Now that she's happily married-for-security, there's nothing Mercedes Crystal won't do to hold on to what she’s got. She didn't sweat it when her rich businessman husband had a down-and-dirty ego-boosting affair. But she's not going to stand for him falling in love with luscious Arizona Remington—or Arizona unleashing all kinds of shenanigans to keep him. And Mercedes'
take-no-prisoners ways are just what her siblings need to take down all those out to game
them . . .
Gorgeous Devereaux Crystal has the hottest show on television, which demands the majority of her time. She’s in love with her financially challenged fiancé but is tiring of supporting him. Before Devereaux walks down the aisle, Mercedes convinces her to do a background check on Phoenix. The discovery is devastating. Devereaux knows she has to let Phoenix go . . . and she'll need every weapon imaginable not to take him back . . .
Now with her mother and sisters at her back, Devereaux is flipping the script and turning betrayal into beneficial options. And as the scandalous fallouts threaten all the Crystal women's futures—including sister, Alexis, whose lies are catching up with her, the baby girl, Sandara, whose children’s father demand part of her newfound fortune, and matriarch Blake, who’s struggling to grab her own happy ending—their bond will be tested past its limits . . .
Book 3 in The Crystal Series
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Why did I have a wife if I needed a mistress?
A text registered, Pick up the twins. I'm with a client.
That woman's level of inconsideration made my blood boil!
Early in our courtship her bossiness was cute. I voluntarily followed her lead. She immediately declared an exclusive on me, and my dick. I fell into her trap. Let her pick out her engagement ring and our wedding bands. On our honeymoon she'd planned what she'd referred to as our pregnancy. Before the first anniversary, I was twenty-five with two kids. Today I know for sure, I'd married the wrong woman but I wanted to do the right thing.
Wished I'd waited.
"Hi, handsome." A soft hand caressed my shoulder. "I have several complimentary dances for you."
Pivoting my barstool sideways, a gorgeous topless tender with perky gumdrop nipples smiled at me. Automatically, my shaft slithered down my thigh.
Exhaling my frustrations into my lunch–a glass of cognac–what was I fighting for? I'd done my time. Five years. One-fourth of a life sentence of disrespect substantiated my desire for a divorce based on good behavior. What the hell, tomorrow wasn't promised.
"Sure. Let's take it to a private room," I told her, covering my glass of water with a paper napkin to reserve my seat at the end of the bar.
I picked up my liquid gold, led the way to private room number four with the two-way mirror. That way I could see when the person I was waiting for arrived. Reclining on the leather sofa, I spread my thighs, interlocked my fingers behind my head, watched her shake those beautiful breasts in my face. Her nipple grazed my lip. I didn't move but my dick did.
She turned around, touched her toes, slowly slid her thong over an amazing ass. Red polished nails spread her chocolate cheeks. Her pussy was plump like she'd suctioned it with one of those vagina pumps. I squeezed my head to keep from leaking precum in my black boxer briefs. Coming off of a drought with the Mrs., it didn't take much to get me off these days.
My wife, she didn't get it. She hated when I told her what to do, yet our entire relationship she was a dictator without boundaries. Her consulting business compensated her for thinking on the behalf of others. I wasn't one of her damn clients!
Soon as the song ended, I said, "Thanks. That was nice."
"You want another?" she asked.
I'd learn the costly way that females got paid by the song. And since my wife hired a detective, everything that happened to me without my initiating it, Dakota was either directly or indirectly involved. "Whoever picked up this tab paid more than I would've dropped today. Keep the change."
She purred, "You sure?"
I stood, shook all three of my legs. "I'm good, sweetheart." Exiting the room, I reclaimed my spot at the bar.
Swallowing a mouthful of Courvoisier, I attempted to drown my disgust. "Ahhh." The burn in my throat felt good. I slid my empty glass in the bartender's direction. "Man, let me have another."
"What you gon' do, bruh? Keep coming in here numbing your problems or deal with her ass?" he asked, putting drink number three in front me.
Before I signed a divorce decree, I had to be sure I was doing the best thing for my family. At some point I had to tell my wife, I'm not your damn child. If I told our kids to go to bed, she'd let them stay up another fifteen minutes. One. Five. That shit was fucking pointless!
"My dad never left my mom. I love my kids, man. Being a father is my number one obligation. A divorce would mess me and them up."
The bartender shook his head. "That let's-stay-together slave mentality is nineteen twenties, thirties, and forties. I tell you the same shit every time you in here. Leave that controlling bitch! Let her be the muthafuckin' boss of her goddamn self! Let her see what life is like without you, dude. If she gets some act right after a separation, take her back on your terms. If not, bounce the fuck on with peace of mind. You a good dude. Get your own spot."
I was tired of being humiliated in front of her mother, sisters, my parents, our friends, and her challenging me never registering as a problem to her. When I ignored her, the second we were alone (if she waited that long), I was definitely hearing "Benjamin Alexander Bannister," instead of "babe" or "honey."
Visualizing having my own spot again, "Umm, umm, umm." That short-lived wyldwith-a-y life after college, best to leave those bones buried.
Benjamin. The kids. Get them now! my wife texted.
I was over her immature antics. Mercedes wasn't the only person who could employ a private eye. "She's here," the bartender confirmed about the woman I was waiting for.
No need to look over my shoulder, I knew the second I inhaled her fragrance. Tori Burch perfume was added to my list of preferred scents on a lady the day we'd met. The woman I'd put on payroll glanced at my cell.
"That wife of yours is cute as a toy poodle," she commented, as I pulled out her stool.
Toya sat beside me at the bar, overlapped her long, sexy legs. "We don't have to meet at my place of business every afternoon. Let's get out of here and conduct this meeting away from your wife's master hiding over there in the corner dressed like a dude hawking us. We can go to my house. If you'd like," she said, touching my thigh.
The boldness in her tone mimicked lots of Atlanta women. Her cotton candy pink lipstick matched the color of the dress that crept up to her ass when she wiggled on the seat. She tugged at the hem, but there was no way she could hide the definition of the track star muscles etched in her thighs. I loved the feel of a firm body.
Her attire was more suitable for midnight hours or for performing on the stage that was to our right. Meeting Toya — that was her government name — while standing in line at the Starbucks on Piedmont off Peachtree one day, changed my shallow impression of strippers.
First a square white paper napkin, then a copper mug with her usual Moscow mule was placed before her. "Hey, Toya. You look and smell edible as always," the bartender said, taking a whiff of the sweetness floating through the air.
No man stopped to get a whiff of my wife. Not even me. Said something about she stopped wearing perfume not wanting to offend any potential clients who may have allergies. What was her excuse for ditching the lingerie, thongs, seductive outfits, and high heels she'd worn before I'd proposed?
Oh, that's right, now that she was a mom doing all the freak nasty things she used to do to please her husband was inappropriate. I did not marry for my wife to put others before me! That included our children.
Two o'clock in the afternoon and I was at the one place I didn't have to worry about my wife showing up. That woman was too prideful to police my laptop, or cell, too prudish to go with me to a strip club worried about what others would think ... of her ... so she hired a spy. She'd forgotten about my feelings.
An occasional display of jealousy from her would instantly stroke my ego. Let me know she still found me desirable. Had that luxury with my mistress. No longer with the Mrs. Out of all the places in the ATL, I was at a titty joint deciding whether my marriage was worth salvaging or should I get from under Mercedes's snitch across the room and go to Toya's house and chill.
The bartender replaced my empty snifter with another cognac. "This one is on the house."
Prior to my wife's employing a detective to snoop into my whereabouts, the only times I didn't get my kids from school was when I was out of town on business. Needed to start my own computer tech firm. The upside was I worked out of the office, seldom had to travel out of state to corporate in Miami.
I replied to her text, I'd love to sweetheart but I'm extremely busy.
If a legal separation was what she wanted, I was not going to fight her on it. She'd have to adjust too by getting her children or making other arrangements.
"You are so damn fine," Toya complimented. "I have got to let you taste my sweet pussy."
Gently stroking my tie, she turned it sideways, read the label, "Zegna," then nodded. "I can't understand these women in Hotlanta, man. So what if you dipped your dick into another female. You're still a keeper in my opinion. Your wife gon' find out when she start sifting through the pile of worthless dickatunities out here. Look at this."
She held her phone in front of me, played a video. I watched a long-framed athletic, dark-skinned man fucking doggie-style. "Damn, he's wearing her ass out!" Toya said, "His ass out."
Instantly, my stomach churned. She ended the video, then said, "And the guy on top fucking dude in the ass is married with two daughters."
The bartender added, "Tried to tell him. His stock is Wall Street worthy."
"Your wife ain't stupid. Based on your looks, income, and personality, Benjamin, you're in the top two percent in the A."
Toya's words made me feel special. Odd as the compliment may have sounded, I needed to hear a woman acknowledge something about me was appealing.
Smiling on the inside, I asked, "You think so?" swirling my drink.
Scanning the room, she replied, "Dudes park in the lot waiting for us to open our doors and legs. It's packed every day with horny men who enjoy getting lap dances for lunch, seeing pretty pussies, booties clap, titties smack, and chicks twirl hard nipples in their face and these men aren't close to being fine as your sexy ass."
Tilting her head to the right, Toya continued, "That table over there. Those overweight execs are regulars, they're happily married and they have a different group of women with them almost every time they come in. That's so they have somebody to touch or fuck if they want to bust. But truth is, most of the times men just want to enjoy the company of beautiful women." She touched my thigh. "Benjamin, you're entitled to have a side if your wife isn't performing her duties. My offer still stands." Casually, she tagged on, "It's the ATL, Daddy."
True that. Nodding, I knew what she meant.
"You're either the one he's cheating with or the one he's cheating on. Black. White. All the men in Atlanta have situations that women have to deal with," she said.
Thought about my mistress. She was the coolest. In lots of ways Arizona made my marriage better. It would be easy to get rid of her but my wife didn't give me an incentive. My motivation to do the right by Arizona was fading.
The hottest female in the club was next to me. She twirled the edges of her wavy black hair extensions that draped down opposite sides of her exposed diamond navel ring. Wondered how she gripped the pole with those wicked pointed pink nails.
Long lashes fanned in my direction as she blinked several times. As I watched her curl the tip of her tongue to the edge of the mug that was covered with condensation, saliva coated my inner jaws.
I swallowed the guilt of being where I shouldn't. Pondered leaving my wife for my mistress. Toya's sexy mannerisms kept my heavy nuts glued to my seat. Under no circumstance was I going to put my lips on the clit of this stripper but I couldn't lie. I wanted to. Her outer labia were just as juicy as the lips on her face.
Sipping my cognac, I told her, "No, thanks. Irrespective of my dilemma, I do have this on my finger." I twisted my wedding band several times.
Easing those nails under her dress, she said, "If that makes you feel better about not hitting this," then she smeared her pussy cream under my nose.
The bartender laughed.
Toya mumbled, "Men," then drank her cocktail before saying, "I'm married too. I'll tell you what. Let's wife-swap." Her fingernails walked from my knee to my balls as she said with a smile, "You are going to let me slide down your pole."
"Dude, I swear. I wish I were you right now," the bartender said, salivating.
The short time Toya had worked for me keeping tabs on my wife, I thought the diamond infinity band on her ring finger was for show to keep the men away.
My dick throbbed in protest. We're already in trouble. Put this nut with all the other ones we need forgiveness for.
The bartender was right. I told him, "Man, we gotta go. Close us out."
"Nah, my bruh. Your entire bill is on me."
I was naked from the waist down, my purple cotton undies dangling against the wall on a gold metal hook. As I reclined atop the cool examination table, the thin layer of tissue rustled beneath my butt. I secured my feet in stirrups, scooted to the edge, then pressed my knees together.
"Ready for your close-up?" my doctor asked.
"If I'm going to rejuvenate my sex drive," I exhaled, "I have to try something new."
Gently, she parted my thighs and pointed her camera at my vagina. "This way you can see the before and after."
"I've never had a photo taken of my 'good good,'" I said, watching her click several times. "Take a few before shots with my phone."
Returning my cell, she retrieved a bottle of lubricant from the metal cart beside her. After this procedure, I should upgrade to sexier panties to make my husband jealous.
Looking at my pink flesh, I saw that everything was neatly tucked under my labia majora. Didn't have anyone to compare myself to. Had never seen the innermost part of my sisters or any woman. Porn was disgusting. I refused to consider that entertainment no matter how many times my husband asked me to watch it with him.
Slowly, my gaze lateraled from the lube to the gorgeous woman between my legs. Her glowing skin was more radiant than the precious onyx stone in the ring on my middle finger. Her lips were the same natural tone. Teeth snow white showed whenever she spoke.
At least someone cared enough to ask.
"This is my body. I don't need my husband's permission. He made his decision. I'm making mine. Why do you think men cheat?"
"I keep asking myself the same question." Her tone was melancholy. "That's why I take pride in giving women a reason to love their vagina," Dr. Stephens said.
Hadn't meant to trigger sad memories for her. I'd done everything the right way. Well, almost. Gave myself credit for staying a virgin until the summer after graduating high school. Only had intercourse sixty-seven times. Outside of trying to conceive, sex once a month was enough.
My husband was the second man I'd shared my sacred spot with. Didn't want a third. If there'd be another, he'd lose his mind sniffing this fresh flower. Or maybe I'd try women. Find someone who valued companionship over orgasms.
"How long will it last?" I asked.
"You paid for all three sessions so after your third one you should be good for about seven years. Maybe longer."
The doctor shook the bottle, squeezed gel into her palms. "This is going to be cold," she warned, massaging it onto my vulva.
Instantly, I became aroused. "Oh, my, gosh. I haven't tingled that much in months." The stimulating sensation of human touch other than my own washing myself was the most contact I'd had since Benjamin started sleeping at his mistress's house three months ago.
A smile parted Dr. Stephens's lips. "This is nothing. Your libido will be through the roof when you're done. You are going to sex your husband crazy tonight."
Exhaling, I rolled my eyes. There went my thrill.
"Are you sure you want the procedure?" she questioned. "If you're not sure, it's not too late for me to stop."
With my doctor giving me an out, one would think I was having an abortion like my sister Alexis wanted. I was confused about my marriage. Not about enhancing my sex drive. This ThermiVa treatment was for me and if he got lucky, my husband.
Adulteress was not going to be added to my confessions when I stood at the pearly gate before God. Every person was a sinner but everyone wasn't forgiving, especially men.
For a moment, I thought about my father. Who was he? Where was he? What was his name? I despised my mother for listing my dad as "unknown" on my birth certificate as though she had no idea whom she'd had sex with. If my father were in my life, I'd ask him for marital advice.
Quietly, I nodded at my doctor, then said, "I'm positive. Don't ask again."
The hardest thing I had to do was learn how to make myself a priority. No more my kids this, my husband that. Certainly my family would welcome hearing my calling Benjamin by his birth name.
"You ready to get started?" my gynecologist asked, holding what I considered the magic wand in her hand that was about to transform my womanhood.
Respect was earned. I kept it real with everyone. Did Mercedes always have to speak what I thought? Absolutely. I still loved Benjamin but as I lay on this table I didn't like him at all.
A contrived laugh preceded my reply. "You should've gone to law school. How many ways are you going to inquire about the same thing?"
My husband used to be there every minute for me, for us. He was my hero. I was his queen. There was not a more perfect union of man and wife that I knew of. Now I got it. Man and wife. Not husband and wife. He had a new life. Moving forward, I granted myself permission to have the same opportunity.
Excerpted from "The One I've Waited For"
Copyright © 2017 Mary B. Morrison.
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.
Table of Contents
PROLOGUE - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 1 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 2 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 3 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 4 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 5 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 6 - Sandara,
CHAPTER 7 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 8 - Blake,
CHAPTER 9 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 10 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 11 - Blake,
CHAPTER 12 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 13 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 14 - Blake,
CHAPTER 15 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 16 - Sandara,
CHAPTER 17 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 18 - Blake,
CHAPTER 19 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 20 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 21 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 22 - Blake,
CHAPTER 23 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 24 - Blake,
CHAPTER 25 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 26 - Sandara,
CHAPTER 27 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 28 - Blake,
CHAPTER 29 - Blake,
CHAPTER 30 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 31 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 32 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 33 - Blake,
CHAPTER 34 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 35 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 36 - Blake,
CHAPTER 37 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 38 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 39 - Sandara,
CHAPTER 40 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 41 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 42 - Blake,
CHAPTER 43 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 44 - Sandara,
CHAPTER 45 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 46 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 47 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 48 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 49 - Blake,
CHAPTER 50 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 51 - Sandara,
CHAPTER 52 - Alexis,
CHAPTER 53 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 54 - Benjamin,
CHAPTER 55 - Devereaux,
CHAPTER 56 - Blake,
CHAPTER 57 - Mercedes,
CHAPTER 58 - Blake,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The only thing I would change is learning what Blake’s secret was. They deserved to know who their father is.
Mary never disappoints! All of her series are definite must reads
Great read!! As always Mrs. Morrison delivers. I could easily relate to ALL of these women. Looking forward to reading the next book ?
An exciting and fast paced novel
This book was amazing. I was upset that it ended. Keep up the great work Mary B
Walked in, where da strippers at?
I aint no le<_>s but sure would love se<_>x
Couldn't put it down!
No cohesiveness to the story. It was very choppy. I am surprised because her books are normally very good.