New Beginnings

Zane stirred from his sleep to the sound of someone humming.What the hell? He knew for a fact that he lived alone, so who was  in his house? He tried to remember if he’d brought someone home last night from the bar he’d gone too. No, he definitely hadn’t brought anyone home. He would have remembered that.

Rising from his bed, he followed the humming into his kitchen. He froze in the doorway upon seeing a pair of gorgeous brown legs. He followed those gorgeous legs up to one of his white t-shirts that hung loosely on the woman’s body. Was she wearing underwear underneath there? He wondered. Good grief. He was acting like a starved sex maniac but for some reason he couldn’t stop his train of thought. Even though his shirt was big on her, he could see the curves that accentuated her body. His eyes traveled further to brown and blonde curls that looked oddly familiar. His heart did a flip flop as he realized who this person was. It was Lexi. And when her eyes met his, he knew he was right.

She must have sensed he was there. Or had he said something? Hell, he didn’t know. He was too mesmerized by that luscious, shapely body of hers that he couldn’t remember. Shit. This was his best friend’s sister. Rafael would kill his ass if he knew he was lusting after Lexi.

“Hi, Zane. You doing okay?” She said softly. Her eyes took in his finely sculpted body and she had to keep herself from sighing. The man was beautiful personified.

He shook himself out of his lust filled haze or at least he tried to. Get a grip, man. “Lexi, what the hell are you doing in my house? I don’t remember letting you in last night.” His voice boomed. He cringed. Okay, that didn’t come out right.

She frowned and planted her hands on her hips. “Well, somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. First off, I called you and asked could I stay the night, because Gabe and I had a huge fight last night. You might want to check your phone in case you don’t believe me. And second, do not talk to me like that. I’ll just get my shit and leave.” She threw down the spatula she had been using for the pancakes she was cooking. She turned off the burner and walked past him to the guest room she’d slept in.

The nerve of him talking to her like she was some stalker or something. What the hell was wrong with him? She wondered. What made her come over here, she wasn’t sure. Whatever the reason, it had been a big mistake. She hastily put on her jeans and tank top. Before she could slip on her shoes, she felt his presence. Just like she had in the kitchen. What was that? It was like her body went on high alert whenever he was near now.

“Lexi, wait. I’m so sorry about how I talked to you.” After she’d left the kitchen, he remembered her call late last night. He’d been half drunk which was the reason he couldn’t remember at first. He shouldn’t have talked to her like that. Hell, he’d never been that abrupt with her and it unnerved him that he’d hurt her. Why it bothered him so much, he couldn’t say. He was more upset with himself because of his reaction to her. Maybe it was the shock of seeing her without much on her body. Yeah, right. He was he fooling? Himself? Probably.

He wasn’t sure what possessed him to move towards her but he did. He stood behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders and drew her back to his chest. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he pressed a kiss to her hair. “You don’t have to leave, Lexi.” God, she smelled incredible. Her body was soft against his and he couldn’t stop himself from reveling in how good she felt against him.

Her breath caught when he embraced her and smelled her hair. She hadn’t expected this. Not at all. Her anger melted just that quickly. “Zane, what’s happening?” She whispered. Suddenly, she found herself snuggling deeper into his arms. Not wanting him to ever let her go. His strong arms felt incredible around her.

“I don’t know. I saw my best friend’s sister in my t-shirt and now I can’t get that image out of my head. You looked incredibly sexy.” His voice dropped an octave lower.

Sexy? Oh my God, he wants me! She screamed in her head. For years she’d liked Zane but he’d never really noticed her. Wait. What was she getting so happy about? She was involved with someone. She couldn’t ignore that. Could she? “Zane, I…I’m with Gabe, remember.” Well, that sounded convincing. Real good job, Lexi.

He wrapped one of her soft curls around his finger. “Are you? You guys fight a lot, Lexi. Why are you still with him?” He’d always wondered about that but never asked. She deserved so much better.

She wasn’t sure how to answer him. The question had crossed her mind more than once. Last night’s fight had been the worst fight they’d ever had. Gabe had accused her of being in love with someone else and things had escalated from there. Technically, they had broken up. Hadn’t they? “I don’t know.”

She sounded so unsure. He hated that. He wanted her for himself. As crazy as it sounded, that’s what he wanted. Gabe be damned. He gently tugged the hair wrapped around his finger until her head fell back onto his shoulder. “Let me give you something to think about.” He placed small moist kisses on her beautiful neck and felt her shudder. He kissed her cheek and then his mouth slid to hers. Their breaths mingling sent his senses into overdrive. When their mouths joined, he felt a jolt in his body. God, he’d never felt that before with anyone else. He groaned when he felt her tongue slide into his mouth. When his tongue slid back over hers, a fire began to build in his lower belly. And damn he never wanted it to go out.

She turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck. She moaned when he pulled her closer. Their kiss turned hot and demanding. She rubbed her body against his and gasped when she felt how hard he was. The passion that gripped her made her dizzy with longing. She had never felt this out of control…not even with Gabe….Because she didn’t love him. She loved Zane. This newfound revelation stopped her cold. She froze in his arms and panic began to set in. She loved a man who didn’t love her back. In fact, he’d never thought of her as a woman until today. Oh God, she had to go. Now she understood how Gabe felt. He loved a woman that didn’t love him back. Funny how that little fact had never come across her mind until now.

“Lexi, are you okay?”

She shook her head and quickly moved out of his arms before she changed her mind. “I have to leave. I will call you later.”

He frowned. Something just wasn’t right about her hurried departure. ” Wait. Lexi..”

“No. Just stop. Please.” She gathered her things and all but ran out of Zane’s house. As soon as she reached her car and got inside, she hit her steering wheel with her fist. How could she have not known that she loved Zane? Had she been in denial? That was a strong possibility. She wasn’t sure but she needed to figure it out. But first she needed to move out of Gabe’s apartment and find her own.

Two weeks later

Zane felt like he was going crazy. He shut down his computer and leaned back in his chair in his office. For the millionth time, he thought about Lexi and their kiss. He’d loved every minute of her lips on his. He loved the taste of her and was disappointed that the kiss had ended so quickly.

He wasn’t sure what made her run from him but he was determined to find out. He wasn’t easily deterred. If anything, he was more determined to find her. He’d already tried calling her but she wouldn’t answer. He had even been desperate enough to go by the apartment sh’de shared with Gabe. When Gabe had told him that she’d moved, it was as if he’d been sucker punched in the stomach. Now, he had no choice but to ask Rafe. Shit. The last thing he wanted was for his best friend to be upset with him, but he just couldn’t give a damn right now. He needed to see Lexi like yesterday.

Rising from his chair, he went next door to Rafe’s office. He and Rafe had been partners in their construction business, Stepping Stones LLC, for nearly ten years. They’d never let business come in between their friendship and he was glad that he could trust Rafe. He knocked on his door and peered inside. Rafe waved him inside.

“What’s up, man? Have a seat.”

He pushed his hands into his pockets. “No. I’d better not. This won’t take long.”

Rafael’s eyebrows drew together. “What’s wrong, Zane? Has something happened?”

Zane pushed a hand through his already tousled hair. “No, everything’s fine. Have you heard from Alexis?”

“Yeah. She called this morning.”

“Okay. Is she still in school? At Stanford, right?”

“Yes. She normally leaves around two in the afternoon.”

Great. That was enough to track her down. “Thanks, man. I will catch up with you later, okay?”

“Hold it right there. Zane, is there something on between you two?”

Zane exhaled sharply. “I won’t lie to you. I think there is something going on between us. What exactly that is, I’m not sure. I just need to talk to her.”

Rafe smiled knowingly. This was the first time he’d seen his friend so out of sorts over a woman in quite some time. His sister no less. “Looks like you got it bad, man.”

Zane’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “What the hell does that mean?”

Rafe chuckled. “You like Lexi. Admit it.”

Dammit. He was not suppose to catch on this quick. “Hell. I guess you could say that.”

“Why was it so hard for you to say that?”

“Come on, man. You know why. Let’s not pretend.”

Rafe shrugged. “I’m not. It’s been five years since Amber ripped you to shreds because of her inability to be faithful to you. Don’t tell me you’re not over that?”

What kind of question was that? Of course he was over it. “I am. I’m just a lot more cautious now. Lexi’s younger than Amber was.”

Rafe snorted. “She’s five years younger than you. That’s not a huge difference. Besides, why does that matter?”

It didn’t really. He just didn’t want to be hurt again. “Let’s not go there right now. I gotta catch her before she leaves school.”

“Just so you know, I don’t think you’re really being cautious, otherwise you wouldn’t be running after her. Care to tell me how all this came about?”

Zane rolled his eyes upwards. “Later, Rafe.” He ignored his friend laughter as he left.

Stanford Campus

Lexi walked out of her last class of the day. She was glad to be done for the day. She had a few months until graduation and then she could start her career as a nurse. As she walked outside to her car, she saw a couple of women she knew and waved to them. She was a few feet away from her car when she saw him. Zane. He was casually leaning against his truck. All of a sudden, it felt like she couldn’t breathe. How did he know what time she left school? She wondered.

Granted, she hadn’t left right at two today, but he didn’t look like he was in a hurry. What was he doing here? Damn, she was not prepared for this. Lexi, just breathe and just go talk to him. She reasoned with herself. But she couldn’t do it. She had to get past him somehow without him seeing her. She began walking but stopped again when his head lifted and their eyes met. Their kiss came rushing back into her mind. She knew he had to be thinking of it too.

Ignoring him or at least trying to, she made a beeline for her car. She pulled the keys from her purse with shaky hands once she got there. She’d just gotten the door open, when a shadow fell over her. He didn’t need to touch her for her to know it was him.

“Its time to stop running, Alexis.” He said as he gently closed her car door.

She swallowed hard and did her best not to tremble. She wasn’t scared of him because she knew he would never hurt her. The feelings she had for him made her afraid to take a chance. “Zane, please.” She pleaded.

He drew her back to him and inhaled her scent. She smelled of lilac and flowers. “God, Lexi, I missed you. It’s crazy how one encounter can change you.” He left off forever. It was too soon to say that.

“I know what you mean.” She murmured.

He gently pushed her curls behind her shoulder. He dipped his head to place a kiss there, and when he heard her inhale sharply, all the blood in his body felt like it was rushing to one spot in particular. He had to get a grip. The last thing he wanted was to scare her off. “Lexi, we need to talk. Don’t you agree?”

She nodded and let herself snuggle deeper into his embrace. She’d missed him and his touch. Suddenly, she regretted her impulse decision to run from him.”Yes, I suppose so.”

“I love when you do that.” He murmured near ear.

She smiled. “What is that exactly?”

“Snuggling deeper into my arms. Trusting me.”

She moved her body just enough to turn and look into his eyes. The hazel depths mesmerizing her. “Hi.”

He smiled. “Hi there.”

She sighed. “I guess I owe you an explanation.”

“An explanation would be nice.”

She chuckled. “Where do you want to go to talk?”

He pulled her closer. “Wherever you’re most comfortable. I promise I wont do anything you don’t want me to do.”

Indecision gripped her hard, but for the moment she decided to just be free and not so uptight. “So no kissing?”

He grinned. “Do you want me to kiss you, Alexis?”

She loved the way he said her full name. There was something sexy about how he let the “l” roll off his tongue. “I will admit that I’ve been thinking about it since I left your house. Yes.”

“You mean since you ran from my house?” He teased

She groaned and ducked her head. “Look, I-

He slid his finger down her cheek. “Hey, this is new for me too. I guess I can understand why you ran. Let’s go talk somewhere in private. Where would you like to go?”

He had no idea and she wasn’t going to correct him. She had no intention of telling him she loved him…yet. “How about your place?”

“Are you sure you’re okay with that?”

She smiled. “I’m more than okay with it. Come on. We can come back for my car later.”

“If you’re sure, then okay.” He took her hand and led her to his truck. When he helped her into his truck, he had to keep himself from staring at the way her skirt clung to her thighs. He had to keep his desires under control, at least until he talked to her. Damn, it was going to be a long day.

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Risking Her Heart Pt 3.

Sienna examined herself in the mirror in her bedroom. She looked so different. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d gone all out for herself. Sure, she was accustomed to going to a few social get togethers but this was different. Slowly sliding her hands down her black cocktail dress, she admired the roundness of her hips and her tiny waist. Turning to the side, she admired her derrière. It wasn’t huge but it was big enough to make Antonio do a double take. Especially in this form-fitting dress. The bodice of her dress made her breasts look much bigger. Not what she’d been looking to do but she had really wanted the dress. She’d gotten it from Macy’s this morning and had paid quite a bit for it and the shoes. The strappy Jimmy Choos sandals that adorned her feet were worth every penny. Her pedicure looked great against the royal blue color of her shoes. She had always liked to spice up a black outfit with color. It just didn’t seem right not to. She’d straightened her hair earlier that day and loved the volume and bounce that she’d added. Glancing at her clock by the bed, her eyes rounded as she realized she only had ten minutes left to calm the butterflies in her stomach, before Antonio arrived. Just calm down, Sienna. Breathe. She went over to the mirror and applied her lip gloss. Her phone rang just as she’d finished and her heart rate went into a gallop.

“Hello?”

“Hey sis. Are you ready for your date?”

Sienna’s jaw dropped. “How did you know about that?”

“A little birdie told me.” Samantha teased.

Antonio had spilled the beans. Was he telling everyone? She wondered “Sam, please don’t tell anyone yet.”

“Why not? Aren’t you happy?”

She smiled. “Yes, of course. I just don’t want everyone in our business…yet. Especially not mom or Mrs. Caldarone. You know how they are.” Her mom and Mrs. Caldarone were thick as thieves. Had been for a long time. She just didn’t want them asking her a thousand questions.

Samantha chuckled. “Yes, I know. Okay, it’s your secret for now, Sienna. I’m happy you’re happy.”

Just then the doorbell to her condo rang. “Shit, Sam, he’s here.”

“Calm down and breathe. Have a good time. Tell me about it later. Bye.”

Sienna barely heard her sister hang up. Putting the phone down, she went to answer the door. Taking a deep breath, she pulled the door opened and time felt like it stood still for just a moment. Oh my. Antonio was wearing a very nice blue Armani suit. What drew her attention was the way his shirt molded to his torso. The man was sex on a stick. She nearly groaned out loud. She noticed he was saying something and tried to listen.

“You look good enough to eat, baby. And that dress…” He let out a low whistle of appreciation.

She blushed and walked into his arms. “Thank you. You look so sexy. I don’t know if I can keep my hands to myself tonight.”

He chuckled softly. Sliding his hands down to her derrière, he squeezed softly. He’d always loved this. “Me either, darling. In fact, I prefer to take you back inside and make love to you, but you wanted to go out on a date so I shall oblige your request.”

She kissed his ear and felt him stiffen in surprise. “Thank you. You won’t be disappointed.” She drew back from the embrace but before she could move out of his arms completely, he lowered his head to kiss her. She sighed when his lips touched hers gently. As always, she wanted more. As he backed away, she pulled him back to her, wrapped her arms around his neck, tunneled her fingers through his hair, and deepened the kiss. Okay, they weren’t going to make it to dinner. Not at the rate they were going. She suckled on his bottom lip and nipped it with her teeth. Next thing she knew, Antonio was slowly backing her into her house. He closed the door with his foot and swept her into his arms. She held on as if her life depended on it.

“I take it that you’re aware that we aren’t going on the date.” He said as he walked to her bedroom.

She laid her head on his shoulder and inhaled his scent. “I know we aren’t. Maybe next time?”

Yeah, if we meet each other there. Coming to each other’s house, is not a good idea. Today is a good a example.”

She nuzzled his neck. God, he smelled good. “Are you telling me you hadn’t already thought about ravishing me?”

He moaned. “Sienna, stop that. I can’t think straight as it is.” He placed her on her bed and started taking off her heels. “I love these. Remind me to have you model them for me later.” He kissed her ankle then up her leg. Pushing her dress up further, he placed a wet kiss on the inside of her thigh. He heard her breath hitch in her throat. He pushed her dress up some more and revealed royal blue lace underwear and inhaled her scent. It was then he realized she was already wet for him. Sliding his finger over her hot center, he heard her whimper. Feeling a little bolder, he inched a finger around the seam of her underwear, slid it inside and slid his finger up her slit.

Tony…” She let her head fall back and writhed beneath his touch. She felt him move her panties to the side, and he pressed a kiss to her now aching hot center. “Oh!” She yelped. His tongue had replaced his mouth and she wiggled closer to his mouth. She watched through hooded eyes as he put a leg on each of his shoulders and slid his hands under her bottom, bringing her directly against his mouth. There was no room left to move. Oh God, the sensations running through her body were just too much. The pressure of his tongue nearly drove her insane with need. He swirled it over and over again. Feeling herself tense up, she pulled him closer. She was so close. When she felt his mouth suck on her sensitive nub, she screamed his name and let her orgasm ripple through her. He didn’t stop though. He kept sucking until he she went limp.

She fell back on the bed, trying to catch her breath. She felt him attempting to take off her underwear and she lifted her hips so he could take them off. She slowly lifted her head to see him taking off his jacket and shirt. She groaned when he fully removed his shirt. She’d always loved his build. When she had first seen it in college, she all but drooled over that lean, taut body of his. When he walked back over, she felt herself trembling and they hadn’t even made love yet! She gazed into his eyes as he towered over her. A flicker of emotion flashed in the depths that she couldn’t explain but then it quickly disappeared. He helped her out of her dress then quickly stripped her of her bra. Then he removed the remainder of his clothing.

Laying down on top of her, he whispered in her ear, “You’re mine, Sienna. For so long, I’ve waited to tell you that. You’re mine and I love you. I love your smile, your heart, your laugh, everything.” When she turned her head to look at him, he kissed her soft lips and slowly inched his penis inside of her hot channel. It had been a long time since he’d been with any woman because his thoughts had only been centered on the woman beneath him. No woman had ever measured up to her and he doubted any woman would.

Sienna felt like she was drowning in lust and love. She could not get enough of Antonio’s kisses and touches. And now he was inside her, filling her. She wrapped her legs around his waist and pushed down on the length of him.

He tore his mouth from hers. “Sienna, wait. It’s been a long time since I’ve been with anyone. I want this to last.”

She shook her head. She needed him now. “I don’t care, right now. We can go slow later. Please, Tony.” She whimpered and undulated her hips.

“Shit, Sienna.” He moaned. He slid his hands underneath her bottom and lifted her slightly to get a better angle. Now he was buried deep inside her. He moved slowly, measuring each thrust. Taking as much time as he possibly could. Then he swiveled his hips and she tightened the muscles inside her wet channel. Oh God. If she kept that up, he was going to bust at any moment. Unable to control himself now, he thrust harder and harder until he felt her tense. He knew she was close and so was he. It wouldn’t take much for him to come now. He reached in between their bodies and pressed a thumb to the sensitive nub between her legs as he slammed into her wet channel over and over again until she was spasming beneath him and screaming his name. After two more thrusts, he stiffened and moaned her name as he spilled his seed into her. Afterwhile, he pulled the covers back and helped her get under them. Then he spooned behind her and they fell asleep together.

Family Dinner

A couple of days later, Sienna was on her way to her mom’s house for her family’s weekly dinner with both the Joneses and Caldarones. The Joneses, her family, and the Caldarones, Antonio’s family, had been getting together for dinners for over a decade and they never got tired it. Thanks to her mom and Mrs. Caldarone for forming a tight bond when they were teenagers. She was looking forward to seeing everyone again including Antonio. She hadn’t seen him since Sunday morning. She’d talk to him on the phone a few times but that was it. She hadn’t dwelled on it then, but now she wondered what the hell was going on. Was there something going on? She inhaled and exhaled. She was just overreacting, that’s all.

She pulled up to her parent’s home in Daytona Beach. Before she even got to the door, she could hear the music and rambunctious laughter from inside. She chuckled and made her way to the door. She opened the door and walked inside. Immediately, she saw Antonio sitting on one of the bar stools near the kitchen..And he wasn’t alone. Her smile faded and her stomach clenched. Some redhead she’d never seen here before was standing next to him with her arm draped over his shoulder as if she had the right. Tony had said she was his, didn’t he? Damn, she hated second guessing herself.

She watched as the redhead said something to him and Antonio bellowed with laughter. At that moment, she saw red and had half a mind to charge over there and demand an explanation, but she caught herself. Her mom would not like her causing a scene. Besides, they didn’t know about her newfound relationship with Tony. Hell, was it a relationship? She didn’t know. They hadn’t talked about it yet. That was the problem. Or part of it.

Instead of walking further into the living room where everyone would see her, she went back out the door and straight to the beach behind the house to clear her head.

Tony looked at his watch for the umpteenth time. It was five minutes after eight o’clock. Where was Sienna? He wondered. She was supposed to have been there fifteen minutes ago. Maybe he should call her. What he really wanted was to see her. Two days was a long time to be away from her but he had his reasons. He had business to take care of with his finances and he needed to clear his head. Making love to Sienna had him thinking about marriage and a family. Not that he hadn’t thought about it before but now it was deeply embedded into his brain. He wanted everything from her and he hoped she wanted the same. First, he had to find her. He rose from his seat and walked over to where Samantha sat.

“Sam, have you seen Sienna?”

A frown creased her forehead. “No. She called me to let me know she was on her way but after that, no.” She made a move to get up.

He patted her hand gently. “No. I will find her. Just relax and don’t stress. Marc would kill me if anything happened to you.”

Sam smiled. “Thanks. I’m sure she’s fine.”

He hoped so. This just wasn’t like her. “I’ll be back.” He made his way out the front door and stopped short. Her car is here? But she wasn’t inside. Maybe she’s at the beach. He walked around to the back and there she was standing near the ocean. He breathed a sigh of relief. He watched her hair and summer dress billow around from the wind. She was such a beautiful sight. He walked over to where she stood.

“Hey, you.”

She quickly wiped the tears from her eyes before he could see them. “How’d you know I was out here?”

He frowned. Why wasn’t she launching herself into his arms? Saying that she missed him? He reached out and touched her arm but she jerked away from his touch. “Baby, did something happen? What’s wrong?”

“You mean other than the fact that I haven’t seen you in the last two days, that you couldn’t wait to leave my bed, and then I come over here and see some redhead all over you?”

“Sienna, come on. You know me. Don’t you?” He pulled her to him. This time he didn’t care if she fought him. He was not losing her over something as small as this. Tangling his fingers in her curls, he lowered his head to kiss her slowly and thoroughly. Letting her know just how much he’d missed her.

She whimpered as his tongue slid over hers in such a mind tingling erotic way that had her straining to get closer to him. She never wanted to let him go and for him to never let her go.

He was grateful that she didn’t fight him and clung to him instead. Tasting her for the first time after two days, was his undoing. He had the urge to make love to her right here. He hurriedly broke the kiss before he actually did do just that and entwined their fingers together. Their harsh breathing filled the space between them. “I would never hurt you like that. I’m not crazy about some redhead. I’m crazy about you.”

For a moment, she couldn’t speak. He was crazy about her? She couldn’t believe it. “You are? Then why did you leave? I don’t understand.”

He lifted her hand to his mouth and kissed it briefly.”Sienna, I left because I had to take care of some business. I also needed to think about us.”

“What is there to think about, Antonio?”

He took a deep breath. “I don’t just want to sleep with you, Sienna. I want forever for us. The whole package, darling. I wasn’t sure if you wanted the same thing.”

Tears pooled in her eyes and her pulse leaped. “Tony, really? Of course, I want the same thing. I love you and don’t like the idea of not having you.”

His heart swelled with love for her. He was so happy she wanted the same thing. He softly touched his lips to hers then whispered, “Marry me, Sienna Jones. Take my name. Have my children. Make me the luckiest man in the world.”

Tears slid down her cheeks now. “Yes, Tony, I will marry you.” She threw her arms around his neck and he swung her around. She laughed. He gently sat her on her feet.

It was then that she heard voices and looked over his shoulder. She smiled as both families watched them from the patio. “I think we are busted.” She teased.

He looked back and smiled also. “Indeed we are. Well, if they must watch then they can watch me slide this onto your finger.” He pulled out the box from his pocket. He opened the box and revealed the sparkling diamond ring he’d purchased.

She gasped. Oh my God. “Tony, it’s..it’s beautiful. You bought this while you were away from me, didn’t you?”

He grinned. “Yes, I did. Any objections?”

She shook her head. “No.” She held out her left hand and watched in awe as he slipped it on her ring finger. A perfect fit. She heard the families whistling and yelling.

He held out his hand. “You ready?”

She placed her hand in his. “Definitely.” Together they walked back to the house to celebrate this occasion with their family.

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Risking Her Heart Pt. 2

He hurriedly put on his pants and walked quickly to the door. Without looking through the peep-hole, he yanked it open. And all the air rushed out of him…Sienna….He forced himself to breathe. He hadn’t expected her. God, she looked so good in her tank top and cut off shorts. He swallowed hard and made himself say something.

“Hey. What are you doing here?” He asked then cringed, Damn, that sounded lame.

Was he serious? He hadn’t seen her all week and that’s all he could say??? “Well, let’s see. You don’t come by, you stopped taking my calls, and you wouldn’t even call me. Does that about sum it up for you? Why else would I be here?” She asked, her voice rising with each word.

He sighed. Dammit, he was gonna pay for this big time. She rarely raised her voice, except when she was furious. Which wasn’t often. “Sienna….

She didn’t want to hear anything he said. The last time she had been this furious with him was years ago when they were freshmen in college. He’d stopped talking to her then too. He was too busy dating some upperclassman and had no time for her. When he’d been dumped by her, he came running back but she didn’t easily forgive him. It took her two months to get over it and let him back in. “Shut up, Antonio!! Don’t say anything. I came over here because I was worried about you and I missed you. Then when I get here you ask me a casual question as if we had seen each other all week?? As if nothing had happened between us? It was nothing to you to be away from me, huh? You didn’t give a shit, did you? How is that possible?”

He flinched at her words. She also didn’t make it a habit of swearing, either. “Sienna…

“Shut up!!!” She screamed and turned to go back to her car. She was a fool for coming here. On the way over, she’d tried not to get angry with him but the more she thought about how he just casually tossed her away after he didn’t get what he wanted, the angrier she got. Granted, she hadn’t told him the truth about her feelings but still, she wouldn’t have treated him like this. She didn’t get two steps before he grabbed her arm and quickly walked her into his house. He slammed the door shut and pinned against her the door.

“How far did you actually think you would get?” He asked

Her chest heaved uncontrollably. “Get off me, Antonio. I’m warning you.”

“Or what? Huh Sienna? What will you do?” He taunted. He knew the anger was just a cover up for how she truly felt. He’d hurt her badly and it was easier for her to be angry with him.

She growled and pounded his chest furiously. “Get off me! I hate you! How could you leave me like that?! I hate you, Antonio!” She collapsed in his arms and sobbed.

He’d caught her just in time. He lifted her petite body into his arms and carried her to the couch. God, he felt horrible. He shouldn’t have left her. He sat down and held her close to him as she continued to cry. Rubbing her back softly, he whispered his love for her over and over again. He couldn’t help it. Finally, after a long excruciating moment, he felt her relax and sniffle.

She slowly lifted her head from his chest and stared at his muscles for a moment before meeting his penetrating gaze. She swallowed hard. Her mouth suddenly dry. “I didn’t realize you….” She shook her head and started over. “I’m sorry I cried all over you, Tony.”

He tangled his hands in her curls and brought her face closer to his. She looked beautiful, even with puffy eyes and a red nose. “It’s okay. I’m so sorry I hurt you, sweetheart. I was hurt. I didn’t think things through.”

She placed her hands on his chest and leaned in to him until there was little space between them. “Tony…

“We can still be friends. Things don’t have to change.” He kept talking as if he hadn’t heard her.

“Tony, would you please be quiet?” She closed the space between them and pressed her mouth softly onto his. She drew back. “I’m sorry that I said I hated you. I don’t. Please know that.” She whispered and kissed him again. This time he reciprocated. He nibbled on the corner of mouth and then teased her with his tongue. She deepened the kiss and eagerly accepted his tongue into her mouth. She moaned when their tongues met. His tongue tasted of raspberries. Hmm, her favorite. She sampled all he had to offer and then some. The kiss went on and on, until finally he broke the kiss. He laid his forehead against hers and their harsh breathing filled the air.

“I didn’t expect that, Sienna. I…God, do you have any idea what you do to me? I really hope this wasn’t something you did out of pity.”

She frowned. “Of course it wasn’t done out of pity! What the hell, Tony? You really think I would do that?”

He entwined their hands together. “Stop. Just tell me. Please.”

She sighed. “No, Tony. I would never do that. Why would I ever do that? I love you too much to-

“Whoa. You what?” He lifted his head from hers and dropped her hands.

She smiled. “I love you, Antonio. You heard me right.”

“But you said that you didn’t love me that way.” He said in disbelief. Why had she lied to him? He wondered

“I know what you are thinking. You’re wondering about the reason that I lied. Well, I was scared and I don’t know how this is going to work. You’re the only man I’ve ever let myself fall for. I just got really good at hiding my feelings. I’m sorry. Seems like I’m saying that a lot today.”

He swallowed hard. She loved him. He knew it! Or rather he had suspected she was hiding her feelings. He pulled her into his arms and hugged her. “Sienna, I love you so much. I’m glad you love me too. I honestly don’t know if I could have been only friends again but I would’ve tried.”

She caressed his cheek. “Tony, you drive me insane sometimes, I swear. But I’m glad you’re glad. I missed you a lot.” Her hands slid to the back of his neck and tugged him closer. She placed an open-mouthed kiss onto his mouth and she felt his hands tighten in her hair. It felt good. He rolled her underneath him and plunged his tongue into her open mouth. She moaned softly and wrapped her arms around his neck. When she felt his body press against hers…oh man…she felt herself getting damp below…It had been a long time since she’d felt that…Allowed herself to feel like this. Then he started slowly rocking his hips against hers and she tore her mouth free from his kiss.

She gasped loudly. “Tony…” She whispered

“Yes, baby?” He rumbled near her ear. He licked a trail from her ear to her neck and felt her shudder beneath him. God, she felt so good beneath him like this.

“Are we ready for this?” She asked, doubt filled her voice

He lifted his head to look into those gorgeous amber eyes of hers. “Too soon?” He asked. The last thing he wanted to do was rush her into something she wasn’t ready for.

She chewed on her lip for a second. “I wouldn’t say that. I just think maybe we should go on a date first, perhaps?”

A slow smile spread across his face. He’d forgotten that his Sienna was still innocent in certain areas. He could wait for as long as she wanted him to. “Would tomorrow be too soon for you?”

“Tomorrow is perfect. You’re sure you’re okay with this?”

He kissed her full lips to reassure her. “Baby, you know me. I’m a very patient man. I will wait as long as you want me to. Okay?”

She smiled. “Okay. What time should I be ready?”

“Be ready at seven.”

“And where are we going?”

He nibbled on her mouth. “You’ll see.”

She smiled again. “I love surprises.” She whispered, quickly becoming aroused by his nibbling.

“I know, sweetheart.” He kissed her full lips again and then there was nothing but silence.

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Broken Hearts Mended

“What the hell am I doing here?” Marcus asked himself for the millionth time as he sat in his car in front of his first love’s home. The fact that she was here…back in Charlotte..had thrown him for a loop. He’d thought that he would never see her again but now she was here and he was having a hard time not going to her. He couldn’t remember a time when he hadn’t felt that invisible current that pulled them together. It hadn’t been like that with anyone else..not even with his ex-wife. Trying to get over Sanaa, had never worked. As much as he’d tried to..and he’d tried pretty damn hard..it just never happened. Maybe because they had unfinished business perhaps? She’d left him high and dry fifteen years ago..no explanation…no letter…no phone call..just absolutely,positively, nothing. She’d never come back to visit or see him. For years, he’d wondered why she’d left him without any explanation. He still couldn’t figure it out to this day. He sighed. Well he wasn’t going to find out by just sitting here. He opened the door and stepped out of the car. Time to go face his past…He prayed that he would stay cool, calm, and collected but he had a nagging feeling that he wouldn’t.

Sanaa closed the curtain quickly before Mark could see her. She had been watching him for the last ten minutes as he sat in his car and now he was on his way to her door. She tried her best to ignore her racing pulse and the increase in her heart rate. It had been so long since she’d last seen him. What was he like now? Was he the same person she’d always known? She sighed as she thought about what had pulled them apart and made her leave Charlotte. Her father. He’d made her leave as soon as she’d graduated from high school. He’d threatened to cut off her trust fund if she continued seeing Mark. It wasn’t so much the threat of him cutting her off. It was the dangerous glint in her father’s eye that said he would do more to get her to stop seeing Mark and leave Charlotte if he had to. He wasn’t beyond getting violent. She didn’t want Mark hurt so she’d left him and all they’d had together. Her father had never liked Mark but he had never threatened him until that day. Her father was dead now which gave her relief instead of sorrow. He had been a sorry, lonely, and vindictive bastard and she’d wished he had been someone else’s father instead of hers. Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard him knock. Oh God, he’s at the door! Okay,okay, just breathe, girl. Don’t lose it. Taking a deep breath, she crossed the living room floor and opened the door.

She plastered a smile on her face that she hoped didn’t look strained. “Mark, what are you doing here?” Damn, he was sexy as hell. If it was possible to look even better when you were older, then Mark definitely had it pegged. He was taller than her five foot two inches..much taller…His hair was grayed at the temples but the rest was black and it hung at his shoulders. The shirt he had on allowed her an incredible view of his lean, hard body, and his jeans should be outlawed. They weren’t tight on him but she could see the outline of his powerful legs and his round backside. Before, she could catch herself, she groaned. Her eyes flew to his, for a moment she saw desire there but then in a flash it was gone.

He smiled although he wasn’t sure if it was genuine or not. He was all tied up in knots. “It’s good to see you. It’s been a long time, Sanaa.” His gaze traveled over body. She certainly wasn’t the skinny teenager he once knew. Her hips were now shapely and they flowed into a slim and taut waist. Her breasts…he averted his gaze. He didn’t even want to go there right now. He was having a hard time as it was thinking straight and he was so trying not to look at her navel piercing. His gaze came back to her face. She still had the same chocolate-colored eyes and honey golden hair..except now it was cut short and wavy. Hands down, she was still the sexiest woman he’d ever known.

“Yes, it has been a long time, Mark. How have you been?” She cringed at her lame attempt to get the conversation started. Hell,they weren’t distant friends that hadn’t seen each other in a while. It was more than friendship between them.

He studied her. She looked as uncomfortable as he felt. “Truth?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

Here goes nothing. “I have been okay but not the same since you left me and Charlotte without an explanation. I did my damnedest to find you but I always got stonewalled. No one wanted to tell me anything. So, tell me princess, where the hell have you been?” He couldn’t deny he was angry with her..Angry at how she’d left and took his heart with her….Angry at how she’d never tried to contact him or find him. How could she just forget about him so easily when he’d never forgotten her? “You know what, let’s just forget it. I shouldn’t have come here.” He slowly backed out of the door and then turned to go to his car. This was a mistake. A huge mistake. He didn’t get far before he felt her arms slip around his waist and he froze.

“Don’t go, Mark. Please, let’s talk. Okay?”

He felt himself relax in her arms despite the fact that he was angry. She always knew how to get to him. He use to love when she would hold him like this. He sighed and she tightened her hold on him.

“Now, you want to talk? After all these years, Sanaa? Why couldn’t you pick up a phone or something?” Dammit, he sounded like a whiny ass man. Part of him didn’t care because she’d always had him open like this but another part of him wanted to close himself off to these emotions. To not feel hurt.

“I..She trailed off.

“You what, Sanaa?”

“I should have a called or wrote. Year after year passed and it just got harder and harder to pick up the phone. I mean, what could have said that would have made this any easier?”

Hell, if he knew. “I loved you so much, Sanaa. And you just took that away.”

She blew out a breath and blinked back the tears that threatened to fall. “I’m sorry. I still love you, Mark. No matter what you may think of me right now, know that I never stopped.” She placed a kiss on his back through his shirt. It felt good to hold him again even if it was just for a short time.

He sucked in a sharp breath. He might as well have been naked. He’d felt the heat of her lips through his shirt. Damn, he was on dangerous ground here. There was so much he wanted to do and say.

“Mark, will you please look at me?” She pleaded.

Before he could stop himself, he turned in her arms to face her. “Tell me again.” His voice rasped.

“I never stopped loving you. How could I ever do that?” She swallowed and forced herself to continue. “I never wanted to leave you. I was forced to leave by my father. He threatened to take away my trust fund but I still refused to go. Then he sort of used you to make me leave. I didn’t want you hurt so I left to go to D.C. to college and that’s where I have been ever since. I’m so sorry that I hurt you. I thought I was doing what was best. I thought by now, you would have forgotten about me.”

He shook his head. “Never. I can’t believe you left so you could protect me. I know your dad didn’t like me but…wow.”

“Yeah. I know. Do you understand now?”

He nodded. “You should have come to me though. We could have left together. Didn’t you trust me?”

She sighed. “Mark, all I wanted was to protect you. My dad was an insufferable, lonely, vindictive bastard. He didn’t care about me or you. He couldn’t wait until I was eighteen so he could get rid of me. He just used you to get me away from here. I know that now.”

He clenched his jaw. If her dad was still living, he’d pummel the man for what he’d done. He pulled her into a tight hug. “I’m sorry, Sanaa. God, I-

She pulled back and placed a finger on his lips. She shook her head vehemently.”No. Don’t do that. It’s not your fault. Not. Your. Fault.” She repeatedly fiercely.

He nodded and kissed her finger. “I’ve missed you so much.”

She lifted his shirt slightly and slid her hands underneath it. She felt his muscles tense beneath her touch. She should have come back sooner to be with him. She should have fought instead of letting her father control her. She had to stop this. That was the past. They were here together now. Feeling more boldly than she ever had in her entire life, she rose on tiptoe to kiss him. He met her halfway, apparently having the same thoughts as she. His kiss was gentle, exploring the crevices of her mouth and lazily stroking her tongue. Her hands slid up his back and the kiss changed to one of need and hunger. She held on as he devoured her mouth. God, he tasted so good. Moans and pants filled the air. Before she knew it, she was being carried into her house. She held on tight as her body trembled violently. This would be her first time with a man. Sure, she’d dated over the years but never had she felt any man was worth giving up her virginity to except for Mark. She could tell he wasn’t one but it didn’t matter.

Somehow, he managed to find her bedroom. He couldn’t believe he was about to do this. They had planned to have their first sexual encounter graduation night but that had been ripped from them. Now, he would do everything in his power to make tonight special for her. He gently laid her on the bed. He had to fight the urge to rip her clothes off. If she kept looking at him like that he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions. Pulling her to the edge of the bed he removed her shirt and sports bra. Her shorts and panties followed shortly afterwards. For a moment he looked at her…she was so beautiful. Everything he could ever want.

“You’re still dressed, Mark.” She said huskily

He grinned. “That can be remedied.”

She scooted closer to him. “Lift your arms.” She whispered. She pulled his shirt over his head and took in the vision before her. She groaned. His body was hard and lean in all the right places. His arms were bigger than they were in high school. His six-pack was so beautiful, as if it was sculpted just right. She found herself leaning over to kiss it. She heard him hiss at the contact and his hands tunneled through her short hair. She licked and nibbled then circled his navel with her tongue. She slowly unzipped his jeans and pulled them down along with his boxers. Her eyes widened as she saw how big he was. How the hell was he supposed to get that into her? She wondered. She lifted her head and met his gaze. She saw as realization dawned on him that she was indeed a virgin.

“Sanaa you’re

“Yep.”

“You’ve never been

She shook her head. “Not like this.”

“Why? Don’t get me wrong, I’m honored but what were you waiting for?”

She looked down. Suddenly, she felt embarrassed about being a virgin and the reason she was still one. She began to push him away but he caught hold of her arm and held her still.

“Answer me, sweetheart.”

“I was saving myself for you, okay? I didn’t want anyone else to take away my virginity. There. Now you know.”

He was truly stunned. He looked at her as she tried to avoid making eye contact with him. She was truly remarkable in every way. He put her arms around his neck and lifted her into his arms. He then sat down on the bed with her in his lap. “Are you sure you want to do this? Once, we start, that’s it. I’m not pulling away.”

She nodded. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“Good.” With that, he lowered his head to her breast and flicked his tongue against her nipple. When she moaned, he pulled it in between his lips and sucked.

“Mark” She whispered. She arched her back as he paid attention to her other breast. This was incredible and they were just beginning. When he touch the folds of her vagina, she nearly screamed. He slid a finger inside her and she moved her hips with it. She looked into his eyes and he increased the pace of his finger. Oh, she felt herself spiraling out of control as she undulated her hips. Her eyes closed and her lips parted as she felt herself quivering. She could feel the pressure building and at any moment it would burst. Oh my God, she screamed in her mind.

“Open your eyes for me, baby. Let me see you come.” He put pressure on her sensitive nub and she screamed. He watched the wonder that came across her face. She was like a kid that had gotten her first taste of candy. He felt her clinch around his fingers several times. He gave her a moment to calm down.

“Wow.” She said once she could catch her breath.

He smiled. “Yeah, well we aren’t finished yet.”

She put her arms around his neck and drew him closer. “Cocky, aren’t we?” She teased.

If he could stare into those chocolate-colored eyes for the rest of his life, he would be a happy man. Where had that come from? He wondered. “No. I call it confidence.” He lifted her again and placed her on her back on the bed. “This might hurt a little but I will do my best to make it hurt as little as possible, okay?”

She palmed his cheek. “I trust you, Mark.”

He nodded. He lifted her right leg and inched his way inside her, giving her time to just adjust to his size. Her eyes widened as he continued and he thought she might tell him to stop but she kept urging him on. God, she felt so good. By sheer force, he stopped himself from plunging into her but it wasn’t easy at all. When he felt the barrier, the one that would break once he thrust inside her, he kissed her deeply. The first thrust broke the barrier and he felt her stiffen beneath him and then relax. He moved slowly until she got use to the rhythm. Damn, she was a fast learner. She clenched him tightly and then let go, only to do it all over again. Then she wrapped her legs around his waist and titled her hips. Her moans of ecstasy were driving him crazy and before he knew it his thrusts became uninhibited and he was coming. Shit. He held on to her hips and continue to plunge into her wetness until he heard her scream and knew she’d gotten hers too. He rolled to the side and pulled her on top of him. For a while, their harsh breathing filled the air.

She laid her head on his chest. “I love you.”

His hand trailed down her back and he let it rest on her hip. “Love me enough to marry me, Sanaa?”

She raised her head. “Weren’t you married before?”

“And just how do you know that?”

She blushed. “I kind of kept up with what you were doing all these years.”

He drew her close until their faces were inches apart. “How?”

“Private investigator.”

His thumb trailed across her lip. “She wasn’t you. It was a mistake. We divorced less than six months into the marriage. We both knew we’d married for the wrong reasons. So, are you going to answer my question?”

“We don’t know anything about each other anymore.”

“I know enough. But we don’t have to get married tomorrow.”

God, he is such a sweetheart, she thought. How could she not want to be his wife? She didn’t need to think about it anymore. “Okay. Yes, I will marry you on one condition?”

He smiled. ” And what’s that?”

She placed a soft kiss on his lips. “That we don’t get divorced. Love me even though sometimes I may want to do bodily harm to you for being cocky.”

He laughed. “Confidence.”

She smiled. “Whatever. Do we have a deal?”

“Oh yeah, we have a deal.” He rolled her beneath him.

“I love you, Mark.” She said softly as she gazed into his eyes.

“Sweetheart, I love you too.” He kissed her deeply. No more words were needed. He showed her just how much she had mended his broken heart.

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More Than Just Friends (Part 4)

Rae woke up to Derrick tracing small circles on her back. It was only mid-afternoon and she’d slept like she was exhausted. She smiled inwardly. Technically she was after their continuous lovemaking. She turned her head to meet his eyes. Her heart did a little pitter patter when he smiled at her. God, I love this man so much, she thought.
She returned the smile. “Hey.”
He kissed her lips softly. “Hey gorgeous. How was your nap?”
She stretched. “It was really good. Thanks.”
He chuckled. “I know. You snored a little.”
She scrunched her nose. “No, I didn’t.”
He shrugged, as if he had some little secret. “Okay.”
He’s serious. She groaned and covered her face. “Oh my God. I am so embarrassed.”
“Why? It’s not the first time. I just never said anything.”
Her mouth dropped open. “What?!?”
He chuckled. “Rae, come on. It doesn’t matter. I love you. Besides, it’s a soft snore. Nothing major at all.”
She snorted. “Yeah, nothing major to you.”
“Come here.” He reached for her and pulled her to his chest. “I love you and I don’t care. Do you hear me loud and clear?”
“Yes, I hear you.”
“Good.” He laid her head on his chest and caressed her hair. He was content just being near her.
“Derrick?” She said softly.
“Yeah, baby?”
She swallowed hard. “About what you said downstairs…when you said you wanted us to be together for a long time…what did you mean?”
He sighed. He should have known that she would bring it back up. He decided to tell her what was in his heart. “Raquel, I can see myself with you forever. This isn’t just a fling for me. I want you to know that. Forever does include marriage but I know you are not ready for that. I can wait as long as you want me to, baby.”
Her heart was pounding so hard she was certain he could hear it. He wanted to marry her. She fought back the tears that threatened to spill over. “How do you know I’m not ready, Derrick?”
His hand stilled in her hair and his pulse hammered. “Rae, what are you saying?”
She lifted her head to look into his eyes. “Answer my question first, Derrick.”
“I just figured since we are just starting out that you would want to take it slow.”
An arched eyebrow rose. “Did you ask me if I wanted to take it slow?”
Now that he thought about, he hadn’t. He just assumed. “I guess I didn’t.”
She stared at him for a long moment then spoke. “Ask me, Derrick.” She said softly
His mouth was suddenly dry. He had never asked a woman to marry him. Rae would be the first and only woman he ever proposed to. “Just wait one second.” He lifted her gently so he could get out of the bed. He went to his armoire and pulled out a box that he had for the last couple of weeks. When he saw this ring in Jared’s, he thought it would fit Rae perfectly. He had it sized for her and engraved. He took a deep breath and walked back over to her. He pulled her to a standing position.
He got down on one knee. “Raquel, I bought this in hopes that you would want to marry me someday. Now I know I’m not the perfect guy but I promise that you will always be loved and cherished. I promise that you will be the only woman I ever love and be in love with. Would you Raquel Simone Williams do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
She smiled through her tears. “Derrick. I can’t believe you. She took a deep breath to calm the butterflies in her stomach. “Yes, yes, yes, I will marry you!” She held out her left hand so that he could slide the ring onto her finger. Her breath hitched when she saw how beautiful it was….A princess cut diamond with a ting of green in the center…her favorite color.
He stood. “What do you think? Do you like it?”
She shook her head. “No. I love it.”
He smiled. “I’m glad that you are taken with it.”
“How long have you had it?”
He shrugged. “About two weeks.”
She smiled. “So you’d already planned to propose?”
“Yeah, eventually. Since you insisted, I did it tonight. Naked might I add.”
She chuckled. “Hey, I like you naked.” She teased and wrapped her arms around his waist. She stood on tiptoe and pressed a kiss to his lips. “I can’t wait to have forever with you.”
His eyes twinkled. “Oh yeah? When do you want to start planning the wedding?”
“As soon as possible.” She purred in his ear.
He groaned. “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” He said and pulled her into a mind-blowing kiss.
Four glorious weeks had passed since Derrick had proposed to her. Ever since then she’d been caught up in their wedding plans. She loved it but at the same time she was completely exhausted. She wished she hadn’t called Teri, her best girlfriend and Derrick’s first cousin to tell her she was engaged. She’d told almost the whole family and ever since then things had been super busy. She barely had time to see Derrick between work, exercise, and making more plans for her wedding. She sighed heavily. She just wanted a tiny itty bitty break. As of right now she had turned all her phones off and the drapes closed. She couldn’t make herself move this morning. Derrick had called but she didn’t feel like talking just yet.
Her mind was in a whirlwind and to top it off, her head hurt and her bladder was unsettled. For the last week, she had felt the need to vomit but nothing ever happened so she just shrugged it off. Thinking it was just exhaustion. But now…she wasn’t certain at all. Her stomach began to heave and this time she was sure she was about to vomit. Oh no, she thought. Somehow she pushed herself out of bed and scrambled to her bathroom. She’d barely made it to the toilet before everything she’d eaten the night before poured out of her mouth. What the hell is going on? She wondered. When she was done, she tried to get up but failed. Her head felt funny….almost lightheaded… She tried again and managed to stand on shaky legs. Her vision became less clear as she tried to walk and she tried to hold onto something to keep her balance but everything seemed out of reach. Tripping over something, she fell to the tiled floor and hit her head hard….She moaned in anguish “Derrick” She whispered then blackness engulfed her vision.
For the umpteenth time, Derrick called his fiancée. He really wanted to see her but he knew she might be tired from all the wedding planning. So, he decided to settle on hearing her rich, sultry voice this morning. She should have answered by now. Something just wasn’t right, he thought. Sirens pulled him out if his thoughts. They were close by. God, please no. He ran to his door and yanked it open. He flew down the steps to Raquel’s house. He saw his cousin outside of Rae’s house crying hysterically.
He grabbed her by her arms. “Teri, what’s happened? Where is Rae?”
“Derrick, I couldn’t wake her up. She wasn’t answering her phone so I came over to see about her and found her on the floor of her bathroom. She wouldn’t wake up! I called for an ambulance.” She cried
His heart thundered in his chest. All the blood drained from his face. No, no, no, his mind screamed. He couldn’t lose her. He ran into the house and into Rae’s bathroom. “Raquel!” He shouted. He went to her side. “Baby, please, you have to wake up. You can’t leave me. Not now. Please.” He pleaded but it was useless. She couldn’t hear him. When she still didn’t move, he lifted her into her arms. He held her tightly to him and noticed she was still breathing. He hadn’t bothered to check if she was breathing before. He had never been so happy to see the rise and fall of her chest. Kissing her forehead lightly, he carried her through the living room and outside. The ambulance pulled up just as he stepped off the porch. He didn’t want to let her go…to let her slip away from him but he had to let the EMT’s do their job.
“Do you know what happened to her sir?”
“No. She was on the floor of her bathroom so she may have hurt her head but I can’t be sure.” He said softly
The man nodded. “Okay. We will take care of her. Can I get a name?”
“Yeah. Raquel Whitfield.”
“Sir, we can take her.”
He gently handed her over to the EMT and walked behind him to the ambulance. He looked over his shoulder to talk to his cousin. “Teri, you can follow us to the hospital.”
She nodded. “Okay.”
He nodded and hurriedly climbed into the ambulance.
Rae moaned softly. God, my head hurts, she thought. Where the hell am I? She slowly opened her eyes. She was in a bed and at least three machines were beeping around her. A hospital? What am I doing here? She wondered. Then it hit her. The vomiting…The fall she’d taken…Someone must’ve found her unconscious. She groaned loudly. Dammit. She must have fallen pretty hard to be in a hospital. She surveyed her room and noticed someone sleeping in the chair next to her bed….Derrick. He was sleeping so peacefully and she hated to wake him. Before she could get the chance, someone knocked on the door and stuck their head inside.
“Is it safe to come in?” Stephen asked with a grin
She smiled. “Sure. Come in.” Before she knew it all of Derrick’s brothers burst through the door waking Derrick. Stephen, James, Rafe, and Zane were all a piece of work. Stephen was the youngest of the five, James the second eldest, and Rafe was the middle child. She loved them all like they were her blood brothers.
“So, are you doing okay? You gave us all a scare.” Stephen said
She blew out a breath. “I hope so, Stephen.” She let her gaze travel to Derrick. His dark eyes studied her and a frowned marred his features. She let out a tremulous breath that she hadn’t been aware she was holding.
Stephen glanced at Derrick and then back at Rae. He cleared his throat. “Um, maybe we should let you two have a moment.”
“Why?” Zane asked
Rafe elbowed him in the side. “Zane now is not the time for your rude candor. Let’s go.”
Raquel watched as they all filed out of the room together. She and Derrick were alone. Her gaze traveled back to his. “Derrick, I—
He held up his hand. “Just stop, please. Rae, you scared the hell out of me today.” He stood up from his chair and walked over to stand beside her.
“Derrick, I’m sorry. I had no idea this would happen. I— He cut her off with a kiss. She moaned when his tongue slid over hers. All too quickly, the kiss was over.
“I love you so much, Rae. I felt like I couldn’t breathe when I saw you lying there. I’m just so grateful that you’re alive and well. Imagining life without you is not something I want to contemplate on.”
Before she could speak, someone else knocked on her door. Dammit, she was trying to talk here. He kissed her softly. “Come in.”
“Raquel, I’m Doctor Stevens. It’s nice to finally see you awake.”
“Thank you. Is everything alright?”
“Well, Raquel, you hit your head pretty hard so you have a concussion. However, within the next day or so you should be much better. The next thing I’m about to tell you is serious.
Rae’s eyes widened. “What? Please tell me.”
Dr. Stevens cleared his throat. “Raquel, we took some blood while you were unconscious. We wanted to make sure there weren’t any complications in your bloodstream. We found out what may have caused you to faint. You’re going to be a mother, Raquel.”
She shook her head. She must be hearing things. “Come again, doc?”
Dr. Stevens chuckled. “You’re pregnant, Raquel.”
“I’m what?! Pregnant?!” She shouted. How could this be? She wondered. She was on birth control.
“How far a long is she Doctor Stevens?” Derrick suddenly asked.
“About two weeks, give or take.” He responded.
Derrick nodded. “Thanks Doctor.”
“I’m going to leave you two alone. Raquel we should have you out of here in an hour or so.”
Once they were alone, Derrick sat beside her. “Rae, talk to me, baby.”
She felt like she couldn’t breathe. “Derrick, I’m freaking out. I don’t know how to be a mother. We are not even married yet. I mean, what are we supposed to do!”
Derrick pulled her into his arms and held her close to his heart. “Rae, slow down. It’s fine. Things just happened sooner than we anticipated.”
“But how, Derrick? I don’t even remember not taking my birth control pill. I—“She stopped abruptly as a memory surfaced. The day they had fallen asleep on his patio. She’d forgotten to take it that day. She’d been so embarrassed about his mother catching them that she dressed quickly and went running.
Derrick caressed her cheek. “Rae, what is it?”
“I didn’t take my pill the day your mother caught us you know—. I forgot.” She looked down at her hands.
He tilted her face up to meet his eyes. “I’m happy that you’re having my baby. Don’t you know that?”
She could tell that he was happy. This had just thrown her a little. She would love nothing more than to have his children. “I know you are. I am too. I’m sorry if it seems like I’m not. I just didn’t expect this.”
He smiled. “I didn’t either. I love you. Have I told you that?” He whispered
She smiled. “Yeah, once or twice.” She teased.
His gaze turned serious for a moment. “Please don’t scare me like that again. You have to get some rest and eat, baby. I need you and my baby around. Understood?”
She gave him a mock salute. “Yes, sir.”
He laughed heartily. “Rae, you are not like anyone else I know. You’re unique and I love that about you.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck. “Hmm, what else do you love?”
“Cut it out. We’re in a hospital.” He protested, although his body was betraying him.
“That never stopped you before.” She purred in his ear
True, but they needed to control themselves. At least for now. “I’ll make you a deal. If you can behave yourself until we get out of here then when we get home, I’ll give you whatever you want.”
She looked down at his erection for a long time before speaking. “You’re on mister. It’s a deal.”
Suddenly, he couldn’t wait to get the hell up out of this hospital.

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EXCERPT OF “A LOVE SO DEEP”

Prelude

She was pushed hard against the wall in her dorm room and felt his hands encircle her throat. He began to squeeze hard and for the life of her she couldn’t get away from him. She had no choice but to look into his cold, hard eyes and succumb to the fact that he was indeed trying to kill her. How could she have been so wrong about him? She wondered. This was not the same man who had professed his undying love for her, made her feel special, and had promised her the world. Someone who claimed to love her wouldn’t be trying to kill her. She couldn’t figure out what had set him off. One minute they had been laughing and then when she had mentioned being pregnant, everything had changed. She was brought back to reality when he suddenly he let her go and she crumpled to the floor like a rag doll. She coughed violently and scrambled on her hands and knees to get away as fast as she could but he wouldn’t let her. He turned her over onto her back and stomped on her stomach.

She let out a shrill scream. “Ronnie, stop, please!” She begged helplessly. Couldn’t anyone hear her screaming? She wondered

“Shut up, Mahogany! You are not having this baby. Do you understand me?” He stomped on her a second time with his large Timberland boots.

She screamed again and curled into a ball. “Please, please, I’ll do anything! Just stop!”
He shook his head. “Not until you agree, Mahogany. Let me hear you say it.” He demanded from her
“No, I won’t agree to this.” She said stubbornly
His gaze turned deadly. “I don’t want a baby with you. Since you won’t agree then I will have to make sure you don’t have it then won’t I?” He lifted his foot again to stomp down on her but before he could, her door was kicked open.

Someone had come to her rescue. Thank God. She slowly lifted her head to see the other person in the room. Her friend, Jaleel had come to help her. She could always count on him.

“Ronnie, you’d better back the hell up or we are going to have a serious problem.” He warned
He couldn’t stand this motherfucker. He was always with his girl and interrupting their time together. His nostrils flared. “Dude, this is none of your damn business. Get the hell out of here!”

He snorted. “She is my business if you’re hurting her. Which by the looks of it you’re doing a pretty good job. This is the last time I will repeat this. Back up. Do it now.”
Who does this dude think he is? He walked up to Jaleel and got in his face. “And what if I don’t?” He challenged

Jaleel’s jawbone flexed. He really hoped he wouldn’t have to pummel this fool. “Mahogany, baby, get out of here now!” He commanded

“No, baby, you stay right there.” Ronnie countered

“Sweetie, don’t listen to him.” He said calmly. He saw out of his peripheral vision that she was trying to stand so she could get out of the room. Ronnie moved out of his face to grab her.

Before he could get to her, he grabbed him by his neck and hauled him up onto the wall. He took satisfaction in seeing this punk’s eyes widen like saucers. “Now, as I was saying, you need to leave her alone, and if you don’t, I will have a discussion with your father about your abuse. I’m sure the Director of Admissions would not like to be embarrassed. Wouldn’t you agree?”

He threatened. For the first time, Ronnie actually looked scared and he knew he had him. He slowly let go of him and let him fall to floor.

Ronnie struggled to say something. “Okay, I will leave her alone. Just don’t tell my dad anything.” He pleaded with him.

He smirked. “I won’t but if you aren’t a good boy then I won’t have a choice and don’t even think about trying to get your boys to jump me because I do have the evidence of the last time you abused her.”

Ronnie put his hands up and slowly backed his way out of her room. “Okay, okay, you have my word.”

“Jaleel” She called in a raspy voice.

He quickly went over to her and scooped her up in his arms. “Hey, hey, it’s alright. We need to get you to a hospital.” He said softly

“I know. He more than likely killed the baby. I’m so glad you came. I didn’t think anyone would come. How did you know what was going on?”

Baby? He had no clue that she’d been pregnant. He stroked her hair. “Well, I didn’t know at first. I was on a date. When I came back to my dorm room, my roommate told me that you’d called me and sounded frantic so I came right away. You know I’m always going to be here for you. I may have been a bit late but I’m here.”

She lifted her head to get a good look at him. “You’ve always been good to me. Thank you.” She whispered softly

For a moment, he lost his train of thought as he looked into her beautiful green eyes. He swallowed hard. “No problem. Just promise me that you won’t get involved with this chump again or anyone that will resort to hitting you.”

She held his gaze and wondered how she hadn’t see the love he had for her. It was too late now though. “I promise.” She vowed.

“Good. Now let’s get you to the hospital.” He said and carried her out of her dorm room.

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THE PAST CAN’T BE CHANGED

Sometimes its hard to sit back and watch what you cannot change, what you cannot take back, what you cannot redo. If it were that easy, then we could just press the rewind button and start all over. But you cannot change what was destined to happen or better yet…what was destined to be…Sometimes you just gotta suck it up and keep moving along because somehow, someway, you will forget about it or rather move it back to the farthest corner of your mind and hope that things will be better in the near future…Because…hope… is all we can do….hope and pray that we will be better, stronger, and wiser.