Never before had Dara felt the thrill of a full body shiver simply from one long ardent look. She pulled in a rush of air, feeling her cheeks warm as her eyes hung in place. He was an enigma, this man who had entered the crowded party a few short hours ago. Few knew about him, but for the ones who did told awestruck stories that seemed too outrageous to be true. Now, feeling his piercing orbs as they raked a slow, agonizing path down her frame, she began to believe this man could actually be what others had alleged to in hushed tones.
Aware she was actually staring, Dara turned away, pretending to take great interest in the ice sculpture that sat as centerpiece at the main table. Capturing a glass of champagne from the waiter that passed by, she downed half of the bubbling liquid before daring to glance in her observer's direction once more.
There he was, now speaking to a young buxom beauty, his hand on her forearm, a knowing smile on her face. Their close proximity struck Dara full force and she nearly gasped at the sight. Suddenly hurt, Dara turned from him and quickly drank the rest of her drink. Who was she to be jealous? Foolish was more appropriate. Placing the empty flute on a nearby table, Dara gathered her coat in the entrance, handing her ticket to the young man behind the desk. She was no longer interested in the gala event. "Ms. Jensen?" came a business-like voice from behind Dara. "This is for you." The young woman formerly attached to Castor Vasileios' arm now stood before her, extending a small white envelope. "Mr. Vasileios would very much like to meet with you, now if it were possible." Dara opened the envelope and a small electronic key fell into her palm. "Penthouse suite," the woman explained. "You have the only key and it's only valid for 30 minutes. It's entirely up to you."
"I don't understand," Dara sputtered. The woman smiled sagely as she responded. "You will."