A Pleasing Temptation(7)

By: Deborah Fletcher Mello

Laney McDonald was why she and Paxton had never been able to take their relationship past the point of friendship with occasional benefits. His obsession with the green-eyed redhead was like a fungus that had taken hold and refused to be eradicated. Laney would always find the most inopportune moments to suddenly come calling, teary eyed and emotional over something that had gone wrong and fallen apart in her life. She was a damsel in perpetual distress, and Kamaya’s buddy and pal Paxton felt obligated to save her.

Each time Laney needed to be handled, Paxton went running. Each time Kamaya’s feelings had been hurt for a split second. Deep down she knew that there would never be anything more between them and that she and Paxton would forever be friends.

Even their sexual connection had been a fluke of sorts, a night of too much rum and not enough cola spinning them into bed together. It would never have happened again if Paxton’s skills between the sheets hadn’t been so mind-blowing, but her friend was damn good in bed!

After that Kamaya had used him to scratch that itch when she didn’t want to be bothered with someone else. Because the someone else was always wanting more from her than she was willing to give. Paxton had been convenient and since she didn’t want permanent, it had worked for them both. And now he was planning to marry Laney. Kamaya couldn’t help but wonder what Laney’s husband had to say about it all.

For too many years Paxton had gone after the very married, very wealthy socialite like a rat chasing cheese. Sometimes he had stooped to a new low that had her questioning his sanity. But through it all Kamaya had known the two were a disaster waiting to happen. She was just glad she would be far from the mix when they exploded.

Stripping out of her clothes she moved from her bedroom into the bathroom. She reached for the faucet and turned on the water. She needed a shower. And she needed it ice cold.

* * *

It was close to two in the morning when Wesley locked the doors to the club and headed to his house on Camp Street. The custom home was centered in a prime location near Audubon Park. Wesley had been drawn to the home’s warm and charming simplicity. He’d first seen it when the market was down, homes lingering for months in the For Sale directory. He had considered it a blessing when he discovered the house was still on the market when he’d finally had the money to buy it outright.

Inside, he paused as he took in the herringbone brick floors and the wide planked pine that ran through the foyer and living room. During the daylight hours there was lots of natural light and everything about the space felt welcoming. The decor was extremely sparse; a futon and some pillows sat off to the side in the living room and there were a small table and two chairs in the kitchen. In the master bedroom, a king-sized mattress and box spring sat on the floor. It wasn’t much, but it was his and his chest swelled with pride each time he stepped through the door.

For a brief moment Wesley thought about making dinner, but he found the prospect of having to cook something daunting. Standing in front of the refrigerator he marveled that, for the first time in a long time, there was absolutely no leftovers inside. Deciding he wasn’t that hungry, he grabbed a Budweiser and the last of a bag of Cheetos from the counter and headed up to his bedroom.

He was excited about the future and he knew he was just hours from another turning point that would take him toward his goals. He’d been working hard to insure that The Wet Bar set the standard for those that would come after. He planned on owning as many of them as he could.

Lying across his bed he knew that he wouldn’t be able to keep what he did from his parents for much longer. But if all went according to plan, by the time they discovered the truth it wouldn’t make a difference. He’d be running an empire, making them proud of his success and accomplishments. Wesley had big dreams.

He suddenly realized how quiet his home was. Nothing creaked or leaked or gave him any reason to pause. It was disconcerting, and for the first time in a long time he felt very alone. He blew a soft sigh as he swallowed the last cheesy snack and then sat up to toss the crumpled wrapper into the trash. After chugging back the last of his bottled beer he threw his body back across the mattress.

For a brief moment he pondered the women he could invite to come spend some time with him. The list of late-night booty calls he could make at that hour was probably lengthy, but that kind of company really wasn’t what he wanted. As he thought about his future he knew he didn’t want to do casual with any woman. That time in his life had come and gone. He wanted more and he would only have the best. He prayed that God knew his needs and would bless him abundantly.

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