Chante Britt is nobody’s fool—and she’s definitely not standing by her cheating ex-fiancé and current mayoral candidate, Robert Montgomery. Too bad he chose to tell the media otherwise. To escape an onslaught of prying reporters, Chante flees to her grandmother’s South Carolina beach house. But when she meets Zach Harrington, she may be out of the frying pan and into the fire. The man is arrogant, way too forward—and way too sexy…
Newly divorced and dealing with a scandal of his own, Zach should stay clear of all women. Yet something about Chante draws him in—maybe it’s the drink she throws in his face after his too-hot-to-handle surprise kiss. Still, Zach firmly believes they can help each other take the edge off. And once he gets her to agree, what could have been a fling promises to be much more—until their personal and public dramas catch up with them. Will past wrongs keep them from finally having the love that’s right?
Zach would’ve paid money to watch Chante eat her ice cream cone. The way her tongue moved around the cold cream made his crotch swell with memories of how she had licked and sucked him to climax. Her lips were simply amazing.
“What?” she asked as she caught his eye.
“I’d tell you, but if someone heard me, they would be scandalized,” he said, then kissed her on the tip of her nose. “I just know how magical those lips and tongue are, and I’m jealous of that cone right now.”
“If you play your cards right, maybe I’ll treat you like this.” She slowly licked the cream. “Later.”
“Your wish is my command, darling,” he said with a mock bow. Zach turned to his banana split and wondered how open Chante would be to him drizzling chocolate all over her body and licking it off.
“How’s your banana split?” she asked.
“Pretty good,” he said. “I see why Charleston is a foodie’s dream. We haven’t been to a bad restaurant yet.”
“What brought you to Charleston? You don’t seem like a foodie, and I’ve been taking up a lot of your time, so I don’t know what kind of business you’ve been doing.”
Zach offered a smile. She’d been honest about her ex, maybe it was time for him to tell her the truth about his.
“Well,” he said, “I’m probably going to start looking into some real estate opportunities soon, but I needed a break first. My ex has been in the news because of some illegal activities. A lot of people in New York are trying to link me to her misdeeds.”
“What did she do?” Chante asked as she lowered her waffle cone.
Zach shoveled a spoonful of ice cream into his mouth. He wanted to tell her everything, wanted to be open with her. But he was still having a hard time wrapping his mind around the fact that he had been married to a pimp.
“Fraud, tax evasion,” he said, then stopped speaking. “It’s pretty complicated.”
“Wow. So how is that affecting your business?”
Zach touched her hand. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll bounce back.”
She smiled. “I don’t doubt that one bit.” Chante leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. Neither of them noticed the long lens pointed at them.
Who is that woman?” the photographer asked.
“We’ll run her face through Google photo search,” the ambitious director replied. “I can’t believe Harrington is in a new relationship so quickly. He must be trying to revamp his image.”
“Ever think he’s fallen in love?” the photographer asked as he snapped images.
“I don’t care. I just want to get a newsworthy story that will get me back in front of the CNN editors. This travel-video shit is for the birds. We’re going to be the first people to get Zachary Harrington on camera!”
The photographer kept shooting the kissing couple. This would be a coup and make both him and the director famous.
Chante pulled back from Zach and looked into his eyes with a smile on her lips. “You taste so good. I wonder if we can take some of this chocolate with us.”
Zach grinned. “You read my mind.”
Leaning in closer, she whispered, “I know where I want to cover you with chocolate and lick it off.”
Zach raised his eyebrow and smirked, “Your sweet tooth is that big, huh?”
Smacking him on the shoulder, she couldn’t help but laugh. The truth was the truth, though.
He looked down at his half-eaten banana split. “Give me one second,” he said as he rose to his feet and headed to the counter. Chante held back her laughter as she watched him get his tray filled with chocolate sauce.
When he returned to the table, he showed her the container. “I say, let’s get out of here before this thing springs a leak.”
As they headed out the door, Chante just happened to look over her shoulder, and she spotted the photographer. “What in the . . . Why is that man taking pictures of us?”
Zach looked at the photographer. “I don’t know, why don’t we just . . .”
Before he could say get out of there, the two men rushed over to them. “Mr. Harrington!” the director called out as Zach ushered Chante into the car.
“Mr. Harrington, are you in Charleston to avoid being connected to the ‘Harlem Madame’?”
“Stay away from me,” Zach growled as he hopped into the car. He sped out of the parking lot and drove faster than Chante ever had.
“What was that all about?” she asked as she gripped her seat belt.
“The ‘Harlem Madame’? That’s your ex?”
Slowing the speed of the car, he nodded. “I had no idea what she was doing, but no one seems to care about that.”
Chante let out a frustrated sigh. “So you lied to me.”
“I didn’t lie . . .”
“Don’t give me that shit. I’m so sick of men lying! You made it seem as if she was facing financial charges when you knew good and damned well that your ex is a pimp.”
“Which has nothing to do with me!”
Chante dropped her head in her hands. She wasn’t ready for this. She wasn’t going to deal with this. “I’m just supposed to believe your wife ran a call-girl ring and you were clueless? Zach, you’re smarter than that.”
“So you knew your fiancé was buying sex on the side?”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Stop the car!”
“Chante, I’m sorry.”
“Stop. The. Damn. Car.”
“I . . .”
“If you’re trying to hurt me to cover your guilt, it’s not working. I poured my heart out to you, and you sat there silent. Don’t sit here and try . . . You know what. Let me out of this car or I’m going to jump out.”
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About the author
CHERIS HODGES was bitten by the writing bug at an early age and always knew she wanted to be a writer. She wrote her first romance novel, Revelations, after having a vivid dream about the characters. She hopped out of bed at 2 a.m. and started writing. A graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and a winner of the NC Press Association’s community journalism award, Cheris lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she is a freelance journalist. She loves hearing from her readers.