From national bestselling author Niobia Bryant comes a sexy, unforgettable novel about love, infidelity, and the importance of keeping your friends close—and your enemies closer. . .
Through good times and bad, longtime friends Jaime, Renee, Aria, and Jessa have shared just about everything. But all hell breaks loose when Jessa texts them a shocking revelation: she's been sharing her bed—with one of their husbands. Worse, she refuses to name which husband. And all three wives believe they have reason to worry. . .
The betrayed trio vow to stick together. But before the identity of Jessa's lover is revealed, each woman's deepest secrets will be exposed for all to see—and they'll need each other more than ever.
"A fast-paced, sexy romp."
—APOOO Book Club
"Grabs your attention from the first page."
—The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
"This novel is packed with unbelievable drama that will capture readers from page one."
—Books 2 Mention Magazine
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Niobia Bryant is the national bestselling and Romantic Times award-winning author of more than thirty "Sexy, Funny & Oh So Real" novels. When it comes to writing, Niobia dabbles in many genres, her ideas are unlimited, and the ink in her pen is infinite. A proud native of Newark, New Jersey, Niobia currently resides in South Carolina where she writes full-time. For more on this author who "can't stop, won't stop," visit www.niobiabryant.com, follow her on Twitter @InfiniteInk, or search for her on Facebook: Niobia Bryant.
Read an Excerpt
Message from a Mistress
By NIOBIA BRYANT
DAFINA BOOKSCopyright © 2010 Niobia Bryant
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJaime Hall enjoyed the feel of the steam pressed against her shoulders and her legs where she sat in the glass shower of their bedroom suite. The thick swirling vapors felt like a lover's gentle touch against her skin and those intimate parts of a woman's body. Her breasts. Her nipples. Her thighs. Her lips-both sets.
She relished it. She needed it.
Sadness weighed her shoulders down and soon she felt tears fill her oval-shaped eyes and race down her cheeks. Jaime brought her shaking hands up to hug herself close. "God, I can't take much more of my life," she whispered into the steam as her head dropped so low that her chin nearly touched her chest.
She heard a sudden noise in her bathroom. Her head jerked up as she immediately swallowed back any more of her tears and frantically wiped any traces of them from her face. The last thing she wanted was for him to see or hear her crying.
"Eric," Jaime called out to her husband of the last seven years.
No answer. Nothing to acknowledge her. Seconds later the bathroom door opened and then closed. Disappointment nudged the door to her heart shut as well. The body's automatic defense mechanisms were amazing.
Jaime rose from the bench, turned off the shower, and walked out of the stall. The vapors swirled around her nude curvaceous frame likefog as she stepped down onto the plush white carpeting that felt like mink against her pedicured feet. As she wiped a clear spot in the grand oval mirror over the pedestal sink, she came face-to-face with her unhappiness. She forced a smile and put on her usual mask, but even she could see it didn't reach her eyes.
She grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her frame. She raced out of her bathroom suite through their spacious cathedral ceiling master bedroom and out to the hall. As she raced down the curved staircase, her towel slipped and fell behind her on the stairs, but she didn't break stride.
Thank God she was home alone, because she wouldn't want anyone to see her stark naked and racing through the house like she was crazy.
"Eric!" she called out, striding through the circular foyer to the kitchen.
The house was quiet. She covered her exposed breasts with her arms as she looked out the kitchen windows over the driveway. The sun was just starting to rise. She just made out his tall and slender figure headed down the street toward their friends' home with his tackle box and fishing rods in hand.
He left to go deep-sea fishing and didn't even bother to tell her good-bye. How much more can I take? She turned and let her body slide down to the polished hardwood floor as tears racked her body and she could do nothing but wrap her arms around her knees and rock to make herself feel a little better.
* * *
"Shit!" Renee Clinton swore as the gray acrid smoke rose from the frying pan with fury. She hurried to turn off the lit eye of the Viking stove before shifting the pan to one of the remaining five burners.
"Damn, damn, damn it all to hell."
Renee could only shake her head in shame at the blackness of the bacon she'd been frying. It was beyond crispy.
"Is something on fire, Ma?"
Renee looked over her shoulder as her fifteen-year-old daughter, Kieran, walked into the kitchen on dragging feet in her oversized fuzzy pajamas. "Just breakfast."
"You were cooking?" she asked in disbelief as she sat leaned her hip against the island in the center of the kitchen.
"I wanted to fix your father breakfast before he left to go fishing." Renee slid the halfway-decent-looking slices of bacon onto a clear glass plate.
"You never cook." Kieran moved across the kitchen to the pantry.
"I know how to cook," Renee protested as she ran a hand through her deeply wavy natural. "It's remembering that I have food on the stove that I have a problem with."
Kieran stepped out of the pantry digging into a box of cereal before throwing a handful of some sugary-sweet cereal she loved into her mouth. She moved over to stand beside her mother and looked down at the bacon with a frown. "Good thing Daddy loves you," she joked before turning to walk out of the kitchen.
"Yeah, good thing," Renee said hesitantly as she cracked eggs into a large red Le Creuset ceramic bowl and whisked them with a little extra ferocity.
She poured the eggs into a stainless steel pan and left them so that they would set before she scrambled them. She moved back to the end of the island where her briefcase was opened and instantly became absorbed into the facts and figures of the report she'd brought home to review.
At forty-three, Renee was the vice president of marketing for the CancerCure Foundation, one of the largest nonprofits serving cancer research and awareness in the country. It was her job and her passion to develop partnerships with major corporations for invaluable donations and increasing the national visibility of the foundation. She took her work very seriously-not just for the six-figure income she received, but because it intrigued and challenged her every day. It was very easy for her to get deeply absorbed in her work.
Renee picked up an oversized cup of gourmet coffee with one hand and the open report with the other. Her lips moved as she read. Her face showed her shifting feelings: interest, surprise, discontent. She leaned her hip against the island as she took a deep and satisfying sip of her drink.
"What the hell is burning?"
The words on the report disappeared as Renee closed her eyes and frowned as she thought, "Damn," at the sound of her husband, Jackson's, voice from behind her.
She dropped the report and snatched the burning pan from the stove in one continuous motion. "This just isn't my morning, Jackson," she told him, looking over her shoulder at her tall, solid husband of the last eighteen years.
His handsome square face shaped into a frown as he took in the papers and files on the island. There was no mistaking the immediate look of disapproval.
Renee hated the guilt she felt at that one look that spoke volumes about their marriage. "I thought I would cook-"
"And work?" he asked, moving past her to fill the thermos he held with coffee.
Renee swallowed her irritation. She looked down at the burnt bacon on the plate and the brown eggs in the pan and scraped them both into the garbage disposal. "I'm trying, Jackson," she stressed, her eyes angry and hurt.
He just snorted in derision.
Renee felt tension across her shoulders. She jumped a little as he moved close to her to press a cool kiss to her cheek. She closed her eyes, absorbing his scent as she raised a hand to stroke his bearded cheek. He felt familiar and strange all at once. It had been so long since they showed each other simple affection.
She tilted her head back to look up into those eyes that had intrigued her from the first time she saw him on the campus of Rutgers University. "I love you, Jackson," Renee whispered, hating the urgency in her voice as her eyes searched his.
For what seemed forever, his eyes searched hers as well. "We need to talk. We have to talk," he said, his voice husky and barely above a whisper.
A soft press of his lips down upon hers silenced any of her words or questions.
Moments later, he was gone and Renee felt chilled to the bone.
* * *
"You didn't have to get up so early with me, baby."
Aria Livewell shrugged as she followed her broad-shouldered husband, Kingston, down the stairs of their three-thousand-square-foot home in the family-oriented subdivision of Richmond Hills. A home meant to be filled with children. "It's no problem. You know me and the girls are hanging out today and I wanted to get some housework done before they picked me up."
Kingston sat his fishing equipment by the wooden double doors. "Think you four will be back on time? You know we're supposed to meet at the Clintons' tonight to fry up all the fish we'll catch today."
"Just three, actually. Jessa said she had something else to do today." Aria made a playful face and waved her hand dismissively.
Kingston put his broad hands beneath her short cotton robe and pulled his beautiful mocha-skinned wife close to him. "If we whup our friends in bid whist tonight, I have one helluva surprise for you."
Kingston was so competitive.
She tilted her head up to lightly lick his dimpled chin as she pushed her hand into the back pocket of his vintage jeans to warmly grasp his firm, fleshy buttocks. "Can I get a hint?" she asked huskily with a teasing smile, the beat of her heart already quickening with anticipation.
"Damn, I love you," he said roughly, his eyes smoldering as he slid one hand up to her nape.
Aria moaned softly in pleasure at the first heated feel of her husband's lips. As she gasped slightly, he slid his tongue inside her mouth with well-practiced ease. She shivered. Her clit swelled to life. Her nipples hardened in a rush.
"Do we have time?" she asked in a heated whisper, barely hearing herself over her own furious heartbeat as Kingston undid her robe and planted moist and tantalizing kisses along her collarbone.
"We'll make time" breezed across her flesh.
As her robe slipped open and his familiar hands caressed her silky skin, Aria enjoyed their passion and wondered if the time would come when she didn't cherish and yearn for her husband's touch. His dick. His kisses. His love.
With his mouth, Kingston made a path to the deep valley of her breasts, bending his knees to take one swollen and taut dark nipple into his mouth. He sucked it deeply and then circled it with the tip of his clever tongue.
"Yes," Aria whimpered, flinging her head back.
Kingston turned them and pressed Aria's back to the towering front doors as he quickly undid his belt and zipper. His hands shook as he placed them on her plush hips and lifted her with ease until her pulsing and moist pussy lips lightly kissed the thick tip of his dick. "Why is your pussy so good?" he whispered against the pounding pulse of her throat.
Aria didn't answer, she just smiled wickedly-and a bit cockily-as she caused the swollen lips of her vagina to lightly kiss the smooth round head of his dick ... twice.
Kingston dropped Aria down onto his erection, her pussy tightly surrounding and gripping him like a vise. "Damn," he swore, his buttocks tensing as he froze. He didn't want to cum. Not yet.
Aria pressed the small of her back to the door and began to work her hips in small circles, anxious to not just have his dick pressed against her walls but to feel his delicious strokes.
Kingston's jaw clenched. "Don't make me nut, baby." His voice was strained.
Aria raised her hands to tease her nipples with her slender fingers as she enjoyed the tight in-and-out motion of his penis when Kingston began to work his hips. She felt wild and free, uninhibited and sexy. "Umph. I'm gone cum, baby. Please make me cum," she whispered with fevered urgency as each of his deep thrusts caused her pussy juices to smack and echo in the foyer like applause.
Kingston's chest and loins exploded with heat as his primal need to feel as much of Aria's pussy as he could. He pushed deeper up inside her, drawing quick and uneven breaths as his heart thundered. His buttocks clenched and then relaxed as he touched every bit of her ridged walls with his solid inches. "Damn, Aria," he swore, planting adoring kisses along her collarbone as his dick filled her several times with warm shots of cum.
Chapter TwoBeing a housewife was important to Jaime, but doing the actual labor of keeping a nearly four-thousand-square-foot house clean was a definite no-no. Especially when there were plenty of women who were willing to be paid a fair rate to do it for her. And once a week, while Eric was at work and completely out of the loop, Jaime had a professional maid service send someone else to come in and do all of the grunt work she disdained, leaving nothing but tidy work for her throughout the week. It was one of her mother's tips for a happy marriage that Jaime had actually found useful.
And the list of those tips was endless and had been drilled in her head since she was a preteen.
Too endless to count.
Too endless for her to truly care, although she played by every rule.
And I did them all ... so why is my marriage in trouble? she thought, studying her reflection as she sat at her ornate dressing table.
She felt a gradient of stress across her shoulders and the back of her neck. The thought of a spa day with her good friends sounded all the more appealing to her.
Jaime thought the sound of that doorbell was an annoyance. She really was not in the mood for company of any kind. She just wanted some "me time" until she left for her midmorning appointment. More and more, the way her life was plated was becoming hard to swallow, and it was in those moments when she needed to be herself ... like now.
Releasing a heavy breath, Jaime rose from the dressing table, her silk robe billowing out behind her as she turned to leave the room. Who could it be? she wondered as she descended the stairs.
She passed the large, framed oval mirror on the hall wall and doubled back. She'd forgotten that her hair was still tied up in her silk scarf, she was make-up free, and she wore nothing but her silk robe. Her own husband had never seen her without some sort of make-up on-another of her mother's marital rules.
She continued on to the door and looked out one of the ornate side windows as she pulled her robe closer around her slender frame. "Jesus, take the wheel," she drawled, deeply massaging the bridge of her nose before she placed a smile on her face and opened the door wide. "Morning, Mama. Hey there, Daddy," she greeted them, sounding more like a Southern belle than a city girl.
Her parents lived just thirty minutes away in another subdivision and that meant random drop-ins like this happened quite often.
"Good morning," they said in unison as they walked into the foyer and presented themselves for the customary air kiss to her mother's cheek and a big hug for her short, round, and completely loveable father.
"Do you normally answer the door in such attire?" Virginia asked as Jaime led them across the hardwood floors to the family room.
The question was filled with judgments ... which was normal when it came to Virginia Osten-Pine, the self-proclaimed wife, mother, socialite extraordinaire.
"No, I wasn't expecting company," Jaime said politely, catching her mother drag her finger across the top of the large leather ottoman serving as the coffee table.
Jaime's home was a showpiece. Pristine, stylishly decorated, and the envy of many of her neighbors. In fact, it had been showcased in the realty section of a small local newspaper. Most people walked in and paused at the first sight of it with its high ceilings, dozens of large windows, dramatic art pieces, and décor.
Not Virginia Osten-Pine, or rather, Mrs. Franklin Pine.
"What brings you to this side of town?" she asked.
"We just thought we would treat you kids to breakfast at our country club," Franklin said. "Where's Eric?"
Jaime turned to face him because not to do so would be rude and she knew her mother would've called her on it. "He went deep-sea fishing with Kingston and Jackson. They'll be gone all day, Daddy," she told him.
"Now, that sounds like a fun day out for the fellas," Franklin said, folding his hands atop his rotund belly.
"Yes, dear," Virginia said.
Jaime eyed her mother for a bit before she turned and continued up the stairs. She knew for a fact that her mother hated her father's passion for fishing, but Jaime would bet her last dollar that Virginia had never questioned her husband about it. She saved her opinions and judgments for anyone and everyone else except her husband.
Jaime couldn't recall one time her parents had argued. Ever.
Franklin spoke and Virginia obeyed. Chocolate-covered June and Ward Cleaver.
"So I'm going to ... going to ..." Jaime paused because if she said anything about a spa day she knew her mother might invite herself along. She loved her mother, but the woman could be so overpowering with her thoughts and opinions at times. Jaime had enough on her shoulders to bear without topping it off with her mother's crap. "I'll be cleaning all day and preparing a nice home-cooked meal for my husband."
Excerpted from Message from a Mistress by NIOBIA BRYANT Copyright © 2010 by Niobia Bryant. Excerpted by permission.
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