Seduced by Mr. Right(8)

By: Pamela Yaye

Sharleen cleared her mind and deleted every conflicting thought. She couldn’t afford to screw this up; her boss was counting on her. During her performance review, Mrs. Fontaine had given her an earful, and every day her searing rebuke played in Sharleen’s mind.

“As a senior life coach it’s your responsibility to help build the business, develop new strategies and create buzz on social media, and sadly you’re not carrying your weight...”

Three weeks after her review, Sharleen was still pissed. What does Mrs. Fontaine expect me to do? Hold celebrities at gunpoint and make them sign up for a free consultation?

“Let’s sit down and talk,” Antwan proposed, gesturing to the living room.

Emilio shook his head. “I can’t. It’s time for my morning workout.”

“All I need is fifteen minutes of your time.” Sharleen held up her clipboard and flashed her brightest smile. “Once you finish answering this brief questionnaire, I’ll be on my way.”

“I’m not interested.” Emilio gave her his back and addressed Antwan. “I’m going into my gym. Let yourself out, and please show Ms. Nichols to her car.”

Before Sharleen could say “It was nice meeting you,” Emilio Morretti was gone. Antwan strode into the living room, returned seconds later with his briefcase and hustled her back through the foyer. Without a word, he opened the front door, ushered her outside and closed it behind him.

“I’m sorry about that.” Antwan smiled apologetically. “Don’t take it personally. Today’s the second anniversary of his nephew’s death, and he’s angry at the world right now.”

Sharleen nodded. “That explains a lot.”

“You’ve worked wonders with some of my other high-profile clients, and I’m hoping you can do the same with Emilio,” he said, his eyes alight with interest. “There’s tons of money to be made at the World Series Racing, and time’s running out for Emilio’s big comeback.”

“He has to be ready and willing to change. I can’t force him.”

“You can’t treat Emilio like your other clients. He’s a special case.”

You can say that again! He’s tall, dark and handsome, and he sounds delicious, too!

“I know you normally do your sessions by phone, but I need you to be more hands-on with Emilio, more accessible.” Antwan took his sunglasses out of his back pocket and slipped them on. “Weekly phone calls and emails aren’t going to cut it either. It’s a bitch getting him on the phone, and these days he rarely uses his computer.”

“What do you expect me to do? Club him in the head with my Birkin bag and drag him down to my office?”

Antwan chuckled. “You’re as saucy and feisty as ever!”

“I’m serious. I’m a life coach. Not a fairy godmother. There’s only so much I can do.”

“You’re one of the most persuasive people I’ve ever met, and if you can’t convince Emilio to come out of retirement, no one can.”

“That’s not why I’m here. I’m here to help him fulfill his dreams.”

“All he’s ever wanted was to be a race-car driver. Losing his nephew shook him to the core, but I’m confident he can be a champion again.” Antwan continued his pitch full speed ahead. “Do your weekly sessions here at his estate and treat Emilio like a friend, not a client.”

His know-it-all tone irked her. “I can’t drive to Greensboro three days a week. I have other clients and obligations to fulfill—”

“What if I sweeten the deal?” He cocked his head and flashed a devilish grin. “If you convince Emilio to come out of retirement, I’ll give you a $10,000 bonus.”

Sharleen felt her eyes widen in surprise and her mouth fall open.

“Emilio and I are meeting at Halftime Bar on Friday night, and I want you to join us. Hanging out with him at his favorite pub will definitely help break the ice.”

“Antwan, I can’t,” she said, finding her voice. “I already have plans.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “With whom?”

“We’re having a retirement party for my uncle, and if I’m a no-show, my aunt Phyllis will beat me like I stole something!”

“Great sacrifices produce great rewards. Isn’t that your personal motto?”

Sharleen hit Antwan with a pointed look. He was twisting her words, but she didn’t have the time nor the patience to debate the issue with him. Her priority was her family, and she wasn’t going to let Antwan make her feel guilty for having a personal life. “Maybe next time.”

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