Seduced by the HeroBy: Pamela Yaye
“Good morning, Mrs. Fontaine.”
He spoke with a thick Italian accent, one she was sure drove women wild, but his expression was one of concern. Questions stirred her curiosity, made her wonder why Emilio’s brother was in her hospital room. Did Sharleen send Immanuel over to check on her after hearing about her attack? Is that why he was there?
“How are you feeling?”
Dionne cleared her throat and found her voice. “I’m sore, and more than a little confused,” she admitted sheepishly.
“My apologies. Let me introduce myself. I’m—”
“Immanuel Morretti,” she provided, pulling herself up to a sitting position.
Surprise showed on his face, coloring his eyes. Immanuel looked rich, like the kind of man who dined nightly on wine and caviar. He carried himself in a dignified way. Thanks to her master’s degree in psychology, Dionne was skilled at reading people, and instinctively felt the security specialist was someone she could trust. “You’re Emilio’s brother and the CEO of Mastermind Operations.”
“You’re a World Series racing fan?” he questioned, fine lines wrinkling his forehead. “I never would have guessed it.”
“Emilio’s engaged to Sharleen Nichols, the VP of my life coaching center. I’ve gotten to know him over the last few months. He’s a great guy, and he treats Sharleen like gold.”
Dionne watched his face darken, saw his jaw clench tight, and wondered what was wrong. Are the brothers still estranged? Is that why Immanuel looks pissed? Because I complimented his brother?
“Can I get you anything? Something to eat or drink, perhaps?”
“No thanks. I’m fine,” she replied, shaking her head. “Where am I?”
“At the Atlanta Medical Center. You were robbed outside of your office last night.”
Her eyes grew moist, and her lips trembled, but she willed herself to keep it together. “I remember,” she said quietly. “But why am I here? I’m fine.”
“You were unconscious when I arrived on scene.”
“You were there? You saw what happened?”
“Yes, Mrs. Fontaine, I did.” Immanuel glanced away and slid his hands into the front pocket of his pants. “I was shopping at Peachtree Plaza when I heard a commotion and ran over.”
“You scared off the assailant... You—you saved my life.”
“No, I didn’t. You did.” His gaze was filled with awe, and it seeped into his tone. “To be honest, I came to rescue your attacker. You gave him one hell of a beating, and I was scared if I didn’t intervene you’d kill him.”
Dionne beamed, feeling a glimmer of pride at his words. “Serves him right for attacking me. He’s lucky I forgot my pepper spray at home, or I would have emptied the entire bottle on him.”
Like his voice, his laugh was pleasing to her ears and brought a smile to her lips.
“You’re a brave woman, Mrs. Fontaine. A woman of incredible strength and heart, and you should be very proud of yourself. Few people would have been able to fight the way you did, and I’m blown away by your courage.”
Moved by his words, she soaked up his praise. “Please, call me Dionne.”
“Only if you call me Immanuel. All my friends do.”
Her thoughts returned to last night, and dread flooded her body. Dionne was curious about what had transpired after Immanuel arrived on scene, and was hoping he could fill in the blanks for her. “What happened after I blacked out? Did the mugger steal my purse?”
“Yes, I’m afraid so, and your Lexus as well.”
“Oh, no. My whole world was inside my purse. My wallet, my address book, my iPad.” A chilling thought entered her mind. “The mugger knows where I live. What if he’s at my house right now? Lying in wait?”
Immanuel strode over to the bed and took her hand in his. He was a calm and comforting presence. Having him nearby made Dionne feel supported and less afraid. She didn’t know if it was because he looked like Emilio—a man she thought was considerate, compassionate and kind—or his warm disposition. But she liked his touch and drew strength from him. “I don’t have a security system at my new place. I’ve been meaning to install one, but I’ve been so busy with work I haven’t had the time.”
“I know it’s upsetting, but try not to worry. The police are investigating...”
What good will that do if the mugger attacks me in my sleep?
“I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of calling one of my technicians to change the locks at your house and office,” he explained. “And if you’d like, he can also install voice-activated alarm systems at both locations.”