Hired for Secrets

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Your plaything (18)

Philip’s rendezvous point was in the middle of the forest. It was dark, secluded and the very place that screamed “danger”. Sofie had been here since before sunset to prepare the sensor net. Back then, it was beautiful, with birds chirping and butterflies playing in the mild afternoon breeze. Maybe that’s the image Philip had in mind when he suggested this place, at least that’s what she hoped.

But Sofie was prepared either way. Dozens of high-tech motion sensors lined the meadow, alerting her of anything moving in the undergrowth. She would not be ambushed. No one but Philip, would come close enough to hurt her. And the old man’s taser would take care of him trying anything.

The only thing left to do was disguise all of her preparations and make it look like she was here for a date. She set up the blanket, unwrapped the cheese platter and propped herself down, pretending to look out for Philip.

The lanterns around the blanket cast a soft light across the wildflower meadow. Leaning back, Sofie let her fingers rake through the lush earthy grass and inhaled the faint aromas from the surrounding pine trees. With all the risks mitigated, this actually was a beautiful place. The mist from the nearby stream made the air taste like rain and the soft hoot from owls felt like freedom. It cast her back to when she was a teenager, disobedient and wild, without a care in the world, waiting for the sweetheart of her mid-summer romance.

Fireflies danced over the stream when the perimeter alarm buzzed in her pocket. Someone was approaching. And not from the direction Elandra was located. Where Philip should have come from. Sofie’s heart rate quickened. She wasn’t waiting for her sweetheart, was she? She was waiting for a man she barely knew. And by the looks of it, he had even sent someone else. A henchman to abduct her. Or worse, finish her off right here. It surely was the place for it. Had she been reckless?

I’m not planning on sticking around if it goes pear-shaped. That’s what she said to the old man, but it wasn’t quite as clear cut now. The display showed a single person approaching, likely a man, walking leisurely towards the meadow. He wasn’t running or sneaking, he wasn’t trying to catch her by surprise. It could very well be Philip walking to his date, simply having taken a detour to savour his night of freedom. With a quick check on the taser, Sofie decided to wait for the man to arrive.

She breathed a sigh of relief, when it was indeed Philip who stepped out from the tree line into the moon-bathed meadow. The silver light twinkled over his easy smile and made Sofie’s heart skip a beat. He was even more gorgeous than usual, wearing a black shirt and beige shorts. With a fire kindling in her heart, she watched him approach. Then she remembered her plan.

“Stop right there,” she issued. “And take off your clothes.”

Philip’s eyebrow lifted in surprise and his smile faded. He’d expected a greeting and gotten a command instead that sounded unexpected and harsh even to her. This wasn’t how he thought their night would begin.

“After what you’ve said on the phone,” she tried to clarify, ”you can’t blame me for being cautious. I just want to make sure you’re not armed…” She cleared her throat adding, “you can keep your underpants on.”

“As you wish.”

It sounded neutral. He was used to blunt commands like this... from being an escort? Or a criminal?

“Now, turn. Let me see your back. Show you’re not hiding anything.”

“Satisfied?”

He raised his arms to the side, biceps flexing and pecks tough, turning for her.

“Almost,” she replied milder, trying to make up for the rocky start, “just leave your clothes there please and come over?”

With every step Philip managed to restore his smile, though the easiness that was there earlier never returned.

“Wine?”

“Yes.” His eyes flicked over the wooden board with grapes, Camembert, Cheddar and crackers. “I see you didn’t bring knives either. Not risking getting stabbed over being civilized, are you?”

“C’mon, don’t be like that. Besides,” she gave him a little wink, ”I didn’t think you were a stickler for conventions.”

“What if I was?” he smiled. ”Especially, with you breaking another convention. One that’s even worse than butchering cheese.”

“Oh yes? What’s that?”

“Being fully dressed...” He popped a grape into his mouth. “While I’m half naked.”

“Are you worried that I brought a weapon?”

“I’m not worried.” He laughed, relaxing back onto his elbow. He looked like a roman statue: the male ideal, immortalized during an extravagant feast. “I know you brought one. It’s hidden in your basket. A pocket knife, right? -- No wait,” he gave her a mock disapproving look. “A taser.”

Sofie’s face fell, how could he know?

“You checked on it just before I came,” he replied to her unspoken question. ”It’s something suitably small to fit in the basket, yet you were hesitant to touch it. So it’s forbidden, like an illegal weapon. But you were too casual for it to be a deadly firearm. Other than that the taser was just a wild guess.” He grinned. “I have another guess for you, Miss Carter: you’ve set up a perimeter alarm.”

“That’s ridiculous,” Sofie snorted.

There was no way he could know that. And she wasn’t going to confirm how tech-literate she was to someone just fishing for answers.

He crooked his head. “I didn’t take the direct route from Elandra. Yet, you knew exactly where I was coming from.”

“I heard something in the woods, so I turned to look.”

“Nice try, but the stream is too noisy to hear anything approaching.”

He set her up. He trusted her as little as she was trusting him. At least they were on the same page.

“I’m rather impressed, Miss Carter.” He fixed her with an evaluating stare. “I’ve underestimated you. What are you? A police officer? Private investigator?”

Sofie’s nerves tingled. Her plan to make him fall in love with her would have never worked. He was too careful, too suspicious. And on top of that, he was now getting dangerously close to the truth. Time to make a choice: give up on the YubiKey or give in to his deal.

“You can keep guessing,” she replied with her mind made up, ”or I can take off my dress... Your call.”

He swallowed. The sudden turn took him by surprise and there was a struggle in his hooded eyes. Should he continue gathering intel or seize the moment? Mind over body?

“Ok, you win.” He raked a hand through his brown hair. “Take off your clothes.”

Body over Mind! At least this is going exactly as planned.

Sofie perched on her knees to slide down the front-zipper of her white sundress. The soft fabric fell to the side, revealing her lace bra and panties. Sitting back on her haunches, she slightly parted her legs; just enough to make Philip’s eyes gravitate down. Temptation had engulfed him. Good.

“You’re so beautiful, Sofie,” he breathed, more to himself than her.

Hearing him say her name for the first time and in unhinged desire broke the dam that was so far successfully holding back her own lust. On her hands and knees she slowly crawled over, approaching him like a lioness, claiming her kill. He did not object when she set his wine glass aside. Nor did he try to hide his readiness, bulging between her legs as she straddled him. He wanted her.

Sofie could not resist grinding against him, watching mesmerized as he closed his eyes to savour the feeling. Yes, she too wanted him. But she wasn’t here to enjoy herself. She was on a mission. Never forget that.

“So,” she cooed. ”Are we finalizing our transaction today, Philip?”

His hands moved up her thighs and cupped her buttock, sinking into her firm curves. He was lost in a different world. Orbiting around her.

“You can have whatever you want, Sofie.” He breathed against her lips as his desperate kiss plundered her mouth.

He wasn’t the controlled and deliberate lover from Elandra anymore. There was a primal yearning in his touch that carried her with him, like a raging river. She reached down inside his pants and his unrestrained response shifted something inside of her. It cut off the last anchor points to her mission. And without the weight of her ulterior motif, all the emotion that had built up since their first kiss flooded into her. With an unfamiliar urgency she freed him from the remaining piece of fabric, needing to feel the direct connection.

“Hold on,” he rasped, “I need to… the condom... in my pants.”

Seeing the devastating effect she had on the otherwise eloquent and controlled womanizer, turned the air around Sofie into fire. She needed to have him.

“I have one,” she replied, ignoring his look of surprised victory. He hadn’t expected her to plan for this outcome.

She hastily ripped the foil pack and unrolled it on his length. She let her head fall back in a moan as she made him plunge into her, drinking in the sweet ache from his size impaling her.

He groaned. His hands grabbed her hip to stop her from moving. He was already fighting to hold himself in check. Sofie bit back another moan. Seeing him get undone so quickly was damn hot.

When he opened his eyes again his brown iris glowed amber in the moonlight. He managed to only take off the edge from his desire for her.

“Slow down,” he growled, when she steadily increased the speed. “I’m not used to this.”

“Used to what?”

“Wanting someone...”

His confession made her only want to thrust harder; without finesse or technique. It was like serving a home cooked meal to a gourmet chef. He clearly disapproved. But the carnal hunger made it impossible for him to stop. There was something oh so sinful about devouring her offering.

He tried to guide her movements, but Sofie defied. She loved playing his body against his mind. And pushing him over the edge, gave her the salacious satisfaction she was craving.

Deep vibrations came from his chest as his release reverberated through his body. He never looked more beautiful than in this moment. And she never wanted him more.

“That was very wicked of you,” he smiled as his breathing calmed. “Let me repay the favor.”

He gently brushed her hair from her neck and trailed it with kisses. Her painfully unsatisfied body responded instantly, clenching around him and demanding more.

“Stop!” she bit out. The deed was done. That’s all this was. Time to get what she came for. “Give me the YubiKey. Now!”

The amber glow left his eyes and a pained expression distorted his face as he scrambled out from underneath her. “I don’t have it.”

“What do you mean ‘you don’t have it’?” Sofie’s breath caught in her lungs. “I’ve done everything you wanted. I’ve earned it.”

Silence fell between them as Philip turned to fetch his clothes.

“You didn’t bring the YubiKey!” she gasped, “You planned to deceive me! Didn’t you?”

The realization hit her like a brick wall. He never meant to hand over the YubiKey. It was all just a game to him. A pastime, to see how far he could go with her. And she let him go all the way.

“That’s not true!” He wheeled around, anger flashing in his eyes. “I didn’t plan any of this. I didn’t plan to risk my job to see you. Or losing control with you, like a teenage boy. And definitely, I didn’t plan on being asked for payment. Not while I’m still inside you, for goodness sake.”

He held up a hand to silence her reply. He needed a moment to regroup. “You really are something,” he mumbled, while rubbing his forehead and taking a deep breath.

“The deal we agreed, Miss Carter, was to have sex in my suite. Like a regular client.”

“Why does it matter where or how we do it?” She was angry about him dictating the terms and changing the rules. But most of all about him still seeing her as a regular client. ”I know why you do this, Philip. You want to string me along. Your golden cage is boring, isn’t it? And you crave distraction. Well that’s too bad because I refuse to be your plaything!”

“This is not a game!”

Damn well it isn’t. His information on MP Kerry, Ms Hunt and god knows how many other corrupt players needed to be exposed. The sooner the better.

“Then, why do you act like it is?”

“Don’t pretend you’re playing fair. You have an agenda, Miss Carter, and it goes far beyond the YubiKey.”

Oh I see! Was that it? Was he really fishing for confirmation that it wouldn’t be over after he handed over the YubiKey?

“Mmh, let’s see. You only asked Ms Hunt about the royal commission, after you knew I was listening. You wanted me to hear another secret. Wanted to get me hooked.”

“What can I say? I like to show off my collection,” he said with an odd smile. “But it doesn’t mean, Miss Carter, that you get to take everything you see. I decide when and where to give you my secrets. The sooner you accept that, the sooner I can actually hand over the evidence.”

Despite the cool night air, Sofie felt her temperature spike. He didn’t want to expose corruption for the greater good. He wanted to control when and how the players would be taken down. He was the puppet master. And he wanted her to become one of his puppets.

The harsh vibration from Sofie’s proximity alert suddenly went off.

“Someone’s coming!”

There was panic in Philip’s eyes as he pulled her down to crouch next to him.

“Security is coming,” he whispered.

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