Authors: Clementine Roux
By Clementine Roux
Copyright @ 2016 Clementine Roux. All Rights Reserved
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author.
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Table of Contents
“It's been a year, Alessandra. You're going to have to get over him and move on with your life.” Sammi had spent the last several weeks trying to convince Alessandra that at thirty-years-old her life wasn't over. The relationship may have gone sour, but she was still as sexy and devastatingly beautiful as she ever was.
“I'm just not interested. Really, I'm not. My career is finally taking off and I'm just starting to feel like I'm in a good place. Why would I want to complicate things by adding a man to my life? We both know how that ended last time. Five years of giving Paulo my heart and soul, not to mention, every single penny I ever made and he just walked away like none of it mattered. I'm just not interested in going down that road again. Not now. Not ever. I'm happy.” Alessandra winked at her long time best friend and staunchest supporter.
“I just don't get you. I mean, you've earned the right to have love in your life. Paulo has moved on and I'm sure he didn't once consider that he should get all his ducks in a row first. He dove in, got himself some, and moved on to the next unsuspecting woman. You need to get out. Come with me. I promise, I won't try to fix you up with any of those desperate-for-a-hot-ethic-wife types. I don't want to go alone. Conferences are boring, especially where small business owners are concerned. They don't care about anything I have to say. They are just there to learn how to make more money and to use the trip for a tax right off.” Sammi clasped her hands together, begging Alessandra, a successful interior designer and consultant, to take some time off and join her at the conference in Miami.
Alessandra really wanted to take a few days off. As her client list grew, her vacation time shrunk. She hadn't taken more than a day at a time off since she'd opened her own design firm almost three years earlier and she was convinced that played a part in why her aforementioned loser of a boyfriend left her.
He wanted her at his beckon call at all hours of the day and night, but she was more focused on making a name for herself and building the career of her dreams. The pressure to succeed coupled with the increasing pressure in her personal life became more than Alessandra could handle and, unfortunately, her relationship paid the price. She never imagined that it would end with her boyfriend bedding one of her clients in the backroom of her design warehouse. That was the final straw. She vowed to never date another Black man again.
“Miami is so far away,” Alessandra complained.
“We live in Chicago, not Antarctica. We can be there within a few hours. Quit looking for excuses. Besides, Miami needs us. Have you seen what we look like? Forget those skinny tramps with the big boobs. We are real women with curves for days, not to mention, we can read, unlike those tramps. So, beauty and brilliance, what else could they ask for?” Sammi examined her curvaceous figure in the three-way mirror.
“Humility,” Alessandra quipped, laughing at her friend's reflection.
“So, you'll go? You'll actually take some time off and have some fun?” Sammi needed to be sure that Alessandra was fully committed.
“I don't own a bathing suit. Black women don’t swim,” Alessandra tried.
“Way to feed the stereotype, girl. So, buy a bathing suit. I don't know what your obsession with layers is all about anyway,” Sammi answered, admiring her cleavage.
“I don't need a man in my life,” Alessandra reminded her.
“Yes, you do, but we can talk about that later.” She studied the fading blonde highlights in her dark brown, wavy hair.
Alessandra nudged Sammi out of the way to look at herself. “I don't do slut,” She whined, looking at her custom white pant suit.
“Miami will fix that obsession really quick.” Sammi pulled Alessandra's natural hair out of the ever-present severe ballerina bun. “Let your hair down, old maid.”
“Five days, that's it, right?” Alessandra pulled away from Sammi's primping.
“Five days of sun, fun, and, oh yeah, the conference, but that won't take up too much time. So, you in? Ready for Miami?” Sammi smiled.
Alessandra took a moment to look over her schedule again. If she moved some things around and finished the project she was working on within the next couple of weeks, she'd be able to squeeze in a trip, but that was only if Sammi would promise not to try to fix her up with every man they met. That little game was getting old and she didn't want any part of it.
“Okay, but I swear, if you try to fix me up with anyone, I'll be on the first plane out of there real fast,” Alessandra warned.
Sammi squealed with delight, “Watch out Miami, here come the divas!”
“Can you believe we're actually here? Oh, I'm so excited! What do you want to do first?” Sammi was practically jumping up and down as they waited for their luggage.
“Take a shower. That guy sitting next to me spent the whole flight coughing and sneezing. I feel like a giant virus.” Alessandra had always been a bit of a germaphobe. She was a card carrying member of the Neat Freak Society.
“Okay. After you take a shower and disinfect yourself, what would you like to do? The day is young. Let's learn the lay of the land. We can hunt and gather later.” Sammi already had her eye on a couple of gentlemen.
Alessandra really wanted to take some time to relax and unwind. Work had been especially stressful as of late and this trip would be just the thing she needed to rejuvenate. That is, if Sammi would let her relax. She eyed her as they waited. She'd known Sammi for so long, she knew exactly what she was thinking most of the time. And, right now, the two men Sammi had her eyes locked on were not the kind of men Alessandra would ever dream of pursuing.
She leaned more toward men with jobs – real jobs – and goals. These two men looked like they were hungry for a meal ticket and a piece of ass. She had no intention of being either one of those things for them or anyone. She’d learned the hard way how fulfilling some man’s curiosity about confident Black women turned out for her.
“Stop gawking at them. Not interested,” Alessandra warned Sammi.
Always ready to perform, Sammi giggled and smiled in their direction, speaking to Alessandra through her teeth. “Relax. I'm just practicing.”
The luggage had finally arrived. Sammi and Alessandra waited patiently as they waited for their bags. As they chatted, passengers moved around them to get their suitcases off the carousel. Alessandra could see a man staring right at her out of the corner of her eye. She didn't want to look because she didn't want to encourage anyone and didn't want Sammi to think she was interested.
When their bags finally made an appearance, Alessandra was relieved. She desperately wanted to get out of her wrinkled flight clothing and into a fresh outfit.
“Which bag is yours?” Sammi asked as she hoisted her bag off the carousel.
“The red one.” Alessandra pointed to a pair of red suitcases on the carousel.
Confused, Sammi turned and asked, “Both?”
Alessandra started to answer, but was interrupted by a very rude, but undeniably sexy man. He walked in-between Sammi and Alessandra and picked up one of the red suitcases.
“This one is mine.” He looked at a stunned Sammi, who stood with her mouth gaping open. If Alessandra didn't know any better, she'd swear Sammi was drooling.
Sammi mouthed the words, “Was he on the plane?”
“Looks like you missed one,” Alessandra teased.
She grabbed her bag and the girls made their way out the door to catch a cab to their hotel. Alessandra quickly glanced around to see where the muscle-laden man with the red bag had gone, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“I already scoped it out. I don't see him anywhere.” She was one step ahead of her.
“Who? I'm not looking for anyone.” Alessandra pretended to be interested in the scenery.
“Yeah, right and I'm a virgin.” Sammi cracked herself up. Even the cab driver scoffed and laughed.
The drive to the hotel turned out to take longer than was expected. The streets were filled with people. Every cafe and restaurant had a sea of people waiting outside to get in. Everything was so bright and festive. The girls could hardly believe their eyes. This place was full of activity.
“Where's the hotel?” Alessandra asked the driver.
He pointed straight ahead. “About two or three more blocks ahead.”
Alessandra took a look around at the traffic and commotion and suggested they walk from where they were. Sammi didn't have to be told twice. She was afraid Alessandra would change her mind. They paid the driver and stepped out, pulling their luggage behind them. Immediately, catcalls started. The whole situation was surreal. Sammi was eating the attention up. She was glad that she'd chosen to wear the halter top, mini skirt, and sandals that she had on. The attention was worth the cold, she was sure to get after spending a couple of hours on a freezing plane.
“Look at all these men!” Sammi was in top form. She jetted out her ample bosom and swung her hips from side to side.
“Let's just get to the hotel. I look like a homeless person.” Alessandra kept her eyes focused on the hotel ahead. Unlike her friend, she wasn't interested in the attention and just really wanted to get into some comfortable clothes and have a good meal.
As they careened their way through the crowded streets, Sammi made sure to make eye contact with as many handsome men as she could find. Alessandra, on the other hand, took note of dinner specials as they passed by the various bars and restaurants.
“Slow down, Ales,” Sammi warned, just as she thought she found her version of Mr. Right, a tall, green eyed Spanish man with a body any woman would die for. It's not that Alessandra didn't appreciate a good looking man. She just didn't want any of the problems that came with them. The only ego she wanted or needed in her life was her own.
“I'm hungry.” Alessandra felt that was explanation enough.
Finally, they made it to the hotel. Alessandra couldn't have been more relieved. She made a mad dash for the reception desk, checked in, took her key, and waited while Sammi did the same. As they waited for the elevator, Sammi gave her the itinerary for the night: showers, dinner, dancing.
“Okay, but don't forget you have to speak at the conference tomorrow. We can't stay out late,” Alessandra reminded her.
As the elevator doors opened, both women took a step back to allow passengers room. Inside, coming off the elevator was the man who had taken the other red suitcase. Both Alessandra and Sammi gasped as he nodded and walked right past them.
She whispered, “It's a sign. He's staying in the same hotel!”
Four hours was long enough for Alessandra. She was ready to go to bed. They learned the hard way that a night on the town needed to come with a warning label. Everywhere they turned, there were more men, most of them visitors, anxious to spend some time with them, but the kind of time they were after didn't sound at all appealing. Alessandra feared that if they'd stayed out any longer, one or both of them would have ended up under the influence of beer goggles. She was too old for that.