Somehow, I found myself in West Seattle in a dark little bar off 15th Avenue. I don't know how much time has elapsed since I arrived here, but I've had five missed calls and three text messages from Linc - all pleading with me to go home. I stare at the lime in my glass of Bombay gin as I swirl it around.
Lying, cheating, bas...
I'm startled by a glass sliding silently towards me, identical to the one I have in my hands. My eyes shoot upwards. Standing at the other side of the booth table, is a man impeccably dressed in a dark charcoal suit, white shirt and grey pinstripe tie. Gold cuff-links reflect from the tea-light in the middle of the table. He holds a tumbler with amber liquid. I'm in no mood to look at his face.
"Thanks, but I'm not great company." I mutter sullenly.
To my surprise, I see his long legs slide in effortlessly as he sits opposite me. I now have no option but to lift my eyes and face him.
Eyes so piercingly blue that they are visible even in the dim candlelight, are set in in a rugged angular face, framed with thick, dark hair.
"Want me to beat the crap out of him?" He asks with a smirk.
I gasp at his audacity. What the hell?
He extends an elegant hand. "Adam DeBrett. Art Gallery owner and defender of women's virtues." He smiles, oozing contained confidence and power.
"El-Elena," I stammer as I gingerly place my hand in his. Instead of shaking it, he pulls it it swiftly to his mouth and his chiselled lips gently brush my knuckles.
It is the merest of touches but enough to make me blush and make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
"The man who made you this miserable deserves to be whipped." He whispers dangerously against my skin.
I snatch my hand away. "That man was my husband!" I snap.
"Is! Is my husband." Why am I getting flustered?
"You have a wild spirit, Elena." He says in a low, deep voice. "Maybe your husband doesn't know how to tame you."
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?
I take a long gulp of gin. "My husband cheated on me. Several times. If anything, I was obviously TOO tame for him," I hiss venomously.
He shakes his head slowly and I watch his smirking lips take a sip of the amber liquid from the tumbler. He raises his piercing blue eyes to mine.
"You're a very attractive woman, Elena. He should be worshipping you. I would."
My body shivers at his words and the smouldering look he's giving me. This has to be the most bizarre chat up routine in history.
"I didn't come here to cheat on my husband, Adam." I retort. Although God knows he deserves it.
"What DID you come here for?" He asks softly.
"I needed some space and time to think. I'd just had a bombshell dropped on me. Everything I thought...Everything I believed...Had just turned out to be a massive lie." I sigh sadly.
He nods slowly. "And have you come to any conclusions?" He softly asks.
I drag my eyes away from his and rub at the all-too-familiar aching knot in my brow. "I don't know. The thought of going back home to him...To being anywhere near him at the moment..." I close my eyes unable to finish my sentence as a wave of despair unfurls inside me. I feel Adam clasp my hand between his. His hands are warm and comforting.
"You need a distraction." He whispers.
This time I don't have the strength to pull my hand away. "Adam, I told you. I'm not cheating on Linc just to get some kind of vengeance." I state.
"Who said anything about cheating? This is as far as I'm going to touch you. I was thinking more of heading to a club..."
"I think my days of bouncing around Studio 54 are long gone!" I interrupt sarcastically.
"Oh this isn't a nightclub as such..." He rubs his chin speculatively, seemingly thinking about something. "It's a private members club. With adult entertainment."
"You want to take me to some kind of strip club?" I gasp.
Adam shakes his head and fishes into his wallet. He slides over what looks like a business card. Taking it into my hands, it has a matte black background with embossed red foil writing.
The Angelica Club
Adults Only Private Members Club
View. Explore. Play.
I run my thumb over the embossed lettering. "View, explore, play?" I quirk an eyebrow at him.
"We'd just be viewing tonight," he states.
"Viewing what?" I'm genuinely intrigued.
He rubs his hand over his chin again, which is lightly lightly dusted with a dark shadow of stubble. "Okay. In simple terms, it's a high-end fetish club. You VIEW shows or what others are doing to each other. You EXPLORE your sexual fantasies. And if you want to PLAY..."
"YOU CAN JOIN IN?" I squeak finishing off his sentence.
He grins a sexy wicked smile.
"You wanted a distraction." He shrugs. "One that didn't involve cheating on the lying asshole you're married to."
"Yes...But a sex club? Isn't that cheating by proxy?"
He knocks the rest of his drink back and stands in one swift elegant manoeuvre. My eyes follow him upwards taking in his muscular six foot frame, narrow hips and broad shoulders. He must be some kind of athlete to have such a powerful physique. He splays one hand on the table and leaning his tall frame over, he extends the other one towards me.
"Want to find out?"