The text message had been short and to the point—an address, a date, a time and a clipped warning, “Don’t be late.”
Stepping out of the cab, I raised my gaze skyward, my hand shielding my eyes from the mid-day sun as I took in the imposing façade of the Edwardian mansion before me. The house was three, possibly four, stories high not taking into account any basement it might have had. It looked to be an early Twentieth Century build, reflecting a more sombre design as compared to those built during the previous Victorian era. I considered briefly whether its exterior aspect—dour and dark—reflected the character of its owner. I hoped not.
Pushing the heavy iron gate open, I passed through and closed it behind me. Turning, I began my ascent up the long flight of stairs leading to the set of double doors guarding the home’s entrance.
I raised my hand to knock but, before my knuckles could connect with the ornate glass-paned door, it swung inward. A striking man in his late thirties, approximately six three, with classic Roman features and jet black hair filled the doorway. The most intense pair of cobalt blue eyes I’d ever seen examined me from head to toe. I took the opportunity to return the favour. He was obviously fit. A crisp, white button-down hugged his upper body. The sleeves were rolled up, showing off his muscular forearms. Tucked in at the front, its shirttails hung down over the back of his distressed blue jeans. He finished his look with a pair of soft, natural leather shoes. (more…)