Authors: Niobia Bryant
Infinite Ink Books
Admission of Love
Published by Infinite Ink Books
Copyright © 2000 by Niobia Bryant
First mass-market paperback printing: August 2000
First e-book printing: August 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author, accepting brief quotes used in reviews.
Cover Design: Hot Damn Designs
Table of Contents
Admission of Love
“Are the cabinets as nice as they were in the catalog?” Devon’s voice was low.
Chloe shivered from the feel of his husky voice so near to her ear, turning her head she looked over at him. “Nicer.”
Their eyes met and held.
Devon began to clear up the stray packing materials, shoving them into a heavy-duty garbage bag from a box in the corner. Wordlessly, Chloe began to help him and they worked with only the sounds of construction echoing throughout the house.
“What possessed you to wear those jeans, Chloe?” He meant to sound disgusted but instead his voice came out low and husky.
Chloe stood up and whirled to face him. Self-consciously she looked down at herself.
They are mighty snug.
“What’s wrong with… my jeans?”
They were just inches apart. Nervously, her heart hammered against her chest. She licked her full lips with the tip of her fleshy tongue. His eyes darted down to watch the innocent but sexy move.
With a hungry growl, he pulled Chloe to him, dropping the plastic garbage bag to the floor. He lowered his handsome head to taste of the sweet nectar of her lips.
Initially their kisses were short, breathing in the air between them after touching their lips together briefly. Devon used his tongue to lick the tender contours of her mouth and they both shivered with desire. She was as sweet tasting and fulfilling as the juiciest, sweetest fruit. He felt like he could kiss her for an eternity.
This is dedicated to the most phenomenal woman —my mother, Letha Bryant
Thank you, Mama, for those first readings of this novel, the photocopying, and the belief in my dreams.
I love you!
This book was originally written back in 2000. I have chosen, in celebration of my 15
Anniversary as a writer, to not update it and present it just as it was back in the day. Please keep that in mind as you read and enjoy the classic love story of Chloe and Devon.
Being a supermodel isn’t easy.
That’s what Chloe was thinking as she stepped out of the back of the black stretch Lincoln limousine amidst the bight and frequent flashes of the camera. Yells of “Chloe” rose from the multitude of fans who crowded the streets in front of the fashion house. Always gracious, she waved at the people who adored her, stopping to sign a few autographs before dashing into the modern structure for the first of three runway shows she had to complete that day.
Chloe Bolton, resplendent in her Nubian beauty, was one of the top supermodels in the world. Her rise to fame, fortune and glamour began eighteen years ago and she hadn’t looked back since. At thirty-three she was still sought after by the biggest names in the fashion industry.
As Chloe entered the noisy backstage chaos, the dressing area was filled to capacity with models in various stages of undress, hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers and the designer with his many assistants, all working together amongst the confusion to pull off another successful runway show.
She weaved through the mass of people, following a slender-hipped mail assistant of Jeffrey Wilson’s. He led her over to the area where the hairstylists were stationed. As she dropped her Fendi black leather tote carelessly onto the floor next to the chair, Chloe said a silent thanks that the stylist was black, which was rare to see in the business. As a matter of fact, it was rare to see many African-American faces in the industry at all, whether they were models, designers, photographers or anything.
Luckily she breezed through hair and makeup, although when Chloe had reached in her tote and pulled out the gold lettered, monogrammed cache bag of Ashanti Cosmetics, the woman had shown reluctance before finally accepting it with a tight smile.
Ashanti Cosmetics was an African-American owned cosmetic company based in a small town in upstate New York. In the five years since Chloe became their spokeswoman, her personal appearances and advertisements in print, radio and television had helped the once small company become a real contender in the retail cosmetic business. It was a well-known fact that she only used Ashanti products, which was part of her contract.
She rushed over to where the six outfits she would wear were stationed on a rack with a long white car on the front. The card showed a Polaroid of each outfit with the corresponding order in which she would wear the fashions. She was first, tenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, thirtieth and then last in the large rotation.
There was no room for modesty as Chloe stripped by a makeshift curtain to the red lace thong bikini she wore, using her arm to cover her pendulous breasts. With assistance she was soon draped in a pale pink silk and Lycra blend slit dress with matching stiletto mules.
“Yes, yes Chloe! The face of an angel… The body of a temptress.”
Chloe turned into the open arms of Jeffrey Wilson, allowing him to kiss her forehead in his elaborate fashion. His dark skin gleamed with excitement in his shocking red silk suit. She was proud and excited for him. There were many struggling African-American designers with talent, and it was uplifting to see one of them gain respect in the racist industry. But so many other talented designers were still waiting for their turn to shine.
“Oh Jeffie, when I walk the runway in your designs I’m going to work it. Believe that!” She spoke of the sassy runway walk she was known for across the world.
He snapped his fingers, the diamonds on his pinky finger sparkling under the glare of the lights above them. “You better work, girl. You will of course escort me at the end of the show?”
Chloe blushed with pleasure. “Of course.”
He reached behind her to take the matching full-length ostrich feather wrap off the hanger. Chloe turned and leaned backward to allow him to fly the material up her well-toned arms to settle the elaborate collar up around her face.
His eyes observed her, from her perfectly upswept hair to the elaborately made up beauty of her heart-shaped face, her hazel, cat-shaped eyes were luminous above her high, prominent cheekbones, long wide-bridged nose and deliciously full pouty lips. Her tall, slender frame with full, heavy breasts, thin waist and deeply curved hips were any man’s fantasy. There were no imperfections to be found. He nodded his head in approval and pointed with flare to the curtain entrance to the runway.
“You go girl, and work it!”
The shrill cry of her mother’s voice startled the seven-year-old girl. She sat precariously over the age of the porcelain bathroom sink gazing at her own reflection in the mirror. This was something she did frequently as soon as she was old enough to discover how to use her slender legs and arms to climb onto the sink by way of the commode sitting next to it.
She could only look with wide, bright hazel eyes over her thin shoulder and her mother’s robust figure filled the doorway. The fear in her heart turned to happiness as she watched her mother’s shoulders shake with laughter and her kind eyes, so like her own, fill with humorous tears.
“Ooh, child. You, little miss Chloe Renée Bolton, are a mess. Lawd, will you look at my baby.” Adell placed her hand on her ample hip as she fought hard to pretend she was mad. “How many times have I told you to stop playing dress-up in my things?”
Her mother’s words were scolding, but the smile on her lips was tender and loving, softening the effect. Adell laughed again at the sight of her already beautiful daughter’s face, done up in her makeup, and her thin body drowned in her good silk dress and jewelry.
“Ain’t I beautiful, Mama?” As long as she could remember, she’d been told she was beautiful, but she loved to hear her mother say it.
“Yes, baby, you are… inside and out.” Adell chuckled. “And you know it, because as soon as there are more than two people in the room you’re modeling for them.”
“Yup, and everybody says how good I am at it too,” she said proudly as she turned and kissed her reflection, leaving a garish print of red lipstick on the mirror. “I’m going to be famous like Beverly Johnson and Naomi Sims.”
Adell reach for washcloth from the bar behind the door and began to clean the makeup from her daughter’s face. “You know what I always say, Chloe. Set a goal, reach for it, and your dreams will be recognized. And you know what?”
“I’ll be proud of my baby no matter what you decide to do in life. Just promise me that you will be happy.”
Ever since she began to model at the tender age of fifteen, Chloe had loved the makeup, clothes, pictures, traveling and seeing herself in magazines and on television. She had found the runway exhilarating and had conquered it with a unique flair all her own. She had dreamed of being a model all her life.
At thirty-three, the rush of the runway was quickly fading. The glamour of modeling had lost its shine for her. What she had once loved, she now found to be a tiring chore.
Chloe took her spot on the runway, posing dramatically in the silver strapless swimsuit she wore. It was the last of her three runway shows and she was glad the day of work was almost over, a new feeling for her lately. With a deep breath she walked down the runway with style she owned, her hips in counter motion to her arms. It was a must to be perfectly in sync with the upbeat music blaring around her. She called this her sister walk. Flashbulbs went off and the audience applauded both her and the designer swimwear.
Chloe pause for a second longer at the end of the runway. She searched within myself for that familiar feel of the rush… seeking the thrill. It was not there and had not been there for a long time.
New York, New York
One week after her runway show in Paris, Chloe strolled up Madison Avenue, very aware of the impressive sight she made with her tall, graceful figure casually dressed in tight faded Versace blue jeans, matching black leather belt with silver logo buckle and a white cropped T-shirt beneath a quilted DKNY down jacket and DKNY boots. She could only wish for more time to stop in the many boutiques that lined one of the well-known avenues in New York, but she had an appointment
Chloe pushed the double glass door open and enter the modern glass structure housing the Woods Modeling Agency. She took time to speak to the hopeful young models who sat in the waiting area, clutching their portfolios and probably praying this would be the day they were discovered.
Chloe greeted the friendly receptionist before breezing into the plush office, with a final way back to the girls in the foyer.
“Hi, Liv,” she greeted the old woman sitting behind the glass and steel office desk.
Olivia Woods was the brash and very outspoken owner of the agency, which had started out of her small home office would just five models, including a young and already beautiful Chloe. Their careers in the fashion industry had started and grown together.
Chloe walked straight to the small refrigerator in the corner of office and grabbed a bottle of mineral water. Liv eyed her top grossing protégé. Even with no makeup and her hair in a messy ponytail, Chloe was incredibly beautiful. Olivia’s keen eyes had spotted potential in Chloe eighteen years ago when she discovered the graceful teenager working at a concession stand at Madison Square Garden. To think, if her teenage son had not talked her into going to the Knicks basketball game that night at the Garden, she would never have discovered Chloe.
Within two years of her discovery, Chloe’s name was on the lips of the hottest fashion designers clamoring to have her wear their creations. With magazines now too numerous to count, she was one of the best-known supermodels, period. Her popularity and wealth had increased over the years with her annual swimsuit calendars, fitness videos and three books on beauty and fashion. Even in the beginning when she had gained star status, she had loyally remain with Olivia’s then small, African-American-owned agency, and for that Liv would always love her.
“Jeffrey, Calvin and Donna were all pleased with you in Paris last week… as always of course.” Olivia’s voice was hoarse and raspy from a chronic use of cigarettes for the past forty years. She dropped the silver Cross pen in her hand onto the desk.
Chloe slumped into the black leather swivel chair in front of Olivia’s cluttered desk. “Jeffrey’s collection was very elegant and feminine. I saw some of the reviews for the show and they were all raves. His sales last year should have exceeded eight hundred thousand, Liv. If he were white it would’ve.”
Olivia share Chloe’s outspoken belief of racism in the fashion industry. The truth was just the truth. Racism touched nearly every aspect of the industry.
She ran her hand through her shoulder length dreadlocks, inhaling deeply of the cigarette in her hand. “His collection was one of the best I’ve seen the season, especially that red wool jersey—“
“I’m thinking about retiring.” Chloe’s voice was soft but firm as she interrupted the other woman whom she adored.
Olivia started to laugh but soon saw the serious expression on Chloe’s face and knew this might be for real. Her own expression became incredulous. “Why, Chloe? We have to turn down all the offers that are coming in for you. You took this biz by storm almost 20 years ago and you haven’t let up so far. Why now?”
Chloe didn’t need to think the question over. She had done enough of that already recently. “Modeling isn’t fun anymore. Maybe that’s because I’m older or because I’ve done all there is to do. I’m tired of competing with younger, ambitious women who want to be where I am . . . on top. The racism in this industry is only slowly getting better. I mean, why is it that there can only be one black supermodel at one time?” Chloe sighed. “I just don’t want to do it anymore. Isn’t that enough, Liv?”
“You could take a hiatus—”
“Will cut back on your runway shows—”
Olivia leaned her thin frame back into the leather ergonomic chair. Her eyes narrowed to peer at Chloe through the silver blue haze of smoke. “You’re booked through June and your contract with me doesn’t run out until the end of next year. The contract with Ashanti Cosmetics is still good for one year also.”
She had laid all the details on the table, now completely businesslike. Chloe nodded in understanding, having already thought out the particulars. “I’ll of course honor all prior commitments, but I ask as a personal favor that I not be booked for any more after June.”
Now it was Liv’s turn to nod. “You’re asking me to release you from your contract early?”
Chloe looked the older woman in her eyes. “Yes.”
Olivia sighed, torn between her friendship with this woman and her loyalty to her business. “Chloe —”
“I’m not trying to be a pain in the ass. I’m just doing what is best for me.” Chloe stood and went to walk over to the wall of Liv’s office where her very first
cover hung. “I also would like for you to see if Ashanti will also release me from the last year of my contract with them.”
She turned away from the glamorous image of herself at eighteen. “I need out.”
Olivia nodded slowly, her woolen dreadlocks slightly swaying against her light-complexion cheeks. “Well that gives me until June to change your mind.”