The After Wife

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  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-03-31
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
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Lexi Davis, who took readers on "a pleasurable joy ride" (Black Issues Book Review) with her acclaimed novelPretty Evil, returns with a wickedly entertaining new tale with a touch of magic.There's unlucky in love -- and then there's cursed. Still a virgin at twenty-four, Nia Youngblood just wants to find the right man to fulfill her hot dreams and sensual fantasies. And more important, a man who won't run away when she reveals her unconventional past as the daughter of a witch. Utterly seduced by Nia's sexy beauty, defense attorney David Wrightwood is a strong man who won't let anything come between their super-hot attraction. But when they make love, earthquakes, thunderbolts, and infernos are literally part of the deal -- because someone is trying to claim Nia as his own. Someone who won't let a mere mortal stand in the way of making Nia his bride....


Chapter 1

Nia Youngblood crept down the hallway of a Las Vegas hotel behind her boyfriend, Malcolm Smalls, who was dressed like a spy in a black shirt, black shoes, black cap, and dark shades. When he paused, she paused. She shifted her duffel bag and tugged the back of his shirt. "Who are we looking for?"

"The enemy."

"But, Mal, it's one o'clock in the morning and -- "

"Shh!" Malcolm placed a finger across her lips.

She pushed it away. "This is not how I planned on losing my virginity. You act like it'sMission: Impossible."

"No, it's harder."

Malcolm was right. At twenty-four, Nia's love life was like a suspense thriller with every potential sex scene so far being a near miss.

Nia sighed. "I was hoping for a romantic candlelit dinner, maybe soft music..."

"Shh!" Malcolm yanked her around another corner and hurried her down the long wine-colored carpet on the twenty-sixth floor of Treasure Island hotel. Malcolm had been her on-again-off-again boyfriend for six years since high school, but his appeal was beginning to wear thin. Twenty-nine and finally out of law school, he was already grabbing for fame and fortune, and right now a chance to get busy with Nia. After his court case had recessed for the day in Los Angeles, he'd convinced her to hop a short flight to Las Vegas. He'd told her he had a foolproof sexual rendezvous planned where they could escape whoever was making it impossible for him to make love to her.

Malcolm plunged his keycard into the door's slot and rushed Nia inside the room. Although her hopes of a romantic first experience had been dashed, Nia remained excited and optimistic. Not a virgin by choice, but by circumstance -- alwaysunusualcircumstances -- she was more than anxious to explore the fiery side of her sexuality.

She dropped her duffel bag on the bed and sat next to it, fidgeting and hoping that the intimate soul connection she'd yearned for since puberty was about to happen. Malcolm put out theDO NOT DISTURBsign and quickly locked the door.

"Mal, relax. You're making me nervous."

"Shush!" Malcolm tilted his head toward the door, listening. Nia listened, too, but only heard silence, though she knew silence didn't necessarily mean no one was there. Someone was always watching her. Someone possessive, jealous, and not necessarily human.

Nervous, she tugged at her thick sepia hair, twisting a wavy lock around her finger. Malcolm yanked the curtains closed, but a slither of light from the Vegas Strip remained. After checking the bathroom, he came out and complained, "Every time we try to do it, something crazy weird happens."

Nia tried to downplay it. "It's probably just coincidence."

"Twenty-nine times?"

"You counted?"

"Every cold shower." Mal turned off his cell phone and tossed it on the nightstand. "Nothing's going to stop us this time, not even the hounds of hell."

"Wow, Mal. Great romantic imagery." Nia rolled her eyes. "Got any goblins to go along with those hounds?"

She wasn't worried about hellhounds. She knew hell had creatures far more dangerous and seductive than ornery mutts, and one of them kept a constant eye on her.

Mal snatched off his black cap and hurried out of his black clothes. He clicked off the lamp and rushed at Nia, popping buttons off her blouse. A melting hot surge rushed through her warm body, reminding her of all the nights she'd fantasized about being with a real man. Aroused, her womanly places quivered, moistening with anticipation, but Mal was in such a hurry she had to struggle to catch her breath.

"Mal, slow down." She grabbed his hand. "This is my first time. I want it to be special."

"If I get some, itwillbe special," he said, but he saw the glare in her eye through the sliver of light. "What? What else do you want?"

"I want you to talk to me."


"Yes," Nia said. "Tell me what every woman wants to hear at a moment like this."

He was clueless; his brows wrinkled like a fault line.

She sat up, still waiting. "I'm talking about theLword."

"You're a lesbian?" Malcolm's face caved in.

"Love!"Exasperated, Nia huffed, "I want you to say youloveme."

Mal looked at her in amazement. "Why would you bring up something like that at a time like this? Are you trying to kill the mood?"

"Mal, it's my first time. I'm nervous. I need reassurance." She watched him carefully, knowing how he avoided the truth whenever possible. "And don't lie to me," she added.

Mal moved back, balancing himself on one elbow. He saw the seriousness in her eyes and came up with something. "You're lucky, Nia. You've got the lust factor."


"You're a lust magnet." He leaned in, talking more to her body than to her. "You've got these joyously juicy breasts, wild tigress hair, and big sexy eyes that speak to men."

"Oh, yeah?" Nia widened her eyes. "What do they say?"

"They say, 'Behind these big innocent eyes there's a freak waiting to be unleashed.'"

"Really?" Nia exhaled, baffled.

"And that's my mission -- to unleash the freak in you." He nudged her down on the bed. "So relax and let me bring her out."

Nia leaned back awkwardly and took a deep breath. Mal wasn't her dream man, but he did have one crucial thing going for him -- he stuck around. Despite the weird events that always surrounded her, Mal didn't ask questions. When she'd break up with him -- which she did frequently due to his lying, cheating ways -- she'd try to date other guys, but they'd soon get scared away, and she'd end up back with Malcolm. After six years of putting up with him, at least she knew what to expect. Plus, Mal's appetite for sex was as huge as hers. Nia's blood ran hot and her urges were intense but yet to be satisfied, and Mal made no secret of his horny intentions.

Suave in a self-absorbed way, Mal flashed his "practiced" smile, the one designed to win over jurors, and ditched his underwear. He crawled on top of her, smothering her mouth with kisses designed to keep it shut. Nia sighed and tried to relax. She closed her eyes, thinking of her many sexual fantasies while she explored his male anatomy, touching fleshly objects she'd only dreamed about.

Malcolm's cell phone rang.

He ignored it and continued kissing, grappling, and grinding, but the phone kept ringing.

Distracted, Nia squirmed. "Mal, your phone is ringing."

"Impossible. I turned it off," he said dismissively, and parted her legs with his knee. The cell phone's speaker clicked on by itself and a woman started leaving a message:

"Hello, Malcolm, you naughty sex machine. It's Vicky. I'm still reeling from that wild animal sex we had last night..."

Malcolm jumped off the bed and reached for the phone, fumbling with it, trying to turn it off, but the speaker's volume increased."I got the video you e-mailed from your camera phone, you sly devil. I'm watching it now and getting hot all over again."

As the woman moaned, Nia stiffened.

Mal chuckled nervously. "Obviously, it's a wrong number."

Nia gritted her teeth. "She said your name, Mal."

"There are lots of Malcolms in the world, so don't go jumping to conclusions."

"Just don't let our naughty video get out or both our careers will be in the toilet. I look forward to many more stiff sentences from you. See you in court tomorrow, you wild animal. Grrr!"Vicky gave a lusty growl, then hung up.

Malcolm slammed the phone into the nightstand but it bounced off, ricocheted into Nia's hands, and played the video of him and Vicky. Speechless, Nia watched the amateur porn of her boyfriend sexing a woman with gigantic breasts. Her palms shook with anger.

"It wasn't me." Malcolm threw up his hands. "I swear."

Nia zeroed in on Malcolm's face. Hot tears filled her eyes.

He mumbled some lame excuse about a possible twin brother before finally caving in. "C'mon, Nia, give me a break. Trying to have sex with you is harder than paying off a student loan. Every time I try, something crazy happens, like this!" He pointed at the phone. "There's something weird going on with you, Nia."

"Mal! None of this is my fault." Insulted, she picked up a pillow and hit him with it. "Besides, you're the one who cheated!"

"Until there's conclusive proof, I deny everything."

Nia reached for her blouse and put it on, then quickly scooted into her pants. Mal paced the floor, scratching his head and muttering, "Whotook that video?"

Nia knew who'd taken the video, but she wasn't saying. "Doesn't matter who took it. They did me a favor." She grabbed her duffel bag, slung it over her shoulder, and headed for the door. "Forget it. It's over!"

He followed her. "Hey, I paid for this room. There are no refunds."

"Refund the six years I wasted with you." She flung open the door. "Good-bye, Mal."

At two a.m., Nia caught a cab to the Las Vegas airport and boarded the next plane heading back to Los Angeles. In late November, the desert city known for its sin and heat was chilly, but Nia wore no sweater. She didn't even own a coat, because she didn't need one. Among other weird things about her, Nia's body always ran hotter than normal.

As Nia boarded the plane, she wiped smudged mascara from her eye. She hated wearing makeup, but Malcolm liked it. Once again, she'd tried her hand at romance but things had only gotten worse. Nia searched for her seat while wracking her brain trying to remember where she'd seen Vicky before. Disheartened, she slumped into her seat and noticed a flight attendant staring at her.

The woman in the blue uniform approached. "Excuse me, miss, but where did your companion go?"

"My companion?" Baffled, Nia sniffed back a tear. "I'm traveling alone."

The attendant pointed to the seat next to Nia, the only empty seat in first class. "The gentleman asked me to make sure no one took his seat. He seemed very protective of you."

Suddenly alert, Nia shifted uneasily. "What did he look like?"

After all these years, she'd never actually seen his face. The attendant described him as best she could. "A tall, well-dressed gentleman in a dark magenta suit. I couldn't really see his face because the cabin lights malfunctioned, but he seemed the quiet type, with a very powerful presence. Almost overwhelming, you know?"

Yes, Nia knew.

The attendant continued, "He had an exotic look, perhaps a foreign citizen, but I couldn't place his nationality. I wouldn't be surprised if he was royalty of some kind since he had such a commanding presence and a definite edge."

"An edge?"

"Yes, like someone you wouldn't want to cross."

Nia remained purposely expressionless, though her insides turned to mush.

"We're ready for takeoff, but he's nowhere in sight." The attendant backed up slightly, disappointed. "We may have to take off without him."

Antsy, Nia sat back in her seat. She fastened her seat belt and tightened the strap. "He'll show up again. He always does."

As the attendant left, Nia looked again at the empty seat. Out of nowhere, a rose appeared. A single long-stemmed rose with thick, velvety petals in the lavish color of royalty -- purple. Attracted by its mystique, Nia picked up the purple rose. She slowly ran her fingers along its long, smooth black stem; its razor-sharp thorns gently pricked her skin, sending a piercing tingly sensation through her body. A densely sweet, familiar smell emanated from the rose, like burning molasses. Nia's body temperature increased the way it always did wheneverhewas near, and minuscule beads of perspiration replaced the dried-up tears on her cheeks.

During takeoff, she brought the petals close to her cheek, brushing their velvety thickness gently across her lips. "Please," she whispered into the rose, knowing he could hear her, "just let me go."Copyright © 2009 by Lois Roberson Kimp

Excerpted from The after Wife by Lexi Davis
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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