Authors: Shane Morgan
Copyright © 2013 Shane Morgan
All rights reserved, including the
right of reproduction in any format. Please do not partake in or encourage
piracy of copyrighted materials. Purchase authorized editions only.
Image by Luna Vandoorne. Signed model release filed with Shutterstock, Inc
Formatting by S. Morgan
This is a work of fiction and is a product
of the author’s imagination. Anything mentioned that relates to actual names,
events, places, or institutions are used fictitiously.
All Moya Douglas wants to do is study
hard, maintain her scholarship, and make her mother proud while attending
college. She doesn't have time for a boyfriend or going on dates arranged by
her best friend.
Moya doesn't believe in love. And she
has no intention of ever finding it.
Branden McCarthy is determined to
change her views.
A selfless romantic who's had his
heart broken in the past, Branden is fascinated with Moya's personality and
hopes to develop something real with her
a connection so strong it'll open her heart. Just when things seem
to start working between the two, Branden’s secret threatens to get in the way.
Will Moya finally do the impossible
and give love a chance with Branden, or will fear keep them apart?
For anyone who dares to fall in love…
“Open this door right now!”
The urgency in my best friend’s
voice was nothing compared to the thunderous roar coming from outside as she
pounded on my door.
me at 5am wasn’t enough for Vanessa. She had to let everyone else in the dorm
hear about my recent failure to show up on a date she arranged the night
before. Her timing couldn’t have been worse, because it was almost 8am and I
had to get to my Business Law class.
door halfway, I pouted at her playfully. “Nessa, give it a rest. I told you I
didn’t want to go. So don’t come yelling at me now ‘cause the guy told you
she shushed, hands placed on her hips as she rocked from side to side. “Tobias
took it better than I thought, being the sweet gentleman that he is. Calvin was
the one that got all snappy with me because it’s his friend. Then he called you
a bitch. First of all, he had no right to say that about you ‘
best friend, so of course I went off
on him. But that’s beside the point, Moya.”
me aside and entered the room, plopping down on my bed. “Tobias is a nice guy.
He’s been asking about you since Calvin’s birthday bash back in June.” She
softened her expression and a flirty look appeared. “Plus, he’s really cute. I
can’t believe you’re turning this one down as well.” Vanessa shook her head,
her dramatics, grabbing my book bag off the arm of the chair. “Nessa, I don’t
have time for this again. I’ve already tried dating when we started college
last year. It didn’t work then, and right now, I’m trying to focus on my
sprang from the bed. “I’m so tired of hearing that!” She waved her hands in the
air hysterically. Her braids all but flew out of the band keeping them in a
ponytail. “No one, absolutely no one, is meant to be alone, and you can’t go
through life like that. Everybody needs love, Moya. Sooner or later someone’s
gonna pop-up and open those pretty little brown eyes glaring at me right now
and make you see the light.”
I rolled my
eyes and grabbed my keys off the desk. As I turned to open the door, Vanessa
moved swiftly past me and blocked me in, with her plumped, strawberry-colored
glossy lips pursed and a know-it-all expression on her cute face.
I leaned my
head and sighed, irresistibly admiring how the subtle, powder foundation she
was wearing gave her cheeks a soft finish. It complimented the natural glow of
her flawless, dark brown skin.
quite the beauty. No matter how early in the morning it was. All I did was
showered, combed out my curls, and got dressed casually in jeans and a sweater
my watch to check the time, I asked eagerly, “You mind? I gotta get to class.”
Then I pointed a finger at her and reminded, “So do you.”
her gum and opened the door, stepping out into the hallway.
didn’t spare a second to switch subjects. The moment I locked up, stuck my keys
in my bag and fell in stride with her, she filled me in excitedly about the
latest campus party. “Anyway, here’s your chance to redeem yourself. You know
Darla’s a member of the hottest sorority here, right?”
She went on,
“So, my girl got us invites to a party this Friday at their residence hall
apartment. We’re talking free food, cool music, and hot guys.”
threw her arm around my back and jerked me a bit. “Moya, say you’ll come and
not leave early for the weekend to write papers or read chapters way ahead of
I sucked my
teeth and moved the loose curl that fell over in my face. “No way, you know I
don’t like parties, everyone just gets wasted. Nessa, you know I don’t drink.”
to a halt on the last step of the stairs, Vanessa jiggled excitedly as she
implored, “Come on! We’re sophomores now for crying out loud! Let’s take
advantage of this freedom. No parents. No curfews!”
I let out a
titter. Ever since we were kids, my best friend had a way of making me relax
with her enthusiasm.
what,” I flicked her forehead gently with my middle finger, “you’re like a
little devil on my shoulder, telling me all the bad yet “fun” stuff I should
do.” I waved off Vanessa’s pouty lips as we approached the main doors of the
outside, she tugged on the sleeve of my knitted sweater before I could take off
down the path to the school of Business. “Girl,
, we came to
Easton U together. I really want to have a little bit of fun with my best
friend before we graduate. You’ve already ruined our first year with this blah
attitude. It’s time for us to party a little.” She pleaded with puppy dog eyes.
I exhaled. “I’ll think about it and let you know later. Right now, I gotta get
Vanessa gave me a slight nudge then took off towards the school of Medicine
where she majored in Occupational Therapy. I headed in the opposite direction
to the school of Business.
not my first choice. However, after testing it out in my freshman year, I
decided to stick with it since the major hadn’t placed a bitter taste in my
deliberating on what exactly to major in at Easton U until Momma convinced me
money should be my area of study. To her, I was a genius at budgeting, in other
o, why not earn a degree and get paid for my
was partly doing it for my momma. College was her dream for me. She worked hard
as a single mother so we could afford to live in an upscale neighborhood like
Berlin Heights, Baltimore, and that I’d have unlimited opportunities. Not that
I didn’t aspire to get to Easton University as well; I was doing it for both of
us, which was why my main focus was on my education
not on dating and partying.
my seat up front, I took a breather before getting my laptop ready for Business
Law. It was my second week as a sophomore and already I had a bad rep in class
for questioning Professor Durant’s concepts. Aside from filling me in on his
many accolades and what qualified him as an instructor, he also reminded me I
had the option of voluntarily dropping out of his class should I find him
unsuitable to teach me. Of course, I stayed, because it was a requirement for
professor wasn’t the only one who made me feel uneasy the first week. There was
a guy—not too bad looking if I might add—that sat by the window on the far left
side of the room. It seemed he strategically selected that seat to have his
attractive outlines highlighted in the sunlight, looking like a model from one
of those sizzling cologne Ads.
moments during the last class, he’d smooth his hand through his ash blond hair
and served me a flash of his brow. His bluish-green eyes appeared inviting each
time I glanced over from feeling his gaze on me.
wasn’t the problem though, or the fact that I’d even noticed. He just wouldn’t
stop staring at me. Evidently, he hadn’t picked up on my uninterested face as
yet—tight-lipped, blasé attitude, and annoyed eyes—because he appeared
delighted in sharing his opinion whenever I had something to say last week.
Maybe he got
a kick out of doing that, but I certainly wasn’t a fan of guys who tried to
sound intelligent just so they could impress me out of my clothes. No matter
how enticing he appeared.
What was his
name again? Branden, that’s right. Branden McCarthy. What did it matter? Durant
was about to pose a question for class discussion and it was imperative I
Caroline. She had been working as an assistant Creative Designer for a big name
fashion company for about three years. On the day Caroline was hired, she
signed a contract that required her to share any ideas about improving the
company’s clothing line with the Senior Creative Designer. She was never to
withhold designs for herself or share them with competitors. Now, what happened
was, Caroline decided to start her own clothing line and sell on the side. Her
boss became aware of this venture and decided to fire Caroline on the grounds
that she breached her contract and will maintain that belief should she decide
to file a suit against the company. What are your thoughts on this?”
Durant rolled up the sleeves of his plaid blue shirt and stuck his hands in his
pockets, peering around the room as several eager students raised their hands
high in the air, desperate to be called on.
furrowed as he directed his attention on me, curious as to why my hand remained
beside my laptop on top of the desk. Durant’s next move reminded me why I
disliked Wednesdays already.
nothing to share?” he asked in a condescending tone, sitting on the round edge
of his steel designed instructor’s desk with the admirable cherry laminated
top. Apparently, I had an eye for interior design as well.
I closed my laptop
and stretched my hands out on top of it, replying politely, “My hand wasn’t
He nodded as
he spoke. “Yes,
which has me somewhat concerned, since you
had plenty to share last week.
Surely you must have something to help
I was being
pulled out so I delivered sharply, “Not really. Caroline should have brought up
her intentions to start her own clothing line before going ahead with it. The
fact that she was hiding, and designing discretely doesn’t make her look good.”
remember Professor Durant ever mentioning that Caroline was hiding and
designing discretely.” He spoke, no surprise, in opposition with what I said.
McCarthy better be prepared. I was going after him now.
he looked to Durant for confirmation.
Durant stood; a smug look appeared on his face as he glanced from me to
Branden. “No, Mr. McCarthy. I did not. Thanks for pointing that out.” Turning
to me briefly, he said, “I’d rather you use details I’ve provided, Ms. Douglas.
Give me your views without speculating. So, am I to assume Branden, you’re for
leveled in his seat as he answered, “Yes, Professor. In Caroline’s defense, the
contract stated she should give her ideas when it regarded the company’s line.
Besides that, young designers in big name fashion companies do their own thing
all the time. So, I think she’ll win if she brought up a law suit—”
I repeated mockingly, turning in my seat to give
Branden unwavering contact even though he was sitting four rows over. “Are you
Durant cleared his throat. “Ms. Douglas, take it easy. It’s only a class
I nodded and
continued, “Sounds to me like Caroline’s true intentions were to get inside a
fashion company and gain exposure for three years in order to get her own stuff
off the ground. What’s to stop the company from saying she copied their designs
to make hers? Sounds reasonable—”
me off, “Then, that would be speculation again, Moya, and very unethical of
them.” The soft way in which he said my name placed a weird feeling in my
stomach. I relaxed a bit.
moment, I sat staring at him, not hearing the rest of his statement. I regarded
Branden’s polite manner, how confident he seemed. When he finished speaking,
the corner of his mouth turned up and smirked at me. It was in such a
delectable way I actually considered jumping over the desks and toss him to the
I shook off
the crazy fantasy—what was I thinking?—remembering instead how Branden
interrupted me earlier. I began shooting invisible lasers as I glared at him
and said, “Sadly, Branden, we live in a world where companies aren’t always
Caroline would be lucky if she got any buyers at all if she challenges a top
fashion company with a flimsy lawsuit. Besides, she was probably let go because
they believed she’d be holding back good designs for herself. I think this is a
good opportunity for her to now focus on her own clothing line. Why waste time
going after the company only to be in the right?”
snorted, “Easy for you to say.” He made every word sound sexy without trying.
Or was it me letting my guard down? “Caroline’s still a startup designer, she
was working as an assistant. Her clothing line probably hasn’t piqued interest
yet so she most likely still needs her job—”