Hello everyone and welcome to another great post, graciously given by one of our favorite Authors for our blogiversary celebrations!
Today I’m so excited to have Kahlen Aymes with us! As you all already know, I LOVE her Remembrance Trilogy (The Future of Our Past, Don’t Forget To Remember Me and A Love Like This) and I’m ecstatic that today she’s sharing EXCLUSIVELY the first excerpt from her new series, After Dark!
Are you ready? Yes, I can tell you are, because I can hear you squeeing 😉
Without further ado, here it is…
“What’s your problem?” Alex asked at his best friend’s expression. He ran a hand through his thick shock of almost black hair and took a slow swallow from his glass.
“You mean… what’s your problem, don’t you?” Darian scowled.
“Listen, if you have something to say, I wish you’d fucking say it. I’ve had a rough week and I’m wound too tight to have you dancing around something you clearly want to say.”
“Ah. Things not so good with Whitney?” Darian’s eyebrows shot up in mock inquisition.
His relationships weren’t something Alex discussed in detail. His friends knew he saw women as a convenient way to sate sexual urges and fulfill business obligations, but he never talked about them much. He had yet to meet a woman that he actually wanted to spend time with outside of the bedroom, which he took full responsibility for. He’d been so focused on growing the family business he didn’t have time for romantic distractions. Even if he would have had inclination to seek it out, he didn’t. It wasn’t that he was a cold bastard, but it was just a choice that worked.
“Why do you say that?” Alex asked with sincere interest, pulling out a stool and finally sitting down. Where is he going with this?
“You’d better get prepared for a shit storm, man. That’s all I’m saying.” Alex glanced at his friend and his eyes widened, but only very slightly. “Whitney called in to the show tonight.”
An angry flush rose up underneath Alex’s skin and his expression hardened; the muscle in his jaw started to twitch. Part of the bargain was that he’d provide Whitney with an apartment and bank account and she’d keep her mouth shut about the true nature of their relationship and not try to turn it into more than it was.
“She did what?” His tone was quiet, but edged in steel.
They were both seated at the bar, facing in. Alex set his glass down hard enough to have the liquid swishing over the rim, which prompted Darian to answer.
“She called the show.” Darian shrugged, trying to hide a smile but glanced at his friend from the corner of his eye. He never liked that bitch and the sooner Alex walked, the happier he’d be.
It was clear that the news made Alex angry, but he was good at keeping his cool; years of practice being detached and indifferent helped him regain his composure quickly. He ran a hand over the lower half of his face. “Really? What did she say?”
“That you make her feel invisible.” Darian set his beer on the bar and shifted in his seat. The bartender approached both men to see if they needed another round, but he held his hand up and shook his head, quickly letting the man know that this was not a good time. The savvy bartender took the hint and turned away in a hurry, silently nodding in understanding.
Alex felt a slight twinge of regret. He cared about Whitney, as much as he’d ever cared about a woman and he didn’t want to hurt her. Maybe he did make her feel invisible, but then, she made him feel like a bank account. “Well, that’s about right.” Alex said quietly and shrugged. “I’m getting ready to end it anyway. I’m just not… interested. It isn’t working anymore. She’s always on my ass for more time, more money, more… shit.”
“More sex?” Darian asked in wonder. “I agree, you could do better on many levels, but in that one aspect, you’re such a poor bastard. I feel so sorry for you, Alex.”
“I said more shit, dickhead. But I suppose she’d want more sex if I were so inclined.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “I don’t find her exciting anymore. I’m not sure I ever did, but lately, she gives me a fucking headache.” Alex smiled wryly. “I’m aware she wants more, but she knew what to expect from the first time I took her to bed.” Alex knew that sexually at least, she was satisfied. He could make her moan like a bitch in heat, but even in their most intimate moments it was nothing more than fucking and he knew it. “On the other hand, she cares more about herself than she does for me.”
“I thought that was what you wanted; no feelings.”
“It was. It is. But not when the desire is gone. And she pretty much douses that whenever she opens her damn mouth. So, what did your doctor tell her?”
“Basically, she told her to dump your sorry ass.” The bartender came over again and this time, Darian ordered another round as his friend sat on the bar stool in contemplative silence, his green eyes hardening. “So I guess we’ll see if she takes Angel’s advice.” He dipped his head to hide the smirk that was spreading across his face.
Alex felt a jolt at the sound of the name and he turned it over in his head a few times, trying to get a picture of her to form in his mind. He wondered if everything Darian said about her were true. Alex pictured a stodgy, passionless shrew that got off by analyzing other people’s lives due to lack of one of her own. But the name… maybe there was something to Darian’s description of her. Suddenly he was intrigued; and the hair on the back of his neck prickled. But, who the fuck did she think she was to tell his mistress to end things without knowing both sides of the story? And why the hell do I care anyway? he asked himself.
“I wonder if she would’ve told Whitney the same thing if she’d known my side of the situation.”
Darian watched as Alex got lost in his thoughts and spoke as if he were talking to himself.
“Yes, I told her. But after Angel ended the call, of course. I couldn’t say anything while she had Whitney on the phone.”
Alex sat back in his chair and turned sharply toward Darian. “What? You didn’t use my name did you? I don’t need my personal bullshit under public scrutiny, Darian.”
“Relax, Alex. I’m not stupid. Whitney used your first name and I didn’t mention your surname or Avery Enterprises. I told Angel that you’re a very focused individual and you were upfront when you get into one of your arrangements.”
“And? What was her opinion?”
Darian’s lips lifted slightly; amused that his friend seemed so interested in something he professed not to give a shit about.
“She doesn’t believe that you don’t know that you’re hurting the women you’re involved with. I think her exact words were, ‘your friend clearly knows how this shit works, hence his carefully laid out escape clause,’” Darian mocked with a quirk of his lips.
Alex leaned his elbows on the bar and smiled a slow, devious grin. “It’s too bad she’s probably stiff, closeted and frigid as hell. I think my dick just got hard.” He looked down at his glass and chuckled out loud.
Darian burst out laughing. He knew that intelligence was what Alex needed in a woman. Maybe he’d open up his heart and mind to more than just a sexual relationship if he could find someone to stimulate him above the belt. If there was anything that turned Alex on, it was a challenge.
“You don’t even know what she looks like. God help you, then, because, you’ll be in a world of hurt. And her wit is sharp as hell.”
“Whatever,” Alex dismissed, but his phone intruded into his musings again. He pulled it out of his pocket and flipped it open.
Alex, get your ass over here now, or it’s OVER!
“Ugh, fuck. D, I have to go and Cole is in danger of getting his cock cut off by that banshee. Can you make sure to get him home? They’re doing some serious damage to each other down there.” Alex nodded his head in Cole’s direction and shook it in disapproval. “The family doesn’t need any bad publicity because he can’t control his dick. I love my brother, but he doesn’t always think with the right head.”
“Oh? The text must have been from your lady,” Darian speculated and took another long pull on his beer. Alex outwardly cringed at the words ‘his lady’, not really sure how to classify her anymore, but surely the screaming shrew she’d become certainly didn’t fit that profile.
“Apparently she isn’t taking your girl’s advice. I’m being summoned or it’s over,” Alex said with blasé sarcasm. The conversation was not something he was looking forward to. With a roll of his eyes, he slammed the rest of his drink and walked over to Cole, putting a hand on his shoulder. “Cole, I gotta bounce. See you on Sunday.”
“Dude! Don’t go, Alex. Things are just starting to happen. This is Ruby,” Cole said happily, his speech slurred by the amount of alcohol he’d consumed in the past two hours. Alex’s eyes drifted over the redhead that was draped around his brother’s neck and took note how her blue eyes looked him up and down. He felt disgusted as he acknowledged the woman. She was elegantly dressed with bright red polish on her long fingernails, but Alex felt bile rise in his throat. She might look expensive, but Alex knew trash when he saw it. Her blatant appraisal of his dark good looks made it clear that she’d move on to a better offer without thinking twice.
“Nice to meet you. Goodnight, Cole.”
It’s bitches like that who make me avoid relationships like the plague. Just like Whitney. If Alex were honest with himself, he had to admit it. So fake, so grasping and calculating, Alex thought as he turned and walked out. It was obvious that Ruby wasn’t interested in Cole. He was just her next victim and she would have dropped him like a hot potato if I’d snapped my fingers.
“It’s no fucking wonder I’m the way I am,” he muttered under his breath as he walked the four blocks to the garage where his car was parked. “No fucking wonder.”
I’m so intrigued already by Alexander Avery! I want to know more about him! I’m sure the After Dark series will be another huge hit!
Thanks so much, Kahlen, for sharing this wonderful excerpt with us and for participating in our blogiversary celebrations! Love you, girlfriend!
COMING UP: An AWESOME giveaway! Don’t miss it!