Falling in love shouldn’t be this complicated, nevertheless…
Victoria and Joshua have moved to Chicago Illinois while Victoria pursues a career in psychology. Recently engaged, the southern bred couple are in love and set out to start anew. Just when Victoria thinks she’ll get her happily ever after, Joshua’s past catches up with them.
They’ve barely unpacked before trouble is in their midst. Victoria can withstand the pressure until secrets are revealed, lies are told, and unexpected events occur. Will the couple weather the storm together or will they crash and burn?
Retired hitwoman Celine Briggs loved few people in this world; Her husband Caleb, and her ex-handler, Brian Devereaux. When Celine took her marital vows, she exchanged the life of guns, drugs, and violence for the peaceful life as Caleb’s wife. However, not all things buried stay hidden.
When Celine’s past comes knocking, it rattles her world and forces her back into the life she vowed to give up. Now she is turning up the heat on the streets of Chicago, showing no mercy to the men who’ve undoubtedly marked themselves.
Hola! Welcome to this week’s Risky Retreat! Here you can find a teaser of the romance, drama, and suspense that flow through my pages when I write. Even though this is only a teaser it will still feed your need to read. Some of these stories are coming soon, some are available now, and some are simply free short stories I wanted to share with you! Enjoy and don’t forget to check back in two weeks for the next Risky Retreat!
“Yes, I was told to let you know that if your rent wasn’t paid by 10 p. m., you will have to vacate the premises.”
“10 o’clock?” Marissa looked at the time on her Netbook, which read 8:28 p. m. “Who told you to call and tell me this?”
“Harry. Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just doing my job.”
“I won’t have the money until tomorrow afternoon. You can’t wait until then?”
“It’s not up to me. It’s what Harry says and I’ve got to abide by the rules.”
“Where is Harry? Let me talk to him.”
“He’s already gone for the day and I don’t want to disturb him because he will have an attitude. I’m not trying to go through it with him.”
“I’m about to get put out and you don’t want to go through it with him?” Marissa sucked her teeth. She was so fed up with the extended-stay hotel and the Arab owners. They were so rude and unmerciful. “So, what am I supposed to do?”
“I’m sorry. I have people at the front desk, so I’ve got to go.”
Suddenly, the line went dead. Marissa dropped her head and hung the phone on its base. Frustrated, she dialed Nathanial and waited for him to answer.
“What’s up,” he answered.
“The front office just called and said we have until 10 o’clock to bring them the rent money or we have to leave.”
A sigh resounded through the phone. “And what did you say?”
“I asked who told her to tell us that. She said it was Harry.”
“Well, call them back and tell them I’m at work and won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon.”
“I don’t want to lie for you!” The line went dead again. “Hello!” Marissa slammed the phone down. “Ugh! I’m so sick and tired of this! It don’t make no sense!”
There was an unexpected knock at the door. She opened the door to find Nathaniel on the other side. He stepped in looking unsettled and upset. Standing at 5-feet-8-inches, he closed the door and put the lock and chain on it.
“Yeah, putting the chain on the door should keep them out. You sure solved that problem,” Marissa said.
Instead of responding, Nathaniel walked to a chair and sat down. The soles of his feet ached from the torn Crocs he wore. After removing his shoes, he rubbed them gently.
“So, you’re not going to say anything?” Marissa asked.
“Your whining is not helping. Spitting out insults and threats isn’t making our situation better.”
Marissa huffed. “Do you have the rent money?”
“Not all of it.”
“This is so ridiculous!” she screamed. “I’m sick and tired of going through this!”
“Well, since you don’t want to call the office, I suggest you call your sister and tell her to come get you,” he responded.
The disappointment was apparent when the creases appeared in Marissa’s forehead.
“If I leave, I’m not coming back. Being in this hotel with you is turning me into a mad woman and it has to end. I’m tired of sitting in here waiting for you to step up to the plate. Will you ever get a real job?
Nathaniel sat back and cracked his back, relieving the tension in his sore muscles. He reached for his shoulder and massaged it. Marissa was getting on his nerves. All she did was nag about everything. She sat in the room, day after day, complaining like her legs were broken when she could just as well be working.
“So, you’re just going to ignore me?”
Nathaniel turned the volume up on the San Diego Chargers game. Not only was he going to ignore Marissa, but he was glad they would be apart for a while. Even though the love was there, frustration and intense emotional strain in the relationship were as well. They were losing their way.
Marissa sat across the room brewing and ready to explode on Nathaniel. She didn’t appreciate being kicked out of the only place they called home for a year now. Tension understated the description of the atmosphere surrounding her. She would either be screaming at the top of her lungs or trying to hold it back. In return, her ears, along with the sides of her face, had turned red. She felt the heat rushing, like one of those hurricanes threatening to destroy Louisiana.
“This is not a joke! They will put us out — and then what? Where are you going to go? What are you going to do?”
He scratched his forehead and turned the TV up even louder. Marissa grabbed her purse and headed out the door.
“Where are you going?” Nathaniel asked.
She turned around sharply. “Oh, now you want to talk? I’m going to do what you obviously can’t do — get the rent money!”
“And how are you going to do that?”
“Don’t worry about it — like you always do.”
She walked out the door and slammed it. Nathaniel rose from his chair and chased her. “Girl, get back in this room!” he yelled.
“For what? After while, we won’t have a room to go back to because you playin’ games. I should’ve left when I had the chance. Now I’m broke and stuck up here with you, trying to make sure I don’t get kicked out!”
“Listen, girl. Chill out . . . chill out! I’m gon’ get the rest of the money.”
“How?” she said.
“Come back in the room and I’ll tell you.”
Marissa weighed her options, which weren’t many. Her plan was to go borrow the money from Minnie downstairs. She would always help her when Marissa was in a bind. If that didn’t work, she would go see about Joe. That would be the last thing she did. Marissa knew Joe had a crush on her, and sometimes she used it to her advantage. He, too, would give her whatever she wanted. Though that was the case, Marissa knew she was playing with fire when it came to Joe. Men always had an ulterior motive. They never just wanted to help. Most thought women were naive and still wet behind the ears.
“You better not be lying, Nathaniel. I swear!” she huffed.
They went back into the room and Marissa flopped down on the bed. Nathaniel locked the door and put the chain back on it. Marissa rolled her eyes in disgust.
“I have a couple of bangs on the way,” he said. “One of them don’t get off until 12 a.m., and he’s coming to get a quarter. If all of them show up, we’ll be good.”
Nathaniel was a small-time weed hustler trying to get his weight up. For the longest, Marissa begged him to do the honest thing and get a job. That was like pulling teeth. Nathaniel would always say, “By the time I got my paycheck, I could’ve made that money already and re’d up.”
That made Marissa want to slap the taste out of his mouth. This was her man. She hated having these ill feelings towards him, but he gave her no choice. His lifestyle drove her to the point of leaving him multiple times, but she loved him. They had been together six years and engaged for two. When it first happened, Marissa was psyched and ready for the new life. Unfortunately, she was the only one working a real job and trying to put the wedding together on her salary was unrealistic. It bugged her because after everything they’d gone through, he still would not get off his lazy butt and work.
“What if they don’t come through, Nathaniel? What then?”
“I’ll just give them what I have; they’ll take it,” Nathaniel answered. “Harry always be talking about putting us out, but when he get the cash in his hand, he’s always cool until I get the rest.”
“The lady at the front desk sounded pretty certain that if we didn’t have the full amount by ten we have to go” Marissa countered.
“She’ll be gone before 10 o’clock anyway, and Derrick will be in. You know security is the only one here at night, and me and Derrick are cool. He won’t put us out.”
This was true. Derrick smoked weed too, so all he needed was a blunt and he was good. If they got put out, Derrick would let Harry do it the next day.
“I can probably borrow the rest of the money from Minnie.”
“No! I don’t even like that girl, so why would I borrow anything from her?”
“You are not borrowing from her — I am.”
“Naw, man. She’s trouble. Neither one of us is fooling with her.”
“Why? Because you tried to holler at her and didn’t know she knew me?”
“I told you I didn’t try to holler at that girl. She just needs attention and feeds off drama. If you believe her, you stupid.”
“I’m not stupid, but I’m no fool either. I know you like them white girls.”
“Girl, don’t nobody want no old Minnie.”
“She isn’t that much older than me, so what you trying to say?”
Nathaniel turned his back and walked away from her. The conversation was going nowhere. It seemed to always happen that way. Marissa believed anything she heard. Yeah, he cheated on her in the past. Ever since then, he couldn’t get the benefit of the doubt. In fact, she questioned almost his every move. Cheating on her was him being immature. He’d grown since then, though. As long as they’d been together, he was over the cheating. Well, sort of. Sometimes, he couldn’t help but flirt. It was in his blood. But flirting wasn’t cheating, right? So what if he called a hotline to talk to women in his area while she was sleep. He was only doing it because he was bored. He had to admit, though. Marissa caught him doing something wrong from time to time, whether it was flirting, texting, or talking on the phone to another female. To Nathaniel, it was all entertainment, but to Marissa, it wasn’t.
“You like my old self, so I know you’ll like her, too. You can walk off if you want, but I know what I know.”
“You don’t know nothing,” Nathaniel said.
“I know you’re a cheater.”
“Do you just want to argue tonight? Because you keep coming at me. Soon, we will be in another heated argument!” he shouted.
“I’m not trying to argue. I’m just keeping it real.”
“Why don’t you just get back on your little computer and play on Facebook like you always do and leave me alone!” Suddenly, his phone rang. “Yeah, you outside? Aight, here I come.”
He gathered a few bags of weed he put together and stuffed them down his pants. Nathaniel was good at getting on Marissa’s nerves, but every time he went out to make what he called a ‘bang’, she prayed on the inside he would come back. Living this lifestyle was costly and he was just too stubborn to see the consequences. When he and Marissa first met, they were official for one week before he went to jail his first time. She got a call from Gwinnett County with him on the other end saying he needed to be bonded out. That time, it cost Marissa sixty dollars to get him released, with six hundred as bond. She was grateful she only had to pay ten percent because he would’ve been sitting still for a while if she had to come up with the full amount.
That wasn’t the last time Nathaniel went to jail. He went from only selling weed to selling crack cocaine and got caught one night while Marissa was at work. While he was handcuffed in the back seat of the police car, he managed to pull his cell phone from his back pocket and call her. It was a good thing he had her on speed dial. When Marissa answered the phone, he yelled.
“Baby, they got me!”
Marissa knew immediately what he meant. “What’s going on?” she asked.
“The police busted up on me and Lil’ Chris. I tossed my stuff, but he found it. Man, now I’m in the back seat of his car. He about to take me to jail, baby.”
Marissa cried her eyes out. She loved Nathaniel with all her heart and she didn’t want anything to happen to him. She was twenty-three years old then. She knew better now. Still, she didn’t want anything to happen to him, but he continued to put both of them in dangerous situations.
Three quick sharp bangs at the door made Marissa almost jump out of her skin.
“Baby, open the door,” Nathaniel said.
“Boy, why are you banging on the door like that?” she asked, attitudinally swinging the door open. “You know that drives me nuts.”
“My bad, baby. I left my key inside. You know I like to get in the room quick.” Nathaniel shut the door. “It’s cold out there. Good news,” he said.
“Don’t make me wait for it.”
Nathaniel laughed. “You need a chill pill, girl. I got the rest of the rent. Kevin had three dudes in the car with him. They all wanted some. Good thing I took more than he asked for. It’s too cold to be running in and out.” Nathaniel put his fists to his mouth and blew on them to warm them up.
“I’m about to hop in the shower,” Marissa said.
“Let me hop in with you.”
“First, go pay the rent. Then maybe you can hop in.”
“Man, by the time I get back, you’ll be halfway done.”
“My nerves bad. Can’t you tell? Go pay the rent first. Please?” she pleaded, giving him a soft kiss on the lips.
That was all he needed to get him going. “Don’t wash up too fast,” he said, walking out the door.
*****WARNING Adult content ahead. Reader discretion is advised**** Here we go!
The knocks on the door came in rapid succession. Celine tilted her head slightly towards the door but made no effort to answer it. Looking back to the ceiling, she allowed her thoughts to float into space. Two weeks had passed since her first kill in five years; breaking the vow she’d made to her husband on their anniversary night. It was a necessary death, but that’s not what haunted her. There were only two men she loved more than life itself. Her husband Alan Brigg’s and her handler Brian Devareaux.
When she was only a young girl, death found her father as he worked at the construction site he faithfully went to each day and her mother had fallen victim to the harsh Chicago streets. After watching her mother prostitute herself for whatever drug she was on at the time, it became routine for her to seek men out for a quick payday once she was on her own. When she found her first trick, reality set in fast.
Celine couldn’t go through with it. But he was unrelenting, pulling her into an alley, beating her senseless. When he thought she was weak enough to take advantage of, he ripped her panties and pulled out his soft, raggedy, uncircumcised dick trying with fitful plunges to penetrate her untouched vagina. When the blade slid across his neck, he never saw it coming. It was the first time she laid eyes on Brian. His mountainous frame stood over them with menacing eyes. He tossed the trick to the side and held his hand out to her. Everything else was history.
Brian became her one and only, teaching her how to shoot with every gun known to man. He gained her trust and she fell in love, losing her virginity to him.
But Brian was not a man to be loved. He was ruthless, mischievous and cold to everyone around him but her. In his line of business, he had to be. She watched many women come and go. Making it no secret that he wasn’t interested in being monogamous with her or anyone else. Celine prospered, her skills behind the trigger grew sharper by the day. Soon enough, she became his most valuable asset and the only hitman he used when needed.
On the day she set her eyes on Alan, her whole world changed. He was too good to be true. Attentive, compassionate, disarming. She used to pinch herself sometimes to make sure he was real. Alan became her best friend. She divulged all her deepest, darkest, secrets to him. Still, he accepted her, asking for her hand in marriage. But there was one stipulation. She had to put down her vices and leave the world of guns, violence, drugs and Brian.
It wasn’t easy, but giving those things up was for the better. For five years, they lived in whimsical bliss. Then one night during dinner, Alan gripped his chest and fell to the floor. Hours later they found out he suffered with severe systolic heart failure. He would need a heart transplant and selling the house wouldn’t be enough to fund it.
When Celine was able to acquire the funds after Devon’s death, she was all too happy to pay Alan’s doctor bills and have the procedure done. The doctors wasted no time in operating, but Alan never made it out of the operating room. Something about his body rejecting the implant. Celine couldn’t remember what he said. Her mind went blank.
The rapping at the door was more incessant and volatile. Whoever was beating against it was about to take the hinges off. With renewed frustration, she tossed her arm back gripping the handgun that lay next to her head and pounced off the bed.
“What!” she said swinging open the door. Surprise didn’t register on her face at the person standing across the threshold. Her hand fell to her side taking the gun off him. She attempted to slam the door, but his foot stuck out rejecting the dismissal. Celine pivoted on her heels, “How did you find me?” She stumbled back to the bed and fell on her knees in front of a silver tray laced with cocaine.
“How long did you think you could hide from me?” Brian said stepping into the dusty motel room. His eyes perused the wilted wallpaper that sagged down the walls, to the crooked blinds that bent and hung uneven in the lone windowsill, to the silver tray she stuffed her face in. He reached down and flung the tray against the wall.
“What do you think you’re doing!” She yelled.
He clenched his jaw, “I know you’re in pain, Celine…”
“What do you know about my pain?!” She glowered at him rising to her feet. “Where were you when I put up my house and was left on my ass in the streets?!” Her hands pushed against his firm chest. “Where were you when my brother in law extorted sex from me in order to pay my husband’s hospital bills?!” She pushed him again. “Where were you when the south side boys sent their goons after me to get to you?!”
She balled her fist and swung at his face.
He caught her wrists, but she fought him with all the strength she had. He bent her arms behind her back as she struggled against him. “Get off me!” she screamed, “I hate you!” Tears rolled down her face her scuffle insistent.
“Listen to me!”
He lifted her small frame releasing her arms pinning her against the wall. “You wanted me to go away remember! You were the one who removed yourself from my life, not me!”
“I hate you!” She cried with tears streaming faster now. She pushed against him and he recaptured her arms pinning them over her head. “Calm down!”
Her body betrayed her, reacting to his rigid erection that pushed against her belly. Her mind told her to fight, but her body told a different story. He could sense it too. It was no use trying to ignore it, especially with her legs wrapped around his waist wearing only a panty and bra set. He crushed his mouth to hers and she bit back on his lips drawing blood. “Shit!” he screamed pulling back.
He put both her wrists in the palm of one of his hands while he removed his belt and unzipped his pants. Without warning he slid the thin material to the side and submerged his engorged length into her.
“Son of a bitch!” She screamed lunging for his neck. Her fangs dug into his flesh and he made her pay for it in the most wonderful way.
“Do you still hate me now?”
“Yes!” she hissed.
They rocked against the wall and he released her wrists to grab a firm hold on her thighs. She slapped him against his face but it didn’t disturb him. He bent his head sucking in a distended nipple as he pummeled into her. A high pitched moan escaped her lips, “I…still…hate…you…” she panted, “You…son…of…a…bitch…” His thrusts tore into her causing a ripping orgasm to cream down his shaft.
“Shit!” he yelled yielding to his own release. He buckled, placing Celine on her feet.
“Move,” she said pushing him just enough to disconnect from him. She staggered to the window trying to catch her breath. It was no secret that he brought out the animal in her and she hated herself for wanting more of him.
From behind her she heard his zipper, “When I found out about the south side boys coming after you, I sent them a message they can’t ignore. Trust me when I tell you, it’s taken care of. And another thing, I found out that one of the doctors on your husband’s team may have been on their payroll.”
Celine whipped around eyes wide. “What are you saying?”
His dark eyes peered at her, “I think you know.”
Rage unlike anything she’d ever felt before stimulated her nerve endings.
“I’m taking care of that too,” he said.
“No,” she snarled. “I’ll take care of it!”
–Beautiful Assassin the full novel coming to a kindle and paperback near you.