Chapter 1 - When The Nights Over

Prologue


Baylor Mooney


Like a moth to a flame. Burned by the fire.



Riding with my surfboard. Surfboard. Surfboard. What did that even mean? The lyrics of a song never fascinated me as much as now. My new fascination came from the hunk of a man standing in front of me. Dude had to be well over six foot two. In my six inch heels, I stood at five foot eight and I still had to tilt my head back to take in all of his vanilla wafer glory. 

Light skinned dudes were never my thing. Neither was the pretty boy look most of them arrogantly flaunted. Dudes period weren’t my thing. Not saying that I dipped in the same sex pool, cause I didn’t crunch and munch, but men never got more out of me than the same thing they wanted from my valley of warmth...a nut.

However, this man, with a stature tempting enough for me to wish I was a monkey so I could climb him, piqued my interest on several different levels.

Maybe his back was the surfboard and I, the woman drooling behind his back was supposed to hop on and ride. Yeah, that made sense. His back stretched for miles it seemed in his navy blue tailored suit. He smelled expensive. Trust me, I knew my cologne. I had to stop myself several times from running my nose along the spine of his suite.

I felt like I was in the middle of The National Museum of Chocolate Melanin Men if ever such a thing existed. I have never beheld a man, or a back so strong and sexy. His squared shoulders that positioned his perfect posture. How is it that from the back he dripped confidence and demand? 

Then his voice. The deepest baritone my ears ever heard. My mystery sexy man had a nice slick ponytail with trimmed sideburns that connected to a well-groomed beard. I hate to speak so harshly but this nigga’s edges were envious. I investigated more of his glory when I slid to the right of him and craned my neck up and with my wide eyes, I saw the fullness of his beard and lips that made my thighs clap.

I didn’t care that I’ve been standing in this line for over thirty minutes and my feet were killing me. I got the chance of a lifetime salivating at his back muscles flexing when he moved.

Damn, I would give my pinky toe to be the weights that he lifted in the gym.

He had to be someone special. Had to. No man before him had ever, and I mean ever, sparked my interest or made me want to give him the time of day. Relationships of any kind were problems that I avoided like the plague. I didn’t want that type of negativity in my life, but this man, whoever he was, intrigued me and that was startling.

“Ma’am, can I help you please?” 

Finally.

“Yes, I have a reservation. My name is Baylor Mooney,” I smiled politely.

I’m surprised I was able to give the front desk clerk my full name. At his side with at least twenty feet separating us, this man smelled more divine than he did with me standing behind him. My senses were running haywire and I had a habit of being clumsy when nervous.

Taking a chance, I glanced over at him, hoping to get a better view of his entirety.

Shit!

What are the chances of him looking back at me with eyes that imitated my hunger?

A whole lot of chances because he was staring back at me. Boldly staring. An intense and penetrating stare.

He looked sweet. Not a tambourine player sweet, but sweet like I wanted to dip his vanilla wafer self in my favorite ice cream, Pecan Praline, and eat him up until my glucose levels shot through the roof. I wonder if I lick his cheek, would he taste just as sweet?

Eyes the color of roasted walnuts. Those eyes, they were the most alluring part. Alluring and captivating. I saw my future and my past. Saw us making love on the beaches in Bali. Saw us...oh my, look at those lips.

I wasn’t a kisser. I didn’t care for strangers lips to come anywhere near my anatomy. They were germ collectors and were the opening gates that lies came out of. But his lips, I wanted them. Wanted to touch them and see if they felt soft like Egyptian cotton. Wanted to trace my tongue along its ridges to see which of the thirty-two flavors he tasted like.

“Here’s your key, Ms. Mooney. Your room is 312. The elevators are to your left. If you need anything please don't hesitate to ask, and thank you for staying with us here at The W Hotel.” Thank you for saving my life.

Breaking out of our moment of, hell I don’t even know what it was, but I broke our gaze and took my hotel keys. “Thank you.” Wanting to leave my mysterious guy with something sweet, I glanced his way and gave him a small sweet smile and walked off.

I never smiled voluntarily in situations like this. Men vied for my attention daily but I mastered how to ignore the male species. Him, whoever he was, charmed me.

The minute I walked off I felt something I’ve been all too familiar with...void. That startled me because I didn’t realize that feeling had even left to begin with. I was so consumed with the man in front of me to pay attention to my feelings and emotions.

But now, standing before the elevator doors waiting for them to open, I felt a warmness run up the back of my body, and that sense of ease I felt while standing in line and beside him, it came back.

He was standing right behind me. Literally, right behind me. When he exhaled, the hairs on the back of my neck blew. When he breathed me in, I swayed.

What in all the donkey kong hell was going on?

He didn’t speak.

He didn’t touch me.

I begged my body not to tremble, shake, or sway in his direction. This mans dominance rocked me so deep that I had to bite my bottom lip and clutch my bags tighter to keep from stumbling over.

He stood behind me until the elevator doors opened and I swear I became a track star sprinting inside, hoping that it closed before he could get on.

Fail.

So much for trying to relax and recollect myself.

I stepped on, he stepped on. I reached out to hit the number for my floor, he reached out to hit the number to his floor anddddd...our hands touched. I gasped from the magnetic electric zip caused by our hands colliding and he, well he growled. 

Yes, the sexy beast growled.

A Growl.

A sexy tormenting growl.

“Sorry,” I apologized stepping back into the corner. It felt like the right thing to do. I mean the man growled and I felt bad for causing him pain. But what kind of pain could he have been in all because our hands touched?

No matter how far it seemed each corner of the elevator were apart, it didn’t seem far enough. With an arrogance and boldness I never saw, he leaned against the wall with the keypad and faced me. His hands stuffed in his tailored pants. Right ankle crossed over the left. 

Dear god Baylor, don’t make eye contact. 

What was his problem? What did he want? Did he just go around snatching souls with his masculine power?

It seemed like centuries before we reached the third floor, and I made sure to keep my eyes on any and everything but him. Sweat trickled down the curve of my spin. I couldn’t breathe. Here I was damn near thirty thinking I developed asthma from the wheezing coming from my lungs. The smell of his cologne and the unfamiliar stirring in my belly. It was all becoming too much. I needed off this elevator.

“Have a good night,” I barely managed to say when the doors opened and I flew out. How I managed to speed walk to my room in these heels without breaking my neck, I don’t know, but I made it and rushed into the bathroom in hope of simmering down. 

Cold water dripped down my face, and with each splash, I was no closer to cooling off. Over and over I splashed water on my face and down my neck. The heat of him never broke. I took deep breaths, in and out, arms raised, just how I was taught when I experienced my first anxiety attack. Still, my breathing refused to level out and his heat remained glued to me.

Never, and I mean never, had a man held me captive or stole from me. He stole my ability to think and breathe. He stole my years of learning ability to move my limbs. It’s like I needed to remember him in order to function.

To get my mind back off him, I called my sister. Per usual, Paris sent my calls straight to voicemail. You would think not having contact with each other for over twenty years so would be eager to reconnect with her baby sister. So far from the truth. 

“Hey, Paris, um this is Baylor, your sister calling. Please call me back. Remember from my last message that I’m going to be in Florida for a few months and I want to see you. Catch up. Do those things sisters do.” Nervously I chuckled running a hand down my throat. The taste of rejection was bitter to my soul. “I love you, Paris. Call me back whenever you can. Bye.”

Building relationships and reaching out to people made me vulnerable and I hated being vulnerable. I steered clear of friendships and relationships to avoid instances like this. Phone calls unanswered and leaving pitiful messages were the antidote of feeling inhumane.

So far gone in my thoughts, my body jolted hearing the pounding on my door. Totally weird and suspect considering I didn’t order room service or told anyone where I was staying.

Looking through the peephole, I gasped and turned around, bracing myself against the door. “There is no way in hell he is here right now.” Turning around again I looked through the peephole to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. This wasn’t a figment of my imagination or a wet dream. He was standing outside of my door with his hands tucked away in his pockets, chest poked out, and head tilted like he knew I was gawking at him.

“If you open the door you can find out what I want rather than staring at me.” He got some nerve.

The velocity of his deep voice passing through the thick wood of the door sounded like a band of drums drumming down to my juicy peach that was begging to be bit into or rather licked, maybe even sucked on.

Stepping away from the door, I braced myself. “What do you want?” 

“Open the door please,” he demanded.

Was he insane? Had to be. He really expected me to open my door when he could have been a sexy serial killer that went around to hotels blinding women with his overzealous charm and masculinity. 

Cracking the door open with enough space for my two eyes to look out, I prayed I wouldn’t be the next victim of a segment on the ID Channel. “Can I help you?”

Sexy ass looked down at me and smirked. “Our reservation for dinner is in twenty minutes. I’m a stickler on being punctual when it comes to my time. If you need to change, please do so now.”

Reservations? Dinner? What the hell?

I had to see if he was joking. Had to. Poking my head further out the room, I looked up and down the halls seeing if there were cameras. There were none. The only person standing out in the hallway was him.

“Um, yeah, no. Not gonna happen.” Without hesitation, I closed the door and waited for him to leave but he never did.

Looking through the peephole once again, I watched him stand in the same place with his head tilted watching the door.

Weirdo.

A sexy weirdo though.

It was always the sexy ones that are a little touched in the brain.

He knocked again and this time I snatched open the door ready to give him a nice chunk of my mind. “Look, mister, I don’t know you. Like at all. You don’t know my name and I don’t know yours.”

“Khadrel Jordan,” he stated with a matter of fact tone.

Rolling my eyes, I sighed. “That doesn’t …”

Oh shit!

My words trailed off and jumped ship when Mr. Sexy ass stepped into my space, sucking up all the air until our chests greeted one another. The height disadvantage was sooo sexy. Like dripping sexy. 

I was becoming one of those sappy hopeless romantic mushy women. Pigs were flying and the fat lady had sung.

Those eyes that held me captive at the check-in desk were honed down locked in on mine. I wanted to look away. I wanted to blink. I wanted to close my eyes and breathe him in, etch him in my brain for safekeeping.

“I apologize for overstepping.” Oh, he did more than overstep and he knew it. “Regardless of why I’m at your door, don’t roll those pools of my future at me.” Khadrel leaned down until his bottom and top lip brushed against my ear lobe.

Please don’t do it, Baylor. Stay cool.

I tried to listen to my inner voice but my body won the battle. I swayed at the feel of his lips on me. Grasped onto his hard biceps and repented for all my past sins. “I’d hate to show you how angry disrespect makes me before I had a chance to feed you.”

I’ve always wondered what the BDSM life was like and if him spanking me until my booty cheeks turned raw and he kissed them until the pain went away, then let’s see how far I could push his buttons.

Standing at his full tree height, he healed his hand out. “Khadrel Jordan and you’re Baylor Mooney. I’m a very observant man.”

“And nosy.” Oops. Didn’t mean to say that out loud.

 “You were alone and I want to know what I need to do to make those hazel eyes sparkle like diamonds.” A thick finger traveled from the tip of my nose to my gaped open lips. “Yes, it’s very presumptuous of me to make reservations without knowing if you belong to someone, but I don’t see a ring and even then,” he shrugged stuffing his hands in pockets. “I want what I want.”

I...I, what was I supposed to say to that.

Chuckling with a shake of his head, he stepped back in our space, bringing all that warmth I was beginning to ache for. “I’m a selfish man and I honestly don’t care who thinks they are claiming you. My heart hasn’t stopped beating out of control since I laid eyes on you. Humor me, Baylor, and be the peace to calm my raging beast.”

Back and forth my eyes searched him to see if I saw a speck of lies. A speck of game being played. A speck of something that would tell me that even considering the idea of having dinner with him was a foolish idea.

I should’ve run back into my hotel room and hid under the covers. Called down to the front desk and asked for a room change. Or check out and into another hotel.

Nope. The furthest thing I did.

“I’ll grab my purse.”

Well damn, Baylor. What happened to him being stranger danger?

Nodding, he stepped back. “Thank you.”

Each step I took around my room I listened intently to my thoughts. Paid close attention to what my body was telling me. With my keys in hand and wristlet secured tight, I felt more compelled and at ease to go with this complete stranger than I felt going to my gynecologist for my annual pap smear. Standing in the hall with Khadrel for those five minutes, he took away the deep hollow void in my soul that I swear was a birth defect, and replaced it with security.

“I’m ready,” I closed my door and exhaled. 

Yeah.

I was doing this.

It felt right.

He felt right.

There it was again. The sway of my body towards his at the feel of his hands on me. Khadrel clasped our hands together and like old lovers, we walked down the hall to the elevator. The pad of his thumb caressed circles around my wrist while his fingers secured me close.

“Hello there,” a lovely older couple greeted us as we stepped onto the elevator.

“Good evening,” I spoke while Khadrel gave a nod.

I learned quickly that he had jealous tendencies. He stood in front of me blocking the couple or anyone who came on a view of me. It was almost as if he wanted to keep me for his self. The things this man said and did should’ve made me run for the hills, but they didn’t.

“You two are such a lovely couple, and young man, whatever it is you’re doing to make her eyes smile, don’t stop. Anybody can put a smile on your face. Anybody can make you laugh. Those scary looking clowns can make you laugh. But if the eyes smile back, then that is where the truth is.” I couldn’t see the man, Khadrel blocked my view of anything, but if I had to guess he and his wife were giving us the googly eyes.

I wasn’t even sure what he meant by my eyes smiling. I knew my cheeks weren’t or at least I didn’t think. To make sure, I touched my cheeks to see if they hiked up. I was on an elevator being taken to dinner by a stranger. There was nothing I put past my actions.

Khadrel on the hand soaked up everything spoken to us. Those hypnotic brown eyes softened and slanted in the corners, making him appear tired. Inebriated. 

I sucked in a deep breath watching his head descend towards me. “Forgive me,” he whispered an inch from my lips.

What was he apologizing for? Did he finally realize that what we were doing made no sense at all and he changed his mind?

Nope.

He apologized for the head-on collision he caused by kissing me with such impact my body lurched into his arms. Finally, the bells rang and the missiles were fired. Smoke signals flared in the night sky and the alarm sounded. 

He kissed me. Khadrel Jordan’s lips were on mine and I...I...I loved every second of it. Accepting his hand to dinner was accepting my keys to my mansion in heaven. His tongue tasted fresh and minty. His tongue, damn his tongue, thick and smooth.

After bulldozing his way into my mouth, realizing I suffered no harmful injuries, he pulled back and ran a finger over my lips, smearing our mixed saliva into my lips like it was a lip balm.

His eyes were strong and what stared down at me alarmed me to shivers. There was no way that in this short amount of time he felt anything for me other than the carnal lustful feelings growing against my belly.

He had no idea what my favorite colors were. Navy blue and yellow. That I cry every time I watch Bastard Out of Carolina on Lifetime. He didn’t know that I’m allergic to my favorite fruit, Strawberries. He had no idea that when I was eight years old my mother dropped me off at a fire station like I was some newborn all because raising two children became too much for her to handle.

Khadrel knew none of that yet he had the nerve to peer down at me with...love.

“God permitted, I promise to do everything in my power to make sure your eyes never stop smiling.”

Why did I believe him? His words. His energy. Our energy. Our connection. The promise chained in his eyes and voice. Eyes that held the key to seal his promise.

“Oh, Frank. They are adorable. Reminds me of our early years. God bless you two,” the woman's giggles made my cheeks warm.

“Have a good night,” Khadrel spoke before taking my hand and leading us off the elevator. 

I couldn’t help but glance over my shoulder to see if what just happened really happened. We were in an elevator at The W Hotel in Los Angeles locking lips. Two complete strangers but old lovers of the soul.

Complete ludicrous.

Khadrel smirked when we reached the hostess stand and gave his name. I didn’t necessarily call his bluff about our dinner reservations. It was more so questioning his sanity on lowkey stalking me.

My nerves were shot and eating a good hearty meal wasn’t on the menu. Instead of selecting steak and potatoes like him, I went the safer route and ordered a creme brulee dessert and a glass of wine. I’d pay for it in the morning but right now I needed the extra calories and sugar.

“Where are you from?” I heard the question he asked. Heard him loud and clear, but I couldn’t take my eyes from his arms and neck. 

Sexy ass was covered in ink. Lots of ink. How I missed it before, I don’t know. Now that he removed the jacket to his suit and rolled up his sleeves, my eyes had more skin to drool over, and drooling I did.

Clearing my throat, I shook the lustful thoughts from my head. “Born and raised in Florida.”

“And now?” Khadrel was the epitome of sex. Dripping wet sex. Sex that made you sweat out your relaxer and had you screaming every name possible.

The man standing outside my room door was not the same man sitting before me with the sexy gangster lean. This Khadrel was relaxed and curious. I, well, well I was admiring the work of art before me. I don’t know what I wanted to touch more. His tattoos that seemed to never end or the fine silky curly hair on his face.

“Wherever my job takes me.”

“What line of work are you in?” Question after question and I had the time to answer them all.

“I’m a traveling nurse.” I loved my job more than anything. It allowed me many pleasures, but the one I loved the most was seeing new places. Taking care of people was cool and I felt like I was doing my due diligence for mankind, but the minute I felt my heart becoming attached to my patients, I left before the dent they made in my heart permanent.

“What about you? Let me guess?” I tilted my head and smirked. “An accountant by day and mass murdered by night.”

My hand squeezed between the thickness of my thighs to press pressure on my jumping pearl. She needed to stop showing her ass out here like she didn’t know how to act in the presence of a silky ponytail wearing man. Had I known his laughter would sound like a lullaby to my lady parts, I would’ve kept the joke to myself. 

But his teeth were so pretty and white. And his smile, dear all the stars and the moon, he was so beautiful.

“Cute,” he winked. Yep, these panties are ruined. “I’m a lawyer. A criminal defense lawyer.”

“Hmm, nice.” Actually, it was quite fascinating but I couldn’t let him know that.

Leaning on his elbows, he brought his face close enough for straw hairs to dance in the air from him exhaling. “Am I boring you?”

So far from boring me. More like tantalizing me.

“Not at all. If you’re expecting me to talk like we’re girlfriends and this is one of our date nights, that won’t happen.” I had no friends who I’ve done dinners with or even went to get our nails done. I steered clear from friendships and would continue to do so.

“I want you to talk to me like I’m me,” he bit his lip and sat back in his chair.

“And that’s what I’m doing. I don’t know you so what do you expect me to say?” I finished off my glass of wine and motioned our waitress to bring me another. Two glasses down in under thirty minutes. This man rattled my nerves something serious.

I wanted to get to know him. Learn his darkest secrets. Know what makes him tick. What made him choose law. Did he know that navy blue against his smooth vanilla wafer skin made him appear more large and in charge?

His head tilted, succulent bottom lip sucked in his mouth, and thick fingers tapping against the table. He was in deep thought. Probably thinking if any of this made sense. If the air around us would ever stop permeating scents of want.

The man was well put together. Not in a metro-sexual type of way, but a man that took care of his temple. Clearly, he ate healthy and cared how he presented himself. He was a man that took pride in his appearance.

I loved that.

Sexy ass fucker had me captivated.

“How long are you in town for?” Those pensive eyes were back on me nailing me to my seat.

Where in the hell was my creme brulee?

I wanted to lie, but there really wasn’t a need to. He and I were strangers and I’d never see him after tonight. “Until my contract is fulfilled.”

He nodded and looked off for a quick second. “I’m here for five days. Most of my time during the day I’ll be in court or meeting with my clients. My nights,” he leaned back in. “I want them to belong to you. To us. After I shut off from work, I want to recharge with you. Either your room or mine. Doesn’t matter. To be honest we can move your things out of your room now and save you some money. I’ll pay for whatever hassle the hotel gives you. I want to end my day with you and start it with you.”

Plates of steaming hot food were placed before him and my sweet dessert placed before me. We’ve waited for what felt like an eternity for our food to arrive and when it finally came neither one of us moved. 

I felt paralyzed. 

Immobile.

How...how could he want me desperately when we knew nothing of each other? 

“Why me, Khadrel? We don’t know anything about each other but you’re acting like we’ve known each other for years.”

My eyes avoided his. I looked around for anyone to do me the favor of interrupting our dinner so I could flee. Doing so on my own proved harder with each minute that passed.

“Ms. Mooney, I’ve never been at a loss for words in my life. In my profession, it’s expected of me to talk until my case have been won. With you, seeing you at that counter, if someone asked me my name I wouldn’t have had a response. You’ve bewitched me. Turned me on. Stir me up in the most erotic way. You…”

Shooting to my feet, I frowned. “So this is about sex?”

Slow and easy, Khadrel stood and walked over to my side of the table.

“Sir, is everything alright with your food?” Our waitress asked with eyes bouncing between him and me.

Dude how about you ask if I'm okay! I'm the one shaking like a tipsy stripper.

“Yes,” he reached for his jacket not once blinking or taking his eyes off me. “Please box up our food and have it sent to room 312 and bill it to room 515. That will be all.”

“I’ll pay for my half,” I reached for wristlet only to freeze at the contact of his hand on my wrist.

My breathing labored and eyes fluttered at the skin to skin contact. Why was he making me feel like this? I don’t like feeling not in control of my feelings or senses.

“Insult me again,” he gritted with such firmness. He reached into the inside pocket of his coat and handed the waiter a black American Express card.

Hmm. Smelled nice. Expensive suite. Black card. Yeah, he was somebody of importance.

“Right now, this isn’t about sex. Not in the least. This is about us doing the unthinkable while trying to figure out the impossible. Please don’t confuse my urge to make love to your mind as me trying to get in your bed.” Khadrel flushed our chests together, making me gasps and forget we were in a restaurant dining with other people. “I’m selfish, Baylor, and stingy. Once I encounter something or rather in this case, someone that I want, I go after them. All warnings pushed aside. My parents only had one child because they knew I wasn’t with sharing them with other children. I don’t share. I won’t even share you with you. 

Your thoughts, I wanna know them. Your fears, let me be your dream catcher to catch and slay them. Surrender your dreams to me tonight, and when the nights over, I’ll make them a reality.”

Stunned, I flopped down in my seat and closed my eyes. I was on the verge of hyperventilating and this man cared nothing about my well being. 

Rule one of surviving - never fall in love.

Rule two of surviving - never, and I mean never, allow a man to get close to you. Sex only once every two months to flush out your system and avoid catching feelings. Hell, I didn’t even deal with dudes who carried big dick energy. The minute I caught hold of his walk and talk, I went the other way to the quick pumpers who could pump my nut out and go on about their business.

Rule three of surviving - don’t catch feeling...of any kind.

Rule four of surviving - keep your heart three stacks. Never and I mean never fall in love. 

Rule five of surviving - flirt but no kissing. Kissing gets your soul pregnant.

One dark night in Los Angeles in the middle of August I broke every rule I have lived by to survive in this awful world in under two hours. 

Two hours!

My first rule, I wasn’t sure if I broke it yet because love, at first sight, was completely absurd. But the others, oh they were all broken and the sting of tears confirmed it all. 

“I-I...thank you for dinner but I have to go,” I spoke to my hands, wishing that the vision of me running in my head was a reality. I spoke those words only to stay rooted down in my seat.

I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay and cherish the moment. I wanted to forget the rules I have lived by since my mother abandoned me and be free. 

This man stepped into my world because he saw something in me that spoke to the hollow places inside of him. That had to count for something, right? I knew this was more than sex but I classified it as such because I’m lost right now. I don’t know how to deal or process these alien emotions. I’ve never been in love. Never witnessed it close. I have no idea how to act in love, but Khadrel, these jolts of pings on my heart, that had to be some type of pre-emotion before the big four-letter word formed.

“Am I scaring you?” His lips brushed up against my ear. I nodded, afraid to open my mouth and what I might say. “Come on. Lean on me, I got you.” 

See, that’s the problem. Leaning on him got me in my feelings living out a Drake song.

Sucking in a deep breath, I pushed up from my seat and bolted out of the restaurant. I can’t tell you if he called after me or tried to stop me. My ears were pinging and my heart felt like it was about to burst.

“Come on. Come on,” my voice trembled as I banged on the elevator button. I smelled him. I felt him. Khadrel was closing in on me and I had needed to flee.

“Khadrel,” I moaned at the feeling of him wrapping an arm around my waist and clutching me into the comfort of his chest.

“Please, Baylor.” Why did we sound like to two broken souls searching in the midnight air for peace? “Please don’t run from me. Please, just don’t run.”

“I wanna go to my room,” I moved to step on the elevator only to be pulled back.

“Okay, we’ll go to your room,” he nudged me forward and we stayed that way until we started moving. His arm released me only so he could stand in front of me against the keypad. 

What was with him and these damn elevators that he liked blocking my view?

 I avoided his eyes. Nope! I wasn’t about to set myself up for failure. I already felt embarrassed by everything going on. All I wanted to do was bathe the memory of today away and wake up in the morning like he and I never were.

“Thank you for accompanying me to dinner,” he said while leaning against the wall next to my door.

“You’re welcome.” I fumbled with my wristlet trying to retrieve my room key.

Pushing off the wall he stalked towards me and I walked backward until my back bumped into the wall. “No, Khadrel. Tonight has been too much.”

Sexy ass paid me no mind. No mind at all. His wide hands cupped my face and brought us closer until our noses kissed. He found pleasure in my torment as he used the tip of his nose to caress my face. Each feeling of the cold object made my whimpers grow louder.

“I wanna kiss you, Baylor. Grant me permission. Give me permission to kiss you.” He stopped using his nose to caress me and used his face instead. 

Grabbing a hold of his wrists, I opened my eyes and begged him to let me go. “Let go of me, Khadrel. Kissing will only make this worse. It’s too intimate. Too meaningful. If I kiss you,” I closed my eyes and shook my head. “I will never forget you if you kiss me, and by morning, I want to forget you.”

I’ve gone twenty eight years without stirring up these romantic lovey-dovey feelings. The damage he has already done to my sanity could be fixed with a few bottles of bourbon. Anything further would be signing my own death warrant.

“Sorry I can’t do that.” Before I could object his lips covered mine hungrily.  Slowly like we had all the time in the world, his tongue traced the soft fullness of my lips. I won’t lie, his lips were more persuasive than I cared to admit and when I opened up to receive his thick pink tongue, I scold myself for wasting time on trying to stop this feeling.

Khadrel took my mouth with a savage intensity. Kissing him was divine ecstasy in its rawest most chilling form. I had no choice but to drink in all of his sweetness. My own eager response to swallowing his tongue shocked me. Arousing his passion by letting him have his way with my mouth, my own grew stronger.

“How am I supposed to get in touch with you?” He pulled away leaving our lips grazing. “You owe me another dinner.”

I leaned in to taste him only to be pulled back. “Give me a time and a place, and I’m there.”

His hands dropped to mine and he retrieved my room key from my clammy fingers. “Things come up. Inconveniences happen.” He opened my door and stood to the side for me to enter.

“If you're about your word, you'll move heaven and earth to get to where you want to be. Besides, I only have a work phone.” I reached out for my room key only to be pulled back into his chest. A hard place that was becoming my favorite.

“Why no phone?”

“I don't like being accessible. My time is valuable. I don't spend it on things that don't matter.”

Khadrel’s lips stretched and eyes crinkled in the corner. Watching him smile was a gift and I would cherish it forever if God let me see it again.

“You are a mystery, Baylor Mooney, and I plan on uncovering all your secrets.” Our lips met and the blaring trumpet of our savage harmony rang high and loud. 

“Good night, Ms. Mooney.”

“Good night, Mr. Jordan.”

I watched with stars in my eyes and butterflies fluttering in my stomach as he stalked down the hall. Even after he blew me a kiss and got on the elevator, I stood with my head out of the doorway silently wishing that he would come back and set out the blazing fire he sparked inside of me.

He promised me five days, and tomorrow I’d see if he was a man of his word.


Chelsea Moore