Miss Parker reread the invitation.
been invited to a costume celebration to ring in the new year. Dress
strictly masquerade style. So, put on your most beautiful smile and keep everyone
She hated masquerades.
She hated new year's parties. She hated the calligraphy
on the invitation. If it were not for the possibility of a handsome suitor being at this party
who might be able to keep her from thinking about Jarod, she would completely disregard
this particular invitation.
She had accepted
a blind date that an old college friend had arranged only because
she had not been out on a date in months. Jarod usually kept her running in circles with
little time for herself much less time for any type of social life.
She flung the
invitation down onto her couch and went into the bedroom to
change. She opened the doors to her closet and perused her possible selections. They
were not encouraging. She had the very best that money could buy of course, but she did
not know what exactly to wear to a masquerade considering she hated that particular type
to fix herself a drink and then continue the selection process. It
at that moment when the doorbell rang. She bypassed the drink and went to answer the
opened the door to see a scrawny, pimply, barely into puberty delivery
boy standing with a very large box in his arms.
"Are you Miss
Parker?" The young man asked, seeming terrified to be on her
"Yes, is that for me?" She asked with barely restrained sarcasm.
"Yes, I just
need you to sign here," He said as he handed her a clipboard with an
quickly scribbled her signature on the line and tore off her copy of the
invoice. She took the box from the young man's hands and closed the door without so
much as a thank you.
She just knew
this had to be from Jarod. She tore off the envelope attached to
top of the box and removed the card from inside. To her surprise, the box was from her
of Romance would not be complete
Without a gift from man to his date
So until we meet
Here's a hint of what awaits
blue to glorify your eyes
Something silky to brush against your skin
Something to make the men sigh
Something to make me the luckiest of men
tonight at the masquerade
I'll be the Phantom you wait for
And we'll begin our charade
Of fantasy, you'll not wish for more.
all the words I'll utter tonight
We'll get to know one by our eyes alone
My mouth will not one line recite
But I refuse to rule out a pleasurable moan.
"Oh my," Miss Parker said as she exhaled a breath that she was not aware of
She opened the box and found three separate items inside. She removed the first
box which appeared to be a clothing box. She carefully opened the box to reveal a floor
length silk dress with the thinnest of straps and a beautiful jewel fringed bodice. She eyed
the dress unbelieving that a man she had not even met yet would send her such a gorgeous
and obviously expensive gift.
draped the dress over her sofa while she removed the other two
boxes. One box held open-toed high heels that went with the dress to perfection. The
other box held her mask for the masquerade. The mask concealed very little of her face.
In fact, the only part of her face that it was concerned with were her eyes, but it did not
conceal those either.
walked over to the mirror and placed the mask onto her face. The
mask was made of fine diamonds, and there were tiny shards of sapphires placed
throughout the diamonds, no doubt, to enhance the blue of her eyes. As she looked into
the mirror, she saw that the mask fit right around her eyes but amplified their blue depths
to an electrical magnitude. The mask barely fit around her eyes and had only one strap
that would wind underneath her hair.
As she returned
the mask to its box, she realized that she was in complete awe as
to the lengths that her date was going to in order to make this a pleasurable evening. She
certainly hoped that he had more surprises in store for her as the night progressed.
Miss Parker dressed quietly and forgot about her drink altogether as the gifts were
intoxicating enough. She was amazed as the dress fit her snug in all the right places while
remaining loose enough for dancing to be enjoyable instead of a chore. She slipped the
high heels onto her feet and walked through the house trying the feel of the dress. It was
uncanny at how right this evening felt already.
It was at that moment the phone rang. She knew that she was not going to like
whoever or whatever was on the other end.
"What?" She answered in a tone that was less biting than usual.
"Any plans for the new year, Miss Parker?"
said, kicking herself for knowing she was not going to like it, "My
only plan is to bring you back to the Centre . . . . where you belong."
"Is it really
where I belong, Miss Parker? There are some cultures that believe
we are never truly where we belong. Are you where you belong?"
"At this particular
moment," She said as she caught a glimpse of herself in the
mirror, "Yes, I'm definitely where I belong."
"Well, Miss Parker, I just wanted to call to wish you a Happy New Year."
"The only way
my new year is going to be happy is when you're back in your cage,
"And what if
I told you that I could make your new year a happy one without
being back at the Centre?"
"I'd say you've finally lost your mind, Jarod."
"Ah, Miss Parker, ye of little faith."
"Jarod, if there's a point, make it."
"Happy New Year, Miss Parker," Jarod said as he hung up the phone.
She said as she hung up the phone and walked to the mirror to check
her make-up and the placement of the mask. Everything was positively perfect.
She could hear
a car pulling up the drive and assumed it was her blind date. She
still was not quite sure how she was going to get through the night without speaking to
him, but she was going to show her appreciation for the gifts, one way or another.
rang, and she opened the door to see a very dapper individual
standing before her. He was wearing a Phantom of the Opera type of mask, a tuxedo that
fit him perfectly, and a cloak that completed the ensemble.
to him in greeting, and he stepped inside. He took her hand and
brought it to his lips, ever-so-slightly grazing her knuckles with the soft skin of his lips.
She thought and curtsied in reply. He nodded his head and led her back to the mirror. He
removed a long thin box from his jacket and opened it slowly to reveal a gold chain with a
single sparkling sapphire pendant. He removed the necklace from the box and slowly
encircled her neck with the precious metal. The cool metal graced her skin, but it was the
gentle touch of his fingers on her skin that sent a shiver down her spine. He clasped the
chain and placed his hands softly on her shoulders as he looked into the mirror to admire
He ran his
fingers down the length of her arm to take her hand in his and lead her
toward the door. He entwined her arm with his and wrapped his cloak around the both of
them as they walked to a waiting limousine.
The ride to
the hotel where the masquerade party was being held was a quiet one.
They arrived with an influx of other guests and glided directly into the ball room where the
event was being held. An orchestra was seated at the right of the room on a small stage
while tables encircled an enormous dance floor.
and the Phantom went immediately to the dance floor where he
wrapped one arm firmly around her small waist while the other cradled her hand. The
orchestra began playing a soft tune that invited other onto the floor. Miss Parker and the
Phantom glided across the floor, their bodies swaying to the music.
felt her pulse rush as he entwined his fingers with hers as they danced.
It was an intimate gesture, but not altogether unwelcome. This man, without saying a
single word, had managed to virtually sweep her off her feet. She knew this man would be
nothing short of exciting, enthralling, and romantic down to the tips of his toes.
As the song
ended and a faster dance began, he led her from the dance floor to a
table a private corner of the room where a chilled bottle of champagne, a vase full of
roses, and two candles whose light danced across the darkened area awaited them. The
Phantom pulled out a chair for her and waited until she was seated before he took a seat
poured them each a glass of champagne, and as he handed her glass
to her, their fingers met in a electrifying caress. They sat quietly sipping their champagne,
and Miss Parker could feel the Phantom's eyes moving over her as if he had reached out
and began touching her. She had the distinct feeling that she had just been made love to
without ever having been touched.
With one glass
of champagne drained, the Phantom arose from his chair and held
out a hand to Miss Parker. She took it, and he again entwined their fingers. For some
strange reason, she felt safe with the Phantom.
He led her
outside the ball room doors to a garden area. The greenery was the
only sign of life, but the Phantom did not seem interested in the beauty of the garden. He
led her to a horse-drawn carriage that awaited at the end of the garden path.
could not repress the child-like giggle that sprang up. She had read
about events like this in paperback romance novels, but she had never imagined that they
actually happened to real people.
smiled at her and bowed his head as he offered a helping hand into
the carriage. She stepped up and took a seat while the Phantom joined her. He offered
her the warmth of his cloak which she accepted as the driver urged the horses forward.
The night was
cloudless with every star in the sky sparkling in agreement. The
moon was full and cast its bright yellow light down on the couple as they enjoyed the ride
through the hotel's large garden area.
felt a bit of a chill and moved in closer to the Phantom to warm
herself. As she did, the tangy scent of his aftershave and the all-masculine scent of his
body assailed her, and she felt a bit dizzy from the attack on her senses.
up and as she did, her mouth came into contact with his. It was no
overly lustful kiss. It was a gentle kiss, soft pressure on the lips followed by the ever
delicate probing of the tongue slightly into her mouth. It was an intensely erotic kiss as it
was a kiss of exploration instead of exploitation. She had not been kissed like that since
she was a school girl, and then she never remembered being kissed like this.
As the kiss
ended, their eyes met, and Miss Parker knew that she had to get this
man into her bed. She bent her head for another kiss, but the Phantom instead gently
brushed his nose against hers in a sweet gesture before he kissed her again.
placed a hand on his chest to steady herself as the Phantom cupped
her cheek in his hand. He traced her cheekbone with his fore finger while gently caressing
her chin with his thumb. The Phantom ran the tip of his tongue around the outline of her
lips before tasting first the upper then the lower lip. He continued from there to deepen
the kiss as she responded to him with a ragged breath that escaped her throat. Their
tongues met together as if they were sparring then in a desperate battle. The duel
continued until they both felt the carriage stop beneath them.
hesitated before stepping out of the carriage. He could not tear
eyes away from hers, nor did she want him to. Eventually, he stepped down and looked
back to help her down. Instead of offering a hand as she had expected, he took her in his
arms, holding her tightly against his strong chest as her legs draped over his arm.
She watched him closely as he walked into the hotel, ignoring all around them who
could be watching. For once in her life, she could care less if her father had been standing
there. This man, this Phantom, had done more for her in one night than a dozen men had
ever done for her. The Phantom walked to the elevator and stepped inside while nudging
the button for the floor with an elbow.
As the doors
closed and the elevator started upwards, the Phantom began kissing
her again. It was no longer a kiss of exploration, but a kiss of passion yet it still was not
beyond being intensely delicate. They kissed for what seemed like days to Miss Parker.
His was a mouth she could kiss for weeks on end.
was not quite sure what floor they had gotten off on nor did she know
when they departed the elevator. However, now they were in front of a room where the
Phantom lowered her feet to the floor without breaking contact with her mouth and
unlocked the door. When the door was opened, he placed his hands around her waist and
lifted her off her feet to carry her into the room.
As he closed
the door, he lowered her feet to the ground and pressed her back
against the door. She could feel her body tingling as he pressed his full length against her.
His hands remained at her waist, but even that sensation was causing her to tingle.
He broke the
kiss and placed his forehead against her own. They were both out
breath, but neither wanted to break contact.
kissed her on the forehead and took her by the hand. He led her
through the suite, discarding his cloak along the way, and continued into a large bedroom.
The bedroom was encircled by candles of different shapes and sizes along with rose petals
that were strewn across the floor.
immediately felt like she had been put into one of those paperback
romances. She looked up to the Phantom who had left her standing in the center of the
floor area to start some music.
with both hands behind his back. He lifted one hand which was bare
and covered his eyes momentarily as an instruction for her to close her own eyes. She
complied and waited for whatever he was going to do.
stepped around her and trailed a line of delicate kisses along her
shoulder while pushing her hair back with his hand. He then traced the outline of her
shoulder with the content of his other hand, a single red thornless rose. He traced the soft
curve of her throat with the bud, brushed it across her chin, and lifted it to her nose so that
she would know what he had given her.
opened her eyes to see a beautiful red rose being held in front of her.
She smiled as his hands gripped her waist and went around to her back as he brushed the
back of his knuckles up her spine. His fingers fanned out across her shoulders, up her
neck, and into her hair where they lifted the dark mass off of her skin so that he could
place kisses along her neck and shoulder. His tongue traced circles before his lips
enclosed the soft skin and gently suckled before moving further down toward her arm.
softly in encouragement. He smiled as he released her hair and placed
a quick kiss on the crown of her head. His fingers drifted down her spine to the zipper of
her dress and eased the fastening down. His fingers returned to her shoulders where they
slipped under the thin straps and slowly eased them off her shoulders. He placed kisses
where the straps had been before turning her towards him. He eased the dress further
down her body to reveal her full breasts, firm stomach, round hips, and long legs. He
stood back and stood looking at her naked form. She again had the feeling that she had
just been made love to without being touched.
cradled her face in his hands and kissed her passionately. His kiss
was firm and passionate, seeking her response to his attentions. He was not to be
disappointed. As he deepened the kiss, she slipped the knot out of his bow tie and undid
the buttons of his shirt. She slid her hands down his arms to release his cufflinks and free
him from his shirt. She, first, pushed the jacket off his shoulders, and he shrugged off his
shirt as she removed it from him.
He pulled her
tightly to him, and as there bare skin met, Miss Parker felt the fire
burn within her. She ran her fingers into his hair as he kissed her demandingly. He lifted
her off her feet and placed her onto the bed where he left her mouth and trailed kisses
down her throat across her chest into the valley between her breasts.
up the trail he had created with his tongue and returned to her mouth.
His hands played over her stomach up to her breasts. He took one globe in each hand and
gently squeezed. A moan crawled up her throat as he kneaded the silky flesh in his strong
hands. He circled the nipple with a forefinger before placing the nipple between his finger
and thumb and tugging on the skin.
arched into his hands, enjoying every sensation he was creating within
her. When he trailed kissed down to her breasts and tasted of a nipple, she cried out in
ecstasy. As he completely encircled the nipple and gently suckled, she ran her fingers
through the mat of hair on his chest. She could feel the muscle beneath her hands and
delighted in the texture of it. She decided to return the favor and began to tug at his
nipples just as he had done to her. She could hear the sound of masculine pleasure within
him, and she soared to know that this man was deriving so much pleasure in her own
began kissing her again as she undid the clasp on his belt and slacks.
She slid her hand beneath to feel yet more rock hard muscle beneath. She eased her hand
further downward, but before she could reach her goal, the Phantom thrust a finger into
writhed under him as he plunged his finger inside of her again and
began to thrust against her. She arched into his mouth as he began to suckle the breast
that he had left unattended before. The simultaneous sensations were driving her insane
when suddenly he pulled away from her.
up to watch him shed the rest of his clothing. He was a remarkable
specimen with muscle so far as she could see, and there could be no doubt that he was
ready to finish what he had started.
to her and kissed her as he moved between her legs. He entered her
slowly, gently seating himself and relishing in every cry his movement tore from her lips.
When he was fully inside her, he took a moment to look deeply into her eyes. She gazed
into his and saw her own feeling reflected, complete love intoxication.
When he began
to move against her, they continued to look into each other's eyes
until the pressure built to the boiling point. She arched against him, trying to draw him in
further as he thrust into her again and again. She squeezed around him and heard him
groan as his pace quickened.
She ran her
fingers into his hair as he kissed her again before beginning a frenzied
rhythm. She threw her head back and ran her hands down his back. He grasped her hips
as he rocked against her time and time again.
Just when she
thought she could take no more, the stars burst in heaven and white
hot flame licked all over her. She cried out as the explosion took her, and he let a savage
cry escape him as he, too, was catapulted over the edge of the cliff.
As their breathing
could be heard in ragged panting, the sound of fireworks
exploding signaled the new year.
breathing had returned to normal, Miss Parker fell into a deeply
satisfied sleep with the Phantom spooned against her in the king size bed.
As the first
light of morning trickled into the room, the Phantom rose from the bed.
He pulled on his slacks and shirt, only buttoning half of the buttons and tucking the shirt
haphazardly, and he slipped on his shoes. He returned to the bed side and brushed a wisp
of hair out of Miss Parker's face. He placed a kiss on her cheek gently so as not to disturb
"I told you
I could give you a happy new year. Happy New Year, Miss Parker,"
Jarod whispered as he placed a final kiss on her cheek and left the room.