Mason Dimitri was a Renaissance man.
And he preferred to steer clear of l’Éclipse as much as possible for that reason. He had a proxy who recruited women for his enterprise because he never liked to get his hands dirty—not like that.
That bloodhound Octavia and her bureau were watching him like vultures; he couldn’t give them any leverage.
Elnora was in a league of her own. He glanced at her as they waited for the limo at the underground valet.
The women Ricario provided had a certain flair: desperate and a little rough around the edges. It was why he declined the invitation to the auction every time.
Still, he couldn’t completely steer clear of l’Éclipse; it was a private club where the Mafia and cartels preferred to do business.
With the occasional silent auctioning off of a dame.
Tonight, his meeting with Adrien’s cartel to conclude securing the Coastal Footbridge was why he was here.
One look at the famed table eleven, and he couldn’t tear his eyes away—Elnora was a devastating beauty.
Her dress was tight and wrapped taut around a small, slender figure he was eager to explore. He couldn’t help but be electrified by the desire in those beautiful hazel eyes that matched the ombré of her hair.
“A secret underground entrance, huh? How quaint,” Elnora said, with an accusatory tone in her voice. Her eyes raked him again, and his lips tightened.
“It’s no secret, Elnora.”
Her eyes narrowed a little as she went back to waiting.
What was Elnora doing in a place like this? At table eleven? He desperately needed to know where and how she got in Ricario’s employ.
Perhaps he could just ask her, but he’d rather she divulged that on her own, even though it looked like she wouldn’t.
They watched as the stretch limousine pulled up in front of them, and she slanted a suspicious look at him.
“I’m sorry for keeping you, Mr. Dimitri,” the chauffeur said, hurrying to pull the door open.
Mason paid him no heed. He waved Elnora in, and she climbed in quietly. He, on the other hand, waited, wondering why he’d broken this rule for her.
He would never bid on table eleven, yet Elnora, now in the back of his limo, said otherwise. Not only that, Antonio would have a good long laugh out of this.
But he’d won, and she was his prize.
To do with as he pleased.
In contrast to the women auctioned through l’Éclipse, she did not appear to fret over what he intended to do with her, and that was killing him.
“Sir?” the chauffeur called.
Then Mason got in after her. She was waiting for him, adjusted to fully face him on the seat, her eyes serious with intent—which was out of character for her, a dame from Ricario.
“I don’t suppose we’re headed somewhere to grab a meal? Or a drink? I mean we could have had dinner here.”
There it was again, that strange thing about her. Did she think she was to be his mistress? He paused; well, there was that.
“Are you hungry?” Mason asked. He wouldn’t mind grabbing a meal on the way.
And she said nothing else, only observed him with a purposive smugness.
“Then why ask me that?”
“I asked where we were headed. You merely assumed what you chose.”
She shrugged with a nonchalance that irritated him. For a moment, staring into her unwavering eyes, with those pink lips curved in a wicked smile, he knew why he’d gone for her.
Elnora was an exquisite fantasy.
“Where do you think?” Mason genuinely wondered. Or did she not know how this worked? She was his, and as the limo pulled out onto the road, he couldn’t wait for it to get to his place.
To unwrap his fascinating present. His eyes slithered over her with purpose, and they locked eyes again.
With hesitation, she said, “Indulge me.”
Her response tickled him, and he adjusted on the fine brown leather of the car seat.
“Oh, I intend to.”
Elnora chuckled quietly, then she looked away from him as she licked her lips, hiding her expression from him. He hated it; he wanted to see everything, to know everything.
So he moved, slipping closer to her. Elnora turned to him, tension and surprise weaving in her eyes as she looked at him. It was clear as day that she intended to hold out, regardless of how blatant it was that she desired him.
Mason breathed in her scent; cherry blossoms laced with the clean scent of soap. He held her face and felt her shiver in his hand. His gaze dropped to her pink lips that had teased him since he’d set his sights on her.
“Careful now, Icarus, you just might get burned,” she purred.
It took all of his effort to restrain his desire, his fascination, his wonder. He smiled a little and traced the contour of her lips with his fingertip.
They parted with a quiver underneath his touch, and Elnora struggled to hold his gaze.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way, El.”
As her eyes twinkled into his, he struggled to catch his breath. Then he leaned in slowly until his lips covered hers in a fierce, possessive kiss.
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