I'm wrapping up Don't Stop Till You Get Enough so it can go to my editor. Here's another unedited excerpt for you. The first two excerpts were from Greg Stafford's point of view. This one is in Rhani Drake's.
Rhani Drake rearranged the chairs in her office in preparation for her new client. She always made sure there was plenty of personal space for both her and her client. He was her first celebrity client. The appointment had been made a few days ago by Thad Jones, a lawyer she’d met years ago at a networking event. He explained the particulars of his client’s arrest, the mandated therapy, and also made it a point to stress the confidentiality was of the utmost important, as though a licensed therapist wouldn’t already know that.
She walked around the office giving it a critical scan. The room where she counseled her client was small, but not claustrophobic. Rhani liked to think of it as cozy. When she’d opened the office two years ago, she had paid close attention to the décor and the feeling it might give those who came in. The addition of unlit scented candles, plush pillows and soft lighting helped to give the room a secure, intimate atmosphere. After she filled the carafe with cold water and placed it on the table in front of the sofa, she checked the tissue box on the end table then glanced at her watch again. His appointment was set for three-thirty.
Why did she feel so nervous? Greg Stafford wasn’t a Hollywood movie star or anything. Quite possibly her jitters had to do with the fact that she watched The Scoop every night while she ate dinner. The show’s host was unusually handsome and had a smile that could melt the hardest woman’s heart. But what did that have to do with her? He was coming to her for help with a serious problem, and she couldn’t allow his celebrity or physical appearance to cause her to treat him any different than she would any other client. Most of her clients were struggling with a sexual addiction of some sort.
At three-twenty-five, Rhani turned on the small shelf sound system to its normal barely audible volume. Soft instrumental music always helped clients to get comfortable. Since Ms. Aguilar had mentioned that Mr. Stafford’s therapy had been ordered by his employer, he might very well be there under duress.
The gentle chime on the front door sounded, and Rhani waited until her receptionist escorted him into her office. Before her stood one of the best looking men she had ever seen, and in a city the size of New York, that was saying something.
“Mr. Stafford? Rhani Drake. Nice to meet you.” They shook hands, and she mentally chastised herself for the prickling that ran across her skin when their flesh touched. She had seen him numerous times on TV, yet meeting him in person was a jolt to her senses. The first thing she noticed was his height. He towered over her five-feet-six inches. His scent registered with her senses next. The cologne he wore had a luxurious and spicy fragrance, a mix of grass, cloves, jasmine and some other delicious scents. Dressed casually yet stylishly, his appearance came across as easy-going and self-confident.
Rhani glanced up just in time to catch his questioning expression.
“Is there something wrong?”
He removed his hat but kept the shades on. “No. It’s just that…I expected you to be older.”
For some reason, hearing him say that pleased her. “Is my age a problem? I assure you I am well-qualified.” Rhani pointed to her framed diplomas on the office wall then waved a hand toward the sofa. “Please have a seat.”
He sat with his long legs open, his elbows on his knees and studied the room for a long moment. “Nice office.” The emotionless tone of his voice didn’t convey his appreciation.
“Thank you.” Once she settled into the chair at the end of the sofa, she crossed her legs and rested her notebook on one knee. “Tell me why you’re here.”
He flashed her that dazzling smile she’d seen on the TV screen so many times, and she wanted to slap herself when her stomach flipped. “You already know the answer to that. I’m sure Thad told you when he made the appointment.”
Annoyed by her sensual reaction to his presence, Rhani purposely didn’t return his smile. “He did, but I’d like to hear your take on the situation. And do you mind taking off the sunglasses? I like to be able to look my clients in the eye.”
He poked out his lips and moved them from side to side then pulled of the shades and put them in his shirt pocket. “I got arrested for…having sex in public, which constitutes breaking the morals clause in my contract. In order to keep my job, I have to attend counseling for a minimum of three months.”
“Is that the only reason you’re here?
“Excuse me?” He met her gaze for the first time since he arrived, and she had to look away. On television it was evident he had light eyes, but looking into them in person was a different story. They were hazel—an intriguing combination of several other colors including green and brown with less melanin than brown eyes, but more than blue. Why was she even thinking about this at the moment? Rhani blinked, straightened and returned to her questioning. “Did you come to counseling to keep your job or to deal with the reason the therapy was ordered to begin with?”
A muscle ticked in his square jaw that was covered by a smooth, neatly trimmed beard. “I need my job.” His voice deepened in timbre and intensity.
“I think you’ve answered my question. You’re saying you don’t want to be here.”
He gave an insolent shrug.
“Okay. I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you how I handle counseling appointments, what you can expect from me and what I expect from you.” She always liked to address the important points right out of the gate. After a brief rundown on confidentiality, cancelled appointments, and financial responsibilities, Rhani asked if he had any questions. Greg shook his head but didn't speak.
COMING JANUARY 2015!
You can read previous excerpts here -