Path To Passion. Nana Prah
Tanya didn’t say no to the offer. Tired of having a passionless marriage and needing to feel healthier, she’d worked hard a couple years ago to lose over eighty pounds. The ordeal with Miguel had had her eating like a fiend and before she knew it, she’d ballooned to the point where she got out of breath when walking from her bed to the bathroom.
The weight loss hadn’t made a difference to the frequency or quality of the lovemaking with Broderick, and things started going downhill in their relationship. When Broderick presented her with divorce papers, she’d finally understood why he’d never really wanted to touch her in more than friendly ways.
“What am I going to do?” Tanya whined after finishing off the treat.
“Obviously, you’re going to let him help you, but keep your heart as far away from him as possible. You married a gay man because of Miguel.”
“That’s not the way it went down.”
Becca pursed her lips. “Would you have bumped into Broderick while crying your eyes out if Miguel hadn’t rejected you?” She didn’t wait for an answer. “No. You would’ve been more than happy to ignore him as you did every man you came into contact with because you only had eyes for Astacio. You wouldn’t be at risk of losing your house and livelihood. Plus, you might have had the chance to find a guy worthy of you if you hadn’t been attached to Broderick.”
Tanya loved her best friend. Becca always knew what to say. “I wonder what he scribbled so furiously on his tablet. Do you think he’ll be able to save the place?”
Becca sipped her wine, pondering. “He’s a marketing genius. Josh did well by setting up an appointment with him. The only thing I’m worried about is him charming you into bed.”
Tanya gasped with a slap to her chest. “I wouldn’t sleep with him.”
“That’s my concern.” Becca couldn’t hold a straight face and giggled. “Seriously. You need to have a good time, and he might be the one to give it to you. Just don’t get all emotional.”
She ran a hand through her hair, refusing to consider it. “Girl, stop being ridiculous.” At that moment, her cell phone rang. Miguel’s name flashed across the screen. It’s him, she mouthed even though the phone still rang.
“Answer it. And for goodness’ sake, put him on speakerphone,” Becca said.
She ignored her friend and hit Talk. “Hello.”
“Hi, Tanya. This is Miguel Astacio.”
As if she had more than one Miguel in her life. His voice melted over her, richer than the cheesecake she’d just eaten. “Hi, Miguel. What’s up?” Was that her sounding cool?
Speakerphone, Becca mouthed.
“I stopped by your club this evening.”
She thumped a fist to her chest to stop her heart from hammering out of it. “Really? Why didn’t you call me?”
“I needed to do a personal assessment. I did a walk-through and took some notes. I’d like to see the club in full swing. When is it busiest?”
Never almost slipped off her tongue. “Saturdays.”
“Great. I’m free then. Please let your bouncer know to let in an Isaac Graham. I’ll be incognito.”
Her mouth flapped open and closed. What kind of costume could he wear that would be able to hide his lusciousness from the world? “Isaac Graham. Got it. But why don’t you come as yourself?”
A grin filtered into his voice and she longed to see it. “I tend to draw a crowd wherever I go, and I’d like to see how things are on a normal night.”
“Oh. Yeah. Of course.”
“How’s midnight? Things should be heated up by then.”
Or not. “Sounds good. See you on Saturday. And thanks, Miguel.”
“I haven’t done anything yet.”
“You and I both know you’ll transform The Palace into a hot club again, so stop being humble. It never did suit you.”
His laughter settled as a warmth in her belly. “I’ll try to keep it in mind. See you Saturday.”
“Bye.” She waited until the line went dead before putting down her phone.
“No, Tanya.” Becca stood in front of her wagging a finger and shaking her head hard. “No. No. No. No. No.”
She hopped onto her feet so she didn’t feel so small. “What?”
“You’re already back in like with him. It doesn’t matter what he did to you—you still like him.”
“Cut it out. No, I don’t. He’s helping me.”
Becca anchored a hand on her hip. “You made him laugh. I could hear.”
She stared at her friend, waiting for clarification on her observation. “So?”
“Paired with your goofy smile, it’s a sure sign that you like him.”
Snatching up the bottle of wine, Tanya corked it and stalked to the kitchen. “Two glasses seems to be more than enough for you.”
Becca followed. “I’m not drunk and you know it. I want you to be careful. He’s never dated anyone for more than six weeks, and that’s only happened recently. His life has been a revolving door of women. No matter what the media says about him now, he’s a bad boy. Rich as hell, but still treats women as if they’re disposable.” She patted Tanya’s shoulder. “He’s already hurt you once. I don’t want it to happen again.”
She had difficulty shaking off the truth in her friend’s words. The pain he’d put her through hit her squarely in the gut. She’d never be able to forget his callousness. He cared for no one but himself, and she’d just have to remember it as they worked together. “I’m a grown woman, Becca. I can take care of myself. Miguel is going to help me rebrand the club, and then he’ll return to just being Josh’s best friend who I never see.”
Becca twisted her lips to the side and hummed. “Just be careful, okay.”
“Always.” Older, wiser and jaded, she’d be a fool to fall for Miguel again. He’d made her feel like an idiot once, and Broderick had done a better job of it than Miguel. The third time she’d be the one to end up on top.
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