Do Not Disturb (Interracial Erotic Romance) Violet Williams Published by Quiver Publishing at Smashwords Copyright 2012 Violet Williams Keisha Wallace is a maid at Winterhorn Inn, a single mother that’s just trying to keep it altogether when Jake Cunningham, a junior senator on the campaign trail breezes into her life, staying at the inn. Their attraction is instantaneous, both of them finding comfort after being screwed over by love in the past. Giving the senator her body is easy, but is Keisha ready to give him her heart? Do Not Disturb is an erotic romance short story/romantica clocking in at 12,513 words. It contains some explicit language and sexual content. E-book License Edition Notes This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be resold. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to an online retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author's work.
CONTENTS Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine
Chapter One Keisha The employee lounge at Winterhorn Inn and Suites was lined with posters preaching teamwork, perseverance, and being part of a ‘family’. But as Keisha Wallace filed into the room behind the battalion of other maids, her feet throbbing and her back screaming, she saw past the BS. With all the fanfare and shiny slogans, she knew her manager, Carmen (or Cruella as her friend Maria called her off the clock), saw them all as disposable. They were just faceless tools with no more value than the cheap equipment they used to make Winterhorn sparkle and shine. She raked a hand through her short ebony hair, letting out a groan as she felt the wetness pool at the nape of her neck. Her relaxer was going right down the drain—at this rate, she was pretty sure she was gonna sweat out her perm. Great. Maria gave her a toothy grin as she pulled out a chair beside Keisha. “Hi mija,” she said with accented English. “I guess Cruella got wind of your last escapades.” “Oh yes,” Keisha said, wiggling her eyebrows. “I just couldn’t help myself.” It was a running joke between them. They got plenty of high end clients at the inn considering it was a step above Hilton and wasn’t too far from the airport and for some reason, guests were under the impression that full-service included bowchickawowow. She’d lost count of how many times some drunk guy wearing Lacoste and reeking of self-entitlement had made a pass and offered her ‘the best night of her life’. “You’re off now, right?” Maria asked. Keisha nodded, sinking into the uncomfortable seat. “And have a class tonight. Not that Carmen cares. I’m gonna miss the bus for this ridiculous ‘emergency’ meeting.” “And she knows I like to watch my soaps before my shift,” Maria added, waving at a fellow employee. “Psych myself up for the night.” Keisha gave her friend a sad chuckle. Maria was definitely entitled to a little bit of peace. She worked herself to the bone, clocking in at Sam’s Club in the mornings and taking a quick nap before she headed to Winterhorn for the night shift. Add a snarky 16 year old daughter who was due any day now and a husband that only came around once every blue moon and she had more than her share of drama. How she stayed so upbeat was beyond Keisha.
The only thing that kept Keisha from smiling was her Caleb. Almost 14 months and she fell more and more in love every day even with the cloud of pessimism that her mother had become. Her mama never let her forget that Caleb was the reason she had to drop out of Harvard, moving back home and taking night classes at the local university. Even though she tried to explain it to her, it went in one ear and out the other. Ever since Keisha felt him move inside her, she knew she couldn’t pass him up. She’d walk over burning coals, bound over buildings in one mighty leap for her baby. His father didn’t even acknowledge Caleb’s existence and scrubbing toilets and dealing with unruly guests plus doing homework until the wee hours of the night just to go to sleep for a few hours before it started all over; every day was a battle. And right now she was in the thick of it, fighting to smile at her manager when all she wanted was to give the heartless woman a piece of her mind. Carmen rapped on the podium at the front of the room, like the workers were unruly children instead of adults. The room went dead silent. Keisha peered at the older woman. Carmen may have been pretty once. She had mocha colored skin and deep brown eyes with petite features, wearing her shoulder length hair in gentle waves that framed her face. But she was always frowning, always walking around complaining about something. It gave her face an uncomfortable, I-just-sucked-on-a-lemon look. Carmen narrowed her eyes as she scanned the room. “As you all know, we have some VIPs staying in the penthouse for the new two weeks.” Keisha rolled her eyes. She was gonna miss her class for this? They’d not only been briefed last week, but there were flyers plastered all over the locker room and they’d even been sent emails from corporate. It was a bit much in her opinion. She’d seen Jake Cunningham, a junior senator, on CNN a few times, heard his name dropped on the Sunday talk shows. He was on the campaign trail, trying to connect with reluctant voters that were wary with the political process. But with all the fuss around the watercooler, one would think the President himself was coming to town. “-I just want to remind everyone that you’re the face of Winterhorn and to act accordingly.” Maria leaned over, her voice hushed. “That means no streaking, Keisha.” Keisha bit her lip, trying to snuff the laugh that rose in her throat. She gave Maria a nudge. “Shh!” That was all she needed, landing on Carmen’s shitlist. Last time she’d stepped
on her manager’s toes and she’d made sure Keisha worked on a team with Monique Jones, the resident kiss ass. When Keisha started at Winterhorn a few months ago, a few people had commented that she was the spitting image of the girl, but she didn’t see it. Yes, they were both dark skinned and wore their hair short. They were both stick thin with curves where it counted, but Monique was evil, plain and simple. Most of her coworkers seemed to be understanding if Keisha needed a longer lunch or switching shifts if something was going on with Caleb, but Monique didn’t do her, or anyone, any favors. “-Which is why I want to clarify our policy on headphones,” Carmen said icily. Keisha’s cheeks burned when Carmen’s big brown eyes locked on her. “There are to be no earphones or devices used during company time,” Carmen said. “If I hear of anyone not following policy, they will receive a warning or other disciplinary action.” Keisha glanced across the table at Monique who sat with her arms tight across her chest, a smirk at her lips. The bitch had ratted on her. Keisha taped her lectures and liked to listen to the recordings as she cleaned. It made time go by quicker and it helped her retain concepts at the same time. She’d thought she was careful about being seen and only doing it when she worked on teams where she could trust her co-worker to not tell, but Monique must have spotted her. Keisha looked back at her defiantly. If looks could kill, she would have been six feet under. Maria gave her arm a squeeze. “No pasa nada. Don’t let her get to you.” When the meeting drew to a close and the room cleared, Keisha took a deep breath and faced Carmen. As hardcore as she was, she felt a need to apologize. Explain herself. “Carmen?” The woman gave her a look like she smelled something off. “Yes?” Keisha cleared her throat. “I just wanted to apologize. I tape my classes and-” Carmen held up a hand, cutting her off. “I don’t need your life story, sweetie. What you do off the clock is your business.” She gathered her forms. “With your recent personal time off-” “Personal time off?” Keisha said incredulously. “My son was sick!” Carmen shrugged her shoulders. “You’re on thin ice, Ms. Wallace. I’d advise you to tread very, very carefully.”
Keisha stewed as Carmen shuffled away, giving Monique a smile like she was Christmas morning. Monique was the laziest person on staff, but Carmen treated her like the Employee of the Month. Maria clucked her tongue as she tied her hair back with a rubber band. “You can’t let them get to you, Keisha.” It was easier said than done. Keisha sagged, shaking her head as she glanced at the clock. There was no way she’d make her psych class. Not that Carmen cared. She let out a groan of frustration. Maria squeezed her shoulders. “Get out of here. Go give that heartbreaker of yours a kiss for me.” Keisha smiled wearily, roping her purse over her shoulder. “Have a good night.”
Chapter Two Jake Jake Cunningham wanted to hit something. He usually worked out his aggression with his overpriced personal trainer, sweating and pounding until he heard nothing but his heart roaring in his ears, felt nothing but the ache of his body as he pushed it beyond its limits. What was it his therapist railed on about when he talked about how nice it was to hit and punch invisible targets that he labeled with the name of various pundits and what not? It was healthier to just breathe? Breathe, he reminded himself. Just breathe. He narrowed his aqua eyes, setting his jaw as his advisor Roman Johnson gave him a selfsatisfied smug look he wore far too much lately. It'd first reared its head when Jake fell for Trixie, a dancer that he'd dated back in DC. He'd cared about her, probably more than he should have, and tried to make it work, but she'd left him high and dry, leaving only the curve of Roman's lip and a silent, "I told you so". And then there was his counsel, telling Jake to stay out of the dicey unemployment debate, but he'd taken his Republican colleagues to task, lambasting the assumption that people collecting funds were as one so delicately put it, "mooching off the system". He'd called them a bunch of out of touch billionaires, sitting up in their ivory tower as the rest of the country starved to death. He'd been essentially tarred and feathered in the polls, the voters more privy to propaganda than their own interests. And as they pulled up to Winterhorn Inn and Suites, Roman was all teeth and gums as he showed Jake the new polling numbers. “Look at this, Jake. I told you this tour was a good idea.” Jake gave him a wary nod. "So I'm up 10 points. I’m still trailing Marsh by 15." Marshal Wilkinson was a ‘good ole boy’ all about guns and outlawing homosexuality and other ridiculous overzealous Republican talking points. Roman let out a sigh. "It's because the voters see you as some free love hippie that was born in California-" "I was raised in Raleigh," Jake piped, fixing his tie. "Whatever," Roman said, highlighting paragraphs on the page. The car pulled up to the lobby entrance of the inn. Jake couldn't help but find an irony in the fact that during his "downhome tour" he was staying in the most expensive hotel in the Mauryville area.
He reached for the door handle but Roman lurched forward, his dark eyes wide. "What is your stance if they ask about Trixie?" "She was a beautiful woman that bled me dry and took my kid?" Roman rolled his eyes. "Jake, how many times do I have to tell you? Getting attached to the kid was adorable, but he has a mom. And a father. Somewhere." "Oh you mean that crackhead that used to beat her to a bloody pulp?" "Jake-" "Real father figure, that one. I was the best thing that happened to her and-" "She left you," Roman said firmly. His face softened. "And I feel for you. I know you cared about her." Cared didn't quite sum it up. She'd breezed out of his life almost three months ago now. While his therapist claimed the media's insistence on a Cinderella story was why he tried to rekindle their romance, out of some need to save her and little Jesse, but Jake knew that it was more. As tough as nails as she pretended to be, had to be, to raise a special needs child all on her own at 24, he knew that underneath the armor, she was the kindest person he'd ever known. Roman was yapping about image, but Jake just pushed from the backseat of the Escalade, the flashes from the cameras not even fazing him as he pushed through the revolving door. Waiting near the check in desk, a dark skinned woman with a pinched face gave him a smile almost as plastic as the ones he saw in Washington. Her nametag read "Carmen". She extended her hand. "Mr. Cunningham! I’m Carmen Jackson. We here at Winterhorn Inn and Suites are so thrilled you'll be staying with us." She leaned in. "I voted for you, by the way." Jake ran a hand through his dark hair before chuckling. "I appreciate that." "Now," she said crisply, ushering him forward like a tour guide. They breezed into a bar area, the room radiating a retro, 60s vibe with its clunky bar and statement chairs. "Feel free to get a drink." she winked. "On the house." He forced a smile, moving to the bar. He signaled the bartender who gave him a nod and held up a finger for one second. Jake took the chance to take in the rest of the scene. The bar was pretty sparse, save a couple of J.Crew types hanging over near the dartboards. He could smell the liquor on them from where he sat, their obnoxious laughter making him cringe. His eyes kept scanning and stopped when he hit a side table, tucked near the back.
A young woman sat behind the table, her brow furrowed in concentration. She was so intent, so focused. He gazed at her face, her ebony colored skin. Even scrunched, occupied, her features were beautiful, wide brown eyes that scanned a book, a pert nose that led down to thick cherry red lips, moving ever so slightly as she read. Her short, choppy hair was held back by a dark headband, accentuating her cheekbones and her swanlike neck. He frowned when he saw one of the preps, a blonde guy with an upturned collar, stagger over to where she sat. She tried to ignore him at first, then looked up at him with a leaveme-the-hell-alone smile. The guy didn't pick up on the hint and pulled out the chair beside her. He was saying something, casting looks at his merry band of idiots that laughed. At her expense. The woman snapped her book closed and began gathering her things. When Jake saw her cheeks were turning rosy red, he pushed from the stool. He picked up on clips of the conversation. "You're a pretty girl," the blonde slurred. "And smart. We'll pay you-" Jake picked up the pace, balling his fist. It appeared he was gonna get to hit something after all. But before he could clock the guy, the woman beat him to it, the thwok as her open hand smacked his cheek cutting through whatever offensive proposition he was making. His friends, the blonde, even Jake stood rapt, shocked. As the blonde’s face bloomed red, his shock turned to fury as he raised his hand like he was gonna hit her back. Like hell, Jake thought, opening his mouth, his body raw as the adrenaline coursed, focused on knocking this kid out as he bridged the distance. But the woman just looked at him, fearless. Her mahogany eyes became slits of anger. "Will that make you feel like more of a man, hitting a woman?" She tilted her head as the guy’s hand hung in the air like a limp noodle. "Will it?" The blonde dropped his hand awkwardly and Jake stepped up to the table, clearing his throat. "Is there a problem here?" He stuck out his lip, then wisely decided it wasn't worth it. "Nah, man." He jumped to his feet, his chair clattering to the floor as he hustled away. Jake kept his gaze on the prick, flexing a little for his friends before he turned back to the woman. Her head was bowed as she continued stuffing her books into a bag. "I'm sorry about that." He picked up the chair. "You should let me buy you a drink, miss-?" His voice trailed off when he took her in as she rose to her feet. She was dressed in a black and white
shift, along with nylons and black tennis shoes. He saw a lanyard, like the one Carmen wore, but it was red. She was a maid. "Not allowed to drink on the clock," she said with a bemused look. She fished out a five and left it on the table. "Not that someone like Senator Jake Cunningham would be caught with a maid after your last indiscretion with that stripper." Jake blushed. "Exotic dancer." "Whatever," the woman shrugged. "A lot of people say that she ruined your chances in November, pining over a stripper. Personally, I disagree." "Oh?" She nodded, her eyes playful. "We pretty much expect impropriety from politicians nowadays. At least you were trying to make an honest woman out of her." She glanced at a watch at her wrist before flashing Jake a grin that went straight to his crotch. "Have a good day." He watched her leave, not even noticing Roman walk in and saddle up beside him until he waved a hand in front of his face. “Anybody in there?” Roman asked, snapping a finger. Jake shook his head. Smiling for the first time all day. Roman turned around and saw what had him entranced and let out a groan. "No, Jake. Absolutely not." "No idea what you're talking about," Jake lied, picking up his drink from the bar. He made a note to find out the woman's name. He wanted to know her.
Chapter Three Keisha Keisha balanced her purse, backpack, and a bag of groceries as she ignored the group of teens that huddled near the stairwell, trying so hard to be street, trying to punk her out. She was intimidated, especially considering she could remember most of them when they were little higher than her knee. "Yo shawty," one of them called out. "Let me holla atcha." Keisha rolled her eyes as she padded toward her apartment. "Go home Rodney.” “But I’m tryna-” “Don’t you have some homework you can be doing?” Keisha said, Mom mode kicking in. “Head on home before I call your mother." His friends chuckled at her threat, but Rodney went stone cold quiet, hustling down the stairs. “C’mon yall.” She wheeled around the corner and her body went into full alert when she heard the familiar pitch of Caleb's cry. She put her keys in the lock and pushed the door open. Her mother sat where she usually spent her days, glued in a recliner in front of the TV. "Don't worry, Ma," Keisha said sarcastically, unloading her arms with a grunt. "I got the groceries." Caleb's key changed, his cries pleading. Her mother just upped the volume on the television, drowning him out. Keisha had to breathe in and out to calm herself, trying hard to not lose her shit. She didn't want to get into it, not tonight. Because the universe seemed intent on screwing her, she'd ended up on Monique's team during her shift. The girl spent more time texting than helping strip the beds and clear the floor they were assigned. When Keisha finally got a break, some trust fund baby hassled her, asking if she wanted to 'dance for him'. Her first thought had been to deck the guy, but she tried ignoring him until he tried to touch her. She'd smacked him, almost on instinct. The guy had almost hit her back. And then that politician rode up to the table like some cowboy, like he was gonna save the day. Not even he could save her from Carmen's wrath. She'd been written up. Two more write-ups and she'd be suspended. Caleb’s cries were sullen. "When was the last time you fed him, Ma?" Silence. "Ma!"
She smacked her lips. "Lunchtime. I don't know." Keisha pushed her crazy day to the back of her mind as she opened her bedroom door, armed with a bottle. Her little guy stood in the crib, his face scrunched in frustration. "Shh," she said gently, picking him up and bringing him close. She rocked him gently. "It's okay sweetie. Mama's here." She stroked his back, humming Pink Floyd softly as she walked to the rocking chair. After a moment, he quieted and she brought him from her shoulder and reached for the bottle, putting it between his hungry lips. She stroked Caleb's cherry cheeks, still inflamed. He looked up at her, his hazel eyes just like his father's. The thought sent a rush of emotions shuttling through Keisha. Nostalgia, love, terror, sadness, and loneliness. Nostalgia overwhelmed her, memories of all night cram sessions, living off beer and pizza, nights in his dorm. Gut-wrenching love, believing that even though they came from different worlds: Holden from Conneticut, from money, Harvard an obvious choice; Keisha from a podunk town in NC, daughter of a single mother, there on a full scholarship. She’d been terrified when those two lines appeared. She was a junior then, she and Holden surprising everyone by sticking together since freshman year. Sadness had engulfed her when she told him and his shrug was so nonchalant. He talked about an abortion so flippantly. When Keisha said she wasn't sure, he'd laughed at her until he realized she was serious. Loneliness was her constant friend when he started dogging her, until he fell off the face of the earth altogether. But all the pain led to Caleb. She couldn't imagine her life without her little sweetheart. When he finished the bottle, she lifted him to her shoulder and pat his back as she walked back to the living room. Her mother hadn't even moved, her eyes still frozen on the TV. The news was on, the anchor talking about Senator Cunningham. Keisha grinned when the screen flashed pictures of the young politician. He was definitely handsome, with his angular features and deep blue eyes. His wavy brown hair, his two piece suit, his comments, nothing seemed out of place. "He's staying at the hotel," Keisha said aloud, pacing back and forth as she burped Caleb. "Mmm." "A guest and I got into it on my break and-" "You didn't get in trouble, did you?" Her mother's dark eyes fluttered to her for a moment before they returned to the screen. "You need the job, Keisha."
Keisha rolled her eyes. "I know I need the job, Mom. At least until I get the scholarship." Mauryville State offered a full ride to a 23+ student who showed promise. Keisha was still working on her essay. Dear sirs/madams, I deserve this because I want to be more than just a stereotype. I want to prove to my mother, to myself that I can do this. That I can be more for my son. That I can"He's kinda cute, huh?" Her mother said with a cheshire grin. "Kind of has a down home charm about him." "He tried to save me from that guy at the bar," Keisha said with a laugh. "Damn near bought me a drink 'til he saw I was a maid." "Huh," her mother said, her voice slight. "Well it's for the best. White boys are kind of the reason you're in this mess." I need this because I have to get away. I have to get out of my toxic environment before it poisons my son. Before he sees the person my mother has become. Keisha didn't take the bait, instead, bouncing Caleb until he gurgled with delight. Leaving Harvard was one of the hardest thing's she'd ever done. But it gave her Caleb. Caleb was worth it.
Chapter Four Jake Jake took a gulp of his OJ and turned his attention back to his tablet. "Are you listening to me, Jake?" Roman said with a sigh worthy of a Greek tragedy. Jake raised his eyes, chuckling at his old friend. They'd met at NC State, at one of the poli sci mixers. Back then, Jake was more concerned with chasing tail than saving the world, but even then he could tell Roman was going places. But he didn't want the limelight, he wanted to be behind the scenes, Jake was the face, the body the world saw, but Roman was the bones, the glue that held it altogether. Even if he was a little neurotic. "So the local news did a piece on your arrival and it was live on the evening news. Really well received." Roman continued. He took a bite of his apple as he gestured at an intern that brought over a binder. "We're hoping for a photo opportunity at a couple of the local schools, reading a book, molding young minds and what not." He glanced around the table. "Did they forget the coffee? How the hell am I supposed to function without my coffee?" Jake peered up from his screen, watching the intern scurry over to the doorway. His eyes widened when he saw the maid standing near the open door. Her back was turned, but he knew it was her. She had the same short hair and midnight skin. It was the woman from the bar. He pushed from the table. He hadn't been able to get her out of his head, thinking about her playful brown eyes, what it would be like to hear her laugh. To kiss her. "Jake, are you listening to me?" He gave Roman a nod over his shoulder as he walked to the door. "Yeah sure, kissing babies, saving the world." A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth that waned when he heard the tone coming from the intern's mouth as she talked to the woman. "So that's black coffee, piping hot. Understand?" The woman mumbled a response. Where was the firecracker? "Good," the intern said with an air of condescension. "If it's not right, I'll-" "You'll what?" Jake said behind her, crossing his arms. The intern wheeled to face him, her face turning beet red. "Mr. Cunningham! I was just-" "I'll take it from here," Jake said frostily. "Don't you have papers to file? Calls to make?" "Y-yes sir." She shuffled away, sinking to two feet tall.
The woman didn't turn around, she just gave him a small nod and pushed out of the suite. Jake followed her. "Sorry about that," he offered. "We bully her, she bullies you..." There was no joke. No anything. "I still owe you that drink." She stopped in the hallway, then slowly turned. Jake's face fell. It wasn't the woman he met. She was attractive, though her features were a little more hawkish, but she didn't have the gentle beauty that caught his eye yesterday. "I'm sorry," he said quickly, taking a step back. He turned to go, kicking himself for being so disappointed. "Were you looking for Keisha?" Jake froze. "Beg your pardon?" The maid's shoes squeaked as she walked toward him. She gave him a big grin when he turned to face her. "She's a maid too--dark skinned, dark hair, head always in a book?" He remembered the woman he’d seen in the bar, sipping her soda, flipping through her textbook. Keisha. He knew her name. "Is Keisha working this morning?" The maid shook her head. "She was just covering for someone." She jutted out her hand. "I'm Monique.” "Oh." He shook it. "Nice to meet you, Monique." The maid perked her eyebrow. "So what's going on with you and Keisha?" Jake tried to seem nonchalant. "We were just talking." He cleared his throat. "About policies." "Oh okay," the maid shrugged. She leaned in like she was going to tell him a secret. "She's married." He squared his shoulders, his face blank, but inside, his heart sunk to his feet. Of course she was. She was gorgeous, smart, strong, funny--why wouldn't she be taken? "I see." Monique took a step closer, licking her lips suggestively. "I'm free for that drink later, though. If the invitation's open." She had an overt sexuality, a draw that reminded him of Trixie. People always said the best way to get over someone was to get under someone new. He shook his head, denying the need that swirled inside him. "Maybe some other time. Take care." He turned on his heels and moved back into the suite, clicking the door closed behind him. Married. Off limits.
He let out a sigh as he slunk back to the table and dropped in the chair across from his advisor. He tried to focus, tried to forget about her. Keisha. He knew her name, but she was further away now than ever. "So, what's on the agenda today?"
Chapter Five Keisha “Shit shit shit,” Keisha mumbled to herself, ducking in and out of the lunchtime hustle. She didn't know why she was rushing, calling the people that moved like snails everything but a child of god when it was obvious she wasn't making it to work on time. She needed to put the blame squarely where it belonged. She broke it down, breathing in and out as she saw a crowd of reporters huddled around an Escalade. First, it was Phillips Electronics fault for making a crappy alarm clock, one that didn't go off at 6am even though she knew she set it. Oh and her son, her human siren, picked today to actually stay asleep. And then there was her mother, leaving a note that said she was going out of town. That was it. Four words. No return date, no warning, even though she knew Keisha counted on her watching Caleb during the day. Naturally, the bus ran late. And even though the weatherman claimed it was supposed to be bright and sunny, the wet look she was rocking, soaked to the bone, proved otherwise. The only person or inanimate object she wasn't pissed off at was Maria. She'd been a lifesaver, offering to watch Caleb on her day off. She didn't even bother saying excuse me as she pushed through the crowd. They were just lucky she saying "get the hell out of the way". "Keisha?" She stopped, her clothes heavy as they hung off her body. She just shook her head. Whoever it was couldn't be talking to her. When she felt someone grip her arm, she fumbled in her purse for her taser. "Don't tase me, bro!" The voice was light and familiar. She released it, looking up as she swiped a wet strand of hair from her eyes. It was Jake Cunningham. He looked amazing, one of his entourage holding an umbrella as the sky made an unhealthy bellow and opened up. Again. The reporters scattered like roaches and Keisha gasped when he pulled her forward, under the safety of his umbrella. They were so close that she could have seen all of his imperfections. As she stared at his reddening face, her own burning hot, she shot her eyes downward. She didn't want him to see hers. Some guy was barking that they had a schedule to keep, but Jake didn't move. It was like he wanted to be close to her. He didn't want whatever it was that they were doing to end. He cleared his throat. "U-uh, headed to work?"
Keisha shook her head, snapping from her trance. "Y-yeah. And I'm gonna be late." She took a step backward. "I-It was nice seeing you." "Let me give you a ride." He cracked a smile that made her go weak in the knees. "Please." "That's not necessary-" "I insist." It would be nice to get out of the weather. She faltered and gave him a nod. She followed him to the car and slid into the backseat. Jake seemed practically giddy as he pushed in behind her, closing the door. As the car shook into motion, he began introductions. "Keisha, this is my head advisor, Roman." He gestured at the pert young woman across from me. "And that go-getter is my intern, Raven." Keisha had worked in customer service long enough to know a fake smile when she saw one and both the advisor and the intern had them plastered on their faces. Roman was the first to speak, still wearing his uncomfortable grin. "What's going on here, Jake?" "We're giving her a ride. I hope that's okay." There was a commanding tone in his voice that sent a shudder of delight through Keisha. He was saying that he didn't care if it wasn't. She glanced at him, seeing him in a new light. She was just a maid. Why did he care? Why was he being so nice to her? She pushed aside her questions, turning to Roman. "Sorry for any inconvenience, I really appreciate the ride." "Oh it's no problem at all," Roman gushed all teeth and insincerity. Keisha flashed Jake a smile that he returned. "So how's the down home tour going? Changing the hearts and minds of small town North Carolinians?" "I sure do hope so," he said with a chuckle. "Got any tips?" Keisha arched a brow. "Well for starters, ditch the cameras." Roman scoffed. "Ditch the cameras?" Keisha nodded. "It reeks of photo opp. It looks fake. Like you're trying too hard." She crossed her arms. "And if you're trying to appeal to small town America, don't walk around in suits that cost as much as they make in a week." Roman and Raven just sat there, slack jawed. But Jake smiled, stroking his chin. "Maybe I should hire you." Keisha winked. "You can't afford me, Senator."
His face hardened and he turned his attention back to the front. "Your husband's a lucky man." Keisha gawked at him like he spoke a foreign language. Did he just say husband? "Say what?" "Your husband." "I don't have a husband," she snorted. The snort became a scoff of disbelief as she put it together. "Met Monique, huh?" Jake shook his head with a sigh. "I reckon I did." "I'm not married," Keisha said with an eye roll. "It's just me and my son. Oh and my mother, when she feels like it." The cabin was quiet. Keisha glanced over at Jake. He was still as a statue. "Everything okay?" "You have a son?" Jake said hoarsely, not looking her dead-on. Keisha wrinkled her nose. "Yes?" "I see." And so did Keisha. She'd tried dating, and found guys were on board until they found out she had 'baggage'. Caleb was the straw that broke the camel's back. "Unbelievable," she whispered, gathering her things. She couldn't believe she'd thought that maybe, just maybe, Jake was different. She couldn't believe she'd allowed herself to be hopeful. "Stop the car." Roman's eyes widened. "Beg your pardon?" "Stop the car," Keisha seethed, reaching for the door handle. Jake reached for her. "Keisha-" "Save it." She took a deep breath as she stepped back into the torrent. She slammed the door shut and turned on her heels. All of a sudden she was glad it was raining. Now no one would see her cry.
Chapter Six Jake Jake had a smile glued to his face, nodding and trying to seem interested. As Roman steered him away from the elderly woman with the grabby hands, he leaned in, scolding him. "Jake, these people paid a thousand dollars a pop to rub elbows with you," he swiped a deli spiral and bit into it then grabbed a flute and downed the champagne in one mighty gulp. "You're still punishing me aren't you?" Jake grinned at a couple that brushed past before dropping it like a bad habit when he turned to Roman. "What the hell are you talking about?" To the untrained eye, Roman seemed cool and collected, but Jake saw he was doing that foot tapping thing and bullets of sweat exploded at his temple. "You know exactly what I'm talking about." When Jake didn't respond, he let out a groan of frustration. "Because I called Trixie a bubblegum ho and said your relationship would fail. And now that you're about to jump into bed with another working class hero, against my well-earned advice-" Jake bristled, holding his head high indignantly. "I'm not jumping into bed with anyone." But he was a bad liar and Roman saw it too, rolling his eyes skyward as he shoved past, cradling two more glasses. Logan walked to the bar, shaking hands half-heartedly. He slid onto the stool and gave the bartender a weak smile. "Rum and coke." "Yes sir," the younger guy moved deftly, pouring the drink with precision. He slid the drink toward Jake. "You know, for it being a party and all, you seem kinda...off." Jake chuckled as he took a gulp of the drink. "Between me and you, it's a woman." The kid gave him a knowing wink. "Ain’t it always." He scratched his head. "You were the one that I saw with Keisha the other day, right?" Jake nodded nice and slow. "That would be me." "Cool," he said with a grin. "She's hot." When Jake shot him a look, he cleared his throat, trying to look busy. "And a sweetheart. A total sweetheart." Jake knew it. He was the dick. Why had he frozen when she talked about her son? He finished the drink and let out a weary sigh. A better question was why he asked questions he already knew the answer to? It was pretty obvious that he was gun shy after Trixie. He got so attached to her son, Jett. The kid had even started calling him Dad before Trixie ripped it all away, going back to her asshole ex. What had she said when Jake tried to find out why and
begged for some reason or explanation? "They were just a fantasy" and some "It's not you, it's me" bullshit. But that wasn't Keisha's fault. It was wrong for him to take it out on her, to hold her at arm's length just so he wouldn't get knocked out by love again. "Hey kid," he said, pulling out a twenty. He lowered his voice. "Keisha working tonight?" The bartender took the bill and tucked it in his wallet. "She should just be getting off." Jake pushed from the bar and walked to the side door, avoiding his advisor's hawk like stare. He'd played politician for over an hour. Now he had to make things right with Keisha. He didn't even know where she'd be, he just saw a steady stream of bleary eyed workers file out the side door. His heart raced when he saw Keisha, her short hair peeking out of a crocheted beanie as she pulled on her jacket. It was the same she’d worn when they met, the crimson bringing out the lush color of her skin. "Keisha!" She turned. Her eyes narrowed when she saw it was Jake, and she turned around and picked up the pace. Jake hustled to catch her. "Keisha, wait. Please." She stopped at the revolving door. "Let me explain," he begun. "Please." She pivoted to face him, casting a glance at that Monique girl that lied about her being married. Monique suddenly seemed less than eager to go home, standing within earshot. "Maybe we should go somewhere private." Jake agreed. "My room." He subconsciously smacked his forhead. "Not my bedroom, the suite has a day room." He swallowed, that made it seem like he was uninterested which was far from the case. "Not that I wouldn't love to have you in my bed." Jesus Christ. "I mean-" The corner of Keisha’s lip twitched upward. "Lead the way." As they walked to the elevator and he punched the P button and inserted his key, he tried to seem cool. "I know I seemed like kind of an ass when you brought up your son-" "Kind of?" Keisha repeated with a snort. "I think that shipped has sailed." "Fair enough," Jake said gruffly, stepping out when they reached the suite level. He inserted the key and held the door as she breezed inside. He followed her, pulling off his jacket and undoing his bowtie. "Can I get you something to drink?" "No thank you," she said curtly. The drink he had was suddenly lacking in the liquid confidence arena. "I'm sorry." He took a step toward her. "I know this doesn't change anything, or make what I did right, but the last
woman I dated had a son. I fell for him as hard as I did for her." He swallowed. "When she ended things, I lost them both." "I'm sorry," she said quietly, picking at the hem of her jacket. When she looked up, her lips were spread in the mischievous grin he'd fell for when they first met. "So, uh, does that mean we're dating?" He raked a hand through his dark hair with a nervous chuckle. "I-I'd like to. I mean...if you'd have me." Her hazel eyes bore into him, wanting to believe it, but colored with skepticism. "Why?" "Because you're strong. You didn't take that prick's bullshit when we met. Because I have a feeling that you could have laid him out, and he would have deserved it." He took a step closer. "Because you're smart. Dedicated." Closer. He knew he was about to pull out the big guns, but as he looked at her, he knew he couldn't last one more second without touching her. He grazed her skin, soft and as rich as chocolate. "Because you're beautiful." When he held her gaze and her cherry lips parted just so, electricity shot to his groin. She pursed her lips and tilted her chin. He brought his lips to hers and breathed her in, desire making his cock thump in his pants. When she reached to the front and clutched his growing erection as she kissed him back hard, all bets were off. Her jacket was discarded, his hands a flurry as he unbuttoned her flannel shirt. It was by some magic that their lips never left each other as they stripped down. He was the first to pull away, devouring her ebony flesh and the milky contrast of his skin as he ran a hand down her neck, falling to the rise and fall of her beautiful breasts. He took one of her birch colored nipples between his thumb and pointer and tugged at the peaks, drinking up the delicious moan that fell from her lips. As she took his shaft in her hand and began stroking him in kind, he let out a hungry moan of his own. He was starving for her. He wouldn't be sated until he sheathed himself inside her. His mouth continued the journey begun by his hands as he clasped her to him, arching her back as he repossessed her peaks, suckling them loud and wild. Her body was so soft, a dark sea of satin. And when he spread his legs and found his way to the heart of her, sinking a finger into her pink warmth, he knew he could wait no longer. He had to have her. He had to have her now. He scooped her into the arms and burst through the doors of his private bedroom, laying her out like a masterpiece on his sheets. As he crawled on the bed, parting her dusky thighs, he paused. "Tell me you want it."
Her voice was thick, hot with lust. "Want isn't anywhere close. I need it, baby. I need you." And with that, he steered himself into her core, letting out a howl of satisfaction as she gulped his entire length. So wet. So juicy. He captured her lips, moaning deep inside her as he buried his cock into his lover. Everything else paled except the thunder of their hearts. Nothing mattered but this. He climbed up the peaks of ecstasy as his thrusts became frenzied, the pressure of his seed building, consuming. She was clutching his ass, digging him deeper. When he felt the rhythmic pulse of her orgasm, the avalanche of pleasure careened through his body and they rode the fury until there was nothing left, until they were hollow and spent. He rolled beside her, his chest heaving up and down. Both of them panted, having no words, needing no words. She was the first to move, rising with a chuckle. "I should take a shower and get on home." Jake pouted with his eyes. "You can't stay the night?" She shook her head. "My mother’s already looking for a reason to evict me and Caleb." She gave him a devilish grin. "Another time." "When's your next day off?" Jake asked, folding his arms behind his head. "Saturday," she called from the bathroom, turning the water on. "Why?" "Maybe you, me, and Caleb can go to the park? Or maybe the museum?" She didn't say anything for an unhealthy amount of time, so Jake walked to the bathroom. "Keisha?" She was standing in front of the shower, her cheek glistening with a tear. "Y-you really mean it? You want to meet my son?" "Of course," Jake said, gazing at her with adoration. "I want to be a part of your life, Keisha. I'm ready to be a part of both your lives." She swiped the tear away and pulled back the curtain, her round, fleshy ass jiggling seductively. She crooked her finger as a stream poured from the spicket. The water made her mahogany skin glitter. "What are you waiting for? I've got at least one more in me."
Chapter Seven Keisha Keisha hummed to herself as she unloaded the dishwasher. She didn't even know what she was singing, and didn't really care. All she knew was that after being the only one that was delivering a little TLC on the rare occasion that she got some time alone, she'd had mindblowing sex. And not just a booty call, some guy she texted up in a frenzy of horniness-Jake Cunningham. A senator. She still couldn't believe it wasn't a dream. Jake was kind yet ferocious. Giving him her body was easy. But was she really ready to give him her heart? She glanced over at Caleb who was cooing and bopping his head to his own music, getting more peas all over the kitchen than in his mouth. He looked up at her, those big golden eyes against his mocha skin making her smile. Last she heard, Holden was shacked up with some debutante, all of a sudden ready for a commitment. He'd moved on...it was time for her to do the same. Her mother trudged to the table , her kinky hair peeking out from her silk scarf. She had a cigarette dangling from her lips, flicking the lighter as she took a long drag and shot it out of her freckled nose. "What are you all cheery about?" Keisha wanted to remind her that they'd agreed to no smoking in the house because of Caleb, but she didn't want to get in a fight. She didn't want to ruin her high. She walked to the window and slid it open, sounds from the busy street floating inside. "It's nothing, Ma." She turned to the stove. "Want me to make you some eggs?" She bristled when her mom shuffled to the fridge and pulled out a wine cooler. Breakfast of champions. "Don't really seem like nothing." She popped open the bottle and cast a look over at Caleb. "I hope you're gonna clean up his mess. We agreed that-" "I know, Ma," Keisha said through clenched teeth. She grabbed the paper towels. "You don't have to worry about watching Caleb on Saturday. We're gonna go to the art museum. Maybe the park." "So you got money to gallivant around town, but no money to hire a babysitter?" Her words cut like a knife. Her mother pinned all her hopes and dreams on Keisha and when she got pregnant and had to drop out when she was only two years from being the first Wallace to get a college degree, she'd shut down. She never forgave Keisha for keeping Caleb. She never forgave Keisha for putting her dreams, their dreams on hold.
Keisha gripped the counter. "If you must know, a friend is paying for it." "A friend, huh?" Her mother said with disbelief. "Your friends are as broke as you are." "It's Jake Cunningham, okay?" Keisha said, slamming a pan into the sink. It seemed like the whole world stopped. Caleb was quiet. Even the volume outside lowered. "Senator Jake Cunningham?" Keisha turned to face her and nodded. "And he's going out with you?" "Yes." "And he knows about Caleb?" "Yes, Ma." She whistled, stubbing out her cigarette butt. "Well get a load at you! How did you do it?" "Excuse me?" Her mother gave her a look. "You're a pretty girl, but come on." Keisha's nostrils flared. "What are you trying to say, Ma?" Her mother let out a cruel laugh that shook Caleb to motion. Keisha went to him, pulling him from his highchair. She turned to her mother. She was laughing like it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard. "You slept with him didn't you?" "That's none of your business,” Keisha snapped. She swiped her tears. "Maybe that's the problem. You not guarding your coochie is the-" "Reason I'm in this mess and ruined my life and blah blah blah," Keisha snapped, anger bubbling in her gut. She didn't expect her mother to be proud, but her hatefulness was so much worse. And the way she treated Caleb... Keisha rocked him as she went to her bedroom, moving through tears as she threw a couple of shirts, pants, onesies and toys in a duffel bag. Her mother let out another chuckle. "So dramatic. We both know you'll be back, Keisha." The sad thing was, Keisha knew she was right. Her dad had abandoned her and her mother years ago, just like Holden had abandoned her and Caleb. Maria offered a safe haven for a few days, maybe a week, but she had a family of her own. Minimum wage at Winterhorn kept her stagnant. The only way out was the scholarship, and her mother loved to remind her that was a long shot. Single, black mother in Mauryville was a dime a dozen. Keisha grabbed the stroller and tucked Caleb inside. Her mother was railing on about how ungrateful she was, how she squandered away her life for some man. "Ma, just-"
Tap, tap. Keisha frowned at her mother. "Expecting someone?" "No one but bill collectors." Keisha steadied Caleb on her hip and peered into the peephole. A rash of excitement went through her. Standing at the door, with an armful of stuff, was Jake. She unlatched the lock and pulled it open, her face hot. "Jake!" When she saw he was holding flowers and a picnic basket, she broke down. She was so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by her mother, by school, by work--by life. How did he know that she needed him? That she needed a smile? Jake's face fell. "Keisha-” He looked past her to her mother. "I-Is this a bad time?" Her mother sauntered over, plucking Caleb from Keisha's shaking arms. "Don't be silly! Come on in, Senator." She shot Keisha an unspoken order to get it together. Keisha sniffled and forced a smile as Jake walked over to their worn couch and sat down. “I don’t want to intrude,” Jake said quietly, his embarrassment coloring him all shades of red. Her mother was suddenly Suzy Homemaker, all cordial and kindness as she shot glances between Jake and Keisha. “To what do we owe this pleasure, Senator?” Jake let out a nervous chuckle. “Jake is just fine, Mrs. Wallace.” He extended his hand. “I see where Keisha gets her smile.” “You’re a doll,” she said, all flustered. “I’m Carla, but you can call me Ma.” Yikes, Keisha thought with a groan. They hadn’t even gone on a date yet and she could almost see her mother tallying up the guest list to their wedding. “So what are you doing here, Jake?” “I was in the neighborhood,” he answered. “Talking to the teacher’s association over at Auburn Elementary.” “Great school,” Carla piped. “And I thought I’d swing by and introduce myself and see if Keisha didn’t have any plans tonight, she’d join me for dinner.” “Dinner?” Keisha repeated with a grin. “You and me?” Jake nodded. “I hear good things about Ivory. Called and landed a reservation for seven pm tonight.”
Keisha was impressed. One entrée cost about as much as she made in a week at the fancy steak restaurant. Word on the street was that you had to know a guy who knew a guy or be Jesus Christ himself to get a reservation less than a month in advance. “So how about it, Keisha?” “I’d love to, but Caleb-” “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about him,” her mother said brightly. “Grandma will watch him. You two go have fun!” Keisha’s mind shot to her mother griping about peas literally five minutes ago, not even caring that they had one foot out the door. But Caleb seemed to have quieted down. And she hadn’t had a night out in so long. “What the heck!” she beamed. “I’d love to!”
Chapter Eight Jake “Where do you think you’re headed, Jake?” Jake froze. He’d made sure he was all Colgate smiles and firm handshakes all afternoon, grinning and bearing it through what he was sure was the most boring speech he’d ever heard on community service. It didn’t help that the presenters used a powerpoint full of text and just read off the screen. He didn’t feel all that guilty about sitting near the podium, doodling in the margin of his notes and writing down all the questions he wanted to ask Keisha. What was her favorite color? Her favorite food? Her favorite song to fuck to? He’d been all hot and bothered, rearranging in his seat as he thought about their hookup. He still couldn’t believe that his apology had led to a round that the mere thought of now sent a shimmer of longing through him. Her body, his body, their bodies crashing into one another, swirling in a fury of carnal passion. The feel of her insides clutching him tight as he moved inside her…God…she was incredible. And he couldn’t wait to see her again. He wanted to shout his excitement from the rooftops, but considering Roman was still raw about the Trixie incident, he decided a lie was his best bet for now. He was in no mood for his ‘I told you so’ or backhanded comments. He had to ease his old friend into it, or he’d lose his shit and then they’d have a falling out and he didn’t want to lose Roman’s counsel. Roman was no expert on love, but he was one hell of a shark when it came to politics. He needed him if he wanted to hold on to his seat. “I-I’m just uh, gonna go for a walk. Get some air,” he lied. “A walk?” Roman repeated. “Where to?” Jake shrugged, trying to seem noncommittal. “Around.” He shifted his weight and pulled at his button down shirt. There was something in Roman’s tone that turned a simple question into the Inquisition. “What the hell does it matter? I don’t need your permission to go for a walk.” Roman’s hazel eyes shifted to slits. “I never said you did. I’m just trying to make sure that by ‘around’ you don’t mean going to see that maid.” Jake sipped his glass of water, letting the frosty liquid cool him to the core. He needed to snuff the steam that was shooting from his ears because there was something in the edge to the way Roman spoke about Keisha that rubbed him the wrong way. Like he was equating her occupation with her worth. “She has a name, Roman.”
“Yeah,” Roman said acidly. “Quanisha or Shaniqua or something or other.” Jake’s aqua eyes flashed. “Count yourself lucky that we’re friends because if anyone else had made a crack about her that way-” “My bad,” Roman said quickly, holding out his hands in apology. “It’s just…” His voice trailed off, his frustration evident. “I’m just trying to look out for you.” “I think I’m good in the romance department. And she’s nothing like Trixie.” “Really?” Roman said, unconvinced. “If my sources, and my eyes, serve me right, I’m not so sure.” Jake looked him dead on. There was something slick in the way he said it, like he knew something. “What are you talking about, Roman?” “On my way upstairs from talking with Carmen about reserving the ballroom for a press meeting tomorrow, I saw the maid-” “Keisha.” Roman rolled his eyes skyward, but obliged. “Keisha. I saw her carrying quite a torch for some guy. As in, making and out and looking very much like she wasn’t trying to build anything substantial with you.” Jake shook his head. Not his Keisha. He had to be wrong. “No.” “I know what I saw, Jake.” He hung his head. “I’m sorry.” Jake’s body turned to stone. It was impossible. “No,” he said again. “I don’t believe it.” Roman turned to a stack of papers, signaling for Raven to come before he turned back to Jake, nodding nice and slow. “You know what? I’m sure you’re right. It probably wasn’t her.” But he’d already planted the seeds of doubt and it was no problem making them grow into a brush of confusion and anger. Jake’s mind darted in a million directions at once. Had she been playing him all along? They barely knew each other, after all. He had to see it with his own eyes. “You saw her just now? Down in the lobby?” “Jake-” “ANSWER ME!” Jake thundered, his fury rattling the windows. Raven and Roman exchanged a glance, Roman’s face going a few shades paler as he loosened his tie. “I wasn’t trying to-” He stopped, swallowing hard. He didn’t need to say more. Jake rushed from the room, not even bothering to close the door behind him. He bypassed the elevator altogether, going straight to the stairs. His legs moved like a blur, his heart roaring in his ears. A part of him hoped it was a case of mistaken identity. It couldn’t
be true. For her to look him in the face, tell him what they had was real and then saddle up with some other guy…how could she do him like that? He collected himself as best he could before he pushed the doubled doors open and walked out onto the lobby floor. He scanned the floor and his heart sunk into the earth as he saw her. Standing near the comfort area near the check-in desk, he saw Keisha, balancing a bubbly infant on her hip. She wore the crimson jacket he loved, her hair tucked in an oblong beanie as she embraced a youngish looking guy in a business suit. When he saw the guy lean in to kiss her, he turned away, not needing to see the rest. Hurt blinded him as he turned on his heels, moving back into the corridor. He stood just behind the closed door, cursing himself. How stupid he was, thinking that there was something there, that they were building something special. Why couldn’t he fall for someone that was available, appreciative of his love? Of his heart? He set his jaw and moved back up the stairs, each flight calming his nerves as he made himself as cold as ice. He had to, to preserve his sanity. He had to be a machine, dead inside, dead to everything except the reason that brought him to this backwoods city in the first place. He pushed back into the suite and the room went dead silent, all eyes turning to him. Roman stepped forward, clearing his throat awkwardly. “Y-you okay?” “Perfect,” Jake said clippedly. “So we have the dinner invitation with the realtor association tonight, right? RSVP yes.” “But-” “That’s all, Roman,” Jake said, dismissing him with a curt nod. “Yes sir,” Roman said dutifully, pulling out his Blackberry. Raven strut over, her face cautious. “U-um, Mr. Cunningham? Keisha’s on line 2.” Jake swallowed the stone in his throat. Why was she calling? What was left to say? Roman gestured at Raven and they both exited quietly, giving him privacy. Jake turned to the phone and punched the flashing button as he brought the receiver to his mouth. “Yes?” Her voice was friendly and playful, like she hadn’t just ripped his heart from his chest. She deepened her voice, imitating him. “’Yes’? Am I interrupting something?” “I should ask you the same,” Jake said coldly. “What?”
He closed his eyes, dropping his head into his hands. “I must be a real idiot, huh? I mean, I fall for the crème de la crème. Women who just can’t seem to keep their legs closed for every Tom, Dick, and Harry that comes calling.” Keisha’s gasp was like a whip, but he didn’t allow her to speak, not when he was on a roll. His therapist would be proud. Instead of keeping it all in, he unleashed everything. “I thought you were different. I thought you had more integrity than my ex. You might not shake it on a pole, but you’re no different. You’re a trick and a dirty liar.” He expected her to tell him off, give him a real tongue lashing, head shaking side to side and all, but she just said two words: Fuck you. Jake held the phone tight, listening to a dial tone that stretched on forever.
Chapter Nine Keisha Keisha was livid. She’d been called a lot of things by men. She pushed inside Winterhorn, determined to confront Jake. It’d be a cold day in hell before she let him call her a trick and a liar in one breath and not have something thrown directly at his head. Like a fist. Or a lamp. “Mija,” Maria hissed, waving at her as she brushed toward the elevator. “I was just about to call you.” “Not right now,” Keisha said, not wanting to be deterred. “What?” She paused over near the desk, turning to face her friend. “Let’s just say I won’t need that little black dress of yours after all.” Maria wheeled around and made sure they weren’t being watched. She gripped Keisha’s arm and they ducked into the supply closet. Maria flipped the light and closed the door behind them. “Oh girl, you haven’t heard the least of it.” Her chest heaved up and down as she let out a string of words in Spanish. Keisha’s eyes widened when she picked up on a few of them, tried and true cuss words. “What’s going on, Maria?” “It’s that Monique,” Maria said with a weary shake of her head. “She quit today.” Keisha raised a brow. “That’s bad news?” “No, but the reason she quit working for Winterhorn is.” She leaned against a shelf, steadying herself like she had a bombshell to share. “Apparently Jake’s advisor offered her a role she couldn’t refuse. Especially considering he offered a check for 25,000 dollars.” “I don’t understand,” Keisha said, trying to connect the dots. “What does that have to do with me and Jake?” “You went to Harvard, Keisha. Don’t act brand new,” Maria chided. “That advisor of Jake’s set everything up—dressed that ho like you, strapped a baby to her hip and had her all kissy kissy smoochie smoochie with some white boy.” Keisha eyes went wide. She couldn’t believe it. She couldn’t fathom it. “He didn’t!” She knew Roman thought she was bad for Jake’s career, but launching a full out production to break them up? It seemed so far-fetched, but so was Jake calling her a lying trick. Those two words took her back and she remembered how much it hurt. Two words gutted her.
She shrugged her shoulders. “So what? He should have known better. This doesn’t change a damn thing.” Maria snapped her fingers in her face, like she was trying to snap Keisha from a trance. “You for real? He thought you were playing him. He thought he saw you lip locked with someone else.” She took Keisha’s face in her hands, holding her steady as her dark eyes scanned her. “I know he probably said some things but somewhere, you gotta know he didn’t mean it and was just lashing out in anger and hurt. You gotta forgive him.” “I do, do I?” “Yes,” Maria said, her mouth taking on a no-nonsense line. “You care about him. I haven’t seen you glow the way you’ve been for the past week in, well, ever.” Keisha tucked her bangs behind her ear. Even if she wanted to go to him, he’d only known her for two weeks. Why would he believe her over his closest advisors? Over his own two eyes? Still, this was all a bit much. Roman wasn’t messing around. She didn’t know if she could handle the fallout if they went to blows. “I don’t know, Maria…” “I do,” Maria said, putting her hands on her hips. “You’re gonna go to that man and lay it all out.” “And if he calls me a liar? Again?” “Then you at least know you tried,” Maria said gently. “Trust me, you don’t wanna go through life with regret.” She shook her head with disgust. “I just can’t stand the idea of that girl or that snake getting away with this.” Keisha faltered, remembering how happy Jake made her. How electric his touch was. She didn’t think she’d ever find another man that could make her feel so special, to make her sing and dance and actually look forward to a future with him in it. Goddamn it. “I’ll try, Maria. But don’t whip out the champagne yet.” She turned to the door. “Wish me luck.” She sure as hell was gonna need it. She gathered herself as she walked toward the elevator. She tried to hold the truth--that the advisor tricked Jake and he only spoke out of anger--in the front of her mind. But what if Jake didn’t believe her? She thought about his aqua eyes, looking right through her as he whipped out more colorful words to describe her. None of them would compare to the devastation of him not believing her. None of it would compare to not having him in her life.
She gathered herself as she stepped onto the penthouse floor and walked down the plush corridor. She took a deep breath and rapped on the door. An eternity passed before she heard laughter as someone approached the door and swung it open. She’d been hoping for Jake, but her mouth went dry as she saw the person standing in the doorway was the mastermind, Roman. His eyes went round with surprise and his mouth worked but no words came out as he stepped into the hall, pulling the door to behind him. “Miss, uh-” “You know exactly who I am.” She planted her arms to her side, fighting the urge to clock him in the jaw. “I don’t have anything to say to you. I want to speak to Jake.” “Senator Cunningham is busy,” Roman snapped. He’d seemed so poised and collected when she first met him. Now she saw that his hair was a little too perfect, his shirt a little too starched. He was trying really hard to seem strong and important, but underneath it all, he was just a man. And not a very good one at that. “I know what you did,” Keisha scowled. “How dare you!” “How dare I?” Roman said cruelly, looking at her like something rotten. Subhuman. “How dare you think that a maid would have a chance with a politician? How dare you put my reputation, my career in jeopardy for a god damn booty call?” “A booty call?” Keisha hissed. “That’s what you think this is?” She shook her head. “You contradict yourself. You wouldn’t have dished out that kind of money if you really believed that. You knew he cared about me.” He scoffed. “It’s pretty obvious that Jake has poor judgment when it comes to women.” Keisha had to woosah, remind herself that the last thing she needed was to deck this guy and end up in jail. “You had no right. It was none of your business.” “That’s where you’re wrong, sweetheart,” Roman said with a smug grin. “As soon as Jake hired me, his life became my business.” He continued railing on, detailing his whole entire scheme. Keisha caught the door of the suite creeping open behind him, but she kept her attention on Roman. Jake was standing in the doorway, his brow furrowed in confusion. She said nothing. Roman was gonna dig his own grave. “What do you have to say for yourself?” Keisha prompted. “What did you do?” “I paid off Monique. She’s not nearly as pretty as you, granted, but with a little staging, a trip to Target and Jake’s bruised ego, she was passable.” “The kid and the guy?”
“Actors. Easy peasy,” he shrugged. “It’s nothing personal, but Cinderella stories don’t win elections.” Keisha wanted to lay into him, but something told her it would be as effective as having a debate with a lawn chair. After all, Roman had made up his mind about her when he first saw her. But she looked past him now, gazing at Jake. There was no judgment or disdain, just apology behind his eyes…until Roman whirled to face him. The sadness in his gaze morphed into rage. “Jake,” Roman squeaked, his voice colored with terror. “I-” “You son of a bitch,” Jake growled, advancing. Keisha could practically see his muscles flexing beneath his suit. Roman backed up toward Keisha. He stepped behind her. The rat was trying to use her as a shield. “Jake, what you heard…it wasn’t…it isn’t…” “Save the spin,” Jake said, shaking his head in disbelief. “There are no cameras here.” He looked at Keisha, his face full of so much guilt. “Keisha, I swear.” He let out a groan of frustration. “I should have known-” Tears filled her eyes. He should have. Roman held his head high, feeling ballsy. “She’s a mistake. Just like Trixie. Just you wait and see.” “No,” Jake said firmly, standing his ground. “She’s strong, tenacious, intelligent, and gorgeous.” He paused, giving Keisha a look that made the rest of the world fade away. She could see the love and passion. “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.” Roman crossed his arms. “Well, if you want my advice-” “I don’t,” Jake cut in, shooting daggers. “You’re fired.” Keisha expected a drawn out spiel from Roman about how he made Jake and what a huge, apocalyptic error this all was, but Roman held his head high, giving them a dignified nod before he pushed back into the suite without a fuss. She was glad that they were alone. She had so much to say. “That wasn’t me in the lobby.” She knew that Roman had already come clean, but she needed to say it out loud. She took a step toward him, drawn to him, sighing when he was so close that she could feel his heart beat against her chest. “I wasn’t trying to play you. I would never, ever do you like that.” Jake caressed her cheek. “I know.” He licked his lips as he drew nearer. “I don’t know what the hell I was thinking.”
Keisha reached out and gave his arm a good solid pinch. “Ow!” Jake cried out, pulling back. “What the hell was that for?” “’Trick’ and a ‘liar’?” Jake lowered his gaze in embarrassment. “I…I didn’t mean.” His mouth hung open and then he stopped, standing tall. “I shouldn’t have said it. I didn’t mean it, any of it. I just went back to a really dark place with me and Trixie-” Keisha held a finger to his mouth, silencing him. She leaned forward and replaced the finger with her lips. When she pulled back, she searched his handsome face, finding no imperfections, finding only love. Finding only her soul mate. “Let’s not dwell on the past.” She trailed a hand downward and gripped his cock through his pants. “Not when I’ve been thinking about taking you in my mouth and sucking you off and showing you how much you mean to me.” She dropped her hand when Roman pushed past, rolling a suitcase. His face was pained and feeled with a quiet hatred as he looked at the two of them. “I’ll be back for-” Jake pulled Keisha into the suite, ignoring his ex-advisor. “Whatever.” Keisha gave the intern, Raven, an awkward wave that the girl returned, her eyes wide like a deer in headlights. Jake dropped his hand to Keisha’s rear and gave it a squeeze and Raven and Keisha squealed in unison. Jake grinned at Raven. “You’ve got the day off.” The girl hustled out, her face bright as tomatoes. Keisha looped her arms around his neck, pulling him lustfully close, sighing when she felt the curve of his desire against her body, matching the pool of want gathering in her panties. “So I’m your girlfriend, huh?” Jake nodded as he fumbled with her jeans. “And in a few seconds you’ll be my lover.” She lost herself in his touch, only pausing for a moment, remembering something important. She walked to a table near the door and swiped the “Do Not Disturb” placard and deposited on the doorknob and pulled it closed. She turned back to Jake, unzipping her top until she stood before him in nothing but a pair of hipster panties. “So,” she said with a smirk, gazing into his eyes. “Come show me why you should get my vote, Senator.” ###
About the Author Violet Williams is a writer living in the Greater Sacramento area, saving the world via taboo tales…one e-reader at a time. Join her in the gutter: http://violetwilliamserotica.wordpress.com.