His Paradise Wife

By: Tina Martin

Prologue





Dante Champion sure was fine...

Emily could admit that very easily to herself, but she’d never do such a thing to anyone else, especially not to her best friend, Melanie. When she thought of Dante, the tall, sexy, muscular being that bled testosterone through his pores and wore confidence like his thousand dollar suits, she always remembered this – the last time she saw him. It was a few weeks back, but she could recall the event like it had happened yesterday. Dante was just one of those distinguished, rarefied men that a person never forgets. That a woman never forgets.

He’d been walking along the sidewalk by her little boutique on Battery Park Avenue with enough swag to melt ice. It had snowed that week, the last week in April, and the temperature was leveling out at around thirty-five degrees. Emily had been sitting behind the counter, on a barstool sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. Her assistant and friend, Sherita, had stayed home that day since the roads in her neighborhood hadn’t been plowed. There was no way she could drive in such treacherous conditions. Therefore, Emily had to perform all the operations of the boutique – including working the register, hanging new items and pricing them. Additionally she had to do closing work that entailed sweeping the floors, wiping down the counter and closing out the cash drawer.

At any rate, Emily couldn’t believe it was actually him, Dante Champion, strolling by her store. In the town of Asheville, North Carolina, that was the equivalent to President Obama walking down the road without his security detail. It was just unheard of.

Dante’s ten-story office building, the building that he himself owned, was five blocks away. Five blocks. He couldn’t be walking to work could he, when he could’ve easily summoned a taxi or better yet, called his personal driver to swing by in the limo, black Escalade or the Maserati, and pick him up? Stranger things have happened, Emily thought to herself. Maybe the man just felt like walking.

Fast forward to six o’clock in the evening...

Emily was bored out of her mind. The store had been slow, so slow that she could count the number of customers she had all day on one hand. She’d yawned and stretched enough times to make the Guinness Book of World Records and she caught herself nodding off several times.

“Ugh...is it time to go home yet,” she drawled out. Even though it was her store and she could leave any time she wanted, she always made sure to remain open during the regular operating hours that were posted on the door. It was good business practice, one of the pointers that Melvin had given her. He stressed the importance of consistency to maintain validity as a small business owner. He always used to tell her that small business owners were actually big business owners who were just starting out. She believed that and she believed in him.

She sighed, rubbed her eyes until she heard the small bell ringing at the top of the boutique door entrance, alerting her that she had a customer. With tired eyes, she looked up and there stood one of the most sought after men on the Eastern seaboard – Dante Champion – standing six feet tall, dressed in a black business suit covered by an unbuttoned black peacoat with the collars flipped up, enhancing his broad shoulders while drawing attention to his handsome face. Black, leather gloves covered his manly hands and a skull cap fit perfectly on his head.

Emily instantly felt a nervous twinge run through her like a jolt of uncontrolled electricity, but of course she couldn’t let Dante see her sweat. He was probably accustomed to the attention he received from women. She imagined that he would feast off of the way women reacted in his presence – women who would instantly become flushed, nervous and nearly drool at the very sight of him. Women who deemed it an honor just to be close to him. In the same room as him.

Nope. Not her. No way. There was no way she would get caught up under his spell. So she pretended as if his creamy, Werther’s Original caramel candy complexion, the result of his African-American, French and Irish heritages, had no effect on her when the truth of the matter was, her mouth was watering uncontrollably for something sweet this very second.

She nervously cleared her throat, swallowed hard then took a sip of cocoa to satisfy her craving for sugar. She quickly glanced up at Dante walking closer to the counter where she was sitting, then she looked away. She wanted to look up at him once more since he was walking so slowly. Then again, she didn’t want to. Honestly speaking, he was too beautiful to look at and too beautiful to ignore, sort of like staring directly at the sun. Sure, it was a beautiful creation, but one could cause damage to their sight by just gazing upon it.

Dante knew full well the power he had with his handsome appearance. He and his brothers had inherited a bunch of good genes from their parents. Their good looks and features were unique enough to make people ask about their heritage and stare longingly into their hazel eyes.

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