Closer to You: Lee
The ultimate bachelor, Lee Drace never thought there was a woman out there who could stop him in his tracks. He only wanted three things out of life: money, power, and more money. He wasn't going to become attached to any woman who wouldn't be staying around that long. Besides, he had never met a woman strong enough to stand up to him until...
Cherise Roberts hated that she was attracted to her mouth-watering brother in-law, Lee Drace. He had been nothing but a pain in her side since his brother Zack married her sister, Traci. She tried to stay out of his way as much as possible because she couldn't let him find out her secret.
She wanted him like CRAZY!!
Will these two be able to overcome each others' tough exteriors to find love?
Elements: Interracial (BW/WM)
Reissued with new cover and re-edited.
“Do you know why Mr. Cane called this meeting with everyone?” Missy Payne asked the woman sitting to her left.
Cherise Roberts looked at the perky brunette and wondered for the fifth time why she sat beside the chatty younger woman. She had been working at Cane’s Marketing firm a little over six months now. Missy was like her shadow, and that was the only bad part about the job. Although Cherise hated to admit it, she was enjoying her new job. Yet, occasionally the antique shop did cross her mind.
However, she had owned the antique business for over five years and it had been time for her to move on. Being back in an office environment wasn’t that bad; all the other employees had been nice enough to her.
“I don’t know why he called this meeting. I think we’ll find out when he’s ready to come in and tell us,” Cherise replied with impatience.
“I hope when I get to be your age, I’ll have the intellect you do,” Missy snickered, trying to insult her.
Cherise threw Missy a quick glance, stunned by the girl’s disrespect. Several employees at the table heard what Missy said and waited to see how she was going to reply. They all knew how vocal and opinionated she was. “Thank you so much for the compliment,” she replied through clenched teeth.
“But I never had the intelligence problem you do, so I don’t think you’ll ever end up like me. Sorry, Missy,” Cherise added with a smirk to her full pouty lips. Loud laughter came from several people at the table. She didn’t doubt that they silently agreed with her. Missy didn’t get the job at Cane’s Marketing for her cognitive skills.
“Yeah, but we all know the reason you got the job, don’t we?” Missy shot back. Gathering up her pad and pencil, Missy moved away from her and found a new seat beside another employee at the conference room table.
Shaking off Missy’s comment, Cherise opened her black journal and jotted down several ideas for the event she was catering this weekend. Since losing the antique shop to her brother-in-law, she decided to take up this new hobby. The idea really came from Traci, her baby sister, who had a birthday party for her husband two months ago.
The dinner turned out to be a smashing success, with Zack praising the food. Traci had asked her to cook for a small cocktail party. At first, she had turned her sister down saying her cooking was for fun, not profit. However, Traci had handed her a nice sized check and she had agreed. Cherise remembered all the problems Traci went through with Zack until they finally worked things out and got married.
Admitting she was wrong about Zack had been the hardest thing she had ever done in her life. Dating outside your race was hard enough. However, to marry a white man only made the problems two times harder on a couple. Cherise hadn’t wanted Traci going through a lot of emotional drama while going to medical school to become a doctor. She had breezed through her college classes and now with the help of a tutor, Traci was handling the more difficult ones. She was woman enough to admit that Zack had turned out to be her sister’s Prince Charming.
Now, she not only had him as a brother-in-law, but also gained three more: Richard, Brad, and Lee. When thoughts of Lee passed through her mind, Cherise tried to chase them away as quickly as possible, Lee Drace was her living and breathing nightmare of a temptation she didn’t need in her life.
Lee Drace towered over her at a massive six feet six inches. His watchful eyes were mixture of gray and green, with hints of blue thrown in to make her heart race every time they landed on her. She was constantly telling herself and him that the sight of him made her sick, but it was a lie. He was the most incredible-looking man to ever cross her path. Yet, why did he have to be in the wrong package? Sure, it was okay for Traci to fall in love with a white man and marry him. However, she didn’t need any added pressures in her life.
However, Lee wasn’t taking her screaming no at him all the time as an answer. Every time he saw her, they would end up in a room alone with his lips on hers. Hell, he knew how to kiss a sister until her knees went weak. But she would never tell him that because he was already self-centered.
He thought the world revolved around him and his every whim. Maybe he had a right to be,her mind thought. Out of all the brothers, Lee did have it all. He was the most successful, with Zack being a right on his heels. He was truly the total package and then some. Stop thinking about him or you might give in to him one of these days when he asks you out again.
Lee had been asking her out since the day Traci married his brother. Her usual answer was, “No, I don’t date men in my family.”
She would never forget how he answered her. They had been on vacation with Traci, Zack and the other brothers as a family getting to know each other thing. Somehow, she had gotten the pleasure of being left alone with Lee while everyone else went out sightseeing. They were the only ones by a secluded pool with him wearing only a pair of black swim shorts showing off his washboard stomach. Lee, the devil that he was, had slid his lounge chair next to her until not an inch separated them.
Lee had tried to coax her into the pool while his fingers stroked her bare arm. He promised that no one was looking at her body but him. She had told him for the sixth time no to the pool idea. There was no way her plus-sized body was getting into the pool wearing a swimsuit, not even one that she didn’t mind wearing. The suit had been purchased out of a catalog and did a wonderful job hiding all the bad spots she wanted to hide from the public eye.
Well, Lee had gone on for another ten minutes until he figured out she wasn’t getting into the pool with him. So, then conversation had lead to other things like his second favorite topic, their first date.
They had been out before but only as in-laws of the bride and groom. Lee wanted a real date for just the two of them. His wonderful colored eyes had slowly traveled up the length of her body to meet hers waiting with anticipating for her answer.
She had turned her head slightly, saying they would never go out on a date without the rest of the family. Lee’s usual response would be to laugh and make a light joke. However, that time he kissed her quickly before she knew what was coming. Lee’s moist firm mouth demanded a response from hers. A response she wasn’t ready to give to him or even answer herself. Closing her eyes, Cherise could feel the heat of the kiss they shared by the pool.
Opening her eyes, Cherise cursed silently. Even in remembrance, she felt the intimacy of his kiss and his lips were more persuasive than she cared to admit. A woman could only take so much alone time with Lee Drace before his sex appeal started to wear her down. The door opening brought Cherise’s attention back to the room and the reason they were all called in here today.
Justin Cane, their boss, walked in holding a thick file folder He tossed it on the boardroom table in front of her and waited for everyone to finish talking so he could speak.
“Good morning, everyone,” his deep voice said. Taking his seat, Justin smiled before continuing. “I know people are wondering why I called this meeting this morning. So I’ll make it as quick and painless as possible.”
“I’m playing along with the idea of hiring another person to freelance with one of you here. Because I need more time to deal with some personal problems, I won’t be able to spend much time in the office in the next couple of months.”
“So, I need someone to sit in for me on meetings and report back to me as I work from home.” Holding up his hand, he stopped two or three people from talking at once. “I know several of you would love to have the extra money, but I have picked out my three candidates to apply for the job. All the information you need is right here in these folders,” he said tapping them with one finger. “After I have called the three people’s names, the rest of you can leave for lunch.”
Flipping one file over, Justin called out David Carlton’s name, one the highest paid marketing assistants at the firm. The next person he mentioned was Missy Payne, who in the last few months had closed a lot of big deals.
Cherise wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to what was going on around her. Her mind was on the party she had to cater this weekend and there were several things on her list that still needed to be done.
Traci was busy with the baby now and couldn’t help her, but Cherise loved her little nephew so much. He looked so much like both of his parents. She was brought out her trance when Justin’s tanned hand placed a file under her nose. Picking up the folder, she examined it more closely. It had her name in bold print across the front.
“Congratulations David, Missy, and Cherise. These are the three people I have chosen to compete for the assignment,” Justin informed everyone. “I should also tell the three candidates that I won’t be picking the winner, but the person I have hired will.”
Justin stood up and was about to leave when Missy’s voice stopped him. “Can you at least tell us more about the mystery person?” she asked.
With his hand on the doorknob, Justin looked at her and replied, “That would ruin the surprise and defeat the purpose of the competition.” Opening the door, he went out and closed it with a loud click behind him.
Seconds later, other people at the meeting started clearing out of the room, too. Cherise sat there in shock that Mr. Cane even wanted her in the running for the job. She hadn’t been here that long to showcase her talent.
“I don’t know why you got picked to do this,” Missy complained. “But I’m going to beat the both of you,” she said, throwing out a direct challenge.
David shook his head sadly at Missy and left the room fast, but Cherise got stuck with hearing her whine. “Don’t think Mr. Cane will let you have this to fill a quota,” she hissed before strutting out of the room.
Staying in the boardroom, Cherise flipped opened the file looking down at what needed to be done for the competition. Why Mr. Cane decided to choose her for this task she would never know.
Shutting the folder, she decided to look over this better later on when she had more time. Picking up her journal along with the file, Cherise turned off the lights in the conference room and headed back to her office and the salad she had waiting for her inside the refrigerator.
During the last three months, she had dropped about ten pounds from her ultra curvy, plus-sized body. Now she knew that she would never look like her sister, but maybe with the ten pounds gone more guys would approach her. I already have a guy who wants to approach me along with doing a whole lot more, she thought. Lee didn’t seem to have a problem with her curves every time his large hands roamed her body.
The first time his fingers traced her body was at the antique shop. Being totally surprised by his move, she didn’t do anything but stand there. Lee Drace was a powerful force trying to break down her beliefs, but he didn’t know how much stronger her will was. Finally making it to her office door, Cherise went inside to think about the competition and the new catering business she was trying to start at the same time. All the thoughts of the overly handsome Lee Drace was pushed to the back of her mind, at least for now.