by AlTonya Washington
With a successful boutique in Charlotte and plans to open another exclusive one in Aspen, Alythia Duffy feels as if she’s finally arrived. Then a wild week in the Caribbean at her best friend’s bachelorette celebration threatens to ruin everything, though Alythia doesn’t regret her passionate idyll with a sensual stranger.
Self-made developer Gage Vincent learned long ago not to believe the words of a beautiful woman. He thought Alythia was different. Yet, how can he trust her after he finds out that she is bidding for space in his hot new skyscraper? Will Alythia be able to prove to him that she is the special woman meant to share his life?
Excerpt from Trust In Us
Alythia Duffy had hoped taking her car; as opposed to hiring a driver, might play into her excuse of bad traffic which would have resulted in her missing out on the luxurious flight.
To her dismay, she arrived at the airstrip to find the plane still waiting. A chorus of birds were chirping somewhere amidst the late morning air as if they meant to welcome her to fun and excitement. Alythia appreciated the welcome, but all the while considered circling back to the Interstate in hopes of getting caught up in a traffic jam- a tad unlikely at that time of day, but who knew? It all could work in her favor and she might get-
“Can I help you with those?”
Alythia turned, her jaw dropping while her eyes zoned out in a show of surprise.
“Lucky,” she breathed the completion of her thought.
She wasn’t sure if the man who stood within touching distance had sparked such a reaction because of his height- she stood just shy of 5”10 in her bare feet. This guy had to be 6”2 at least. Sure, it could’ve been the height or the muscular build- more lean than massive. Alythia was more inclined to wager on the man’s remaining attributes.
Whoever he was, he had the most remarkable shade of skin, an unblemished tone of black coffee. The richness was offset by a long, steady brown gaze enhanced by overt gold flecks. His hair was straight-textured and close cropped. Thanks to that morning’s powerful sunrays, Alythia could tell that his hair was of the same deep brown as his eyes.
He was smiling and the curve of a beckoning, sculpted mouth was made more attractive by the singular dimple accompanying it. Still, that stare of his was impossible to ignore and difficult to perceive as anything other than intensely observant. That gaze lent a well-blended mixture of heat and cool to the smile.
“Are you okay?”
She heard him speaking to her, his smile carrying more heat when he leaned close to ask how she was. He extended a hand as if he meant to cup her elbow but barely let his thumb graze the bend of her arm.
Snapping to, Alythia ordered no-begged the sudden and completely uncharacteristic desire to moan to cease and desist the pressure it applied to her larynx.
“I um-I’m good,” she managed and then followed up the lie with a laugh. “I was good before I got here and saw that my ride was kind enough not to leave without me.”
He roared into laughter, the sound causing Alythia to jump at the full honesty of it. Despite the contagious effect of the gesture, she winced when he looked her way.
“Sorry, I know I sound ungrateful.” She said.
Curiosity intermingled with his amusement. “Why do you think you’re ungrateful?”
“Most people dream of visiting the Caribbean,” she looked toward the jet once more. “Of those who actually have those dreams come true, few get there on a private plane.”
Clarity surged in the liquid chocolate of his stare then and Gage Vincent realized that the woman standing before him had no idea that the plane was his or who he was for that matter.
“Um, could I take that stuff for you?” He inquired of her bags again before the dumbfounded amusement on his face started to make her feel uneasy.
“Sorry um,” Alythia began to relinquish her bags. “Thanks for your help-oh wait.”
Easing the strap of a tan duffle over his shoulder, Gage watched her fumble through a plump mid-sized purse.
“I knew I had a five or ten in here…”
“Hey?” He cupped her elbow that time and waited for her eyes to meet his. “There’s no need to tip me.”
Alythia blinked toward the plane. “I’m pretty sure you guys are way behind schedule because of me.”
“We’ll get there.” Gage voiced the soft reassurance while applying a light massage to the elbow he cupped. The intention was to relax her. In turn, it was the sensation of her satiny skin beneath his thumb that was ushering him into a state of relaxation.