For his entire life, Caleb has always been more comfortable surrounded by books and games than other people. When 1Night Stand is recommended to him, he contacts Madame Eve but is too shy to actually meet any of the women she finds for him. Together, they reach a workable solution: a simulated dating experience in a setting reminiscent of his favorite stories.
After following Madame Eve’s instructions, Caleb finds himself in a vivid fantasy world, complete with a damsel in distress who needs rescuing. His objective is clear, but he must find a way around the many obstacles standing between him and Alizeira, the mysterious woman imprisoned in an underground cell.
While working on his plans to save her, Caleb spends time getting to know Alizeira beyond her role as prisoner, and a mutual attraction develops between them. He is unsure whether she’s a real person playing a part like him, or if she’s simply one piece of the elaborate simulation that’s been programmed for his date. Setting her free is the first step to discovering the truth, but how many secrets is Alizeira hiding?
The full moon illuminated the path. I moved quietly and knelt beside the dark hole in the ground. “Hello?” I whispered. “Are you there?”
The woman appeared beneath me, her upturned face bathed in moonlight. Luscious lips curved into a smile, a reward I might not have deserved. I froze, transfixed by her ethereal beauty, and tried to think of something brilliant and charming to say. “Hi,” I mumbled.
“Hello.” She beamed at me. “You came back.”
“Of course I did.”
“Are you feeling okay?” she asked. “You were unconscious when I first saw you. I feared you might have been hurt.”
“I’m fine.” I ruffled my hair, noting I no longer suffered from a headache. “But what about you? I’d hoped when the guards let me out, they’d do the same for you.”
She shook her head and sighed. “I didn’t mean for this to happen.” Her dark curls obscured her face when she ducked her head and paced back and forth in her cell. For the first time, I saw the iron shackles around her wrists and ankles. Heavy chains dragged and clanked behind her as she moved about. “I knew I shouldn’t go beyond the river, I’d be putting myself in danger, but then when I saw you there….”
Guilt tightened in my chest. Before I could apologize, her hand flew up to her mouth, giving the chains another rattle. “Oh, forgive me! Where are my manners?” She stopped walking and looked back at me with striking eyes. “All this time, and I haven’t even bothered to learn your name.”
She extended one pale hand toward me. I reached through the spaces in the grate and took it, wrapping my fingers around hers. Despite the dingy, uncomfortable appearance of the cell, her skin felt soft and warm.
“It’s nice to meet you. Well, not nice, I mean, since you’re stuck down there in the dark and that’s not nice, but I meant you are…uh….” Heat flooded my cheeks as I rambled on. Calm down, I told myself. None of this is real, remember?