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Between bringing down Philadelphia's corrupt power brokers, surviving its mean streets, and recovering from a devastating natural disaster in the Cayman Islands, Laura and James are no strangers to danger. At last, they're...
Between bringing down Philadelphia's corrupt power brokers, surviving its mean streets, and recovering from a devastating natural disaster in the Cayman Islands, Laura and James are no strangers to danger. At last, they're ready to enjoy an idyllic retreat in Maui. But enemies of the past seem to have an endless appetite for revenge. This time it's Laura's Uncle Akhan whose life is being threatened--and Laura is in the line of fire as well. As the hits keep coming, with no clue to their source, it's all James can do to keep the woman he loves alive. And when a devastating truth is revealed, Laura and James know they must act quickly before their lives are shattered forever. . .
"Leslie Banks has done it again, this time with a gripping page-turner of revenge and retribution." --Chris Benson, author of Special Interest on Betrayal of the Trust
Jamal dropped the keys to his Hummer on the dresser, pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and clicked it off. It was amazing what a couple million dollars could do for a brother. God bless his cousin Laura! If this was how the other half lived, then he better understood his cousin's philosophy: get rich or die trying. Membership most definitely had its privileges. If he had it his way, except for a few quick annual visits to see his father, he'd never go home to North Central Philly again. It was cold, nothing but concrete jungle and hassle. This was paradise.
Jamal looked at Safia and the way she sprawled out on the bed for him. Damn, she was fine. He didn't care that she felt more comfortable at her house rather than at the plush environs of the hotel. Whatever she wanted was cool, as long as it made her get nasty like this. So what that her joint had just a few pieces of rented furniture.
This female was all that ... Hawaiian, she had gorgeous, silky, chocolate brown hair hanging way down her back and dusting her ass, skin like caramel, a pretty face, man-made tits, legs longer than his, and a cute little belly ring. Yeah, a brother could get used to this. Even though therap career never took off and he'd gotten caught up doing a short bid for possession, he was now living the life-and it was all about the now.
Watching her watch him, anticipation added to the throb that was making his stomach clench. Jamal yanked his white Phat Farm T-shirt over his head, pleased with Safia's reaction. That's right, he wasn't the skinny, lanky kid anymore. A personal trainer, eating properly with time to work on his build had changed that, too. The correct bank digits in the seven figures could definitely change a man's life, just like it put two rocks of ice in his earlobes.
He kicked off his Air Force 1 sneakers, stripped off his white walking shorts and boxers, and smiled. He couldn't believe it-she'd actually licked her lips and closed her eyes and then slid her hand between her legs. For him.
He walked forward, balls aching. It had been so long since he'd gotten any, given all the bullshit that was always going down in the family-always on the run, always somebody shooting at 'em, and he didn't have any real cash before.
Safia pulled herself up to kneel in front of him, as he approached the edge of the bed, and looked up with a sultry smile. He was trying to act cool, as though females did this to him every day, but it was something that he'd experienced only once. Sad but true, it was in the backseat of his boy's ride, performed by some fat chickenhead with a bad weave who was trying to get some product for free. But it definitely wasn't anything he'd ever had done by a female so fine that she looked like she'd stepped out of a Luda video.
Her intention was clear, though, as she kissed each newly created brick in his abdomen on her way down. Just knowing what she was about to do made his dick jump and begin to leak precum.
His palms roved over the butter-soft lobes that he'd been craving to touch since he first saw her in the club ... the way they jiggled in her halter, and now they were in his hands, their tiny brown nipples biting into his palms as she pressed them hard against his touch and moaned. He could see her round, luscious ass beginning to tighten and release in a promised dance. Feeling like he was about to pass out, he closed his eyes for a moment and held his breath, determined to chill. But when she pulled the head of his rod into her wet, lovely mouth, the sensation made his body buckle.
"Oh, shit ..."
His voice had come out in a strangled rush as she drew him in slowly all the way to the hilt, then caressed the lobes of his ass with satin palms. He looked down, breathing hard; she didn't even gag, just took it all like a pro. Dazed for a second, he wasn't sure what to do with his hands, and definitely didn't want to interrupt her flow by trying to touch her awe-inspiring breasts while she worked.
Eventually, his hands found her hair and his fingers reveled in the silky texture. It was real; there was no glue to snag his fingers. She was real, not an image on cable to beat off to at night. Her big, beautiful eyes held his as her tongue worked in a swirl each time she pulled back, and then she finally gripped his base with both hands in a way that let him know she was about to get serious.
They shared a still glance for a moment, both breathing hard. She smiled a sexy half smile and lowered her head to his body again. This time there was no way to be cool, no way to fight against the rhythm she set. He was panting, sweating, and thrusting out of control. Then she suddenly stopped, threatening to give him an aneurism.
The immediate loss of contact with her warm, tight, sucking motion made it seem like all the air collapsed out of his lungs, pulling his stomach and nuts up into his chest. For a few futile seconds he couldn't stop moving and was thrusting nothing but air.
"Don't you want to finish off inside me?" she murmured against his stomach.
Truthfully, at this point, it really didn't matter, but he told her what she wanted to hear. "Yeah, baby," he croaked. "Find the latex."
He'd just have to make it up to her next round. In his heart he knew that in a few hard strokes he'd be finished. He watched her lean over, get a condom off the nightstand, and open it. The moment she began to sheath him he winced from the needles of pleasure that were stabbing his shaft. He couldn't help it. When she sprawled back against the bed, he instantly blanketed her, clumsily finding her opening and entering her hard. She cried out and her nails dug into his shoulders. He didn't care; he was practically swooning from the sensation of being inside her, feeling her heavy breasts cushioning his chest, feeling her satinsmooth legs wrap around his waist, her ass in his hands putting a hump in his back.
Oh, shit, he was gonna get it and get it good-would make it up to her later at the mall. She smelled so damned good, and her tight pussy was putting starlights behind his lids, the harder he pumped. Her soft hands were caressing his cornrows, gliding over his scalp. She was thrashing and murmuring to him in a language he didn't know, and he didn't care as long as she kept swirling her hips in that snap-jerk motion that put tears in his eyes.
He came so hard and so fast that he almost swallowed his tongue. She was still moving beneath him, trying to get hers, but he couldn't help it, he was too far gone.
"It's still hard, baby," he said after a moment, gasping. Sweat was rolling down his sides and back and he kissed her forehead as she held him tighter. "Let me put a new one on so we don't have no accident, feel me?" He kissed her slowly and then traced her pout with the pad of his thumb. "You just so fine I couldn't help it ... but trust me, I'ma make sure you get yours, too. Aw'ight?"
She nodded and closed her eyes, brushing his mouth with a kiss. He really felt bad when he held the rim of the condom and pulled out and she gasped, her expression agonized like she had been right there but just missed busting a nut. Although he'd initially had no intention of going downtown on a babe he technically just met ... this one was fine enough and definitely sweet enough to make him forget all his self-imposed rules of booty chasing.
Jamal rolled over and stood with effort. "I'll be right back." He watched her roll over and offer him a sad smile as he crossed the room to head for the bathroom.
Yeah, this one stood a very good chance of being the one. She was sweet, didn't argue, didn't ask for much, was off da meter in bed. She could dance and liked to party, but wasn't a bona fide hoochie. He could get used to having a quality woman like that on his arm on a permanent tip, no doubt. When he got back to bed, he was gonna do her right. Then, maybe he'd take her somewhere real nice when he got back from Philly, like take her shopping, treat her to a real expensive dinner, maybe they could check out a flick.
He dropped the used condom in the toilet and flushed it, and then grabbed a towel to clean up any semen residue that could get her pregnant.
But a loud noise made him freeze and stare in the mirror, too paralyzed for a second to even turn around. It sounded like the front door had come off the hinges, and the heavy footsteps running down the hall were worse than a raid by po-po. Then, all of a sudden, the biggest, burliest, blackest, dreadlock wearing motherfucker he'd ever seen in his life crossed by the half-cracked open bathroom door as a spooky flash in the mirror, and headed for the bedroom bellowing Safia's name in a Jamaican accent.
"Wha' you tink, I'm crazy? You wif 'im in me house and expect wha, woman? Where 'im at! I'll blow him ass away gulley, you fuck 'im den, hear!"
"I don't know what you're talking about!" Safia shrieked. "Just because you helped me with rent a few times doesn't mean you live here, Terrence! I was getting dressed for work and, and-"
"Bitch, you got an open box of condoms on de dresser! You ass is wet, and you smell like sex! You tink-"
"'Cause I missed you, baby ... I was hoping you'd come over, but you came in here accusing me!"
A closet door banged open. A search was obviously on.
"I told you wasn't nobody here."
"Den whose motherfucking Hummer is in da driveway, and who keys and cell phone is dis, huh? You wear a shirt dis big, love? You now wearing size fourteen Air Force 1's? Don' fuck wit me, Safia! You too gorgeous to hit, but I'll bust a cap in his ass!"
"I don't want you to go back to jail, baby-let him go," she wailed.
Jamal's mind processed everything in hundredths of microseconds-he was naked; a big, crazy-ass Jamaican was gonna cap him for fucking his woman. His car keys, cell phone, wallet, and everything else were in there with a madman. Safia would be all right-this was her man. Chivalry was dead, and he wasn't trying to be. He was out.
Towel in hand, Jamal dove through the bungalow window. He hit the ground with a thud and was up in a flash. Neighborhood dogs barked. Driveway gravel cut into his feet. But a hollering Jamaican was now hanging out the bathroom window, too big to get through it as quickly as he had. Gunshot report put every instinct from the old streets of Philly into Jamal's legs as his Hummer windshield took a 9-millimeter shell. Jamal moved like a zigzag blur, dodging bullets, ducking low, moving forward like greased lightning. God heard his prayers. The crazy Jamaican bastard had left his Jeep running.
"I'll kill you ... touch me Jeep after touching me woman, bitch, and you a dead mon!"
More gunfire rang out as Jamal jumped into the Jeep's driver's seat and shifted into reverse, burning rubber against blacktop, and jumping as the side-view mirror exploded off the vehicle.
"Where is your brother?" Laura groaned, plopping down on the couch. "If he doesn't come on, he's gonna be late for the airport, and we all promised your father we'd come home together for a visit this time."
"I know," Najira said. "You know how Jamal is." She looked over at Steve. "You think we should just leave the suitcase he packed and all his travel docs here at Laura and James's house, or take them back to his apartment?"
Steve raked his fingers through his blonde buzz cut and began to pace, growing agitated. His face was red and his mouth had be come a tight line. "Why does your brother always pull this shit, huh? He brings his bags over here, says he's just gonna make a quick run, and then disappears for two hours."
"It's not my fault, Steve," Najira said, growing peevish. "I've been blowing up his cell all afternoon and he's not answering!"
James leaned against the wall with a thud, folding his arms over his chest. "Why don't we give him a few more minutes? Worst case, since he's not answering his cell, we can leave a voice mail on there and at his apartment. He's got a key to everybody's place, so you can tell him where his gear is and then he can catch the next available flight home. Case closed. No need for us all to get bent."
Grumbles of dissension wafted through the spacious living room of his and Laura's beachside bungalow. James watched Steve sulk away to go find a beer, which wasn't a half bad idea. Najira plopped her short, curvy self down on an overstuffed portion of the ivory leather sectional and flung her rust-toned dreadlocks over her shoulders with disgust. His wife did what she always did-Laura paced.
For a moment all he could do was watch her smooth her hands down her wheat-colored linen slacks as she stood. When Laura was pissed off she was often at her most sensual; his Scorpio woman had a way of turning quiet outrage into an art form. Her dark, moody eyes smoldered, and her normally lush mouth was set in a kissable pout, resolute. There was a slight tinge of rose hue beginning to creep into her caramel complexion that was very reminiscent of a sexual flush. Then she raked her long, graceful fingers through her short, silky onyx curls, leaving a just-tousled-in-bed look that he adored.
James rubbed his palm over his close-cropped hair, and then his newly clean-shaven jaw. He had to get his mind out of the gutter, but last night and this morning had really put a strain on his libido. All his wife had wanted to do was cuddle and talk.
He stared at her unashamed as she took in slow, cleansing breaths, her full breasts rising and falling beneath the linen shell she wore, and each slow, sauntering stride she took between the door and the window was like watching poetry in motion. Her regal height that made her fit so perfectly against him, her long legs, the mesmerizing sway of her hips, and the distinctive curve of her gorgeous ass. God, he loved that woman, and should have insisted on a little attention before this huge family affair. But how could he? She'd just wanted to be held when her uncle Akhan had called. The old man was cryptic as usual and refused to discuss anything on the telephone, but had insisted that the whole family come home immediately.
James had to admit, as he stared at his wife, that part of him was really pissed off and wanted to just yell to the old neighborhood street warrior that the man wasn't behind every goddamned corner. But then again, Akhan didn't get to be almost ninety without knowing something. It was just the brother's timing. Why did the call have to come after he and Steve had been away for almost a week deep-sea fishing?
Glimpsing his old partner from the force, who was guzzling a beer, James was sure that Steve quietly shared the same lack-of-nookie blues. If Laura Caldwell-Carter was concerned, then her young, high-strung cousin, Najira, had to have been a basket case last night-which meant that neither he nor Steve got lucky when they came home.
A whole week, and now they'd be traveling back to Philly not knowing what conditions they'd meet, since Akhan had gone conspiracy-theory-cryptic on them ... which could mean even more emotional drama that would make his wife disinterested.
James sighed and made a mental note to remind himself to kick Steve's ass the next time he wanted to do some guys-only shit. He didn't care whether it cleared his partner's head so that Steve could decide to pop the question to Najira or not. Before long, Najira was gonna be showing, so it was pretty much a done deal. Akhan would probably try to shoot Steve's crazy ass if he didn't marry Jira. Maybe that's why Akhan had called for a family meeting-to get a clear sense of what was gonna be up. Who knew? But both Steve and Najira were sweating bullets about the visit, so Jamal being late was just plain ole fucked up.
Growing weary and philosophical, James pushed off the wall, needing to get Laura out of his sight. Hankering for what he couldn't have for the foreseeable future was just making him ornery. He headed for the kitchen and opened the fridge. Steve didn't say a word and just handed him a beer. The two nodded. After years of working together on the force before they'd retired, some things were simply done by telepathy.
Excerpted from No Trust by LESLIE ESDAILE BANKS Copyright © 2007 by Leslie Esdaile Banks. Excerpted by permission.
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