Desire raises the stakes--and the danger...
Desperate Housewife by Cydney Rax
Carmen Foster thinks she has it all--a perfect house, kids, and marriage. Until she stumbles upon racy texts from her husband, Forrest, to his baby mama, Toni--who desperately wants Forrest back. Carmen is devastated and decides she can forgive Forrest if she just has an affair of her own. But when a scheming Toni gets involved and threatens to reveal Carmen's secret, revenge takes an unexpected and explosive turn...
Sinful by Niobia Bryant
A psychologist specializing in addiction, Brie Bailey is surprised to find that her work is affecting her personal life in unexpected ways. For the first time, she has something to hide. And when her impulsive actions lead her into a web of danger, Brie finds herself losing control of everything...
L.A. Confidential by Grace Octavia
Stevie Silver, Black Hollywood's sitcom sweetheart, is in for a run of very bad luck. Her conniving assistant, Kristine, has her sights on Stevie's career--and on her T.V. producer husband. Kristine will do whatever it takes to win, from blackmail to seduction. But when a series of lies and betrayals comes to a head in the canyons behind the Hollywood sign, more than stardom is at stake...
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April 24, 2012
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Excerpt from Reckless by Cydney Rax
This Is a Man's World
A heavy rain steadily pours from a cloud-filled sky. Even though it's seven in the morning in late August, the sun is hiding above the clouds. It looks pure ugly outside. And my day isn't starting out very well.
I'm sitting in the passenger seat of my beautiful red candy Lincoln MKT. I feel paranoid. Can everyone see the worry on my face as I'm driving to meet my husband, Forrest, for breakfast? The roads are slick. Dangerously wet. One false move and my SUV could veer off the road. Crash headfirst into an eighteenwheeler. What if I die? Would death feel better than how I feel right now?
Confronting Forrest Foster is something I dread with everything inside me. Arguing is so draining. Pointless at times. I love peace. Harmony. There's nothing better than when I feel strongly connected to my husband, when we're joking, laughing, sharing a loving smile, and just bonding. Conflict doesn't allow for the good things that I adore.
But I have to go to him. And meeting my husband in a public place is the best way to handle this. I dread confronting him in the privacy of our home. At home it would be just the two of us, hidden behind high walls and closed venetian blinds. After hearing what I'm about to ask him, my husband may get angry and scream at the top of his lungs, sounding and looking as mean as Joe Jackson. The last time Forrest got angry, he screeched so loud it caused such a commotion that the neighbors heard him. My face reddened with shame. I never want to repeat that scene.
It takes another twenty minutes of driving before I arrive at Dot Coffee Shop. Dot's is a popular Houston eatery that serves home-style cooking. They bake some of the best hot buttered rolls within miles. We've eaten here many times; times when things were great between us.
When I enter through the front entrance, I immediately see my husband. I wave and slide into a booth right across from Forrest. I'm calmly staring at him with my hands resting on the wooden table. I silently peer at the man whom I've trusted with my heart for more than seven years. His handsome face consists of a square chin, thick brows above deep-set brown eyes, full lips, neat mustache, and eyelashes so long any vain woman would kill to have them. His broad shoulders, muscular thighs, and long legs make him look like a strong, foreboding type of man.
Forrest Foster is my sexy red-bone soul mate.
"Heyyy baby," he greets me. When he's happy, his talking voice sounds like he's singing."So wassup? You never wake up this early when you don't have the girls." He closely scrutinizes the oversized menu even though he orders the same thing every time we come here. Silly man.
I take a nervous glance around the restaurant. We're seated in a tiny corner and out of view of many of the other talkative patrons. It's busy this morning. The drone of the ringing cash register adds to the energy of the restaurant.
Even so, lower my voice."Well, um. I wanted to talk."
"I don't know why you didn't just wait till I got home. I would've been there right after work."
"Oh really?" I ask, sounding doubtful.
Forrest carefully sets his menu on the table. He grabs my hands and pulls them in his. His hands feel soft and welcoming, one more thing I love about him.
"Where's your gold band?" I whisper, nodding at his left hand.
"Huh? It's probably at home . . . in the bathroom . . . on the counter."
"Look, Carmen, I'm sensing this weird vibe from you." He releases my hands. "Why don't you just tell me why we're meeting here instead of talking at the crib?"
"To be blunt, I wasn't sure you'd come straight home."
"Where else would I be?"
I take a deep breath. "Toni called the house at five this morning."
"She called private, Forrest. I don't like when people call private."
"How'd you know it was her?"
"Don't you remember we can check who phones our landline even if they call private?"
"Oh, you on some bullshit, huh? You're some type of female James Bond now?"
Forrest sounds very disappointed. God, I hate this.
He sneers at me, looking deeply in my eyes. I'm sure he sees the coldness. The lifelessness. I don't want to feel this way, or appear so distressed. Not until I hear his explanation.
But every time I bring up Toni, my husband gets in a funky mood.
"Okay. Big deal. Toni called. That's not unusual. It's probably about Dante."
"But why wouldn't she just call your cell?"
"Maybe it was turned off at the time. Shittttt. I don't know." He barks at me. My insides stiffen with dread. I pray he can control the volume of his voice.
"Forrest,just tell me one thing. Are you fucking Toni?"
"Answer. The. Question. Yes or no."
"No!"he shouts."She's my baby mama. That's all she ever was. All she'll ever be."
"Okay, okay." I nervously back down when I notice two wrinkly faced women staring.
But I can't help but feel skeptical of his claim of not messing around with his ex. The IMs I recently found on his computer screen won't allow me to believe him. The tender words he wrote her convict him.
I miss that. LOL. When we gonna do it again?
And Toni's words in response to his:
bAby u know u can have me anytime, anyplace. xOxo.
Guilty until proven innocent.
"Carmen."He speaks in a more gentle voice."I've worked hard all night. We had two close calls with my train, plus some of my cargo was missing."
Forrest works as a railroad conductor and has many important responsibilities.
"So these assholes are watching me like a hawk, like I'm incompetent or not on top of my game. That's why I hate working third shift. Always something going down."
"I know, babe. I know," I reply, trying to match his calmness so we won't cause a scene.
"Then why are you starting BS this early in the morning over stupid-ass Toni?"
Forrest calling his baby mama "stupid" doesn't impress me. Not anymore. The fact that he met Toni before he knew me and had a baby with her before we dated used to bother me. But when he married me instead of Toni, I felt like our love was secure. He wasn't going to let any baby mama drama seep into our relationship. And back then, to prove his love, Forrest presented me with a beautiful diamond solitaire, gave me his last name, and solidified his commitment.
"Look," I say and whip out my iPhone. I show him three tiny photos that I'd snapped of the IMs that were on his desktop computer screen. Disturbing messages between my husband and Toni, the mother of their fourteen-year old son, Dante.
"What's that," he asks, squinting.
"That's what I'm trying to find out."
"Woman, I can't see that. It's all blurry. Why are you playing games?" His voice is getting louder. I have no appetite. But Forrest, who quickly shifts gears and begins smiling at the homely waitress who approaches our table, asks her to bring him a plate of French toast, two scrambled eggs, grits, hash browns, sausage, and a big glass of orange juice.
When the waitress leaves, I ask, "You act like you're eating for two. Are you?"
"Shut up, Carmen. Just be quiet."
"Forrest, all I want is the truth. These photos, they're IMs of conversations between you and that, that--" I scowl like I'm sucking lemons.
"Watch it, now. She's Dante's mother."
"And I'm your wife. I deserve the utmost respect. If you flirt with that woman and cross boundaries with her, no wonder she's treating me like I'm the jump-off."
"Don't be silly. Toni knows how to stay in her lane."
I loudly sigh and expel a frustrated breath. I can't believe my husband is so willing to eat a king's meal while I'm sitting up here ready to bite off all my fingernails. An expensive manicure that he paid for. What's his problem?