For Kaitlyn Strong, life has been a fun-filled free ride, all expenses paid by her wealthy father. As for relationships, why would Kaitlyn want to give up the fabulous single life? But after she goes on her most outrageous spending bender yet, she's informed it's time to make her own way. For a shocked Kaitlyn, that means getting a job--and an affordable apartment to go with it. . .
Hard-working single father Quinton Wells is proud of his job looking after a small apartment building. But he's never met a demanding diva like his new tenant, Kaitlyn. Yet despite their verbal clashes, there's a sizzling attraction between them. And there's a budding friendship between Kaitlyn and Quint's teen daughter, who needs a woman in her life. Quint needs a woman in his life too, and as the red hot desire between him and Kaitlyn builds, the only choice left is to surrender. . .
"Bryant reintroduces her readers to the Strong family in her latest novel, which has all of her trademarks: hot men, spicy women and a sexually captivating story." --Romantic Times on Hot Like Fire
"Niobia Bryant enthralls readers." --Books2Mention Magazine
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By NIOBIA BRYANT
Dafina BooksCopyright © 2012 Niobia Bryant
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Paris is my new favorite place!" Kaitlyn Strong sighed as she used her slender hand to push back the dark French silk curtains of the windows of her suite in the five-star Hotel de Vendome. The luxury hotel, situated in the center of Paris, had served as the perfect backdrop to her days spent in the middle of the shopping district, located just minutes from the historic museums. It was an enjoyable week of luxurious shopping, sightseeing, and partying for her and her two best friends, Tandy Ray and Anola Graham. It was their last big summer trip, and they had spent the last part of August, which slipped into the first of September, in beautiful Paris.
What more could three divas ask for?
She sighed, knowing that she was going to miss Paris. It was a long way from her small hometown of Holtsville, South Carolina. Not that she had a bad life in the small Southern town. Far from it, Kaitlyn thought, looking over her shoulder at the dozens of designer shopping bags from a hellified spree, where she denied herself not one blessed thing. I deserve it. Plus my daddy wants me to have nothing but the best.... Why disappoint him?
Kaitlyn shrugged and turned to look back out the window, enjoying the Paris sun as it shone on the smooth and unmarred caramel complexion of her face. She thought about seeing her family, and that was the only thing that made leaving Paris (and her new friend, sexy Jean, the DJ) bearable. She reminisced about her father's kiss on her forehead, her mother's cooking, the teasing from her four older brothers, Kade, Kahron, Kaeden, and Kaleb. She thought about getting all of the family gossip from her sisters-in-law, Garcelle, Bianca, Jade, and Zaria; filling in her twin stepnieces, Meena and Neema, on Paris nightlife; surprising her teen niece, Kadina, with the rhinestone heart-shaped purse she bought for her, and pressing her glossy lips onto the cheeks of her nephews, Karlos, KJ, and baby Kasi.
They were a close-knit family and Kaitlyn loved them, but growing up as the only girl among such a manly bunch made it necessary to take these little girly getaways with her friends. Even with the addition of each of her brothers' wives, she still felt at odds with their settled-in lives of family and work.
Kaitlyn was all about having fun, and living well while doing it. She hardly had the time to waste brainpower on the daily comings and going of some man or the tedium of a job.
That mess is for the birds.
Her rancher father and brothers made sure that the princess of the family had nothing more to do on the ranch than ride her beloved horse, Snowflake. Not once had they inferred that she needed to hang around funky farm animals to make a living.
As if, she thought, looking down at her soft hands.
Bzzz ... Bzzz ... Bzzz ...
Kaitlyn looked around the room at the sound of her cell phone vibrating. "Damn it," she swore softly as she searched through her discarded designer clothing, which littered the floor, and kicked off her shoes.
Bzzz ... Bzzz ... Bzzz ...
She jumped onto the king-sized bed and pulled back the crisp cotton sheets and duvet, flinging pillows and lace panties over her head. And there it sat. Kaitlyn grabbed it as she fell back against the bed and checked the screen.
It was Jean—the sexy DJ with the smooth skin so dark that she was disappointed to find he really didn't taste like chocolate. "Uhm, uhm, uhm," she said aloud at the memory of his kisses and his touches.
But all of that was done, and she already had moved on. She and Jean had said their good-byes last night after walking through the Paris streets together. She had absolutely no plans to chitchat internationally with a dude from Paris and get all caught up in her emotions, particularly when she had no plans to visit Paris again, anytime soon. Kaitlyn had lots of male friends she could call in the States to dine, chat or party with. And since Kaitlyn was one party girl not giving up the panties easily there really was no reason to lead Jean on.
"Moving on," Kaitlyn said, sighing. She was already filing away the sexy Parisian as she let the call go to voice mail and dropped her cell phone back among the mess.
She rolled off the bed. She twisted her full lips as she looked at her empty Louis Vuitton luggage, her dirty clothes scattered over the suite, and the shopping bags filled with all of her fashionable finds. Right about now, it was all looking like a five-thousand-piece puzzle to her.
Packing is going to be a bitch.
She considered shoving it all in, wherever it fit, but then shook her head.
Kaitlyn shifted her slanted eyes to the door of her suite. She frowned a little at the thought of Jean standing on the other side.
I can't stand a clingy man, she thought as she made her way out of the bedroom and across the sitting room to open the door.
Kaitlyn's annoyed expression changed at the sight of one of the hotel's bellhops.
"Packages for you, mademoiselle," he said with a heavy French accent.
Kaitlyn stepped back and opened the door wider for him. "Merci," she said softly, her eyes dipping to take in his firm buttocks in his uniform pants as he entered the room and set the glossy shopping bags carrying the items she splurged on during her most recent shopping spree. He placed them on the gilded-gold antique French sofa.
She grabbed the sequined clutch she carried last night and pulled out a twenty-euro note to press into his hand as he nervously eyed her slightly exposed décolletage above her robe. Kaitlyn smiled at him teasingly as she used her fingertips to lift his chin and force his eyes to meet hers. "Bonjour," she told him, with her eyes twinkling, as his face and neck immediately reddened as dark as tomatoes.
He backed away, turned, and then scurried for the elevator.
During their stay Kaitlyn and her friends learned just how much white Parisian men loved them some black women. And the darker, the better.
Kaitlyn stepped back to close the door but then jerked it open and poked her head down the hall. "Hey, you. Come here," she called out as the elevator doors opened.
He turned and hurried back to her. "Can I be of service?" he asked.
Kaitlyn started to say something fresh to him, just for kicks, but decided against it. She glanced down at his name tag. "Listen, Gustave," she said sweetly. "Do you think my maid will pack my bags for me?"
"The maids are not allowed in the rooms with the guests," he said apologetically as he shook his head.
"I'll pay one hundred euro ... but they only have, like, an hour. In and out."
The bellhop's eyes widened a bit. "I'll do it," he said, his accent making it sound like he said, "I'll do eet."
Kaitlyn bit her bottom lip flirtatiously as it was her turn to shake her head. "Oh no, Gustave. The only man who touches my undies is the one lucky enough to get them off."
He visibly swallowed as his neck and cheeks flamed again. "I'll ask my sister."
"Merci ... and it'll be just between us," she whispered up to him, showing off her wide, playful, and innocent eyes.
Kaitlyn was a born flirt who knew when and how to turn it up. She could turn a grown man to mush without even breaking a sweat.
She laughed a little as he rushed back to the elevator as she grabbed her room key before walking down the hall to knock first on Tandy's door, and then she'd approach Anola's. During their many adventures they learned rooming together meant disaster ... especially if one of her friends was in the mood to get it on for the night.
Kaitlyn was of the firm belief that even among good friends you never revealed all your business. Friends who became enemies had the ammo to destroy you. For Kaitlyn she wasn't even having it. There were plenty of things that no one knew but her and God. She liked it that way just fine.
Tandy's door opened. "Hey, girl," she said, her voice just as filled with sleep as her puffy hazel green eyes.
Kaitlyn pointed her thumb over her shoulder at Anola's door. "Anola still sleeping? Shit, even I been up for a few."
Tandy plopped down on the padded window seat and opened the sun-filled window as she lit a cigarette. "That's if she in there."
Kaitlyn moved over to press one knee onto the window seat as she opened the curtain. "Or if she in there alone," she drawled.
"Hello!" Tandy agreed as she ran her freckled fingers through her naturally curly reddish brown mop of hair.
Of the three Anola was more ... in touch with her sexuality.
"Next time we come, we are definitely staying more than a week," Kaitlyn said, running her manicured ebony fingertips through her short-cropped pixie cut. Her hair color was such a deep jet black that it had to be dye. Like her brothers, she was prematurely gray. Unlike her brothers, though, Kaitlyn straight handled that with regular trips to her hairstylist.
Everyone in the family understood the dye; but when she suddenly decided to chop off her long, flowing, thick hair to the ultrashort pixie style, which framed her slender face, they acted as if she had slapped Baby Jesus.
"Definitely," Tandy agreed.
Kaitlyn pushed aside the thoughts of the Apocalypse that her haircut had caused. Instead, she looked down at the hotel's beautiful courtyard. A lot of the hotel's guests were already enjoying their breakfasts amid the Paris sun and the floral landscape.
"I'm hungry," she declared. "We don't need to be at the airport until five, so we have time to hit a few stores this afternoon. I have a maid coming to pack me up—"
Tandy nodded eagerly as she blew a stream of smoke out the window. "Ooh, good idea. She can do yours now and then mine while we have breakfast."
"Hundred," Kaitlyn called out over her shoulder.
She didn't have to look to know her friend shrugged without a care.
Tandy's father owned a huge trucking company; just like with Kaitlyn, money was never a problem. In fact, Anola, the daughter of a top cardiologist, was blessed as well.
Kaitlyn walked out the door and walked straight into Anola and a short, stout man kissing like one of them was about to leave this earth. Kaitlyn cleared her throat, and they still went at it as he turned her petite friend and pressed her body against her hotel room door.
Kaitlyn's eyes widened and her mouth opened as he grunted and raised the hem of Anola's short sequined skirt with his broad hand.
"I would tell y'all to get a room, but since he got you hemmed up against the damn door, obviously y'all ain't about that life," Kaitlyn quipped, flashing a comedic frown, before turning to head to her own room. She didn't do or watch soft porn on any DVD or in real life.
"Au revoir, Marques."
"Jusqu'à ce que nous nous reverrons, Anola."
Kaitlyn paused at her door at the sound of their breathy good-byes. She had no clue what he said, but it was enough to make Anola push out a dramatic sigh as she pressed her fingers to her lips and blew him a kiss before he turned to walk to the elevator.
Kaitlyn rolled her eyes. "Anola, that was so The Young and the Restless. Like ... really? Really?" she asked jokingly as her friend's boo-thang stepped into the elevator.
Anola fanned herself before raising her index fingers in the air to mark off well over eleven inches of length in front of her heart-shaped pretty face.
Kaitlyn arched a brow. "Ooh. Was it like that?"
"Oui, oui, on the wee-wee," Anola joked as she pulled her room key from her purse and unlocked her door.
Kaitlyn couldn't do a thing but laugh before they both entered their rooms.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Charleston International Airport. Local time is eleven twenty-five A.M., and the temperature is seventy-six degrees...."
Kaitlyn allowed herself one final stretch before she removed her silk eye mask and looked out the window at the airport. Home, sweet home, she thought, feeling truly excited to see her family even as her five-ten frame ached and cried out from having been trapped in an airplane seat all night during their nine-hour flight from Paris.
First class or not, Kaitlyn decided, there was nothing better than sleeping in a bed.
"Glad that's over," Anola grumbled as they gathered their totes and prepared to deplane. "I'm going straight home and straight to my bed."
"Ditto," Tandy agreed.
Kaitlyn said nothing. That reminds me, I gotta talk to Daddy, she thought, remembering the eviction notice she received just before she left for Paris. Her landlord wanted her out of her place because of the three months of rent she was behind.
She knew admitting to her father that she used her rent money for her beautiful two-bedroom town house on other things wasn't going to sit well with him, but she had no doubt he would catch it up, like always. She would go on enjoying the upscale lifestyle of the James Island Village in Charleston.
There was nothing better than sitting on her private balcony and sipping wine as she watched the sun set over the lakes surrounding the island town. It was the only moment of serenity and calmness that she allowed herself ... and she wasn't about to give it up. Not that, or the ten-foot ceilings and walk-in closets.
Yes, Daddy will straighten it out. No worries.
Kaitlyn slid on her aviator shades and reached for a stick of gum from her crocodile tote. She was regretting her decision to leave her convertible Volvo parked at the airport, instead of asking someone to pick her up. As soon as they entered the terminal, retrieved their luggage, and made their good-byes before climbing into their cars, Kaitlyn grabbed her iPhone.
She pouted as she tapped her iPhone against her thigh as she steered her vehicle along the empty road with her free hand. As soon as she pulled to a red light, she dialed her parents' landline number.
"Circle S Ranch."
The coolness of her mother's voice made Kaitlyn pause ... for a second.
"Guess who's back? Hey, hey, hey," she sang into the phone, setting it into the cradle and making the call hands free.
"Welcome back. Your father wants to see you ASAP," Lisha Strong said.
Kaitlyn paused again and frowned a little bit. "Is something wrong, Ma?" she asked, checking the rearview mirror before she eased down on the brakes and pulled off the highway. "You sound really weird."
"Just come straight to the ranch, Kaitlyn."
"Where's the joy for seeing your baby girl back home?" Kaitlyn asked, feeling offended.
"Oh, trust me, Kaitlyn Marie Strong, I want nothing more than to see you."
Kaitlyn sat up straight behind the wheel as she furrowed her brows at the use of her full name. "Uhm . . . okay, Ma. I ... uh ... should be there in, like, twenty minutes."
"Drive safe," Lisha said.
"Well, if that ain't 'bout a hot-ass mess," Kaitlyn said softly in surprise as her mother ended the call.
Still parked with her foot on the brake, Kaitlyn snatched up her phone and called her oldest brother, Kade. His phone rang endlessly before going to voice mail. Same with her calls to Kahron, Kaleb, and Kaeden. She didn't even bother with her sisters-in-law.
Something was up.
Kaitlyn sat there, tapping her fingertips against the steering wheel, mulling over her mother's coolness and her brothers not answering her call. One of them? Cool. Two of them? Iffy. All four? Impossible.
She wouldn't be surprised that as much as her sisters-in-law adored her, it had to irk them that her brothers always answered her call, no matter the time of day. Anytime. Always.
"A surprise party," she said, suddenly feeling clever as she started to dance in the driver's seat and snapped her fingers. "It has to be a surprise party."
Nothing else made sense.
Kaitlyn turned up her satellite radio and accelerated off the side of the road. The screech of tires and the blaring of a horn made her look over her shoulder just as a car skidded off the road to avoid hitting her.
"Sorry," she hollered out the window, with a pained expression, before she accelerated forward, leaving the near calamity—and all thoughts of it—behind her.
She was anxious to get to her celebration. "Should I change first?" she wondered out loud.
The short-sleeved linen jumpsuit she wore was perfect for the end of summer travel, but to be the spotlight of a party? Hmmm ...
Kaitlyn continued to mull it over as she sped like a race car through the Charleston traffic toward Summerville and then into Holtsville. When she thought she spotted a police car coming toward her in the distance, she slowed down, not wanting to risk yet another speeding ticket. Her father and brothers had said something about it raising the rates of her insurance.
Excerpted from RED HOT by NIOBIA BRYANT Copyright © 2012 by Niobia Bryant. Excerpted by permission of Dafina Books. 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
Niobia you did it again
Chemistry between Quint and Kaitlin is powerful, plot is good and believable. I loved this story and I could not put this book down. Not the predictable story here - NO WAY! Mz. Bryant gives you your monies worth with a good plot and hot steamy sex!
I enjoyed the story, but not as much as the brothers. Kat was a hot mess and VERY high maintenance. Maybe it was her young age, but she seemed alot more "street" than her brothers were in their stories. I enjoyed her and Quinton's story; loved their banter back and forth, as well as the HOT sex. But they both annoyed me with their immaturity.
Ms Bryant changed up her lingo in this book. There was definitely a younger vibe than with the other older Strongs, stories. Katelyn had me shaking my head one minute, then patting her on tge back the next. A must read.