I’m independent and have never cared for being whisked off my feet by a dark handsome stranger. But, then I meet him and my knees turn weak and my heart pounds harder than I thought was possible.
That’s the day everything changes.
Because, he’s not the man I thought he was.
But, by the time I understand that, I’m in too deep. And faceless people are hunting me.
He’s the only one I can rely on to stay alive.
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They say the English are obsessed with the weather. That’s where the phrase ‘it never rains, but it pours’ comes from. I agree on both counts, with today being no exception. This is not the kind of day you expect to fall in love.
I’m in London for meetings which I run from the comfort of my private members’ club in Berkley Square. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time there, breezing in and out as though I own the place – which I guess, in part, I do.
My first appointment has shown up early, while the train I took into the city from the suburbs was late.
Plus, like I said, it’s raining, heavy.
And of course, as is the case when the weather is so unexpectedly dire in the middle of summer, there are no cabs. While walking, even in my four-inch heels, is quicker than a taxi around this neck of the woods, and despite me being late already, avoiding the sharp edges of others’ umbrellas while simultaneously splashing rainwater up the back of my legs, was not my first option.
I’m rushing. Of course I am. I am a high-flying business woman and my reputation in this game is everything. But, this guy has come highly recommended from a contact I have trusted for the past few years, so I’m more comfortable being later than is normal for me.
Him coming with a glowing endorsement means I’ve not felt it as necessary to prepare in the way I normally would for a meeting of this magnitude.
His great pedigree is as important as being able to talk the talk in this industry, and consequently, I’m more consumed with how I’m going to avoid the lecherous old age pensioners at tonight’s fundraiser. I’m attending alone which is always an issue. Rich, aged men seem to think their finances, rather than their business acumen, are enough to buy me. And when I say buy me, I mean my interest in their mind. Commerce credibility from a pretty, young woman is difficult for them to grasp.
My hurried steps mean I’m not looking anywhere near my best by the time I arrive at Kingsley’s with my black hair, which I painstakingly straightened this morning, stuck to my head in dark ringlets. And this is despite the soggy newspaper I’d used for protection. I deposit it in the bin by the reception desk as I smile my hellos.
“Ah, looking dazzling as ever.” James, one of the many staff members whom I adore, greets me at the entrance with a kiss on both of my wet cheeks.
“Thank you, James. Where is my guest please?” My eyes flit into the bar. All the visible tables are vacant.
James whispers, “Please, don’t worry. We seated him around the corner, so he wouldn’t be able to see when you arrived.” His smile shows genuine warmth resulting in the twinkle of his eyes.
“Oh, thank you, James. You really are a darling.” I squeeze his elbow quickly before I dash off to the small toilet to straighten myself out.
Tottering back with my glasses thoroughly wiped clear of heavy rain drops and my black hair bunched behind my head in an elegant knot, I’m feeling better.
Then I turn the corner into the bar and I see him for the first time.
My appointment is here to talk about how he can launder my money. He owns a bunch of businesses around this fair city – and the world. I haven’t asked what kind; it’s of no concern to me. The least I know the better in respect to self-preservation.
I expected a greasy little man with more arrogance than penis. While I’m not sure about the size of his member, it looks like I’ve gotten everything else wrong.
He sits at the table sipping something clear and sparkling. One hand rests against the base of the glass while he scrolls through his phone with the thumb of his other. He emanates a peaceful aura and in that millisecond something inside me shifts. The moment is over, he hears the clack of my heels on the history laden floorboards and raises his dark eyes to meet mine, with a glint of perfectly white teeth.
I’m surprised my knees don’t buckle, they’re shaking that much, as I scramble to walk on the shiny surface without slipping, all arse and knickers, on my backside. To my dismay, I don’t think it’s the difficulty of walking on these old floorboards weakening my legs.
He stands as I approach. I’m tall, and he’s taller. Nice. The hand he extends to shake mine is warm against my clammy, cold palm. His long fingers encase my slim ones.
“Daisy, I presume?” Despite his olive features, he speaks with no accent. It’s not an English accent, but simply undefined.
“I am. And you are Aaron?”
“Aman. Don’t worry, it’s a mistake many people make.” He gestures to the empty seat opposite him. I take a seat, stifling my sigh of relief. And then I straighten my pink pencil skirt as I cross my chocolate legs. The material suddenly feels too short for the occasion, so I half lift my ass out of the chair and tug it down as far as it will go without threatening to rip at the seams.