Read Selling it All Online

Authors: Josie Daleiden

Tags: #fiction, #romance, #adventure, #fun, #funny, #temptation, #sell

Selling it All (5 page)

“The kitchen. Remember, I'm cooking us
dinner? I'm sorry I scared you.” He said with a smirk, as he placed
his hand on her shoulder.

Sarah felt his touch on her bare skin, as his
finger traced over the tiny spaghetti strap of her thin top. She
held the cool glass in her hand, while she angled her head to feel
his touch against her cheek as well. The silence was only broken
intermittently, as the crashing surf blasted against the distant
cliffs.

“Oh! I have dinner to tend to!” Joe said with
a start.

Sarah was jolted back to the present, while
he went to go tend to the delicious smells that were now emanating
from the kitchen. Her eyes fluttered back open as she followed
behind. “I'll come help too.”

As they stood in his kitchen, she chopped
carrots and celery while he finished pan searing the fish. After
they plated everything, Joe led her out to an enclave that was
windowed in from the cold ocean breeze, but still allowed an
unfettered view of the entire coastline from his cliff side
property. While they quietly ate, Sarah tried to avoid craning her
head around to look at more of the house. She wanted to know so
much more about the enigmatic Joseph Blake, but being here was
really clouding her abilities to gather info on him.

“I'll take you on a tour after dinner.” He
said with a chuckle. Sarah turned back around to see him gazing at
her with a warm smile.

“I'm sorry, but I just don't know anything
about you. Ugh, frankly, nobody else does either.” She admitted
with a confessing sigh. She set her fork down and perched her face
in her hands as she watched him. “I mean nothing. I even checked
the newspaper archives. There was a press piece about a woman you
were with, and that was it.

Joe wiped his hands on a white cloth napkin
and nodded thoughtfully. “Her name was Jennifer. We were married
right after she finished school. I graduated a couple of years
ahead of her, and I helped her with tuition. She had dreams of
being a big shot brain surgeon, so she went back to school to
pursue it and we divorced. I just wanted to settle down, but she
was convinced I was selling myself short becoming a realtor.”

“I didn't mean to pry-”

“No no, it's fine!” He said quickly. “It was
actually the divorce that spurned me on to be the guy I am
now.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, after the split, I threw myself into
my work. I networked, I researched big buys on land, and wooed
developers with cut rate commissions to land clients and contracts.
Now, I single handedly run the most successful real estate firm in
Southern California. It's just me and Ernesto, and he's more than I
need sometimes.” He said, punctuating his statement with a
cathartic sigh.

“Well, here's to making lemonade with your
lemons.” Sarah said brightly, as she held up her glass in
toast.

Joe clinked the rim of his glass to hers.
“How about we take that tour now?”

Sarah was amazed at how cozy the large house
seemed to be. All throughout the place, there were little nooks and
enclaves to relax or meditate in. While he led her past more
fashionable art and sculpture, she continued to press him for
information as politely as possible.

“So, are you in a relationship right now?”
She finally probed cautiously.

She saw him smile a little as they rounded
their way up the spiral stairs to the lofty little library
nook.

“I don't think I've actually been in a
relationship since Jennifer. I've been with women, but nothing
serious. How about
you
?” He queried, in an attempt to turn
the tables.

Sarah pondered the question while she played
with the strap on her top. Joe reached out to untwist it, as she
let her hands fall back to her sides. His warm touch was upon her
again, and she was having trouble focusing through the elixir of a
full belly and three glasses of wine.

“Um, nothing serious. Just college guys while
I was in school. When I got my realtor's license, I tried to settle
down with a guy named Trent Anderson, but he was always complaining
about my working too much and blah, blah blah.” She finished,
puppeting her ex boyfriend with her hand.

“It would seem that we're cut from the same
cloth, you and I.” Joe said in a low voice, as he offered her a
seat in a beautiful oak desk chair.

He stood over her, with his warm skin almost
radiating through his thin white dress shirt. She could feel his
leg against hers though his slacks, and she began to wonder what
his intentions really were for bringing her out here. In one smooth
motion, he spun Sarah around in the chair to face away from him and
placed his large hands securely on each shoulder. With deft, strong
digits he began kneading and massaging her tense muscles. She
emitted a low, satisfied moan when she finally realized that her
body was wound up tighter than a clock spring.

“Does that feel good?” He purred in a low
voice.

“Oh God yes...” She managed to utter, as she
felt her muscles relaxing.

She was going all warm and tingly, and she
suddenly didn't care about being here with her bitter rival. Her
guard was slipping away like a thin sheet from a windblown
clothesline. Every so often, Joe would laugh softly at her cooing
approval of his technique. After a while, he leaned down and spoke
softly into her ear.

“Alright Miss Bella, you're all done.”

She stood up, and swayed a little bit from
the wine and the vigorous massage. She blinked a few times, and
moved her head around on her neck.

“Wow, where did you learn how to do
that?”

“I took a couple of classes to become a
masseur. I might even still be certified, I'm not sure though.” He
replied with indifference.

“You cook, you're a massage expert,” Sarah
paused to look around the spacious, art gallery interior of his
house, “and you obviously have impeccable taste. I give up! You're
either a serial killer, or you're gay. Which is it?” She demanded
playfully.

“Neither, I assure you. I work too much to
really hold down a relationship, and the domestic stuff keeps me
grounded. I just like being good at everything I do, that's all.”
He said with sincerity.

“Really?” Sarah retorted incredulously. She
looked out toward the large windows. The dusk had come and gone,
and now it was just pure inky black outside, as the halogen accent
lights over the paintings provided the only illumination. They were
both cast in a bath of up lighting, and she was transfixed once
again on Joe's casual elegance.

He was wearing a Hemut Lang suit like it was
something he gardened in. The suit coat had been eschewed for a
fitted shirt with rolled up sleeves. His discarded tie hung out of
his pants pocket, and his dress socks were scattered somewhere
downstairs. This moment only served to personify him as the true
alpha male he claimed to be.

Sarah caught herself swaying a little too
much, and she had to brace herself against the ornate railing of
the loft space. “Boy, its a good thing I didn't drive here!” She
said, as Joe reached out to steady her with those strong hands.

“I'm not too sure I want Ernesto driving you
home like this either.” Joe said in an appraising voice. “Why don't
you sleep in the guest bedroom tonight?”

“I really have to...whoa, I need to sit
down.” She slid into a nearby cafe chair as the swirling in her
head intensified.

“I'm sorry Miss Bella, but you're in no shape
to go anywhere.”

Sarah fell even deeper into whatever was
happening to her. Instead of a full blackout, she was treated to a
hodgepodge of flashed images and scenes. She first remembered being
hefted over Joe's shoulder so he could carry her downstairs. Then
there was the hallway leading to the guest bedroom. The last thing
she remembered was her shoes being removed and a soft chenille
throw being tucked around her.

Chapter 4

Sarah startled awake in the dead quiet of the
large house. The morning sun flooded into the windows, as she heard
the same distant crashing surf from last night. Her eyes were dry,
and she felt like her limbs weren't working right. She shook the
cobwebs from her mind and did a quick mental assessment of what
happened. She knew she was with Joe last night. She knew they had
dinner and drinks. She had that
awesome
back rub, and
then...blank. She wriggled her toes, and tried to get feeling back
into her arms so she could move them finally. It was when she
strained her head upward that she saw that same tie from last night
wrapped neatly around her wrists. She had been secured to one of
the posts of the antique, wrought iron bed.

Now it was time to panic! She was trapped in
an unfamiliar house, and she was tied to a bed. She heard her phone
chiming away to notify her of the unread emails and texts, but she
was utterly and hopelessly stuck. She cursed herself for being so
naïve
! How did she not see this coming? She had a showing
today, and she was sure to miss it since she was lashed securely to
Joe's guest bed. She hated herself for the fact that she was hoping
so much
more
would have happened last night. It was obvious
that she was just being played like always. Every struggle seemed
to make the knot tighter around her wrists, and she feared that any
more movement would start cutting off the blood flow to her
hands.

Resigned to her fate, she let her hands go
slack and just decided to wait it out. After about an hour, she
heard footsteps coming down the hall. They weren't Joe's, in fact
they weren't even men's footsteps at all. There was a quiet knock
at the door, and a small Hispanic woman peered around the open
door. She began uttering various unintelligible phrases in Spanish,
as she rushed to untie Sarah.

“Muchos gracias Senora.” Sarah said to the
woman in her broken Spanish, while she rubbed the red marks on her
wrist.

“Eyyee, Mr. Jose es muy loco!” The woman said
with an angry look on her face.

Sarah was already up and out the door.

“Jessica, I'm emailing you my location. I
need you to come pick me up.” She furiously mashed buttons on the
touch screen of her phone while she talked out loud.

“Wow Sarah, you ignore all my messages today,
and then you start barking orders at me? Not cool girlfriend...”
Jessica chastised.

Sarah paused and caught herself. “Jess, look,
I'm sorry. I was tied up, um literally, at Joseph Blake's house. I
need to reschedule the Nickerson's showing.”

“Done already.” Jessica said coolly. “I
figured something was up when you failed to check in.”

Sarah felt the weight of the world lift from
her body. “Oh my God, I owe you
so
much. If it wasn't weird,
I'd kiss you right on the lips.”

“Heh, heh, I don't like you like that kiddo.
Just give me the deets on your little meet up with the mysterious
Joseph Blake and we'll call it good.”

Joe stepped out of his car and stretched long
and loud. He groaned and growled as he reached his long arms to the
sky. Free to do what he wanted, he took his time getting the bag
out of the passenger seat.

He came across a sporting goods store that
had a fifty-pound bag of field marking chalk. He had the great idea
of pouring the powdered stuff into the ventilation system of the
house that Sarah was showing next week. When the heat tripped the
air conditioner on, the house would become an instant winter
wonderland inside! He hummed merrily to himself as he strolled past
one of Sarah's signs staked into the manicured front lawn. Staring
back at him from the sign was the cheery face of the woman
currently tied to his guest bed. He reached down, and yanked the
sign out of the ground and tossed it over his shoulder with a
melodramatic flourish.

He switched the heavy bag of powdered chalk
to his other shoulder, and reached for the polished brass door
handle. His smile faded quickly, as he realized that he was somehow
stuck to the door! The bag of chalk fell from his free hand, as he
tried to get a grip on what was happening. He gently tried to pry
his hand off, but whatever had glued him in place was too strong.
He would tear his skin off if he kept struggling, so he fumbled for
his phone right as a call came in.

Without looking, he unlocked the screen and
held the phone to his ear. “Hello Sarah. I see you freed yourself
from my silk tie?”

Sarah sat in the Starbucks by her condo and
sipped an iced coffee deliberately while she talked. “I had some
help from your cleaning lady. That was quite a knot by the way.
Were you a Boy Scout or something?” She teased in a calm, purring
voice.

“A Sea Scout, actually.” He snapped back, as
he tried to find a comfortable position in which to lean up against
the door. “What did you glue me to the door with, by the way?”

She took another long sip from her iced
coffee, right in Joe's ear. “ I figured you might try something, so
I set a little booby trap. That glue is something called Derma Tech
Fusion Bond 3423. My roommate in college did her internship for the
company that makes it, and she actually developed the skin glue
that has you stuck to the door right now. It activates with body
heat. Isn't that cool?” She teased. “It’s supposed to be stronger
than sutures in human skin. There
is
a release agent, but
Jessica got stuck in traffic and she's having a hard time getting
it to you.”

Jessica took a big noisy sip from her own
iced coffee as she nudged Sarah's foot with her leg. The two girls
giggled at Joe's expense while he fumed into the phone. Sarah got a
quick thought in her head, and sat up straight to ask him point
blank.

“Did you drug me last night?”

Joe could be heard exhaling loudly on the
other side. “Well, technically no. It was Ernesto who mixed up the
cocktail that I slipped you. Club drugs are more his thing than
mine.” He answered in a matter-of-fact tone.

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