When an underground world of dark fantasies and sexual pleasures lures Ariel in, her life is shattered as new hungers awaken in Part Two of Velvet's explosive, exclusive e-serial THE BLACK DOOR.
Desperate to sate the need that courses through her, Ariel believes she will find what she so deeply needs at The Black Door. But when one man's touch opens her up completely, Ariel is ready to irrevocably surrender her body to pleasure…and her soul to desire…in Part Two of the seXXXy novel THE BLACK DOOR.
About the Author
Velvet is one of the steamiest writers and the author of The Black Door, Seduction and Betrayal. With her finger on the pulse, she knows how to make your heart race with her tantalizing stories of lust and seduction mixed with a dose of suspense.
As the creator of The Black Door series, Velvet uses the world as her muse, traveling the globe for inspiration. She is currently working on her next book in the series.
Read an Excerpt
The Black Door: Part Two
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2007 Velvet
All rights reserved.
PRESTON'S SECRETARY poked her head through the door and said in a low whisper so as not to disturb his telephone conversation, "Senator Oglesby is on line two."
Preston held up an index finger and mouthed, "Have him hold for a second."
Anna nodded her head okay, and backed out of the office, leaving her boss to finish his call.
"Son, I hate to end our conversation so abruptly, but I have to take this call. But before I hang up, tell me, have you made a date with Michele yet?" "I've been so busy studying that I haven't had a chance to call."
"The only reason I'm asking is that I've got to make amends with Ariel. She has it in her mind that I'm having an affair with Michele and if I can tell her that you're dating my assistant, she'll probably let me out of the doghouse." He chuckled slightly, but was serious nonetheless.
"Taking Michele out will be my pleasure. Consider it done. Who knows, maybe we can double date," he joked.
"I don't think Ariel would be thrilled with that idea. Anyway, let me run. I'll talk to you soon," he said, and hung up.
Preston clicked over to his second line. "Senator, sorry to keep you waiting. Did you have a chance to look over my fax?"
"Yes, I read all thirty-two pages, and your dossier reads like a John Grisham novel, minus the murders and espionage, of course. Your legal career is stellar, and you should have no problem securing the nomination. There's only one issue," he said mysteriously.
Preston thought for a minute, and mentally scanned the last twenty years of his professional life, but he could think of no embarrassing blemishes, no payola for favorable judgments, and no turning a blind eye in the face of corruption. "Sorry, Senator, but there isn't one case that I've presided over, or any of my private cases, that would jeopardize my chances to sit on the Supreme Court," Preston said with conviction.
"Yes, that's correct, but I'm not speaking of your years on the bench, or your years in private practice," he said.
"Well, what else is there?" Preston asked, totally baffled.
"Your personal life."
Preston was shocked at his response. "My personal life?" he asked, not quite sure where this conversation was heading.
"Yes, your personal life. The Judicial Committee not only scrutinizes your career, but they're also interested in your life off the bench. They want a well-rounded candidate with a stable household."
"Excuse me, Senator, but my household is more than stable. I own a multimillion-dollar town house in one of the most expensive areas in Manhattan where I've lived for years. If that's not stable, then I don't know what is," he said defensively.
"I'm not talking real estate, Preston. I'm talking family. I know from your file and the society pages that you've been dating Ariel Vaughn of Yates Gilcrest for a number of years."
"Yes, that's true. Ms. Vaughn is not only an attorney, but a senior partner with the firm and a fine woman," Preston said proudly.
"I'm well aware of her background. Can I speak frankly?" he asked rhetorically, not waiting for an answer. "The committee is looking for a family man, someone who is settled in a stable relationship, not a single man with a string of girlfriends."
"Senator, I may be single, but I'm no playboy. Ariel and I have been committed to each other for years," he explained.
"Committed, but not married," he said curtly.
Preston was taken aback. "Excuse me?"
"Of course, I can't tell you how to live your life ... but if you want to be a serious contender, you have to play the game according to their rules. And character is at the top of that short list of qualifications. We both know that character can make or break your chances. Remember the Thomas confirmation hearings, and how that alleged harassment incident in his past almost cost him the judgeship."
"That's apples and oranges. You can't possibly compare my martial status to an accusation of sexual harassment." Preston was stunned. He had spent years building a career that would one day lead him to the Supreme Court, only to be told that that might not be enough to land the nomination. As a child he watched helplessly on television as grown men and women were attacked by dogs, beaten unmercifully, and jailed all in the name of equal rights. And he vowed that one day, he'd be in a position to make a difference, that he'd use the law as a weapon against discrimination. To Preston there was no better position to be in to institute change than sitting on the Supreme Court.
"Of course there's no comparison; all I'm saying is that marriage bodes well for a nominee's character. It demonstrates stability. Your background will be dissected underneath a keen microscope and one possible red flag will be your long-term relationship; having a 'girlfriend' at your age, instead of a 'wife' shows fear of commitment," the senator said, carefully spelling out what was expected of a viable candidate.
"This should be a moot point since I've been married before," Preston shot back.
"That's the past; we're talking about the future, and to be quite honest, it's high time you made an honest woman out of Ms. Vaughn," he said candidly.
Preston had planned on spending more time with Ariel, not proposing, but now he'd have to rethink his strategy. "Senator, I appreciate your candor and will take your suggestion under advisement."
"Trust me, Preston, I know what the committee is looking for, and that's the complete package." After making his point he quickly shifted gears. "I have to go into a meeting now, but I'll speak with you soon."
"Thanks for your advice, Senator," he said, and hung up.
Marriage was the furthest thing from Preston's mind. His first marriage had been a nightmare. His ex-wife turned out to be a psychotic, self-centered, money-grubbing witch. Preston worked day and night to pay the bills for her outrageous spending habits. And to make matters worst, she brainwashed their son into believing that his father was a lowlife adulterer. She would tell the boy that Preston was never at home because he lived across town with his other family. Preston spent years convincing his young impressionable son that his mother had made up the entire story, but it was too late. The damage had already been done. Preston had asked her why she would tell their son lies, and she simply said, "You have your precious career, and I have nothing but our son. I'll be damned if you'll have him too." At that point Preston realized that she was unstable, and that he really didn't know her at all. He was tempted to leave but he didn't want to abandon his child, so he endured the torturous marriage until his son went off to college, then he promptly filed for divorce.
Though he truly loved Ariel, he had not planned on getting hitched anytime soon, if ever. During his first marriage, Preston had sacrificed his happiness in order to stay under the same roof as his son; now was he willing to sacrifice his freedom in order to nail the nomination? The senator made a strong argument; having a high-powered attorney as a wife would definitely strengthen his chances of securing the nomination. The more he thought about the idea, the more appealing it became; he was willing to give marriage another shot, especially if having a Mrs. on his arm presented a stronger image. The only problem he could foresee would be convincing Ariel to accept his proposal. He had been holding her at arm's length lately, while he focused on his career, and the divide between them was growing wider with each passing day. He would have to do some serious backpedaling to convince her that his proposal was sincere.
No time like the present, Preston thought, as he picked up the phone and dialed her office. "Hi, JoAnne, may I speak with Ariel?"
"I'm sorry, Judge Hendricks," she said, instantly recognizing his distinctive voice, "but she's not in today."
"Is she in court?"
"No, she's out sick."
"Oh, okay. Thanks, JoAnne. I'll call her at home."
In all the years he'd known Ariel, Preston could rarely remember her calling in sick, and he began to worry. He quickly dialed her number. After four rings, she picked up.
"Hello ..." Ariel answered, sounding foggy and far away.
He softened his normally loud booming tone and asked in a low, caring voice, "Hey, honey, what's the matter?"
"Who is this?" she asked, not recognizing the compassionate voice on the other end of the phone.
"It's me, honey. I just called your office and JoAnne said you were sick. What's the matter?" he asked again.
"I have a slight cold." She coughed. "Nothing serious," she lied. Ariel didn't have a cold; she had a serious hangover. She had staggered home from The Black Door at three in the morning and passed out across her bed. When she awoke that morning, she still had on her red, come-hither outfit and her head was pounding like a giant tom-tom. She popped two Tylenols, called in sick, took off the incriminating negligee, and crawled under the covers.
"Can I bring you a bowl of soup from the store?" he asked, totally out of character. In all of the years that they had been dating, he had never brought her anything from the grocery store.
"No, I wouldn't want to take you away from your busy schedule," she responded, getting in a little dig.
Preston was silent for a few seconds, noting her sarcastic comment. "Ariel, I know I've been preoccupied lately, but I want to make it up to you. I promise that from here on out, things are going to be different," he said, using his most convincing tone.
Reflecting back on her tryst at The Black Door, Ariel thought, Things are already different. Her confidence was back, and now she didn't need Preston to satisfy her sexual desires; it felt liberating. "Whatever you say, Preston," she muttered nonchalantly.
"This isn't some empty promise." He raised his voice a decibel. "Ariel, you mean more to me than you'll ever know."
"Yeah, I just bet I do," she said casually.
Preston was baffled. For weeks Ariel had been practically begging him for attention, and now that he was pouring his heart out to her, she sounded like she could care less. If he didn't know better, he'd swear there was someone else in the picture, but he knew that she would never cheat on him. "Why don't I come over tonight and bring you soup, a big box of Kleenex, and some Thera-Flu."
"No, thanks. I'm really not feeling up to company," she said, putting him off.
Preston was offended. "Company? Since when did I become company?" "Preston, don't be silly. You know what I mean. I'm feeling lousy, and just want to veg out in front of the television; besides, I don't want you to catch my bug."
"Oh, okay," he relented, knowing that he couldn't afford to be ill now that he was embarking on such an important venture. "But, I'm taking you to dinner as soon as you feel better. We haven't been on a date in weeks and ..." He paused for a second, waiting for her to express her delight; when she didn't, he continued. "I miss you, Ariel."
She fake coughed again. "I'm going to take another dose of NyQuil and go back to sleep. I'll talk to you later," she said, dismissing his sentimentality.
"Feel better, honey."
After Preston hung up, he put his head in his hands and sighed. Their relationship was in worse shape than he had thought, and it was going to take more than a romantic dinner and a few sweet words to win Ariel over. But he wasn't going to let her attitude dissuade him from his mission. Being a Supreme Court justice had been Preston's dream for as long as he could remember, and one minor issue—being single—was not going ruin his well-planned agenda.CHAPTER 2
TREY'S EMOTIONS were all over the place. He was conflicted. On the one hand, he was still enjoying the afterglow of having explosive sex with Meri Renick, but on the other hand, he had broken house rule numero uno. When the club opened, Trey promised himself that he wouldn't get involved with any of the members. He felt that if he was going to have a successful business, then he would have to conduct himself like a businessman, not a gigolo.
But nature had called the shots that night when he saw Meri sauntering through the club dressed in that red, seductive, "come-fuck-me" outfit, and that's exactly what he did. His libido was in overdrive as he pulled her into a utility closet without saying a single word, because his body did all the talking. He had sensed from that first night on the steps that she wanted him as much as he wanted her. The space that he pulled her into was as tight as a pod, with just enough room for them to find utopia. Trey came so hard that he saw stars. He always thought that cliché was a misnomer, but he actually saw a few celestial beings as cum rushed out of the head of his penis. Just thinking about being inside of her was making him hard, and he began to crave her body, like a dope fiend craving a crack pipe. His attraction to her was disconcerting. He wasn't into older women, yet he was irresistably drawn to her and couldn't get the feel of her smooth ass off of his mind.
I have the perfect antidote to cure this craving, he thought, as he looked at the cell-phone number scribbled on the back of a crumpled-up business card. He dialed the seven digits. The only thing better than pussy was new pussy.
"Hello," cooed a sweet voice on the other end of the line.
"It's Trey," he said, as if his first name were enough of an introduction.
"I've been waiting for your call. What took you so long?" she asked.
"I didn't know there was a time restriction," he teased.
"You're so fine that I'd wait forever and then some."
That was the response Trey had gotten all of his life from women—young and old—and the compliment fed his soul. He never had a problem getting a girlfriend; his problem was staying interested in one woman long enough to make a commitment. He was the consummate bachelor, always staying one step ahead of the C-word.
"You want to get together tonight?" he asked, knowing fully well that she wouldn't be able to resist his invitation.
"Sure," she said eagerly. "What did you have in mind?"
Trey had only one thing on his mind at the moment, and that was sex. "Why don't you come over for dinner and dessert?" he said suggestively.
"Okay," she answered readily, not skipping a beat.
"I'm at 128 East Thirty-eighth, right off Park. See you around nine."
"I can't wait," she said, and hung up.
Contrary to his character, Trey's apartment wasn't the typical bachelor pad. He lived in a tony co-op on the East Side in a beautifully restored, prewar Art Deco building. His unit was a spacious duplex with blond hardwood floors throughout; three balconies—two on the main floor, and one off of the master bedroom; two guest suites; and maid's quarters. Since he worked in a sex-laden environment, he didn't want that same look at home, so for the decor, he chose a soothing monochromatic theme of earth tones with a smattering of color. Trey's Italian furniture was sleek, with clean lines, as were his electronics, and his artwork consisted of original gouaches by Dalí, Erté, and Pollock.
After a quick shower, Trey put on a pair of silk drawstring pants and a ribbed tank, splashed his face with his signature Bvlgari cologne, and headed downstairs to the kitchen. Trey was an amateur chef and took pride in his unique pasta creations. He looked in the fridge to find something to whip up, but there was only a head of wilted butter lettuce, a wedge of brie speckled with mold, a half-empty can of whipped cream—that he used between the legs of his last dinner guest—and a bottle of Moët & Chandon Nectar.
"Guess I'll have to order in," he said, taking the champagne out of the refrigerator. Trey took the menu for Table for Two out of his kitchen drawer and read over the entrées. Not knowing if his dinner guest was a carnivore, vegan, or vegetarian, he ordered surf, turf, and a spinach soufflé.
After ordering dinner, Trey lit votive candles throughout the apartment. The glow from the flickering flames, reflected off of the alabaster walls, creating a cozy, romantic feeling in the cavernous space. Once the ambience was set, he brought a silver bucket filled with ice, the champagne, and two crystal flutes from the kitchen into the living room and set them on the cocktail table.
The doorman rang just has as he popped the cork. "Perfect timing," he mused. Trey gave the okay to let his guest enter, and cracked the front door slightly before walking back into the living room. He sat on the sofa, poured two glasses of champagne, and casually took a sip.
Excerpted from The Black Door: Part Two by Velvet. Copyright © 2007 Velvet. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Had me on the edge of my seat with some parts. Cant wait to see what happens next. Hot and streamy all rolled into one. Love!!