Dare Darker - Pepper North
Rafael cued up the video one more time. There was something that drew him to the brunette who crossed the lobby with his sales manager. A hint of vulnerability masked under cheerful bravado drew his attention. The way she looked into the darkened corners of the room challenged him to notice her and act. Picking up the phone, he selected a number.
“Offer apartment 961 to Mia Daniels. She toured a smaller apartment on the second floor on Monday,” Rafael Montalvo instructed his manager. “Set the price at the same cost.”
“But Mr. Montalvo, that apartment is much larger, and the view is spectacular. If you are ready to rent that apartment, we can get a much higher fee,” the manager rushed to correct him.
“I’m afraid you didn’t understand my wishes. Contact Ms. Daniels and offer her the apartment for the same rent as the one she toured.” Rafael was not one to have his wishes questioned—ever. He did not appreciate being second-guessed. As the other man stammered an assurance that he would make the call today, Rafael texted his administrative assistant. The message was simple: Select a new manager for my apartment building to begin within the month.
Disconnecting as the man blathered on, still wasting his time, Rafael replayed the video again. After consulting the private investigator’s report, he’d made up his mind. She was the one he had been seeking. It was just as his father had described recognizing his future bride. Mia would be his.
His second phone call was the cleaning service he regularly employed when staying in the city. They would prepare the penthouse apartment in the beautiful building for his imminent arrival. While he could observe her movements from anywhere in the world, Rafael needed to be close to her.
Already, he believed that she was his. Now, she would need to prove her suitability—to earn her place in his life. They would meet soon.
The willowy brunette let herself into her beautiful apartment. She’d lived there for almost six months. It hadn’t been the first place she’d seen in the complex. Mia Daniels had actually toured a much smaller studio apartment in the fancy building. To her delight, the facility manager had called her the two days later, stating that something larger on an upper floor had just become available if she would be interested in that one for the same price.
“Is there something wrong with it?” she had questioned, wondering how she could be so lucky.
“Not at all. The owner’s mother lived in the apartment for many years. He has only just become comfortable in having it rented now,” the manager had explained. She hadn’t hesitated for a second and accepted the new apartment sight unseen.
Dumping her lunch bag and purse on the beautiful entryway bench, Mia thanked whoever had moved out before her in such a hurry that they had left several beautifully carved pieces of furniture, a massive arched mirror, lamps, and even a few pictures. The manager had assured her she should use them.
After crossing the living area, she dropped into the office chair in front of her home computer. Staring at the black screen, Mia gathered her courage. She knew he was there—waiting for her to join him online. Rafael. The man she’d met on the fetish website.
The handsome, older man had sent a message within minutes when she’d introduced herself on the sub chat space. Using an alias to protect her identity, she’d gotten a lot of graphic messages that she’d immediately trashed. Rafael’s message was different. She’d hesitated to respond, but something drew her to his direct message.
Your fantasies can come true. Let me show you how.
After reading and rereading his message, Mia had answered. His probing questions had demanded honesty, and she shared things she had told no one before. The older man mesmerized her. Taking advantage of every spare minute, Mia reached out to him over and over again online.
Soon Rafael knew her so well that it scared her and thrilled her at the same time. Mia hadn’t ever told anyone about that secret need inside her. She had always been careful to keep it hidden away from everyone. Were there people like her out there? Those who needed… more from a relationship? Those who had the same dark desire.
She dragged herself through work and the drudgeries of life to steal those few minutes or hours talking with him online. He wasn’t always there when she reached out to him. Irrationally, she was jealous of whatever or whoever, Mia thought