Troy Morgan is at the top of his game in this sexy tale of love, dangerand the one woman who may finally tempt him to change his single status. . .
Groomed for success, gorgeous Gabriella Stone is now a #1 pop sensation. She's also her controlling daddy's princess, and when she marries it will be to a man who can expand her empire, not some ordinary guy. Of course, Troy Morgan, founder of Morgan Security, is far from ordinary. Papa Stone just doesn't know it yet. . .
When it comes to guarding the country's VIPs, Troy Morgan is the man. But when he's hired to protect Gabriella, her father makes it clear he won't be her manno matter how hot their attraction. With her future on the line, will Gabriella risk it all to go from being daddy's little girl to Troy's one and only woman?
"The pages of Body By Night are dripping with fire and desire." The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
"Day writes with zest and sensual appeal." Publishers Weekly on What Love Tastes Like
About the Author
Zuri Day has been enthralled with the wonder of words since mouthing her first one—Tuffy, the name of the family dog—at less than a year old. When this bestselling, award-winning author is not penning novels, she’s a voracious reader and world traveler, always ready to search out the next exciting locale for a juicy story. Besides her beloved Caribbean islands and southern California’s wine country, Zuri enjoys theatre, sports, working out, and whipping up vegetarian meals for her family and friends. Visit her online at ZuriDay.com.
Read an Excerpt
Bad Boy Seduction
A Morgan Man Novel
By Zuri Day
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Zuri Day
All rights reserved.
He's my protector,
and I love how he makes me feel.
Strong arms, charm, and sex appeal.
No hurt to my heart, his love heals.
The real deal ...
He's my protector.
"Wipe that smile off your face, fool," Troy Morgan said, pushing his top employee's feet off the desk before taking a seat. "She's not talking about you."
Alex reached over and turned down the number one song in the country. "I wish she were. This chick is the truth!"
"What? Somebody knocked Beyoncé off the throne?"
"Man, Gabriella is getting ready to be my wife."
"As soon as you meet her, huh?"
"No doubt! I've even put her on my iPad screen saver." Alex fired up his notebook. "Check this babe out."
Alex turned his iPad toward Troy, who checked out the newest pop and hip-hop sensation, Gabriella Stone, known to the world simply as Gabriella. Alex was right. The triple threat performer was definitely a stunner: doll face, hourglass shape, and creamy brown skin. Her naturally curly hair gone wild was very unlike the sleek weaves and wigs worn by her counterparts. But her sexy image and deep, raspy voice was the stuff that stars were made of.
"She's hot, I'll give her that," Troy said, with a nod of his head. He turned the iPad back toward Alex.
"Man, I'll give her whatever she wants!"
"Ha! Well, son, you might just get that chance."
"It's not a done deal yet, but we might get the security contract for the West Coast leg of her world tour."
Alex straightened up so quickly he almost upended his chair. "Word?"
"Calm down, man. We're probably one of at least a dozen firms that put in a bid."
"Oh, man! I'd take five or ten years off my life to guard that girl."
Troy chuckled. "I think you're serious."
"As a brain tumor. Troy, I'd give up my pay and guard her for free! Promise me, man."
"Promise you what?"
"That if we get the contract, you'll give the job of being her personal bodyguard to me."
"You'll definitely be on the detail, Alex. The job will call for at least five guards working various points around the venues. Maybe more."
"I'm not talking about working somewhere in the building, man. I'm talking about personally guarding my girl!"
"I don't know, dude. The last thing my company needs is a sexual harassment lawsuit, and I don't know if you'd be able to restrain yourself."
"You might be right about that!" Alex clicked on a link and began scrolling through images of his idol. "Damn, this chick is fire."
"Enough ogling, my brother. It's time to go to work."
"What do we have?"
"For me, a Saudi prince arriving in town by private plane. For you, your favorite rapper with the death wish."
Alex rolled his eyes. "Great. I ask for the babe and get the bonehead. When?"
"Late tonight." Troy handed over a file. "Here's the workup on him: itinerary, bio, you know the drill."
"Man, how can you get me excited about possibly guarding Gabriella and then hand over the manifesto on this fool?"
"That fool is responsible for your paycheck this week, Alex. Don't bite the hand that feeds you."
"You get that contract with Gabriella and I'll be biting something, all right."
"Ha! Too much info, man. I don't need to hear your fantasies."
"More like prophecy. Get that contract and give me a shot."
"You know there's no fraternizing with clients, right?"
"I sure do. That's why as soon as I get that first date with baby girl, I'll be turning in my resignation."
"Damn! You are wide open!"
"No shame to my game, man." Alex reached for the file on the temperamental hip-hop artist Sho'Nuff and began flipping through it. "Give me your word, Troy. If we get that contract, I get to guard her person."
"I'll give you my word to think about it," Troy said, rising from the chair and heading to the door. "Until then, as-salaam alaikum."
Alex laughed at Troy's use of the Arabic greeting—which meant "peace be unto you"—one that he'd soon be using with his client. He nodded and responded, "Alaikum as-salaam."
Gabriella Valencia Stone leaned against a floor-to-ceiling window, gazing dispassionately at a stunning view that ninety-eight percent of the world would never see—New York City from seventy-five stories up. Penthouse suite. Twenty-five thousand dollars a night. One of those "if you have to ask the price you can't afford it" kinds of places. She was dressed in couture and flawless, having just finished the last interview of the day. Since her latest CD had dropped, the media frenzy had been relentless. She'd been in New York for a week—TV shows, radio interviews, photo shoots—all leading up to the Stone Cold Sexy tour's kickoff performance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Seven shows at the nineteen-thousand-seat arena had been sold out for six months. Scalpers were getting rich off those who'd pay anything to see their favorite star. Rumor had it that tickets were selling for as high as five g's. Apiece. Pretty heady stuff for an average twenty-five-year-old. Except for one thing. Gabriella was nobody's average. This pop star princess had experienced such luxuries for more than half her life.
Stunning suite, startling views, stocked bar, and whatever she wanted at her fingertips—and Gabriella was straight up bored out of her gourd.
"Why are you still wearing that gown?" Carol Robbins's voice oozed attitude as she entered the living area of the suite, carrying an iPad and an oversized bag. The cell phone that Gabriella swore was glued to Carol's ear was in place. "I'll call you back," she said into the phone. She placed down the bag and threw the phone and iPad on a nearby chair. After noting that Gabriella's stylist and dresser was nowhere in sight, she asked, "Where's Melanie?"
"Probably meeting with the fashion editor for tomorrow's shoot and interview."
"Have you been standing here all this time just waiting to be unzipped? Girl, turn around," Carol said with a shake of her head. At her former classmate, former girl group member, and current best friend turned personal assistant's command, Gabriella dutifully complied. "I don't know how you do it, day after day. This tour hasn't even officially started and I'm already tired."
"Calm down, Carol." Gabriella slipped out of the dress and reached for the silk robe that had been retrieved from the master bedroom. "The magazine people just left. I'm surprised you didn't see them in the hallway."
"How was it?"
Gabriella shrugged. "Like all the others. I'll just be glad when it's over. You're right in saying our schedule is a whirlwind. I'm ready to go home."
"Okay?! You haven't even done the first concert and you're ready to go, too. But then again, thousands of women would give anything to be in your shoes."
"They'd change their mind if they knew how much my feet hurt." Carol gave her friend a look as Gabriella sat and rubbed her toes and heels. "I know I shouldn't feel that way. I need to adjust my attitude."
"We both do." Carol walked over to where she'd tossed the iPad, sat in the chair, and fired it up. "I think we've got a couple of hours before you have to leave for dinner."
"Please, don't tell me the day isn't over. I'm ready for room service, a bubble bath, and bed."
"Sorry, chickie. You're meeting ..."—she paused, scrolling down the iPad screen—"Leonardo diRossi. The jeweler."
"We're going to have to cancel that."
"Can't do that, honey." Both women turned toward the sound of Gabriella's father and manager, Gary, coming into the room. "He's flown over from Italy just to meet us. If we want this jewelry line designed in time for the holiday shoppers, we've got to meet tonight."
"One hour, little bunny," Gary said, walking over to give Gabriella a kiss on the cheek. "Then you can leave."
Three hours later Gabriella was back in her suite and, finally, in her bed. Unfortunately insomnia had lain down with her.
"Great ... this is just great," she mumbled, throwing back the covers and standing. She padded barefoot into the kitchen, poured herself a glass of grapefruit juice, and picked up a copy of the tour schedule on her way back to the bedroom. Sitting against the plush backboard, she silently scanned the cities: Boston, Philly, Atlanta, Miami, a couple cities in the Midwest, and then on to the West Coast. Gabriella's smile was bittersweet as her finger ran over the words: Los Angeles. Memories flooded her. Crazy beautiful yet conflicted thoughts about her whirlwind romance with a mega-rapper California native, hip-hop artist Marlon "Mr. President" Simmons. Her very first boyfriend and second heartbreak. The relationship that at her father's insistence ended almost before it began.
Gabriella put down the schedule and, with a sigh, turned off the light and pulled up the covers. These were the hardest moments. When the crowds were gone and the lights had faded; when the nights were quiet and she was alone. This was when the superstar receded and the little girl emerged. The one who in a New York minute would give up the fancy suites, international travel, and world adulation for that one thing that she wanted to experience most: true love.CHAPTER 2
Three weeks and counting and it had been grueling: New York, Newark, Boston, Philly, Richmond, Charlotte, Memphis, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, St. Louis, and now ... sunny LA. Except the weather was pretty much the only thing about the day that was shining. After back-to-back performances and PR jaunts and photo shoots, Gabriella's mood was dark and stormy.
"I don't care who you hire, Daddy. I don't feel like meeting anybody right now!"
This wasn't Gary's first time witnessing a Gabriella tantrum, and it showed. He continued to text on his phone, not one feather ruffled, as he answered. "You say that now, but we've got two weeks here in LA. So if I choose the man who guards you, without one iota of your participation, I don't want you to come whining to me later on because he has an eye in the middle of his forehead or garlic breath. And one more thing. Watch your tone."
"Sorry." It was her show, but the fact that the security firm they'd hired on the East Coast couldn't continue on in the West was, to Gabriella, not her problem. "But don't you think you're being overly dramatic?"
Gary's brow arched. "So stated by the woman who could have invented the word. I'm just mindful of how well things went with Edward and company on the East Coast, and was very disappointed that because of personal obligations, he couldn't continue for the entire tour."
"Yeah, Ed was cool. It would have been nice to keep the same company."
"But that isn't the case. So if you want me to, I'll conduct these interviews and make the decision myself. Or I can work with Carol to find an hour where you can spend a few minutes with each of the final candidates. It's up to you."
Gabriella sighed. "Well, considering the fact that the only place I like to smell garlic is in my pasta and not on someone's breath, I guess I'll have to make some time."
Gary laughed at the reference to the security guard they'd hired for the family's Long Island estate, who ate raw garlic "for good health." He always smelled like he'd just eaten an entire bulb of the stuff, but he was a topnotch protector. So the family grinned and bore him.
"Good girl. I've already pared it down to three firms, so it shouldn't take more than one brief meeting to decide. I'll get with Carol and see you tomorrow."
Gabriella told Carol that she'd meet with the security guards the next morning following their visit to a juvenile detention facility. So the next day, emotionally drained after a two-hour sit down with girls who'd been locked up for years, some from as early as when they were nine years old, Gabriella walked into a meeting room. She wore black leggings, a long yellow T-shirt, and sneakers. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail and she was devoid of makeup. She was forty-five minutes late and because the first appointment had arrived thirty minutes early, he'd already been waiting more than an hour when she arrived.
Gary, obviously chagrined, gave her a look as she walked into the room, but Stewart, the well-trained, thirty-something former police officer who'd been waiting, was on his feet in an instant.
"Ms. Stone, it's a pleasure." He held out his hand.
"Ms. Stone?" she asked, a slight frown marring her blemish-free skin as she engaged in a handshake.
Stewart looked from her to Carol to the dad and back. "That is your last name, correct?"
"Yes, but nobody calls me that. I'm simply Gabriella, as any preliminary research done on me would have told you."
"Of course, Ms.—uh, yes, I understand that ... Gabriella. I just didn't want to be presumptuous."
"So instead you chose to be rude?"
"Gabriella." Gary's voice of warning caused his headstrong firstborn to replace the scowl on her face with a friendlier expression.
"I'm just messing with you ... Stewart is it?"
"Yes, ma'am," he replied, as he visibly relaxed.
"Stewart comes very well qualified, Gabriella." The firmness in Gary's voice was indicative of his no-nonsense mood, and left no doubt that he wanted to get back to the seriousness of the task at hand.
"Before becoming a bodyguard, he was LAPD for fifteen years. Most recently, he worked for Shawn Deele."
This information elicited a raised eyebrow from a woman for whom impressing was hard to do. But Shawn was a standout among Hollywood actors who'd joined the incredibly small and elite group of African-Americans by winning an Oscar just last year.
"I take my job seriously, Gabriella," Stewart said, his confidence returning on the wings of Gary's accolades.
"I'm sure you do." Gabriella gave the compact, muscular man a once-over before taking the bottle that Carol offered and drinking a sip of water. "Thanks so much for coming, Stewart. We'll be in touch."
"He's a good, solid candidate," Gary said, after he'd shaken the man's hand and walked him to the door. "No nonsense. Plus, he's a family man. We won't have to worry about where his focus is while we're out on the road. He's got something and someone to live for. I like him."
"He's all right," Gabriella said, motioning to Carol to hand over her cell phone. "Where's the next guy?"
Gary looked at his watch. "He should be here in five minutes. When you were so late arriving for your first appointment, we called him and moved back his time."
"That couldn't be helped, Dad. Nobody could bring cell phones into the detention area. Not even me."
"How did that go, by the way?"
Gabriella's mood shifted. "There are so many heartbreaking stories in there—girls in gangs, others who had to raise themselves and did whatever to survive. I hope I helped."
Five minutes later, Walter walked in. Five minutes late. He sported black diamond studs in his ears, a platinum cross around his neck, and Gabriella thought that he wore enough cologne to douse her whole band.
"Gabriella," he said, strolling over and, after offering his hand, raising hers in a kiss. Had he been as astute as someone protecting her needed to be, he'd be trying to dodge the daggers that Gary aimed at his back right about then. As it was, he was too busy making doe eyes at his potential employer. "I just want you to know one thing. I was put on this planet to protect you."
Now, Gabriella thought, I can upchuck for real.
He was handsome enough, she'd give him that. Smooth chocolate skin, bald head, big lips, and a body that alluded to too much time in the gym. Gabriella appreciated swagger and this man had enough to bottle and sell. In her industry, a certain amount of arrogance could be effective, and cocky confidence backed up by a well-trained aim could save a person's life. But there was something about him that rubbed her wrong. Not the way he looked at her with unabashed lust in his eyes. A man who was digging her sexually could work in her favor. No, it was something else. She couldn't put her finger on it, but she could recognize that her intuition was talking and that she should listen.
"We'll be in touch," she said with a shy smile. He gave her a knowing "I got this" nod and strolled out the room.
"My God," Carol said, giving Gary an exaggerated roll of her eyes. "I thought he'd bend down and kiss Gab's feet!"
Gabriella giggled. "He was pretty pathetic, huh? But he was also kind of endearing with those puppy dog eyes."
"Don't sound so full of yourself," Gary said, with slight annoyance. "Millions of dollars in one's bank account will make anybody attractive."
Excerpted from Bad Boy Seduction by Zuri Day. Copyright © 2014 Zuri Day. 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was smoking. I loved this story and the happy
Let me first say this title is very appropriate and every bit of what's in this story. I enjoyed reading this and the interactions with Troy and Gabrielle. Its always a good read when you have suspense, family closeness, love and steam, you get all this in this book. Gary's angle was hard to follow, besides caring for his daughter, it seems he had some selfish motives. The ending kinda left me hanging a bit, wasn't ready for it to be over, I saw potential for more stories. Ms Day, I would likely to make a suggestion for more stories of some of the friends and famly you introduced us to. My fellow readers this didnt disappoint, don't miss out
Based on the reviews, i was hesitant about reading this book. I was plesantly surpised. Personally, i liked this one the best. Not only the romance, but a twist of mystery. Great book
I was very disappointed in this book. I am usually a fan, but this book did not do it for me. I found Gabriella and Troy to be underdeveloped and not very likeable. I enjoyed the first two Morgan Men books much better than this one...this one seemed a bit disjointed and predictable.