Sweet Persuasion(7)

By: Maya Banks



She blinked at his abrupt shift in topic. “Uh, no, was on my way right now, as a matter of fact.”

“Perfect. Why don’t we meet so we can discuss your … problem.”

Hell. She drew in a deep breath. She’d already chickened out of her grand plan to seek out her fantasy. It was absurd to think she could go through with it. She hadn’t counted on him calling her back after she’d hung up on him.

“Miss James?”

“Call me Serena, please.”

“Very well, Serena. Would you like to have lunch?”

“Uh.” Crap. “You see, Mr. Roche, what I wanted to talk to you about isn’t something I wished to discuss in a public setting.”

“I can guarantee we’ll have the utmost privacy. Are you there at your office?” he asked.

“Yes—”

“I’ll send a driver over to collect you. Say fifteen minutes?”

“But how on earth do you know where my office is?” she protested.

He laughed softly, the sound husky in her ear. “Research. Fifteen minutes?”

Her head was spinning, and yet she found herself saying okay. “I’ll wait in the parking lot.”

“I’d feel much better if you waited inside where it’s safe. My driver will come up to collect you. I look forward to our meeting, Serena.”

Before she could respond, he cut the connection, leaving her standing next to her car, openmouthed. Still, she found herself reentering the building and punching the button for the elevator.

“Back so soon?” Carrie asked when Serena passed her office a few minutes later.

“Last-minute appointment,” Serena said. “A driver is coming up for me in a bit.”

Carrie raised her eyebrows in question. “Sounds intriguing.”

Serena ignored her and continued to her own office. Once there, she sank onto the couch in front of her desk and kicked off her shoes.

She’d officially lost her mind.

She closed her eyes. Sweet Jesus, but how was she ever going to have a normal conversation with the man on the topic of sex slaves?

Client. She’d pretend she was acting on the behalf of a client. Then it wouldn’t seem so personal, and if this Damon guy reacted like she had a couple of loose screws then she could shrug it off as the oddities of her line of work. If he researched her, he probably already suspected she was asking to see him for a client.

Feeling marginally better about the sheer idiocy of her plan and the terror it invoked, she leaned back and tried to relax. Several long minutes later, her intercom beeped.

“Serena, Damon Roche’s driver is here for you,” Carrie said.

Serena scrambled up and hastily straightened her clothes. She slipped into her shoes again and collected her purse before striding out of her office and down the hallway.

A large man with a stocky build stood next to Carrie. When he saw Serena, he dipped his head in acknowledgment. “If you’re ready, Miss James, the car is waiting.”

She nodded in return and followed the man to the elevator. They rode down in silence. He held the door to the office building open for her as she stepped out then motioned her toward the street.

A sleek Bentley was parked in front, the metal glistening in the sun. “Nice car,” she murmured.

The driver merely nodded and opened the backseat door then gestured for her to get in. A few moments later, they glided into the busy traffic.

She ran her palms over the soft leather of the seat, enjoying the supple feel of such luxury. She still wasn’t convinced Damon Roche wasn’t a drug dealer.

“Is the temperature to your liking, Miss James?”

She glanced up at the driver, who was regarding her in the rearview mirror. “I’m fine, thank you.”

He returned his gaze to the street, and she turned her attention to her window to watch the flurry of traffic zip by. Finally, they pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant and came to a stop under the awning covering the entrance.

Her door opened, and one of the men working valet reached in to help her out. Before she made it to the entrance, she was greeted by the maitre d’ and swiftly escorted inside.

Now, this is the place Mr. Gallows should have chosen for his head chef fantasy. It looked exclusive and obviously catered to a very upscale clientele.

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