I love my readers so much and I'm so excited about Recipe for Desire that I want to share a few chapters with you. I hope you enjoy them and will pre order Devon's story.
March 6 is the release date.
March 6 is the release date.
Marie stared listlessly as her father continued his lecture about responsibility. Was she twelve or an adult? Richard paced the floor as if he was trying to walk a hole in the carpet.
“I’ve made some calls,” he said. “But with the publicity that you’ve garnered, we can’t keep this quiet. You’re going to be punished.”
“With all of your contacts in Charlotte, this is the best you can do? This isn’t just about me, Dad. I told you that I wasn’t driving, Hailey was and I wanted to keep her out of trouble. I thought you could make this disappear.”
Richard glared at his daughter, “Marie, what you did was dangerous and you do need to face that. Even if you allowed your intern to drive you, she was inexperienced and didn’t have a driver’s license. This is still your fault. Why do you think that I’m going to try and absolve you of the consequences of what you did?”
“Isn’t that what you do for your clients every day? I’m your daughter. You can’t do the same thing for me?”
“You sound like a spoiled brat and I’ve already said I’m partly to blame for that, but you obviously didn’t hear me when I said that I wasn’t going to continue to feed into your delusions of entitlement,” Richard boomed. “I told you a long time ago, William Franklin wasn’t good enough for you. But you had to involve him in your life and now, you’ve allowed your emotions make you act like a damned fool. Am I supposed to just give you hug and make it all go away?”
Marie closed her eyes and sighed. Part of her wanted to tell her father that’s exactly what she wanted him to do. She wanted to tell him that if he would stop expecting the worst of her, maybe it wouldn’t keep happening. But Marie also knew those were excuses and that if she expected her father to help her, she was going to have to be honest.
“Daddy,” she said, “I know what I did was potentially dangerous. It was stupid and it was a mistake. But I have my business to think about. I can’t go to jail. If you help me, I will turn over a new leaf, stay out of trouble and nothing like this will ever happen again.”
Richard shook his head. “I wish I could believe you. I wish I felt as if you weren’t trying to work me over to get what you want.”
“I’m not doing that,” she said. “Daddy, do you know how hard it is being the daughter of the great Richard Charles III? So, yes, I’ve lashed out in the past. I’ve tried to carve my own niche in Charlotte.”
“By acting like a silly party girl? Stripping and drinking too much? Yes, you’re separating yourself from the career and image I’ve built for myself and you’re doing a damned good job of it,” he snapped caustically. “If you really want to change and want to turn over a new leaf, the first thing you have to do is take responsibility for your actions. Take a plea. I’ll work with the DA’s office to see what we can do. If you have to do jail time, then you will do it.”
She groaned at the prospect of spending another hour in jail. “Do I really have to go to jail?”
“Honestly, I’d love to see that. But realistically, this is your first offense and you probably won’t go to jail. Probation, most likely. But with me, you’re going to have to show and prove. No more stunts, no more publicity for all the wrong reasons.”
“Don’t say fine, just do it.”
“Is it too soon to ask you if I can borrow one of your cars since mine was totaled?”
Richard sighed and shook his head. “The last thing you need to do is to be seen driving. I will have a car service take you wherever you need to go.”
“And that’s going to look so much better, me riding around in a limo and getting out looking like a superstar. I know about image, Daddy, and rolling around town in a car service is a one way ticket to jail. Unless that’s a part of you teaching me a lesson.”
“Marie, I want you to change who you are and how you act, but I don’t want you to continue down this path of self-destruction. What’s going through your mind when you do these foolish things?”
Marie sighed and rolled her eyes at him. “You’ve made your point and I’ve heard you, but the last thing we need is for some photographer to snap a picture of me getting out of a limo. Can you imagine what the papers will say and how that will change the way a judge will treat me. As you said, image is everything.”
“Last night was when you should’ve called the car service or paraded around in a limo,” Richard said then he handed Marie his car keys. “I will be coming for my car at five-thirty, don’t make me have to track you down.”
“Yes, father,” she said then grabbed her father’s keys and tore out of the office. Once she hit the fresh air, Marie almost felt civil again. All she needed was a spa treatment, a manicure, a pedicure and something delicious to eat. As she hopped behind the wheel of her father’s car, Marie pulled out her cell phone and called Adriana.
“Adriana, it’s me.”
“Marie, oh, my goodness, you’re out of jail. Are you all right?” she asked. “I thought Hailey drove you last night. I know you didn’t put her life in danger along with yours . . .”
“I don’t need another lecture and I wasn’t driving. I need a shower, a good meal and hair do. Last night was hell and my father put me through some more hell just moments ago. But Hailey is all right. I wish you would’ve asked her if she had a driver’s license before handing her the keys to my car, which is totaled.”
“Are you ready for more bad news?”
“If I say no, can you make it disappear?” Marie groaned as she pulled up to the intersection.
“We’ve been banned from Mez.”
Marie muttered curse words under her breath as she listened to Adriana tell her that the management ended the party and told Adriana that they would no longer host events by M&A.
“We also lost the location for two of our upcoming events and one of our CIAA parties. Marie, you messed up royally and it’s costing me money.”
“Listen,” Marie said. “We can make things right. Shit happens, all we have to wait for the next news director to get caught stealing from Harris Teeter or another city council member to get accused of sexual harassment.”
“And how am I supposed to pay my bills? Marie, I love you. But I don’t have a rich daddy willing to stick his neck out for me.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“You need to take a step back. Stop being in everybody’s face all the time.”
Marie groaned as she pulled up to the Aveda Institute on South Boulevard. “You know what, if that’s how you feel then fine. I have to go.” Marie tossed her phone in the back seat and pounded her hands against the steering wheel. Did Adriana think she could run M&A on her own? Whatever!
Marie was the one with the contacts, who knew the right people and who grabbed headlines. Well, most of the time, that was a good thing but Adriana did think she was going to be the new “it” girl?
She slammed her car door and stormed inside the salon. “Oh my goodness,” her stylist, Rodricko, exclaimed. “Look who they let out of the slammer. Girl, get in my seat right now. Did you smile in your mug shot like all the little starlets do?”
Marie marched over to his seat, every eye in the place following her, but no one said a word. “You know I had to ban Greta from my place because I thought that garden tool was lying about your arrest. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was true. What happened, girl? Did Willie the Leech really leave you for Greta?”
“They walked into my event together as if they hadn’t signed divorce papers a year ago.”
“But honey,” Rodricko said as he gently combed Marie’s tangled roots. “Are you hurt? You didn’t really love him, did you?”
“No, but I’m not going to let him get away with playing me. Does he know who I am?”
“A damned fool,” he snorted.
“Excuse me?” Marie said. “Did you just call me a ‘damned fool’?”
“Yes, I did,” Rodricko said as he led her over to the shampoo bowl. “From the moment you announced you were engaged to Willie the Leech, I knew it was a mistake. You’re free now and you should celebrate that with a new haircut, color and dance a gig. And if you have to celebrate with some spirits, you got enough bank to call a whole car service.”
“But he embarrassed me and I’m not going to take that lying down.”
“So, taking bullshit standing up is supposed to do what? Marie, you’re being stupid. The next thing I know, you’re going to be telling me that you want that Rihanna redness in your hair or some Lady Gaga-esque hair style.”
Marie leaned back and folded her arms across her chest. “Well, I thought that red would look good on me.”
Rodricko threw his hands up. “Lawd, child, you need more than a hair do!”
“But, no, no,” Marie started, “removing William from the equation, Adriana is tripping too. We lost Mez and she thinks that I should take a step back.”
Rodricko sighed as he massaged a deep conditioning serum into Marie’s hair and scalp. “Well, if you were the client, what would you tell yourself?”
Marie wiggled her nose and exhaled. “Maybe I would suggest lying low for a little . . .”
“Marie, I hope you know this isn’t going to be easy to get out of as when you and your girls got naked in the Square for PETA or whatever fake cause y’all had gotten involved in. Daddy might not be able to fix this.”
Marie crossed her ankles and smiled. “One thing about having a name in this burg is that it never lets you down.”
As Rodricko slapped a plastic conditioning cap on her head, he had a feeling that things were going to get a lot worse for Marie before they got any better.