By Heather Miles
Excerpt from Chapter 2
As a clinical psychologist, Eliza had gained a strong reputation and notoriety in the field of human sexuality. She specialized in sexual behavior, the lack thereof, and a variety of other deviant behaviors. The homosexuals and heterosexuals. The cheaters and liars. Those who don’t prescribe to either sex or both, the overly sexual, the polar opposite and everything in between. They filtered through her door daily. Some by choice and others by court order.
She reached for the phone, “Molly, please bring Mr. Mitchell back.”
“Yes ma’am, right away,” she said, and then with the breathiness of a prank caller, repeated into the receiver, “Eleven.”
“I heard you the first time.”
Eliza replaced the receiver on the phone and edged around her desk as the door opened and in walked the “eleven.” Only he was clearly a “twelve or better.” Geez. Molly had her doing it now too. She moved forward to greet him with an outstretched hand.
“Good afternoon,” she said. “I’m Dr. Swift.”
He extended his hand and enclosed hers with a firm squeeze. “Lake Mitchell. Thank you for agreeing to see me.” A mischievous smile spread across his cheeks, and with an additional step he was in her personal space. She tipped her head back and craned her neck to meet his eyes. She was mesmerized. He could only be likened to kryptonite; easily debilitating to anyone in its path. Dominant and powerful, like a lion over prey.
She took a step back and released his hand. “Please, have a seat.”
Eliza discovered early in her practice that a less formal atmosphere was more conducive to therapy. There were two large leather sofas and two plush chairs on the opposite sides. The walls where a rich tan and held various pieces of art that she’d obtained at a local gallery. Her desk sat on the far side of the room, but she’d made it a practice never to sit at her desk for patient sessions. The towering superiority left patients cold and uncommunicative. She always waited to see where the patient sat, then usually found the chair or couch opposite of them, where she had the best visual and auditory vantage point. Eye contact was everything in assessing the validity of conversations held behind these doors.
“Where are you sitting?”
“Where ever you’d like me to,” she said casually.
He walked over to the leather couch, unbuttoned his suit jacket, and then looked back at her, “May I?”
“Sure, make yourself comfortable.” She tried not to stare but lost the battle.
She guessed him to be about 6’3” in height, which dominated her tall stature of 5’9’. His smooth skin was perfect olive, with high set cheekbones and a strong, cleanly shaved jawline. His suit was dark gray, and clearly custom tailored to fit his toned physique with exact precision. His lavender shirt was pressed to exactness, with a muted silver tie that set the darkness of his suit off with expert style. Everything was clearly designer. He wore it as well as any runway model could. Lake Mitchell wasn’t just hot...he was beautiful.
His eyes were crystal blue with an iris malady. She’d caught a glimpse of it when he’d first walked in, but hadn’t quite figured out exactly what it was. She wanted to say part of one iris was brown but needed to take a better look. Watching him closely, he removed his jacket, then turned and beamed at her lingering stare.
“Ready,” he said.
She put her extremely unprofessional jaw squarely back in place, reached over to her desk to get her notepad and pen, and then walked over to take the couch across from him. “May I get you something to drink?”
“Scotch and water would be great.”
“I can accommodate fifty percent of your request.”
“I’m beting it’s not the Scotch.”’
“You’d be right. I have water, Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite. However, alcohol would certainly put a twist on my sessions. I wonder if my patients would be more forthcoming.”
“It has been called the ‘truth serum’ for a reason. Since I have nothing to hide, I’ll just have water.”
“Interesting choice of words, Mr. Mitchell. I think everyone has something to hide, or at the very least something they’d prefer not be uncovered.” She turned around to face him with a glass in one hand, and a bottle in the other. “On ice or in the bottle?”
“On ice is great.” He pointed to the glass. “You may be right, but I will do my best to answer your questions as honestly as I can.”
“That’s certainly preferable.”
She filled the cup with ice and watched as each cube settled into the other. The thought of grabbing one and gliding it across her heated neck occurred to her, but with the eyes of the man behind her watching her every move, she refrained. Eliza cracked the cap on the bottle and filled up the cup. She handed it to him and watched as his lips parted to take a sip. At his reaction of ‘Ahhh…,’ she turned and walked to the other couch.
She looked at her watch and wondered if she’d make it a whole hour under his magnetism. She’d never felt so affected by a man in her life. She cleared her parched throat and took a seat, wondering why he was the only one with something cool and wet to drink. She looked up from her pad and paper to the twelve who was staring at her.
“You look like you could use something to drink. Can I offer you a sip of my water?”
God, yes. If I can drink it straight from your mouth! “No thank you.”
“If you change your mind.” He tipped the glass from side to side. The ice clinked against the crystal causing her mouth to go from parched to almost spitting sand, but she still nodded no.
“If we can, let’s get started. I’d like to get a little background information first, and then we’ll go from there.”
“Will I get a chance to ask you some questions as well?”
“Sure,” she lied. “By the way, interesting eye you have there.”
“You like that?”
“I believe it’s called heterochromia. If I remember correct. It’s a very rare malformation of the iris. Genetics gone awry, but rather cool.”
“Thanks,” he said. “Are you implying that I’m genetically flawed?”
“That remains to be seen, but your eye sure is.”
“I’d be happy to let you get a better look sometime if you’re interested.” He took a sip of his drink and looked over at her. His gaze heavy with implication.
“Not necessary. I took the opportunity when I handed you your drink.”
“Okay, Swift what else?”
She didn’t miss that he’d dropped the “Doctor” in her name, but continued on with the preliminary questions, “Age?”
“Rather broad and vague, but that’s fine.” She tilted her head and assessed what he’d make of her comment. Maybe he already had something to hide, as she had suggested earlier.
“Dr. Swift, if I rattled off every company I owned we’d be concentrating on my profession and my reason for coming is personal in nature. Let’s just say I’m the CEO of a very large corporation, with national and international holdings.”
She diverted her eyes from him to her pad of paper and felt the happiness of a win. He’d taken the bait and given in to answering her question with tangible facts. She was hopeful that he’d continue being forthcoming with the rest. At least she knew now, that he was more than just pretty to look at. He had business sense and based on his attire, some form of wealth. The only word she scribbled under profession, was the one she’d fought to overcome, entrepreneur.
“Married? Single? Or, Divorced?”
“Single,” Lake said. “I’ve met a lot of ‘right now’s’, but no forever’s. I guess that makes two of us.”
She tilted her head, and the flutter of a million butterflies invaded her stomach. It took a second to process his words. She looked down at her barren ring finger then back to Mr. Mitchell. Wedding rings didn’t always indicate whether someone was married or not. She knew this better than most. She counseled married cheaters daily. Educated guess?
“What makes you think I’m not married?”
“Are you?” He beamed from his seat, his eyes locked on hers as he waited for her response. One she’d probably do best to refrain from answering, but if this were a game of cat and mouse, she’d definitely wanted to be the cat.
“No,” said Eliza, unable to mask the irritation in her voice. “I see you’ve done a little homework on me, so I guess there’s no hiding that point. Yes, Mr. Mitchell, I’ve never been married.”
“I am aware of your social position Dr. Swift. It wasn’t to be one of my questions but thank you for answering it.”
Somehow the tide had turned, and now she was the one in the proverbial hot seat. Did she know him? She didn’t recall his name, and he was so good-looking, she would surely have recalled meeting him before. She ignored his comment and continued on.
“My mother, is no longer alive. And let’s just say, my father, and I don’t see eye-to-eye.”
“Would you like to discuss the differences between you and father?”
“He’s an asshole. Not much more to say.”
“What would he say if I asked him the same question of you?”
He narrowed his eyes, dialed in on her, and then he replied, “He’d probably use the same words I just did.”
“Would he be right?” He was cocky for sure, but an asshole remained to be seen.
“I have my moments.” His face eased as he delivered his answer. He’d clearly self-assessed himself as not always being favored in the eyes of others. “Don’t we all?”
“Agreed,” said Eliza. “Siblings?”
“None that I’m aware of, but not out of the question.”
His father was not an asshole, but a suspected or confirmed “player.” She hung onto the implication of his statement and noted it on her notepad.
“Okay,” She looked into his eyes, trying to assess the authenticity of his answers. “Children?”
“No,” Lake said adamantly. Clearly trying to separate himself from the previous statement about his Dad.
He unfolded his crossed legs leaving them intentionally parted, then slid his palm slowly up his thigh. Eliza followed the move of his hand to the seam of his tailored dress slacks, resting her eyes on the sizeable bulge behind the rich material. He was being overt, and she’d taken the bait. If she had to guess, she’d just been invited to try out and wanted to roll her eyes, but refrained.
“Family questions…interesting,” Lake said.
Her scandalous eyes moved from his cock to his mouth.
“The people in our lives tend to mold us into what we are, or what we aren’t. I’m interested in knowing what life you have beyond these walls, so I can better understand the things you say within them.”
She made a small curtsey with her head. “Sometimes I say just the right thing.”
“I’m counting on it.”
She set her pad of paper down on her lap and looked at him raptly. “So what brings you in today?”
“I’ve had this…shall I say…obsession, or at the very least, fascination.”
“Obsession is a powerful word, Mr. Mitchell. The need to possess something, with that kind of intensity, can be consuming for some people. Is your obsession with something or someone?”
“Someone,” he replied. “She’s completely unaware of my desire for her.”
“It’s not uncommon to want someone without their knowledge. Is she married, or taken?”
“My research tells me she’s not married, but I do believe there are love interests in her life. From my limited knowledge, it seems one-sided, but maybe that’s what I’m trying to believe so that she becomes more obtainable to me.”
“Well educated statements. Isn’t it funny that we often want something we can’t have? But you do believe she’s obtainable so let’s start with that?”
“There are very few things I want that I can’t have.”
“As much as I’d like to counter that statement, I believe it’s probably true.” Lake grinned like Eliza had just held up a score card declaring him the victor of the round. “However, when it comes to people, Mr. Mitchell, they must want to desire you in some form or fashion as well. Let’s assume you’re a smart businessman.” He nodded his approval of her statement with great pride. “You should know when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, even in matters of the heart, there’s always a potential obstacle that can keep you from getting what you want.”
“Obstacles are merely temporary road blocks. I believe I’m better suited to claim her as my own.”
She wondered herself what it might feel like to be claimed by Lake Mitchell. His desire seemed omnipotent, if not a bit over-powering. Cocky to say the least. Her beating heart picked up pace in her chest, and every hair on her arms rose over her goose-bumped flesh. She reached for her ponytail and toyed with a strand of hair. Then pulled her hand away quickly when she realized she had slid into the nervousness of an old habit. Playing with her hair made her seem childish in Mr. Mitchell’s presence, and that’s the last thing she wanted to portray herself as. If she was honest, the idea of him wanting anything or anyone and not getting it, seemed foreign. But she knew a ton of pretty people, even wealthy people that were alone and lonely, or not alone and lonely. Eliza lumped herself into the later, but this wasn’t her session, it was his.
“Yes claim. I use it loosely, but when I go after something that I want it’s because I intend to make it mine. Not temporarily, but permanently. And I’ll make sure everyone knows it belongs to me and me alone. I’m not the sharing type.”
“No, I imagine you’re not, but you are self-professed, single, unwed and with no children. I don’t imagine you’re a virgin.” This time Eliza smiled along with him, feeling braver as she regained her footing in their conversation. “If you went after every woman with the same fervor, don’t you think that checklist would be completed by now? You are thirty-eight.”
Lake reached over to the arm of the couch and pulled his suit jacket onto his lap. Eliza didn’t know how to respond and didn’t miss the use of her first name. They had twenty minutes left in his session, but she’d clearly done or said something that had displeased him. “Are you leaving?”
“In a minute, but right now I’m just taking in the conversation and the scenery.”
Eliza stupidly looked around the room, taking it in herself, when his words hit her squarely in the chest.
“I’m not referring to the office.”
“Oh.” She turned her gaze back on him, and felt the heat of his words move down her body and settle between her legs. To counteract the awkwardness that had clouded the room, she stood and offered her hand.
Lake paused and looked at Eliza’s waiting hand, then stood up and took it in his. The undercurrent of his eyes felt like electricity jolting her where she stood. “I hate that…” she stuttered. “I said something that offended you.” He never released his hand from hers, and mindlessly under a lustful trance, she didn’t either.
“On the contrary. This has been one of the most stimulating conversations I’ve had in some time. Your words were concise and well thought out. I admire your honesty and will take every word you said into consideration.”
“If I can leave you with one last thing, Mr. Mitchell,” he cut her off.
“Please call me Lake.”
She didn’t. “If your research on this special “someone” is accurate and you can obtain or “claim her,” as you’ve put it, then I say you go for it.” She gave his hand a pumping squeeze and started to pull away, but his grip tightened over hers.
“I intend to.” His face was serious, but there was a hint of eagerness and joviality. If she didn’t know better, she’d think he was talking about her.
“Well.then.uhh.great.good.luck,” her words edged out like staccato. Bumpy and less confident that she’d have liked. “If you want to discuss this further or anything else for that matter. I’d be happy to see you again.” God that sounded awkward even for her, Eliza pulled her moist hand from his and started for the door. She could feel her lungs seize, from the lack of oxygen. She hadn’t even realized she’d been holding her breath until she reached for the door. Her chest heaved, and she felt her head float up as she took in the air she was so desperate for. She turned and looked at the stunning twelve at her back, who was watching her so intensely it sent chills up her spine. She met the flawed, but brilliant blue eyes of Lake Mitchell and wondered if he had this same effect on everyone. The answer could only be an astounding YES!
“I’ll book something with Molly.”
She pulled the door back and watched as he put his jacket on and moved back into her personal space. His cologne wafted over her nose, and she inhaled deep enough to be stupidly obvious. He smelled clean, spicy and masculine. She opened the door further, giving herself a chance to step back from the aura that had enveloped her, then with a gracious smile she replied, “I look forward to it. I mean great. Sure.” She brought her free hand to her forehead with a gentle slap. “I’m not usually so tongue-tied. You’ll have to excuse me.”
“It’s refreshing. I like it.” With that, Lake Mitchell turned and left. And so did the air in her office, which felt like it had been sucked from the room upon his departure.
“Holy fucking hell!” said Eliza, after she shut the door and flung herself in the chair behind her desk. It was on wheels and rolled a good two feet before she dug her heels into the carpet to keep it from traveling any further.