Between Love and Hate
by AlTonya Washington
by AlTonya Washington
Cahlir Decker and Bizay Donneeter had an extraordinary involvement that resulted in more than either of them ever intended. Their connection went deeper than the sexual chemistry that sizzled to life between the powerful corporate consultant and the lingerie entrepreneur. At least, that was what Biz thought until their enjoyable time together ended when she woke one morning to an empty bed and no sign of Cahlir. Biz refused to acknowledge how deeply the man had wounded her-how deeply her feelings for him had grown in the short span of time they had known each other. She was angry and hurt and leaned on a fair amount of hate to survive. Not a bad plan until she received word that her family’s advertising firm was in trouble and that Cahlir was its new owner.
Biz didn’t have time to let fear register over the unexpected turn of events. Fear however, did eventually find its way to the forefront of her mind as did a healthy dose of suspicion. Did Cahlir know that she’d left San Diego pregnant with their child? What would he do when he realized she’d had their daughter and had kept her from him for four years?
Excerpt: Between Love and Hate by AlTonya Washington
Biz had never considered herself a short person, but even in the stylish strappy heels, she felt exceptionally small next to Cahlir. He had placed both arms around her waist and held her close to his muscular frame. Biz rested her hands on his chest and enjoyed the scent of his cologne.
"I wonder how I missed you all night." She said, without realizing she had spoken aloud.
"Excuse me?" Cahlir dipped his head lower.
Biz leaned away from him, so she could look directly into his eyes. "I was just wondering how I missed you all night." She admitted.
A one-dimpled smirk crossed Cahlir's face. "Were you looking for me?"
"Well, not exactly, but handsome men interest me. Especially, when there's a brain to match. I make an extra effort to get to know them."
Cahlir's sleek, dark brows rose slightly. "You don't bite your words, do you?"
"Never," Was her simple reply.
If possible, he pulled her even closer. "Well, I'd appreciate the chance to show off my braininess by talking to you some more."
Biz nodded slowly. She took the arm he offered and they walked towards the balcony.
"So, besides being a good friend of my sister's, who are you?" Cahlir asked, once they stopped in the far corner of the balcony and leaned against the railing.
"Well, I've been in San Diego opening my second lingerie store. It's right next to one of Carla's nail salons. On a whim, I stopped inside one day and had my nails done. Carla was there at the time, we just started talking and here I am." She told him.
"You aren't from California, are you?"
A small frown clouded Biz's lovely face. "What? Could you detect my Southern drawl?" She asked, deliberately drawing out the last word.
Cahlir smiled in spite of himself. "Faintly."
"Mmm...well is there anything else you want to know?" She asked, tossing her head slightly.
Cahlir bent over the railing and looked up at her. "You seem pretty young to have opened two stores." He detected.
Biz nodded, acknowledging his statement. "Well, actually I'm in grad school for my MBA. During college, I worked in my family's company. Then, I decided I wanted something for myself, so I opened my first store. I've done pretty well with it."
"I'm impressed." Cahlir complimented. "So you’re a woman who knows what she wants."
Biz pinned him with a steady gaze. "I know what I want and I go after it."
The two of them stared at each other for a long while. Biz took a deep breath, and then shook her head as if to clear it.
"Well, now you know my life's story and then some. So? What about you?" She asked, her brown eyes narrowing slightly.
Cahlir turned and leaned back against the railing. "What would you like to know?" He asked.
Biz's slender shoulder rose in a lazy shrug. "Well, besides being Carla's little brother, who are you?"
"Well, I've already got my MBA." He playfully boasted. "Like you, I started my business before I got out of grad school. It's a consulting firm and my accountant says I should be proud."
Biz was intrigued. "Well, if you can retain an accountant, you should be proud." She agreed, clearing her throat. "So, uh-is there anyone to share your success?" She asked, hoping she had not overstepped.
Cahlir did tense a bit over the last question. His daughter and the divorce were two things he couldn’t bring himself to discuss, though he found Biz very easy to talk to. "There's no one right now." He finally told her.
"I find that very hard to believe." She noted.
Cahlir shrugged. "It's true. I think I'm involved with my business more than anything else."
"That can't be any fun." Biz told him, her voice very low.
"It's not." Cahlir admitted, his silvery eyes narrowing.
Strangely, Biz found herself sensing sadness in the man. He seemed to be fighting against something, and was failing miserably. She thought she could see shades of regret in the striking silver depths of his eyes. Deciding that it was not her place to question his mood, she fixed him with a bright smile and nudged his arm with her shoulder.
"How about we go check on that soup?" She suggested.
Cahlir offered her his hand and they went back inside.
The caterers had just set out a piping hot tureen of the creamy creation. Cahlir and Biz were like two starving people as they filled their soup bowls to the rim.
"Would you feel comfortable taking this up to Carla's den?" He suggested.
Biz smiled at the way he phrased the question. She saw that behind his incredible face and body, his manner had a thoughtful, mellow quality. It was a trait she found very appealing. Very appealing indeed.
"Just show me the way." She said.
( Continued... )
© 2015 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, AlTonya Washington. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
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