Authors: Maggie Casper
To Chelsea, for reminding me that anything is possible. I love you, baby!
Raith wasn’t quite sure why he liked to antagonize the obviously spunky woman on the other end of the phone, but the truth of it was he did. She had fire and seemed to know when to stand her ground, but she was also careful in how she spoke to him.
He’d taken to calling her often under the pretense of business just to hear her voice. She desired to please, it carried through each and every syllable, but she was also not afraid to stand up for herself, even to him. It was a concept he wasn’t used to.
It seemed people were either bitingly rude because of his wealth or they bent over backward, willing to forsake family and morals to keep a smile on his face. Finding someone who landed in the middle was pretty unheard of.
He was intrigued beyond belief. It wouldn’t have taken anything more than the exchange of money to find out all he needed to know about Alexandra Aimon, but for some reason Raith had not felt it necessary to do so. Other than having his secretary check into her on a purely professional level, he hadn’t really even thought of digging into her personal history.
He wanted the first time he saw her to be in the flesh
not on a glossy piece of paper with her hair done perfectly and flawless make-up hiding her true self. If she had issues he wanted to hear it from her own lips because she trusted him enough to tell him, not because he’d hired the right man for the job. As long as she was good at her job he had no qualms finding out the rest for himself. First hand.
She was a confusing piece of baggage. At the seductive lowering of his voice her tone became prim and proper. During those times he could almost picture her pushing wire-rimmed glasses up the bridge of her nose. When he became irritated her voice soothed in low, relaxing tones. Most of all though, he enjoyed her laughter. It flowed freely over the phone line. For the first time in a long time, Raith could hardly wait to meet a woman.
With his luck she was either ugly, old or had no interest in men. It didn’t really matter either way as far as Raith was concerned, because he enjoyed talking to her and would like doing so even if she wasn’t his opinion of an ideal partner. Sure, it would be nice if she was young, beautiful and enjoyed cock. He would most definitely relish the thought of tying her up and flogging her ass red with his belt or drawing her to him with nothing more than the crook of his finger in order to ravage every inch of her body, but it wasn’t a must. Hell, he was just happy to have found someone who could carry on a conversation without yes sirring him to fucking death.
Larry had been his assistant since the beginning. The other man had kept Raith on the straight and narrow when wealth had nearly drowned him. He’d only smiled and nodded when Raith had said he was done buying and selling small companies and was ready to retire to a more enjoyable line of work.
“Yeah,” he answered absently, his thoughts still on his new realtor.
“Everything has been signed and taken care of. By this time next week you’ll be retired.”
And even more wealthy than you already are.
The words were left unsaid but they definitely hung in the air. He’d made a tidy sum selling out when he did. It was a decision he was sure he’d never regret.
“Great.” Raith stood from his seated position behind the desk of his home office and walked across the room to stare out the ceiling-high bank of windows that looked down upon New York traffic. He’d spent the last week thinking about his life and had come to realize he was tired of big-city living. He wanted out. “I think we should plan a trip to Tahoe and start looking at the places Miss Aimon has lined up.”
Larry’s gaze was on him, studying, scrutinizing. Raith figured now was as good a time as any to divulge his plans. “I’m going to task her with finding me a home as well as space for the club. I’m done living in New York, full time at least.”
“Okay.” There was a wealth of confusion in the single-worded answer. Raith smiled.
Turning to face his assistant, he said, “I’ll take care of setting things up. We’re going to need a place to stay temporarily while we’re looking at locations for the club. Once we’re done with that we can come back here and prepare for a move.” It wasn’t a question he wanted to ask, but felt the need considering his assistant was in his employ and not a piece of property. “If moving to Tahoe doesn’t work for you I’m sure we can figure something out and you’re more than welcome to stay here. I won’t be selling the building.”
Larry’s lips curved at the corners. “Tahoe sounds good to me.”
“Perfect. I’ll give Miss Aimon another call then.”
Larry headed for the door. “I’m sure she’ll be thrilled.” His laughter followed him out of the room.
Raith couldn’t help but chuckle as he reached for the phone. He didn’t even try the office since someone else would answer. Instead, he opted for her personal cell number.
“Alexandra Aimon, how may I help you?”
Her voice was soft like slow drops of summer rain.
She must be busy
, Raith thought to himself. It was obvious she hadn’t checked her cell phone’s caller id. He much preferred it when she answered knowing it was him.
“That’s a loaded question if I’ve ever heard one.” He couldn’t help but tease her. It wasn’t professional and he knew it but also figured after several weeks’ worth of phone conversations he could push a little.
“Oh, Mr. Alden.” She sounded a bit breathy. “I wasn’t expecting you to call
Well, she certainly tried to put him in his place. Of course, he wasn’t the sort who took exception to such slights. Plodding on as if he didn’t understand, Raith continued, “Have I caught you at a bad time?”
“Not really, no. I’ve just finished showing a property and was on my way back to the office.”
It was probably the dominant in him, the part of the man who liked being in control, but he thoroughly liked how she seemed to always be explaining herself to him. Raith couldn’t help but wonder if she did so with the rest of her clients. The thought brought a frown to his face. He didn’t like it at all.
“Have you been able to come up with any other ideas for my club?” he tried to bring the club up as much as possible. When he’d first spoken to her explaining what type of space he was searching for, she had been intrigued. Then things had gone a bit further and he’d given more detail on exactly what a BDSM club was and what he was looking for and she’d become flustered. Now it was just a tool he could use to keep her a bit unsteady.
“Just the few I told you about earlier. I’m really not sure they’ll work for your needs though.”
Raith didn’t like it when others thought to waylay his plans by making assumptions. It was irritating. Although he knew Alexandra wanted his business, he also knew she was leery about the type of business. He could only assume she was stalling by looking around in areas other than Tahoe. Maybe she hoped he would take the bait and open up shop farther away. That was not part of his plan.
“How about I be the judge?” He added an edge to his tone that brooked no argument. “I’ll be heading that way next week. Could you be of help in finding a place for my assistant and me to stay?”
His question was met by momentary silence before he heard the shuffling of papers. “For a day or two?”
. Raith had trouble holding in his mirth at the hopefulness in her voice. “I was thinking more like a few weeks. Might as well make a vacation out of it while I’m there.”
“Is there a problem, Alexandra?”
“Huh? Oh no, not at all.” He could hear papers rustling. “I have a client who was planning to do a swap this year. She owns a local timeshare and wanted to swap her time for space somewhere else.”
It could work. “Is she trustworthy?”
“Mrs. Mcabe, oh yes. She’s in her sixties and looking to do a little traveling but is on a fixed income, which is why she wanted to do a swap.”
Raith thought about it for a second. He doubted very much someone in their sixties would tear up his high-rise condo. Decision made, he replied, “Find out if she would like to spend some time in New York City. If so, we should be able to work out a swap. Call me back after you’ve spoken to her.”
Their phone conversation lasted only a minute or two longer, which was not nearly long enough in his opinion. Things were finally starting to move forward. Before long he would meet Alexandra Aimon and find out if she had a face and body to match her sultry voice.
Alexandra straightened her tunic-style top for the twentieth time, wondering if she should have bought something a little more professional looking. Maybe one of those high-profile business suits with the pencil skirts and fitted jackets would have been more appropriate. Of course, then she would have had to wear pantyhose and heels and the thought of both were enough to make her feel a little queasy.
You can be professional and attractive without all the trappings
, she chided herself as she paced her office once again.
There was no reason she should be as nervous as she was. Sure, the man was wealthy beyond belief. His business could mean the difference between remaining open and closing the doors on her dream when the economy was kicking her butt, but ultimately he was only a man.
Must be his voice then, and of course his looks. He’d been on magazine covers as well as headline news in the business world after having just sold his holdings for more than most people would see in ten lifetimes.
Alexandra tried not to think about the type of business he was planning to open. Doing so only caused her brain to misfire and her body to tingle and feel alive in a way it never had before. She’d always dreamed about being taken by a dominant man, her body used, her mind, heart and spirit controlled by one who knew what he was doing. To trust so deeply she could give of herself in every way possible. Funny thing was, she’d never before known there was a name for it.
Until speaking with Raith Aldan, Alexandra had never put the word submissive to anything she identified as. To think there were people out there who actively knew and partook in such relationships was both surprising and scary. Surprising because for so long she’d thought she was one of a very small group of people. Scary because now that she knew about this set of people, knew about the clubs, parties and even educational and social meetings, she wanted to know more and possibly even become a part of it all.
Of course, Mr. Aldan was not the man she wanted to learn more from. He was bossy, a man used to getting his own way in all things, all the time. Alexandra knew she wasn’t ready for that and even if she were, she wasn’t the type who could be bought.
Steeling her spine, she moved to the chair behind her desk and sat. Margaret would show him in when he arrived. Pacing the floors and jumping for the door in eager anticipation the second he walked into the waiting area would only undermine the professional nature she was seriously hoping to adhere to.
“No mixing business with pleasure,” she said aloud to herself.
It had always been a rule, but now more than ever it was one she needed to strictly follow. She had the impression, from both his repeated phone calls as well as the things she’d read about him, that Raith enjoyed playing games, and she had no intention of becoming just another pawn to the man. Surely he had enough women who filled that role in his life already.
Her door was open but she didn’t have a clear view of the outer office room where Margaret was busy answering the phone and filing paperwork. Alexandra did however hear her greeting clearly and had trouble remaining in her seat long enough for her visitor to reach the door.
She’d seen pictures of him before but they didn’t do the man justice. He was breathtakingly handsome and larger than life in a way that had absolutely nothing to do with actual size.
His head was shiny bald, her fingers tingled to touch it. His facial hair was a deep rich shade of brown and Alexandra couldn’t help but wonder why he shaved his head and whether or not that hair would be the same color if he let it grow out.
His words drew her out of the state of mute intrigue she’d found herself in. She quickly stood and moved around her desk until they were standing face to face. “Alexandra is fine, Mr. Alden.” She thrust her hand forward in greeting then motioned to one of the cushioned chairs opposite her own. “Please have a seat. Would you like something to drink?”
The way he watched her was unnerving. His brows were furrowed deeply. It was as if he wasn’t sure she was who she claimed to be. Alexandra couldn’t help but wonder if he found her lacking. She wasn’t the hoity-toity, silicone-inflated type, that was for sure, but she wasn’t exactly an ugly duckling either.
“No, thank you.”
“Okay then. We’ll get started.” She moved back behind her desk and once again took her seat.
The gleaming wood surface gave her a semblance of safety. It wasn’t as if she feared for her wellbeing while in his presence, but he did make her uneasy. She could feel the sensation skitter down her spine to land like a rock in the pit of her stomach. It was nearly impossible to ignore the other feelings making themselves known, the ones that caused her nipples to peak and her sex to weep with joy at his nearness. Every inch of him was dangerous. There was no denying the fact.