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As president of the talent agency she built from scratch, Chloe Banks is a New York success story. But beneath the fast-track facade is a small-town girl who's never forgotten her humble beginnings—and whose past is a closely guarded secret. Until Chloe's family comes to visit and brings a special holiday gift. Sensual Southern charmer Lyfe Alton was her childhood sweetheart...and is the man who still owns her heart.
Lyfe was devastated when Chloe left their Georgia hometown for the bright lights of the big city. Now he has just four weeks to seduce her back into his bed...or lose her forever. With Chloe nestled in his arms where she belongs, can Lyfe turn their sizzling Christmas affair into a season for second chances?
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National bestselling author Adrianne Byrd has been featured in many publications, including Today’s Black Woman, Upscale, and Heart and Soul. She has also won local awards for screenwriting. For the future, she looks forward to continuing to create characters that make people smile, laugh, and fall in love. She currently calls Georgia home.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
December 16, 1998
Tonight I, Corona Mae Banks, became a woman.
We did it. I can't believe it, but we finally did it. After dating since the seventh grade, Lyfe Alton and I have finally done it. I'm no longer a girl but a woman. I wonder if everyone is going to notice a difference in me tomorrow. You know that they say that women walk differently after they...well, you know. (LOL) Anyway, I know that you want all the details—and it's not like I'd ever hide anything from you. So let me set the scene. As you know, Mom and Daddy headed out to Lagrange for Uncle Gary's hoedown Christmas party. They've been planning on it for weeks. Well, that left me to babysit Tess (like always). Once I got her to stop bumping her gums, and to actually go to sleep,
I called Lyfe over. Let me tell you, he must have been circling the place because he was here in like three minutes flat.
It was still enough time for me to get a fire going in the fireplace, put the radio on the Quiet Storm—that's the program where they play nothing but slow jams—and sneak out one of Daddy's beers for him and one of Momma's wine coolers for me. When Lyfe tapped on the back sliding-glass door, I almost didn't hear him. But when I turned to see his tall frame (he's now six-four, can you believe it?) standing back there with snow flurries in his head, my heart melted. His shoulders looked like they were expanding a half an inch every day and there's just something about his milk-chocolate skin that makes me want to lick him every time I see him.
He's soooo fine—I swear that he could be a model or actor instead of a farmer. Heck. He could even be an architect. I've seen a lot of his drawings. He's really talented. He could really get out and see the world. I know that's what I want to do.
But a farmer? I still can't believe that's what he wants, but it's what his father does and he loves and admires his father. That breaks my heart just a little bit because that means he 'll never leave Thomason, Georgia.
What's worse is that he 'd want me to stay here with him. Don't get me wrong, I love Lyfe—always have and always will—but I can't wait for the day I leave this Mayberry-wannabe town. All I'd have to look forward to would be jarring peach pre- serves, milking cows and birthing a whole village of babies. I mean, c'mon, Lyfe is the youngest of six. SIX!
Don't get me wrong. I now know that making seven babies with Lyfe will be rather...wonderful. *Sigh*
Okay. I'm getting ahead of myself. I was telling you about how our whole evening went down. First, I let my Boo into the house and then immediately took him over to the nice spot I had arranged in front of the fireplace. There, he asked a few questions about how it was putting up with my Energizer Bunny sister and when I started answering him, he started nibbling on my ear.
"Ooh, honey. That tickles." I giggled, but snuggled closer.
Lyfe responded by gathering me closer. Soon after, his lips stopped tickling and started feeling more like paradise. There's this spot just at the juncture of my neck and collarbone that is...giiiiiirrrrl. My toes are curling just thinking about it.
Before I know it, we're butt-naked and lying down on my father's God-awful bearskin rug. Well, at least it was soft. I can't say the same thing for Lyfe. (LOL)
My Boo was hard all over. And at his height, that's a lot of hard chocolate.
But Diary, he is soooo beautiful. His body deserves to be sculpted in granite and shown at all the major art museums for the world to just marvel at. Meanwhile, I'm the only woman who gets to feel the real deal. And let me tell you. It's something to behold. And he smells so damn good—and clean. He's not loaded down with cologne or aftershave. He just smells like Ivory soap. Who knew that that could be a turn on?
"Are you sure that you want to do this?" Lyfe asked. It was an awkward question to ask now that he had made it all the way to third base. Any other guy, particularly his older brothers, would "act" first and "talk" second—or just skip the talking all together.
This was it.
The big moment.
He was naked.
I was naked. But suddenly there was this massive lump in the center of my throat and I couldn't get any words out. To say, "yes," meant that I couldn't turn back.
At my silence, he quickly added, "I mean...I completely understand if you've changed your mind."
I heard what he was saying but his eyes and body were practically begging for me not to change my mind. I smiled up at him. "Are you nervous?"
"What? Who?Me?" he squeaked.
My lips stretched wider as I grew more relaxed. "Yeah—you."
"No. Of course not. Don't be silly," his voice squeaked so high this time that it cracked. He quickly coughed to cover it up, but the damage had already been done.
I struggled but I didn't laugh. "Actually, I kind of like it that you're a little nervous."
"You do? " he asked, astonished. I nodded. "I'm nervous, too—and since this is our first time, why not be nervous together? "
A corner of Lyfe's lips hitched up and a good number of my butterflies settled down.
"Why not? " He turned his head and pressed a kiss against the palm of my hand before meeting my gaze with the same intensity I leveled on him.
My thick, wavy long hair was spread about my head like a black halo. "Do you know that your skin has a natural starburst of mahogany in your cheeks?" "It does?"
He nodded, staring at me like I was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. "And I love your eyes," he said. "You do? "
"Yeah. They get me every time. They're a beautiful mosaic of colors that could easily seduce any man."
"No. I'm being serious," he insisted. "They're a burnt brown when you 're angry, light sienna when you 're happy and simmering amber when you're excited or turned on—just like they are right now."
I blushed so hard it felt like a Nevada heat wave.
The three previous times that we had gotten that far or close to "doing it," Lyfe claimed that he had already familiarized himself with every curve and dip on my luscious body. (That's what he called it—LUSCIOUS!)
He said that he liked my little black beauty mark beneath my right cheek and even the small scar above my right knee that I'd gotten on a bad slide into home base when I was nine years old. (Of course he was the one that was blocking the plate!) Anyway, he said that it was the small things that make me perfect. ME—PERFECT. I could just die.
Lyfe Alton is the most romantic man in all of Georgia.
"I'm sure," I said, panting and fluttering my lashes up at him. "I want to do this." There are just no words to describe how his strong chest felt against my breasts—other than paradise, but I've used that word already.
As much as he wanted to play it cool and act like he knew what he was doing, I knew that he was just as scared as I was. After all, this was his first time, too. Last year, he kept saying that he wanted to wait until he was married to have sex. It is, after all, what my father always preaches. But this year, the last thing we've been thinking about is what was being said on Sunday mornings.
He told me that he'd been dreaming of this moment for a long time. He' d practiced poetic words in front of the mirror like a love-sick puppy. He 'd endured endless teasing from his five older brothers, usually after being caught talking—or doing other things—while imagining a night just like this one.
I cupped the other side of Lyfe's face with my hands. "Didyou hear me? I'm really ready this time. I'm not going to change my mind."
Lyfe blinked and then struggled to swallow the boulder in his throat. This was really about to happen. I could feel his heart galloping inside his chest. How long had he dreamed of this moment? Since sixth, seventh grade? He said he couldn't remember anymore—just like he was struggling to remember all the pointers his older brothers had given him for when such a moment arrived.
"Condoms," he blurted. "We 're supposed to use condoms." Panicked, he glanced around to where he'd kicked off his jeans. After scrambling to retrieve them, he pulled out a sleeve of four condoms—but they sort of looked...old.
"How long have those been in there?" I asked, frowning.
"Not long," he said, shrugging. "About a year...or so."
I don't know. I had a feeling that when we opened one that a dust cloud was going to float out.
A single worry line creased my forehead. Maybe it wasn't too late to back out—again. But I couldn't do that to him this time. After all, it wasn't the first time that we had gotten this far—not the first time that I'd told him that I was ready only to then stop him at the last possible second and announce that I'd changed my mind. Each time, I'd apologized profusely while he struggled to get his dick back into his pants so that he could limp home and take another cold shower. "You haven't changed your mind, have you? " I asked. He was taking a long time about opening the condom.
"Of course I haven't changed my mind," he said. "I just want to make sure that you're really, really sure this time." He kept my gaze trapped as he vainly tried to swallow his own Adam's apple. "Are you sure?"
My lips spread into another smile while my hands reached for the condom. I boldly ripped the sucker open and then reached over and rolled it over his erection. My hands were trembling so bad. But as hard as he was, his dick still felt like smooth silk. (And it kept growing against my hand.) After fumbling around with it for about a minute, Lyfe finally reached down and helped roll the rest of it on. By that time, I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to fit all of him in. Surely something that big is going to hurt.
He must've heard my thoughts because the next thing Lyfe was saying was, "I heard that it should only hurt for like a few seconds and then it goes away."
A few seconds? Please. He was talking to a girl who's still afraid of needles. Again, I'm thinking about backing out, but a little voice inside of me keeps saying, "You can do this."
"You're still okay with this?"
"Has anyone ever told you that you ask too many questions?" I lean up and brush a kiss against his lips and then I'm just lost. (I've told you countless times before about how good Lyfe tastes, and tonight was no different.) At some point, I reach out and boldly wrap my hand around his throbbing dick, and I swear nearly every ounce of air fled that boy's lungs.
Suddenly I was filled with this amazing power.
It was like I could do anything and everything I wanted with him and he was going to let me do it. I can't even tell you all the things that raced through my mind, things that shocked and excited me at the same time.
While my sanity slipped a few notches, a sly smile hitched the corners of my lips. "Does that feel good? " I asked.
"I...I...Yes," he blurted. He closed his eyes and I could tell he was trying to will himself not to come before we even got started. We both had heard about that happening to a few of our friends on their first time. That's one humiliation that I think he could live without. But he continued to struggle with it while I slid my hands over his erection with long, fluid strokes.
To make matters worse, tears started glossing his eyes. Truly. I think it was feeling so good to him that he nearly started crying. Sure, it wouldn't have been the manly thing to do, but I can't help but think that it would've been sweet. *Sigh*
Anyway. He didn't cry. But he definitely leveled the playing field when he reached down in between our bodies and slid one of his fingers through the soft hairs between my legs. Talk about being shocked. The air hissed out of my body like a flat tire. And when he started rubbing the pad of his finger against my pulsing clit, OH. MY. GOD!
I sucked in a quick breath and thrust my tits higher into the air. My reaction was clearly a pleasant surprise to him because he got this big ole smile on his face. So he stuck in another finger and started twirling them around even faster.
Each time his finger went from the tip of my clit to the base, my sighs heightened, my head tossed faster, and my thighs quivered like a 9.0 earthquake. Focusing on my pleasure allowed him to gain control over his own body—but not for long.
My hands stopped gliding and started pumping. In no time, his toes were curling. "How about this? " I asked. My competitive side had finally come out to play.
I never thought that sex could turn into a competition, but I'm here to testify that it definitely can. At first, I was compelled to win, but then Lyfe's fingers hit a certain spot and I was ready to wave a white flag of surrender and let him do whatever the hell he wanted to do with my body. I just didn't care.
Is that bad for me to say? Does that make me some kind of ho?
Then, within a snap of a finger, Lyfe started crying out, "Oh, God!"
I peeked out through my lashes to see that his eyes looked like they were ready to roll out the back of his head. Hell, I'm not even too sure that he was even breathing.
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