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Trapped in a lonely prison is where he’ll stay until he finds love in more than just a dream.
Domenico was cursed six long years ago by a witch determined to teach him a lesson. A lesson in life, loss, and understanding that to love is to put someone first…always.
His only escape from his beautiful prison is a dating site called Crossroads. He can choose only one woman a year to contact. One woman to convince, in nothing more than a week, that he’s worthy of her love. But there’s a catch. She must fall asleep during a video chat so he can crawl through his laptop into her world. Then all bets are off.
His curse becomes his salvation when his beautiful submissive Rose is nothing but a dream away.
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
Rose hovered her finger above the Enter key, trying to convince her stomach to stop the flip-flop gymnastics before she got sick. She nibbled her bottom lip, anxiety making a statement loud and proud between her temples.
Online dating, good or bad she didn’t know yet, but chickening out sounded better and better the longer she sat there.
After filling out her online profile for the dating site, Crossroads, all she had to do was send it. One little Enter key stood in her way of finding Mr. Right, or at least Mr. Right Now which sounded fine to her.
Jumping into the dating pool at the ripe old age of thirty-four couldn’t have been more pathetic. Well—other than the fact she’d never actually been in the dating pool to begin with.
Yep, she found something worse.
She’d been busy managing, then selling her family’s company. It wasn’t a great excuse but she decided to stick with it. She shook her head, trying to focus on the problem currently staring her in the face. No, not the problem, the solution.
Doubt kept creeping in, threatening to strangle her attempt to meet somebody.
Do I really want to do this?
Will I just come across as desperate?
And having conversations with herself? Totally healthy. Not.
Her new white kitty, Miss Pris, rubbed on her legs and purred loudly, drawing her attention away from the screen for a moment. “Need some love, pretty kitty?” Rose smiled, reaching down to pet the fluffy white feline with the other hand, but the cat jumped into her lap, startling her, making her jump. She nearly dumped her ice tea over on the living room table, pushing the Enter key in her haste to save her papers from a tea soaked shower.
“No, no, no,” she chanted, pushing esc several times, along with the back button to cancel her submission. Ctrl, Alt, Delete didn’t even help.
“Your profile has been submitted,” popped up on the screen with little smiley faces and confetti.
She blew out a resigned breath, petting the cat absent-mindedly. “Oh lord…”
Pris rubbed her forehead against Rose’s chin, looking her in the face and meowing, purring some more, blinking her miss-matched blue and green eyes.
Love filled Rose’s chest, and some of her worry eased away. She’d always been an animal lover, but hadn’t had a cat in years. Not since a few years before her parents had passed away. She’d found the beautiful white cat at the pound with dirty, matted fur, but something told her she was supposed to take her.
She hadn’t even meant to go by the animal shelter that day. Getting a pet hadn’t even been on her radar, though it made perfect sense when she found her. Staring in her blue and green eyes each time made her think of the future and possibilities.
She shook her head, “I really need to get out more, huh?”
Pris meowed again guiding Rose to scratch behind her ears. She went a bit limp when Rose found the right spot and Rose smiled. She continued to the other ear and then moved below her collar so she could scratch beneath it.
Strangely enough the collar had come on the cat when she picked her up at the pound. It had been locked on her with a strange metal clasp. Neither she nor anyone at the shelter could remove it. Talk about the strangest thing.
Plus, instead of a charm with a name on it or a phone number so they could find out who she belonged to, the collar had a small silver key dangling from it with a number on it. Like a house number but no street name, no city. Nothing helpful. Rose nor anyone else had been able to find anything about it.
No one had come forward to claim the beautiful cat. One bath and daily brushings made her pristine coat shine. Thus the name she picked. She looked like a show cat, if such a thing existed.
Rose petted her some more and asked, “Want some food?”
Pris meowed, standing up on Rose’s lap, acting like she knew exactly what she said even though she’d only been there for a couple weeks. She nibbled softly on the fleshy part of Rose’s palm. Then rubbed against her chest with a purr.
Rose scooped her up, carrying her into the small apartment kitchen. She set her on the island counter where her food and water bowls sat on a pretty pink mat that read, “Dogs have owners, Cats have staff.”
She grabbed the bag of dry cat food from underneath the counter, scooped out Pris’ daily portion and sprinkled it into her little metal bowl. She rolled the bag down, put a clip on it and slid it onto the shelf, closing the door behind it.
Pris hunkered close to the bowl, purring while she ate.
“Good gracious, kitty,” Rose brushed the front of her tank top and pajama pants. “You’re gorgeous but you sure shed a lot.” She grabbed a lint roller under the counter and cleaned herself off.
“I’m still in my pajamas and it’s nearly noon. I wonder if that means I’m behind schedule, since I haven’t changed yet, or ahead of schedule because I’m all ready for tonight.” Rose petted Pris again while she ate.
“I should really commit to finding a house, huh?” She glared at her small apartment kitchen. Standard pale wood cabinets stared back, along with inexpensive door pulls, laminate flooring, and no-frills appliances. “I’ve got more money than I could spend in a lifetime. Yet I’m still here, in the same apartment, like I’m waiting for something to fall in my lap.”
The cat watched her from the corner of her eye, meowed, and continued eating.
“You stare at me like you understand what I’m saying.” Rose shook her head and grabbed a glass from the cabinet, filling it with orange juice from the fridge. “And I talk to you like you’re a person. Hence the reason I needed to sign up for a dating site.”
She rolled her eyes, taking a drink of juice. “It’s like I’m at a crossroads, Miss Pris. Standing in the middle of something great but not knowing which way to go, which direction to take.” She scratched between the cat’s ears and the cat stopped eating for a minute to enjoy the attention. “Makes sense why I chose that dating site, huh? Crossroads. Seemed appropriate.”
It had been months since she’d successfully sold her family’s steel business. Latica Steel had been a household name around Miami, Florida for her entire life. Her parents had been courted by another steel manufacturer for years. They’d groomed her to take over for them as soon as she had graduated college at twenty-one.
Then they’d both died within months of each other.
Her mom had died from breast cancer and she still thought her dad had gone from a broken heart. She’d been the only child and heiress to a steel fortune by the time she’d turned thirty.
So she had sold the company like her parents had instructed her to do in their wills. It had been their passion, their focus, but they knew it hadn’t been hers. Not to mention it was way too hard for one person to tackle by herself. The staff couldn’t have been any better and she’d managed to keep all of her employee’s jobs as part of the sale stipulations.
That had been nearly six months before, when the sale had finally gone through after months of negotiating. Ever since she’d been waiting for something. Something big—
A strange chime rang from the dining room and her heart kicked into high gear. It reminded her of the “you’ve got mail” notification and she figured it came from the dating site, since she’d left it up. She took her glass of juice and walked back in, leaving the kitty on the island in the kitchen.
She slid into her chair at the dining room table where she’d set up her laptop and her makeshift office. A new laptop, with a big twenty-inch screen, was the only purchase she’d made since the sale. The huge monitor on it made her feel like she worked at NASA.
She wiggled the wireless mouse and her screensaver pic of a beach disappeared, revealing the Crossroads website again and her profile page.
In the upper right hand corner there sat a new message from someone on the dating site. She clicked on the icon, expecting a generic welcome message from someone to show up, but instead another screen popped up with a man’s profile information.
Good God. “Gorgeous” wasn’t even an apt description of him.
Domenico Manata, it read at the top.
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