Kim Louise Chemistry (Arabesque)

ISBN 13: 9781583148006

Chemistry (Arabesque)

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9781583148006: Chemistry (Arabesque)
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By day Kyra Douglas is a computer whiz at Com-Tel America. At night, however, she moonlights as an aspiring poet whose lyrical rhymes are generating a lot of attention. Unfortunately, Race Jennings, Com-Tel's new CFO and an aspiring poet himself, doesn't realize that the love poems he adores are written by Kyra, the oddly alluring computer technician he blames for losing important company documents.
In a Cyrano-like twist of fate, Race unwittingly falls for Chantel Jacobs — Kyra's best friend and confidante — who he believes has written the heart-stirring verses, completely unaware of the ongoing charade. But once Race discovers the truth, how will he feel about Kyra's deeply moving poetry and the poet herself?

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Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

"Well, what does it say?"

"It says the same thing the others said. "No."

"Ky, I'm sorry. Come here. Let me hug you." Kyra Douglas needed a hug. She'd been trying for two years to get her poetry published. She'd been rejected so many times, she had considered the idea of never writing another poem, ever. She got up from her writing table and headed straight into the arms of a handsome man.

No matter how many times Turk Mosley held her, it felt as good as the first time. In his solid and unwavering embrace, Kyra found assurance, understanding and compassion.

"Hey," she said, pushing back slightly. "What's going on down there?"

Turk flashed that devastating smile of his. "I was thinking that if you really want some consoling, I could definitely help you out."

Kyra punched him lightly on the shoulder and sat back down at her desk.

"Why do you keep saying things like that? We don't even swing that way anymore."

Turk straddled the chair across from her. "I know. But in addition to being a computer geek with an IQ of one-sixty, I'm also a dog. So, my mind never strays far from -- "

"Okay! I get it."

Kyra picked up the letter from Callaloo publishers and read it again. She couldn't understand how something that weighed less than an ounce could make her feel so heavy with sadness.

"Don't worry. Somebody out there will realize how good you are. Just keep submitting."

"I'm tired, T. I mean, I know I got this computer gig and all -- and don't get me wrong, the money is way better than good -- but I thought..."

"You thought you'd be the next Maya Angelou, by now."

"Something like that," she said.

She'd let her hopes run wild. Surely, she thought, after attending the month-long writer's retreat, she would come home to at least one acceptance letter. But all the letters that she'd received read the same way: Thanks, but no thanks. She thought she would have been so energized by the poets retreat that she'd be reluctant to go back to work after her sabbatical.

She was wrong. ***

They were in her apartment, again. It was a place she'd designed for the two sides of her that she loved: technology and creativity. Her living room, kitchen and dining area were full of bold colors and straight lines. She was aiming for B. Smith meets Bill Gates. When she invited her friends over -- all of whom worked in some capacity in technology -- she wanted a space that they would feel comfortable in. And she'd achieved that.

In her bedrooms, she'd gone in another direction entirely -- an Erykah Badu-Jill Scott kinda groove. Her second bedroom, where she now stood with Turk, was the place she went to be creative and write all those poems she didn't seem to be able to get published. And her second bedroom, that vibe was warm, setting a different mood altogether.

And it worked. Until today. Today, she just wanted to pack up her life and start over. Callaloo was the last major literary magazine she could think of to send her work. She'd submitted to all the other big literary publishers, and nada.

Heck, maybe she should become a rap artist. "Are you sure you don't want me to tighten you up?" He gave her his best "I'm a damn good lover" face.

"Turk, it takes more than a look and a line to get me into bed. You should remember that."

"I just thought, since we have a history -- "

"Turk!"

"All right. I'll drop it, as long as you drop all this drama and get to writing. I'm not going to leave here until you write another poem."

"I don't feel inspired."

"I don't care.Write about how this rejection makes you feel. Write about a man who won't stop hounding you for sex. Just write. You have to get back on the horse, or in this case the desktop. Both of those images get me hot."

Kyra let a laugh fly. Her mood was a little over-thetop, but the rejections had pushed her there. If Turk wanted a poem, then he would get one. Maybe she would write about a horse who ran away every time the rider tried to mount it.

That's how she felt.

She reached over, grabbed a sheet of paper from the stack, and her favorite pen and inkwell, and set her emotions free.

Corporate America. The daily grind. If she didn't enjoy living the way she did, Kyra would have quit in the flap of a hummingbird wing and lived the life of a starving artist. She drove her Camry into a parking space in the company garage and got out.

Five dollars a day for this space, she thought and locked the car with the remote.

It always amazed her how many people came in at 6:00 a.m. like she did. The flexible schedules at ComTel America meant that people pretty much came and went as they pleased. Just as long as they got their work done.

It was obvious that most folks wanted to get in and out so they could get on with their lives.

"Mornin', Kyra."

"Mornin', Becky."

Kyra and the administrative assistant to the vice president of her department had had the same greeting for the entire ten years she'd worked there.

Kyra entered her cubicle thinking that it had been a long road -- from help-desk specialist to senior systems engineer. She'd learned quickly and the company had rewarded her well. Now she knew ComTel's computer network as though she'd built it from the ground up. Heck, in some ways, maybe she had. She loved computers and understanding them came way too easy for her. She loved her job and after some "training," the people she worked with left her alone and let her do what she was hired to do. Now, if she could just do the same with her poetry her life would be perfect.

"How was the retreat?"

"Jesus!" Kyra said, spinning around in her seat. "You scared the HTML out of me."

"She's back!" Orlando said. Orlando Bloom. Not the actor, the ComTel computer tech who would be CIO.

"Yep. I'm back. The retreat was wonderful. I wrote so much and so fast, my hand cramped up. I think I'm getting carpal tunnel or something." She switched on her computer and watched the screen flicker as it booted up.

"I wish I had a hobby like that," he said. "All I have is computers. Oh, well. I'm on my way to a meeting. I just wanted to say, "Welcome back!"

"Thanks, Orlando."

Kyra logged into her e-mail. It had been idle for the past thirty days. A system-generated "Welcome Back" e-mail sat in her inbox. She dreaded seeing what a month of unanswered e-mails looked like. Instead of turning the out-of-office message off, she opened her assignment log. The level-one and -two technicians did most of the work. That freed Kyra up for companywide IT project planning and special technical issues. Her assignment log had only one item in the queue.

Race Jennings -- New Computer Install -- ASAP She read the item again, but it said the same thing. Installs were level-one jobs. Orlando would be perfect. She rushed out of her cube to see if she could catch up to him.

"Orlando!" she said.

"Yes?" He turned from where he was standing in front of an elevator.

"I guess there's a new guy -- Race Jennings. Can you do the install?"

"No. Adam and Lisa won't do it, either. And Rod is on vacation."

"Have I been gone too long? What's up?"

"That guy has had four computers in four weeks. He thinks we're all idiots. It's like the Bermuda Triangle in his office. Operating systems just disappear."

The elevator doors opened and Orlando stepped in. His tall, thin frame took up practically no space in the large square compartment. "Maybe you can get him a computer that works."

Kyra let the doors close then checked her watch. Not quite six-thirty. She'd have enough time to print the comment file on the new installation, visit the ladies' room and get to her best friend's office for the scoop just as she came in to work.

Thirty days and the whole company had gone crazy. The twenty-eighth floor, where her best friend Chantel Mosley worked, had been completely remodeled. In fact, some of it was still under construction. Kyra stepped around boxes, parts of unassembled cubicles and carpet fragments with amazing dexterity.

She traipsed through the obstacle course and made it to the ladies' room. At least, she thought it was the ladies' room. When she stepped inside there were urinals and more construction.

"What the...?" she began.

"I was just about to say the same thing," a man's voice said.

At the closest end of the row of urinals, a man stood finishing his business and zipped up his pants.

"Oh, my gosh! Isn't this the ladies' restroom?" she asked, embarrassed, and nearly overcome with attraction. The man, who was now washing his hands, looked like something created for sex and sex only.

"I certainly hope not," he said. He dried his hands and walked to the door while Kyra stood there waiting for her feet to work.

He pushed past her and held the door open. "Are you coming?" he asked.

"I think so," she said, walking through and deeply inhaling something that was not cologne but love potion. The fragrance practically floated her off of her feet.

Kyra forgot she had to go to the bathroom. "Hey!" came a familiar call. Chantel came strutting around the corner looking fun and fabulous.

The two friends embraced and Kyra gave her friend a quick appraisal. Chantel was hands down the best-dressed woman at ComTel. She was tall, attractive and had a body that men swallowed their tongues over. Just enough of everything. Although Kyra didn't dress nearly as funky as Chantel, and was clearly a head shorter, when the two of them were together, the men all paused and didn't move until she and Chantel said it was okay.

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