Get to know Brendan . . .



Brendan knew he was going to get in trouble with this woman and now he had. Big trouble. He could chalk it up to the emotional morning with Riley’s baby being born and Tracy being so affected by it, but in his heart of hearts he knew that wasn’t it. After his epiphany about her sex life, he’d just held her, nothing more, until he felt her stir against him, growing excited just from being held. He wanted her to know that it was possible, that there was arousal to be found in tenderness as well.

Then he’d kissed her, resisting when she immediately wanted to touch him, or have him touch her. Just kissing, with her nakedness against him, was difficult but he did it, for as long as it took for her to stop going for his package and just be in the moment. When finally he touched her, he didn’t let her reciprocate, not for awhile. He lay her on her back and ran the tips of his fingers over every part of her—face, shoulders, arms, breasts, hips, thighs—every part of her except the part that she tried desperately to get him to touch. The puzzlement never left her eyes and Brendan realized with wonder that she really hadn’t had anyone do this for her before. It seemed inconceivable when he would have happily done only that for hours on end.

When she closed her eyes, he told her to open them again. He wanted her to see him, to see that he wanted her, but could take pleasure in her pleasure; to see that he could wait until she had everything she needed; that she didn’t need to rush frantically toward orgasm because he could be trusted to make sure she got there.

Get to know Tracy . . .


Tracy leaned forward a little from her vantage point in one of the semi-private VIP areas and watched as Brendan grinned one of his signature grins at some woman in a white bodysuit. Anyone who wore a white bodysuit in a club that had black lighting was just an exhibitionist plain and simple, because everyone knew that the black lights made lighter colors glow. She sighed and leaned back in her seat so Brendan and the tramp in white were out of view once again.

What seemed like a long while later he came back to her, and Tracy smiled blandly at him. After pulling the gauze curtain to close off their sitting area, he collapsed next to her on the sofa. After a moment he slid his hand along her leg and Tracy clamped her thighs shut.

“Uh oh,” Brendan said leaning back. “What did I do now?”

“Nothing,” Tracy said. She reached for her glass of champagne.

“You sure?” Brendan asked, leaning into her line of sight.

“Positive,” she said, taking a sip and avoiding looking him in the eye.

“Okay, nothing’s wrong,” Brendan said, nodding his head thoughtfully. “So if I wanted to do something to fix the ‘nothing’ that’s wrong—hypothetically speaking of course—what would I have to do?”

Tracy tried, but couldn’t prevent herself from smiling. No one made her smile this much, or laugh as hard. No one made her feel as good as he did, or as bad as he could, or as beautiful, or as sexy, or as angry, or as jealous, or as alive. Or as completely herself. Ah, to be herself with a man—what a revolutionary notion.

Get to know Riley . . .


Starbucks was almost deserted. Apart from a couple of sleepy baristas and a man with an old newspaper he was pretending to read, they were alone. While Shawn went to order, Riley glanced at her watch. It was almost one a.m. If she wanted to maintain even a shred of her professional distance, she would leave after a couple sips of coffee. 
Shawn returned with fruit juice for himself and a coffee for her. Riley meticulously ripped open one of the yellow packets of no-cal sweetener and emptied it into her cup, stirring it slowly with the wooden stick, pretending not to notice that Shawn was staring at her.
Who was she kidding? Her professional distance had fallen to pieces at his feet hours earlier. He popped the top off the bottle and sipped from it, leaning back, his eyes still fixed on her face.
“Come back to my hotel with me,” he said.
Riley sat very still, not blinking. Not breathing.
“You look surprised,” he said when after a moment she still hadn’t spoken.
“I am.”
Shawn shook his head slowly. “No you’re not.”

Get to know Keisha . . .

Get to know Keisha . . .

“What’s your name?” he asked her.
“Keisha. I’m Mike’s cousin.”
He held out a hand and she took it, holding it a little longer than was necessary, letting go one finger at a time.
“So I heard you was filming a video next week,” she said. “In the Bronx?”
So that’s what this was about.
“Yeah. You a dancer?”
“Trying to be.” She looked suddenly shy again. “You think maybe I could get a part or something?”
Shawn shrugged. “I don’t do casting for the videos.”
“C’mon now,” she said, sitting next to him. “You know you could put me in the video if you wanted to.”
“Yeah but I don’t even know if you can dance,” he pointed out.
“You’ll be at Sans Souci tonight with Mike and them, right?”
He said nothing.
“So look for me on the dance floor. If you like what I can do, can I be in the video?”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“What else could I do for you to put me in the video?” Keisha asked, looking him right in the eye. She held his gaze for a moment until Shawn smiled and shook his head.
“If you can dance, I’ll put in a word for you,” he said, ignoring her question.
It was funny how she had that shy, innocent act down pat and then the next minute she was issuing invitations for him get into her drawers. The rap game could show you some crazy shit.


Get to know Shawn . . .

Get to know Shawn . . .


“What is this all about?” she finally asked now, her voice quiet.

She set aside her knife and fork and rested her hands on the table as though preparing for a negotiation.

“What is this ab . . ? Riley I just think we should get married, that’s all.”

She swallowed. “That’s all?” she demanded. “Do you even know my middle name?  What elementary school I went to?”


“Then why?”

Because she couldn’t care less that he was K Smooth.

Because minutes after she left, he was already thinking about when he’d see her again.

Because her mind excited him as much as her body.

Because he couldn’t stand the thought of her smiling at someone else the way she smiled at him, or holding their hand the way she did his.

Because with her, he was that guy who didn’t want his girl dancing with anyone else. Little things. Big things. Everything about her.

“I can’t lose you,” he said simply.

She looked up at him, and her eyes were brimming over.

“Think about it,” he said putting down his fork. “I’ll be away for awhile. Take that time and think about it.”

“Is this because of last night? Because of Brian?” she asked, sounding desperate. “We never talked about being together exclusively and I never thought that that’s what you wanted, but if it is, maybe . . .”

“No,” he cut her off.

He finally identified the look on her face and what it meant. Panic. Hell, he should be the one in a panic. He had never thought in his wildest imagination of marriage as an option for him. Never believed there was a woman out there that would make him sign up for that particular brand of madness. And, in the abstract at least, it still sounded like madness but this wasn’t about marriage, it was about Riley. With her, he knew that boyfriend-girlfriend shit wasn’t going to be enough. He had to have her locked down.