Mr. Dark 5

By: Lauren Landish

Chapter 1





Sophie





I enjoy a good bath. In fact, I think it's one of the greatest luxuries in the entire world. My favorite bath of all time was one Mark and I took when I was in training in Eastern Europe. I know it's a bit confusing considering I spent time in South Korea where, like the Japanese, hot baths are a way of life, but it was the setting of this particular bath that left such an impression on me. It was a totally natural spring, isolated in the woods in the border area between Greece and Macedonia. While the region itself is not exactly the safest place in the world to do things, this natural bath was idyllic. The water was crystal clear, and so pure you could drink it safely with no problems. However, it was warmed from deep in the Earth, so the water was warm. Mark and I had spent four hours hiking to the bath from the nearest place we could park our car, and had bathed, soaked, and made love for hours in the private little grove.

While our bath at home was not as good, it was still wonderful. In addition to specialized water heaters that could filter and recirculate the bath water to take it from a refreshing cool to an almost painful hot, the black marble interior was perfect for a long soak after a day at work or training with Mark, and the decoration, instead of being ostentatious, was actually subdued. I felt relaxed rather than pampered, and grounded rather than elevated and luxurious.

It was needed. There were times living as Sophie Warbird where it was very easy to slip into the fantasy of being the executive assistant and fiancee to one of the richest investors in the city. Just in the last week I had signed documents shifting over half a million dollars around, and had also signed off on financial reports from my friend Tabby that had more zeros than I thought I would ever see in my life on a bank account.

The craziest part of it all was that Mark and I hadn't even touched either our core savings or Mark's own stock market investments that he managed himself through a couple of shell companies and online aliases. While it wasn't mine technically, after just over a year prior I had been nothing more than a college student who slung beers at night to make ends meet, still Mark and I were as close as we'd ever been.

I lay there in the warm water, letting my muscles relax, when I heard the door to the bath area open and I opened my eyes to see Mark standing there.

"Hey beautiful," he said, his eyes taking in my body through the clear waters.

Considering he was wearing just a pair of athletic shorts that he had worn for our workout that day, I had quite a view too. Steely muscles swept liquidly from every one of Mark's joints, sweeping and curving in all the ways that spoke of the graceful power contained within his body. I loved his legs, especially the scar where he'd been shot by a Russian commando. The scar was thicker than what could have been, forming a slight hook on the outside of his quadriceps because it had only been a flesh wound. But that, in addition to the thin scar where I had stitched up his right shoulder muscle, in some small way seemed to mark him as mine. Especially the shoulder scar where my own handiwork contributed to the final look of his skin. Thankfully, I hadn't needed to do any more stitching since then.

"Hey babe," I replied, scooting over. "The water's nice if you want to join me. After that gym session, I think you might need it as much as I do."

Mark smiled and shrugged. "Trust me, just looking at you stretched out like that washes away any soreness and gives me enough strength to take on a hundred men barehanded."

I cupped a bit of the water in my hands and let it run down over my chest, intentionally dribbling it between my breasts. "Is that so? Well, maybe I could use you in the bath with me then."

"I could never refuse a request from you, my love," Mark said, hooking his thumbs into the waistband of his shorts and pushing them down. Did I say earlier I liked Mark's legs? Yeah, they looked even better with nothing on, especially that third leg that he could use to give me so much pleasure. "My eyes are up here, you know."

I laughed at the corny comeback and scooted over in the water. Mark slipped in, stretching out next to me. When we installed the bath, we made sure that the one side was sloped so that two people could recline easily next to each other. Stretching his long legs out, Mark lay back next to me, looking up at the ceiling before closing his eyes. "It was a good day today," he said, a gentle smile on his face. "I was happy."

"Considering you handstand walked across the entire floor, you should be," I replied, turning to study his face. While Mark's body was more than impressive, what always intrigues me about him is the way his face can change. When he was in public as Marcus Smiley, he wore this sort of mask, a cocky, somewhat affable look. It wasn't exactly unintelligent, but slightly open, a look that often put some of our investment targets off guard, miscalculating what they wanted to tell us. That, and the fact that I also wore tight suits with lots of cleavage to throw them off even more.

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