Read Chasing Fire 1: The Innocent (BDSM Erotic Romance) Online

Authors: Mara Stone

Tags: #erotic romance, #bdsm, #billionaire, #mara stone

Chasing Fire 1: The Innocent (BDSM Erotic Romance)

Chasing Fire (Part 1): The
Innocent

Mara Stone

 

Text Copyright 2013 Mara
Stone

All Rights Reserved

Smashwords Edition, License
Notes

 

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Chapter One

 

There he was.

Isabella Lupton looked across the
crowded ballroom as if she could sense the very moment Nicholas
Pacelli entered the room. Gulping down the champagne in her glass,
she gratefully switched it for a full one as a waiter passed by. If
she was going to go through with her plan tonight, she would need
the liquid courage.

As the daughter of a multi-millionaire,
Isabella had been born to privilege. From the outside world, she
had the perfect life, living in a beautiful mansion, with anything
she desired at her fingertips. But the simple truth was; she was a
prisoner of sorts. Collateral damage of her father's success and
the enemies that he had made.

She had lived a sheltered life, well
aware of the dangers her father’s success might bring to their
doorstep. It had been drummed into her every day of her life. She
had endured the private schools, the strict curfews and even the
hulking bodyguards that seemed to follow her every move each time
she stepped out the front door. When she’d graduated from college
she had looked forward to starting her life, only to have that
light inside her extinguished when her father had informed her she
would be taking her mother’s place as the representative for all
the charity work her father’s company was involved in.

Isabella’s mother had died of cancer
when she was in high school, and her father’s hold on her had
tightened with the fear of losing her as well. It wasn’t that she
hated her life, but a part of her felt as if it didn’t belong to
her. Like it never had.

But that was all going to
change…

Isabella’s heart began to pound as she
watched Nick and his date move further into the room. She looked
down, silently cursing herself for choosing a gown that matched the
vibrant blue of Nick’s eyes. She was wearing a strapless, sheath
dress that was simple, but with a dangerously low neckline that now
had her feeling self-conscious rather than sexy. Her breath
quickened as she thought about what it would feel like for him to
take it off her.

She shouldn’t want him like this; crave
him so much that just the sight of him had her fantasizing about
his touch. He was just a man after all. No. Saying that Nick
Pacelli was just a man to Isabella was a gross understatement. His
hair was black as midnight, and he wore it with a careless elegance
only a man of his stature could pull off.  He had strong,
chiseled features and the face of a fallen angel, dangerous and
brooding.

The low, sultry lighting in the
ballroom highlighted his golden skin, casting an aura around him as
if he were some mythical god come to life. Suddenly, as if he could
feel her gaze on him, Nick looked over and his electric blue eyes
seared into her. Isabella forgot to breathe for a moment as their
eyes locked; the connection between them was so potent it was as if
nothing else existed.

Looking at him standing there reminded
her of the first time she ever laid eyes on him. Her father had
dinner guests over that evening and she had been playing alone
outside on the back terrace on the far side of the house. She had
made herself scarce, as was required of her when her father was
entertaining business colleagues at their house.

One of her bodyguards had snuck in an
old, used bicycle for her after she told him that she had never
ridden one before. Her father never let her try anything that could
be potentially harmful, even something as ordinary as riding a
bike, despite her protestations. What kind of fifteen year old has
never ridden a bike?

She had just gotten onto it and pushed
off when the side door opened and a man stepped out onto the hidden
patio. Startled, Isabella had fallen off, watching helplessly as
the bike crashed against the stone wall and the handlebar fell off.
Isabella’s scared gaze had traveled up, over the expensive suit
then widened as her eyes met piercing blue.

He had been breathtaking. In the low
light from the patio sconces he had been partially cast in shadows,
and the darkness seemed to love him just as much as the light. At
twenty-four, Nick had become one of the youngest CEO's in the
country when he had taken over his family’s corporate empire on the
death of his father.

Shy and awkward; it had been difficult
to look the dark god in front of her in the eye. “Please, don’t
tell anyone,” Isabella had whispered. “I—I’m not supposed to have a
bike.”

 
Nick had crouched
down in front of her and gentle smoothed a stray lock of hair off
her face. “I won’t. Are you hurt?”


No. I—I’m fine,” Isabella
had stuttered out. She had never been around many men before, and
certainly never around anyone as handsome as Nick.

He had helped her to her feet, leading
her over to one of the stone benches. “My name is Nicolas
Pacelli.”


Isabella
Lupton.”

He had smiled at her, and it was in
that moment she had fallen in love.

Over the years, Isabella had loved Nick
from afar. Her father did a lot of business with him, and every
time she would see him her heart would flutter with teenage
longing. She hadn’t seen him as much as she’d liked growing up, but
when she did, he always made her feel special in some
way.

Nick had been a constant in her life,
even when he wasn’t around. The day after she’d first met him, a
package had arrived for her. It had been pads for her elbows and
knees and a bright pink helmet. Her father had studied the gift in
confusion until the delivery man pulled a shiny, brand-new bicycle
out of the back of the cargo van. Her father had demanded to know
where the bike had come from, but there had been no
card.

The following year, Isabella had seen
Nick at a party her father had thrown at their estate. She had been
forced to attend, and had been pleading with her father to sign her
up for driving lessons before he left for an extended business trip
the following day.


Isabella, this is neither
the time nor the place for this discussion. Behave
yourself.”

Isabella had pasted a fake smile on her
face as her father had walked away to join a group of his
colleagues. She’d retreated to a corner to nurse her wounds in what
privacy she could find, when Nick strolled over. She had been
excited to see him again, but she knew his penetrating gaze picked
up more than she wanted him to see. For a few minutes he had been
courteous, but abrupt with her before he left to join the rest of
the party. It had only been a year, but so much had changed. Gone
was the smiling young man she had remembered, replaced with a man
who wore his suit like armor and used his eyes as a
weapon.

After her father had left for his trip,
Isabella had woken when their housekeeper had knocked on her
bedroom door. Downstairs there had been a studious looking man who
quickly explained he was a driving instructor and he’d been
retained to teach her. Knowing in her heart it had been Nick who
had arranged it, she had tracked down his phone number and called
him to say thank you, but ended up leaving a message with secretary
instead.

As she had gotten older, she’d watched
Nick with his bevy of beauties on his arm with envy and a little
hurt. She knew there was more than just the ten year age difference
separating them, but even when she came of age he had still seen
her as that same little girl he’d met all those years ago. He had
sent her a gift when she had graduated high school, and again when
she graduated from college. He was always kind and patient with
her, when the rest of the world saw him as a ruthless businessman
with very little tolerance for anything less than
perfection.

Their paths had crossed more frequently
as she began working for her father, and each time she had seen
him, her heart broke a little more. Nick’s tastes seemed to run to
the tall, blonde, model type. Isabella might not be considered a
model, but she was pretty in her own right with a wealth of rich,
chestnut-colored hair and large brown eyes the color of good aged
whiskey. She had never grown as tall as she’d liked, but with heels
could easily stand at five foot six. Still, none of that mattered
because he never saw her, not like she wanted.

She’d had a few brief relationships in
the past, the last of which had ended badly. She had started dating
Damien Carter after her father continued to push them together. But
what her father hadn’t known was the cruel streak Damien hid from
the world. It had started with little condescending remarks, but
had quickly escalated. The night he had grabbed her hard enough to
leave bruises had been enough for her. She had ended things,
expecting her father’s disapproval, but was surprised when he
apologized to her.  One of her bodyguards had seen the bruises
on her arms and had reported it to her father. After that, her
father had stopped interfering with her love life, thank
god.

None of the men in her past had
captured her heart. How could they when it already belonged to
Nick? But she was done waiting for him. It was time to say goodbye
to the dream she’d harbored that he would finally notice her as a
woman and not just a friend.

Isabella turned her head, breaking eye
contact with Nick as she tried to tune back into the conversation
going on around her. Damn him for coming tonight. He wasn’t
supposed to be there, not when she had decided to find someone to
help her stave off the loneliness in her life, at least for a
night.

She excused herself from the group she
was with and downed the champagne in her glass with a few quick
gulps. Heading for the ladies room, Isabella apologized to a
gentleman after she bumped into him. His welcoming smile told her
he didn’t mind, but she passed on his silent invitation and walked
away.

Once in the ladies room she closed her
eyes, welcoming the quiet. Perhaps it hadn’t been a good idea to
drink so much. Her head swimming with the effervescent liquid, she
ducked into one of the stalls as the door opened and the voices of
several women filled the room.


I’m telling you, I think
it’s going to happen soon.”


You’re dreaming,” a
feminine voice scoffed. “Honey, a man like Nick Pacelli isn’t ever
going to get married.”

Isabella froze at the sound of his
name. The stall she was in was its own individual room, but even
though she couldn’t see who was speaking, she knew who they were.
It was obviously the icy blonde Nick had come to the event with and
the two friends she was never without. Victoria had been seen
around town with Nick for the past two months, but she obviously
thought what she had with him was more than just his usual
short-term arrangement. Silently, Isabella moved closer to the
locked door to listen.


He will. I have him right
where I want him.”

One of the other women laughed. “Sure
you do. Just make sure you read over the hundred page pre-nup that
is sure to come with it.”

Victoria hummed before saying, “Even
with a pre-nup I would still walk away with millions. Besides, he
is a god in bed. I don’t think I would ever want to divorce him.
Why would I leave him when I already have the best?”


I thought you said he
hadn’t been calling you lately,” one of the women said, not even
trying to hide the malicious glee in her voice.


Well, if he were done
with me he wouldn’t have asked me to come with him tonight, would
he?” Victoria snapped. “Come on, I don’t want to keep him
waiting.”

Isabella listened as the other women
left the room. Her chest hurt hearing that Victoria thought Nick
would be proposing soon. She opened the door of the stall and
walked over to take a good look at herself in the mirror. She would
never be what Nick wanted, and it was time to face the truth. She
was tired of wishing for something that would never come
true.

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