interracial love stories

BWWM Books: Redneck Rebels | A WMBW Interracial Romance Novel

I’m not exactly new to the Reverse Harem trend. A couple years ago, I published an insanely hot series of reverse harem books although at the time, I called it a menage series. Currently, all five books are available for purchase on eBook and audiobook. Since it’s been SO LONG, I decided to bring the reverse harem books trend back with my upcoming release, Redneck Rebels. If you enjoyed my book Cocky Cowboy or you liked Anaconda, Python, Mamba, etc. you will LOVE this story…

Here’s what you can expect to find:
💞3 SMOKIN’ hot & loyal alphas all bonded to one woman

💞STEAMY interracial scenes unlike any you’ve read before

💞DEVOTED beefy men with huge muscles and bigger c*cks working to end segregation in a small town

💞Symbols of hate DESTROYED by 3 hot men and 1 brilliant woman with a mission to change the past…

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Redneck Rebels

“The three of us men are kin. We share everything… especially her — Caroline Coulson, the woman we ain’t s’posed to love…”

3 alpha male country boys…

1 Black intellectual woman…

A segregated town that isn’t ready for interracial love.

Exposing town secrets & scandals threatens all four lovers in this interracial reverse harem.
Can Caroline keep the quad together, or will she have to choose between the strapping men who love her, and her career in politics?

If you’re new to this kind of romance… give it a try. If you love interracial romance and enjoy bwwm books or wmbw books, you’ll love this!

I posted the free sample below. It’s not gross, it’s female centered passion and the HEAT between these characters will blow your mind. Read the excerpt below and get excited about the upcoming release.


Romance Novel Excerpts: Redneck Rebels

Travis took his hand and pulled a hairpin from Caroline’s head. Thick black curls draped down over her chest, covering her small, perky B-cup breasts. The cop car parked beneath a magnolia tree a mile away from the town’s well. Here, it was quiet enough and isolated enough that no one would notice a dirty beat up police car parked beneath a tree with the windows up and the air conditioning blasting to stave off the summer heat. 

Caroline was naked, sweat pooling at her brown despite the air conditioning, and for the first time in weeks Travis was finally alone with her. He took his pale hand and pressed it to her sepia colored cheek, drawing her in for a kiss. Magnolias bloomed around this time of year like a storm. Their pink and purple petals fell to the ground beneath the trees, littering every inch of the sidewalk and the earth with these sweet scented reminders of the springtime. Old Town breathed with life again, and the Southern winter was finally over.

A fresh southern breeze blew across the town, past the white Evangelical Church and over the train tracks past the Black Baptist church where Caroline’s mother sang every Sunday. That woman could have been a star, people in Old Town said. Old Town was always going to be so quintessentially American. Each house hung a large American flag, the stars and stripes floating in the breeze and marking Old Town as a home for true patriots. There would always be two sides to the town. There would always be the side with large houses, old antebellum mansions with their pillars and acres and acres of old plantation land. On that side of town, sometimes the flag had the stars and bars instead of the stars and stripes. Southern pride, they said. Caroline knew different. Tufts of cotton floated on the breeze at the height of growing season, landing on the porches and cars of the townspeople. The train tracks would always be in the same place, cutting the town in two. On the other side of those train tracks, the town was different. There were no more columns or large swathes of land that stretched out for acres and acres. Small wooden houses were built not too far apart from each other and on the other side of the tracks, the houses centered around a deep well that had watered that half of the town for decades.

That morning Caroline Coulson twisted her long kinky black hair into a top bun. While the other girls in her office could get away with "messy buns”, Caroline did not share that privilege. Using stiff black hair pins, she pinned down every strand of hair lest she be accused of being unkempt. It was the first day since Buchanan’s victory as Mayor and the most important day Caroline would have in the office. The new administration would probably be making changes to the staff and getting rid of anyone unfriendly to the Buchanan leadership.

Caroline ate a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast that morning before meeting Travis, drowning out the noise of her family members, all of them crowded into their two room house. Nobody noticed how quiet she was at breakfast. They were all busy and in a rush to get to work. Only Caleb seemed to notice. And he didn’t say anything until after he watched her put her bowl into the sink. Caleb chased after her and offered to walk Caroline to work.

"Travis is already giving me a ride," She said to her brother, reassuring him that she would make it without his help, even if the factory was past the Mayor’s office and they usually did their walk to work together.

In the car, with Travis, Caroline began to regret not leaving with her brother that morning. Travis looked at her with that worried look in his eyes.

"I hate when you look at me like that,” Caroline complained.

Travis’ eyes as blue as a prairie sky softened. He leaned in and kissed her cheek, then her lips. 

"I can't help it, Caroline."

"Find a way to help it. I wasn't worried about today before, but now I am with all your staring and ogling."

Travis pulled her in for another kiss. His lips were soft and Caroline swore she could smell magnolias on his skin. His cropped blonde hair was just wet from a shower and he smelled like cinnamon and Axe deodorant. Caroline straddled his lap and ran her hands over his head and his neck, burned red from the strengthened sun on his morning run before work. She didn’t want him to stop kissing her but they had already wasted enough time. These morning romps had become their morning ritual of late. They were just old friends, going for a small drive in his car. That was how it started at least. Now, they kissed and kissing lead to other things. Caroline slipped into her clothing, hoping that her bun could be twisted into its former glory. Travis stuck the last hairpin in.

"Before we leave, let's just have one more round," Travis suggested, his eyes wandering to her breasts as he helped her fix her hair one last time.

Caroline was powerless to his suggestions. He kissed her and then pushed her back up against the seats. The door handle dug into the middle of her back, but Caroline didn’t care. Travis spread her legs wide and undid the zipper to his cop uniform, pulling his hardness out again. His member was large and thick, throbbing with anticipation before he even pressed the tip up against her silky dripping entrance. 

Even if this was their third round for the morning, heat never subsided between them. Travis thrust every inch between her legs with one stroke and Caroline moaned as she accepted his firm pulsing cock between her legs. He took her hands over her head, pressing them into the window. He plunged into Caroline deeply, making love to her in the back of his police car until she screamed in pleasure and the windows fogged up. Her toes, raised in the air, traced the fog on the window and pressed up against it as he pounded her. It was a good thing no one really came to this part of town. Travis new all the good spots — chalk it up to him being the starting quarterback at their high school and having plenty of girlfriends to take out into these abandoned fields. 

Once Caroline finished in a loud, euphoric climax, Travis erupted between her legs causing her to shake and tremble as his seed filled her slippery honeypot. 

Once they finished for the third time that morning, Caroline buttoned his shirt and help him tuck it in his starched blue pants. Travis Montgomery grinned. He loved their morning ritual. And Caroline? Well he always loved her. Since they were teenagers, they had been best friends. When Caroline went to college, Travis was convinced that she would never come back. Now, he worried that Caroline was trapped in this town, like he was, and he regretted ever wishing that this smart brown-skinned beauty would come back. Old Town didn’t deserve a woman like Caroline. He kissed her forehead again, unable to resist doing so.

"You're way too pensive in the morning. Lighten up. I'm already going to have a hellish day at work," Caroline complained, smacking Travis's shoulder with a teasing expression on her face.

Travis grinned and rolled his eyes, countering her complaint with one of his own.

“I’m going to have an even more hellish day.”

“What, the Old Town hooligans going to egg another old lady’s house?”

“You know what I mean, Caroline," he said.

"Right. It's our dear mayor’s first day on the job."

"Speaking of which, I had better get you to work. You button up that shirt,” he commanded.

Caroline liked when he made demands like that. As a police officer, Travis was used to to telling people what to do. And since he became an officer, it was a welcome change. When they were kids, Caroline ran the show. It was nice that Travis grew up to be such a good leader. People really looked up to him — and not just because his daddy is the sheriff.

The truth is, Caroline had an ulterior motive for asking him to drive her to work. It wasn’t just that their morning romps were some of the few things she still looked forward to. It wasn't just because Travis was smoking hot with a perfect toned body that he diligently maintained. It wasn’t even the fact that his sky blue eyes were filled with such soul, and that his Southern manners made her feel like all hope wasn’t lost. 

There was something else that she wanted from him today. It was almost hard to admit to herself that she needed anything from Travis. When she first left for college, she was convinced that she didn't need anyone in this town, least of all Travis. Now, she needed her old friend more than ever, especially since she had taken that job in politics hoping that she would be able to make a difference in Old Town.

Travis drove Caroline from the Black side of town, the only safe place they could meet and canoodle like that, across the train tracks to the center of town where the mayor's office stood as if it were a castle. To be a mayor of a town that small may not seem to be such a big deal to you or me. But in towns like Old Town, people cling to whatever power they can find and they hold onto it as if they were despots in small foreign nations. 

Travis offered to stop at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee. Caroline declined. She'd been trying to quit coffee for sometime now with limited success. Travis stopped anyway and the smell was tempting enough that Caroline ordered a decaf. Travis was amused with her latest attempt at good health and he teased her about her “water coffee”. He noticed that Caroline didn’t seem to be her usual chipper self. She was still outspoken, true, but there was a faraway look in her eye, like she had something on her mind. It must be something going on at work. Ever since the mayor won the election, Caroline had been acting strangely.

"Are you going to bother telling me what's on your mind or will have to guess?"

"I need your help, Travis,” Caroline confessed finally. 

"I know. That's why am driving you to work."

"I need more than that. You know my opinions about Mayor Buchanan. It's a total mistake to let him assume power. We have to do something."

"Buchanan won the election fair and square, Caroline. I don't know what you expect me to do.”

“Use your daddy for help,” Caroline insisted. 

Travis continued, ”Daddy helped Buchanan's campaign. He's not going to help you out."

“Well, I know that there has been wrongdoing and I'm going to prove it no matter what it takes."

"Ever heard of the phrase you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?"

"I'm not trying to catch any flies. I'm trying to get rid of them,” Caroline replied stiffly. 

"You know what I mean Caroline. This town is old-fashioned. Traditional."

"You mean it's segregated and racist?"

"There you go again with that race stuff."

"It's not a race stuff, Travis. It's my life. And Buchanan is going to make that life and the lives of other people like me way worse when he assumes power."

What did you think of the free sample? Comment down below. Come over to Instagram and Facebook to learn more about the book, play fun games about the characters and read free bits and pieces…

Romantic Comedy Novels: Naughty Nurse (BWWM Workplace Romance)

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I republished a previous title with BIG changes and edits to better fit today’s audience. Today, Naughty Nurse is a super steamy high-heat romance novella featuring a goody-two-shoes nurse who meets up with a daring rebellious bad boy, Austin Romero. Playing by the rules hasn’t always worked out for Nereida. Her boyfriend is a total ass, her boss is in need of #MeToo exposing, and her best friend seems totally oblivious to all the ways her life is going down the drain. What Nereida needs is permission to be bad… or at least get a little naughty. Keep reading this free sample of the book to dive into Nereida’s story. By the end of the sample, you’ll be dying for this nurse to get a little naughty.

Romance Novel Excerpts: Naughty Nurse (Interracial Romance Novel)

Nereida enjoyed the usual quiet of the night shift. In their small sleepy city that hadn’t yet been discovered by hipsters of gentrifiers, there wasn’t much to disturb the peace. But on rare occasions where some hurricane level disaster managed to puncture through their regular world, the hospital could shift from as silent as a graveyard to a bustling ants nest. There would be screaming, nurses running down hallways, doctors yelling.

What was one peaceful would be thrust into furious chaos. Nothing could calm the angry energy except death -- the dull flatline of a heart monitor would be the cue for the chaos to stop. Out of respect. Out of defeat.

On rare occasions, when there was a late night emergency, the noise wouldn’t just cease but it would slow down to a quiet simmer. When a late night emergency was accompanied by a little bit of luck and instead of a casualty, the hospital was blessed with a miracle. 

Nereida Kelly sipped hot earl grey in the waiting room with her closest friend on shift that night. She never rushed her tea. The rule of a place like this was that you had to steal what little joy you could. The two women enjoyed a rare moment of peace in the hospital -- something rarely afforded to nurses. Krista was going on and on about her recent engagement and Nereida was listening attentively, longing for the time when she would have something equally inspiring to share. She wasn’t sure it would ever happen with Rashad. She was thirty-two, he was nearly forty, yet he’d still shown no interest in making an honest woman out of her. She’d been hinting for years. Nereida had gone so far as to stuff his car with old wedding catalogs that were about to get dumped from the hospital waiting room. Rashad hadn’t even noticed.

Nereida knew it wasn’t her looks that stopped him from proposing. Mahogany, red-boned, somewhere between dark and medium brown, her complexion was a perfect chocolate. Her kinky, curly hair was long and touched the middle of her back. At work, Nereida kept it pulled back in a ponytail for professionalism. 

With her hair pulled back you could see the bright round apples of Nereida’s cheeks which were further highlighted by the smile she wore plastered on her face. Nereida’s one way of spoiling herself was her french tip nails which she got done every two weeks like clockwork. Her eyes were a deep dark brown color that reflected the depth and darkness of her beauty. Nereida was most definitely beautiful and graceful whether or not she was aware of it. She had this near magical ability to make other people around her feel calm and safe with her. That’s why she made such a good nurse.

Nereida’s listening skills had a dark side, evidenced by the fact that Krista blabbered on without letting her girl friend get a word in. She knew that it was cruel to talk Nereida’s ear off about this constantly, but she just couldn’t help that her friend was such a good listener. Krista had blonde hair — natural, and she wouldn’t let you forget it —  that fell down the middle of her back and giant bright hazel colored eyes. 

As Nereida tried to actually listen to Krista’s words, a message from her boyfriend Rashad flashed on her phone. He was angry with her — again. These days their relationship was more hate than love. Nereida thought he was tripping, but Rashad always found a way to make their screwed up relationship her fault. 

Maybe he’d change, Nereida thought, despite no evidence that he would. Krista kept telling her that she should jump back out into the dating world, but Nereida couldn’t handle the cesspool of online dating. Swipe where?! 

Rashad was a pain in the behind, though. That  much was true. He was constantly complaining that Nereida didn’t care about anything except her work. What was she supposed to do? Her dream had always been to have a great job where she could care for other people and nursing just happened  to be what had called her. Nereida couldn’t help that she worked night shifts; she wasn’t even sure what Rashad wanted from her since he didn’t seem to want to marry her. Well she knew but it just wasn’t practical. Rashad wanted her to quit work and just start having his babies and caring for him around the house — without a ring. Nereida loved him, but she just couldn’t give up her dream for him. Not to be his baby mama. Maybe with a ring… 

Her mother had always told her, “Don’t let any ain’t shit mutha-fucka control the money in your house, girl.” 

Nereida didn’t often think her mother had the best advice but that piece had stuck in her head. In her adulthood, she just knew that she couldn’t resign herself to being a servant to Rashad. Somehow, she knew that Rashad couldn’t support her on his own. He certainly thought he could but even now, Rashad made less moolah than she did. It was another sore point in their relationship. He couldn’t handle the thought and he was in denial about it. 

Nereida tuned in to what Krista was saying. That chick still hadn’t realized that Nereida had just track of her conversation. Nereida shook her head, another gesture that went unnoticed as Krista prattled on.

“So, Nereida… What do you think? Should I let her come or should I just tell him that I don’t want his ex-girlfriend’s cousin’s ex-husband’s new girl at my wedding? And should I let them bring their huskies?” 

Before Nereida could give her input on Krista’s latest wedding planning drama, their beepers went off and the break cut short. Krista and Nereida leapt into action and made their way to the E.R. where two stretchers were going in. 

* * *

“Kelly!” Dr. Allen called Nereida to his side and Krista took her cue to follow Dr. Hatfield. Nereida followed the stretcher that surged down the halls at breakneck speed as she prepared to stabilize the patient that had just been wheeled in. It all happened so fast. By now, this ritual should have been swift and automatic. Nereida could never calm her nerves, the adrenaline that pumped through her veins as she rushed down the hall administering shots and oxygen as the doctor on call barked commands at her. You had to keep a cool head. You had to forget about all your problems going on outside: no weddings, no Rashad. 

The patient had burns, pretty severe ones too that charred his skin and peeled away his flesh. The kicker had been two gunshot wounds. He might not have called 911 without them. Nereida didn’t think this one would make it. She’d seen cases less serious than this one where the patient hadn’t made it to the operating room in time before conking out. We have to save him. The thought intruded into her head.

He was in pretty terrible condition and Nereida followed the doctor and yelled back information. The EMTs had managed to stop some of the bleeding but there was still quite a bit of work to be done before this patient was anything near stable. They moved him into the O.R. and everyone suited up to get to work on him.

* * *

It was well after two a.m. by the time the patient was stable. Throughout the surgery, Nereida learned that the patient’s name was Austin Romero. She wondered what on earth had happened to land him in the hospital with two gunshot wounds and third degree burns all over his body. She hadn’t even caught a look at his face but based on how well insured he was, there was no way he was a common street criminal or the type of guy you’d expect to be in here like this.

Nereida’s fascination with this patient was beyond normal and she knew it. From the moment she prepared to leave the operating room, Nereida felt a pang of guilt at leaving him behind for another nurse to wheel into recovery. She couldn’t figure out why he produced such a strange response in her. Austin Romero. The name sounded like it belonged to someone famous, someone who didn’t belong in a small nowhere city like hers.

Strange. Nereida was changing out of her operating scrubs in the locker room between the operating room and the hospital when she heard the surgeon on-call’s heavy breathing behind her. Dr. Finger tapped Nereida on the shoulder as she stood there in just her bra and her clean pants.

“Yes doctor?” Nereida answered politely.

Internally she was thinking, “Here we go again.” She knew that Dr. Finger didn’t have the world’s best established boundaries and he was constantly hitting on the younger nurses, even if he’d been married for over fifteen years.

“Well that was some great work in there,” he said, breathing heavily like a caged ox.

His eyes eagerly lingered on Nereida’s bosom. He licked his lips, not bothering to pretend that he wasn’t leering at her. She shot him a glare and threw her shirt on.

“Thanks,” Nereida mumbled.

She hoped that he would just leave her alone after that. She had a boyfriend and she was here to work… Not pick up guys. She knew that some of the younger nurses made the mistake in thinking that older doctors were “in love” with them and would eventually leave their wives. But it never happened quite like that. Nereida didn’t want a reputation at work. Or anywhere. And she didn’t want a creepy old guy leering at her like a piece of prime rib.

“So Nereida… What are you doing after this shift?” He shifted his junk in his pants. Nereida resisted the urge to scream at him and risk getting her butt fired.

“It’s two in the morning doc,” Nereida said.

Did he really think that she would be so easy to get in bed? She struggled not to laugh in his face.

“Uh, I know it’s two a.m. Nereida. You’re really filling out these scrubs well aren’t you. I like my women with nice bazookas. Great nipples too.”

He licked his lips again. Nereida’s heart raced and her mouth went dry as she plotted her escape route. Even if she reported him, Dr. Finger was the best surgeon in the entire state. They’d never get rid of him so long as patients wanted his gifted hands working on them. 

Nereida glared at him again and tried to push past.

“Not so easy miss. I’m not letting you leave until I get a date.”

“Please… I have a boyfriend, Dr. Finger. Let’s just forget this happened and I’ll head home.”

“Nereida. I’m very discreet. I know you’re seeing some young chap but can he really provide you with everything you want in life? I mean… I’m a doctor.” 

Nereida wondered for a moment if that line had ever worked. She was depressed by the fact that it probably had. Dr. Finger had probably convinced many poor nurses who were just looking to be cared for that he could change their situation or do something to improve their lives. Nereida had been around the hospital too long to even take him seriously. Who did he think he was? These doctors were too arrogant and all thought that someone owed them just because they happened to sit through school for a few extra years.

“Dr. Finger, it’s late and I would really appreciate going home right now.”

“So you’re playing hard to get?” He said. An impish grin broke out across his face.

Nereida was getting frustrated and she was already exhausted. She was about to head home to a boyfriend who was likely waiting for her angrily and she didn’t need this.

“NO! I’m not playing hard to get! I want you to get the hell out of here. I don’t give a damn how much money you have or how bad you think you are okay? This is unprofessional and I want you to let me leave!” 

Dr. Finger seemed taken aback. He wasn’t used to being rejected so flatly and Nereida could see a flash of anger blaze across his eyes. 

“Nereida. Let’s not forget I’m your superior here and I expect at least the basic amount of respect.” 

Nereida was about to lash into him again, fueled by anger at his entitlement when Krista knocked on the door and opened it.

Did you enjoy this free sample? Click here to finish reading the rest of the novella.

Dark Romance Books: Beauty & The Biker | Alpha Male MC Romance

alpha male bad boy bwwm romance novelY'all aren't ready. The BWWM romance novel I'll be publishing at the end of March is sizzling hot interracial romance deliciousness that you won't want to miss.

If you enjoy reading dark romance books with desirable alpha males, bad boys who make you swoon and strong black female heroes, you'll enjoy reading one of our top romance novels anticipated for the year.

Read the description below and then the first chapter FREE. 

Description:

Savage fighter. Ruthless leader. Icy blue eyes. 

My now ex-boyfriend lost me in a bet.

The winner? The ruthless leader of his rival motorcycle gang — Heath.

Heath is a cold-blooded killer, or so I’ve heard.

He expects total submission…

I don’t let anyone tell me what to do.

On the open road, I don’t have a choice.

I’m his. He won me fair and square.

And he won’t give me up without a fight.

Romance Novel Excerpt: Beauty & The Biker | Motorcycle Club Romance

Heath took me prisoner two days ago. Since then, I’d scoped out every opportunity to run. Clinging to him on the back of his Gold Wing, I scrutinized the landscape as we rushed past. Thick forests hung over the highway, shading us from the blazing heat of the sun beginning its descent in the sky. When all the bikes stopped and the men started their tune ups, I hung close to Heath’s bike. 

 

As he stooped down to check his tires, I checked on my cash.

 

I reached into my jeans and pulled out my wad of bills, mostly fives and ones. This was all the money I had but it would have to do. 

 

I counted it for the second time and prepared to run.

 

“Kaja, get over here,” he called and I rounded his shiny metal beast, my eyes darting furtively along the highway.

 

“Yes?” I folded my arms. 

 

My time approached.

 

“Hold this. I need to screw on the bolts,” he growled.

 

I stuck out my palm with a scowl on my face and he stuck the spanner in it with a bemused raised eyebrow.

 

“You don’t have to be so sour.”

 

“Whatever. I want to get out of here.”

 

He chuckled. 

 

“Bossy huh? We’ll see what you say when we get to Chicago and I off-load you onto the first toothless bastard I find.”

 

“Buzz off.”

 

He chuckled again and bent down to adjust his tires. 

 

“Spanner.”

 

I handed him the spanner. 

 

“Good.” 

 

He opened up the toolbox on the back of the bike and shoved it back in.

 

“Why the long face sunshine?”

 

“Don’t mock me,” I spat back, “I don’t have to put up with your bullshit.” 

 

“Suit yourself.”

 

“Ready to go you bastard?” Rhys approached and smacked Heath on the back, causing the two of them to erupt in guffaws. Heath’s laugh was a low chuckle while Rhys’ pierced the air with the same pitch as his Southern accent. Rhys ran his hands through his blond hair and stuck it in a loose ponytail.

 

“Damn straight,” Heath said, “Where’s Jacob and his girl?”

 

Don approached then zipping up his leather jacket and twirling his helmet in his hands.

 

“Those two love birds snuck off for a bit of nookie in the woods.”

 

Heath chuckled, “Joining ‘em this time?” 

 

Rhys snorted, “That slut? No thanks. She’s been passed around by every guy with a bike on the Eastern seaboard.”

 

Don chuckled and retorted, “Yeah right, you’re just pissed off she chose Jacob instead of you.”

 

“Fuck off,” Rhys snorted, putting his helmet on.

 

“Reckon I should go scare him out?” He touched the gun on his holster.

 

Heath shook his head, “Nah. They’ll be here soon.”

 

Don smirked, “Knowing Jacob, it should be about… 90 seconds.”

 

The men erupted into laughter again and I just stood there, glaring with my arms folded. I’d tried to go unnoticed but Rhys noticed my scowl and approached me pressing his fingers to my lips and flicking them.

 

“Why the long face? You ain’t find us funny?”

 

“No,” I spat back.

 

“Hey watch your mouth,” Rhys spat, “You’re nothing but a piece of meat and if you catch an attitude I’ve got no problem ditching your sorry ass on the side of the road.”

 

“Hey!” Heath interrupted, “Leave her alone.”

 

Rhys snickered.

 

“Whatever man, don’t defend her.”

 

Don grunted, “Don’t be a pussy Heath, he’s only joking. No one’s going to harm princess over here.”

 

The men laughed again, like I was some big joke. I kept my gaze steady, trying not to care. I wouldn’t be stuck with them much longer. Five minutes later, Angie and Jacob emerged from the woods holding hands and laughing.

 

“Not much stamina, Jacob?”

 

“Shut the fuck up,” Angie spat, “Watch your mouth Don or I’ll cut your tongue out?”

 

“Why so you can shove it up you —”

 

“Watch the way you talk to my lady buddy,” Jacob interrupted, stepping in front Angie.

 

“Geez, it’s just a joke.”

 

“Yeah well fuck off leprechaun.”

 

“Me ma’s Irish, that’s why I’ve got this red hair,” Don replied, doing his best imitation of an Irish accent and breaking the groups tension, sending everyone into fits of laughter.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” Angie said, “Princess looks like she’s going to shit bricks.”

 

She jutted her chin towards me, drawing even more attention than I wanted.

 

“I’m fine,” I spat.

 

Angie winked, her brilliant blue eyes twinkling with excitement. Her daisy dukes barely covered her thin, pale legs with blue veins trailing through them. Her long chocolate hair hung to the middle of her back and she fixed it into a ponytail before donning her helmet and hopping on her bike.

 

“Time to ride…”

 

I had no choice. I hopped on the back of Heath’s bike, clutching his torso as he revved the engine up.

 

“Don’t let go sweetheart,” he both commanded and taunted me.

 

I wouldn’t let go. With only twenty miles to the next fuel station, all I had to do was wait. Once we got there, I’d go to the gas station restroom and make my break for it. I knew these backroads well enough and this would be my last chance to escape before these hooligans dragged me God-knows-where.

 

We drove down the highway, wind whipping my dreads into the breeze and my breath fogging up the helmet. I clutched Heath tightly because I had no choice. I had no choice but to hold onto his body or go flying down the highway. 

 

The road stretched out for miles before it curved, deserted since rush hour had passed. We were deep in the New England boonies and wouldn’t hit traffic until New York. The Steel Dragons spoke about going around the city when they thought I wasn’t listening. I’d been preparing to take my last stand. 

 

However they managed city traffic wouldn’t be my problem. I needed patience. Heath’s gaze fixated on me whenever we’d stopped. I’d have trouble getting out of his sight at the gas station but he couldn’t follow me everywhere. I hadn’t said much, hoping they’d underestimate me. He kicked the stand up and I squeezed my arm around him tighter.

 

The bikes roared and they kicked up dust as they accelerated down the highway. Jacob and Angie rode side by side in the front, Rhys and Heath rode together behind them.

 

Holding down the flank were Don, and Clay. Don would be the hardest one to get something past. He was too sharp and he didn’t trust that I’d stay with the Dragons in the first place. He’d begged Heath not to bring me along but Don didn’t make the rules around here — Heath did. 

 

I breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled into the gas station as they’d planned. My heart skittered in my chest. I was too accustomed to fear to allow it to paralyze me. I got off the bike and took my helmet off.

 

“You stay here,” Heath growled as he walked to the pump.

 

“I-I need to go to the restroom.”

 

Heath looked me up and down.

 

“Fine. Be quick.”

 

He gestured for me to hand him the helmet so I did, relieved that I was now unencumbered. 

 

The gang stared at me as I entered the gas station. I could feel their eyes on my back and of course, Rhys dog whistled which earned him a warning punch from Heath. A tinny bell rang as I thrust the door open and as the door closed behind me. 

 

I stood alone with the attendant, tempted to ask him to call the police. If the police found me, they’d find out quick that I knew Trey Holt. They’d want me to talk and if I dared say one word my life would be on the line. No cops. I didn’t need them. The attendant at the desk eyed me and then eyed the gang, clad head to toe in black leather in stark contrast to my jeans and white tank top.

 

“You with them?”

 

“Y-yes,” I replied.

 

I was too scared to say much to anyone. The man snorted.

 

“You don’t look like the type.”

 

“C-can I use the bathroom?”

 

“You sure you okay ma’am?”

 

“Yes,” I replied, “I’m sure.”

 

“Okay, it’s back there behind the hot dogs.”

 

“Thanks,” I mumbled.

 

I’d been here before with Trey. A girl had been working that time but the gas station had no reason to change. I walked into the bathroom and closed the door, turning the lock and exhaling.

 

“Pull it together Kaja,” I muttered, wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans and looking up at the window, perched a few feet above me just as I remembered it.

 

I stood on the toilet, grunting as I shoved the small window open. I was small enough to fit and I’d considered running away the last time I’d come with Trey so I’d thought the plan through before. I grunted again as I thrust the entire window open. I reached up to the sill and grunted as I pulled myself up, shuffling my body through the window.

 

There was an eight foot drop from the window that landed on a patch of grass. Lucky freaking me. I tucked and rolled as I dropped. I stood to my feet and without looking back, I turned tail and ran.

 

The gas station was just outside of a small town with plenty of New England charm and an absence of any people. My feet pounded the pavement as I hurried towards the trees. My heart thumped in my chest and my stomach tightened. If I didn’t get away this time, Heath would be pissed and the rest of them would be pissed. I’d be stuck riding to California with a bunch of crazy assholes — who hated me.

 

I burst through the clearing and stopped to catch my breath, bending over my pressing my palms into my knees.

 

“THERE SHE IS!”

 

Shit. Angie ratted me out. So much for girl power…

 

I picked up the pace, adrenaline bursting through my chest and forcing my legs to carry me. At the other end of the clearing I’d have to cross the highway and then I could get to the strip mall. Once I got to the strip mall… Well someone in there had to have a phone. I could call Julie and she’d come get me. Wouldn’t she? I knew she was Trey’s sister but come on, Trey got me into this mess. It’s not like I wanted to be here in the first place.

 

I ran towards the light, through the trees, hopping over felled tree branches and avoiding deep murky puddles with rotting leaves. 

 

“Don’t you dare shoot her!” A voice called — this time Heath.

 

Yeah, I’m sure he wanted Don, Rhys or whoever had pulled the gun to keep their hands off his precious cargo.

 

“She’s heading to the mall, guys we have to split up!”

 

My chest tightened. They knew where I was going and they planned to stop me. I couldn’t stop running. I was less than 1/4 mile away from the entrance to the highway and if I was lucky, I could find someone passing by who would stop and pick me up. 

 

I heard the sound of motorcycles revving in the distance but I didn’t stop running until I exited the deep woods and stood at the edge of the highway on the other side of the guard rails. Traffic was far from heavy, but the roads weren’t deserted with a few family cars heading up to the Berkshires for the weekend. 

 

I climbed over the guard rail, listening for the choking and heaving of the motorcycle mufflers  and waiting for the right time to dash across the road. I stuck my thumb out as I waited, hoping for one of the two options to work out for me. 

 

My heart raced faster, my eyes snapped wider taking in every detail of the landscape from the tall evergreen trees to the leafy green maples to the dust kicked up by the Volvo rushing past. I stuck my arm out and waved but nobody stopped.

 

When I got a break in the road I started to sprint.

 

“Gotcha,” the voice came first them I felt the arms around me.

 

“AHHHHH!”

 

Heath. He’d caught up with me.

 

“Stop squirming and this will over soon.”

 

“LET. ME. GO.”

 

I shrieked.

 

I kicked back and struggled against him. Having height, weight and size as an advantaged meant I was powerless against him. It’s not like I couldn’t throw a punch mind you. With Trey, we’d had to defend ourselves a few times as we rode across the country from bar fights to fending off muggers. 

 

Heath stood a full foot taller than my 5’6” and he kept his body in immaculate physical condition. I screamed and kicked again but he pulled me deeper into the woods, back towards the gas station.

 

“Pull shit like that again and I’ll strip you down and leave you on the side of the road,” he growled.

 

“PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN! HEEELLLLPPPP!” I screamed.

 

“Shut up!” He growled.

 

“I’ll shut up when you put me down!”

 

“You tried to run. You lost the right to stand on your own two feet when you did that.”

 

Gasping for breath and desperate to stop his thick muscular arms from crushing me, I whimpered, “If you put me down I won’t run. I’ll go with you.”

 

He dropped me and I fell to the ground, screaming as my back hit.

 

“Get up,” he growled.

 

“OW!”

 

I sat up and glared at him as I got to my feet and dusted my hands off.

 

“That hurt.”

 

“Listen up missy.”

 

“What?”

 

“I won you fair and square… You aren’t going anywhere unless I tell you to.”

 

“It’s illegal to hold people captive you know.”

 

He chuckled, “Yeah, ‘cause I’m a real good guy right? Like Trey?”

 

“Don’t bring up Trey.”

 

Heath chuckled again, “I’ll bring up Trey if I want to princess. You’re mine.”

 

He snarled the word mine with such vitriol I flinched. 

 

“Y’know the way back is much faster running than walking.”

 

Heath chuckled, “Nice try. Make a run for it again and you’ll regret it.”

 

“Won’t be my only regrets,” I mumbled.

 

“Hush. Too much talking.”

 

The rest of the way back to the gas station we walked in silence. Heath walked behind me with his quiet long stride. When I burst through the trees fear gripped my chest again. 

 

“Keep moving. Say nothing.”

 

I nodded and kept going. Angie and Jacob straddled their bikes, visors turned up as they watched me.

 

“How far’d she get?” Angie asked with a wicked smile.

 

“Not very I bet,” Clay added.

 

The entire bunch of them laughed again and clinked their soda cans against each other before chugging them down and dropping the cans on the ground.

 

“Ready to ride outta here?” Don asked.

 

Heath grunted, “Yeah.”

 

“Get her on the back of your bike and make sure she doesn’t try anything else,” Rhys drawled with his thick Texas accent, “I’m sick of this. When you made that bet—” 

 

“Quiet,” Heath growled, “I don’t want a lecture.”

 

Angie nodded and gestured Rhys away from us.

 

“C’mon, leave him alone before he hits you again.”

 

Heath smirked at that. Angie got on her bike and led the charge, speeding out of the gas station with Jacob behind her.

 

“She gives too many orders for a woman,” Clay grumbled.

 

He and Don bumped fists and laughed, flicking down their visors and revving their engines into action. Heath turned around to face me before getting on.

 

“No more funny business.”

 

“Yeah. Whatever.”

 

“Listen,” he growled, “If your stupid boyfriend hadn’t bet you like a fuckin’ poker chip, you wouldn’t be here. So blame him.”

 

“He’s NOT my boyfriend!”

 

“Do I look like I give a rat’s ass? Boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, fuckin’ preacher, whoever the fuck he is, he owes me ten thousand dollars.”

 

“What if I could give you ten thousand dollars?”

 

He grunted and laughed.

 

“You don’t have ten grand. Put the helmet on and hold tight missy.”

 

He slammed his helmet on and flipped the visor down after handing me mine. I put it on. He was right. This was Trey’s fault. Trey had lost the right to call me his boyfriend the moment he’d traded me over to the leader of his rival gang. He’d apologized — of course, he always apologized — but that time I’d had enough of him..

 

Tensions had been flaring between me and Trey for a while. I’d been waiting for the chance and as I kicked and screamed slung over Heath Danger’s shoulder, there seemed to be no better time.

 

I straddled the bike, wrapping my arms around him. He adjusted my grasp and revved the bike up. The sound was like a drug to me. I squeezed tight as he started down the highway getting faster and faster until he caught up with the rest of the gang.

 

I grabbed onto his coat, my fingers cold without gloves. The scent of leather and dirt wafted in through the helmet. My faux leather jacket barely protected me from the elements. 60 mph. 70 mph. We were all headed west over 80, each of the dragons as fearless and furious as the wind.

 

Sunset approached and they’d have to stop again soon — this time for sleep. I hadn’t planned to be with them so long. My escape attempt failed and I feared what they’d do to me if I tried again. But if we stopped for the night, I’d have another chance. I clung to Heath until we stopped just after sunset.

 

“Let’s get some grub then we’ll head to the house,” Jacob said once the bikes had been parked.

 

“Did any of you stupid fucks tell Hannah about her?” Angie asked, jutting her chin towards me.

 

“I’ll deal with Hannah. Jake, keep your girl in line,” Heath growled.

 

“What the fuck did you say to me?” Angie asked, folding her arms. 

 

Jacob stepped between them.

 

“Hey, hey can you two cool it for a sec?”

 

Don grunted, “Keep her quiet. We’ll eat. Heath will deal with Han.”

 

Clay nodded, “Sounds good.”

 

We walked inside the Ponderosa and Heath chose our seats, ignoring the chipper hostesses direction.

 

They all ordered and as directed, I stayed quiet. I didn’t think they’d feed me but Heath got me my own steak dinner. I’d barely eaten all day so I didn’t mind staying silent while I wolfed down the entire steak, the mediocre mashed potatoes and the horrible coleslaw. 

 

Who knows when I’d get my next meal, especially if I managed to break away in the middle of the night. So far Heath hadn’t been cruel but I was still his prisoner.

 

Once I was done, Angie slammed down a little over a hundred on the table and tipped the waitress a fifty. The money they’d made for their last deal covered the gang as they traveled across the country to California to make another deal with Angie’s step-brother in L.A. 

 

I got back on the bike and we entered the small blue house with the white door one after the other after the men parked their bikes. Hannah wore nothing but a thin camisole with her nipples poking through and yoga pants. Her hair was a mess, she reeked of menthols and she kept itching her wrists as she told us which rooms we’d have.

 

“What’s her story?” Hannah asked about me.

 

“Mine,” was all Heath said. He didn’t answer any questions about me after that. I knew better than to open my mouth and speak when I hadn’t been spoken to.

 

He marched me upstairs and pointed towards an air mattress on the radiator.

 

“This is our room.”

 

“Our?!”

 

“Listen cupcake this ain’t the fucking Ritz Carlton.”

 

He prodded me until I entered the room. 

 

“Get on the mattress.”

 

“What?” 

 

I turned to face him, fists clenched, ready to fight him off if I had to.

 

“Get. On. The. Mattress.”

 

My chest heaved with my anxious breathing and I stood my ground.

 

“No.”

 

He grabbed me by the wrist and sat me down on the mattress. I squealed as my back sank into the rubber. He pulled a pair of handcuffs out of his jacket and handcuffed me to the radiator.

 

“That’s so you don’t try to make a run for it while we talk business.”

 

I shook my arm and rattled the handcuffs against the radiator. Heath smiled.

 

“No making a fool out of me tonight,” he growled, “Stay nice and quiet and we won’t have any trouble.” 

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Romance Novel Excerpts: 9-Inch Addiction by Jamila Jasper

Romance novel excerpts here give you a preview of what's to come, but this free sample is just the beginning of the action in this ultra-steamy interracial romance novel. If you're a BWWM (swirl romance) fan with a taste for HOT alpha male billionaires and confident black women who can stand up for themselves, you'll enjoy this read.

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DESCRIPTION: 

“I make the rules around here… And you’ll do well to listen to them.” 

CHUCK

My father’s brown-skinned CFO thinks she’s my boss.

I’ll have her bent over her desk begging for more before she knows what hit her.

If anyone finds out about my intentions with her, I’ll be out on street and shipped off back to London.

But I can keep a secret…

I bet she can too with these come-hither brown eyes that she can’t keep off me.

Nobody says no to Chuck Banks.

It’s only a matter of time before she’s MINE.

IDA

My boss thinks I have nothing better to do than look after his son.

Chuck Banks is the type of guy that put me off dating forever…

He’s arrogant...

Demanding…

Bossy…

And one of the only men on the East Coat who can close a $50 million dollar deal at a 100% success rate.

We need him here.

I’m keeping my distance, but I have a feeling he’s trying his hardest to get closer.

Too close, and the career I’ve worked so hard for will come crumbling around me.

I can’t let this happen.

Romance Novel Excerpts: 9-Inch Addiction

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

“No can do.”

 

I folded my arms as I listened to Monty’s three-word response to my thirty minute proposal. That was it? I’d spent weeks crafting the perfect list of reasons I needed a raise, and demonstrating how much I added to the Banks & Wiltshire Group.

 

“That’s it?” I responded, aghast.

 

Monty puffed his cigar and coughed, releasing a cloud of tobacco across his desk.

 

“‘Fraid so.”

 

I’d been with the company for over ten years after the merger. I knew Monty as more than just my boss, the CEO, but as a friend. 

 

“Monty… Are you serious right now? I know what the numbers are saying, where’s all that money going?”

 

He shrugged, “Expenses.”

 

Seeing that I wouldn’t budge, he leaned back and offered me a drink.

 

“Whiskey?”

 

“No thanks.”

 

Not only were we at work but it was hours before noon. Monty Banks helped himself, taking his cool time to unscrew the bottle while he poured it into his glass — no ice, no chasers, straight whiskey.

 

“Sit down, Ida.”

 

I sat. He drank.

 

“Listen, I don’t mean to give the impression that we don’t appreciate you here.”

 

“Monty, you know that I’m loyal to you. I’ve always been that way. I just want to move up. I have goals… aspirations…”

 

Monty nodded and waved as he drank more.

 

“Yes, yes, yes,” he replied, “I understand completely.”

 

“If you understand, why won’t you budge?”

 

Monty cleared his throat and drank more.

 

“Hm… Ida, why don’t we make a deal here?”

 

“What kind of deal?” I raised my eyebrows. 

 

“One where you get some money.” 

 

“I’m listening,” I replied. 

 

Money was what I wanted. Why was I the only one at the company who seemed to be struggling? New York was killing me.

 

“Early bonus.”

 

I folded my arms.

 

“That’s it?”

 

Monty sighed, “I’ll increase by $6,000.” 

 

Now we were getting somewhere. The figure was nowhere near as close as I’d asked for. But it was $16,000 that I needed… bad.

 

“I’ll think about it.”

 

“Think about it?”

 

Monty finished his drink. 

 

“Yes,” I held my voice steady, “I’ll think about it.”

 

Satisfied, Monty poured himself a second round.

 

“I have something else to discuss with you.” 

 

He spoke the way white people did when they were about to ask you to do something. He avoided eye contact. Then I knew he was going to ask me to do something I didn’t want to do.

 

“What is it Monty,” I huffed.

 

“Don’t get short with me Ida,” he glared, winking to let me know he wasn’t serious.

 

“Spill. And don’t add more to my plate.”

 

“Heh,” Monty coughed.

 

I waited. He drank some more and then stalled.

 

“Mind if I get another cigar?”

 

“No problem.”

 

I could wait. Playing to Monty’s good side couldn’t hurt my case for a raise. He took his time, clipping the tip of his cigar and then rolling it between his palms before lighting.

 

“Want a puff?”

 

Monty knew I didn’t smoke. So I didn’t respond. He sat across from me and then started talking.

 

“We value your work in the marketing department here at Banks & Wiltshire. The billboard in Times Square project, the Jamaica, Queens community outreach, it’s all been fantastic. I’ve come to trust you Ida… The day you throw in the towel will be the worst day of my life.”

 

He was buttering me up now, and I knew then whatever he planned to ask me was something big.

 

He smoked, drank a little more and I waited, settling into the chair and staring at him. Monty was getting older. At 60, he was still a silver-foxed scamp. His cigar and whiskey before lunch were only the beginnings of his problems.

 

Monty was cursed with being both too smart and too good-looking for his own well-being. I’d like to pretend his charm didn’t work on me, but he was a difficult man to resist.

 

“I want to entrust you with a matter that’s more… personal.”

 

“Personal?”

 

While Monty and I were friends, there were some boundaries that had never been crossed between us. Most “personal” situations fell firmly within that territory. Monty hadn’t told me about the time his wife lived in their beach house for a year because he’d knocked up their maid. I hadn’t told him about my sister’s third DUI. 

 

We kept our dirty laundry out of each other’s view. In the corporate world, the personal is always just out of reach. No matter how personal you pretend to get with your coworkers, when you head home for the night, they usually just become your coworkers.

 

70-hour work weeks were the only thing that stood between me and more distance between my coworkers.

 

“This is a delicate issue Miss Bell, so I’d appreciate your discretion.”

 

Now my interest piqued. I clasped my hands over my knees, hiding the impatient tapping of my legs and fidgeting with my class ring from Columbia. 

 

“You know I can keep a secret, Montgomery.”

 

Monty nodded, “Excellent. You might want to have a drink.”

 

“No thanks,” I urged again.

 

“Hm,” he responded. 

 

Before he could go on, his phone rang. I could hear Pippa’s voice on the other end, loudly asking Monty if he was free to meet a woman who wanted an afternoon appointment. Monty declined, they had another conversation about Monty’s flights to the Maldives, then he hung up.

 

“Where was I?”

 

“Something personal.”

 

“Yes, yes…” he mumbled, coughing gently and filling my face with tobacco smoke again.

 

“This is a special assignment for you Ida. If you can manage this,” Monty paused to chuckle, “I’ll definitely consider a raise.”

 

“What is it?”

 

I was starting to get impatient and what’s worse, bad at hiding it. Monty tapped his cigar, the ash falling gently into his engraved Harvard ash tray.

 

“My son is flying back from London today. He should be arriving at Grand Central before the stock exchange closes.”

 

“Great,” I replied, unsure how this news applied to me.

 

“He’s coming to work here, for Banks & Wiltshire.”

 

“What?”

 

I folded my arms, ignoring Monty’s smirk. 

 

“I need someone responsible to keep an eye on him.”

 

“You are his parent,” I grumbled.

 

Monty chuckled, “Darling, I’m half drunk before twelve o’clock, I can’t have anymore on my plate.”

 

I hated when Monty called me darling, reminding me that no matter how many decades I’d busted my butt to get here, he’d always believe the company was an old boys club.

 

“Which son are you talking about?” I narrowed my eyes.

 

Monty smirked, “Not Santi.”

 

I averted my gaze this time. Monty rarely acknowledged his illegitimate child and I had no interest in pursuing the subject further.

 

“I’m not equipped for this Monty.”

 

“I believe you are, Ida. No one here knows me better than you.”

 

I frowned, and didn’t respond.

 

“Back when you were new ‘round here, maybe we got in each other’s way a few times, but you know how I respect you.”

 

I said nothing, staring him dead in the face, hoping he’d give me a reason not to walk out of his office.

 

He stood up and walked around to me, touching my face.

 

“Ida, darling, I’m asking you a favor.”

 

It had been years since Monty touched my face like that. We’d shared one kiss — one — at my first office party here. Then I found out he was married. With kids. And for weeks, I hadn’t spoken to him. After putting our differences aside, we’d become friends. Close, true friends.

 

But his hand on my face brought me back to all those years ago when I’d been young and foolish. He’d been a charming, older, executive and for a moment, a brief moment, I’d entertained the notion of what life could be like with a man like him. Even as his mistress, you’d be taken care of. A more careless woman would have plunged into an affair.

 

But I believed in love back then, and I still did, and I knew I wouldn’t find it in the bed of a married man. His touch reminded me of what I gave up for a Prince Charming who’d never arrived. 

 

I turned my cheek away from him, considering for a moment that no matter how angry I was with him, bitterness wouldn’t serve me.

 

“Monty,” I replied, “Tell me what you need me to do.”

 

He dropped his hand and smiled, the gentle flirtatiousness he’d used to get his way was exposed as a ploy, but neither of us minded. 

 

He beamed from ear to ear, towering over my seat looking proud of himself before he walked over to his window and cast his gaze over Manhattan.

 

“It’s Charles,” he muttered.

 

“Charles?”

 

Now that was a name I hadn’t heard in a while. I knew all about Monty’s sons. The eldest, Townsend Banks, worked as a freelance party animal and only left East Hampton once a month to come into the city and collect his check from his father. 

 

He was tall, roguish, with long brown hair and brilliant green eyes like his red-headed Scottish mother. Townsend, the lazy son, wouldn’t have been horrible to look after. He was too lazy to get into trouble and no job he’d had ever lasted anyways. I wondered what good his Cornell education had been.

 

Monty’s youngest son, Santiago, had been born from his dalliance with a Guatemalan maid, a beautiful woman who had been lambasted in the media for her affair with the big-name CEO. Monty took the boy in, easily using his multi-million dollar net worth to sway the courts into garnering full-custody.

 

Santiago, ever aware of his humble roots, wouldn’t have been a problem either. He was the only one of Monty’s sons who hadn’t been kicked out of Andover, and would have been a delight. Of course, Buffy would have never allowed him to work here. 

 

When you’re the one who’s been cheated on, you tend to have the final word in those matters.

 

When I realized Montgomery was talking about Charles, I froze. Was he trying to send me to an early grave?

 

He saw my silent worry and met it with a smile.

 

“He’s mellowed since Yale.”

 

“Oh that’s a relief,” I shot back, rolling my eyes.

 

“His time in London has done him good,” Monty continued.

 

Was he trying to convince me that his son was a good person, or was he trying to convince himself?

 

“I want you to keep an eye on him, Ida.”

 

I joined Monty at the window, my arms folded. The city buzzed beneath us as we stood tall and powerful over New York. At that moment, I didn’t feel powerful. Denied a raise, and then given an impossible task. Monty held all the cards and he knew it. There was no way I was going to quit, risk starting over the career I’d spent decades building.

 

He knew me too well and he knew how to play the corporate game instinctively, like any big success did.

 

“What do you mean keep an eye on him?”

 

“I want you to keep him out of trouble.”

 

“What do you think I can do that you can’t?”

 

Monty looked over at me and smirked.

 

“Get through to him.”

 

I snorted.

 

“You’re tough Ida. You’ve got balls. Charles will respect you.”

 

“Wishful thinking,” I muttered.

 

“What did you say?”

 

“Nothing, Monty.”

 

He nodded, “Good. So it’s settled.”

 

He thrust his hands into his pockets after running them through his silvery gray hair. His eyes reddened from the liquor and the tobacco smoke. He let out another cough and then patted his own chest.

 

“Make sure he keeps his nose clean. No public affairs. No drugs. No fights.”

 

“Sounds like a job for a nanny.”

 

“I’m serious, Ida.”

 

“With all due respect Monty, if he’s so much trouble, why is he working here? We’ve both got a lot on our plate and with the Shanghai deal coming up —”

 

“That’s exactly why we need him,” Monty interrupted, “The Shanghai deal.”

 

“Is something wrong?”

 

Monty shook his head, “No. There isn’t. But Charles managed to do something amazing in London. Working with Vanderbilt & Scott he closed every single $50 million deal with a 100% success rate.”

 

“Whoa.”

 

“He’s damn good at mergers.”

 

Damn good? He sounded better than good. We’d been struggling to close our international markets for upwards of two years. We’d used every top negotiator in the world, including those trained by the FBI and military negotiators who’d served in Iraq.

 

“Why hasn’t he come here earlier then?”

 

Monty cleared his throat and scowled.

 

“Personal problems.”

 

From his scowl, I knew he meant that we wouldn’t be discussing these personal problems and they were likely to do with Charles Banks frequent unfavorable media appearances and his run-ins with the law.

 

“This is a lot to ask, Monty.”

 

“I know.”

 

He patted me on the back.

 

“If we pull through, we’ll all be rich.”

 

I folded my arms and raised an eyebrow. Monty was already rich. He’d been born rich, just like his granddaddy and daddy before him. Not every thought needs to be said out loud so I just smiled and stared out over New York with him.

 

“Thanks, Ida.”

 

I left his office, returning to mine with a sense of confusion. I’d walked into Monty’s office intending to get a raise. I’d received no raise, the possibility of an extra bonus and even more work than I already had. I was swamped.

 

As I sat at my desk, Pippa knocked on my door. It should be easy for you to guess why Philippa Wiltshire worked at Banks & Wiltshire. After failing to find a job and spending half a fortune of her four Masters of Fine Arts, I’d been gifted an assistant.

 

Pippa helped, and she was a sweet girl, although not the brightest tool in the shed for one who had attended Barnard, NYU and Columbia.

 

“Sorry to disturb Miss Bell.”

 

“You aren’t disturbing anything, I just got back from my meeting with Monty.”

 

Pippa turned a bright red to match her shock of red hair when I mentioned Monty’s name. Her tortoise shell glasses fogged up and she took them off to clean them on her button down, pulling it out of the corduroy skirt to use the ends.

 

“What did he say?” She asked, squinting at me as she cleaned her glasses. 

 

“Work, work and more work. Now hurry on up with those glasses, ‘cause I’ve got work for you too.”

 

“Yes ma’am,” Pippa replied, hastily replacing her glasses, tangling some of her red hair in the process.

 

“Oh… Before you start,” she muttered, searching for her notebook in her pockets.

 

“It’s on the desk.”

 

She lunged forward and grabbed the notebook, flipping a few pages before she spoke.

 

“Ah yes. Uh… You have a date tonight with Chad Corbett and he called making sure you were still on.”

 

“Cancel it.”

 

“Cancel it?” Pippa asked.

 

Was my dating life that desolate that a cancelled date sent my assistant into a near panic?

 

“Yes Pippa, I meant what I said.”

 

She tucked her shirt back into the corduroy.

 

“Are you sure? He sounded nice on the phone.”

 

I glanced up from my computer at Pippa. Her naive twenty-eight year old mind couldn’t fathom why an unmarried woman over forty would cancel a date. A few more years on the New York dating scene and I was sure she’d start to understand…

 

“Working late tonight, Monty’s orders,” I replied, passing the blame onto work as I usually did.

 

“Yes ma’am.”

 

“Great. Now I need you to head down to HR and pull up everything you can on that new junior copywriter.” 

 

“Yes ma’am.”

 

“Then I want you to call the New Jersey branch and ask them to send over last month’s financial statements.”

 

“Yes ma’am.”

 

“I want some hazelnut coffee in here by 11 — almond milk, no sugar.”

 

“Yes ma’am.”

 

She stood staring blankly for a while. I toyed with remaining silent myself, just to see how long she’d stand there before getting started. I sighed and instead said patiently, “You can move along now Pippa, thank you.”

 

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Pippa the broken record stepped out of my office. I sighed. No more date with Chad, but at least I’d get my raise early. I opened the top drawer to my desk and reached for my emergency bar of chocolate. At my office, that was a necessity and far better for me than Monty’s emergency whiskey, or emergency cigar.

 

I unwrapped the chocolate when I heard a familiar voice calling outside my office.

 

“Is that chocolate?!”

 

Letty. You couldn’t crack open a soda, a chocolate bar, a sandwich, or anything without her ambling over and asking for a piece. The girl was hopeless. Sweet girl, but hopeless. She entered my office and we shared the chocolate together.

 

Letty was the only other black woman in my office and the only listening ear who could appreciate how much I struggled.

 

“How’d it go?”

 

“No can do,” I snorted.

 

“Are you serious?”

 

I nodded.

 

Letty shook her head.

 

“These white folks… Something’s gotta give.”

 

“I need to stand up for myself,” I replied, “And get out of here.”

 

“Amen to that.”

 

I wondered why I was the only executive in the office who seemed to be struggling to hold it all together. Despite outranking Letty in the corporate structure, she was the only one I could relate to about wanting more for my money.

 

New York ain’t cheap, and it ain’t getting any cheaper. I had to find a way out of this mess and a way to show Monty that I deserved more pay. I just had to. 

 

My phone buzzed.

 

“Whose that?”

 

“Chad,” I grumbled, glancing at my phone and ignoring it.

 

“Sexy Chad?”

 

I glared, “Just Chad.”

 

“What’s up with him?”

 

“Cancelled our date,” I grumbled.

 

Letty raised her eyebrows and cast a shady side-eye in my direction.

 

“Okay girl, you do you.”

 

Her message was clear: She thought I was just as crazy as Pippa did. 

 

Could a woman catch a break around here?

TO BE CONTINUED...

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