Guilty Pleasures 4

Copyright © 2011

Chapter One

Maximiliano D’Alesandro politely declined the offer of a glass of sherry from the pretty, dark-haired waitress. Instead, he glanced at his watch, wondering when a suitable moment would arise so he could leave without bringing too much attention to himself. From his position by the magnificent Louis XIV fireplace, he surveyed the elegant drawing room of the hotel, and adjusted his stance. The classy room was crammed full of people wearing black. He disliked funerals intensely, much preferring the living to the dead, but this was one funeral he couldn’t avoid.

His best friend, Kirk Williams, had tragically died some five days earlier. It had been totally unexpected. He felt like a rug had been pulled from under him. Stunned, his world had shattered, tilting on its axis to undermine everything he believed in. The constant was no longer a certainty. People died. Best friends perished in the blink of an eye.

Both aged thirty-four, they’d grown up together. They’d played football together. They’d shared a lifetime together, but sadly, no more. His heart ached for the loss of his best friend, but he was filled with anger, too.

At that moment he let his gaze drift to Kirk’s wife, Ella, and the cause of all his anguish. There she sat on the plush brocade sofa, looking every inch the grieving widow.

In the ten years he’d known her, he’d always believed her to be sweet natured and totally loyal to his best friend. He felt his mouth firming into a thin line of disapproval as he moodily studied her. Yes, she might have lost a few pounds. Maybe guilt had made her shed them? The black sleeveless dress only served to accentuate her slim arms and pale complexion. Her hands clasped nervously around the handkerchief resting on her lap. Every so often he saw her squeeze the linen square tightly in her grasp.

Normally, Ella wore her hair in a ponytail, but today she’d let it down, and it trailed around her shoulders in a glossy black mane. He thought her flamboyant hairstyle seemed wholly inappropriate for a funeral. Her shiny locks almost hid from view the black velvet choker adorning her elegant, slender neck. It reminded him of a slave collar he’d use on a number of his subs. That one thought alone kept his interest squarely on her. Up until a few months ago he’d thought Ella Williams would make the perfect slave. Her fiery, opinionated temperament was ideally suited to being trained to submit. It wouldn’t be an easy task. He knew she’d be rebellious, but those kinds of slaves gave him the greatest pleasure when they finally submitted to his will. Of course, he would never have entered into such a relationship with her, even if she were so inclined. As the wife of his best friend, Ella had always been strictly off-limits.

Anger flared once more through his body, and he eased his shoulders, releasing the tension.
Everything had changed.