In this Moment Sample Sunday
Subject to change. Release Date : May 27, 2021
The gym overflowed to the sides of the courts once the stands reached capacity.
The last quarter of the game seemed to stretch on forever.
What started as a friendly tournament turned competitive and intense over the last ten minutes. Despite having an ulterior motive for attending, I found myself getting into the game and rooting for the team a few of the local celebrities played on.
Some of whom were clients I’d worked with in the past.
The excitement in the air was palpable as Pro Football’s golden boy running back, Greyson Lambert hoisted up an almost mid-court three-pointer to win the game. Time slowed as the ball rotated towards the rim. It pinged off the front edge, bouncing into the air above the cylinder before dropping through the net as the buzzer sounded.
The crowd erupted. Greyson’s powerful physique jumped in the air, pumping his fists excitedly as his teammates crowded around and celebrated with him.
The kids that would benefit from the game’s donations flooded the court, receiving high fives and hugs from some of their biggest heroes. It was touching to see, and I wanted to hang around and watch this moment a little longer, but I was on a mission.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I hadn’t planned this out. My only goal had been getting here. And now that I’d accomplished that, I had no clue how to get close to Verse, especially with the big, mean-looking bodyguard hovering near him as he spoke with reporters and journalists.
The pictures I’d seen of him online had done him no justice.
He was illegally fine.
And the background check I’d done on him revealed he was thirty-six but he didn’t appear a day over twenty-five.
His deep, mahogany skin glistened with sweat. He had a chiseled, defined jawline visible even behind a layer of facial hair. He was also bigger than I expected. Taller.
Once the crowd thinned, I inched closer. I tried to stay focused rather than ogling his gleaming white teeth as he laughed with a few other players.
After the celebrities and kids gathered in the middle of the court for a quick photo op, he dapped a few of them before accepting a duffel bag from his bodyguard and heading towards the restrooms. The stoic-faced man moved to follow, but Verse waved him off.
As if he knew he was being watched, the bodyguard hesitated at the command before his eyes drifted over the occupants in the gym. Once his gaze skirted past me, I slipped closer to the hallway.
This would be my only shot.
I beelined towards the restrooms, ducking and hiding my face as I walked past. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the bodyguard’s eyes were on me, so I glanced back, breathing a sigh of relief when I found him engrossed in conversation with Krystal.
Maybe I was just being paranoid.
I hesitated outside of the men’s room and calmed my jittery nerves. I’d gotten into some interesting situations for clients, but this was next level crazy.
Once my heart rate resembled its normal pace, I stepped inside.
A quick glance around the room revealed Verse was alone so I reached behind me and locked the door before taking two small steps forward.
His eyes met mine in the mirror as he bent over the sink, washing his hands. Tension filled him and he paused, eyes narrowed, chocolate gaze trailing over my entire frame. Once he’d looked me over, he doubled back to my hands, looking between my empty palms. Gone was the smiling, expressive CEO I’d just seen on the court. In his place was a watchful, cautious man shrouded in mystery.
“No, thank you.”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Whatever you came in here offering, I’m not interested.”
My cheeks flushed, knowing how this whole thing probably looked. Only God knows how many psycho women chased him down every time he stepped foot in public. Somehow, I’d lumped myself in with them.
If I didn’t change his opinion quick, anything I said had the potential to be dismissed.
"I have a business matter to discuss, if you have a moment." I felt proud that my voice didn’t betray the nervousness coursing through me.
“Business?” A smooth chuckle left his lips as he held his hands out wide. "Do I look prepared to discuss any type of business?” Before I could respond, he continued. “Besides, any business that involves chasing me down and locking us in a bathroom is no business I’m interested in.”
“Mr. Presley, I know how this looks but-”
“Let me guess…singer?”
His voice was deep and smooth, coated in the finest of silks. It deserved to be laid on a track and distributed amongst women in society. It would be perfect for voiceovers, audiobooks, or just for talking you through – it.
It being the elusive orgasm that sometimes seemed just out of reach. When no amount of buzzing, fingering or rubbing was getting the job done.
But a voice like that? It was made for pushing you over the edge.
“Rapper?” He continued, drying his hands and turning to face me. Another quick glance was given to my frame before he shook his head. “Nah, not a rapper. Model? Actress?”
My fingers curled into a fist. “None of the above.” I fought the urge to retreat at the look in his eyes. Each movement was deliberate as he dried his hands slowly and discarded the paper towel in the trash. The control he held over himself while completing such simple tasks made him seem more like a well-oiled machine than a man.
Tension filled my frame with each step he made in my direction. He was still a few feet away when I got the first whiff of his cologne and scent of his sweat. It was earthy, warm, and unlike anything I’d ever smelled before. And, according to my research, probably cost more than my monthly salary.
I’d been put into some questionable situations with wealthy men and had learned they all have one thing in common.
They thought they owned the world and everything and everyone in it.
“You definitely have the face of a model…and the body.” I remained silent, waiting for him to finish his perusal of my frame. “Since you’re not here for any of that, what can I do for you?”
“You need better security,” I said, rather than answering his question.
He chuckled. “If you’re back here, it’s only because you weren’t deemed a threat and were allowed back.”
I swallowed deeply. Maybe I hadn’t been mistaken when I thought I’d felt his bodyguard’s eyes trailing me.
The silence stretched on as I attempted to regain the emotional control I coveted. Though he was clad in a sweaty tank top, basketball shorts, and shoes for hooping, his presence was enough to make me feel as if I was standing opposite him in a boardroom.
He’d barely spoken a few sentences yet, still overwhelmed me.
“You’re a hard man to get in touch with."
“That’s not by mistake.” His dark gaze pierced my defenses, arms folded across his chest as if he had all the time in the world. Though he’d been caught unaware, I was the one out of sorts. Just this small interaction had revealed that I was out of my league. And for the first time in my life, I had the urge to tuck my tail and run.
But I couldn’t.
State of The Art was too important for me to give up that easily.
My lack of words brought a half smile to his lips as he gripped the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his sweaty torso. I hissed in a slow breath as each chocolate inch of him was revealed. He was fine as fuck and knew it, but I kept my schooled expression intact as I briefly viewed the defined muscles before meeting his gaze head on.
“As I told you before, I’m not here for that.”
“I didn’t say you were.” His words were firm and direct. “But you interrupted my time, insulted my security, and have yet to tell me your purpose. So, I’m ‘bout to shower. You can stand there and discuss business with yourself or call and make an appointment with my secretary like normal people do.”
Oh, he had me fucked up.
“No.” I took two steps in his direction, halting the turn he’d been about to make. “This is uncomfortable for me, too, but you left me no choice. I have had scheduled appointments with you canceled at the last minute on three separate occasions. Scheduling appointments like normal people hasn’t worked so far.”
His eyes narrowed as if thinking. It only took a minute before his crooked smile returned, doubling its original size. “Ms. Taylor.” He voiced it as a statement, not a question.
I was surprised he even knew who I was. “That would be me.”
“You are… not at all what I expected.” I couldn’t tell if that was a compliment or an insult, so I remained silent. “You work for… Art of the - “
“State of The Art.” My tone was sharp, and I felt insulted.
“My apologies.” At my nod of acceptance, he continued. “But I fear that all of this was done in vain. I have other appointments to attend, hence the need for a quick shower. And as much as I would love to continue this conversation, I’ve gotta go."
“Mr. Presley, my time might not mean much to you, but it’s everything to me. My work depends on it. If you can just allow fifteen minutes for me to-”
“I really hate to be rude, but I’ve got to be on my way. Call my secretary and I will hold this appointment.”
“I’ve already scheduled one for next month!” I snapped. I was getting tired of this shit. He was fucking with my money and business, neither of which I played about. “So, excuse me if I don’t have any faith in your ability to keep scheduled appointments. Your track record has shown me otherwise.”
He smiled but didn’t say a word. His thumb played lightly with the hairs sprouting from under his bottom lip. His arms bulged with lean muscles. When he turned and grabbed his duffle from the floor. My eyes widened when he strode away from me.
“Wait, where are you going?” My heels clicked loudly as I ran to catch up.
He didn’t answer and stepped through the door at the far end of the bathroom. I didn’t hesitate in following him before coming up short when he turned on the shower and gripped the waistband of his shorts.
“If you don't mind... " His amused expression never wavered as he waited for my retreat. My lips parted but I didn’t say a word. “Ok.” He said matter-of-factly. With his thumbs hooked, he shoved down his shorts. My eyes widened and I whirled before I could see more than the deep V-cut of his pelvis.
“I’m taking a shower, Ms. Taylor. You’re more than welcome to stay but I’d like to avoid a potential sexual harassment lawsuit.”
I sighed, hating I’d done all this for no reason.
I could feel his eyes burning a hole in my back, but I refused to turn around. His looks alone had my dormant libido waking up from the dead. If I caught a peep of dick, especially a big one, I’d be the one afraid of a sexual harassment lawsuit.
I stomped towards the exit, feeling conflicted.
"Don't look so glum, Ms. Taylor,” he called behind me. “You seem to be an extremely resourceful woman. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other soon.”