Her body ached for his touch...
Luxury might be the name of her business; however, Rachelle Williams had never experienced the luxury of breaking out of her safe little box by doing something spontaneous because it wasn't in her nature. She might look like a sexy free spirit, but it wasn't true. She never thought about crossing the line by breaking any of her golden rules until a stranger walked through the front door.
The invitation in her eyes captivated him...
Cash Garon was at the height of his career hosting his own show 'The Gossip.' Yet, he wasn't getting the fulfillment money and success was supposed to bring. He felt like something important was missing, but he couldn't quite figure out what it was until he saw Rachelle and everything became clear. He wanted her and he would have her. All he had to do was make her see letting go of the 'good girl' image wouldn't be so bad.
Cash Garon stared out the barely tinted windows of the Greyhound. He watched as the bus zoomed past various landmarks on the highway highlighted by the moonlight. Riding public transportation hadn’t been his first choice, but after thinking over his other options he decided his mind was too clouded to pay attention during a long drive. Honestly, he wasn’t in the mood to drive alongside other motorists.
So, he purchased a ticket and boarded the bus for Hook, Texas—a town he picked out at the last minute. Cash had quickly moved to the very back of the bus and found a vacant seat away from the other passengers. He prayed no one else came back here with him. He wasn’t interested in endless, boring conversation about nothing. He wasn’t in the mood for it…not today.
Cash had more important things on his mind than talking about the weather or telling a stranger where he was going. Honestly, it wasn’t anybody’s business why he was even on the bus. He was the only one who needed to know why he was escaping the hard decision pressing him.
This trip was going to clear his mind so he could make plans about his television show. Would he stay the host of The Gossip or quit a job he’d worked for the past three years to move on to something else?
Stretching his feet out as far as the seat in front of him would allow, Cash ran his hands down his face. Blowing out a breath, he remembered his excitement ten years ago at landing an interview with a show called The News. It was one of the most successful national news programs on television and covered the world news like CNN. He finally thought his broadcasting degree would be put to good use and he would be the next Sheppard Smith.
Everything had gone well for several years, then ratings started slipping. The following month he was called into his boss’s office and informed the network had been sold to a larger company. The new owners were going in a different direction with his time slot.
The new executives wanted to give his show a total makeover to follow the hot trends in entertainment. They were going to turn it into a talk show called The Gossip, which centered on celebrities’ lives, marriages, break-ups and rehab visits.
Insulted by the idea at first, he was seconds away from quitting and informing them to go with someone else until his boss quoted him the amount of money he would be paid. If he agreed to the new position, he would be earning twice what he was getting with The News.
Cash had jumped at the lucrative job offer and within four weeks of his new show’s debut it became the most watched television show in its time slot. The Gossip got more and more successful as the years went by. For some reason, people loved hearing about how their favorite celebrities lived when they weren’t in front of the cameras.
His employers kept advising him to take it up another notch by doing more shocking stories on the air. This was their code for what former child star was now in rehab using a fake name, or could he find any pictures of an aging actress coming out of a plastic surgeon’s office?
Without a doubt, those situations consistently drew the best ratings. Sometimes, he felt a bit guilty about doing those stories. However, making those huge paychecks kept him searching for scandalous stories he could put out there for his diehard fans.
Why should he have felt any guilt over reporting Hollywood stars’ dirty little secrets? He’d believed what famous people did behind their closed doors should be brought out into the open. Weren’t they the ones who worked so hard to be in the limelight? Sometimes fame brought good things to you and sometimes it didn’t. It was like tossing a coin in the air and trying to guess what side was going to land face up.
The more salacious the information he dug up, the better the ratings his show received. Of course, Cash did have limits on how far he’d go with his reports. He never plastered any celebrities’ children’s pictures onscreen. He did have a soul.
When he started on The Gossip he never lost a good night’s sleep over any of the news. Being called a heartless bastard by some offended people on Twitter or Facebook hadn’t pushed him to stop doing his job.
Not until he went too far with an exposé about a former Eighties child star’s sex tapes. The show aired two weeks ago and caught his little brother’s attention.
Gerald had left a voice message telling him he was no longer invited to his birthday party that weekend. After that one show all the adventure from his high paying job began losing its excitement. It became the final straw for his brother after numerous warnings to stop wasting his talent on National Enquirer type of trash.
Now, his contract was up for renegotiation and he was torn about what to do. Could he continue going down the same path because the pay was exceptional?
Was he getting softer in his old age?
His bosses gave him a week to think things over, so Cash found a listing for an out of the way inn where he would unwind and contemplate his next move. No matter what happened while he was on this trip, the time away would give him a new outlook about his prospects. One thing was for sure: he was determined not to go back home until he figured out what to do.
Working as much as he had over the years, his relationship with his brother wasn’t the only one that suffered from his long hours. Shit, he couldn’t recall the last time he had a girlfriend or even shared his bed with an attractive woman. Most of his days and late, late nights had been filled with working on the next program.
In his opinion, there was no way his current dilemma could get any worse. He wasn’t usually so torn when it came to making decisions. He would stick to one without second guessing himself, but now things were different. He felt restless, like something deep inside of him was unsettled and searching for a release.
Resting his head against the seat, Cash closed his eyes. He realized this bus ride wasn’t the best option for him. It was taking way longer than he expected. As he sat there, Cash felt his body slowly relax as sleep took over. He didn’t know how long he had been asleep before he felt someone shaking him on the shoulder.
“Sir, you need to wake up,” an unfamiliar voice told him.
Cash opened his eyes and blinked a few times. He turned his head and frowned at the young blond man sitting next to him. Where in the hell had he come from? He hadn’t been sitting next to Cash earlier. The seat had been empty and, as he could recall, the guy hadn’t been seated anywhere else on the bus. So, why was he bothering him now?
Damn, he shouldn’t have fallen asleep, especially not on a Greyhound bus.
“Yeah, what is it?” he asked in a raspy voice.
“Mister, the bus driver was yelling back here at you. He’s been trying to get your attention. He wants you to know this is your stop,” the guy said to him, pointing out the dark window next to him.
“What?” Cash looked out the window, surprised. “I didn’t know I was already here.” He picked up his jacket off his lap. Bending, he grabbed his black bag from underneath his seat.
Getting up, he slid past and then glanced back at the guy. “Hey, thanks for waking me up. I would have been in so much trouble if I missed this stop.”
“No problem.” The young man grinned. “You never know who you will run into on these long bus rides, so I always try to be helpful.”
“Well, you were very helpful to me tonight. Enjoy the rest of your ride.”
Walking up the aisle, Cash made his way towards the front and was stopped by the bus driver.
Frowning, he stared out of the windshield, but this couldn’t be where he was supposed to get off. Why wasn’t there a taxi stand or a waiting car outside? Surely the bus driver didn’t think he was about to get dropped off on an empty highway this late at night. What in the hell was he trying to pull?
This was in the middle of fucking nowhere land. Shit, anything and possibly everything could happen to him out here. No one would ever know about it until his dead body was discovered, if he was lucky enough for that to even happen to him. This spot was like something out of a horror movie.
Forget it. He wasn’t about to get off this bus.
“Are you sure this is correct stop for me?” he questioned, glaring at the middle-aged driver.
“Yes, sir, this is your stop. You need to get off so I can finish my route. I can’t be late to the next stop,” the man told him.
“The hell I will,” Cash snapped. “I’m not about to get off here and be stranded. I don’t see any signs of a hotel around here. What happened to the taxi I was promised when I bought my ticket?”
“Sir, you aren’t in the middle of nowhere. There is a perfectly excellent hotel if you keep walking straight. I don’t know who you spoke with at the ticket counter, but taxis only come this far from town when they are called for. Most people don’t come way out here without their own means of transportation. So, are you going to stay on or get off?”
“I don’t see any kind of hotel,” Cash complained as he stared out the window.
He didn’t give a damn if the driver got off schedule. The information he got off of the Internet should have explained the situation better to him. He would have never gotten on this crappy ass bus if he knew this would happen to him.
“Are you telling me you don’t you see the red Luxury sign in the distance?” the bus driver grumbled, pointing at the windshield.
“A few of my past riders loved the out of the way location and couldn’t praise it enough, but the rooms are expensive. Now, you need to make up your mind if you’re going to stay or go. I can’t waste any more time on you.”
He looked through the windshield again and finally noticed the red and black sign of the hotel in the distance. Cash’s mouth thinned with displeasure. “Are you sure you can’t get any closer than this?”
The driver shot him a hard look before shaking his head. “No. Right here is as far as I go because I have to turn left at this corner. So, you have to get off and walk the rest of the way. I’m sorry about this, but it shouldn’t take you too long to get there.”
He sure as hell didn’t feel like walking there, but if that was his only option then he would have to do it.
“Okay. Thanks for taking me this far, I guess,” Cash uttered, trying to keep his temper in check. He waited while the bus driver opened the door and then he got off the bus.
“Have a nice night and safe walk, sir,” the driver told him.
“Yeah, you too.”
Standing on the side of the highway, Cash watched as the driver closed the door and then drove away. He stood there for a few minutes after the bus had turned the corner, wondering how a simple trip had gotten so complicated.
“Well, I just can’t stand here. I need to get a move on,” he mumbled to himself.
Adjusting the carryon strap on his shoulder, he turned on his heel in the direction of the Luxury sign. He hoped this place wasn’t a dump used to steal money from unsuspecting people.
As he continued walking, it suddenly dawned on Cash that he should have told his brother, Gerald about his trip, but he didn’t since Gerald was away on a trip as well. Nobody in his family or at his workplace knew exactly where he had gone. He prayed he hadn’t made the biggest mistake of his life by acting on instincts instead of common sense, especially since he hadn’t called ahead to reserve a room at this hotel. He was taking a leap of faith that there would be an empty room for him to stay in. The only thing he reserved was his bus ride.
Shaking off his sudden worry, he kept moving and about twenty minutes later Cash arrived at the front doors of Luxury. He was so elated to finally be standing here, he didn’t care if Luxury was a five-star resort or the next Bates Motel. All he wanted to do was take a hot shower, order something from room service, and crawl into a comfortable king-sized bed and sleep until tomorrow afternoon.
He walked inside and stopped in his tracks. He couldn’t believe how unbelievable the décor of this place looked. How was it possible a place this beautiful was located on the outskirts of such a small town?
The first things that drew his attention were the two chocolate-brown couches. They were facing each other with multicolored throw pillows lined up across the backs. In the middle of the floor was a long black coffee table centered perfectly between them. It went flawlessly with the russet and off-green rug underneath it.
As Cash continued checking out his surroundings, he noticed that two lamps stood at either side of the sofas. They added more light to the room and gave off a hint of sophistication and charm, while huge potted plants off to the side gave the area some life and a homely feel.
The lobby was topped off with a chandelier hanging down from the center of the ceiling with additional recessed lighting, and to his left was a red accent wall with a variety of pictures hanging inside black picture frames.
Not seeing anyone in the lobby, he took a final glance at everything before making his way over to the deserted front desk. Cash tapped the bell once with the palm of his hand. He waited for a hotel employee to show up and help him. However, about five minutes passed without anyone showing up.
He rang the bell again and waited another minute before calling out for someone. “Hello. Is there anyone here? I need some help.”
Usually he was pretty patient, but tonight he was wearing thin. He was ready to check in and go upstairs to his room. This had to be one of the longest nights of his life and he couldn’t wait until it was over.
“I’m here,” a soft, feminine answered behind him. “Can I help you, sir?”
Looking over his shoulder, Cash did a double take as his eyes landed on the most captivating black woman he had ever seen. Her smooth, mocha complexion was flawless; it made him want to touch her to see if her skin felt as silky as it looked.
He liked how she had her hair styled, without a strand out of place. For some reason, it made him want to muss it up so he could see how she would look a little less “perfect.”
Her nose was straight, short, and charming while the corners of her mouth turned upwards. The soft red color on her luscious lips drew his attention, making him want a taste.
His gaze slowly traveled over the rest of her body and he liked what he saw, especially how her toned legs looked in the dark gray skirt. He had always been a leg man and this mystery woman owned a great pair. They were only enhanced by the tall heels on her small feet. He let his eyes go back up her body to notice how her tucked-in white shirt showed off her perky breasts, curved hips, and narrow waist.
He wanted to say something to her, but he couldn’t get the words to come out of his mouth. He couldn’t remember the last time a woman had made him this tongue-tied. All he could do was stand there and gawk at her like a teenage boy with his first crush.
“Sir, can I help you?” she inquired again, closing the small gap between their bodies. “Are you looking for directions?”
“No, I’m not looking for directions,” Cash replied when he finally regained his voice. “I want a room for a few nights. I hope that you have one that’s available.”
She smiled at him and it brightened up her pretty face. “You’re in luck. We do have a couple of vacant rooms.”
The hotel clerk walked around him, behind the front desk. Cash couldn’t stop staring at how the fabric of her skirt hugged her ass.
How could it possible for the back of her to look as good as the front?
Usually, he wasn’t this nervous with the opposite sex, but she was doing something to him without even realizing it. So, what was so special about her? She was just an employee at a hotel, yet he felt this underlying connection to her.
“Are you here for business or personal reasons?” she asked, drawing his awareness away from her captivating mouth back to her stunning eyes.
Instead of answering her question, he watched as she pulled out a sign-in book from underneath the desk and placed it on the top. Hell, he didn’t even know her name. Nevertheless, all he could think about was asking her out on a date and getting to know more about her—if was she married, single, or dating someone.
“Excuse me, sir. Are you listening to me?” she asked him. “Is there something wrong? Do you need some kind of help?”
Cash drew his attention back to the woman. He noticed she was watching him with a perplexed expression etched across her face while holding a pen in her left hand. Why was he standing here acting like an idiot? He was tired of wondering who she was, so he was just going to ask her.