Take My Hand (Interracial Erotic Romance) (3 page)

BOOK: Take My Hand (Interracial Erotic Romance)
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Tyler leaned back in his chair and nodded his head. “Fair enough. First, I want to apologize on behalf of Leo. He can be a little…rough around the edges at times.”

“He’s an asshole.”

Tyler laughed and nodded his head. “In a nutshell, yes, Leo is an asshole. He’s
great at running a kitchen but dealing with employees, especially females, is not one of his strong suits. Anyway, I called you up here to offer you severance, if you decide you would like to leave, that is.”

"
Decide
to leave? I’m not sure I follow, Mr. Scott.”

Tyler stood and walked to the window that overlooked the city. He placed his hands on his hips and looked back at Gracie. “It’s simple, Ms. Johnson. Leo was wrong to fire you. I talked to him briefly and he told me you had other…infractions. The latest one being a tardiness due to a poetry recital. Is that correct?”

Gracie squinted her eyes and tried to figure out Mr. Scott’s end game. Was he trying to get in her pants? Playing the hero, when in fact he was just leveraging his position into a piece of her black ass. “Yes, that’s correct. I was due to start my shift at 8pm and I showed up late. I had a family emergency to deal with after my recital and traffic was not cooperative. Like I said, I’ve had a long day.”

Tyler cocked his head to the side.
“A family emergency? Is everything ok?”

Gracie fidgeted in her seat. She didn’t like talking about personal matters with strangers, but Mr. Scott had such an easygoing way about him she felt compelled to share her struggles. Instead she bit her lip and met his reflective gaze in the window. “Yes, everything is ok.
Just a personal matter.”

Tyler nodded his head and headed back towards his desk. Instead of sitting behind it, however, he rested against the front and smiled at Gracie. “How did it go?”

“How did what go?”

“The recital.”

Gracie forced herself to look up into Tyler’s eyes. If she let her gaze drop she would be staring right into his crotch. The distance between the two of them was small and her box began to burn. “It went great, thanks for asking.”

“I’d like to watch you perform sometime.”

Gracie squirmed.
Eyes up, eyes up!
“Are you a poetry fan?”

“No, not at all.

Gracie gulped and focused. “So, you are offering me my job back?”

Tyler nodded. “Yes, you may remain employed here, if you like. I will speak to Leo and let him know your dismissal was unapproved. Or perhaps if you like I can get you a job in another one of our restaurants? It’s up to you Ms. Johnson.”

Gracie smiled.
The heat from Mr. Scott’s crotch beckoned her but she was too preoccupied with the man’s penetrating glare to steal a glance. She quickly considered her options and decided perhaps a job at another restaurant wasn’t such a bad idea. Working for Leo sucked and the prospect of limping back to him with her tail between her legs wasn’t an inviting one. “What other restaurant did you have in mind?”

“Steak Exchange, down on Lexington. It’s a nice place. Here, let me get a card for you. I will call the manager over there and let him know what’s up.” He pushed himself off the edge of the desk.

Gracie stole a look at his crotch. She wanted to reach out and grab it but restrained herself. Instead she stood and composed herself. “Thank you, Mr. Scott. This meeting went a lot better than I expected.”

He picked up a business card and wrote a number on the back. “Is the meeting over already? I was hoping to hear more about your poetry.”

Gracie met his gaze and melted. If she stayed another five minutes she knew what would follow. A drink. Another drink. Legs spread. Moans, ecstasy, regrets. No, she would take the card and head home. She had enough drama in her life. “Maybe another time?”

Tyler’s eyes danced. “If you insist.”

“I must, I’m sorry.”

He extended his hand forward and offered Gracie the business card. She reached to take it and
watched as Mr. Scott's finger ran across the back of her hand. Pleasure shot straight up her arm. Gracie shivered and jumped back. “Thank you, Mr. Scott.”

A wry smile. “I wish I could do more. I’d like see you again, one way or another.”

Gracie smiled and headed for the door. She needed to escape before she did something she would regret. Gracie was sure of one thing; she wanted to devour the handsome owner of the Omni Hotel and had a sneaking suspicion he felt the same way. But there was no way she should be getting involved with someone right now. Gracie simply didn’t have the time for a man; even one as hot as Tyler Scott. “Good night, Mr. Scott,” she squeaked on her way out of the office. She made it to the safety of the foyer. Just in the nick of time.

 

*

 

Gracie leaned against the side of the hotel and fought her raging hormones for control of her body. The feelings she had were new to her and she had a hard time controlling them. Of course she’d been attracted to men before and had even imagined being with a few of them. What had occurred in Mr. Scott’s office, however, was very different. Up in his office her body was begging her for sex and Gracie was sure if she didn’t leave when she did she would end up making love to Tyler Scott. And she just couldn’t do that, not yet anyway.

Gracie always prided herself in taking care of what
was important and keeping distractions to a minimum. Tyler Scott was a distraction. Her baby sister was important. Tyler Scott would intoxicate her and she needed to be clear minded. Both for her sister, and perhaps more importantly, herself. Yet Gracie also needed the companionship of a man, or at least she thought she did. When would she have to time to focus on that aspect of her life? Would her sister ever get her act together? Would Gracie’s poetry career ever take off?

She
took a deep breath and sighed. She knew that no matter how disappointed she was in Tamika, she would always be there for her. So Gracie decided to perish the thought of having relations with her handsome, billionaire boss and instead focused her mind on what was most important to her.

Gracie’s lust-filled desires could wait. Helping Tamika couldn’t.

 

 

 

*

 

New York City in late July is suffocating. The air feels like thick blankets and the scorching cement make the rubber of your soles feel as if they were about to melt. Add in eight million people, design your city in a fashion that restricts airflow as much as possible and you are left with what Gracie thought was the closest thing to hell on earth. If riding on the subway next to a cranky, sweat-soaked crack head wasn’t bad enough, the trash left in dumpsters while temps crept towards 95 sure nailed the point home. So as Gracie sat in the middle of Central Park and listened to her sister attempt to justify her relapse, she began to wish she were anywhere else in the world. Scratch that. She began to wish, specifically, that she were still conversing with Tyler Scott in his penthouse, to be precise.

“Are you even listening to me, Gracie?” Tamika asked. “It seems like you’re pre-occupied with something.”

A pulse of anger surged through Gracie’s body. She bit her lip before she spoke her true feelings and smiled. “No, I am listening. You were just telling me how it was “sort-of” an accident that you ended up doing cocaine again. I’m not
sure if I have the facts straight, but if I recall correctly, it was two-thirty in the morning, you were at a party at some rich white-boy’s house and the host offered you a bump. Do I have everything right?”

Tamika’s face soured. “I’m glad you think my life is a joke. You have no idea how hard it is to stop.”

Gracie’s pulse quickened and she took a deep breath before responding. “No, I think I have an excellent idea of how hard it is to stop. You, on the other hand, seem to have forgotten how hard it can be to stop using. Because if you remembered how hard it was to stop, you wouldn’t be partying, again, to begin with, now would you?"

Tamika folded her arms in front of her chest. “You don’t understand, Gracie. I don’t want to spend my early twenties sitting at home and reading books. I want to go out and have some fun, meet interesting people.” She smirked. “Maybe find me a
rich husband.”

The tension in her neck made Gracie tremble. It was the same cycle over
and over the past three years. Tamika would use cocaine until she crashed and burned. Then she would limp home to either Gracie or Lamar and seek refuge while she recovered from her latest binge. Sooner or later though, Tamika would end up hanging around the same losers as before and before long be using again. Gracie was nearing her limit of how much she could tolerate. “You don’t think you can have fun with people who don’t do cocaine? Or party every night of the week? What about your friends from recovery?”

Tamika sighed. “They are
boooring
. You know me sis; I need some excitement in my life. I don’t want to sit around and talk about how grateful I am for just being alive. Plus, those people aren’t doing anything with their lives. They just sit around and try to stay sober. I want to be around movers and shakers.”

Gracie winced.
“Movers and shakers? Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds? You don’t even have a career to be advancing, why do you need to hanging around those sorts of people?”

Tamika
flared. “I do have a career, but thanks for the insult.”

Gracie’s blood boiled. She knew Tamika was going to say that becoming an actress was her “career” and had her little sister actually taken steps towards becoming an actress she wouldn’t have made such a snarky comment. As it was, Tamika had never attended an acting class, never attended an audition and as far as Gracie knew never even watched movies.
As far as Gracie was concerned, Tamika's dreams of becoming an actress were more-or-less a fantasy, spurred on by the fact that she was a drop-dead gorgeous girl and received loads of attention from men "in the business."

“No, you don’t have a career, Tamika. You have a wish that somehow you will wake up and be a movie star. Well let me inform you of something, all those girls you see on the big screen have, at some time or another busted their ass to get where they are. When is the last time you did anything to further this “career” of yours?”

Tamika stood and grabbed her purse. “Fuck you, Gracie. You’re just mad because you lost your job and you can’t hack it as a poet.”

Gracie balled her fists.
She knew her sister was sick and needed compassion. She stood and grabbed her sister’s forearm. “Don’t run off, Tamika. Please, just listen to me. I love you and want to help you get better.”

“No, you don’t want me to get better, you want me to become as boring as you are, and guess what? I won’t do it.” Tamika shook off her sister’s hand. “Thanks for the pep talk sis, but I need to go. One of us is going to a party tonight.”

“Tamika, wait!” Gracie began to walk after her sister but then checked her watch. It was just past three and she had her first shift at Steak Exchange at four. She couldn’t afford to lose this job as well so Gracie stopped and watched as her baby sister walked towards into the setting sun.

I’ll just have to pray for her….

 

*

 

Gracie turned onto Lexington and checked her watch. She still had enough time to call Lamar and let him know Tamika was on the warpath. She punched in his cell number and he answered on the second ring.

“What’s up cuz?” he said.

“Hey Lamar. I hate to ruin your evening but I wanted to give you a heads up. I just had a lunch date with Tamika and things didn’t go so well. She mentioned she was going to a party tonight, but who knows if she’s telling the truth. I just wanted to let you know she’s out there somewhere and pissed off at me.”

Lamar sighed. “What happened between you two?”

“I called her out on her shit, that’s what happened. As usual she acted like the victim and became abusive towards me. I snapped this time and am afraid of what she might do. Do you think I should call into work and go look for her?”

Lamar sighed. “No, I do not think you should do that. Didn’t you tell me you were fortunate to get this chance after losing your last job?”

Gracie leaned against the side of a building and took a deep breath. “Yes, I told you that, but this is my sister we are talking about. I can’t just let her run around and kill herself.”

“And weren’t you the one who told me the other day only Tamika could save herself?”

A lone tear ran down Gracie’s cheek. “Yes…but…”

“But nothing, Gracie. You can’t chase your sister around for the rest of her life and hope she eventually listens to you. We have to accept the fact that she’s on her own journey and won’t be coming back to us until she’s ready. Our timetable for her recovery doesn’t matter, it’s up to her now.”

Gracie knew her cousin was right, but it didn’t make the pill any easier to swallow. “I know all this, Lamar. But it’s not easy to accept. That’s my little sister out there, killing herself while surrounded by vultures.”

“I know baby, I know.”

Gracie wiped her eyes and glanced at her watch. “Well, I gotta get going Lamar. Thanks for the pep talk.”

BOOK: Take My Hand (Interracial Erotic Romance)
8.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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