Her meeting with Sebastian Stark hadn't gone exactly like she'd expected. Dara had been a little surprised but glad that Michael showed up at the MetroCourt Restaurant. It had given her the opportunity to point out his behavior – which was just what she'd told her mentor it would be. Michael's introduction to Sebastian was a perfect example of his inability to operate within the rules of polite society. To Dara's chagrin, Sebastian calmly reminded her that she knew this about Michael from the beginning. He was, after all, a mobster. The very nature of his profession demanded such an attitude.
Dara quickly diverted her thoughts. Sebastian had gone on to say several other things that she wasn't prepared to think about… like the fact that Dara was so obviously in love that it was almost painful to look at. And that she didn't really want a divorce. She wanted control. A control, Sebastian said from experience, that Dara would never have. Not with a man like Michael Corinthos.
The beautiful lawyer squared her shoulders and pushed open the penthouse door. Sonny sat on the couch, nursing a drink and staring out into the afternoon sky. “You just couldn't”, he said, “give me the four months it would take for a divorce to go through.” He did not look at Dara.
“Stop making me the bad guy, Michael. You aren't the victim here.”
“Victim… Wow.” Dara heard the undisguised hurt in her husband's voice. “Marrying me made you a victim?”
“No,” Dara swiftly replied. “Marrying you because of a lie did.” She shook her head. “Michael, just withdraw your claim.”
Sonny finally turned to look at her. “So you can fly back down to the Dominican Republic and make it official?”
“I don't need to go back there. Sebastian drew up some papers that I can file here in New York,” Dara said softly. “All you have to do is withdraw your petition and then sign mine.”
“You want your papers signed, Counselor?” Sonny lay his drink on the table. He began to unbutton the wine-colored shirt Dara had purchased for him days before their impromptu marriage. “Then make it worth my while. Spend the night with me.”
“What?” Dara blinked. Her mind attempted to process what she'd obviously misunderstood.
“You heard me, Counselor. Make it worth my while. Spend the night with me. In my bed. And if you still want me to sign those papers, I will. And you can go end our marriage.””
“You've been drinking, Michael.” Her gaze slid to the glass on the table. It was filled to the top with a rich amber liquid.
“Sorry to disappoint you, Counselor.” He'd seen her quick glance. “I am stone cold sober.” He advanced toward her. “So, what is it going to be? Or are you going to run from the truth?”
The irony of Michael throwing the word ‘truth' at her made Dara's brows rise. “Just what is this ‘truth' you think I'm afraid of?” She gave him a scathing glance. “I'm curious, Michael. ‘Cause your idea of truth is what brought us to the place we are now.”
“The truth…” Sonny deliberately invaded his wife's space. The knowing grin on his handsome face taunted Dara, daring her to stand in the face of his advance. “….that you and I are combustible together. I know it and you know it.” Sonny's voice lowered to a rumble. He stood so close that Dara could feel the masculine heat his body radiated. “One touch and we'll both go up in flames.”
It took every measure of willpower that Dara possessed not to react to his words. “So dramatic, Michael.” She slipped deliberately into what her friends called ‘lawyer mode'. Her tone was even and emotionless, but there was no mistaking the disdain it held. “Let me make sure I understand your… proposal .”
Dara struck a nerve with her tone. She saw the moment Sonny's jaw tightened. “I sleep with you tonight and in exchange, you withdraw your petition and sign my divorce papers?”
“As long as that word ‘sleep' you're using really means ‘fuck'… then yeah, that's my proposal.” Sonny held his wife's gaze with his own. “You woman enough to accept?”
A little voice screamed in Dara's ear not to take the bait. “I guess,” she heard herself say, “we should stop talking and find out.”