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Masked Seduction

Written by Stefanie London

When Jason Allbrook gets an email from a “secret admirer,” he laughs it off. Then he receives a package containing a masquerade mask and a request to meet at the Carmina Ball. Dedicated to the family business, Jason has been working twelve-hour days without any thought to his own wants…or needs. Maybe he should meet this masked seductress. After all, how could anyone dare resist such an enticing offer?

Ready for another rendezvous? Look for more books in the Melbourne After Dark miniseries: Unmasked by Stefanie London, available now from Mills & Boon Dare, and Hard Deal, available in September 2018.

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Chapter One

February 19…

To: Jason.Allbrook@AllbrookArchitecture.com

From: YourSecretAdmirer@ymail.com

Subject: Something missing from your life…

Dear Jason,

I know something is missing from your life. As someone who cares about you, I’m concerned.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to help you out. Think of me as a Good Samaritan. You need a little more excitement in your life and I’m prepared to give it to you. Keep your eyes open—something will be coming your way very soon.

Signed,

Your Secret Admirer.

Jason Allbrook stared at his laptop screen and raised a brow. It was unusual to get these kinds of emails at work, since the company spam filter ruthlessly weeded out the fake lottery wins and Nigerian princes and phony threats from the tax department. Secret admirer? He hadn’t had one of those since high school.

Leaning back in his office chair, he ran through all the people he knew who might send such an email. Being the kind of guy who was married to his job, he didn’t have time to cultivate a long list of potential dates. That was his brother’s specialty.

Jason, on the other hand, was managing director of his family’s architecture firm and was being groomed for the CEO position. He loved his job, loved the company he ran with the people he cared about, loved having one of the most successful businesses in all of Australia. He had a small but tight-knit group of friends and a townhouse he’d turned into his own personal sanctuary.

Life was good. Bloody good.

Which meant he wasn’t missing anything. He promptly deleted the email and resolved to forget all about it. It was probably a catfishing attempt soon to be followed by a sob story and a request for money.

Screw that.

“Sorry, buddy. You’re not getting anything out of me today,” he said, pushing back in his chair.

“Jason?” His executive assistant, Aimee, poked her head into his office. “The mailroom called. You’ve had a parcel delivered that was marked fragile, so they don’t want to bring it up on the mail cart. Do you want me to collect it for you?”

A parcel. He tried to think of what it might be, but nothing came to mind.

Keep your eyes open—something will be coming your way very soon.

No fucking way. “Did they say who it was from?”

Aimee shook her head. “Nope. Just that someone needs to collect it from downstairs.”

“Okay, thanks. I’ll check it out myself.”

It was probably nothing. A gift from a company courting his business—stress balls or personalised bottles of wine. Maybe something he’d ordered online that he’d forgotten about. It wouldn’t be the first time. He walked through the office, trying to keep his focus on everything he needed to get done by the end of the day. But his mind whirred, intuition prickling beneath his skin.

You’re getting all worked up for nothing.

The second the elevator hit the floor where the Allbrook mailroom was located, Jason strode into the corridor. The woman who ran the mailroom smiled when he walked in, immediately pulling a square box off the shelf next to her. Sure enough, a fluorescent yellow sticker proclaimed the parcel to be fragile.

Jason headed back to the elevator, carefully turning the box over in his hands. No return address, no distinguishing markings of any kind. Just utilitarian printed letters spelling out his name and the Allbrook Architecture address in saturated black Sharpie.

When he got back to his office, he closed the door behind him. It was stupid—the parcel wasn’t going to be anything important. So why were the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end?

He grabbed a pair of scissors from his drawer and sliced along the clear tape sealing the box shut. It offered little resistance, and the flaps popped open. Nestled between wads of crumpled gold tissue paper was a mask with subtle metallic details around the edges. It was curved and looked as though it would cover his eyes—Zorro-style. The single distinguishing detail was an embroidered red rose—no bigger than a ten-cent piece—that would sit above his left temple.

When he picked the mask up, he found a piece of thick ivory paper beneath it. A note.

Hello, Jason,

I can’t wait to see you in this.

Signed,

Your Secret Admirer.

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About the author

A voracious reader, Stefanie has dreamed of being an author her whole ...

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Stefanie London

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