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?
San Diego, CA~
Bizay Donneeter ladled another generous helping of Potato soup into her bowl and smiled. God, this is Heaven, she thought. She’d debated on whether she would attend the party given by her friend Carla Decker. Now she was glad she had chosen to attend. The gathering was beyond impressive. Still, it was the delicious soup that impressed her most.
Biz decided not to leave her position by the table, since she planned on polishing off the entire tureen. Despite the huge bowl in her hand, she was still an enticing vision. The ankle-length shimmery beige evening gown fit her like a second skin. Besides complimenting her dark-chocolate complexion, the sexy creation was deceptively designed to make an admirer think he was seeing more than he actually was. The dress did that and more. The spaghetti straps slid partially off her shoulders, while the snug bodice emphasized her ample bosom. There, the material stopped and showed off a toned stomach. Multiple straps crossed over her shoulders, connecting at the small of her back to fall into a long, clinging skirt.
With a minute shake of her shoulder-length waves, Biz’s warm brown eyes scanned the room, surveying the other guests in attendance. She was glad Carla had been thoughtful enough to invite her. Biz had already been in California a week opening her second lingerie store. There hadn’t been much time for rest, but the party was proving to be the perfect way to wind down.
Carla Decker had taken notice of Bizay near the buffet table. A worried frown was cast over her lovely, honey-complexioned face, as she hurried across the room.
“Are you okay over here?” Carla asked, placing both her hands around Biz’s shoulders.
Biz swallowed a mouthful of soup and turned to her friend. “Yeah, why?” She asked.
“Well, every time I see you, you’re over at this table. I was getting worried.”
Biz shook her head. “Girl, it’s this soup. I can’t get enough of it.”
Carla looked surprised. “Potato soup? You really like that stuff?”
“It’s my favorite.”
“I only served it because my little brother is here and he loves the stuff.”
Biz placed her hand on Carla’s shoulder. “Well, your little brother has good taste.” She said.
“Well, since I know you’re okay, I’ll leave you alone with your soup.” Carla left Biz with a playful smirk before she walked away.
Carla Decker mingled through the large crowd, checking on her other guests. She had thrown the gathering in an attempt to draw her brother out of his shell. Unfortunately, there was no trace of the guest of honor. After a while, something told her to check the balconies. She prayed he had not left without telling her, and was about to give up the search, when she spotted him on the most secluded balcony.
“Cahlir?” She called, walking up behind him and sliding her arms around his waist. “Baby, what are you doing out here?”
Cahlir Decker shrugged wide shoulders while offering an absent shake of his head. “Just needed to get some air,” His extraordinary silver eyes stared out over the lawn.
Carla stepped around to face her brother and frowned. “Listen you, if the balcony is where you want to spend the rest of the party, that’s fine. But, I’ve got plenty of female friends who’d love to be out here with you. That’s why I threw this party, you knucklehead.”
Cahlir turned his intense gaze toward his sister and smiled. Carla was older by four years, but he had always been much bigger. Still, the woman could be a formidable bully when she put her mind to it. Cahlir would not hold that against her, though. He knew she had her reasons.
Of course, that didn’t stop him from making one last attempt at not having to go back to the party. “Listen Lady, I’m fine. I just don’t care to mingle right now.” He told her.
“Oh, you don’t care to mingle right now?” Carla repeated in a whisper. “Well, I’m not havin’ it. Now you get your cute butt back inside and at least act like you’re having a good time.
All you have to do is stand there and the women will fall at your feet.” Carla assured him, before she poked his chest and walked away.
Biz had finally pulled herself away from the buffet table. She’d been walking around less than five minutes, when three men descended. At once, they each begged her to dance. Biz tried to make an excuse about not being up to it, but her new friends seemed just as happy with conversation.
Dennis Mack crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “How did I miss you all night?”
“You obviously didn’t look near the buffet table.” Biz tapped one perfectly manicured nail to her lips.
“What were you doing over there?” Leon Phillips asked.
“What do most people do at a buffet table? If it’s something besides eating, I’d love to know!” Biz joked and everyone laughed.
“A fine thing like you coming to a party to eat in a dress like that? I can’t believe it!” Aaron Graves’ tone was one of mock distaste.
Biz tossed her hair over her shoulders. “Well, I make a point to be near tasty things.”
“Well, see that’s where you made your mistake. You should’ve been near me.” Dennis teased.
“She said tasty man, not stale.” Aaron interjected.
The foursome broke into more laughter. Biz found each of her companions very charming and was becoming happier she had decided to attend Carla’s party.
Cahlir thought it best that he heed his sister’s warning. He made his way back inside to the party. Deliberately, he scanned the crowd beneath his silver stare. With an exhausted sigh, he leaned against the balcony doorframe. His features were drawn into a cold mask, as heavy thoughts took over. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been there, before his solitude was interrupted.
Carla was right, he thought as women walked over and asked him to dance or talk. He was, however, at a point where his social skills had tumbled to their lowest levels of operation. Though his mood was cold and unattractive just then, the same could not be said for his appearance. The lean, muscular frame, honey complexion, close cut blue black curls and wide sensuous mouth; complete with deep dimples, were hard for any woman to ignore. It was, however, Cahlir’s exquisite silver gaze that intrigued the opposite sex most. The extraordinary stare never failed to attract and hold attention.
Cahlir made his way over to the bar and ordered a drink. When the bartender pushed a Cognac in front of him, he turned on the barstool and began to scan the crowd again. Briefly, his intense gaze fell on a loud, small group in the center of the room. He looked on, but his attention soon returned to the group.
Well, not exactly the group. The dark-complexioned, leggy beauty in the illegal dress had captured his full attention. Cahlir sipped his drink while his eyes narrowed and took in inventory of the gorgeous woman. His gaze slid from her mane of wavy hair, to the heart stopping face. The dress she wore left very little to the imagination, fitting like a glove the way it did. The longer he studied her, the more interested he became. When she threw back her head to laugh that interest only multiplied.
Cahlir was so caught up in his surveillance of Biz, he didn’t see his sister approaching him.
“Well, I’m glad to see you followed my orders.”
Cahlir smiled, his silver stare never straying from Biz. “Who is she?” He asked.
Carla frowned and shrugged her shoulders. “Who?”
Cahlir nodded in Biz’s direction and Carla followed his gaze. When she saw her friend, she smiled.
“Her name’s Bizay Donneeter. She’s opening a lingerie store right next to one of my salons. That’s how we met and became friends.”
Cahlir made no comments, but it was impossible to mistake his interest. Carla took a seat next to him at the bar and watched Biz for a moment. The beautiful, vivacious young woman could be just what her brother needed to make him want to live again. Still, Carla knew Cahlir would not be fooled by any attempts to be thrown into an affair. Luckily, he rarely backed down from a challenge.
“I don’t know Cahlir… I think Biz may be in a different lane from you.” Carla figured.
Cahlir finally looked at his sister. “What’s that suppose to mean?”
Carla shrugged. “She’s just a lot faster than any of the women you’ve dated. A lot faster.”
Cahlir shrugged and tugged at his earlobe. “Maybe that’s what I need.”
Carla tried to hide her smile. “Maybe,” She softly agreed. “But, you may be in over your head with that one.” She worked to hide her smile. She knew her brother well. The thirty-three year old entrepreneur was far too smart to go along with any play to set him up.
“I haven’t known Biz all that long,” Carla shared, faking nonchalance, “but she does attract a lot of male attention. Think you could handle that?” She challenged.
Cahlir’s grin triggered a pair of gorgeous dimples. “Is that her only fault?”
“I don’t see it as a fault.” Carla playfully argued.
Cahlir shrugged. “Neither do I.” He conceded, his striking gaze never straying from Biz.
Carla took note of the man’s interest. “Biz is just a very… carefree type of woman, you know what I mean? Maybe you’d be better off reentering the social circuit with someone a little less…flamboyant.”
“I doubt it.” Still, he understood where Carla was coming from. It had been a year since his divorce and he had been very anti-social since then, focusing all his attention on work. His consulting firm was finally on its feet and well on its way to becoming a success. So far, that had almost been enough.
Fortunately, he had a daughter from the marriage. The beautiful little girl had been the only good thing to come from the troubled union. The child was born a month premature and every day of her two years had been a struggle. Of course, her well-being had taken its toll on her young father. Although he did not live with Liza, he always kept a close eye on her
condition. Cahlir shook away his troubled thoughts. A while later he was excusing himself from his sister.
Biz was so impressed by her joking buddies she decided to give them each a dance. Of course, so much exercise reactivated her hearty appetite. She was unable to keep her mind off the
delicious soup. Leaving her new found friends, Biz headed back to the table. As she approached the buffet area, she heard the waiter telling the man there that they were out of soup. A frown clouded her lovely face, and she stepped closer to the table.
“Excuse me, are you gonna bring out another tureen?”She intervened.
The young waiter stared at her in awe. Cahlir also turned to look at her. A heart melting smile crossed his sensuous mouth, as his eyes glided over her body.
“Uh huh,” The waiter seemed absent, his attention then on Biz and light-years away from the soup in question.
Biz frowned and placed her hand on her hip.
“When?” Cahlir asked, when the young man said nothing further.
Finally the waiter blinked and shook his head. “Oh! It won’t be long.” He told Cahlir. Casting one more look at Biz, he hurried away.
Biz couldn’t seem to take her eyes off the tall, devastating man at her side. Her brown eyes lingered on his face, and then travelled appreciatively over his powerful frame.
“You just can’t get good help these days.” Cahlir teased, his silver eyes sparkling.
Biz stared at him for another minute. Then, she shook her head. “Oh! Yeah, yeah I know. I hope they hurry with that soup.”
Cahlir nodded and extended his hand. “Well, it’s good to meet a fellow Potato soup lover. My name is Cahlir Decker.”
“Bizay Donneeter.” She managed, placing her small hand in his large one. “But, you can call me Biz.”
Cahlir stepped a little closer while squeezing her hand more firmly. “How about a dance while we wait?”
Biz was struck by his mesmerizing eyes. “I’d like that.” She found her voice with effort, allowing Cahlir to lead her to the dance floor.
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.
Carla’s huge den was the perfect place to enjoy the soup. The room had a quiet, warm atmosphere that was instantly relaxing. Biz made herself comfortable on a cushiony, black sofa, while Cahlir slipped a disc into the player.
“Let’s see what this is.” He told Biz, reaching for the remote control.
For a few minutes, they only glanced at the television. At first, they were more concerned with the soup. It took a while before they realized what they were watching.
“Oh my,” Biz gasped. The movie was obviously an adult piece. A very graphic one.
“Should I stop it?” Cahlir asked, his voice calm.
“Don’t you dare.”
“I can’t believe she’s got this stuff.” Cahlir whispered. “Carla always tries to act so prim.”
“Well, behind closed doors…” Biz breathed.
“I know.” Cahlir agreed. “All this time my big sista’s been frontin’.” He teased.
Biz and Cahlir managed to polish off the rest of their soup, even though the outrageous antics on television made it quite a challenge. They watched the screen like two teenagers viewing their first dirty movie. They teased and laughed at the bad acting and the crazy positions the on-screen couples got themselves into. Still, as the movie progressed, they got closer on the sofa. In a short while, they were close to cuddling. Biz had her long legs propped up and Cahlir was lying next to her. Unconsciously, she toyed with his soft, dark hair, while his head rested on
her chest. Neither of them minded the closeness, though. They both felt something they wanted to savor for as long as possible.
“How the hell did they do that?” Cahlir breathed, inclining his head a little as he referred to the on screen couple.
“That? I could show you that one.” Biz teased.
Cahlir raised his head and stared at her. Then, they both collapsed into peals of laughter.
On cue, a more sobering mood fell over them. They began to take inventory of their position on the couch and Biz could feel her heart pounding madly. Cahlir bowed his head for a moment. Then, his silver eyes stared right into her brown ones and he eased himself closer to her.
She moaned before his mouth even touched her own. Even lying there, she could feel her body go weak from the kiss. The tip of his tongue reached out to stroke the corner of her mouth. Then, he brushed his lips across hers. Biz pushed her fingers into his soft hair, aching for him to deepen the kiss. This time, it was Cahlir who moaned when his tongue delved into the sweet recesses of her mouth. His muscular body lay sprawled across her, hands trailing the length of her body. His fingers dipped into her exposed belly button and he smiled when she gasped.
To Biz’s disappointment, Cahlir pulled himself away some minutes later. He laid his head on her shoulder and took a couple of deep breaths. “I didn’t mean to do that, B.”
Biz smiled at the way he had shortened her name. “Yes, you did.” She argued. When Cahlir lifted his head, she initiated the kiss.
He groaned softly into her mouth. Again, his arms slid around her waist and he held her unbearably tight.
“What?” He whispered, his lips sliding down her neck to delve into the cleft of her breasts.
She ignored the pressure of Cahlir’s embrace, even as she raked her nails across his back. Her hands slid beneath the dark material of his tailored jacket, aching to feel more of his hard frame.
Cahlir knew he would lose all power over his restraint if he stayed there any longer. Pulling away though, was proving to be impossible. Biz’s soft cries and her silken, voluptuous body were an intoxicating combination.
“Biz?” He squeezed his eyes shut. “B?”
Cahlir buried his face in her neck and uttered a tortured groan. “Are you ready to get out of here?”
Biz’s lashes fluttered open and she stared at the high ceiling. She could tell that he was deeply affected by what was taking place. She had to admit that things were moving quite fast-even for her. After all, she’d just met the man.
“Are you ready to leave the party?” She whispered.
Cahlir raised his head and looked down at her. “Only if you’ve had enough.”
“Enough of what?” Biz asked, not sure what he meant.
He grinned at her confusion, his gorgeous silver eyes sparkling with wicked intent. “Have you had enough of the party?”
“I’ve definitely had enough of the party.”
Cahlir pushed himself up and pulled Biz into a sitting position. “Did you drive, or do you need a ride?” He asked.
Biz stood and brushed the barely visible wrinkles from her dress. “A ride would be nice.”
Carla caught sight of Cahlir and Biz heading back to the party. She had noticed their lengthy absence, but felt it best not to make an issue of it. “Hey you two!” She called, when they approached her.
“We’re getting out of here, Lady.” Cahlir whispered in his sister’s ear and pressed a kiss to her cheek.
“Biz, do you have a ride?” Carla asked, taking her friend by the hand.
Biz placed her other hand over Carla’s. “Your brother offered to take me back.”
“Oh, that’s great!” Carla beamed, her dazzling smile making her even lovelier.
Cahlir and Biz exchanged glances and smiled at Carla’s excitement. They bid her goodnight, and then headed out of the party.