Golden Shana: The Chase
Roman, 28, is cultured, aristocratic, go-to-hell handsome, wealthier than is good for anybody and both generous and nasty with it. He's commander-in-chief of his global concerns, which he built himself from scratch. He fights off women with a stick, but is loyal and devoted to his “reigning queen” and treats her exactly like a queen, although he doesn’t believe in commitment and thinks vanilla is something chefs use in the Queen Mary.
Until he meets Shana, a “man’s woman” who gives men a wide berth. She leaves Roman’s dominant self-control teetering on the brinks of insanity. But what Roman wants, Roman gets, fair or foul. Unfortunately for him, he finds himself wedged between 3 women:
Marie, 24, refuses to accept Roman separating from her for Shana, and she has a sure-fire weapon against Roman that Roman doesn’t have a bullet-proof vest for. But Roman doesn't know that yet.
Alyssa, 33 and Shana’s BFF, has fallen hard for Roman at first sight and believes she has found the Dom of her life. Until she discovers that Roman is only using her as a bridge to cross over to Shana.
Shana, 32, had a horrible experience ten years previously and had since avoided men altogether. For non-committal sex, she has her BFF Alyssa, in an open relationship where Alyssa is free to have any man she fancies - no jealousies, no territorial claims.
A mystery man who calls himself “Phoenix” has arisen from the dead and is after Shana, fair or foul too, and Roman lands in his direct line of fire.
The game of Chase begins…
[Roman arrives in Geneva only to discover that Alyssa is not the woman he’d seen at the opera house in Milan, the woman he’s after. So he’s prepared to dine and wine Alyssa in the hope of finding information about Shana, whose name he doesn’t even know]
Alyssa gave me the nuggets I wanted in between fits of giggles and sips of wine. I listened with deep chortles rumbling from my chest while I sliced a strip of venison and covered it with wood mushroom tartar. I balanced my morsel gingerly on the fork, for her benefit, then pushed it slowly into my own mouth the minute hers started opening to receive it. Alyssa held her breath for a moment, then blushed. Then recovered.
“Shan is the girlfriend, Roman.” She chewed her own food and went uuummm with closed eyes. Go on, go on, my mind urged her. “Lars, by the way,” she began while spearing her poached peach in tree syrup. She put it in her mouth and went through the uuummm again. My feet were this close to starting the tattoo they’d beaten during lunch with Robert at Bistro Atelier yesterday. The adrenaline was approaching an overdose level again.
“Is he some wife-beater or something?” I coaxed.
She shook her head vigorously while she swallowed. “God forbid, no. They all treat their spouses like goddesses and princes charming. I’m often sinfully envious.”
I’ll be sinfully maniacal in a minute if she doesn’t stop teasing me like this. Giving me the information I was inwardly panting for in tiny drops, for heaven’s sake.
“Jealousy aside, it must be good for you to know Lars treats your girlfriend like a goddess.” I’d expended enough energy for a freight train to keep my legs still. In my quest to find Aphrodite, my impatience was a definite flaw.
She bobbed her head until she could speak. “Oh yes, her too. The whole family treats her like something magical from Outer Universe.”
I’d begun to go off my delicious venison. I’d’ve found it tastier killing Alyssa on the spot. What did Oh yes, her too mean? What family? Give me something to throw at Robert, for fuck’s sake. I already know she’s something magical from Outer bloody Universe!
“What do you mean her too?” I said controlling my irritation. “You make it sound like she’s this Lars’ adored bit on the side.”
Ooops Castell, you idiot! It’s her girlfriend you’re talking about.
I quickly went for the Oscar again. I reached out and placed my palm on her cheek, the pad of my thumb stroking and flicking gently on the lowest tip of her earlobe.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean it to sound… sort of like insulting your girlfriend indirectly.”
Then I put on the face of mock accusation and my sexiest voice:
“It’s all your fault, young lady, you’ve got me thoroughly bothered.”
“Roman.” Like, My sex god. “Anyway, Shan is neither married nor a mistress.”
Oh Christ. I didn’t know whether to go WOOOPPPEEE! or eat Alyssa first – in gratitude. I’ll get her! If Lars was not even a boyfriend to her mistress, but possibly just an occasional lover, then I was going to win both the war and the battle. Kill him, if necessary. Or be killed by him. I’d made a vow to myself to get her or die trying. Right from the beginning. And in love and war, a whole repertoire of tactics, strategies and methods are allowed…
Except that when I turned sober again, I realized I had as good as nothing on Shan other than that she was unmarried and nobody’s mistress. Somebody’s girlfriend perhaps? Fiancée? Dare I ask Alyssa this question without making her feel that I wasn’t here for her but for Shan? Pride, in all of us, is something that’s always averse to being insulted however much infatuation or raging-mad the lust to have sex with another person was.
Alyssa was burning for me. And she was so lovely in that exotic way of hers, a way no German woman would ever be graced with. I wanted to shag her too, to be honest. But I had to invest more time and work harder for the information I needed – that had priority.
“I’m jealous of her for having you, Alyssa. I’d rather I didn’t share.”
Double entendre. At least to me. My words did something to Alyssa, though, judging from her expression. I’m sure she didn’t get the double – or even triple – meaning. But she reacted as if she actually felt I was some kind of a rival.
Then the expression was gone as suddenly as it had appeared. Only the colour remained on her cheeks.
“You’re irritated about my interest in your friends, Alyssa. Why? If somebody had seen me with a couple of friends and asked about them, I’d have no trouble talking about them. That’s quite normal, isn’t it?”
I saw her shake herself together, gathering her wits about her again, so to speak.
But mean keeps them keen. “So tell me more about you then, Alyssa”
Lame, but it was all I had at that moment.
The waiters came to take our finished course away and served us the tiramisu mascarpone with espresso sherbet.
Alyssa heaved a little sigh in preparation as soon as the waiters left.
“Roman, let’s get one thing clear and then get on with our evening, all right?”
I shrugged like a little boy who’d been told he’d get his new PlayStation but not until next Christmas. I toned that down with a lopsided grin I’d cultivated in front of my bathroom mirror a million times, and a hit of the blue gaze.
She sighed again. “The Lindqvist family… oh shit!,” she hissed the last words.
“Okay,” she continued, rubbing her pretty hands together, like someone about to embark on a manual task. “I mean, Shan likes to remain as private as possible. It’s the basis of our long standing friendship, you know. We’ve been like sisters since we both attended the same private school. I’m as much part of her family as she is part of mine and I gave her my word to keep all matters family private. I honour that, or I wouldn’t be worth much of a best friend, would I now? I love Shan and she loves me.”
“Now you’ve gone and made the two of you a big mystery and therefore more interesting. May I ask which private school that was? I know a woman who also went to private school here in Geneva.” I tried to be as casual about the question as possible, aiming for another Oscar for Eating Tiramisu Style Mascarpone Intently.
“Roman,” she leant over the table, her sexy slit eyes so narrowed as to seem closed. “Didn’t we just agree to get on with our evening?”
A thousand watts of blues, askew smile, palms together like Gandhi. “Alyssa, just the one question. What’s wrong with knowing where my pretty girl went to—”
She was shaking her head as if to say: You’re incorrigible, Roman. But she was smiling. “All right. Ecole Internationale de Genève. End of chapter, verse, and book. Now it’s my turn to question." She ate her mascarpone and waited.
“Okay, ask away.”
“Was it really me you came chasing after in Geneva, as you told me at lunch time?” She stopped eating to concentrate on my body language.
It was the truth. I’d come to Geneva to find Alyssa.
What else could I tell her at this point, that I’m really a serial lover and panting for my next obsession? It was dishonest to pour oil on her fire, but I was a moth and Alyssa was the compass that would lead me to my mesmerizing light. I wasn’t proud of myself for resorting to using another person’s feelings, but it was simply one of those unexplainable things where the good in all of us says: You know this is so wrong, yet the evil side says: It has to be so, you’re supposed to, the end justifies the means.
I gave Alyssa another thousand watts of my blue eyes with a bonus smile that made her chest begin to heave. She’d run into both. My mind weighed cost and benefit of wild lust with Alyssa.
“And here we are, my lovely. We’re going to have an unforgettable Geneva night.”
I had three precious nuggets from Alyssa.
Shan. Lindqvist. Ecole Internationale de Genève.