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Tonight would change her life. She knew it. Anticipation tingled in Savannah's veins. Had anyone asked her years earlier if she would ever be able to lead a double life, lie to family, friends and her husband about what she did in her spare time, she would have laughed in their faces. She spun her office chair away from her computer screen toward the ringing multiline phone.
"Billings and Tate, Attorneys-at-Law, Savannah Fields speaking."
"Hi, sweetheart," came the always chirpy voice.
"Hey, Mom." Savannah noticed the flashing blip on her computer screen from the corner of her her boss, Richard Billings. He needed a case pulled to prepare for court. Savannah switched call to her headset and walked to the file cab"I just wanted to remind you about the meet-"He'd have a fit." Savannah imagined the exof appalled disbelief on her husband's To the casual observer Savannah Fields was a paid paralegal for a small but busy corpolaw firm in midtown Manhattan and married Blake Fields, the very sexy architect and builder upscale apartment complexes and office build-They lived a solid, upper-class lifestyle and all of its perks. But Savannah, her mother two dozen more New York women had a life not even their closest friends would ever sus-Savannah flipped through the files until she located the one she was looking for, then pushed the metal drawer shut. "You want me to pick you up?"
"No, I'll take my car."
"See you later, Mom, and no speeding," she warned. Claudia Martin was notorious for her lead foot.
Claudia scoffed at the reprimand. "I'll try."
"If you get there before I do, save me a seat. Gotta go. Love you." She smacked kisses into the phone before disconnecting thecall.
She looked up into the deep-set green eyes of her boss, who was a dead ringer for an older version of the actor Keanu Reeves.
"Hey, Richard. I have that file for you." She reached for it on her desk and handed it over.
"Thanks. Look, I know this is short notice but I'm going to need you to stay a little longer tonight."
Her stomach knotted. "Tonight!" Her normally even timbre rose two octaves as she jerked her neck to the side.
Richard held up his hands and inadvertently took a step back. His friend and business partner Jack Tate had just been talking about a book by playwright and actor Tyler PerryDon't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings. He might not be up on all the black vernacular, but he got the sense that if Savannah took off her earrings at this precise moment he was in trouble.
"You know you will be paid well for the time. But I really need your help preparing for Monday."
Savannah pursed her lips and folded her arms beneath her C-cup breasts.
"Richard," she said, assuming her mother tone,
"how many times have we been through this?" She pinched her lips and titled her head to the side.
Richard's hopeful expression turned sheepish. "I"
She threw up her hand, palm facing Richard. "Don't answer. It was a rhetorical question. You can't keep waiting until the last minute. I know you're a brilliant attorney, which I hope to aspire to one day. But in the meantime I have a life, which begins promptly at 5:01 p.m." Her right brow rose to emphasize her point.
Richard took the well-deserved tongue lashing. They'd had this conversation at least once every couple of months for the past five years that they'd worked together. Savannah would chew him out, he took it and eventually she would help him out.
Any other time her "Richard traumas," which she'd dubbed these episodes, wouldn't be more than a minor annoyance, but today was different. However, she also knew that no matter what, Richard never asked her to do anything if he didn't really need her helpwhich was a lot.
Savannah blew out a breath. It was going to be a long night, but she could swing it.
"Fine," she conceded as they both knew she would. "But I'm warning you, I'm leaving at 7:00 p.m. sharp. And if you're not done then you explain to your client why he's going to jail."
Richard grinned, the dimple in his left cheek flashing. "Fair enough." He leaned down and kissed her forehead. "You're the best."
"I know," she grumbled, and reached for the ringing phone while waving Richard away.
"Billings and Tate "
Savannah's insides did a slow sensuous dance. Her eyes darkened and a warm smile moved languidly across her mouth.
"Hey, baby, yourself." She cuddled the phone close to her. "How's everything?"
"Busy as usual," Blake said with a light chuckle.
Savannah and Blake had been married for six years. Most people thought they were still newlyweds. Savannah adored her husband. He was the man she'd dreamed about since she was a little girl and when they met at an out of the way lounge in the West Village she knew that dreams did come true.
The attraction between them from the very first night was comparable to what authors who write romance novels call "hot and instantaneous." Blake wasn't just good-lookingBlake Fields was f-i-n-e, with a capital F. It always amazed her that she was the one who landed him. She knew she was no showstopper. Actually she was quite ordinary looking and had to watch her weight with the diligence of a priest trying to save soulsit was an unending job. But she cleaned up well, as she would tell herself when she looked in the mirror. She knew all the makeup tricks and what clothes complemented her solid frame. More often than not, many people mistook her for Nia Long. Not to mention that Savannah could make Blake Fields see heaven when they made love.
"Busy is good," she said in response to his statement.
"I think I'm going to have some exciting news to share but I don't want to be premature."
Savannah grew jumpy with excitement. "You know I hate secrets," she pleaded, although she kept plenty herself. "Can't you at least give me a hint?"
"Okay, you beat it out of me." He cleared his throat. "Remember I told you about the housing-complex deal that was on the table?"
"Yes." Her pulse kicked up a notch and she held her breath. The housing complex would revitalize downtown Brooklyn and was touted to be the biggest single development in decades in the area.
"W-ell " He drew out the word.
"Come on Blake," Savannah begged.
"We won the bid and they love my design."
"Blake!" she squealed, and jumped up from her seat. "Oh, my goodness, that's incredible. I knew you could do it, baby."
Blake laughed deep in his throat. "I am sailing! This is major. This project is so high profile. I'm going to be on the map for good."
"I'm so proud of you," she said, breaking down each word.
"This calls for a celebration. I thought we could go out tonight."
The wheels of elation came to a grinding halt. "Tonight?" she croaked. "Yeah." He paused. "Oh, you have that thing tonight."
She heard the disappointment in his voice. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to think. There was no getting around missing the meeting at TLC, not to mention the extra time she would have to spend at work.
"Look, I'll be finished by nine, nine-thirty. It's Friday. Let's go for a late dinner and spend the day in bed tomorrow."
"Hmm, I like the sound of that already," he said, perking right up. "I'll make reservations at The Cabaret and I'll leave tomorrow in your very capable hands."
"Perfect," she purred into the phone. "I'll meet you at the restaurant no later than ten."
"Can't wait. I've been aching for you all day," Blake said, his voice growing thick.
Savannah squirmed in her seat and licked her lips. "I'll make it worth your while," she cooed.
"I intend to hold you to that. See you tonight."
"Love you," she whispered.
"Love you right back."
Slowly Savannah hung up the phone. Well, she certainly had her day cut out for her.