Seduced by Mr. Right(9)

By: Pamela Yaye

“Fine, suit yourself.” His tone carried a bitter edge, but he smiled and waved as he hopped into his SUV. “I’ll be in touch. Take care.”

Sharleen unlocked her car door and slid inside. Deep down, she wasn’t upset that Emilio had kicked her out of his estate; she was relieved. It just wasn’t meant to be, she decided, shrugging her shoulders. But all wasn’t lost. She had two more consultations lined up for that afternoon and several booked for later that week. Unlike Emilio, those clients were eager for professional help and desperate to change their lives. Encouraged, Sharleen turned on the engine, cranked up the radio and exited the tree-lined estate.

Chapter 3

Pathways Center was in an attractive plaza filled with glitzy boutiques, cafés and beauty salons. It had several high-end stores, and as Sharleen left Samson’s Gym on Friday morning, she noticed the parking lot was packed. It was only ten o’clock, but the plaza was filled with couples, well-dressed businessmen and children begging their parents for toys and ice cream.

It was another warm spring day, and Sharleen felt invigorated by the signs of the season. The air held the scent of flowers; the sky was free of clouds and gleaming with sunshine. Strolling down the street, soaking up the sun, Sharleen greeted everyone she passed with a nod and a smile. Exercising always improved her mood, and even though she wasn’t as flexible as the other women in her Stiletto Aerobics class, doing high-kicks in her favorite pair of Jimmy Choo shoes made her feel invincible, as if she could conquer the world. And I will, she vowed, fervently nodding her head. I’m going to get that VP position if it’s the last thing I do!

Reaching Pathways Center, Sharleen pushed open the door and strode inside. Attractive furniture, European artwork and vibrant area rugs decorated the waiting area. Waving to the receptionist, Sharleen collected her messages and continued down the hallway, anxious to get down to work.

Entering her office, she dropped her tote bag on the couch and opened the window blinds. Sunshine spilled into the room, making the space feel warm and bright. Her gaze landed on the red sports car double-parked in front of the bank. Emilio Morretti’s face popped into her mind, and try as she might, she couldn’t get rid of the sexy image. She’d thought of him last night and wondered how he was doing. Had he given any thought to what she’d said, or was he still in a miserable funk? Sharleen considered calling Antwan to find out but struck the idea from her mind. She had a busy day ahead of her, and she didn’t have time to shoot the breeze with her friend.

At her desk, she turned on her computer and took out her leather-bound journal. For the rest of the morning, Sharleen reviewed client profiles, updated her schedule and edited her online newsletter. Hours slipped by, and when lunch came and went she decided to take a break. Eager to speak to her colleague and best friend, Jocelyn Calhoun, she scooped up her desk phone and punched in her number. She’d left Jocelyn two messages yesterday, but still hadn’t heard back from her. That was unlike the social-media queen. Her iPhone never left her side, and she always responded to texts within seconds—unless she was watching Dating in the City.

“Hey, girl, it’s me,” Sharleen said, tapping her pen absently on her desk calendar. “I haven’t heard from you all day and just wanted to touch base. Give me a ring, or swing by my office when you get in. I’ll be here for the rest of the day, so stop by. We really need to talk.”

Hanging up the phone, she glanced at the wall clock above the door. Her next session didn’t start for an hour, but if she was going to survive her conversation with the disgruntled housewife from Malibu, she needed to meditate. Like exercising, it was an unshakable part of her daily routine, and she felt ineffective without it. Sharleen loved her career and couldn’t imagine ever doing anything else, but being a life coach was emotionally and mentally draining.

Unbuttoning her blazer, she kicked off her sandals and sat back in her chair. Blocking out the noises around her, she closed her eyes and exhaled every stress, every anxiety. Sharleen turned toward the window and welcomed the sunlight as it warmed her face. As her thoughts cleared and a sense of peace washed over her, she reflected on the events of the past week. There were plenty of lows, but only one high. Desire flared inside her body. Forty-eight hours after my disastrous consultation with Emilio Morretti, and I’m still thinking about him. That’s insane! He’s curt and serious and...and...oh, so dreamy. I wish he was my man.

For the second time in minutes her thoughts went off track. In her mind’s eye, she saw Emilio stalking toward her. His gaze was intense, and he was wearing a broad grin. One so captivating it made her skin tingle and her heart soar. Emilio took her in his arms, held her close to his chest and caressed her cheeks with his fingertips. Licking her lips, she waited anxiously to feel the pleasure of his kiss. He lowered his mouth to hers, and—

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