Katherine Harbin is an up and coming young talent scout for a modeling agency. Geoffrey Werner is a business tycoon with an insatiable lust for power, uncontrollable jealousy, and a manipulative friend who lives inside his head. Valerye Sweet, Geoffrey's on-again off-again girlfriend has a special connection to Katherine that no one understands.
When Geoffrey sets his sights on Katherine as an object to be possessed, she leaves town to escape him and falls in love with Ian, a young artist on a soul searching journey. But the love of a starving artist is no match for the jealous rage of a wealthy psycho, with powerful friends on both sides of the law. Ian's only chance to save them all from Geoffrey's wrath, means setting Katherine free to give her love to Valerye.
Katherine glanced at her phone, merely to confirm her suspicions, then hit the button to silence the annoying thing. Helen left another voice mail, as if believing seven would be the magic number to prompt her stepdaughter to return her call.
I wish she would quit bugging me. I've already told her I won't date Geoffrey Werner, regardless of the size of his bank account or his abundant good looks.
Helen had described him as a Greek god in a business suit, with penetrating green eyes and black hair made for a woman's fingers.
Go ahead, give in, wimp. She picked up her phone to make the call. What harm could there be in one date with a filthy rich Greek god?
"Hey, Helen. I wasn't avoiding you." Liar. "They're running me crazy over here. Raoul has a big show coming up, and we're short on models. He's threatening to use another agency unless we can bring in some new top-notch talent in the next ten days. Basically, the fate of the whole agency is resting squarely on my shoulders. But no pressure, right? So, what's up? I've got a couple of minutes before I have to meet with a potential recruit." Let me guess, Geoffrey wants to know when I'm going to stop being such a tight ass and go out with him? I hope he's as nice as he is hot.
"I know you're busy, honey, so I won't keep you. It's just, Geoffrey really wants to meet you. He's stopping by this evening for cocktails, and I thought you might like to join us. It doesn't have to be anything formal, just pop in on your way home from work, say, sevenish."
"Helen, if I meet this guy, will you promise to quit badgering me, even if I don't like him?" Maybe this is an opportunity I shouldn't pass up. Who knows, it could be fate. I've refused to even talk to him, but he won't give up. I suppose persistence could be a good sign.
"Kathy, you'll like him. Ray better be glad I'm not twenty-five years younger, because I'd be all over that."
Ray better not turn his back, or you'll be all over that. What a terrible thing to think. It's true, but it's still not nice. "Promise you'll let it go."
"Honey, you've got to give up this childish fantasy about finding your perfect man. There is no such thing as a soul mate. You need to stop reading those damn romance novels and get your head into reality. You have the opportunity of a lifetime being handed to you. Don't throw it away because of some ridiculous notion."
"Jesus, Helen, do you always have to preach?" I like romance novels. It's not childish to want to meet the right guy. I don't want to settle for just anyone because I'm afraid of being alone. I think I'd rather be alone than get stuck in a bad relationship with Mr. Wrong. Yep, all the kids will stand on the corner pointing and laughing at me when I hobble down the street. Ha ha, look at the old spinster. She's ninety-five years old, and she never got laid. She's been sitting in front of her window every day since her fifth birthday, waiting for her soul mate.
"Kathy, I don't know how else to get through that thick head of yours. One day you'll thank me for being so insistent. Come meet him. Who knows, maybe he's the one you've been waiting for."
Hum, maybe he is the one. God knows I've been waiting long enough. Maybe I'll gaze into his eyes and see the man of my dreams. He'll take me into his arms, press his lips to mine, and I'll lose myself in his sensuous embrace. I'll open my mouth and caress his tongue with mine. My nipples will tighten, and my body will tremble with desire, as my... Someone rapped on her office window. Katherine glanced up and spotted her boss, Lynda, looking in as she strolled by. "Helen, I have to get back to work. I'll see you at seven. Tell Ray I said hello."
Ian sat at his desk, wringing his trembling hands. A sales rep, his manager, and a customer service rep encircled his chair, yelling at him. As one got louder, the others followed suit. His brain rapidly approached the point of overload. Angry shouts, blended together with the violent thumping of his heart, resonated in his ears. If they don't shut up, I'm going to lose it.
Ian's boss opened the door, and everyone fell silent. "What is going on in here?" His voice sounded far too calm for the situation.
Ian sat dumbfounded. The three chatterboxes all explained at once.
"Ian, I don't understand how you let this happen. Do I need to get someone in here to retrain you? What do you have to say for yourself?"
Like a dam that had developed a crack, allowing a tiny trickle of water to seep through and erode away at its foundation, that one last drop caused a catastrophic failure. All the years of stress and pent up frustration from undue pressure burst forth in a flood of emotion.
"Retrain me? Fuck you! Who in the hell is going to retrain me? Certainly not you, because you don't know shit about this end of your business. Every time I try to explain something to you, I see your eyes glaze over, and you just stand there looking like a freaking moron. If you knew one damn thing about what I have to go through in here, you wouldn't be standing there looking like an idiot, asking stupid questions!"
Ian's boss stood in silence for a moment, eyes wide, mouth hanging open. The man never raised his voice; even when he chewed someone out he sounded calm, but it was easy enough to tell when he was upset because his whole head would turn as red as a beet.
"I guess you realize you're fired, don't you?" His voice stayed low and steady.
"Fuck you, I quit." Ian stood up and shoved his chair out of his way. "Fuck all of you!"
"You've got two minutes to get out of here, or I'll call the cops and have you locked up for trespassing." The old man turned around and left as calmly as he had entered.
Ian hung his head and oozed from his office like a big blob of slime. Oh crap, I can't believe I just said that. Everyone in the plant stopped whatever they were doing and stared at him as he slithered past. He had rehearsed this moment in his head ever since his first week, when the boss chewed him out for some minor mistake that wasn't his fault. He never got an apology, barely even an acknowledgment that he hadn't made the mistake. The telling off of his boss was supposed to have been done with lines of eloquent prose, describing in great detail all of the old man's failings. At that point, he planned to walk out, head held high, applauded by his colleagues. The plan failed miserably.
Ian kept his eyes to the floor as he passed his coworkers. I wish they'd go back to work and stop looking at me. Don't they know I can hear them talking? I guess they don't care.
"The old man finally canned him," someone said.
Another whispered, "I never thought he would last this long."
Ian poured over the screw up. The client specifically requested the change that caused the problem. I implemented the change exactly as spec'd by the client, so it wasn't my fault, only it was. He failed to notice the change in design, even though it was minuscule, compromised the structural integrity of the finished part. The plant had tooled up, ready to start production, when a machine operator discovered the flaw. It was a fantastic catch on the part of the operator. It wasn't his job to know the specs of the final product, but the guy was really on the ball. I hope the boss gives the operator a raise. He had saved the company, possibly millions, if returned products and potential lawsuits were factored into the equation. Ian didn't know how much he had cost the company in wages and expenses tooling up for production. Could have been fifty grand, could have been a hundred grand, depending on what could be salvaged and what couldn't.
The most disturbing thing about the whole situation was that he didn't really care. He felt bad the company lost money, but he didn't care about his job. It put money in his pocket, nothing else. His heart had never been in it, and the time to be moving on had long since passed. He had known what he really wanted to do since he was seven years old, and it had nothing to do with producing bits of household appliances.
As he left the plant for the last time, sunshine fell warmly on his face. A gentle breeze rustled leaves on the trees bordering the parking lot. Puffy white clouds floated lazily through the deep blue sky, and birds cheerfully chirped their happy songs. A more perfect day had never been created. He drew a deep breath of fresh air and couldn't help but smile. With one step over the threshold from darkness into the light, all of the stress that had burdened him for so long floated away on the wind.
Geoffrey stopped his car in front of Katherine's apartment building and waited by the passenger door for her to come out. She strutted down the walkway, swaying elegantly, like a runway model. She looks like candy in a dress. I wonder how many licks it would take to make her melt in my mouth? Geoffrey took her hand and kissed her knuckles.
Katherine gasped and sighed. "Hi. It's a little warm tonight, don't you think?" She staggered just a bit, but Geoffrey took her arm and steadied her.
He opened the door, bowed, and motioned for her to get in. She gracefully slipped into the leather bucket seat. Her red minidress rose just high enough to show the perfect amount of leg.
Geoffrey stopped in front of the car, adjusted his Bluetooth earpiece, and quietly spoke. "Thanks pal, for getting her worked up right off the bat. I say we skip dinner and get her legs into the air ASAP. What do you say?"
A deep, ghostly voice inside his head answered. Do not deviate from the plan, Geoffrey Werner.
Geoffrey jumped into the car, and they sped away.
"Kat, you look hot tonight." You'll look even hotter face down and ass up in my bed.
Katherine flipped her long auburn hair backward over her left shoulder, fully exposing her cleavage. "Thanks."
"Your dress matches my car." Hum, maybe I'll get her onto the hood and pull it up around her waist. That would be sweet.
Katherine batted her eyes. "Oh, really? I didn't notice. I'm kind of surprised you asked me out so soon."
"We really hit it off at Helen's the other night. I didn't see any point in waiting. I keep a crazy schedule, constantly traveling overseas for business. I have to deliberately pencil in fun time, just like business appointments. It's not ideal for my personal life, but I don't intend to live this fast pace forever." Plus, I have a nagging little friend in my head who wouldn't shut the fuck up until I asked you out.
"What do you do anyway?"
"Oh, this and that. All kinds of boring stuff I'm sure you don't want to hear about."
Katherine shifted in her seat and straightened her dress. "Where are we headed?"
"I thought we'd grab dinner. There's a little Japanese restaurant I want to buy. You can give me a critique of the place. It always helps to get a fresh perspective."
She grimaced and sighed. "Japanese, great. Raw seafood, just what I always wanted."
Geoffrey glanced her way and smiled warmly. "I'm sure we can talk the chef into cooking something, if you'd prefer, but you should go into any new situation with an open mind. You might be surprised."
"I have no doubt I'd be surprised, I'm just not sure I want that kind of surprise."
"Have you ever been to a mud wrestling match?"
Katherine gazed curiously in his direction. "Surprisingly, no."
Would Kat enjoy a catfight? It would be so hot watching a couple of chicks rub her face in the mud and rip her clothes off. "I'm on good terms with a club owner; I can get you into a match if you want. It's excellent for stress relief."
She blinked and stared wide-eyed at him.
"What's that look?"
"I'm waiting for the punch line."
"No punch line. We could be a tag team. I get the feeling you're athletic. I thought it would be fun."
"I surf, but I'm not ready to try mud wrestling, especially not in this dress."
I could turn that dress into spaghetti in ten seconds. But you're just a tight ass little prick tease, aren't you? You probably surf wearing a wet suit so one of those little titties won't fall out where anyone could see it. "Life is short, Kat, you have to live it."
"Why don't we do dinner for tonight and discuss this mud wrestling a little more in depth, later?"
Geoffrey parked the car and escorted her inside. The voice in his head urged him to leave her for a moment and go some place private.
"Kat, I have to make a quick call. I apologize, but business invades my personal time more often than I like."
Geoffrey quickly made his way to the restroom. "What?"
The voice spoke. Make the proposal, Geoffrey.
"Stop rushing me. Doing this on our first date is way too soon as it is, but before dinner is not happening. I'll ask her at the end of the evening, not before. I don't want to hear another peep out of you. If I talk to you while I'm hanging with her, she'll think I'm nuts."
A man came out of a stall and stared curiously at Geoffrey. "She'd be right."
Geoffrey turned to him and tapped his Bluetooth earpiece.
"Sorry." The man left without another word.
"This is a great little invention. A guy can talk to all of the voices in his head, and no one will know he's nuts, as long as he's wearing one of these stupid things."
Draw her in, Geoffrey Werner. Bind her to us. She must remain close, or we will lose.