but realizing what would happen if he didn’t.
Slowly he had withdrawn his hand, and swallowing deeply, had slipped from the table and out into the cold, anonymous night. It wasn’t until he was fishing for his keys that he’d found the card she must have dropped in his pocket. Her name, Gabriela Costa, was scrolled across the center in dark green ink, and underneath in block letters, the words, ‘Interior Design,’ and a phone number.
He had intended to toss the card immediately, even stepping from his car and hurrying to the nearest trash bin, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Back behind the steering wheel, staring at her name, he pulled out his wallet and stuffed the card behind his drivers license.
As he’d headed home he realized he shouldn’t be driving, and pulled into a diner for some coffee and a slice of pie. Her uninvited ghost sat across from him, reminding him who he was, and the erotic need he’d been denying himself for far too long.
Later that night when he’d made love to his wife, as he had so many times before, he was haunted by Gabriela’s flushed face, and her telling words echoed through his brain, ‘it is the woman who begs him.’ He’d grabbed his wife’s wrists, holding her down, but as she always did, on the odd occasion he would attempt something that might soothe his dark, unsatisfied soul, she’d softly complained, so he had loosened his grip and offered the gentle, unimaginative sex she wanted.
Gabriela had stated what he’d always known; his carnal hunger was an addiction, one that grew slowly, like a creeping vine scaling the brick exterior of an old Victorian house. For hours after their chance meeting his salacious needs danced relentlessly in the forefront of his mind, ignoring his demands to slither back into the black, anonymous cave to which they had been exiled, and the following night, alone in his office, after downing two shots of tequila, his irrepressible craving overwhelmed him.
With a few clicks of his mouse he found the D/s ebooks, the confessional blogs, the thousands of images of spanked bottoms and bound bodies. Pulling his turgid member from his trousers he had massaged zealously, visions of the alluring Brazilian beauty dancing in his imagination, and within minutes he experienced an exquisite, explosive, head-spinning release.
The night marked the beginning of the end of his marriage, and though Gabriel’s card lay undisturbed in his wallet, her image haunted him, the spark a memory he could not extinguish, their soft, intimate conversation replaying itself in his head many times over.
As they had sat huddled at the corner table, neither Zander or Gabriela had noticed the man lurking at the far side of the bar. His name was Connor Matthews, and Connor Matthews had arrived thirty minutes late for his date with Gabriela Costa.
Connor Matthews always arrived late. It was a deliberate act designed to put the woman in question off-balance. He would approach her calm and unapologetic. If the lady in question, usually young and eager, insisted it had been her fault, that she had misunderstood the time, he would happily allow her to take the blame, using it as fodder in the furtherance of his goal. An angry, impatient welcome he found amusing, but would placate, filing away the temperament to use against her later.
To arrive and find his date had joined another man for a drink was completely and utterly unacceptable.
It was a first. Connor had sat watching, his fury building.
She had black hair, his preference was blond, but that could be remedied, her age, however, could not. He would have summarily dismissed her after having shared a drink, had he not seen her with another man.
It mattered not that he had agreed to meet simply because he was bored, and thought it might be interesting to spend five minutes with a woman over twenty-five.
It mattered not that he had a girl bound and blindfolded in his house, pining for his return.
It mattered not that he had a bevy of young, vulnerable beauties, anxiously waiting for his call.
It mattered not that Gabriela wasn’t his type at all.
What mattered was that she should have waited for him.
What mattered was that she was supposed to be sitting at the bar with him, being seduced by him, by his charm, his good looks, his stature and his wealth.
Gabriela was going to pay for her sins, and pay dearly.
It would take time. He was still training his latest slut-slave, and the two that would follow were already lined up, their seduction through the internet and telephone well under way.
Gabriela would have to wait, but Connor could be very patient when it came to such things, and the hunt, the stalking, was always so entertaining.
As he watched and stewed, the chorus of his favorite song, sung by Sting, a man whose name he found particularly appealing, played loudly in his head;
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I'll be watching you
Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I'll be watching you
Gabriela Costa would pay for her foolishness.
No one crossed Connor Matthews.
Two Years Later...
The audience was in darkness, the writhing female body on the stage was full and robust, her arms held above her head by a leather cord hanging from the unseen ceiling, and her bottom, round and proud, seemed to be begging for the flogger that was about to lash its tendrils across her skin.
The flogging demonstrations at the club were always popular, and Zander’s late arrival landed him in the back row. The submissive at his side was inexperienced and nervous, though dressed in a scarlet satin corset and black seamed stockings, she looked every bit the part. He’d bought her the outfit that afternoon, along with the patent leather red heels, and the rhinestone chocker that graced her neck. The entire package had been sitting on his bed, waiting for her arrival.
Her name was Abigail Freeman, and he’d met her on Facebook. After a few weeks of online chats and some time on the telephone, they’d decided to meet for coffee. She was sweet and good company, so he’d asked her out, but during dinner he’d found her younger than she appeared, and realized she was destined to become another of his many submissive female friends. When he’d mentioned the club, she’d begged him to take her.
They were late arriving because Abigail had taken her sweet time dressing. He’d sent a car to deliver her to his penthouse, she’d oooh’ed and aaah’ed as she’d walked into the spacious living room and stared out at the view, then locked herself in his bathroom to change. For such things, Zander wasn’t a patient man, and after twenty minutes he had knocked on the door.
“My hair isn’t working,” she’d complained. “I bought this new mousse and it’s making it all sticky.”
“We are already running late. If we don’t get there soon we won’t be able to get seats for the demonstration, at least not decent ones. We have to leave.”
She didn’t comply, and Zander wondered if she was purposely defying him because she wanted to be spanked. He’d run into the scenario before; sometimes he’d oblige, sometimes he would not. When she’d finally emerged, he was pacing.
“It’s so irritating when you spend a bunch of money on something and it doesn’t work,” she complained.
“Yes, I know what you mean,” he quipped. “Grab your coat, we’re leaving.”
“It’s still not right,” she moaned, continuing to play with her long tresses as he bustled her down the hallway to the waiting elevator. “It just won’t do what I want.”
“And you won’t do what I want,” he sternly remarked. “I’m seriously considering putting you over my knee.”
“What do you mean?” she asked, as the elevator whisked them down.
“When the demonstration is over I think I’ll take you into a paddling booth and spank you.”
“In public? You wouldn’t?” she exclaimed, a statement and question rolled into one.
“Yes, I would,” he replied, frowning at her.
The car was waiting, the driver holding the door open, and as they climbed inside and settled into the plush seat, he turned to her with a serious look on his face.
“I was just trying to make myself look good for you,” she mumbled, staring at her fingers.
Zander gazed out the window and sighed. He didn’t mean to be so brusque, but the nights he’d spent with incompatible women had drained him of tolerance, and when they’d arrived at the club, and seats in the back row were the only ones available, it hadn’t helped his mood. Shaking off his ire, Zander focused on the Dominant walking on to the stage. He often wondered why they never failed to dress in black, and was waiting for the night some brave soul would wander in front of the audience in something, anything, other than a black T-shirt and slacks.
A tux perhaps, he thought, but his pondering was interrupted as the proficient Dominant began to speak.
“For those of you who have not seen a flogging before, understand this is just one of many variations. My submissive, Janelle, is not here to be punished, quite the contrary. This particular flogging will bring her to a heightened state of sexual arousal, and when we leave here she will be given great pleasure. As you can see, her bottom is already reddened. This is from a hand spanking just before she came on stage. It prepared her for what she is about to endure.”
The audience fell silent as he raised the flogger. Holding the handle in one hand, the ends of the tails in the other, he snapped them loose, giving the biting tongues flight. The girl arched her back, her yearning for more evident in the silent gesture. He obliged quickly, delivering strike after strike, occasionally pausing to whisper in her ear and touch between her legs. Though his breathy words were not audible, her moans were, and his probing fingers elicited small cries of decadent joy.
Abigail, leaning against Zander’s body, began fidgeting, and glancing down, he saw her eyes darting around the room.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice a low whisper.
She nodded, but he could sense her discomfort, and taking her hand he led her quietly from the small theatre.
The club was in full swing, but they were a distance from the fray, the demonstration rooms situated at the back of the venue, and though the music and crowd could be heard, the sounds were muffled. Dropping her hand, he leaned against the wall, crossed his arms he studied her; she looked shaken.
“Abigail, you told me you’ve had a Dominant in the past. Is that true?”
Tears brimming, she shook her head.
“Not really, I mean, kind of,” she stammered.
“Explain, please,” he requested, keeping his voice calm and even.
“I had a boyfriend who liked to spank me a bit.”
“That was the relationship you’ve been referring to?”
“I see. And your age? Are you really twenty-five?”
“No. I turned twenty-one, last month,” she admitted, dropping her gaze to the floor. “That’s why I put off meeting you. I needed to make sure I’d have an ID if I was asked for one.”
“Sorry. I didn’t think you’d meet me if I told you.”
“You were right,” he remarked.
“Sorry,” she repeated.
“Did the flogging demonstration upset you?”
“It was so, like, intense,” she declared, raising her voice and lifting her eyes to look back at him.
“Come on, I’ll take you home.”
“Can’t we stay and have a drink? Maybe dance a bit?” she asked.
“No. This place isn’t for you, and neither am I,” he sighed.
“Zander, please, I really like you,” she begged. “I need a strong man in my life.”
He stopped, and looking down at her the lightbulb went off.
“I think you’re looking for a father figure,” he observed, and dropping the stern tone he smiled. “There are some D/s relationships that take that road, but it’s not for me. I think, if you’re more honest with people you meet online, you’ll have a better chance of meeting the kind of man you want, but Abigail, please be careful.”
“Shoot,” she sighed. “Maybe you’re right. It’s all so complicated.”
“Come on, I’ll take you home and you can get changed. You can keep that naughty outfit. When you do meet Mr. Wonderful you’ll have something to wear for him.”
“Please, Zander, will you do something for me?”
“That depends, what is it?”
“I really want to be spanked,” she said shyly. “I really do, but like, not in front of everyone.”
Zander knew how she felt, the craving, the hunger than nothing else could satisfy.
“Very well, I’ll spank you back at my place. You deserve it, and perhaps it will teach you to be more honest.”
“Thank you,” she smiled, and impetuously hugged him. “You won’t spank me too hard will you?”
“Of course I will,” he replied, knowing it was what she wanted to hear. “I’ll spank you as hard as I want, for as long as I want.”
He saw the butterflies fluttering in her eyes, and taking hold of her elbow, marched her out to the car. Her attitude and behavior he found extremely immature, and he wondered if he was seeing her as such because he was getting older, or if she really was simply young for her age. The limo glided through the city streets, and a few minutes from his building, Abigail took his hand, turned it over and stared at his palm.
“Wondering how hot it will be?” he asked.
“No,” she giggled, looking up at him. “I read palms as a hobby, but the light in here is too dim. I’ll try when we get back to your place.”
“Not before you’re spanked,” he declared, and heard her sharp intake of breath. “How long has it been?”
“Two years, maybe a bit more,” she sighed.
“No wonder you kept me waiting. You need it,” he commented.
The car rolled to a stop in front of his building, the door was opened, and they walked through the lobby and into the elevator. As it ascended to the top floor, she clutched his elbow.
“I’m kind of scared,” she admitted.
“Good,” he smiled. “There’d be something wrong if you weren’t.”
The elevator let them out into the hallway, and he led her to the double doors that opened into his living room. Closing it behind them, he removed her coat, and immediately strode her through the room, yanking her over his knee as he settled on the arm of his large, sleek, leather couch.
“Oooooh,” she cried. “So soon?”
“Shush,” he scolded, pulling her red satin panties up into her crack. “Honesty from now on, correct?” he decreed, landing his hand with a series of hard swats on her right cheek.
“Yes!” she promised. “Yes, I swear.”
“You’ll be careful about who you meet and where you meet them?” he continued, spanking her left cheek just as hard.
“Zander, yes, ooooh, that hurts.”
“That’s the general idea,” he quipped, his unrelenting hand smacking away.
“Ooooh, no more, please, I’ll be good,” she wailed.
“Nope, not yet, now be quiet. You asked for a spanking, you deserve a spanking, and that’s exactly what you’re going to get.”
“Keep that up and I’ll get my paddle,” he announced, pausing for just a moment, “then you’ll really have something to complain about, and just for the record, I’m also spanking you for keeping me waiting earlier. You need to be more considerate,” he scolded.
“S-sorry,” she gasped.
He waited until she’d caught her breath, then delivered a series of scalding, rapid-fire swats, turning her bottom bright pink, finishing with a flourish on the tender area where her thighs met her cheeks. Pulling her up, he sat down on the couch and brought her into his lap.
“Damn,” she panted, “my butt is really stinging.”
“Of course,” he said tenderly, “you needed it, and I meant what I said. When you’re going to meet a stranger, you must call a friend and let them know where you’ll be. Arrange some kind of code, so if you find yourself in trouble you can let them know.”
“That’s a good idea,” she replied, snuggling against him.
“I could have been an axe murderer. Did anyone know you were meeting me? My name? The address the car brought you to?”
“No. I guess that was kind of stupid,” she admitted.
“Yes, it was. If you don’t have a girlfriend to call, you call me, okay?”
“Oh, Zander, are you sure we’re not compatible?” she asked wistfully.
“Yes, I’m sure. How do you feel? Are you okay?”
Pushing away from him, she sat up and smiled.
“So much better than okay, except my butt really stings.”
“It should hold you in good stead until you meet someone who can keep it that way,” he remarked.
“Thank you for caring about me,” she murmured, pecking him on the cheek. “Can I see your palm now?”
“Sure,” he chuckled, raising his hand and opening it up. “Here.”
She gazed down, tracing her forefinger across several areas, then sighed heavily.
“Well,” she said dramatically, “you’ve had a rough love life, which is sad because you have so much romance in your soul, and you’re nowhere near as tough as you pretend to be,” she declared, glancing up at him.
“Is that so?” he answered, a little unnerved by the accurate description.
“Hmmm,” she mumbled, dropping her gaze back down. “There seems to be a reunion of some kind. Yes, you’re going to meet up with someone from a long time ago, but there are challenges involved.”
Zander found himself drawn into her story, and her voice had taken on a deeper tone; she sounded wise, almost like an old soul.
“It will be interesting. There is love there, or the potential for love, but only if you’re willing to take a leap of faith. There’s danger too. You must tread carefully.”
She paused, then sighed, then lifted her gaze, and for a brief moment he was spellbound, then he broke from her web and grinned.
“That was impressive,” he smiled, “thank you.”
Slightly rattled, he stood up and pulled her to her feet.
“You make sure you call me next time you go out on date with someone you don’t know, and if you can’t reach me, call someone else.”
“Okely dokely,” she grinned, the young Abigail abruptly returning.
“Go and get changed and I’ll walk you down to the car.”
“Thanks, Zander,” she sighed. “Thanks ever so much.”
He watched her move away, her tanned bottom seductively swaying, then wandered across to the windows. Staring at the city lights below, Gabriela danced in the forefront of his mind.
Impossible, he thought, then an unexpected chill shuddered down his spine. Frowning, he shook it off, but couldn’t help wondering what had become of her; they had shared such a deep connection, or so he had thought.
Did I completely misjudge her? Was the whole thing my imagination?
Abigail’s voice broke his thoughts, and he escorted her back down to the waiting car.
“You’re such a gentleman,” she sighed, climbing into the back seat. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Stay in touch with me. You’re far too trusting.”
“I’ve been told that before,” she remarked. “Is it such a bad thing?”
“It can be,” he said somberly. “I’ll talk to you later.”
The chauffeur closed the door, and Zander watched the car roll away and disappear into the night, then headed back to the penthouse he called home.
He’d purchased it directly after his divorce, and being on the top floor of a luxury building, the views were spectacular. His home with Mary had been traditional, a family house with a large green yard, a pool and barbecue area, but the penthouse was contemporary, sleek, and ‘smart,’ everything from the sound system, lights, fireplaces, and even the coffeemaker, were controlled by handheld tablets or wall mounted screens. It boasted cream porcelain tile floors and thick chocolate brown rugs. The floor to ceiling windows swept the city skyline, with sliding glass doors opening to an expansive terrace with outside seating and dining areas.
Walking back inside, he ambled through the gleaming, elegant space, down the hallway and past the bedrooms. Besides his master suite there was a room for each of his two children, now teenagers and readying themselves for college, but the third he had transformed into a decadent playroom.
He’d laid thick, soft carpeting, and slowly added hand-crafted floggers, paddles and other interesting implements. A small, mahogany chest of drawers housed various blindfolds, vibrators, and other toys, and a specially designed mechanical chair sat center stage. The arms, legs and padded bench seat were adjustable to any angle or height, and the creator had personally visited and outlined them all.
As he stood in the doorway, staring inside, thinking of the women who had graced the unique piece of furniture, the truth pounded in his heart; the only woman he’d ever really wanted to share it with, was Gabriela.
Moving into his bedroom, staring at the almost feminine, romantic decor, the white fluffy bedspread, the tall, ornate candle holders, and the white marble fireplace, he thought back to when he’d originally created the sentimental ambience; it had been all about her.
Fighting the nostalgia, he wandered back into his kitchen to pour himself a glass of wine. There was rarely a day that the Brazilian beauty didn’t cross his mind, and her card had never left his wallet. He had called her several months after the divorce, when he was settled and comfortable in his new home and new life, and they’d had evening together; one divine, blissful, perfect night, before a family crisis had called her back to Brazil.
He sipped his wine, thinking back, as he often did, to those magical hours they’d spent together. She had agreed to meet him at the same bar in which they’d first crossed paths, and he had brought her a bouquet of white roses, wondering if the spark he’d felt, that mystical, amazing chemistry, would still exist.
The moment he’d seen her walk towards him, he’d felt the bolt, the exquisite physical lightening, sizzle through his heart.
After a couple of nervous drinks they had moved on to his favorite restaurant, an intimate French bistro that was quiet and relaxed. Returning to Willows, they sat at the same table they’d shared on their first meeting, and found themselves utterly taken with each other.
When he’d walked her to her car he had unhesitatingly kissed her, and she had unhesitatingly kissed him back, melting against him. He’d been loathe to let her go, but he wanted to take his time, allow their relationship to evolve and their feelings to develop over time. Zander was an old-fashioned romantic; he was going to court her and become her friend before he became her lover, and on the drive home, Arthur’s theme began playing in his head.
Once in your life you'll find her
Someone who turns your heart around
And next thing you know
You're closin' down the town
Wake up and she's still with you
Even though you left her way across town
You're wonderin' to yourself
Hey what've I found
When you get caught between the moon and New York City
I know it's crazy but it's true
If you get caught between the moon and New York City
The best that you can do (the best that you can do)
The best that you can do is fall in love
But his euphoria was short-lived. It was only a few days later that she’d called with the sad news that her mother had been taken ill, and she had to fly back to Brazil.
“I don’t know how long I will be gone,” she’d sighed. “My mother could linger for months, and you must promise me you will go out, have pleasure, explore your new life.”
“Gabriela,” he’d mumbled, wanting to tell her he had no desire to explore with anyone but her.
“Promise me. If we are meant to be, it will happen.”
Though he had promised, it had been with a heavy heart, and it was a promise he wasn’t sure he could keep.
They had communicated through Skype for a short time, but her mother’s illness had taken a turn for the worse, and the elderly woman had begged to be returned to the place of her birth, a remote farm with no internet and unreliable phone service. Gabriela had promised him faithfully that she would be back in touch as soon as she could.
Finally, after months of no word, he had called the number she had used before the move to the country, only to be told Gabriela’s mother had passed away, and Gabriela had returned to the USA. Confused and worried, he’d immediately pulled out her card and hastily dialed, only to hear her voice mail. Rattled, he’d left a brief request for her to call, but his plea went unanswered.
It had made no sense then, and made no sense now.
Sighing deeply, Abigail’s words fresh in his mind, for the umpteenth time, he questioned why Gabriela had disappeared. The effects of the rich wine began taking hold, and as he stared at the thousands upon thousands of tiny, flickering lights, he couldn’t help but ponder.
Should I try again?
Checking his watch, he saw it was relatively early, and moving quickly to his study, pulled his wallet from his back pocket, and sitting down, retrieved the precious card from behind his driver’s license.
Picking up the telephone handset, he stared at the number, his dialing finger hovering, poised, waiting, and swallowing hard, he slowly punched the ten digits, determined not to be disappointed if the line had been disconnected, or went straight to voice mail.
“Hello, Gabriela Costa speaking.”
Her voice was breathless, as though she’d been running, and he was almost too shocked to speak.
“Hello,” he stammered, “I’m so glad you answered the phone. I thought-”
“You have a wrong a number,” she replied abruptly, interrupting him mid-sentence, and his phone went dead.
What the hell?
The chill returned, hitting him hard, and he shuddered.
Something’s wrong. Something is horribly wrong.
Frustrated, he rose from behind his desk and began pacing. He was a logical man, a linear thinker, and he applied practical thinking to almost all he did, but there was nothing practical about the situation. It simply made no sense.
I’m going to track her down. I have to. I’ll have no peace until I do. I’m sure she’s in trouble, I can feel it.