A Pleasing Temptation(5)

By: Deborah Fletcher Mello


“Here?”

Bryan nodded, a wide grin spreading like spilled sugar across his face. “They said they’d like to spotlight you and your goals for the business. They thought it would be a good idea to showcase the grand reopening to help promote the place.”

“Wow! That’s…wow!”

Bryan laughed. “That’s what I said. They’re going to send some folks from their executive team to scout the place, talk to you and make sure it’s all a good fit for what they’re looking to accomplish.”

Wesley took a deep breath. “When?”

“They’ll be here tomorrow at noon.”

A loud expletive blew harshly out of his mouth. “I need to talk to the contractor. We have to be done on time. We can’t blow this.”

Bryan winked. “I grabbed him earlier and told him to come see you before he leaves.”

Wesley nodded his appreciation. “This is really happening.”

“Man! You’re about to blow up!”





CHAPTER 2

“You look like you just got off a plane,” Paxton Reid said, his gaze sweeping the length of Kamaya’s slim frame.

“So now you have jokes? You know I just got off an airplane.” She was wearing oversized sweatpants, a tank top and Converse sneakers. The look was too casual and very basic.

“But you look like you just flew on a commercial flight and not private. You should look way better.”

“You’re an ass,” Kamaya said, narrowing her gaze on the man. She and Paxton Reid had been best friends for years. They’d met in high school, lab partners who both hated science with a passion. For a brief moment they’d been a couple, but that hadn’t worked. Occasionally they were lovers, and that did work, even when it didn’t. Despite their obvious differences—he was white and a male—they genuinely cared about each other and most days that was more than enough.

Her eyes rolled as she took the short flight of stairs to the front entrance of her office space. The Michelle Initiatives, located on Lee Street, was welcoming and looked like they were in the business of selling cupcakes and lollipops. The old two-story home with its lime-colored paint, bright yellow shutters and red door belied what was really happening behind the wooden entrance.

Kamaya had named the business after herself. Michelle was her middle name. Her brother Mason had the monopoly on their last name, Boudreaux Enterprises being his claim to fame. Michelle had been personal enough, but not so much that it drew any unwanted attention from her family. Because The Michelle Initiative was all about adult entertainment.

Most of Kamaya’s businesses, either directly or indirectly, provided sex-related products and services to an adult clientele. On the titillating side there was Play Candy, her line of adult sex toys, Eye Candy, the adult publishing line that was home to erotic stories, and her newest acquisition, forty-three strip clubs across the country soon to be renamed “The Wet Bar” and revitalized to cater to an upscale female clientele. On the less sensationalistic side there were the upscale massage parlors, A Touch Above, and the vaginal rejuvenation centers, Secret Garden Clinics. But, when asked, all Kamaya ever talked about were the convenience stores and gas stations that had been the foundation of her expanding portfolio. In the corporate offices of The Michelle Initiative she employed a staff of thirty-six people who all operated out of the pretty, gingerbread-trimmed home.

Paxton bounded up the steps behind her. “I may be an ass but I’m an honest ass!” he said, his expression smug. “And you can always trust me to tell you the truth!”

Kamaya tossed him a look as she pushed her way inside. “So what have I missed?” she asked.

“The first Wet Bar franchise is opening soon. Renovations are almost done and we meet with the franchise owner tomorrow.”

“Is he on board for the feature?” she asked. “He understands that we want him to be the face of The Wet Bar?”

“Well, he will. I figured we’d break the news to him in person.”

Kamaya’s eyes widened. “You told me we weren’t going to have any problems. You know very well that you and I can’t be associated…”

“I told you. It’s not a problem. No one will ever connect your good family name with the business.”

Disaster suddenly flashed before Kamaya’s eyes as she imagined everything going straight to hell. She suddenly had visions of her parents disowning her and her siblings disavowing any knowledge of who she was. People discovering that she was hawking sex and not chips and beer could be potentially devastating. She slapped her palm against the desktop. “I knew this wasn’t a good idea. I don’t know why I let you talk me into doing this profile piece.”

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