Authors: Katherine Cachitorie
All rights reserved. Any use of the materials contained in this book without the expressed written consent of the author and/or her affiliates, is strictly prohibited.
AUSTIN BROOK PUBLISHING
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This novel is a work of fiction. All characters are fictitious. Any similarities to anyone living or dead are completely accidental. The specific mention of known places or venues are not meant to be exact replicas of those places, but are purposely embellished or imagined for the story’s sake.
FROM BESTSELLING AUTHOR
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SOME CAME DESPERATE: A LOVE SAGA
WHEN WE GET MARRIED
MORE INTERRACIAL ROMANCE
FROM AUSTIN BROOK PUBLISHING
A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
BACK TO HONOR:
A REGGIE REYNOLDS
Award winning author
AFTER WHAT YOU DID
STAY IN MY CORNER
ROMANCING HER RAIDER
Bree Hudson sat on the bed inside the fancy company condo reserved for clients, as Alan DeFrame showered, as he prepared himself, in the adjacent bathroom. She knew what she was about to do was as low as she could go. She knew it was so outside of who she was as a person that she still couldn’t believe she had agreed. She wasn’t like those anything-for-my-career females, she’d never dream of sleeping her way to the top. She hated even the idea of doing something that vile.
But here she was, stark naked in this little used, sterile bedroom, waiting for her supervisor to get out of the shower and pump on her as if he was pumping a piece of iron, and vile couldn’t describe how awful she felt. Her father, if he could see her now, would be turning in his grave. He would have declared that nothing, not a solitary thing, should have reduced her to this.
There were reasons, of course. She could cite them chapter and verse. Powerfully good reasons, if you asked Bree.
From Alan refusing to give her that job appointment and bonus check that she rightfully earned unless she consented to sleep with him, to her irresponsible mother putting the family home at risk and creating a monumental crisis at the worst possible time.
She had powerful reasons. But that still didn’t negate the fact that she was about to prostitute herself. And that still didn’t stop her from hearing her father’s voice echoing in her ear like a warning ghost: “Never do nothin’, baby girl,” he once said to her, his voice by then a mere whisper, “that requires your self-respect for payment.”
Bree closed her eyes and fought back tears as she sat on that bed. He was a proud man, her father, who died before she graduated law school, before he could see the fruits of his lifelong hard labor. On his dying bed he made her promise to take care of their impoverished family, to get all five of her younger siblings through college too, a role he had every intention of fulfilling himself before cancer struck him down.
He also made her promise to take care of her mother, who was much younger than her father and as wild and irresponsible as they come. It wasn’t fair, her father had told her, she didn’t deserve such a burden. But she was the only human being on the face of this earth that he knew he could depend on.
And now here she was, her father’s daughter, allowing herself to be treated like some whore, knowing that the promise she was buying would require a part of her essence, of her very being, as payment. Alan worked directly for the head man, for Robert Colgate himself, and had dangled his power and position in front of her, with his unsavory offer, at a time when his refusal to be fair and her own family crisis had given her no choice, no choice at all, but to snatch that offer.
But as soon as the shower was turned off, and she could hear Alan stepping out of the stall, she knew she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t defame her father’s good name, or toss away her own self-respect, like this. Her family was in a bad way, and needed her to get that bonus check unlike she’d ever needed to get anything before. But she couldn’t do it, not like
. She just couldn’t!
She got off of that bed, grabbed her clothes that were lying on a chair, and ran out of the bedroom. Her
plan was to dress up front and then get
the hell out of there, all before Alan came out of the bathroom. But as soon as she entered the living room, and before she could even slip into her panties, the door to the company’s condo was unlocked and opened, and Robert Colgate himself, the head man
, walked in.
He was a big man, tall and muscular, a man who commanded every room he entered, and Bree could hardly believe that he had just entered this one. Her luck, she thought, couldn’t possibly be this bad.
Robert, however, was in shock for a different reason. He could hardly believe what he was seeing, as his large, violet-blue eyes stared in stunned confusion as Brianna Hudson stood before him naked as a newborn babe. A babe, that is, with a fine, ripe, sultry black body that caused his manhood to throb as soon as he laid eyes on her. He had been out of town on the highest-profiled case of his career, and hadn’t had a chance to get in touch with his office here in Chicago, but he hadn’t been away that long! And what was she doing here, in the company’s condo, anyway? She didn’t have this level of clearance!
?” he asked, unable to hide his confusion, his surprise.
But the shock was yet to come when Alan DeFrame, his trusted lieutenant and the man who ran the program Bree was competing in, came out of the bedroom stark-naked and freshly showered, calling her name.
Just three months ago a scene like that would have been unthinkable. Brianna Shakira Hudson had arrived at the mammoth Colgate office building in downtown Chicago ready to set the world on fire. She just stood there smiling that day, in the middle of the massive lobby of marble and glass, in her best business suit and slim-line briefcase, as thongs of other business suits and briefcases hurried past her in the hustle and bustle that reeked of life in the big time.
She could hardly believe her good luck.
A girl like her on a stage like this.
Her late father, who used to be a hard-working Mississippi janitor who never made it beyond the eighth grade, would have grinned from ear to ear if he would have lived to see a day like this.
Nothing was guaranteed to her, however. She was only one of ten finalists selected from newly-graduated law students across the country to compete in a twelve-week program at the illustrious Colgate and Associates law firm. Only one finalist would be offered a coveted position and the guaranteed fifty-thousand dollar bonus check at the end of the program. Which meant the other nine finalists would leave with nothing but the privilege of saying in future job interviews, or on resumes, that they had participated in one of the most prestigious, most sought-after training programs in the world.