Read More Than A Four Letter Word Online

Authors: Stephanie Jean Smith

Tags: #interracial romance, #erotic romance, #multicultural romance, #african american romance

More Than A Four Letter Word

BOOK: More Than A Four Letter Word
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More Than A Four Letter Word

By

Stephanie Jean Smith

Published by
Stephanie Jean Smith at Smashwords

Hootyhoo Media Publications

Copyright November 2012, All Rights
Reserved

This book is for mature audiences only it
contains explicit sex and violence. This book is a work of fiction,
the characters were created by the author and do not resemble
anyone either living or deceased.

Chapter 1

Julian Ross has been staring at a photo of
Clarissa Marks. She is by no means a beautiful woman, but something
about her draws him like a lodestone. Her gorgeous milk chocolate
skin, heart shaped face, and amber eyes make him long to have her
in his bed. He didn't know why, but he's feeling unusually
possessive about Clarissa, and he has yet to meet her. What is so
remarkable about this woman that has him practically frothing at
the mouth over her photo?

Reading every scrap of information about
Clarissa makes him want her more. Not many people graduate from
high school at sixteen. Clarissa's brief sojourn at Columbia
University, earning two bachelor's degrees, one degree in
mathematics the other graphic engineering is equally impressive.
Her unsatisfying career as a graphic designer for a small business
acts as the catalyst for catapulting her to start her own business,
Lariat Games.

Acquiring Lariat Games has been foremost in
his mind. The video game market is a cutthroat industry. For three
years, Lariat's advance graphics and designs keep it relevant,
making it tops in the field. "Why sell a successful company?"

Ivan Roth watches his employer absorb the
information on Clarissa Marks. Ivan has been in Julian's employ for
nearly ten years, and he has never seen a woman intrigue him. "She
plans to marry soon, taking a job as a security analyst for an
insurance company in Georgia."

Julian has trouble believing that Clarissa
Marks would throw away a successful business and career to become a
wife and data cruncher. This is a waste of her talent. The man
she's marrying is probably some prick who cannot handle a woman
with her intelligence. "What information do you have on her
fiancé?"

Ivan didn't show emotion upon hearing the
anger in Julian's voice. "The information I have on her fiancé is
in the second folder. His name is Lawrence Tate."

Julian couldn't withhold the scowl from his
face as his eyes peruse the photo of Lawrence Tate. He could see
just by looking his photo that he is an immature "boy" still
sucking on his momma's tit. He's spoiled and has an air of
entitlement about him. A man like Lawrence would expect his wife to
salaam every time he comes into the room.

"No way is a woman like Clarissa Marks
throwing her life away for this coosie!" She needs a real man. She
needs a man who would appreciate her intelligence and
accomplishments. She needs a man who would cherish her and be happy
to walk by her side. She needs a man who would treasure her
dedication. She needs a man like him. "What else do you have on the
fiancé?"

"He's a serial cheater. He has been in
involved with Ms. Mark's sister for six months."

"With her sister! There's no way in hell she
knows about the affair."

"How can you be so sure?"

"I have a feeling that a woman like Clarissa
Marks is tremendously loyal, and she would expect her lover to be
faithful too. She would leave her fiancé the moment she finds out
that he is cheating. Once we've completed the negotiations with
Lariat I want you to make her aware of her fiancé's indiscretions.
After she denudes herself from this lying bastard of a fiancé, I'll
be there to make Ms. Marks an offer she cannot refuse."

Usually the VP of Acquisitions handles the
buying and selling of business ventures. If Ivan thought it strange
that Julian planned to manage the acquisition of Lariat, he kept it
to himself. He has his doubts that Clarissa Marks would break her
engagement because of infidelity. People marry for various reasons
that have nothing to do with love. "I'll make it my first priority
to disperse the damaging evidence."

After Ivan's departure, Julian got his
ex-partner Harland Bankert on the phone. Harland is a big wig on
Capitol Hill. "I have an interesting prospect for your pilot
program."

Julian got up to look out the window. He
likes this view of the Chicago River, watching the tourists take in
the sights. He rarely found the time to relax and enjoy the sights
around him. A true self-made man he is always looking for the next
deal. For one second, he almost felt guilty for ruining Clarissa
Mark's wedding. He had plans for Clarissa. She is perfect for his
latest project, and if she ends up in his bed, he would not
complain.

***

Clarissa and her lawyer Max Palento wait
patiently for the arrival of representatives from Rosscom. She
loves the executive conference room; it is nothing short of
spectacular. It is close to the elevator bank, keeping visitors
from venturing too far into the offices at Lariat. Clarissa held
all of her momentous meetings and negotiations in this room.

The ornate walls have a
p
earl gray circular
geometric covering.
The circular
conference table is an excellent piece of artistry
in black granite with a copper skirt. The black traditional high
back executive chairs with a beautiful Mahogany finish surround the
table.
The artworks are original paintings
by a local artist whose work liters the walls at her
condominium.

She met with Aaron Melcher, VP of
Acquisitions and his attorney Daniel Hall last week. She could tell
by his demeanor that he finds the traditional structure and
arrangement of the executive conference room impressive. Clarissa
set him up in here so he could study the annual reports for the
last three years. She gave him a tour of the property and the game
labs.

Rosscom isn't the only organization
interested in acquiring Lariat Games, but it probably wants it the
most. As far as Clarissa's concern, today's meeting is just a
matter of sealing the deal. Her assistant Wanda ordered a lavish
continental breakfast of rolls, bagels, juice, coffee, water, and
the various fruit tray that make her mouth water. The deep red
strawberries were ample and sweet. Clarissa hopes that the meeting
would commence before she makes a pig of herself.

"Clarissa you know that it's not necessary
for you to attend this meeting."

Clarissa gives a reassuring smile to her
godfather and her father's best friend. Max's pleasant demeanor and
grandfatherly appearance give his opponents the impression that
he's a pushover. As one of the prime contract lawyers on the
eastern coast, he makes it his duty to keep her abreast of the
subtle nuances of contract law. "I'm proud of Lariat, what kind of
owner would I be if I leave you to handle the negotiations."

Max thought Clarissa is making a colossal
mistake in selling the company. He also didn't approve of her
fiancé either. He's been around a long time, and he recognizes a
playboy when he sees one. If Lawrence Tate makes Clarissa happy,
who is he to complain? "Are you sure you want to sell? Lariat has
been holding its own in the gamer world. You can secure a good
manager and stop by when your creative streak wants to be set
free."

"Max it's time for me to move on to the next
chapter in my life. I want to be here, this is the second revision
of the purchasing agreement. We can go back and forth on this
forever, and I want the transaction to take place before my
wedding."

"Ah you detect a situation in the wind. This
isn't uncommon; I hear that Rosscom has played hardball with many
companies. One good thing in your favor, this isn't a merger.
You're selling Lariat of your own free will, which tips the scale
in your favor."

"I figure that Rosscom wants the three new
video games I have in pre-production."

"I don't consider those games as bargaining
chips. The games should be included in the acquisition."

"Actually the games don't belong to Lariat;
when I create a game I do so as a contractor. So legally Lariat
doesn't own the games until they're a finished product."

"Well, Madam President you may just have your
bargaining chip after all." Their conversation ends when Wanda
ushers the representatives from Rosscom into the room.

Clarissa stood as the VP of Acquisitions,
Aaron Melcher, his attorney Daniel Hall, and a large dangerous
looking man she hadn't met before waltz into the room. "Good to see
you again Aaron and Daniel."

"Good to see you again Clarissa. This is my
boss and CEO of Rosscom, Julian Ross."

Clarissa holds out her hand for the newcomer
to shake. He envelopes her hand and she could feel the heat
radiating from his body. "Nice to meet you Mr. Ross, let me
introduce you to my lawyer Max Palento." Julian releases her to
shake Max's hand, and she immediately felt the loss of his touch.
Clarissa spares a glance at Max. He stuck out his chest, with male
bravado; he's sizing up Julian like an old wolf checking out the
new alpha male of the pack. She wonders if men realize all the
non-verbal signals they project.

Aaron Melcher has the appearance of a senior
executive, but on closer inspection, it's obvious that he's a hands
on guy, not a desk jockey. His shirt is a bed of wrinkles, his tie
is stained, and his unruly hair looks as if he'd been running his
hands through it incessantly. To Clarissa's surprise, Aaron takes a
back seat as Julian leads the negotiations for the purchase of
Lariat.

As the other men help themselves to
refreshments, Julian's gaze rests upon Clarissa. His photo of her
didn't give her justice. The curls clinging to her head make her
eyes appear bigger. Her genuine smile at the introduction had him
clutching the table for support. Her plump lips dare him to steal a
kiss. He waits for everyone settled down, then he gets down to
business.

"I apologize for our tardiness, so let me get
straight to the point. Ms. Marks after reviewing your counter
proposal I have some changes I want to incorporate. According to
the current draft, you want us to keep the current staff for at
least but not less than two years. In exchange, you will offer
three video games that have not gone into production. Why should
Rosscom even consider such a condition?"

Clarissa's has to clear her head from the
haze; Julian Ross is one attractive man. He reminds her of a much
younger Benjamin Bratt from the movie Catwoman, except he's taller,
harsh looking, and has a bit of sin. She is by no means Halle
Berry, but she would wear a Catwoman suit for his pleasure.

Oh lord, where did that come from? She's
marrying Lawrence in a couple of weeks, and the last thought on her
mind should be sexing up another man. Yes, Julian Ross is a damn
sexy man. From the smirk on his face, she has a feeling he knows it
and uses his sex appeal advantageously.

She forces her mind back to the business at
hand. "Who are we kidding Mr. Ross? Lariat beat Rosscom in the
gamer market for the last four years. You want the games I have on
the table and my original staff. This is an excellent opportunity
for Rosscom to get back on top."

Ross gives Clarissa a sly smile. He knows
she's right, so it actually comes down to money. "We have a
particular interest in the three games, you have in pre-production.
You are the principal designer. What guarantee do I have that
Lariat would continue to provide premium games?"

Rosscom isn't just buying her games he would
gain access to all her creative staff. In the video game market,
you're only as good as your last game. "Mr. Ross I'm one of five
game designer's we also have the leading visual artists and
engineers in the industry."

"Yes, I'm aware of that. Lariat has been so
successful because you are at the helm. What can I give you to stay
on as CEO of Lariat?"

"You have any number of managers who can step
in and run Lariat successfully. If your agreement to acquire Lariat
Games is contingent upon me staying with the company, it's time to
conclude negotiations. I no longer have the desire to own or manage
a business. I want Lariat Games to merge with a company that will
take care of my employees. If Rosscom is not that company, there
are others who have an interest." Clarissa closes her portfolio and
stares at Julian putting the ball in his court.

Julian couldn't hold back his smile, "Don't
be hasty, Ms. Marks. We both know what's at stake, so let me lay it
on the line. I'd agree to the provision of retaining the current
staff if you sign a contract disengaging from the market for at
least seven years."

Clarissa ponders the agreement. How did she
feel about being driven from the field for seven years? Creativity
doesn't die, nor would her interest in the gamer industry. "I agree
to everything except the seven year rider. For any future games I
may create, I would allow Rosscom first right of refusal."

BOOK: More Than A Four Letter Word
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