Authors: Lisa G. Riley
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romantic, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Multicultural, #Multicultural & Interracial
After the Morning After
Lisa G. Riley
After the Morning After
2010 and 2014 by Lisa G. Riley
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the
original purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Cover Artist: The Other Girl
Printed in the United States of America
This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This story is dedicated to a.m. wells, whose personality was a huge inspiration when I was developing Sanjay.
Research scientist Dr. Victoria Howell took a soothing sip of white wine and used a graceful brown hand to push a tendril of hair back into the chignon resting on her nape. Sighing deeply, she looked at her surroundings, wondering if she should have even taken the time to come. The French restaurant was spacious and airy with its high ceilings and exposed brick walls, which were sparsely deco
rated with still-life paintings of breads and cheeses and big, fat purple grapes hanging off bottles of wine. It was one of the best in town, and she was not in the mood for it. Her mind, as usual, was occupied with problems in her lab. Well, one problem in particular, anyway.
His name was Sanjay Banerjee. He was her second-in-command and a brilliant scientist, but one she’d been told by her boss was persona non grata as of noon that day. He’d been accused of theft. Victoria took another sip of wine and shook her head, unable to believe it. Sanjay was many things, arrogant and a pain in her ass for one, but she could not believe he was a thief. She was sure the accusation had been quite a blow to him. She frowned as she thought about what she’d have to go through to replace him. “But what am I thinking about Sanjay for?” she muttered and looked at her watch. Her date was late, which was par for the course. He liked to make an entrance.
Victoria winced, knowing that she was only with Keenan for the sex and the easy-like-Sunday-morning feel of the relationship. They’d met, had started a friendship, and within a couple of months, they were having sex. They were friends who had become lovers. The relationship would go no further than that, and it pleased her to know that they were both fine with that outcome. Her cell phone rang, and she retrieved it from the side pocket of her briefcase. She lifted a brow in surprise when she saw Sanjay’s name in the little window. Wondering what he wanted, she debated answering it. “Not really in the mood for his foolishness,” she murmured. She pressed Ignore.
She looked up after sliding the phone back into its special pocket to find her date standing over her. Her expression froze when she saw that he wasn’t alone. Tall, muscular, and handsome with green eyes and thick chestnut hair, he stood there with a tall, skinny Asian woman Victoria had never seen before. That in itself wouldn’t have been an issue, but his arm was wrapped around her so that his hand rested intimately on her hip. And she was clutching him as if she’d never let him go.
“Victoria, this is
Kandra. She’s my new one and only. You’re not going to like this, but she won. Didn’t you, baby?”
Feeling as if she were having some kind of out of body experience, Victoria watched as the woman stopped chewing her fluorescent green gum long enough to grin vacuously in agreement. Keenan then bent his head.
This cannot be happening
. Victoria sat in stunned silence as the man she’d been seeing for the past three months kissed another woman as if he were trying to clean her tonsils with his tongue.
When they finally wrapped up the kiss, Victoria thought she should say something
—knew it was her turn for a response. Her mouth opened, closed again, opened… “I beg your pardon? Won what?”
Saphmen sighed with impatience, his green eyes glowering. “I said,” he enunciated carefully as if he were talking to a slow-witted child, “It’s over. I’ve chosen Kandra here. You’re out, and she’s in. I might even marry her.”
Victoria flicked an uninterested glance at the gorgeous, seemingly indifferent woman draped on Keenan’s arm. Her gaze went back to Keenan. “I’m sorry. Did you just waltz in here and announce that I was unknowingly in some kind of…kind of, I don’t know,
for your affections?” Victoria tried to keep her voice down, but she noticed some of the other restaurant patrons looking their way.
Keenan shrugged and brushed imaginary lint from his spotless suit. “No big. It was between you,
Kandra, and Gretchen—by the way, have you seen a pretty redheaded woman come in? She was supposed to meet us.”
Victoria just stared in bemusement for a moment, the wholly ridiculous tableau stealing her breath. Finally, after waiting in vain for someone to say “gotcha” and for the smug smirk to leave her lover’s face, realization truly hit, and Victoria laughed without humor and said in as calm a voice as she could, “Oh my, God, you’re serious, aren’t you?”
“Don’t make a scene, Victoria. It’s over.”
Victoria smirked as she pulled cash from her wallet, counted it, and then put it on the table to cover wine and tip. “You’d love a scene, wouldn’t you, Keenan?” She stood and picked up her purse and briefcase. “I won’t give you one.”
As she walked away from him, only pride kept her from turning around and asking him how he could have done this to her. But as she picked up her light coat from the coat check, only one question was going through her mind. How could she have been so stupid—again?
She left the restaurant, and instead of hailing a taxi, decided to walk to clear her head. She stomped down the darkened streets muttering to hers
elf. “I can’t believe it. I cannot believe I let myself in for this again!” Knowing she was so angry tears would soon follow, she tried to take deep breaths to prevent them. Instead, her breath hitched and halted…hitched and halted, and then the tears were soon pouring down her face in torrents. “Oh, damn,” she said with a moan and stopped to lean against the wall of a building.
“This has got to be one of the worst nights of my life,” she said as she searched her purse for a handkerchief. When thunder boomed and lightning crackled, she only looked up at the sky. “
?” she asked as rain fell on her face.
She looked around and realized that she’d wandered into an area she wasn’t familiar with. Knowing her efforts were futile, she rubbed her hands over her face to get rid of the wetness there.
“Uh, excuse me.”
The voice was deeply masculine and as seductive as a midnight-shift working radio announcer’s. In the middle of another effort to dry her face, Victoria snapped her head around and in the direction of the voice. Victoria’s hands slowly fell from her face as she stared at
at least six feet of outrageous male gorgeousness leaning out of an opened door and looking at her expectantly. He wore a flowing turquoise polka-dot caftan with matching capri pants beneath.
“I hate to interrupt, sweet cakes,” the man said in such a gleeful fashion Victoria knew he was lying. “Are you just
gonna stand there holding up the building, or are you coming in?”
Victoria was flummoxed. “Uh…”
“Well?” Pure impatience filled the golden voice.
Victoria squinted. Yes, she had seen correctly. His lips were painted a pale shade of pink. They were lovely. She blinked. So were his false eyelashes. “I…uh…well…”
“Quit standing there like a stricken virgin, will you? It’s nice and cozy inside, and the moistness out here is on the verge of ruining my hair. Now come on in.”
Victoria stared doubtfully at the big poufy hair that exploded all over his head in ringlets for a few seconds longer than was polite, and then she did the only thing that seemed natural on such a crazy night. She went on in.
* * *
Four months later
Victoria absently pushed a loose black curl from her face as she read the notes on her laptop. She’d arrived early to Coffee, Tea, and Sweets so she could get a little work done before meeting with her friends. She heard the door open but was too engrossed in her work to look up. She sensed that she and the rest of her research team were close to a breakthrough, but there was something she wasn’t seeing, and she frowned at the screen.
“You know it’s just like any other muscle, right? It dries up and dies without frequent use.”
Victoria stifled a sigh at the sound of the voice. All she’d wanted was a little time to go over her work before everyone else arrived, but it seemed it wasn’t to be. She sneaked a peek at her slim, unassuming gold watch. She still had time. They weren’t supposed to meet until seven, and it was only six fifty-four. She briefly considered ignoring her friend until their appointed meeting time. After all, technically she
still on her own time—six minutes were nothing to sneeze at—but eighteen years of home training by a mother who’d been like a Nazi when it came to manners forcibly kicked in.
Looking over the top of her glasses, she did indulge in a playful eye roll at Bella
Korski, one of her two best friends. The blue-eyed, raven-haired woman could be a beautiful nuisance when she put her mind to it. Victoria shook her head in affectionate amusement and stuck her tongue out, displaying a rare playful side. “Hello to you too, Bella.”
Barely able to suppress a chuckle because she knew exactly what Bella’s comment had been in reference to, she said, “You know, I don’t think the vagina is actually a muscle. It’s an organ
muscles, and if your comment means you’re worried about mine, don’t be, as it’s perfectly fine. I have one word for you: Kegels.”
Well, she could actually offer two words, but friend or not, she didn’t think Bella needed to know about the many nights spent with her trusty vibrator. And just thinking about Sir
Fix-A-Lot prompted a secret affectionate smile and a slight shiver. Well, good Lord, she thought, if thinking about a big, fake monster cock could provoke such a reaction, maybe it
been too long since I’ve had the real thing.
Mmm-hmm. I saw that,” Bella accused with a knowing smile and pointed a finger at her as she pulled out a chair and sat down at their preferred table. “What was that sneaky smile all about?” she teased. “Do tell, Dr. Smart-Ass.”
Victoria smiled again just to annoy her and widened her eyes in mock surprise. “Why, Detective
Korski, whatever do you mean?”
“Yeah, right, cut the prissy act,” Bella replied in amused disgust and resignation as she studied her skeptically. “And you can work while I talk to you. I don’t mind.”
As Victoria went back to reading her notes, Bella clamped her lips together before another probing comment escaped. She knew she would get nothing more from Victoria. Of the three who made up their little circle of friends, the quietly elegant Victoria was the most private. But she was approachable, and Bella felt like
she knew her well, but not as well as she knew Addie Zhào, the third in their group. Of course Addie and she had been friends for years. Victoria was new to the group. Bella sighed as she studied her some more. Attractive with dark skin and sparkling amber-colored eyes, Victoria intrigued more men than she realized. They were challenged by her reserve and confused by the wide, curious eyes that went hand in hand with the reserve.
Victoria was open with those she trusted, but she also had her boundaries, and she was something of a contradiction. She looked like the gently bred woman her parents had raised her to be, but she also sometimes gave them a glimpse of what Bella and Addie had come to think of as her alter ego, Naughty Victoria. Naughty Victoria had dirty thoughts and showed a surprisingly amazing talent for filthy language.
She was even a contradiction when it came to her clothes, Bella thought. Today she wore a conservatively cut black business suit, but underneath it was a fire-engine red blouse with the first couple of buttons undone. The skirt was long, yes, but Bella noticed it had a side slit that went well past the knee. And the boots, well, the good doctor wore what could only be described as fuck-me kicks—they were stiletto heels that were at least three inches long. Bella found herself grinning. “You know,” she said, “the easiest way to describe you, I think, is as whorish virgin, or maybe virginal whore.”
Victoria didn’t even bother to look up. “I beg your pardon,” she said mildly. She had felt Bella studying her but hadn’t said anything because she had grown used to it. She knew the other woman felt she didn’t really know her, and she was right; she didn’t. Neither did Addie, for that matter. There were certain things and parts of herself she hadn’t shared with them, while they had told each other things about themselves that made her feel as if they were laying themselves bare. She wasn’t used to that, but she was trying to get comfortable with it. It was hard because she’d been raised to keep her personal business just that. She frowned and tuned in to what Bella was saying.
See, that was perfect, and it’s exactly what I mean!” the other woman said and picked up a menu. “Your voice is very polite and cultured, but at the same time you’re saying to me, ‘Fuck you, bitch!’”
“Am I?” Victoria asked with a quirk of a brow before she went back to her notes. “And what am I saying now?” she asked softly.
Bella stopped studying the menu long enough to look over at Victoria. She burst out laughing when she saw a stiffened middle finger two inches from her face.
Her attention remained focused, but Victoria chuckled at the raucous sound. Her friends brought out her more carefree, mischievous self, and she gave it free rein now. Her voice held humor yet was unconcerned when she told Bella, “You know, the way you were staring at me a minute ago made me think that perhaps your earlier comment regarding my vagina’s muscle tone stemmed from more than just mild curiosity.”
Bella’s comeback was quick and to the point, “And I’m sure even mild curiosity is more attention than the poor neglected thing’s gotten from an outsider in ages.”