Diamond Dreams. Zuri Day

Diamond Dreams - Zuri  Day

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complex that would include a soaring edifice rivaling the Willis Tower. Jackson turned on his electronic calendar even as he reached for the speaker button on his office phone. At the same time, his office door opened and his assistant walked in. She was not smiling.

       “We got another one,” she said without preamble.

       Jackson heaved a heavy sigh. Without asking, he knew what she meant. “Let me see it.”

       Marissa Hayes, Jackson’s loyal assistant of six years, approached his desk, her outstretched hand containing a single sheet of paper. Jackson scanned it quickly. The note was short and succinct—as had been all the others.

       The bigger they are, the harder they fall. You think you’ve gotten pretty big, huh? Mr. Big-Time Construction, Mr. Millionaire Business Owner. Enjoy it while you can. Because your days at the top are numbered…just like the days of your life.

       Jackson casually tossed the piece of paper aside. He remained purposefully nonchalant, not wanting to upset Marissa more than this and the previous letters already had. “This is, what, the third or fourth one?”

       “Fifth,” Marissa somberly responded.

       “Place it in the file with the others.” Jackson scrolled the electronic calendar with his finger. “I need you to schedule meetings with all relevant parties of the Chicago project, including the mayor, if he’s available. Then book a flight for the evening before.”

       “Returning when?”

       “Either the evening of the last meeting or, if it’s a dinner meeting, the next day’s first flight.” Jackson placed his iPad aside and walked over to a drafting table.

       “So that’s it?”

       “What else is there? You already know to book me at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, rent the car from—”

       “Not the trip, Boss. I’m talking about the letter.”

       “What about it?”

       “How long are you going to let these threats come before you do something about it?”

       “What do you propose I do?”

       Marissa worked hard not to let the exasperation she felt come out in her voice. “Call the police, hire an investigator, I don’t know…but something!” So much for masking frustration. Even a blind man could have seen her chagrin.

       Jackson noted the fear in Marissa’s eyes. He didn’t share it, but he didn’t blame her. The first letter had arrived approximately two months ago, right after he’d ended a short-term affair. To say that the woman had been less than pleased was putting it mildly. She’d all but told him—in fact, she’d actually told him—that he’d regret the day he let her go. At first, he’d thought the letters were from her. But then again, it could be a former worker or subcontractor. He’d had to fire a few bad apples over the years. Maybe someone was still smarting from their termination—or being left off a job. He’d even considered the competition he’d beat out for the past few contracts. While the idea seemed highly unlikely, the construction business was a very competitive one. Boss Construction had landed several sweet deals in the past five years, outmaneuvering some pretty heavy hitters along the way. When billions of dollars were at stake and the national economy still shaky at best, who knew what companies were capable of? And finally there was Marissa’s observation: that the letters began arriving shortly after he’d been featured in Black Enterprise magazine. The article, not to mention the accompanying photos, had resulted in a deluge of extra publicity—and fan mail. Maybe someone from his past had read it. Maybe someone from the life and the lifestyle he’d worked so hard to leave behind was trying to drag him back into it. But he wondered who would want to do that. And why? He’d left his old life more than a decade ago. Jackson wasn’t so much concerned for himself as he was for those around him. For the first time, he fully acknowledged the potential extent of the threats. Damage could not only be done to him but to anyone in his offices. Marissa was right. It was time to take action.

       “Call Abe,” Jackson said, removing his jacket as he walked toward the walk-in closet at the back of the room. Abe Swartz was not only Jackson’s attorney but a longtime friend. “Tell him we need a private investigator.”

       “Should I tell him why?” Marissa asked.


       A moment later, Jackson stepped out of his office dressed in jeans, a T-shirt and work boots.

       Marissa smiled as she eyed her supervisor’s confident strides. She knew this routine. Jackson played the tough guy, and he was a typical alpha male. But he also had a huge heart, one that worried about those around him, those for whom he felt personally responsible. The anonymous threats were bothering him more than he let on. “Going to burn off some nervous energy?”

       Jackson stopped at the outer office door, his hand on the knob. “Nervous? Do I look nervous? I’m going to engage in one of my favorite pastimes…working alongside my men.”

      Chapter 3

      Man candy. These were the words that came to mind as soon as she saw him. They’d exited a small building and now stood outside. Who is he? quickly followed that thought. As Diamond and the interior-design team had walked the floors of what would become the freestanding wine shop, she’d casually eyed the hardworking men. A couple she’d seen were buffed and toned, but others had average bodies and equally average looks. One or two had smiled and waved, but none had dared approach her. She’d smiled when she saw one worker nudge another after he’d surreptitiously winked at her. She figured her brothers had been their usually overprotective selves, warning the men to stay away from their little sister—no matter that she was the middle child or that said “little” sister stood five foot nine in stocking feet, with a full Beyoncé-like build and curves in all the right places. Growing up, she’d gone toe-to-toe with her brothers more than once, and until height and muscle replaced scraped knees and baby teeth, she’d pretty much held her own. Yet when it came to her and the opposite sex, the Drake line of defense was legendary. Every man she’d dated since the age of sixteen had come under intense and biased scrutiny. But she wasn’t interested in dating.

       No interest. Too busy. I’m hardly even aware of these sweaty, shirtless, sexy men. Or of the gorgeous man now eyeing her openly. Yeah. Right. And Mona Lisa was a man.

       “Jackson Wright,” Taylor said, when she noticed her last two sentences spoken to Diamond had gone unheard. There was a reason Taylor Stevens was one of the country’s top interior designers. She had an uncanny eye for detail that missed nothing.

       “I’m sorry?”

       “The man you’re totally aware of while trying hard to act as though you’re not noticing him? His name is Jackson Wright.”

       Diamond tried for a quick recovery. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

       “If you mean you don’t know about the stone foyer I was speaking of, you’re right. Or the major design change I just mentioned. You haven’t heard a word I’ve said. But don’t worry. It’s totally understandable. The first time I saw him my reaction was the same. But fair warning. I’ve heard that he’s known for leaving women speechless and taking their breath away…among other things.”

      Other things like what? Heart, soul, virginity? Diamond did not voice these questions. She didn’t want to appear interested in something that for her held absolutely no interest. Like human gods and whatnot. Diamond’s appearances in and around the construction site had been rare. But one thing was for sure: she’d never seen this god, uh, guy before. He had a face—not to mention a body—that one would not forget.

       She shifted her eyes away from the tall, commanding stranger. It was the only way she could refocus on the task at hand. What is he…six-three, six-four? She frowned, surprised that her thoughts had not shifted along with her body. So much for out of sight, out of mind. In less than two minutes, this man had gotten under her skin, and truth be told…Diamond wanted

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