Mixed Signals- Final Installment!!!

         CHAPTER 7

 

“Brella, we need to talk.”

Gabby’s eyes widened at the familiar sound of Damian’s deep voice on the other end of her line. “Is this some kind of joke?”

“It’s no joke and it would be unwise for you to treat it as one. So, can I expect you?” He softly inquired.

“I…expect me? You want me to meet you there?”

“No, I’ll send someone to pick you up around eight. Be ready.”

The line went dead and Gabby stood there, her mouth open in surprise. Damian was the last person she expected to talk with after last night. LD was having such a wonderful time at the party; she decided to get a ride back to Brooklyn with a couple of friends. It seemed LD and Delois Graham found a lot to talk about and Gabby realized that the woman’s involvement with Damian obviously wasn’t a serious thing. Dismissing that from her mind, she realized she had over six hours before his car arrived. Chastising herself for being weak, she admitted that she really did want to see him.

After leaving her home, Gabby decided to head into the restaurant to check on things. When she arrived, she could tell that Joe was not pleased to see her. After a minute, she knew why. Since her absence, GJ’s had undergone a tremendous transformation. Although the restaurant had a state-of-the-art cooling system, there were now an abundance of ceiling fans. They covered almost every square inch of the ceiling. In addition to the Fichus trees that were spread here and there, leafy Ferns were placed on each table, in the windows and along the bar. She headed into the kitchen before there were any further surprises.

“Joe!” She called, hands perched on her hips.

Joe emerged from the rear of the kitchen. To the observant staff, he and Gabby looked ready for battle.

“What the hell is all that…clutter doing in my restaurant?!”

“I was trying to create atmosphere, Gabby. The place could use it.”

“What you’ve created is a jungle and that’s not the type of atmosphere I want here.”

“It’s a shock to me that you noticed anything, as little time as you spend around here.” He pointed out.

Gabby could feel the blood rushing to her head as she struggled to control her emotions. “Joe, you do very good work here and I appreciate you, but I will kick your condescending ass right out of here if I have to. Now when I come in here again, I want all that stuff gone. If it’s not, you will be.” She spoke with fierce certainty, leaving no question about her sincerity. Turning to leave the restaurant, she caught Joe’s deadly glare.

The look remained with Gabby during her entire drive back home. Despite their differences, she never thought Joe could have had anything to do with the prank calls. Now, she wasn’t so certain. From her car phone, she relayed her suspicions to LD and discovered he had a date with Delois Graham that evening.

“Well, it’s about time you took your nose out of jail cells and mug shots.” Gabby teased.

“Very funny. Listen, I’m gonna check this guy out. I don’t want you confronting him with this, you here? Gabby?”

“I’m in no mood to talk to Joe, don’t worry.”

“Good. Call me if something happens.” Louis instructed, making sure she had his cell number before ending the call.

 

Gabby ran a bath the moment she arrived home. Immersing herself in the luxurious, creamy bubbles, she tried to make sense of Damian’s call. Thinking better than to question it, she sank further into the tub and enjoyed the silence.

***

Gabby was slipping into a chic, figure flattering coat dress by a quarter to eight. The classy, gold frock hugged her small, curvaceous frame perfectly. Gold pumps added four inches to her height. She looked smart, sexy and ready to take on Damian Frinks.

As promised, the car arrived promptly at eight. Settling back into the cushioned interior of the beige Bentley, she allowed herself to admire the success Damian Frinks had acquired. Not many black men could claim jets, expensive cars and companies as their own. Especially at such a young age. After a while, Gabriella realized they were heading out of the city.

“Excuse me, Sir…uh where are we going?” She asked, trying to mask her nervousness.

“Mr. Frinks wants you to dine at his home on Long Island this evening, Miss.” The chauffer replied.

“Oh no.” Gabby breathed, leaning back against the seat. What was she going to do now? She was prepared to meet Damian on mutual ground in a restaurant. At his home, she was on unfamiliar and, perhaps, unfriendly territory.

After a while, the car was approaching a tall, iron gate that slowly parted. As they rounded the curving driveway, Gabby was awed. She stared at the huge, stone house nestled amidst a myriad of fir trees. She accepted the driver’s assistance when leaving the car. With a shaky sigh, she followed the driver inside the intimidating mansion.

What she entered, to her surprise, was a warm, cozy atmosphere. The foyer was covered with black and gold checkered squares. Further inside, the light radiating from the lamps was soft and inviting. The walls carried several canvases of African art. Ascending a few steps to the right, the chauffer took her into a cozy room that resembled a den. The color scheme was a beautiful burgundy and navy. A huge burgundy sofa was accompanied by cushioned seats of the same color and occupied one side of a thick navy carpet. An impressive entertainment system was imbedded in a shelf of movies with a wall of books on the opposite end. A flat-screened TV adorned a wall and the patio doors at the back of the room overlooked the massive lawn. No, this house wasn’t nearly as dark and intimidating as its owner.

As Gabby looked out over the landscape, she felt a familiar tingle in her spine and knew she wasn’t alone. When she turned, her breath caught in her throat. Whatever her problems with Damian, she could not deny how incredible he was to look at. She simply stared, taking in the sagging denims, matching shirt which was left unbuttoned to reveal the white T-shirt worn underneath.

“So formal, Brella? I thought we were…friends?” He asked, his deep voice sounding cold and flat.

Gabby understood the dig, but chose to ignore its meaning. “I didn’t know we were having dinner in your home.” She replied, determined to control her temper.

“Mmm…I’m sure you would’ve worn something more…appropriate, hmm?” Damian asked, his dark eyes roaming the length of her body.

“Are you finished?” She snapped.

Damian decided to let his mood shine through. “Baby, I haven’t started.”  He whispered, circling Gabby where she’d come to stand in the center of the room. “What the devil were you doing coming to the party with Davidson?”

Gabby winced; the flutter of her lashes brought a grim smirk to Damian’s face.

“Yes, I know who he is and I know about his daily visits to your house.”

“From Delois, no doubt. Who are you to jump at me for coming to a party with someone else, when you do the same thing?!”

“Who is he, Brella? Who is he to you?”

“Didn’t Delois tell you?” Gabby whispered in a tone of mock surprise as she walked away from him. “LD’s my lover.” She spat, turning to view his reaction.

For a moment, it appeared she’d knocked the wind out of him and there was that pained look in his eyes again. It quickly vanished, however, and was replaced by something that told Gabby she had gone too far.

Damian nodded, his eyes narrowing sharply. His expression turned ruthless as he headed towards her. Unmindful of the unease in her eyes, he caught her wrist.

“Damian-”

“I don’t want to hear it.” His handsome features contorted into a wicked frown.

Gabby blinked, praying her tears would not reveal themselves. She would not, could not cry in front of him. “Why did you bring me here?’ She asked.

Damian’s hold tightened and he jerked her closer. “Because I want you here.”

“For what?”

“Brella,” he sighed, “you’re a smart lady. You should know exactly why.”

“Then do it and stop trying to scare me with talk!” She ordered, struggling against his vice like hold.

Damian began to chuckle, the sound vibrating through his chest and filling the room. “Brave lady.”

“Mr. Frinks. Dinner is served.”

Damian looked away from Gabby, closing his eyes and ordering his temper to cool. Finally, he released his hold on her. “Follow me.” He instructed.

***

The dinner look delicious, but Gabby found that her appetite had completely disappeared. Damian, meanwhile, had wolfed down his huge Rib eye, potatoes and rolls. Gabby studied the massive back lawn from her spot on the spacious terrace where they were dining.

“Would you like to take a walk?” Damian asked, watching her stare over the grounds. At the quick shake of her head, he rose from the table and headed back into the house.

Realizing she had little choice, Gabby followed him back inside. She was so tense; she couldn’t begin to enjoy the beauty of the large house. In a matter of minutes, they were back in the den.

“I suppose you’d like to go home now?” Damian asked, pushing his hands into his pockets.

“If you don’t mind.”

“Oh… but I do mind, Brella. You see, we haven’t finished our conversation.”

“Damian please, can’t you just let it go? Let’s just end things here, okay?” She bargained, her voice barely audible.

“No, Brella. It’s not okay. I don’t just want to end things.” He softly assured her.

“It always comes down to what you want, doesn’t it. I guess if I just slept with you that would do it, wouldn’t it?”

Damian’s gaze narrowed instantly, then he dropped to the sofa and held his head in his hands. The dreads provided an effective shield across his face. “Brella,” he slowly, softly began, “I won’t deny that there have been women. Many women. My work doesn’t allow time to develop many meaningful relationships and I admit that my attitude doesn’t help much either. But that does not give you the right to assume my ultimate goal with every woman is to get her into bed. I didn’t take you for a ride in my jet to have sex with you, Brella. I didn’t listen to you talk about your family or tell you about mine to have sex with you. I may be cold, Brella. I’m not that cold.”

“Damian-”

“I can’t work. I can’t sleep. That meal tonight was my first in a week.” He shared, catching the look of surprise flash in her eyes. “It’s true. I’ll admit it, I want you. How much I want you is the first thing I’m reminded of every time I see you. I believe I want you in my bed more than I’ve ever wanted any woman and that drives me crazy. I guess you intrigue me so, because you’re the first woman I’ve ever met whose main concern isn’t to coddle or please me. I respect you and I want you, but I don’t want you to misunderstand me.” He pressed his hands against his thighs and stood. “Do you know what I mean?” He asked.

“I…” Gabby’s voice had deserted her. He had given her so much to absorb, that her mind was spinning. Her eyes lowered to his mouth in a look that was unconsciously inviting.

Damian didn’t disappoint her. Pulling Gabby close, he captured her mouth in a deep kiss. He firmly thrust his tongue in and out of her mouth as his hands stroked her back. A soft moan rose from her lips. A moment later, Damian lifted her into his strong arms.

“No Damian.”

“Brella-”

“Let’s stay here.”

He set her down and let her guide him to one of the cushioned seats. Gabby pushed him down, and then brought her fingers to the front of her dress. She began to undo the buttons as she stared into his beautiful eyes.

Damian’s gaze faltered, as he followed the slow, hypnotic movements of her fingers. The last button undone, Gabriella let the dress fall away to pool around her pumps. Damian felt his entire body tighten as his gaze wandered over the gold lacy bra, then downwards across her flat stomach and further down to the matching panties. Her body reminded him of maple syrup-smooth, brown and sweet.

“Brella…” He uttered, before rising from the chair. He swept her from her feet and lowered her to the sofa, determined to touch her…everywhere. His sensuous mouth found the pulse point at her neck and began to favor it with soft kisses. He moved lower to nip at the soft skin above the lacy edge of her bra. Soon, he had unhooked the fastening with expert fingers. He buried his handsome face in the valley between her breasts and inhaled her scent.

He favored one breast with the most erotic strokes, totally ignoring the tip. His thumb and forefinger teased the nipple of the other breast until the bud grew taunt and erect.

“Damian…” Gabby pleaded. After what seemed an eternity, he finally took the tip between his teeth. Gabby threaded her fingers through his dreads, as she pulled him closer to her breasts.

Damian’s attention soon focused on the other breast. His fingers trailed lower, until he came in contact with the lacy edge of her panties. Sliding his hand over her only remaining undergarment, he heard her emit a soft moan as he fondled her through the soft material. Easing his hand beneath the lacy middle of the lingerie, he found the center of her body. Gabby thought she’d die from pleasure. Damian heard her sharp gasp and raised his head to stare into her lovely face as he caressed her intimately. He took in her fluttering lashes and soft, parted lips.

His mouth came down on hers, his tongue probing deeply, lustfully. His finger plundered her moist heat, rubbing the extra sensitive bud of her femininity with one finger, then two. His mouth finally left hers to slide down the line of her throat. She cried out softly, tugging the denim shirt from his back. Her eyes snapped open, when she felt him moving away. He lifted her into his arms and carried her from the den. The rest of the house was darkened, as they ascended the stairway leading to his bedroom. Inside, he lowered Gabby to his bed, then shed the remainder of his clothing in the same seductive manner she had used earlier.

Gabby watched in utter fascination while he stripped away the T-shirt, revealing his smooth, blackberry toned chest and abdomen that was taunt with muscles. He unzipped his jeans and let them fall along with the white boxers. Gabby heard her gasp as she studied the incredible extent of his masculinity.

In the next moment, Damian was covering her body with his. This time, he gasped when he felt her silken body beneath him. Gabby arched instinctively, as his massive hands roamed her body. Her hips writhed in anticipation as Damian’s dreads teased the soft skin beneath her breasts and the flat plane of her stomach. He handled her body with a possessive touch, his wide mouth sliding closer to her thighs. Wet kisses covered the soft flesh inside, before his tongue grazed her womanhood.

Gabby moaned, as she placed her hands above her head and snuggled further into the firm mattress. His tongue penetrated the moistness of her body with firm, deep rotations. He grasped her buttocks gently, barely touching. Her soft moans graduated to breathless cries.

Damian pleasured her until his own needs took control. He granted her one last thrust of his tongue, grinning wickedly when she screamed his name. His hold on her bottom tightened as he settled himself between her satiny thighs.

“Damn.”

Gabby’s lashes fluttered as she focused on his imaged bathed in darkness. “What is it?” She whispered.

Damian was leaning across the massive bed and rummaging in the polished, nightstand beside it. He withdrew a small, square packet and extracted a condom. Soon, protection was in place and his attention was back to Gabby. She uttered a small cry when his huge hands gripped her hips and he pulled her to the center of the bed. Then, she felt the long, silken steel of his arousal filling her, stretching her inner walls to accommodate his impressive size.

“Damian…”

“Too much?”

Gabby smiled in the darkness as a shaky sigh slipped past her lips. “I can handle it.” She teased.

Damian chuckled. “Let’s see about that.” He decided, beginning to thrust his hips slowly. He pressed his mouth against her neck. The strokes of his tongue against her neck were in sync with those of his hips as his manhood plundered her softness.

“Brella…” He breathed, as her tight heat surrounded him. He lunged back and forth mercilessly, leaving her shuddering in ecstasy. His stamina was amazing and he kept her awake for hours. She had no complaints, though, when he finally gathered her in his embrace and they drifted into sleep.

***

Gabby woke around 3am to the sweetest kisses being rained down her back. She found herself nestled between soft, black sheets spread onto the king-sized bed. Unlike the rest of the house, the room was very dark and more than a little  intimidating. All thoughts, however, fled from her mind as the kisses slowly drifted toward her neck.

“How do you feel about staying in today?” Damian whispered, as his hands slid under her body and upward to cup her breasts.

What? You mean you’re giving up a day at DF Corp for me? I’m flattered.” Gabby teased, gasping as his fingers parted the petals of her femininity and stroked her shamelessly.

“Answer me.” He softly commanded, before turning her to face him.

“I don’t mind.” She breathlessly replied, running her hands across the smooth, bulging muscles of his arms, chest and back.

Damian uttered a heavy sigh and moved over to turn on one of the bedside lamps. He sat up and fixed her with a solemn look. “Brella, I’m sorry about before,” he said, a worried frown clouding his face, “I know I frightened you when you told me you slept with Davidson. I snapped and I had no right to react that way.”

“Well, I should probably apologize too.” She whispered, “I was just so angry. Louis Davidson is a friend like I told you. He’s nothing more. LD’s been seeing so much of me lately, because I’ve been getting some prank calls and he put a tracer on my phone. We came to the party together because we’re both good friends with Warren and Renee.”

“Why didn’t you come to me?”

“I didn’t want to worry anybody. Doc doesn’t even know.”

“Are the calls still coming?”

“Well, I haven’t gotten any for a couple of days, so maybe that’s a good sign.”

Damian sighed, pulling her closer. “I can’t let anything happen to you. I don’t know what I’d do.”

Gabby hoped he couldn’t feel the harsh pounding of her heart as she listened to his words. “That’s how you really feel?” She coolly replied, eager to know if his feelings ran any deeper.

Damian pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. “I care a lot about you, Brella. A lot.”

Gabby pressed her lips together and squeezed her eyes shut. Though the words were spoken softly and in the sweetest tone, they were still hard to take. She felt his finger trace the side of her face before he pulled her up towards him. He kissed her softly, at first, then with more pressure. Gabby held onto him tightly.

***

Gabby woke just before daylight. She turned over to stare at Damian where he slept peacefully. Her eyes closed in regret. They had such a beautiful night together. Still, regardless of the things he’d said, Gabby knew she had been making love to the man she loved while he had just been having sex.

Damian said he wanted more from her, but what did that mean? Gabby believed he had feelings for her. She really didn’t think he was able to give her what she needed, wanted from a man. The last thing she’d do was push him, but sooner or later, she would have to let him go.

She eased from the bed and dressed. She looked down at Damian and placed a soft kiss to his forehead. Then, she headed downstairs to call a cab.

 CHAPTER 8

 

Gabby groaned with weariness upon entering her home later that evening. Leaning back against the front door, she closed her eyes and tossed her keys blindly across the foyer. After a moment, she kicked off her pumps and padded through the house in her stocking feet.

“What the hell?” She whispered, once she was halfway through the livingroom. Lamps were strewn everywhere, picture frames lay cracked and thrown aside. The place was in shambles.

Of course, Gabby’s first instinct was to turn and run, but curiosity wouldn’t let her. Taking more precaution, she grabbed a jagged slice from a broken lamp and headed upstairs.

Gabby girl this is dumb! You are no detective!

Just then, a figure dressed in black, raced downstairs. The intruder was so swift; they flew past Gabby in a blur. She was pushed down the stairway and left unconscious at the foot of the steps. The front door swung open after the fleeing figure.

***

Damian woke 20 minutes after Gabriella left. Angry that she had not stayed with him, he dressed and headed out to Brooklyn. He arrived at her home in time to see uniformed and plain clothes officers filling her front porch. He studied the crazed scene for only a moment, then rushed from his SUV and bounded up the crowded walkway.

“Whoa Mister, you can’t go in there.” One of the officers ordered, pressing his hands against Damian’s chest.

“The hell I can’t.” Damian growled, shoving the man’s hands from his body.

The officer’s green eyes widened slightly from the authoritative demeanor of the man facing him. He quickly regained his senses, but Damian was already headed up the porch steps. “Hey! You wait a minute there!” He called.

Inside, Damian saw the destructive state of the livingroom. He found Gabby seated on her sofa. She was leaning back against Louis Davidson and her eyes were closed.

“What the hell is this?!” Damian thundered, his deep voice resounding over all conversation.

Gabby’s lashes fluttered and she frowned. She jerked a bit upon hearing LD’s own rumbling voice.

“Who the hell are you supposed to be?” LD demanded, looking down at Gabby when she patted his hand.

“LD this is Damian Frinks, it’s okay.” She weakly assured him. “Damian.” She called, extending her hand.

“Baby what happened here?” He asked, taking a seat on the sofa as he squeezed her hand.

LD relinquished his hold on Gabriella and settled her in Damian’s arms. “Someone broke in, trashed the place. They left her at the foot of the steps.” He explained.

Damian’s scowl grew fiercer. “Who? What’d they do to you?” He asked Gabby when she smiled up at him.

“They demolished my livingroom and were about to start upstairs when I came in. All they did to me was knock me down the stairs on the way out.” She replied.

LD leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees. “I don’t want you staying here tonight, Gab.”

“She’ll be coming with me.” Damian assured him.

“Good.”

“Wait a minute,” Gabby ordered, a frown marring her soft features, “now I can’t just up and leave. We’ve got to find out who did this.”

“Wrong Gabby, I’ve got to find out who did this.” LD corrected.

“I won’t just run and hide.”

“Well you won’t be staying here, Brella. That’s final.”

Exasperated, Gabby watched both men with wide eyes. “You two can’t just order me around like this.”

LD pressed a large hand against her knee. “We can and we are. So it’s a waste of time to keep arguing.”

Gabby admitted she didn’t have the energy to argue with her bullying protectors. Closing her eyes, she rested her head against Damian’s chest and nodded.

“Good.” LD replied, waving a hand towards one of the female officers. “Take her upstairs, let her get a few things together.” He instructed.

“Get some things for warm weather. You may want to grab a bathing suit.” Damian added, toying with a thick lock of his hair, as the officer took Gabby out of the livingroom. “Now what’s goin’ on here?” He asked LD when she was gone.

“Has she told you about the calls?” LD asked, watching Damian nod. “It’s probably the same jackass that broke in here.”

“You think all this could have anything to do with the attack behind Warren’s nightclub?” Damian asked.

“It’s possible, but those two were sent up for five years for violating probation. Gab’s attack wasn’t their first offence.”

“Hmph, I figured as much.”

“Still, I plan on questioning them. Maybe they’ll be more cooperative in light of their present situation.”

“You think you’ll get anywhere?”

LD shrugged. “If they’re working with or for somebody, they may feel more inclined now to have them share the responsibility. It’s worth my time to find out.”

Damian nodded. “Keep me informed.”

 

Damian whisked Gabby away in his truck the minute she was packed. She fell asleep right away; too tired to ask where they were going. When she awoke, she found herself once again nestled in Damian’s darkened bedchamber. Stretching amidst the black sheets, she admitted how nice it felt to be taken care of after all she’d been through that day. Suddenly, thoughts of the attack returned and she jumped out of bed, suddenly restless and agitated. Damian entered the room to find her curled up in a chair.

“Brella? What’s wrong? Talk to me.” He coaxed, pulling her hands from her face as he knelt before her.

“Just thinking about the break in,” she whispered, slowly shaking her head, “I can’t believe it actually happened.”

“I wish you had stayed with me like I asked.”

Gabby sent him a knowing smile. “I would’ve had to go home sometime.”

“I would’ve been with you.”

“Hmph, and we both would’ve been lying at the foot of the stairs.” She teased.

“Funny.”

Gabby’s smile faded. “No, I’m just trying to forget how scared I am.”

“Baby-”

“Damian, did LD tell you anything…any suspicions he might have while I was upstairs packing?”

Damian looked away and shrugged. “Mmm mmm,” he coolly denied.

“I have a right to know if he did.”

“I agree, but he didn’t say a thing. Listen, I have breakfast downstairs if you’re hungry.”

“I’m starved.”

“Slip on a robe or something and I’ll take you down.” He offered, his onyx gaze sliding lower.

“Oh,” she whispered, realizing she was completely naked. She left the chair and treaded the thick carpet back to the bed.

Damian took a seat on the chair and watched her slip into a long mocha silk robe. “Come here,” he requested, when she turned to him. “I want you to stop worrying about this and let me handle everything.” He said, when she was sitting on his lap.

“Damian, thank you. I appreciate all that you’re doing. It’s just that I’m used to controlling my own affairs, you know?”

Damian cupped her chin and held her face close to his. “Brella, we’re talkin’ ’bout your life here. Indulge me once, eh? I’d appreciate it.”

The lilting tone of his Jamaican brogue thick with emotion brought a smile to her face. She caressed his smooth, dark cheek with the back of her hand before pressing a kiss to his mouth. When she tried to move back, he wouldn’t let her go. The innocent kiss turned lusty and deep. Gabby whimpered helplessly as she eagerly responded.

He groaned, when she wriggled her bottom against his arousal. Using a willpower he didn’t know he possessed, he pulled away. “Let’s get some food inside you.” He decided, moving out of the chair and taking her with him.

 

“You’re not serious.” Gabby breathed, the glass of orange juice poised before her lips.

Damian didn’t look up from his plate of steak and eggs. “No, I really want to know how you feel about spending some time at my parents place.”

“In Montego Bay?”

“Mmm hmm.”

“You really want me to meet your parents?” She breathed, completely shocked.

“It’ll do you good to get away from New York for a while.”

“Are you sure you’re not keeping anything from me? Anything LD might’ve told you?”

Damian set his fork aside and leaned back in his chair. “We’ve already been through this, Love.”

“I know.” She replied, reclining in her chair as well, “and I know you well enough to know that you didn’t just sit down there and talk sports with LD. You must’ve picked his brain about this case.”

After a while, Damian shook his head. “We haven’t known each other long enough for you to know me so well.”

Gabby smiled, the natural line of her brow rising slightly. “Start talkin'”

“I’m sure you know most of this, but Davidson said the person who broke in is probably the same one who’s been calling you.”

“And?”

And, there may be a connection between that and the attack behind the club. He thinks those two may’ve been working for someone else.”

“What? He thinks I’m being…targeted for some reason?”

“It’s just a theory, Brella.” Damian assured her, hating the worry filling her lovely light brown eyes. “So, will you accept my offer now?” He said, turning back to his breakfast. “I’m only asking to be polite. I don’t plan on being refused.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Gabby whispered, more than ready to leave town for a while.

***

“They have their own island?” Gabby cried, staring down through the clouds from the jet’s window.

Damian chuckled. “I thought I told you?”

“I didn’t know it was all this!” She retorted, taking in the sparkling blue water surrounding the jagged strip of land. It was absolutely stunning. Dazzling white sand encircled the lush greenery covering the remaining land.

“We’re only a couple of hours away from Montego Bay. I’ll take you there before we leave.” Damian was telling her.

Gabby only shook her head. “Don’t bother. Nothing could come close to having an island of your own.”

 

“Damian, boy!” Miles Frinks called, when his son jumped from the gray Jeep in the driveway.

“Papa!” Damian greeted, hurrying towards the tall, handsome older man who waited with open arms.

Ladine Frinks stood a few inches shorter than her husband. The lovely, caramel-complexioned woman stood awaiting a hug from her third son.

“Mama.” Damian whispered, sliding his arms around the long, elegant navy blue smock covering his mother’s svelte form. Though Miles and Ladine were both exceptionally tall, Damian still towered over them.

“Baby,” Ladine soothed, rubbing her hands across Damian’s back before she placed a kiss to his cheek.

Meanwhile, Gabby stood back witnessing the small family reunion. It was a treat watching Damian with his parents. The soft, humble look on his handsome face further endeared him to her.

“And this must be Gabriella?” Ladine announced, stepping out of her son’s embrace.

Gabby walked closer to the elegant couple. “Gabriella Jackson, Mrs. Frinks.” She said, extending her hand.

Ladine took Gabby’s hand in both of hers. “Oh love, please. It’s Ladine and this is my husband Miles. We’re very informal around here.”

Gabby laughed. “It’s very nice to meet you both.”

Miles Frinks stepped closer and took Gabby’s other hand in a light hold. “My dear, Damian told us about the troubles you’ve been having. We want you to think of this as your home. Relax and try to take your mind off all that.”

Gabby smiled, as she looked up into Miles Frink’s very handsome face. It was easy to see where Damian got his devastating looks. “I think it’ll be very easy to forget my troubles here.” She said, glancing up at the gorgeous blue sky sprinkled with fluffy white clouds.

“Good.” Ladine said, pulling Gabby’s arm through hers. “Damian, I’m going to show Gabriella to her room. You know the way to yours.”

“Yes ma’am.” Damian called, winked at Gabby when she looked back at him. Then, he turned and settled one arm around his father’s shoulders as they set out for a walk around the grounds.

 

“Now love, you can take a nap or do whatever you like.” Ladine said, taking a seat on the long white sofa next to the room’s fireplace.

“This is so beautiful.” Gabby breathed, taking in her cool surroundings. Long, white drapes covered huge windows and billowed against the strong breeze. A large canopy bed sat in the far corner on a massive square Persian rug. The bed was partially hidden from view by white chiffon curtains. Thick pillows covered by gold pillowcases lined the head of the bed.

“I think I’ll have a very good night’s sleep here.” Gabby predicted, pressing her hand against the thick pearl comforter.

“Well, I’m going to have one of my people bring in your luggage.” Ladine said, pushing herself off the sofa.

“Thank you. I think my first order of business will be to take advantage of your beach.”

Ladine laughed, the sound resembling the lilting melody of a flute. “That’ll be fine, dear. Dinner is at six, so bring your appetite with you.” She advised, before leaving the room.

***

Gabby sprinted from the gorgeous turquoise water and dropped to her spread on the sand. Taking a deep breath, she pushed both hands through her hair and looked out over paradise. Her thoughts turned to Damian. She hadn’t seen him since Ladine took her upstairs. It was her hope that the time there would prompt him to be more open about his feelings. More than anything, she wanted to know his emotions were running as deeply as hers.

Her eyes fell to the gold wristwatch on the spread. Spotting the time, she quickly collected her things and raced back to the main house. She didn’t notice Damian watching her from his room window.

 

Inside her own room, Gabby stripped out of the stylish pearl gray bikini. She left the two piece on the hardwood floor and headed to her private bathroom. Swimming and lying on the beach had been wonderful, but shampooing and washing away the sand felt even better.

She was standing beneath the steady spray of water, when the glass shower doors opened.

“Damian!” She cried, turning to face him.

He turned her away from him. Wasting no time with words, his wide powerful hands curled around her hips. He took her from behind, uttering low, animal sounds as he invaded her body.

Gabby gasped, placing one hand against the tiled wall to support herself. Her other arm curved around Damian’s neck and she played in his hair. His face was pressed against her shoulder as his slow thrusts continued. Gabby was completely at his mercy and couldn’t have been more pleased. Damian’s firm thrusts grew more rapid as he neared release. His massive frame shuddered beneath the exquisite sensation and he held Gabby still for several minutes. He slowly withdrew from her wet heat and left the shower as silently as he had entered.

***

“This is incredible.”

“You’ve never had curried chicken before, love?” Miles asked from his seat at the intimate, round table.

Gabby nodded, tapping a white linen napkin against her lips. “Oh I have, but no dishes that ever tasted like this.” She said, placing another sliver of the delicious meat inside her mouth. “Is that fresh ground cinnamon I taste?”

Ladine clasped her hands together and laughed. “It certainly is, that’s quite an ability you have.”

“Well, I owe that to owning a restaurant.”

“Damian told us you were an entrepreneur, but didn’t say you owned a restaurant.”

“Tell us about that.” Miles requested, sharing his wife’s interest.

For the next twenty minutes, Gabby, Miles and Ladine enjoyed an enthusiastic discussion of the restaurant business. Of course, Gabby delighted in talking about her work. Still, she couldn’t help but notice how reserved Damian seemed. He had barely spoken a word since they arrived under the back lawn gazebo for dinner. When the meal ended, he excused himself saying he had work to finish. Miles and Ladine showed Gabby to her room.

***

The next morning, Gabby found Damian working out on the beach. She stood watching him for the longest time, debating on whether or not to approach him.

“Have a seat.” He called, without looking away from his laptop.

Gabby joined him on the vacant chaise lounge beneath an oversized black umbrella. She enjoyed the calming view of the ocean meeting the sky in the distance. After a while, she turned to Damian. “Can we talk?” She asked.

Damian hit a few more keys, and then closed the laptop. He set it aside, then turned to face her.

“Have I done something?” Gabby inquired, after a few moments of silence.

“Why would you think that?” He asked, a small frown coming to his face.

Gabby shrugged, turning back to look out over the beach. “You barely said anything at dinner. Then, afterwards, you just left.”

Damian was quiet for a while. His dark eyes took in her thick, short hair ruffling against the wind. His fingers ached to feel the locks brushing her skin. Instead, he looked away. “I had business concerns and I need to get some things taken care of.”

“Is the trip an inconvenience for you?”

“No. Hell no, Brella. This is where I want to be.” He assured her, reaching across the small, white wicker table between them. His hand settled against her thigh, his fingers trailing upwards.

Gabby’s lashes fluttered when a rush of pleasure engulfed her from the simple caress. Damian noticed how affected she was becoming and grew more bold. His long fingers slipped beneath the crotch of her silver, blue bikini to touch the heart of her body.

“Damian…” she whispered, leaning back against the lounge. Her legs moved further apart, allowing him more room to play. When his middle finger slipped deep inside and gently rotated, a tiny cry slipped past her lips.

“Damian? Ms. Jackson? Breakfast is served.”

Damian heard his parent’s butler, who called to them from a distance. He didn’t bother removing his fingers from their scandalous location. “Thank you, Russell. We’ll be there in a minute.” He said.

“Are you coming in?” Gabby asked, slightly breathless as she watched Damian resume work on his laptop.

“You go on, I’ll be up later.” He said, sending her a soft smile and sexy wink. He watched Gabby walk away, then turned back and continued his typing. He never joined her.

***

Over the next several days, Damian seemed to withdraw even more. Gabriella’s hopes for them to get closer in the sensual paradise, dimmed each time they made love. It was obvious that Damian thoroughly enjoyed the pleasures of her body, but anything more seemed out of the question.

The heavy crash of the ocean against the surf pulled Gabby from her sleep early one morning. She heard her bedroom door open and turned to focus on the approaching figure. The sun had not yet risen, and the room was still bathed in darkness. Of course, she knew it was Damian by the scent of his fantastic cologne. She felt him slip beneath the sheets and pull her back against his wide chest.

Gabby closed her eyes when his tongue traced the line of her shoulders and spine. Her body weakened at once and she buried her face in the pillow. Damian turned her to her back and settled above her. His hands cupped her breasts and he delighted himself in their lush softness.

“Damian…wait.” She whispered, feeling the creamy need build and moisten her inner thigh. He ignored her, taking one rigid nipple between his lips and alternate between suckling it and grazing it with his teeth. “Wait.” She tried again.

“No.” He growled, his mouth filled with her.

“I meant that.” Her words were as stiff as the rest of her and she shoved a hand against his shoulder.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” His tone was calm but his expression was fierce.

Gabby could see that as early rays of sun penetrated the room. She turned onto her stomach and buried her face in a pillow.

“Hey?” He whispered, pressing a soft kiss to her silky hair. “Brella, what is it?”

She finally looked up. Bracing herself on her elbows, she stared at the indention her face made in the gold pillowcase. “Why’d you bring me here? Was it so you could have a plaything while you enjoyed the sun?”

“What?” Damian hissed, his temper heating over her words.

“Sex is the only reason you’ve come close to me since we’ve been here.” She accused, wiping at a tear-moistened cheek. “I mean, I’ve spent more time talking with your parents than you.”

Damian grimaced and looked away. He wasn’t blind; he knew what she wanted him to say. He could see it every time he looked into her exquisite hazel eyes. Still, he couldn’t find a way to say the words to tell her how he really felt.

Gabby saw the expression on his face and ordered the rest of her tears to remain at bay. “I want you to take me home.”

Damian squeezed his eyes shut, but nodded.

***

Gabby jumped into the task of cleaning her house a couple of days after returning from Jamaica. It was wonderful therapy for her wounded pride which still smarted from the fiasco with Damian. She had just finished the extensive housecleaning when she received an unexpected guest.

Doc stood on the front porch looking more haggard than Gabby had ever seen him. Instantly, she wanted to know what was going on. Doc would only say he was experiencing a restless period. When he begged her to stay the night, she couldn’t refuse.

***

Morning light streamed past the cream drapes in the livingroom, waking Gabby. She and Doc stayed up late the night before, watching movies. When he finally went to bed, she remained downstairs and fell asleep three hours later. The doorbell rang and it took her a good five minutes to pull herself off the sofa. Damian stood on the porch, looking rested and sexy as he leaned against his preferred porch column.

Gabby rubbed her eyes, still feeling very sleepy and disoriented. To Damian, her disheveled, tousled state instantly aroused him. With a quick shake of his head, he told himself to keep his mind on the purpose of his visit.

“May I come in?” He asked, wanting to set things straight between them.

Gabby stepped aside and let him in. “I really need a cup of coffee.” She said, heading for the kitchen. “Can I bring you some?”

“I’m good.” He told her, taking a seat on the arm of a chair.

A minute after the kitchen door swung closed behind Gabby, Damian saw Doc Riley walk out. He too, seemed just as disheveled and groggy. Damian was too surprised to say anything as the man tossed up his hand in a lazy wave. When Doc disappeared upstairs, Damian stormed into the kitchen.

 

Gabby hoped the hot, black coffee would give her some energy, but she never had a chance to taste it. Before she could pick up the cup, she was being jerked around.

“Damian-”

“What the hell is he doin’ here?”

“Who?”

“Riley!”

Gabby blinked and shook her head. “He spent the night.”

“He spent the night?” Damian softly parroted, his dark eyes taking in the black T-shirt that barely covered her. “Where did he spend the night?”

Gabby was becoming more lucid and realized Damian was highly upset over Doc being there. Well, well he won’t tell me where things stand between us, but he expects me to be loyal to him, she noted. “He spent the night upstairs.” She finally replied, her tone of voice leading him to think the worst.

Damian was furious. “He spent the night upstairs? Hell, I’ve never been upstairs!”

Gabby’s hazel eyes trailed the devastating length of his massive frame, before coming to focus on his eyes again. “I guess that’s your problem, isn’t it?” She teased, wincing when his grip tightened mercilessly.

What sounded like a growl began low in his throat. A moment later, he shook her harshly.

She gasped, pressing her hands against his chest. Knowing she’d pushed him too far, she tried to reason with him. “Damian, listen-”

“Shut up!” His expression had become utterly sinister as he stood there with his chest heaving and fists clenched. He felt no sympathy as he watched her there shaking. He stepped towards her, but thankfully the voice of reason intervened. Fortunately, it was loud enough to make him step back before he did something he’d truly regret.

Gabby watched as he left her with another scathing glance before leaving the kitchen. When she heard the front door slam, she slid to the polished linoleum floor and cried.

 

 CHAPTER 9

     When Gabby entered her restaurant four days later, she vaguely noted that everything seemed back to normal. All the plants and ceiling fans Joe ordered, were gone. Gabby didn’t stop to speak with anyone, but went right to her office.

Work, however, was the last thing on her mind. Thoughts of Damian filled her head as they had for the past four days. She knew he was angry and upset, but decided it was probably all for the best. Unfortunately, as much as she wanted to avoid him, they saw each other everywhere. Each time, she made a hasty exit and Damian never visited her home.

“Gabby? Gabby?”

“What is it, Joe?” She replied, finally tuning in to the man’s voice.

“I didn’t come to argue, only to tell you that Doc’s looking for you.”

Gabby closed her eyes and uttered a silent prayer of thanks that Joe wasn’t looking for another fight. The moment she stepped out into the diningroom, Doc found her. He pulled her into his office located just off from the bar.

“Have you been getting some prank calls, G?” He hurriedly inquired.

“Who told you?” Gabby asked, her eyes widening.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” He said, his gaze faltering.

“How’d you find out? I didn’t tell anyone but LD…and Damian.”

“I know who’s been making the calls and I know why your house was trashed.”

“What? How did you-”

“I’ll start from the beginning.”

“Please.”

“Remember my trip to Chicago?”

“Yeah…”

“Well, I’ve taken three more since that one and I didn’t go to see my brother. I went to see a woman named Chelsea James. In fact, I’ve been seeing her for over a year now. She’s expecting my child in August.” He paused to watch Gabby’s eyes widen even further.

“That’s why I’ve been taking the trips so frequently. She’s a month away from her due date…anyway; Chelsea and my brother Darnell know each other very well. When D wanted to set us up, I was cool with it since they were friends and she was so incredible then…Unfortunately, D didn’t know she was…disturbed. Darnell told her about you when she wanted to know more about what I did in New York. Of course, she misunderstood. She made those calls to your house, thinking I’d be there. I guess she wanted to catch me or something. She seemed to thrive on our fights.” Doc buried his face in his hands and dropped to the edge of his desk.

“How’d you find out all this?” Gabby asked, still in shock.

“She made a comment, said her guy was supposed to do much more than knock you down the stairs.”

Gabby shook her head, tears forming in her hazel eyes. “What about the club that night? Did she have something to do with that?”

Doc looked her in the face and nodded. “I’m afraid she did, Baby. Those two were supposed to rough you up in the alley, then take you somewhere and…”

“Jesus…” Gabby whispered, raking both hands through her hair. “Doc, you said she was pregnant. Is it safe for her to have a child in that condition?”

“Her doctor says it is. Right now, she’s in the hospital and you won’t be getting any more calls.”

“D, I’m so sorry.”

Doc grimaced. “Yeah…so am I. I met Chelsea at a party Darnell had two years ago. She seemed so put together, smart, fine, financially secure…then all that stuff started happening…”

“What stuff?”

“She’d go off for no reason at all. It didn’t matter if we were in public or not. The smallest thing would cause her to flip. Then, she got pregnant. I guess I should’ve seen it sooner, but I didn’t want to believe it and I refused to talk to anyone about it.”

Gabby sat next to him and placed an arm around his wide shoulders. “You could’ve saved us a lot of trouble by telling me a long time ago.”

“I didn’t know about it all until this last trip, dealing with Chelsea’s moods and pregnancy has been rough.”

“I know.” Gabby consoled, feeling as if some of the weight had been lifted. “I never connected the attack with those calls. I thought Joe was behind them.”

“I wouldn’t have put it past him, he wants this place pretty bad.”

“I know. I guess I should call LD. He’s been on the case for a while now. I’ll tell him the mystery’s been solved…what do you say we check out the service here? My treat.” She said, her eyes twinkling.

“Let’s go. I never turn down a woman who’s willing to pay for a meal.” He said, ducking as Gabby swatted his head.

***

That evening, Doc and Gabby decided to have a night out on the town. It was their mission to dance the night away and forget the stress they’d both been under. The Warren Nightclub was the perfect place. When they arrived, the club was packed and lively.

Of course, Warren and Renee were overjoyed to have them there. With so many of their friends visiting the club that evening, they decided to have a special table prepared. In addition to Warren, Renee, Gabby and Doc, there was LD, Delois Graham, and Damian with another woman at his side. Though the group laughed and talked outrageously, there was a great deal of tension between Gabby and Damian. He unnerved her so with his constant staring, she grew flustered and excused herself from the table. She headed upstairs to Warren’s office and found solace on the sofa. Sadly, the serenity was not meant to last.

“Congratulations.”

Gabby jumped at the sound of the male voice filling the room. She found Damian standing in the doorway. “Leave me alone.” She begged.

“Don’t worry. I only wanted to tell you I’m glad the case was solved. I don’t plan to step on Doc’s toes.” He said, pushing the door closed behind him.

Gabby smoothed her hands across her silky hose and stood off the sofa. “What’s that supposed to mean ‘stepping on Doc’s toes’?”

When Damian’s dark eyes raked her body coolly, Gabby shook her head. “You know what? Forget it. Lemme tell you somethin’ Damian,” she snapped, pointing her index finger towards him, “I don’t know where you got the idea that I was supposed to be loyal to you. If I want to sleep with Doc or LD or whomever, I can and there’s not a damn thing you can say or do. You’ve got no rights to me. None! Especially when you can’t even be open about what you feel.”

In response, Damian turned his back on her. He waved off her tantrum in a completely disinterested manner.

“I hope your date knows what she’s getting into.”

“You jealous, Brella?” He asked, his back still turned.

Gabby smiled and shook her head. “Actually, I’m relieved. Relieved that I’m a person who can express feelings instead of hiding behind a mask. No matter how gorgeous a mask it is. You know Damian, you have so much: family, money, looks, success…it’s kind of sad in a way.”

Finally, he turned to face her. His head was cocked to one side as he watched her closely. “Sad?”

Gabby nodded. “Mmm hmm. You see with all you have, until you lose that need to be so rigid and in control, you’ll always be alone.”

Damian’s eyes narrowed and a strange sensation surged throughout his chest. It was as though Gabby had seen right into his soul. Her words seemed to penetrate him like a living thing.

She cleared her throat and headed towards the door. When she walked by, he grabbed her arm and pulled her back against him.

“Don’t leave.” He raggedly whispered against her hair. His hand massaged the softness of her arms beneath the chiffon sleeves of her dress.

Gabby wanted to stay more than anything, but she couldn’t. Wrenching her arm out of his grasp, she left the office.

***

The punching bag groaned under each swing of Damian’s fist. Drenched in sweat, he continued to jab mercilessly. He had to hit something and the punching bag was safest. Ever since Gabby left him, he’d been walking in a daze. He felt so helpless, he wanted to explode. Working out until he dropped, seemed to be the best way to release the unfamiliar feelings.

He loved her. Yes, it was true. He realized it a long time ago, but wouldn’t admit it. Now, she thought him to be a cold, unfeeling man and he had probably lost her for good. He knew she didn’t trust him, but he also knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. The problem was, he didn’t know how he would ever get her to believe him. She was right, he did have a problem dropping his mask. She had made him see that, or perhaps he had known it all along.

Damian walked away from the punching bag and started to remove his gloves. Leaning against a wall, he knew that he’d have to make Gabriella listen to him and believe him-whatever it took. It was the only choice he had.

***

“Doc, I want more authority around here. I think I’ve earned it! Now I’ve tried talking to your partner, but she’d got her head so far in the clouds, she can’t hear nobody. So what’s it gonna be? Do I get more say around here or do I walk?”

“Well Joe, when you put it like that, I guess you’ll have to walk. I hate ultimatums.” Doc smoothly replied, turning away from the stunned manager. After Joe walked away in shock, Gabby emerged from Doc’s office.

“Bravo partner.” She said.

“You’re back! How was the spa?” Doc was asking as he hugged Gabby who’d been away for a week.

“Great. I feel much better.” She said, although that wasn’t all together true.

“I guess you heard about Joe?”

“I heard. Thanks.”

“He was a good manager, G. Kept this place runnin’ while we tended our personal lives.”

“I agree. I think he should have more say around here, but he’s got to control his temper. He’ll be back.”

“You think so?”

“Mmm hmm, I do. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have lunch in our restaurant.” She decided, walking towards a table in the back of the restaurant. Success was good, but it had to be so much better when there was someone to share it with.

***

Damian’s powerful stride was more confident than usual as he approached the front door of GJ’s. After spending a few days in Atlanta, on an unexpected business trip, he came back knowing what he had to do. What he wanted to do. As his hand touched the doorknob, his knees almost buckled beneath him. “Man get a hold of yourself.” He whispered, entering the restaurant.

 

Gabriella’s head was bent, her chin in her palm as she studied the menu.

“Gabby? Someone asked me to give you this.”

“Thanks Mina.” Gabby smiled at the young waitress as she took the note. Bowing her head again, she opened the small piece of paper.

 Marry Me

           The words were written simply, yet boldly against the card. Gabby stared at it in speechless surprise. Her head was still bent, when she heard a deep voice above her.

“You wouldn’t talk to me on the phone, so I figured I’d have to come to you.”

Gabby’s head snapped up at the sound of Damian’s voice. She watched as he took a seat at her table.

“I knew you didn’t believe me back when I said I wanted more than sex from you and I was too stupid to just tell you… Brella, I love you. I want you to share my life and I’d like for you to share yours with me. I need you and I never thought I’d say that to anyone. Ever. I don’t know what else to say to make you believe I’m for real. I’ve never been very good at this but…then I haven’t had much uh… practice.” He grimaced at himself for faltering over his words.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Gabby whispered, watching him closely, “I mean, I knew you cared, but I didn’t think it would ever be more than that. You weren’t this…up front.”

“A mixture of pride, uncertainty, nervousness and fright.” At Gabby’s surprise, Damian grinned. “Yeah fright Brella. You’re the first woman to ever call me on the fact that my behavior is an act.” He smirked, watching his fingers tap a slow tune on the tablecloth.

“My family sees it well enough,” he continued, “but um…well never anyone outside of it-never any other woman.”

“And was that the woman’s fault or your own?” Gabby’s voice was as soft as the look in her eyes.

He grinned. “A bit of both, I guess. That’s where the fear comes in. It doesn’t do for a man in my position to be seen as weak or to give someone the inside track on what rattles me or that I can even be rattled…”

Gabby nodded and began tapping out her own silent tune against the table. “So…why me?” She asked eventually.

“I think less stupid side of my brain realized that you were holding me to a higher standard. You expected more of me. You didn’t just accept what I dished out because of who I am or what I look like.”

Gabby felt her cheeks burn. “What you look like hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated.” She confessed, smiling when he had the decency to appear embarrassed.

“Maybe not,” Damian cleared his throat, “but those two things have allowed me to get away with… a lot.”

“So are you saying that you’re tired of getting away with… a lot?”

“I’m saying that I’m tired of pretending that I have everything I need. I um…I understand if you can’t accept this yet,” he reached into the front pocket of the midnight blue shirt that hung outside his denims and withdrew a small box.

Gabby’s lips parted when she noticed the red velvet case he opened and the gleaming sphere of brilliance inside.

“Will you at least tell me that you’ll think about it?” He set the open box before her and leaned back in his chair. “I’ve screwed up with you so many times since we’ve met and I don’t expect you to believe a thing that comes out of my mouth but please know that when I say I love you…when I say I love you, I mean that. Please say you’ll think about this.” He pulled a hand through the dreads covering his head and frowned just slightly.

“If you think about it and decide you can’t…I’ll hate it like hell, but I’ll accept it.”

Gabby’s expression reflected sudden enlightenment. “You’re serious.” She breathed.

“I love you too much to be otherwise.”

Gabriella looked at the ring, wondering if it really gleamed that brightly or whether her gaze was blurred by that many tears. Whatever the case, her heart pounded with a fierceness she’d never felt. Ever.

“I do love you Damian.”

He took her tone to mean the worst. “And you don’t need to think about it.” He guessed, nodding as he accepted defeat and closed the box.

“No,” she propped her fist to her chin and shook her head. “I don’t need to think about it.” She felt too stunned in that moment to say any more.

Her silence said it all as far as Damian was concerned. His heart; which hadn’t ceased its rapid pounding since he saw her sitting there, threatened to beat right out of his chest. He prayed his legs would carry him to the front door when he stood.

“Hey? Where are you going with my ring?”

“Huh?” He had to hold onto the back of the chair for support.

“Well?” Gabby folded her arms over the front of the gold toned wrap blouse she wore. “It’s mine, isn’t it?”

He blinked, looking completely and adorably bewildered. “But you said you didn’t need to think about it.”

“And I don’t.”

Damian shook his head then and gingerly made his way back into the chair. “Brella what are you saying?” He bowed his head as though drained of every bit of his strength.

Gabby leaned close and smoothed a handful of the shoulder length dreadlocks from his striking face. “I’m saying that if you’re sure about asking me to be your wife then I’m sure that I’d like to be.”

Damian studied her but a moment and then yanked Gabby from her chair and into his lap. Gabriella feared her neck would snap under the crushing pressure of his mouth on hers, but she welcomed it.

“I love you,” he gave her a little tug to emphasize the words.

“I love you too.” She whispered.

They kissed again, slowly and with a more deliciously lusty pace. Their tongues swirled, stroked, thrust eagerly with a sweetness fueled by desire, love and commitment.

“Say you love me again,” he asked when their lips parted but an inch.

“I love you.” She brushed her mouth along his strong jaw. “Damian? Can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“Can I have my ring now?”

THE END

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. sympli says:

    Great story. Keep ’emu coming. I enjoyed this very much.

  2. tonya says:

    Om my goodness!! I loved the entire 3 installments!! I was having a hard time waiting on part 3. You truly are a gifted and talented writer. Your characters were so alive with personality! I was having a hard time realizing I was reading a fictional story! Loved it! Excitedly awaiting more from you!

    1. altonyasblog says:

      WOW what a great comment Tonya, I’m thrilled that you enjoyed something I wrote so long ago. I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my writing efforts 🙂

  3. Shaunelle says:

    Done with your usual trademark…provoking, bold and sensual. An enjoyable and fullfilling read

    1. altonyasblog says:

      Thanks so much for enjoying the work Shaunelle!

  4. Shantal says:

    BRAVO! BRAVO! Well Al, you get a big pass for your behavior after the second installment. I didn’t forget about your evil laugh! LOL. This was a great story and the conclusion was worth the wait. I know you said this was an earlier work; I believe it’s a testament to your talent and artistry as a writer. I LOVED IT…and you already know I am a tough critic. The emotions, character flaws, conflict, and of course the happy ending! There are very few writers who can produce a complete “picture/story” as a short story. Can’t wait to see what else you have in the archives!

  5. sevab7 says:

    Awww! A beautiful story. I enjoyed all three installments.

    1. altonyasblog says:

      Thanks sooo very much!!! 🙂

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