In the back of the Mercedes, Brynn was wiping the raindrops from her face and neck when the rear passenger door flew open and another person scooted inside.
She almost screamed for her driver when she saw the man in the sharply cut black suit slide into the seat next to her. His riveting blue eyes fixated on her, and Brynn’s mouth dropped open.
“Well, well, Brynn Alder,” he said in a voice akin to honey. “I thought that was you. Forgive the intrusion, but I have wanted to meet you. I’m Declan Corinth.” He held out his hand.
Brynn stared at his hand as if it was a nuclear missile. What in the hell is he doing here?
When her eyes rose to his face, his good looks made her mouth go dry. With black wavy hair and sharp blue eyes, he was even sexier than his portrait. Declan’s features were sharp, but his nose was a little flat and his chin somewhat small compared to his square jaw. He had thin lips that complimented his looks. Just the idea of kissing those lips made Brynn want to—
Shake his hand! “Mr. Corinth.” She took his hand. “Why are you in my car?”
While holding her hand, his eyes examined her face, sending a tingling sensation up from Brynn’s toes.
“I was coming to Ren’s, and I saw you. I’m ashamed to say I’m a fan, Ms. Adler. I’ve read all your books. I think your interpretation of the BDSM lifestyle is unique.”
“Interesting choice of words, Mr. Corinth.” The fact that the attractive man had read her books was even more unnerving than his being in her car. “Are you familiar with BDSM?”
He kept a firm grip on her hand. “I have several associates who are ardent admirers of the lifestyle.”
She yanked her hand away. “By associates, I take it you mean Ren and his little society.”
“Ren is a business associate, Ms. Adler. As for his society, I’m familiar with it.”
She sat back in her seat, studying Declan’s compelling features. “How did you end up in one of his portraits?”
He hiked up a dark eyebrow, his eyes brimming with amusement. “You’ve seen the painting? And what did you think?”
“Ren told me a local businesswoman commissioned it. She was apparently quite taken with you.”
“Mabel Bergeron was more than taken with me. She was obsessed.”
Declan’s soulful chuckle resonated in Brynn’s groin, and then she was struck by the name. “Mabel Bergeron? But she ….” Her voice trailed off, afraid to say what she was thinking.
“She owns a bondage club in the Garden District.” Declan sat back in his seat. “Your ex-husband was a frequent customer of hers. We met at Mabel’s club.”
A cold realization settled over Brynn. Declan Corinth was a player—a Dom. How else would he know about the bondage club Nathan had belonged to, or be friends with Ren Plancharde? Feeling foolish, Brynn glanced at Bob, still awaiting instructions behind the wheel.
“I should go. I’m keeping you from your meeting with Ren.”
“Nonsense.” Declan motioned for Bob to start the car. “I’ll see you back to The Shallows. You shouldn’t be alone today.”
“You know where I live?”
“I heard you took over Nathan’s old penthouse.”
Brynn’s reservations mounted as the engine roared to life. “No, Bob, wait,” she called. “Mr. Corinth was just leaving.”
The shock in Declan’s blue eyes was entertaining. She suspected that, being a Dom, he wasn’t used to having a woman tell him what to do.
With a curt nod, he reached for the car door and then glanced back at her. “Can I ask you a question?”
His voice reminded her of a dark whiskey. Smooth, soulful, and reaching down to her—
“Of course, Mr. Corinth.”
He shimmied closer to her. “It’s Declan, not Mr. Corinth.”
Her toes were tingling again. “What would you like to know?”
“How do you get ideas for your stories? They seem so real.”
Brynn shook her head, convinced that he was baiting her. If he was an associate of Ren’s and knew Nathan, then he must have known of her past.
“A writer never divulges where she gets her inspiration.” Brynn smugly sat back in her seat. “Good evening, Mr. Corinth.”
The surly grin he gave her damn near knocked her to the car floor. He was even more devastating when he was angry.
Declan shoved the card door open. As the sound of the rain hitting the sidewalk drifted into the car, he said, “We’ll see each other again, Ms. Adler.”
Brynn just smiled and waited for him to leave.
He bounded into the pouring rain and slammed the door closed. Brynn sank into her cold leather seat as he jogged through the open gate and into Ren’s pristine courtyard.
“No, we will not see each other again, Mr. Corinth.” She rocked her head back and closed her eyes. “That would be very dangerous for me.”