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Authors: Brenda Jackson

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BOOK: Essence of Desire
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Now after spending an evening in Robert’s company, that burner was back on, and with an intensity that had practically held her in its grip all night. The moment of truth had come when they had shared the brownie and ice cream. And when he had taken his fork to feed her a piece, her lips had parted in anticipation and she had intercepted vibes. Whether they were his or those of her own making, she hadn’t been sure. Had she imagined it or had the look she’d seen in his eyes been fueled by a fire that could burn as deep and out of control as hers? She shook her head deciding she had been reading something that really hadn’t been there. Only wishful thinking on her part.

When Roxie reached her bedroom she wanted to jump up with glee at the thought of all the money she would make off this project. Robert was paying her well for her services and she appreciated that. It was definitely a big boost in her career. It hadn’t been easy leaving the firm where she’d worked for five years and starting up on her own, especially in a town like Summerlin. But she had and although the clients were slow in coming, she believed working for Robert would definitely serve a needed purpose.

Excited, she went to a dresser drawer and opened it to pull out last year’s calendar that she had kept, refusing to throw away. It was a calendar where twelve successful black businessmen had gotten together to do for charity. Each man was appropriately dressed in designer business suits and looking the epitome of success. Robert had been Mr. August—her birthday month. She smiled as she placed the calendar back in the drawer remembering how the calendar had been on her bedroom wall still turned to August even when December had rolled around.

As she began stripping off her clothes to get ready for bed, she thought of the fact that he would be returning this weekend. She had been invited to his aunt’s birthday party as well, and in a way she figured he knew that given the closeness of their families. Besides, his aunt was turning ninety, which was definitely a special occasion.

She smiled thinking it would be good to see Kat, and knowing that for her, she was definitely looking forward to seeing Robert again.


“And your client wants all the cabinets in here replaced?” the carpenter asked, looking at her to make sure he’d heard her correctly.

Roxie nodded and said. “Yes, Mr. Noble prefers oak wood cabinets through out the house. And he wants to donate the cabinets being removed to Habitat for Humanity.”

“Nice gesture.”

“Yes, it is,” she said, looking at her watch. This week had been a flurry of activities. Robert’s intent was to modernize the interior of the house that had been built in the early sixties without losing the historical flare of the exterior. It would be a major undertaking, but one she looked forward to doing. A lot had gotten accomplished already. All the carpet upstairs had gotten ripped up to be replaced by hardwood floors and the wall separating two of the smaller bedrooms had been knocked out to serve as a spacious office for Robert.

Anyone who knew she’d been hired as the interior designer had thought to question her as to whether or not Robert would be moving back to Summerlin permanently. She had given them the same response. She was hired to decorate his home and was not privy to his personal plans. Of course those who knew that he and Colt were best friends didn’t believe her and figured she knew what his plans were but just wasn’t talking.

Her cell phone went off and she quickly retrieved it from the pocket of her jeans. “Hello, this is Roxie.”

“Hello, Roxie, how are things going?”

She smiled. “Robert, things are going great.” She had spoken to Hazel a number of times this week and could tell by the secretary’s demeanor that she preferred that Roxie communicated with her on all matters concerning the house and not bother Robert, so she hadn’t.

“The carpet in the upstairs bedrooms was removed earlier this week and I’ll be meeting with the painters on Monday. And on Tuesday I’m visiting a nursery to get an idea of what flowers to add to the courtyard.”

“That’s good. I’ll be flying in on Friday morning for Aunt Bessie’s party. Is there any way we can have lunch and you can give me an update?”

“Sure, that will be great.”

“Okay, then. How about if I call you Thursday night to set a time and place for us to meet?”

“Awesome. Thanks, Robert.”

“See you Friday, Roxie.”

Roxie could feel her heart missing beats when she clicked off the phone. She couldn’t help but smile at the thought that she would be sharing a meal once again with Robert. She inhaled deeply, trying not to let her imagination get out of control. He had sounded all business and this lunch date was nothing more than to keep him apprised of how things were going. He was investing a lot of money in the makeover of this house and it was only natural for him to want firsthand details, regardless of the fact that Hazel Norwood could provide them to him. She had a feeling that secretary or no secretary, Robert was in some ways a hands on person.

Before she was sidetracked, she keyed the date for her lunch meeting with Robert into her BlackBerry. Not that she would forget.



“Mr. Noble, Mrs. Rivers is on line two.”

Robert tossed aside the document he’d been reading and clicked on the phone. “Mya, how are you?”

“I’m fine. Garret, the boys, Destiny and I will be coming to Orlando this weekend and wanted to invite you to lunch at the resort with us on Friday.”

Robert shook his head, regretting he would not be able to see them. “I’m flying out first thing Friday morning for Summerlin to attend my aunt’s birthday party. I hate I’m going to miss you guys.” And he really meant it. Mya had been his financial analyst for a year before deciding to end her career in the financial arena to be a full-time mother to her five year-old twin sons, Daniel and David, and beautiful little girl named Destiny. He thought she and Garret had a beautiful family.

He could vividly recall the first time he had met with her. He had been taken with her beauty as well as with her intelligence and had deliberately radiated some interest on his part. But she had let it be known that she was very much a married woman and to this day he appreciated and respected her for it.

“We hate that we’re going to miss you, too. We try to get all the family stuff in before Garrett has to report to practice,” she said of her pro-football husband.

“I understand.” They talked for a short while longer before ending the call.

Robert stood to stretch his muscles. He was actually looking forward to returning to Summerlin and for him it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why. Roxie Miller.

Hazel had given Roxie’s business practices rave reviews and said Roxie had to be one of the most professional women she’d dealt with in a long time. Coming from Hazel that meant a lot. His secretary didn’t dish out compliments too often.

One thing he had discovered after taking Roxie out to dinner was that she was as fiercely passionate about her work as he was with his. He had no doubt that the makeover he wanted for his new home was in good hands. He had sat across the table from her trying to listen to all her ideas that she was sharing so passionately, and wondering how she would handle another type of passion – the bedroom kind. Those types of thoughts had made him focus more on her sensuality than on what she was sharing with him. By the time he had taken her home he had accepted the fact that he no longer thought of her as Colt’s kid sister. In his eyes, she had escalated to a very sensuous woman, a woman the old Robert Noble wouldn’t hesitate to take to his bed. But he was no longer that Robert Noble where a nice pair of legs and a curvy body could make him think with another kind of head. Oh, he still was swamped on occasion with lusty thoughts, but since that incident with Mariah Beam, something inside of him had turned hard.

The worse thing that could happen to a man was to be accused falsely. He would admit he had found Mariah desirable and had considered the thought of hitting on her a few times, but something had held him back, made him cautious, wary, and now he was so damn glad it had. She had come on to him in a calculated move and thankfully, at the time, he’d been too busy working on a project to reciprocate. But she had accused him of doing so anyway. She claimed he had forced her to have sex with him.

He had hired some of the best attorneys and had discovered that he had been just one of many men with power and wealth whom she had targeted. Most had fallen for her trap, he had not, but with mega dollar signs in her eyes, she’d been determined to snag him anyway, if not through the court system then with the use of blackmail to keep her allegations from going public.

His own attorney had suggested paying her off, but he had refused. He hadn’t done anything wrong and didn’t intend to pay her one red cent. He ended up dropping his own attorney and had turned to Colt who had recommended a high profile attorney in L.A., someone who was use to dealing with such outlandish crap.

It worked. Within seventy-two hours Caleb Diggers had dug up more stuff on Mariah than anyone had thought possible, including the fact she had been ready to video their entire sexual encounter had there been one. No wonder those other CEOs – whom she had successfully captured on video - had been quick to pay her off for fear of visual proof of their illicit affairs getting out.

With the threat of her racketeering activities being exposed, as well as a multi-million dollar countersuit of his own, Mariah had quickly withdrawn her charges, signed whatever documents his attorney had placed before her and had swiftly left town. However, what she had accomplished was to shock him into bringing a halt to his philandering ways, put his playboy reputation on hold, and engage in something he thought he would never, ever consider. Celibacy.

So for the moment he was satisfied to see how long he could last since he knew the outcome could result in physical problems for a man where they would eventually have to take matters into their own hands, literally. So far, he hadn’t been driven to do such a thing, but he had missed the healthy benefits of a natural sexual release. When he decided to get back into sexual enjoyment he would contact a very reputable escort service. From now on, he would handle his affairs, just like he did everything else, strictly as business.

“Simon is on line two, Mr. Noble.”

Hazel’s voice intruded into his thoughts and he went back to his desk to pick up the phone. Simon Prentice was the man he had selected a few years ago as vice president of Noble Technology. His conversation with Simon lasted half an hour. Afterwards, he leaned back in his chair. Knowing he had someone competent in place like Simon always made the thought of retiring easy. And he was thinking about retiring in the next four years, and hadn’t told anyone but Colt that he would be returning to Summerlin to live.

He chuckled. Although he hadn’t told anyone, most people had certainly guessed it, like Kat for instance. It certainly took the burden off her to worry about being at the folk’s beck and call when and if they ever needed anything in their more seasoned years. They had been blessed with wonderful parents who had always been there for them; so neither he nor his sister minded being there for them when and if the time ever came.

The only problem his parents had with him and Kat was that neither seemed inclined to settle down and produce them grandkids. Kat was no more interested in marriage than he was. His sister for the time being was married to her business, although he was well aware that she and Simon had had an affair last year and could very well be indulging in one now.

The thought of that didn’t bother him. He stayed out of Kat’s business more than she stayed out of his, but he could deal with it. And as far as what was going on between her and Simon, he was not concerned with it. Kat would be thirty her next birthday and had been independent for as long as he could remember. She could handle her own affairs without any help from him.

He knew Colt would take that same approach with Roxie. His best friend had stopped being overprotective toward Roxie long ago. However Colt hadn’t liked her husband; had let it be known and she had married the guy anyway. And the man had treated her like crap, according to Colt. The thought of her being treated so shabbily always made his blood boil. She had deserved better.

Robert glanced up from the papers he’d been reading at the sound of the knock on his door. “Come in.”

“Is there anything you need me to do before I leave, Mr. Noble?” his secretary asked.

“No, Hazel that will be all. I’ll see you when I return from Summerlin next week.”

“Yes, sir. Have a safe trip.”


“And enjoy yourself.”

His thoughts shifted to Roxie. “I will.”



Roxie had just stretched out in bed, opened the mystery novel she was reading when her cell phone went off. She reached over to grab it. “Hello?”

“Are you ready to meet me tomorrow?”

She licked suddenly dry lips the exact moment her heart began pounding in her chest. Upon hearing the deep, husky, ultra sexy voice she became breathless and had to swallow deeply before saying, “Yes, I’m ready. Do you have a time and a place?” she asked.

“Last week I treated you to seafood, your favorite. Now, you’ll have to suffer through my favorite.”

She rolled her eyes and laughed. “Spaghetti. As you know I’m not all that big on pasta but I’ll handle it. For you.”

BOOK: Essence of Desire
8.02Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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