Today I'm sharing an excerpt from my latest release, Don't Stop Till You Get Enough. Thanks to my wonderful, faithful readers, the book is doing very well. If you haven't read it yet, here's a short blurb:
Greg Stafford has been hiding an explosive secret for years. When his secret is exposed, he is ashamed and humiliated.
Rhani Drake is an expert at helping people uncover the root of their problems. But when Greg Stafford enters her life, she doesn’t know how to handle the feelings he uncovers in her.
Will his scandal destroy her career and credibility?
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. The appointment with her first celebrity client 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 the importance of confidentiality, as though a licensed therapist wouldn’t already know.
She walked around the office giving the small room where she counseled her clients a critical scan. 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 scheduled for 3:30.
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 unusually handsome host had a smile capable of melting the hardest woman’s heart. But his looks were of no consequence. He was coming to her for help with a serious problem. She couldn’t allow his celebrity or physical appearance to cause her to treat him any differently than she would any other client struggling with a sexual addiction.
At 3:25, Rhani turned the small shelf sound system to its normal, barely-audible volume. Soft instrumental music always helped clients to relax. Since Thad mentioned 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 the office. Before her stood one of the best looking men she had ever seen, which was quite an accomplishment in a city the size of New York.
“Mr. Stafford? Rhani Drake. Nice to meet you.” They shook hands, and she mentally chastised herself for the prickling sensation running 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, 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…I expected you to be older.”
For some reason, hearing this 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 the dazzling smile she’d seen on the TV screen so many times. Her stomach flipped, and she wanted to slap herself. “You already know why. 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 make eye contact with my clients.”
He poked out his lips, moved them from side to side then pulled off the shades and put them in his shirt pocket. “I got arrested for…having sex in public, which in addition to being against the law, also 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’d arrived, and she had to look away. His light eyes were evident on television, 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 would she even be 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 jaw, a square jaw 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.