Authors: S. Ann Cole
This story is a work of fiction. Things portrayed in this eBook are either fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
All rights to this book belong to S. Ann Cole author. Except for brief quotations used in any review. Any other forms of reproduction or utilization of this work, in part or in whole are forbidden without the permission of the Author, S. Ann Cole.
Cover art © Renu Sharma |
My light at the end of the tunnel…
All that, and more.
I saw her,
Sitting by the riverside—
Her eyes closed,
Her smile ever so bright,
Her head under a crown—
A crown of lilies…
Peace of mind.
I saw her again,
Dancing in the rain,
Her smile was the same,
No one could disdain.
She danced as a child,
Placid, meek, mild…
Peace of mind.
Ah! Here she is,
Sitting on a swing,
She sways to and fro,
Her golden strands the wind blows.
Yes, her smile is the same,
Her countenance remains.
Peace of mind.
e was tired.
Amped up by pleasure mere minutes ago, his heartbeat was beginning to even out, pushing him onward and into the soothing darkness of sleep. Unfortunately, he was yanked back from the beckoning darkness when the feel of soft feminine hands chased by flutters of kisses played on his chest. Languid, he opened his eyes to the annoying realization that the female of the night was still present. Weariness, it seemed, had delivered him a hard slug over the head, for it was wonted of him to dismiss the source of his temporary pleasure at the very minute he found his release. His eyes skidded over the olive-skinned, platinum blonde who was having a meal of his chest, and his brain pained when he attempted to remember her name. She was a bank investor; he could remember only that much and no more, for he hadn’t been interested in what she had to say when she’d blabbered all night at the Gala. He’d merely paid attention to the fact that she had a comely figure with long, toned legs that were accentuated by her six-inch heels, which had the effect of him demanding a few hours of exploration. Though there was no hope, he tried again for her name…Lacy…Lucy…Lisa…ah hell, he didn’t know and he didn’t care.
Nameless Blond pressed her plum lips against the middle of his chest and murmured in a sultry voice that caressed him in places that he really preferred to remain inert at the moment. “I want more. So much more of you. Let’s go all night, I’m not yet sated.”
A sigh flowed from him as he mentally kicked himself for almost falling asleep with a woman in his bed. “Well, I am. Get dressed. Moore will take you home.” The covers flipped back with a simple flex of his muscular arm and he swung his feet to the red carpeted floor, then used the heels of his hands to rub the weight of sleep from his eyes. No avail. Through an emerging yawn, he added, “Oh, great sex by the way. Thanks.”
The protesting muscles of his limbs told him just how exhausted he was. Lovello was right: he burned himself out far too much. His eyelids felt like a Ziploc bag loaded with quarts. It occurred to him, as he fought with sleep at the edge of the bed, that there was no shuffling from Nameless Blond. Turning, he pointed his stare on the blond-haired creature whose green eyes shone with tears as she clutched the black silk sheet over her bosom. Wrestling with the anger that started to build inside him, he took a calming breath and said, “Did I not tell you to get dressed?”
Her voice was gravelly when she asked, “So I’m just a ‘great sex’ that you send off with a ‘thanks’?”
Closing his eyes, he pinched the bridge of his nose. Telling a woman to leave more than once had never happened before, because he wasn’t normally this tired, and when he wasn’t this tired, he was everything analogous to a whirling devil. And so, when he gave a command, women usually sensed the peril and knew better than to argue. “Pretty much. Thought you understood what this was.”
Lazy as his eyes felt at the moment, he flicked them open with evident severity and pinned them to hers. “Get the hell up and get going, woman! Or so help me…”
Recording his seriousness at last, Nameless Blond scrambled from the bed and crept around on the fluffy red carpet retrieving pieces of her clothes. Appeased, he strolled to the floor-to-ceiling glass window of the hotel room and gazed out at the twinkling city of Chicago. The weak shade of light from the corner lamp silhouetted his tall, muscular frame in the darkness as he stood nude and pensive before the window. He used his thumbs to crick his fingers one by one on both hands simultaneously as he tried his damndest not to think of
; but such was an impossible task.
How much longer?
. How much longer would it be before he could regain the missing half of his soul?
God, his heart ached at every thought of
. The gnawing fact that the hands that were caressing her weren’t his, that the lips that were kissing hers weren’t his, that the body that was making love to hers…oh dear god, it’s as if a bullet was left lodged in the center of his heart, killing him slowly, painfully, surely. His fingers curled into mighty fists at his side. No. He could tolerate it no longer. He needed to reclaim what was his. It was time he apprised Cali D of who she
was to him. That she belonged not to Cali D, but to him. And if that piece of trash tried to rebel, he’d make sure the a-hole woke up in some godforsaken country at the end of the earth that knew not civility.
A faint click of the door handle pulled him from his malevolent thoughts and he turned to the view of Nameless Blond, her green eyes bright as she said, “Goodnight, Mr. Nelson.”
In lieu of answering, he nodded at the opened door, impatient for her presence to be no more. The profound guilt that he always suffered after sleeping with someone that wasn’t
had never allowed him to be pleasant to these innocent women who simply wanted more of him. His usual reaction to the pang of guilt he felt along with the angering fact that he couldn’t have
instead, was to take it out on the woman present. It was awful, he knew, but he couldn’t help it. Nameless Blond gave a sad smile and tottered away, the door closing silently behind her. He marveled at how alluring her green eyes were. But alluring as they were, he favored eyes that were seductively brown. A smile brightened his face. Cognac-brown to be exact.
The loud din of his cell phone broke through the silence of the room and he walked leisurely in his nudeness to retrieve it from the nightstand. At first glance of the caller ID, a huge commotion erupted in his chest. “Ralph, at this hour? Please tell me she’s okay,” he growled into the receiver, even though his eyes were squeezed shut with fear of receiving unwanted news.
“Yes, Mr. Nelson. She’s sound. But…”
“Out with it, Ralph!”
“She’s taken on a job at
? Tico’s Club?”
“What in God’s good name is she doing there?! Please, please say bartending,” he barked.
Ralph paused for a moment. “No, Sir. She’s dancing.”
Mere seconds ago, his eyes were heavy with sleep, but they were now wide awake with shock and rage. Things were getting out of hand. “What the hell happened to her job at the Bistro?”
“She lost it a week after her split with Cali D, Sir.”
His chest suddenly felt vacant, and he realized that it was because his heart had fallen to the pit of his stomach. “She…She hasn’t gone back to Cali D since she left him?”
“No, Sir. It seems she’s serious this time around. And it’s smart timing, too. For, as you already know, the Cubans are out for his soul this time.”
Fire blazed from his nostrils. “Then why the
am I now hearing of all this?! That she never went back to Cali D
that she lost her job?! What the hell am I paying you all for?”
“I’m sorry, Sir. These past few weeks you’ve been from country to country, state to state and every time we’ve tried to get in touch with you…it’s to no avail.”
Damn, his addiction to work had caused him to neglect the most significant thing in his life. A weep lingered somewhere around his stomach area. If
had to pick up a job at
, then that means she’s in need. Good God, she’s hurting and in need! She shouldn’t be hurting when he could so
take her pain away. She shouldn’t be in need of anything when she already had it all. “When did she start?”
Perfect. “Go and get Tico to phone me. Now.” He began pacing the length of the room, his fingers raking through his hair repeatedly. “And from here out, every goddamn move she makes,
I. Want. To. Know.
Got it? Doesn’t matter how busy I am, don’t stop calling until you get through to me. Do you understand?”