Blind Love is Volume 3 of the series. Maurice Ousley is a basketball star whose troubled past comes back to haunt him.
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Mark O'Neal Books
Maurice had decided to get plastered after a hard day of searching for his missing fiancee, Gabrielle. She disappeared a week before their scheduled wedding in June, and Maurice had been searching for her the entire summer to no avail. The police couldn't find any evidence to suggest that she was murdered, so they called off their search efforts. Maurice conducted his own search efforts, and the despair of being unsuccessful had taken its toll on him.
Maurice tried to get his mind off of things by focusing on his sister Erin's and his best friend and teammate Malik's wedding instead that was taking place on the last weekend in August. He began to put the pieces of the puzzle together once his friend Agent Stanton told him that Gabrielle was hiding out from her sociopath ex-boyfriend. He would soon discover that Gabrielle wasn't the woman he thought she was, and their inevitable meeting would have dire consequences.
It was close to midnight, and the comedy showcase was awesome. The comedians were fresh, witty, and very hilarious. I had a similar experience when I went on a cruise after my rookie season with Malik and a couple of our teammates at the time. We partied, gambled, and listened to live bands and comedy shows.
I signed a couple of autographs and left. The sweltering heat of the night made me dizzy as I walked back to my condo. I was in the best mood I’d been in since the summer began. I hadn’t thought about my current plight and was looking forward to Malik’s and Erin’s wedding. Malik’s brother Cody was throwing him a bachelor party Friday night at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Some of us were going straight to the party from the wedding rehearsal.
There was a convenient store around the corner from my place, and I decided to stop off for some aspirin. I was going to take two tablets so that I wouldn’t have too much of a hangover the next morning. I recognized the clerk and said hello, and I checked my phone for messages as I walked down the medicine aisle. I picked up a bottle of Bayer with my phone to my ear. I received two messages—one from Melanie and one from Blaine.
Melanie Lang was the beautiful actress I met at a party on Valentine’s Day weekend earlier this year. It was also the same weekend that the All Star Weekend festivities were held, and it was the same weekend that I was abducted by Chandler. Melanie and I had great chemistry the night we met, but I didn’t cross the line because of my relationship with Gabrielle. It was at that very moment I fully understood how a man could be unfaithful while being completely in love with someone, and it would have taken a totally committed individual to resist temptation that night.
Melanie’s message was that she wanted to hook up later on Friday night after Malik’s bachelor’s party for a nightcap. She had made it abundantly clear that she wanted us to be a couple, but I insisted that we kept things strictly platonic. However, I really liked her and could see myself with her, but I was in no shape mentality to be in any type of relationship—casual or serious—and she even suggested we could be friends with benefits. She also had a reputation of sleeping around with a lot of athletes and entertainers, and I wasn’t about to become another notch on her belt. She would say repeatedly that Gabrielle was gone—that she could help me through my pain in more ways than one. Our long phone conversations helped soothe my anguish many nights, and I was eternally grateful for her continuing support. Needless to say, her advances toward me were useless at that point in time because I was totally consumed with finding out what happened to Gabrielle.
I erased her message and listened to the next one—Maurice, I need to speak to you right away...I have some very important information about Gabrielle....
I was instantly excited and nervous—excited because of the possibility that Gabrielle was alive, and scared out of my mind because Blaine might have had the bad news that she was dead. I couldn’t move for a few seconds, and I realized I dropped the aspirin on the floor. My heart was pounding, and my fingers were trembling as I dialed Blaine’s number.
I kneeled down to pick up the bottle after I pressed the call button on my out-of-date phone—everyone I knew had some form of the iPhone while I still had a regular flip phone. It rang several times and went to voicemail, “Hey, Blaine, call me back,” I said.
I closed my phone and put it back on my hip. I then went to checkout and bought my aspirin and a bottle of water. Knowing Blaine, he was probably still working on another case. Blaine Stanton was the detective who saved my life and my stepfather’s life last year, and we became friends shortly afterward. Millsap killed his partner, and he lost his job with the Gary Police. However, the Feds were eyeing him the entire time, and they recruited him about a month later.
He was also the one who caught Chandler, but Chandler managed to escape from county jail by murdering a phony correctional officer in his cell. That phony guard was from the LAPD, and he came to Chicago to murder Chandler because Chandler was going to testify against their entire unit. Chandler had been a part of that same unit, but he went AWOL after the drug dealer they were supposed to rob and kill murdered his partner.
Working late nights was a routine for Blaine because he had no family and was overly dedicated to his job. He was assigned to a special task force aimed at bringing down corruption and drug dealing in Chicago and outlying areas. I asked him to find out any information that he could about Gabrielle’s disappearance in his spare time three weeks ago, but I didn’t expect to hear from him this quickly.
I didn’t know what to think at this point, and by then I had sobered up completely. I called Blaine again, but no answer. My pace hastened as I approached home with pools of sweat cascading down my face. The fact that I couldn’t reach Blaine made me restless beyond description. Was Gabby dead? Alive? Held captive? ICU? Fuck!
I reached my floor, opened my door and slammed it shut. Checked the voicemail—nothing. Checked my email—three new messages—Gatorade wanted me to do a new commercial, my agent Jerry McDonald wanted to meet on Monday about renegotiating his contract with me, and my publicist Rachel Morgan set me up with an interview on the most popular sports radio show in St. Louis about the upcoming season. Great. I wasn’t prepared for a meeting with either of them. No message from Blaine, though.
I took an aspirin and sipped some water. Popped a jazz CD in and lay on my sofa. I was so tired, and it felt like every muscle in my body collapsed simultaneously. I was very disappointed that I missed Blaine’s call and felt like it was yet another roadblock to get passed. Frustration was the theme of my summer as every lead I pursued came up blank.
The last thing I remembered about that night was hearing the mellow sound of the saxophone playing from my speakers. Before I knew it, I was fast asleep.