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Time ground to a halt as Tamia stared up at Dominic Archer, stunned speechless.
She couldn't believe he was standing at her table, looking like he had every right to be there with his hands casually tucked into his pockets, a smile playing at the corners of his full lips. She couldn't believe he had the audacity to approach her after the way he'd nearly ruined her life, blackmailing her for sex by threatening to expose her past as a porn star.
As fury quickly replaced her shock, Tamia spat, "What the fuck are you doing here?"
His eyes glinted with amusement. "Hello to you too, Tamia."
"Don't 'hello' me, motherf—" Glancing around the elegant restaurant, she lowered her voice to an angry hiss. "I don't know what the hell you think you're doing, but we have nothing to say to each other."
"I disagree," Dominic said calmly. "I think we have plenty to talk about."
"I don't give a shit what you think." Tamia turned her head, darting an anxious glance toward the front entrance. The last thing she wanted was for her ex-boyfriend Brandon to show up and see Dominic standing at her table. There was no telling what Brandon would think—or do.
"You need to leave, Dominic. I'm serious."
"Why?" His eyes gleamed. "You expecting someone?"
Tamia scowled. "Not that it's any of your damn business, but yeah, I am expecting someone. He should be here any moment."
Or so she hoped.
For the past twenty minutes, she'd been anxiously waiting for Brandon to join her at Da Marco, the Italian restaurant he'd taken her to on their first date. She'd told him to meet her there at four o'clock. It was now ten minutes past the hour.
He's coming, she assured herself. He's just running late.
She didn't want to consider the alternative. That Brandon was at the justice of the peace this very moment exchanging vows with his fiancée, Cynthia Yarbrough. She couldn't bear the thought of it.
"Let me buy you dinner," Dominic drawled.
Tamia gaped at him, incredulous. "What part of 'I'm expecting someone' did you not understand?"
He looked amused. "Come on, Tamia. You don't really think he's coming, do you?"
Her eyes narrowed with suspicion. "How the hell do you even know who I'm waiting for?"
Dominic chuckled softly. "I think I can safely assume that you're waiting for Brandon. Which is unfortunate, since I heard through the grapevine that he's getting married today." He raised a thick brow at Tamia. "Did I hear wrong?"
She glared at him. "How did you know I'd be here?" she demanded, ignoring his question. "Have you been following me?"
"Of course not," he said with lazy amusement. "I had a business meeting this afternoon, but my client had to cancel. I was just about to leave when I saw you."
Tamia didn't believe him, not for one damn second. This was the same conniving motherfucker who'd had an affair with her while he was married. She couldn't believe a word that came out of his lying mouth.
Before she could light into his ass, the waiter appeared. After topping off Tamia's water, he divided a friendly smile between her and Dominic. "Will you two be dining together this evening?"
"No," Tamia said so sharply that the man looked startled.
Dominic smiled at the waiter. "Give us another minute."
"We don't need another minute," Tamia interjected through clenched teeth. "He's not joining me for dinner. I'm waiting for someone else. In the meantime, I'd like to order the grilled scampi with orange honey salad."
"Excellent, signorina." The waiter shot a sympathetic glance at Dominic before moving off.
Tamia picked up her crocodile Dolce & Gabbana handbag, one of many expensive gifts Brandon had lavished upon her during their recent trip to Italy.
"I'm going to the ladies' room," she coldly informed Dominic as she rose from the table. "I expect you to be gone when I get back."
With that, she turned and stalked off, feeling Dominic's gaze on her ass until she rounded the corner and disappeared from view.
Once inside the empty restroom, she slipped into the nearest stall and retrieved her smartphone from her handbag. After taking several deep breaths, she pulled up Brandon's number and pressed SEND.
Her heart sank when her call went straight to his voice mail.
"This is Brandon. Keep it short and sweet."
Tamia inhaled a shaky breath, debating whether or not to leave a message. If he'd gone through with marrying Cynthia, there was nothing she could say or do at this point. But if he was somewhere having second thoughts, she had to at least try to get through to him.
The beep sounded, prompting her to speak or hang up.
Gripping the phone, she nervously moistened her lips. "Hey ... it's me. I'm at Da Marco waiting for you. I hope ..." She trailed off, not wanting to sound too desperate. "I hope to see you soon."
She disconnected, closed her eyes and held the phone to her thudding heart.
Please don't let it be too late, she silently prayed. Please let Brandon be on his way to the restaurant, not the courthouse.
Drawing another deep breath, she stepped out of the stall and crossed to the row of sinks to inspect her reflection in the mirror. Her sleek bob was freshly straightened, her red lipstick was perfectly intact, and she wore a Dolce & Gabbana tapestry-print dress that molded her voluptuous curves. She'd been delighted when the Italian saleswoman had told her that the dress wouldn't hit the U.S. market for another four months. She enjoyed being ahead of the curve.
With a parting glance at her reflection, Tamia left the restroom and headed back to her table.
When she saw Dominic sitting there, a wave of incredulous outrage swept through her.
As she marched over to the table, he stood and smoothly pulled out her chair for her. Ignoring the chivalrous gesture, she thrust her hands onto her hips and spat, "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
His lips twitched. "You might want to keep your voice down," he advised. "People are staring at you."
"I don't give a shit." But even as the angry words left her mouth, Tamia couldn't help glancing around. Meeting the curious stares of several other diners, she scowled.
Not wanting to cause a scene, she reluctantly sat down and allowed Dominic to push her chair back in. But as soon as he reclaimed the seat across from her, she began looking around for the waiter so that she could request her food to go.
"I ordered a bottle of Chianti," Dominic said, gesturing to the wineglass in front of her. "It's good. Have some."
"I don't think so." Tamia glared at him. "I thought I told you to leave."
"You did," Dominic said mildly.
"So why the hell are you still here?"
"I thought you could use some company." He raised his glass to his lips, his eyes dancing with humor. "Were you able to reach Brandon?"
Tamia's face heated. "None of your damn business."
Dominic laughed, leisurely sipping his wine.
Tamia hated him with every fiber of her being. But not even she could deny how fine he was with his hooded dark eyes, juicy lips framed by a trim goatee, broad shoulders, and muscular six-four frame dipped in Armani. His lazy West Indian accent only added to his immense sex appeal.
But it didn't matter how gorgeous he was, or that he was by far one of the best lovers she'd ever had. From the moment Tamia had met him, he'd wreaked pure havoc on her life, ultimately causing her to lose everything. Now that she was trying to pick up the broken pieces and move forward, she wanted absolutely nothing to do with him. The sooner he got that through his thick head, the better.
Tamia took a sip of her water and glanced impatiently around the restaurant. "Where the hell is that damn waiter?"
"Probably taking care of our order," Dominic drawled.
Tamia's eyes snapped to his. "Our order?"
"Yeah." He drank more wine. "I canceled your salad and ordered dinner for both of us."
"Excuse you?" The nerve of this motherfucker! "Who the hell told you to do that?"
He smiled lazily. "We're both here. We might as well eat together. Besides, this will give us a chance to discuss my proposal."
Tamia's eyes narrowed. "What proposal?"
"Glad you asked. I'd like to—"
"You know what?" Tamia cut him off, holding up a hand. "I don't even wanna hear it."
He frowned. "Why not?"
"Why not? Why not? Hmm, let me see. Maybe because the last time you approached me with one of your so-called proposals, I lost my boyfriend and my job, and I went to prison for murder."
Dominic grimaced, leaning back in his chair. "All of that was unfortunate—"
"Unfortunate?" Tamia echoed in angry disbelief. "Getting a speeding ticket is unfortunate. Falling on your ass in public is unfortunate. What happened to me was absolutely devastating, Dominic, and none of it would have happened if you'd stayed the hell out of my life. So, no, I have absolutely no interest in hearing your proposal, so you can just go fuck yourself."
Dominic hung his head, looking contrite for the first time since she'd met him. "I know I did you wrong, Tamia. That's why I'd like to make amends."
"How? You nearly destroyed my life, Dominic. There's nothing you can say or do to make amends for that."
"Maybe not," he conceded, "but I'd at least like to try."
"Why? To ease your damn conscience?"
"Nah," he murmured, watching as she agitatedly sipped more water. "This isn't about making myself feel better. It's about rectifying a mistake, righting a wrong—"
Tamia snorted derisively, shaking her head at him. "You are so full of shit, Dominic. And you're out of your damn mind if you think I'd be stupid enough to ever trust you again."
He looked at her with solemn eyes. "Everyone deserves a second chance, Tamia."
"Not everyone." She set her empty glass down on the table, then grabbed her purse and stood so abruptly she got lightheaded.
As she swayed for a moment, Dominic frowned in concern. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she snapped.
"Maybe you should stay and eat something."
Tamia sneered. "Nice try, but I'd rather go back to prison than stay here and have dinner with you." She jabbed a finger at him. "You wanna make amends? Stay the fuck away from me."
With that, she turned and strode from the table without a backward glance.CHAPTER 2
Brandon felt like a contestant on one of those old game shows.
Except in this case he only had to choose between two doors, not three. And unlike a contestant on a real game show, he knew exactly what awaited him behind each closed door.
Or did he?
Over the past year he'd learned not to take anything for granted, because nothing was ever as it seemed.
And no one.
Behind Door Number One was Tamia, the woman who could have been his soul mate if things hadn't gone so horribly wrong between them.
Behind Door Number Two was Cynthia, the woman who'd gone from being his friend to his lover and was now the mother of his unborn child.
Both women genuinely loved him and wanted to be with him.
Each gave him something the other didn't.
But he could only choose one of them.
Squaring his broad shoulders, Brandon took a deep breath and stepped through Door Number Two.
Three pairs of eyes swung toward him.
"Brandon!" Cynthia cried, beaming with relief as she lunged from the table she'd been sharing with her parents.
"It's about damn time you got here," Bishop Yarbrough blustered, glaring at Brandon accusingly. "Where the hell have you been?"
"Joseph," his wife gently chided.
He scowled. "I'm sorry, Coretta, but the boy is almost thirty minutes late."
Brandon divided an apologetic glance between his would-be in-laws. "I'm sorry for keeping you waiting."
"No need to apologize, Brandon," Coretta assured him. "We're just glad you're finally here."
Brandon smiled briefly before shifting his gaze to Cynthia. Her long dark hair was elegantly pinned up, her makeup was flawless, and she wore a white silk dress that flattered her slender figure.
"You look beautiful," he told her.
She smiled with pleasure. "Wait until you see my real wedding gown."
Brandon hesitated. "Can we talk for a minute?"
Her smile faltered. She shot a nervous glance at her parents, who exchanged troubled looks.
"Everyone is waiting, Brandon," Cynthia said anxiously. "Daddy already had to pull strings to get us a private room for the ceremony, and the judge has been—"
"This is important," Brandon interrupted.
She held his steady gaze for a long moment, then swallowed visibly and nodded. "All right," she agreed with obvious reluctance. "We can talk. But we really need to hurry, or we're going to have to reschedule the ceremony."
"And that won't be happening," Joseph growled, leveling a warning glare at Brandon.
He just looked at the old man.
"Come on, Joseph," Coretta urged, steering her scowling husband from the room.
Once the door closed behind them, Brandon and Cynthia stared at each other for several moments.
"I can't do this," Brandon said quietly.
Panic flared in Cynthia's dark eyes. "Can't do what?"
"I can't marry you, sweetheart. Not today."
"Are you serious?" she whispered, staring incredulously at him. "Please tell me you're not serious."
"I'm afraid I am." His chest tightened with guilt. "I'm sorry."
"You're sorry? You wait until the day of our wedding to tell me you can't marry me, and all you have to say for yourself is 'I'm sorry?' "
Brandon grimaced. "I'm not saying the wedding's completely off," he explained, walking toward her. "All I'm saying is that we can't get married today."
"Why not?" she demanded. "We're already here at the courthouse. We have the marriage license. Our family and friends are out there waiting—"
"Listen to me." Brandon cupped her face between his hands, his eyes boring into hers. "You know I wanted a long engagement. I shouldn't have allowed myself to be talked into a hasty ceremony. I need more time."
"Time for what?" Cynthia challenged accusingly. "Time to change your mind about marrying me? Time to keep whoring around with Tamia?"
Brandon shook his head slowly at her. "I've never denied my feelings for Tamia. They're not going to disappear overnight just because you want them to."
"I know that," Cynthia snapped. "But I also know that we have a baby on the way, and I have no desire to be a single parent."
"You won't be, I promise." Brandon's voice gentled. "I meant it when I told you that I'm committed to making this relationship work. But a lot has happened over the past year, Cynthia. I need more time to process everything, get my head on straight. If you really love me and want to be with me, you need to be patient with me."
"Patient?" Cynthia repeated incredulously. "I was in love with you for two fucking years before I shared my feelings with you! Was that not patient? And once we were together, I was patient with you while you defended Tamia during her murder trial, even though I knew it'd come back to haunt me. Don't you dare talk to me about patience, Brandon Chambers, because I've been nothing but patient with you. If I were any more patient, I'd be a fucking doormat!"
Brandon slowly removed his hands from her face and stepped back. "I'm sorry for everything I've put you through, Cynthia. I really am. But I've never tried to hurt you or deceive you. From the very beginning I've kept it one hundred with you. You're a good woman, and I truly appreciate the way you've been there for me these past few years—"
"Yet this is how you choose to repay me," Cynthia said bitterly. "By jilting me at the altar."
"I'm not jilting you," Brandon corrected. "We're still engaged, and we're still getting married. Just not today."
"Unbelievable," Cynthia hissed, rapidly blinking back tears. "I should have known you'd pull a stunt like this."
Brandon grimaced, guilt gnawing at his insides as he tucked his hands into his pockets. "We need to let our guests know that we're postponing the ceremony."
"We?" Cynthia shrieked. "Are you crazy? I can't go out there and show my face to all those people! You're the one who's calling off the damn wedding, so you should be the one to tell everybody!"
Brandon nodded slowly. "You're right."
Cynthia stared at him as he turned and started from the room. Reaching the door, he paused and glanced back at her. "I know you don't want to hear this again," he said quietly, "but I truly am sorry."
She held up a trembling hand, nostrils flaring with emotion. "Just go, Brandon."
Excerpted from Betrayal by NAOMI CHASE. Copyright © 2014 Naomi Chase. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted March 22, 2014
This book was a great! Finished it in two days. The betrayal was deep. It I was so glad to see Tamia and Brandon get their happy ending. While they certainly were an unconventional couple, I could not help rooting for them. I wanted them to are and get all of their dreams. Brandon was a man's man and any woman would loved to have someone like that holding them down. And Tamia, well she was the baddest chick. I appreciated her strength and the fact she never made excuses for what she did. It was what it was. I am sort of sad to see this adventure come to an end. I would love to see more of them. Great series, Ms. Chase! Can't wait to read more from you.
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Posted October 25, 2013
Well I have both E-reads meaning nook and kindle. The nook has it here for 11+ and on the kindle its just 9.99! Soooo I guess the Kindle won!;)
2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2014
This was a great book from start to finish! A lot of questions were answered and it was shocking of all the truth & betrayal that came out. I got my happy ending with Brandon and Tamia, but it was touch and go at times. Dominic was a snake and actions were awwful!!!! Don't won't to give the book away, it is a must read! Cynthia....... you have to read it to see for yourself.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 26, 2014
When was the last time you read a book and when done immediately decided you were going to read it again? This book does that to you. This is the book you stay up all night to read, the book you call out sick to read, the book that will cause immediate withdrawal once done and the book that you will not be able to put down once you start.
Betrayal is THE highly anticipated follow-up to 1. Exposed and 2. Deception. Normally when writers wait so long after a cliffhanger they give the readers a rushed job, they fill the book up with past events and one event to solve the cliffhanger but not Maureen Smith aka Naomi Chase. What she gave the readers should be the blueprint on how a follow-up book should be written. A master of her craft her gift with the pen is absolutely fierce. The story flow so smoothly after the last and she did not filled it with walks down memory lane. The story contained so many twists and turns that guessing the outcome of any given situation proved fruitless. The twists were so intricate that you'll sit on the edge of your seat to see how she's going to pull it off and pull it off she did. If you have been following the saga of Tamia, Brandon, Dominic and Cynthia then you are in for a delicious treat. Warning: not for the faint of heart and its recommended that its read slowly with a chill glass nearby. Sorry did you think I was going to tell you who Brandon picked? Nope no spoilers from me.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2014
Posted June 1, 2014
Posted March 29, 2014
Awesome as always! Naomi Chase is truly a force to be reckoned with. Betrayal was fast paced, drama filled and downright sexy from beginning to end! You will experience all kinds of emotions. Shock, anger, rage, happiness. Soooo worth the wait and the read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 7, 2014
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Posted April 2, 2014
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