Some conversations have no good way of starting. "Hi, I'm with the FBI, and oh by the way, your boyfriend is a deranged sociopathic killer."
Barnes & Noble.com
Kayla DeWitt is a beautiful, sexy, sophisticated broker who is searching for the ideal man to fill the emptiness left by her father’s abandonment and her ex-boyfriends betrayal. She’s also unknown to her, the current object of Dezi Gianni’s attention.
After carefully crafting a blind date with Kayla and her best friend Taea, Dezi begins to slowly set about disabling her defenses, hoping she will erase the pain of his past, and the abandonment of his mother, deciding in an instant that she is the prefect woman to love and have a family with, and taking no for an answer is not an option. As his best friend and partner, Eric falls head first for Taea.
Of course nothing is perfect, and no love is without its pitfalls. Dezi finds himself in a constant battle keeping the true depth of his criminal activities secret from Kayla, as he seeks to keep her happy and unequivocally his. Interwoven in the turmoil are the lives of their close friends, who are dealing with problems and issues of their own, fatally colliding with Dezi and Kayla’s own roller coaster relationship.
Dezi’s empire is under siege, as another man sets his sights on Kayla, determined to take her from him. Dezi is fighting for his life, he’s fighting for his woman and the love they have. Kayla is fighting for her sanity and trying to make the right choice. The other man is fighting to be in Dezi’s place, and the FBI is fighting to send him to prison. Dezi’s had enough. He’s on his way to Kayla to end the drama, remove the obstacles, and set them both free.
Today was busy like any other day at Le Bistro, the trendy upscale restaurant that opened a couple months ago. Adrian was pleased with the pace, which meant more tips that he could really use. Le Bistro featured an appetizing array of American, Italian, and Mediterranean cuisine. It was a favorite meeting spot for a few of the major power brokers, minor celebrities, and those who had money, or wanted to rub elbows, with those that did.
“Who is that?” Dezi one of Adrian’s customer’s asked, glancing at the woman sitting with her friend as Adrian poured his iced tea.
“That’s Taea and Kayla. They’re regulars,” Adrian answered, glancing toward the table where the ladies sat.
“Hmm, Kayla is a very sexy lady,” Dezi replied, also looking their way taking in the woman’s flawless complexion and wavy black hair.
He and his partner, Eric Greene aka Dirty, were enjoying a casual lunch at the eatery.
“Yes, they’re real cool ladies,” Adrian said.
Dezi Gianni, aka Devastator, could simply be described as a work of art. He stood a formidable 6’2” with a muscular build. He was an immaculate meld of Italian and black, with a sparkling smile that dipped into dimples as deep as pools. He was also the head of the most vicious crime cartel in the state. Unfortunately for Adrian, he wasn’t interested in him at all. Pity, he thought, he would have loved to be this man’s special friend.
Adrian sighed to himself, as he went to the kitchen to pick up Devastator’s order.
“I guess if I had to lose his attention to someone, I’m happy at least that it was to Kayla,” he muttered under his breath.
“Hey heffas!” Adrian exclaimed playfully, to the two beautiful black women seated in front of him.
“Who you calling heffa, heffa?” they both asked simultaneously, laughing out loud.
This was typical of Taea and Kayla, two of his favorite customers. They were always nice to him, not making rude comments about him, like some of his other customers did when they thought he was out of earshot, and they always left him a great tip.
“There are a couple of big ballers checking ya’ll out from one of the VIP tables,” Adrian said casually, looking back over his shoulder.
“Oh, really? And how big of a baller would they be?” said LaTaea Shontrell Everett, the more outgoing of the two.
Taea wasn’t afraid to ask questions or speak her mind, no matter the subject. With a creamy, chocolate complexion, she sported a short-coifed style. She carried herself with pride, dignity, grace and plenty of attitude, but she wasn’t mean like some sisters could be. She had the perfect hourglass figure.
Mikayla L’Nae DeWitt, the quieter one, was an exquisite combination of Hawaiian and black. She had beautiful long, black tresses that complemented her caramel complexion, and big, sparkling light brown eyes. The successful businesswoman of the two, Kayla was an independent broker who had her own capital. She had a petite frame with everything in the right place. She was sweet as can be, maybe too much for her own good sometimes.
The both made Adrian’s day every time they came in.
“Well, they got it going on, I can tell you that,” he said smoothly to Taea, still wishing it was him they were looking at instead.
“What exactly does that mean? They own something?” Taea snapped back, in a way that only she could.
“Yeah, they own a whole lot of stuff, and stackin’ plenty of paper,” Adrian answered her laughing.
“They ugly?” Taea fired again.
“Oh my God, Taea, you are so crazy!” Kayla said, almost spewing her iced tea across the table, laughing at her friend’s question.
Taea gave her a look that said what?
“They both sexy as hell and, to be honest, I wish one of them would holla at me! Shoot!” Adrian replied almost petulantly. “But I’ma be real with ya’ll, they dangerous.”
“Where the hell is that damn slow-ass waiter?” Dirty complained.
He was second in command for the deadly cartel, referred to as The Clique. He earned his nickname from his days on the street, when he would do anything to get by, undeterred by consequence. A little rough around the edges, Dirty was the opposite of Dezi. He was slimmer with a darker complexion.
“I need some more to drink and I want dessert,” he continued, getting more impatient. This muthafucker is working on getting hurt, Dirty thought.
“Relax, he’s down there with the ladies,” Devastator replied.
Dezi had been in the game since he was a youngster, hanging around the drug dons and mafia bosses of his old New York neighborhood. He’d left New York when he was19, building quite an impressive empire in his short seven-year reign here in his new home.
He earned his nickname from several women who got their hearts broken after falling for his smile. He was also a cold-blooded killer who had devastated many families over the years. Devastator always liked to kill three or more at a time, it mattered not which gender. He took pleasure in seeing the fear and pain of his victims as they watched their friends and loved ones die. Men or women, they were all the same to him. However, he drew the line with children because he had a conscience. At least, that’s what he told himself to keep himself sane.
Devastator sat back and studied the object of his attention. She was totally captivating to him.
“I’ve got to get to know her a lot better,” Devastator chuckled, as he sipped his tea, and looked her over again from head to toe. He was thinking how easy it would be to carry her around the room while he was having sex with her.
“Girl, can you get a good look at them?” Taea asked Kayla, who was facing the VIP table.
She wanted to make sure they were at least pleasant to look at. The last time they had gone on a blind date, the guys looked like a pair of gorillas. Not a nice memory at all, Taea thought and chuckled.
“No, not really,” Kayla replied as she tried to casually look up at the table and see the occupants. “All I can see is like a basic outline; they both look like they’re fine as hell, but looks can be deceiving.”
They both laughed, thinking of the blunders and total losers they’d said that about before.
Taea and Kayla might have appeared to be two of the least likely people to be best friends. But they clicked and were like sisters, despite their differences.
Taea was all the family Kayla had. With her mother’s side denying she exists and her father’s thinking she had First National Bank stamped on her forehead, Taea was the only person who treated her well. She didn’t ask for anything, and was always straight with her, even when it hurt.
Kayla was very leery of men when it came to romance. Put her in a boardroom or on the trade floor, and she was on. Love was something that always left her hurt, broken and alone. She’d just gotten out of a relationship a year ago that left her drained and guarded.
Kayla loved Chris with all her heart, thinking he was truly the one, even giving him her virginity. He was a broker like she was, ambitious and on top of his game. Good looking, athletic, cultured, kind, and faithful. Well at least, Kayla thought he was faithful, until she caught him in bed with his office assistant. She thought she would never get past the pain and want to live again. She’d felt so stupid, but Taea was right there. She’d helped her cuss Chris out, berate him, and bleach his clothes. This made her laugh out loud and Taea looked at her like she was crazy.
“What in the hell is you laughing about girl?” Taea asked.
Kayla told her about the bleach incident and they both broke into long gales of laughter all over again. She often wondered what she would do without Taea being there for her. It sent a chill down her spine. It was a question Kayla didn’t want to ever have to answer.
“Anyway, if you’re through strolling down memory lane,” Taea interrupted her thoughts again, “Do you want to tell Adrian to ask them what they wanna do?”
Kayla thought a moment, admitting to herself and Taea, that she was curious.
“You should be, hell, you ain’t had none in how long now?” Taea teased, laughing at her friend.
“Oh shut up, will you? Good grief!” Kayla laughed. But she was right, which made it even funnier.
“OK, when he comes back, we’ll tell him to go see what’s up,” Kayla said.
“Sorry about the delay ladies.” Adrian said, as he put Taea and Kayla’s orders before them.
“You know its cool Adrian,” Kayla responded with a smile. “You all right? You look kinda upset,” she asked gently.
His usual warm smile had been replaced with a cold, deep scowl.
“Who ass we need to kick?” Taea chimed in.
Adrian smiled then and told them he was fine, just some personal stuff he was dealing with, thinking back to the phone call he’d just received from his lover.
“You can always talk to us if you need to Adrian. We’re not just your customers; we want to be your friends too,” Kayla said.
Adrian looked at her and then at Taea.
“Thanks, I will keep that in mind,” he told them.
“Now, what you two heffas want me to do about the ballers?” Adrian asked, trying desperately to lighten the mood and change his thoughts.
“Ask them what they wanna do,” Taea instructed him, giving him a look that said: you know what to do.
“All right then girl, I am on my way,” he responded, and left for the VIP table.
“Well damn, it’s about time,” Dirty growled, thoroughly pissed now and ready to really inflict some bodily harm on Adrian.
“Bring me some more fucking lemonade, and I want a strawberry shortcake,” he ordered in a no nonsense tone.
“I’d like a tea refill myself man, and what about the ladies?” Devastator said pleasantly.
Adrian turned to him then, God, he thought to himself, Why couldn’t the other one be like him? Hell, at least he’s still civil.
“They asked what y'all wanna do,” Adrian said addressing Devastator, totally ignoring the still fuming Dirty, not wanting to piss him off more by looking the wrong way. Devastator flashed that million-dollar smile and Adrian wanted to melt into those pools in his cheeks.
“Tell them we want to go to The Industry,” he replied without missing a beat.
The Industry was one of three clubs that was owned and run by The Clique. It was the most trendy and upscale of the three, with all the professional, celebrity, and athletic crowd making it their place to enjoy the party.
“Tell them to be there at 10:00. We’ll leave their names at the door and they’ll be escorted to VIP, where we’ll be,” Devastator finished, his mind already working hours ahead.
Adrian nodded, thanked them for their dessert orders and left to complete his mission.
“So what you want with this one?” Dirty asked. “You usually just pick up one from the club, do your thing and move on. So what’s up with this one?”
Devastator paused for a minute thinking to himself before responding to his friend. That was one helluva good question Dirty just asked. There was just something about her. He couldn’t put his finger on it exactly, but it was there. He wanted to do more than just hit it. He actually wanted to get to know her.
“I’m not sure yet,” Devastator replied. “Something’s just different about her.”
Dirty thought about that.
“Well, her friend is cute enough, and got a nice body,” Dirty replied. “Hell, I’d do her, so it won’t be a total loss of the evening.” He laughed thinking of the fun he was going to have later that evening.
It never occurred to him that he might not get lucky. He was Dirty. Either they gave it, or he took it, but either way, he got it.
“OK, here’s the deal,” Adrian was saying when he returned to their table to talk to them about the plans for the evening. “They want to go to The Industry. They want ya’ll to meet them there at 10:00, they’re going to leave your names at the door.”
“And then what?” Taea asked suspiciously. She wasn’t going to spend an evening at The Industry being stood up or left on the dance floor.
“They are having you escorted to VIP, where they’ll meet you,” Adrian said. “But remember what I told you earlier and be careful,” he looked at them hard.
Kayla wasn’t really keen on this whole date thing, especially after Adrian filled them in on who these guys were. This was unfamiliar territory for her, and Kayla really didn’t like being out of her element. But she would go because Taea would want to go; they were inseparable.
“Well, ain’t much they can do to us at a public club,” Taea countered, knowing Kayla was internalizing it. “We just wanna talk to them and see what’s really up. So tell ‘em it’s all good.” She looked at Kayla.
“Hey, Adrian, why don’t you come down to the club, too?” Kayla asked him. “We could actually hang out, and get to know you outside of work.”
Adrian thought about what his evening was undoubtedly going to be like after his earlier phone conversation, and told her he’d keep it in mind.
“That’s cool,” Kayla replied, a little disappointed.
“Yeah, we’ll be looking out for you heffa!” Taea giggled to him.
Adrian laughed himself. He took their checks and his tip, which was good as usual, and told them goodbye, as he went to the VIP table to let them know the evening was a go.
“Was everything all right?” Adrian asked, again looking directly at Devastator, not sure of Dirty's mood.
“Yeah, everything was straight,” Devastator replied, flashing that million dollar smile.
He has got to be the most cultured killer I’ve ever seen. Everything about this man suggests class, finesse, even Wall Street; not the drugs, guns, prostitution, gambling and murder, which he knew was exactly what Devastator did, Adrian thought.
“What was the verdict from the ladies?” he asked, snapping Adrian out of his thoughts.
“They said it was all good and they would be there,” he replied smiling.
This again elicited a smile from Devastator as well as a hundred-dollar tip with his check.
“Thanks man,” Devastator said to Adrian, and patted him on the back as he got up to leave.
Dirty simply growled, “Speed your ass up next time!” at him, mashed the check and money into his hand, and left.
Adrian was pleasantly surprised, however, when he opened the folded mess, to find Dirty had also left him a hundred-dollar tip. Yes, he mused, it had been a good lunch rush today.
“So what’s the plan for tonight?” Dirty asked Devastator as they drove away from the restaurant.
They were flossing the Porsche 911 Turbo S today, black with the spoiler, 19-inch chrome wheels, black tint with the windows up, but they had the top down today. They enjoyed all the looks from women as they drove by or stopped at lights.
“Well let’s see what they’re about first,” Devastator replied. “Then we’ll go from there. If they’re just chicken heads or gold diggers, hell we know what to do.”
Dirty joined him laughing, Yeah. Fuck 'em and dump 'em.
“I like the looks of the lil' chocolate one. What’s her name again?” Dirty asked.
“Taea, I think is what old boy said,” Devastator replied.
“That’s a nice enough name. I’ll just call her Tee though, that way I can’t mess up,” Dirty laughed again.
Normally he didn’t care what their names were. They were just sex to him, but Devastator told him they had to be gentlemen tonight.
Dirty didn’t really get it, but Devastator was his friend and he’d done a lot for him over the years. They were tight and he’d never wronged him, so if he wanted this one thing from him, no problem. He would play this little game. Hell it might even turn out to be fun, Dirty thought.