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Episode 2



 As I wait for stage two of my ploy to commence, I peer out the window Isabelle will be seated next to shortly. My mood has somewhat calmed from what it was when she dashed away from me without so much of a backward glance. I can’t thank Hugo for my relapse to normality. As far as he is concerned, he was the cause of my snappy attitude. I want to keep it that way. He’s a man you need to keep on his toes. If he grows bored, he causes trouble.

Since I’m knee-deep in controversy, I’d rather skip another bout.


 Isabelle’s frantic dash is the reason I requested Hunter to place her in the window seat. My flight was booked out, and it took Hunter hacking into the airline’s website to boot a paying customer out of their seat, but I asked him to do whatever necessary to weaken Isabelle’s ability to escape. Since she will have to straddle my lap to do it, I’m confident I have all my bases covered. Business-class seats are generous, but so are the span of my thighs when I want to keep someone contained. They’re almost as undogged as my ability to withhold climax until I’m ready.


I’ve not yet had the chance to showcase my skill to its full effect—why would I when I was merely with my bed companions to get off and leave—but I have a feeling I’ll need more than an ability to abstain when it comes to Isabelle. The fact she evaded me without the final glance most women in my presence do exposes, I need to up my game.


It’s a game I shouldn’t be fielding but tell me one self-made millionaire who hasn’t dabbled in the occasional recreational sport they shouldn’t have. My hands are clean, they always have been and always will be, but that doesn’t mean I’m disinterested in seeing how grubby I can make them before they’ll need to be scrubbed.


 My focus shifts when a sweet smell overtakes the scent of marinated drumsticks being overcooked in an industrial microwave. Although I don’t turn my head to face Isabelle and a lady who needs to cut back on the perfume, I can picture the shock on Isabelle’s face. Not only are her breaths fast, but I also hear her stomach gurgle when the air hostess says, “1A.” She pauses before repeating her comment, then she pivots on her heels and darts away.


 Not even ten seconds later, Isabelle clumsily trips over her feet for the second time today. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” she mumbles under her breath when I jest about a beautiful woman falling to my feet twice in one day is a new record for me.


 Her cheeks are as barefaced now as they were during her first tumble. However, I’m skeptical all the redness is from embarrassment. She’s heating up everywhere.


“Mr. Holt,” she greets me through the lump in her throat before she all but vaults over my seat, completely missing the ruse I conjured up specifically for her. Not even one of the many lint balls on her dowdy sweatpants caressed my trousers.


 Once her delectable ass is sunk into her chair as far as it can go, Isabelle’s hands hunt for her seat belt. She’s jittering so much, even with her finding the ends of her belt remarkably quick, she can’t fasten the silver clips together.


I still her shaking hands by covering them with mine before clasping her belt together. My tug on the light gray teethers is more robust than necessary, but I can’t help but see what her response would be to being harnessed.


Even though it’s clear from her ‘O’ mouth, bondage isn’t something she’s done previously. The lusty glint in her eyes exposes she could very well be interested in testing the boundaries of her limitation.


 I would be a liar if I said I wouldn’t immediately sign up to be her teacher if given the opportunity. BDSM isn’t my kink, but I’m as dominant as it comes, and that is often implemented in the bedroom as well.


After regulating her breathing, Isabelle lifts her eyes to mine. They’re full of fear, but that isn’t the only emotion they are showcasing. She finds me as fascinating as I do her. “Thank you.”


I dip my chin in acceptance of her praise before taking in her white-knuckle hold of the armrests. She’s clutching them so fiercely, she is at the point of snapping her nails. It all but explains the scent of fear leeching from her pores. “Scared of flying?”


 She looks like she wants to laugh but holds back. “Is it that obvious?”


 Confident I can coerce her off the ledge, I say, “You do know recent studies have shown—”


 “Traveling in a car or a truck is one hundred times deadlier than flying?” For someone on the verge of coronary failure, her tone is amatory and smooth. “Yes, I’m aware of that. It still doesn’t help.”


Unlike Isabelle, I can’t hold back who I am. If I’m not me, I may as well be dead. “Actually, I was going to say recent studies have shown the endorphins released during sexual activities can overtake cortisol and other fear-induced chemicals.” I wait for confirmation about what I’m suggesting to dart through her impressive eyes before adding, “You should consider testing the theory out.”


I have her hook, line, and sinker… then we get interrupted. “Can I help you with anything, Mr. Holt?”


When I crank my head in the direction the voice came from, I’m met with a stunning flight attendant who’d happily ignore the terms of her employment contract to suck my dick mid-flight. She is the type of woman I’d usually go for with long blonde hair and a slender frame, but today, I’m not interested. Who in their right mind orders an appetizer after perusing an enticing main menu?


 Happy she has secured my attention, the air hostess flutters her fake lashes. “Perhaps I can take your jacket?” Her offer is genuine, but her tone isn’t close to authentic. She knows what she interrupted because the chemistry between Isabelle and me would have the plane ready for takeoff even without a pilot in the cockpit.


The flight attendant has no right whatsoever to stake a claim, but it is as obvious as the sun shining in the sky that she’s warning Isabelle to back off. I would find her efforts amusing if it didn’t double the unease pumping out of Isabelle. She’s no longer fretting about takeoff. She’s struggling to determine if anything has happened between the flight attendant and me.


 Although I would like to settle her worry, the revolving door of women in and out of my life since Ophelia’s death makes that a little hard.


 Wow. That’s the first time I’ve felt shame admitting that. Perhaps some of my father’s traits were handed down to me. Even when he shouldn’t be, he is forever a gentleman. My mother used it to her advantage as often as possible after my diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma when I was five. She milked it for all it was worth, and it wasn’t just my father caught in the crossfires.


 Eager for the air hostess to leave so I can get back to my conversation with Isabelle before my wavering moods hit another low, I stand from my seat to remove my jacket. My usually brisk pace is sliced to half its natural speed when I feel the heat of Isabelle’s hooded gaze a couple of moments later. It isn’t scorching the top half of my body. She’s staring at the crotch of my pants, her watch lewd yet spicy.


After licking her suddenly bone-dry lips, she reluctantly raises her eyes to my face, curious as to why I stopped undressing. They bulge out of her head when she spots my gawk before she diverts them away, her cheeks inflaming even more. I have no clue how she can portray sensuality and coyness with one set of features, but she pulls it off convincingly well. She has a saintly face, but a gleam in her eyes that tells you she’s nothing close to angelic.


Determined not the be left out in the cold, the air hostess steps closer to me, engulfing me with her floral scent when her knee bumps my hand. “Would you care for a drink, Mr. Holt?” She purrs my name in the same manner Isabelle did in the business class lounge. It doesn’t affect me the same way.


 I hand her my jacket, reminding her of her place, before replying, “Teeling 30-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey.” It is a favorite of mine. Has been since I earned my first million.

“Excellent selection, Mr. Holt.”


The air hostess smiles, pivots on her heels, then stalks away. She barely makes it two steps before my naturally ingrained dominance rears its ugly head. I may have more money in the bank than Isabelle, and the price tag on my jacket could purchase her an entire wardrobe of brand name sweats, but things weren’t always this way. I was once as poor as Isabelle, if not poorer, and it will do this pretentious snob a world of good to remember that.


With my hold on her wrist a little firmer than intended, the hostess’s green eyes are quick to snap to mine. They’re wide with panic, but if my intuition is anything to go by, she’s more worried she has upset me than she is that I’m about to hurt her.


 Still, I loosen my grip before asking, “Are you going to ask Isabelle if she’d like something to drink?”


She nods without pause for thought before peering at Isabelle over my shoulder. “W-would you like something to drink?”


A whoosh fans my nape with air before Isabelle’s seductive voice doubles the goosebumps the brisk blast of air caused. “No, thank you.”


I glance at her over my shoulder, my glare as unforgiving as the air hostess’s when she noticed Isabelle’s stare at my crotch. “Are you sure?”


Her throat works hard to swallow before she nods. I don’t believe she’s scared. It could be quite the opposite. Her scent is as erotic now as it was when I cleaned her face with my spit-coated thumb. She likes my aggression, particularly when it’s associated with standing up for her.


It has me curious about her family predicament. She’s too confident to have been raised by a woman who believes the only thing she needs to strive for in life is getting married, but it is clear she was loved. She’s far too down-to-earth to display anything but a woman nurtured in a stable, loving home.


Perhaps she was raised in a single-parent environment like I was, even with my parents only divorcing seven years ago?


 When Isabelle forcefully swallows for the second time, it dawns on me that I’m still clutching the flight attendant’s wrist. I drop it like the frantic thump of her pulse is a detonator, and I’m seated close to the bomb. Even quicker than that, the hostess bolts down the aisle as fast as her quivering legs can carry her. Just like Isabelle, I don’t believe she’s scared. She is rushing to fix the injustice she made, convinced hard work will place her in my good books. Usually, that would be the case, but once again, nothing this afternoon is as it once seemed.


 After offering me a halfhearted smile, Isabelle leans her head into the leather headrest of her seat and sucks in some deep breaths. I take the time to study her more closely. She is unlike any woman I’ve ‘dated.’ Her face is fresh with only the slightest smattering of makeup. A handful of tiny freckles add youthfulness to her age, I’d guess to be early to mid-twenties, and her skin has a hint of coloring I suspect isn’t God-given. The faintest bikini tan line is seen on her shoulder.


It’s ludicrous to admit how green with envy I am realizing the sneak peek I got of her midsection when she tumbled to my feet was only a portion of the skin she’d expose while sunbathing, so I won’t mention it.


I pride myself on my shrewdness. Usually, nothing alters my goals and aspirations, but I can see it dissipating before my eyes, vanishing with every second I stare at Isabelle’s beautiful face. I’m sure it will return full pelt once I’ve had my fill.


That’s how I operate. I keep my business life and personal life separate at all times. It avoids unnecessary conflict and ensures my objectives remain strong.


I’m not sure I can do that this time around, though. My hands are itching to see if her skin is as soft as it looks, to see if my briefest touch will ease her conflict as quickly as it doubles mine. And I’m given the opportunity to test my theory when the jerk of the plane as it commences its trip to the runway causes Isabelle’s teeth to gnaw on her bottom lip. She bites on it so firmly, I’m confident she is seconds from drawing blood.


My reputation is fierce, I am respected as much as I am feared, but today is the first time I act solely on instincts.


The fear pounding out of Isabelle weakens when I trace my fingertip over the veins protruding in her hand. My gentle touch awards me her eyes in less than a nanosecond and her utmost devotion even quicker than that.


“How about we test the theory?” My voice is groggier than I’ve heard it, almost demanding.

 When Isabelle nods, adding to the confirmation seen in her eyes, I drag my finger up her arm, smiling when the fine hairs bristle upon being awarded my attention. The front of my pants tightens when my hand stops a hair’s breadth away from her neck. She’s watching me intently, heating me with a gaze so white-hot, I clutch her throat like we are in a private abode instead of being eyeballed like freaks by the couple next to us. I understand their desire to watch. Our exchange is on the verge of being pornographic, and we’re both fully clothed. Imagine how calamitous it will be when we’re not?


 Euphoria pumps through me hard and fast when Isabelle releases a husky moan about my dominant grip. We were strangers a mere hour ago, yet she trusts me enough not to voice a single complaint about my underhanded request for an exchange of power.


 After releasing her throat from my domineering clutch, I free her lip from her menacing teeth. “I’m going to bite that lip,” I mutter before I can stop myself.


 My comment switches from a statement to a confirmation when I track my thumb over her pillowy lips. She doesn’t accept my grapple for the lead without displaying what she is willing to bring to the table. She nibbles on the tip of my thumb, her gentle sucks felt all the way to my cock. It digs into the zipper of my trousers, doubling its ache.


 With all the blood in my body rushing to my lower extremities, I curl my hand around Isabelle’s nape, drag her lips to within an inch of mine, then freeze. I’m not waiting for permission to kiss her, I got that from her eyes long before I told her I wanted to bite her lip. I’m frozen in shock, stunned I’m about to do something I haven’t done since Ophelia died.

I fuck, and I fuck good, but not once in the past six years has that been done with kissing. I’ve done everything else you can imagine, but just like those three little words I spoke to Ophelia the night she died will never be re-spoken, I pledged not to kiss anyone either. It’s an intimate act, deeper and more connected than any other sexual partiality.


 In all honesty, I don’t see my kissing stance lasting. I was barely twenty-one when I made an incalculable number of decisions that altered my life plan in an instant. Some I can change, others will remain forever, but shouldn’t those conflictions be reserved for a woman I’ve known for more than an hour or two? Furthermore, my choices were mammoth and not something any woman will take lightly, so why am I acting as if they’re inconsequential just so I can lure an attractive woman into my bed?


 I’m often accused of being selfish. Very rarely is the accuser accurate.


 I can’t give that same guarantee this afternoon.


I’m leading Isabelle onto a field I know is riddled with landmines without my qualm faltering. That makes me ashamed of the man I’ve become.


 With that in mind, I pull back with barely a second to spare. It not only fills me with disappointment, it absolutely shatters the confidence in Isabelle’s eyes when she pops them back open, confused by my retreat.


 I down my double whiskey with one large gulp, hopeful it will hide the disappointment in my voice before I mutter, “I’d say the theory has been proven.”


 When I nudge my head to the window frosted by the contrasting temperatures of Isabelle’s heated breaths and the coolness of being thirty thousand feet in the air, Isabelle slings her eyes in the direction I motioned. She gasps while taking in the puffy white clouds in the late afternoon sky, but I can still feel her disappointment. It is almost as noticeable as mine when the de-illumination of the seat belt sign has Isabelle jolting back over my legs and racing for the bathroom.


My rejection hurt her.


I doubt it would if she understood the reasoning behind it.


I smile at the stars every night like I know their secrets, where, in reality, they’re the only ones who know mine.


And if I have it my way, that is how it will stay.





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