Spring Blossoms Releases August 7!

Chapter 1

“What?” I breathed into the phone.

My youngest sister, Autumn, asked, “Why are you sounding like that? Did I wake you? It’s five in the afternoon.”

I slapped Romel’s hands away from my naked breast and muted my cell. “You see I’m on the phone.”

He kissed my neck. “Why would you answer it in the middle of fucking anyway?”

“I always answer for my sisters.” I pushed him off me and moved next to him. “Hush, so I can see what she wants.” 

I unmuted the phone. “Do I sound better now?”

“You sick or something? You don’t usually sleep in the middle of the day, especially on a Saturday.”

“Auti, I’m fine. What do you want?”

“I can’t just call my sister to check on her?”

“No. Ever since you got with Quincy you only call when you want something.” I could feel Romel next to me stroking himself to stay hard.

“That’s not true.”                    

“When’s the last time you called me?” I quickly checked my phone for receipts. “The last time was to talk about Winter meeting up with Jared two weeks ago.” 

“Now, she trying to get back with Chad but he’s not returning her calls or texts. I don’t blame him if you ditch me on New Year’s for your ex, we are more than done.”

 “Yeah, she’s going to have to do more than call him to get him back, but she didn’t exactly ditch him for that asshole, Jared. Chad forced her hand…but you didn’t call to talk about our sister. What’s up?” I asked impatiently.

“What’s up in your world? Did the merger happen yet?”

“It did and meeting my new boss on Monday.” Romel started kissing my shoulder getting me hot all over again. “We don’t have to make up for lost time, I need to finish some things. So just tell me why you called? And it better not be money.”

“Not calling for money and I would ask Summer if I was. You stay broke.”

“Hanging up,” I said annoyed though she spoke the truth. I hated sticking to any budget, especially because I loved nice, expensive things that my money wouldn’t always allow. I grew up with an orthopedic surgeon for a father and had grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle that I often struggled to maintain as an adult.

“Okay…okay. I need some advice. Quincy has been distant lately.”

“This isn’t a simple conversation.”

I then heard sniffles, and big sister mode was in full effect. I muted the phone again. “Hey, I’ll be in the other room. Just wait a little longer for me.”

Romel grumbled, “Seriously. You can’t just call her back.”

“I’ll make it up to you. We have the rest of the evening. Chill.” 

“You better suck me off good.”

Rolling my eyes, contemplating if I still wanted to give him some, I pulled the sheets to cover my naked body as I moved to my living room and curled in my soft, large armchair. I’d met Romel at a bar and restaurant near my apartment right after Thanksgiving, and I didn’t know he’d graduated high school with my other younger sister, Winter until he asked me to be his date for their tenth-year high school reunion. He seemed to believe that it was his age that kept me from taking him seriously when he failed to understand that I didn’t want a relationship with anyone period. Especially a man who had a wandering eye and dick. “What’s going on?”

“Ugh…Spring! Were you having sex?”

Shit. I didn’t mute the phone. “Baby Bear…mind yours. What’s going on with Quincy?”

“I see you trying to put me in my place.” She chuckled. “Baby Bear” was her family nickname given to her by our father since she was the youngest child of four. “He must not be that good for you to stop to answer my call. I don’t even remember what a phone is when Quincy and I are having sex.”

“Sex is sex. And I need to get back to him so what’s going on with ‘Mr. Drum Major’.”

“Yeah.” The sadness crept back into her voice. “He’s just so busy since the semester started with trying to finish everything in time for graduation. In between his music, running back and forth to Atlanta to see Logan, and classes, we rarely have time for each other. If we didn’t live together, I wouldn’t even see him.”

“Okay, he sounds busy, not distant. You would be too if you didn’t finish your coursework last semester. And he is an involved father which you love.”

“I know that, and I know him. He’s acting differently.”

Hoping Quincy wasn’t fucking over her, I sighed, “Oh, Auti.”

“Stop, Spring. I could tell in your voice you think he’s cheating.”

“You must think so too, or you wouldn’t be crying.”

“Call me crazy, but he wouldn’t cheat on me. We’ve talked about being faithful to one another and we both vowed to break up before either one of us cheats on the other.”

“Then why are you crying?”

“I think he may be over me and because we live together, he’s trying to be cool until graduation.”

“Why do you think that? It’s just been a month since you two left here all in love. He can’t possibly be over you.”

“This morning, we got into a huge argument because he wants us to move to Atlanta to be closer to his daughter and a couple of record producers want him to work with them. I want to be in New York since I got accepted at Columbia. He said I was being selfish again and left pissed to run errands.”

“I thought you and he was going to compromise? With your grades, I’m sure you can get into some school in Atlanta.”

“Yes, but Columbia has always been my dream and he also has an opportunity with Sony in New York. We agreed that we would move to a city that’s best for both of us. New York is the best choice. I haven’t even applied to any schools in Atlanta.”

“Maybe he wants to be near his daughter more.”

She grew quiet. “Yeah…he does. Why did I have to fall for him? Life would be so simple right now.”

“Well, do what you think he’s going to do. Once you graduate, break up with him first.”

Autumn yelled in the phone, “That’s the advice you give me? I love him and don’t ever want to be without him. I should’ve called Winter. I thought maybe you were different and not so selfish. That you would understand after what you did to bring Quincy and I back together but then again you have no idea what it means to need someone so much it hurts.”

I snapped back, “I’m rooting for the two of you and aware of how much you love him. I was playing devil’s advocate so you could hear how crazy you sound, Autumn. It’s only been a fucking month since you got back together. So maybe you should have called Winter.” Livid, I hung up and turned my phone off. Hurt that my baby sister and I didn’t seem to click lately, especially after she fell unexpectedly in love with her roommate. She used to be like me and not want a relationship, though our reasons probably differed. I don’t think she would’ve fallen hard if her boyfriend wasn’t originally her roommate. Like me, she was too stubborn to give any man the time of day. And once they had their troubles and she broke up with him, I hated seeing her so miserable and arranged for him and his precious young daughter to spend the holidays with Autumn and our family. 

Although I could see how happy love made my sisters, relationships were still not for me. Three different men proposed to me and all three times I rejected them. My family would exaggerate and say I’ve been engaged but I never accepted any of them. One even asked my father’s permission, trying to force my hand. He was my last boyfriend and for the last six years, I’d gladly been on my own. The only thing men were good for was sex, occasional stimulating conversation, and expensive meals or gifts. I’m not callous, and I absolutely love men — I’m simply a woman who wants to do what I want anytime I want. Once a man believes you’re his, what you want no longer matters. And I’ve seen too many broken hearts and promises in the name of love, to believe that it’s for me. I am happily single and can do bad by my damn self. Thank you very much.

“Hey.” I felt a nudge and looked up to see Romel’s hard, big black dick resting on my shoulder. I turned my head to run my tongue down his long length, needing a vicious pounding to forget my irritation at my sister. 

“Hope you brought your condoms in here too.”

He begged, “Come on, we don’t need it.”

“Yes, the fuck we do.” Stretching my arms above my head, I propped one leg over the back of my armchair and planted my other foot on the plush carpet. “If you want this sweet pussy, it’s a requirement.”

*****

Autumn had already texted an apology, by the time I finished fucking and sent Romel on his merry way.

I’m sorry. You’re right. Quincy and I will be fine, hate when we argue. Call me later so we can catch up. 6:01 pm 

I sipped Chardonnay while I soaked my sex exhausted body in my garden tub alone thinking over my conversation with Autumn and that she called me selfish because I didn’t care about relationships like she and my other sisters. That hurt because I prided myself in being there as her big sister since I was the second oldest of four girls. All of us were named after the seasons of the year. My mother who’d been very artsy and creative while pregnant with her first child decided that her children would be named according to the season in which he or she was born.  

Autumn, my youngest sister, and a senior in college, used to eschew relationships but is now madly in love with her roommate. Then there’s Winter, my other younger sister who I’ve always been secretly jealous of because she became the apple of Daddy’s eye since the moment she was born. Like me and Autumn, she had sex as a teenager but only with her high school boyfriend. Unlike us, her first sexual partner was her only partner until a month ago when she finally got with her best friend, Chad. Unfortunately, she couldn’t seem to let go of her ex, Jared, so Chad currently isn’t speaking to her. For now. Winter and Chad’s story isn’t done yet because they love each other too much. And then there’s my older sister and best friend, Summer. 

By the time she fell in love and had sex in her second year in college, I’d already had five different partners. Okay. Six. I always forget about Herman during my senior year in high school. I should have never allowed any Herman anywhere near my pussy. I did feel sorry for him because he had a huge crush and he tutored me in Trig— first and last time I ever gave a pity fuck. But I digress.  

Summer hadn’t had a real love since she became a mother right after college. I’ve always felt guilty that I dated often while she didn’t, that maybe if she hadn’t become a mother young, she would have married by now instead of being married to her career. She’d always been a hopeless romantic which is why she waited for love to have sex and has been celibate for years because she believes that sexuality is entwined with commitment. And being a pediatrician and single mom barely left time for dating. I on the other hand only wanted dick without complications. I loved sex too much to wait for the right man —if he even exists. 

Maybe it’s because I’d learned early on to not get so attached to a man. I had sex for the first time the summer before I started high school. His name was Isiah Crawford, he was sexy and nineteen and I pretended to be older than fourteen. I met him when I snuck out to hang at the movie theaters with some of my classmates. A certifiable hottie with his dark chocolate skin, curly twists, and Timberland boots he loved to wear, Isiah had the attention of every girl or woman that crossed his path. I lied about my age because I’d already decided that he should be my first. We met up a couple more times before I let him go down on me and he had me clawing the roof of his car. The very next date we had sex and it didn’t even hurt as everyone said it would. I let him fuck me a few more times before I stopped taking his calls. I’d started really liking him but caught him out with another girl at the same theatre where we met. After crying a couple of days over him, I realized that he never asked me to be his girlfriend and I didn’t love him anyway. Only my ego had been hurt. I was ready to have sex and he fit the bill. No more. No less. 

I thought we were over until he started seeing me out at the movies with other dudes. Isiah got stupid, thinking he owned me because we had sex. He became stalkerish calling me all times of the night, trying to start fights with me and my dates whenever I saw him at the theatre, determined to get me back.  I threatened him with the truth of my age, and he was smart enough to leave me alone and I never saw him again. Looking back, he had to have known I was underage since I looked young and he could never come to my house. He could have gone to jail and been labeled a sex offender for his entire life. All because of sex. A simple act between two people to satisfy a need. No more. No less. And I didn’t need to be committed to a man to enjoy sex or my life. Or so I thought…

Chapter 2

“Looking good Spring,” Jerome called out as I finished my second rep of bicep curls. Summer may be a pediatrician, but I was the healthiest of the family. I had been a dancer and a cross-track runner. Habits I’d picked up then lasted into my adulthood. I knew the right diet for my body and exercised at the state- of- the- art fitness gym next door to my job daily before work. My naturally wavy hair was usually covered by braids, weave, or wigs so I could exercise without fear of sweating out my style during my workouts in and out of the bedroom. Today I sported a long straight black weave that hung below my shoulders.

“Thanks.” I stood and twisted my hair in a bun at the top of my head. 

“Let me know when you need me to spot you again.” He winked suggestively.

“I already told you I am seeing someone. But if we don’t work, I have your number,” I flirted, not meaning a word. Jerome, an attractive linebacker who played for the Texans two seasons before he had a career-ending injury. That was ten years ago and all that he ever talked about was the Texans. I understand a dream interrupted or deferred from personal experience, but life goes on. I may not like complications with the dick, but I definitely didn’t do simple either.

This morning I made it to the gym with barely enough time to do my standard workout, thirty minutes on the treadmill, and twenty-five minutes stretching and weights. And today, this new guy who I’d never seen before hogged my favorite treadmill. He’d been on it for forty-five minutes and my gym had a thirty-minute limit on using the equipment. To hide my annoyance and decreasing time to work out, I plastered a smile and walked in front of the treadmill.

Once I moved in front of him, pleasantly surprised by his handsomeness, my smile became genuine. “You must be new?” Usually, light-skinned brothers weren’t my type. I tended to go for the chocolate wonders like the Trevante Rhodes of the world. Yet, this tall man with his honey brown complexion, dark wavy hair that he wore slightly thicker on top, nice full lips, groomed mustache and goatee, brown eyes framed by lashes I wanted for myself, admittedly piqued my curiosity.  

His broad forehead wrinkled as he pulled his buds out of his ear, still jogging. “Excuse me?”

Unabashedly admiring his built physique, I repeated, “You must be new?”

Barely panting while he moved at a brisk pace, he used the towel wrapped around his neck to wipe the beads of sweat on his forehead and responded drily, “Relatively.”

“Relatively?” Oh, he’s a pretty asshole. Placing my hands on my bare waist, to draw his attention to my body, I informed, “We have a thirty-minute limit on machines.”

Still maintaining his pace, he pointed to an older model treadmill in the corner on the other side of the room. “Only if there no machines available.” He put his buds back in and hit a button and began jogging faster, done with our brief conversation.

I hated that old ass treadmill, and no one ever used it. I glared at the annoying no longer sexy stranger before heading to shower and dress for work. I needed to leave anyway since my new supervisor would be starting today and I needed to be on time.

*****

Karol, my colleague, stood right inside the door of my office. We were both Human Resources Specialists for Lear, a large oil and gas company that had been recently bought out by a larger company from Los Angeles.  She looked corporate ready in her grey pantsuit, red lipstick and blonde hair pinned in a neat chignon. “Spring, the vultures will be out in full force. Our new boss is hot.”

I looked up from my computer. “You’ve met him already?”

“Yeah, he was in the employee lounge with Stan. Girl, I won’t be able to concentrate in our morning meetings.”

“He all that?” I finished checking my emails in preparation for our Monday morning meeting. “I hope he doesn’t come in here trying to change things up.”

“You mean, not allowing you to do whatever the hell you want?”

I corrected, “You mean running the HR department as it should be run.”

Karol smiled. “I wish I could argue with you. Charlie didn’t know anything. Thank God, he recognized it and listened to you.” She smoothed back her hair and moved to sit in front of my desk. “You really okay with them bringing someone in from corporate instead of promoting you?”

I shrugged, tapping my pen against my desk. “I have no choice. I’ve put years in this department and I’m not quite ready to move on. It’s still a man’s world and most of the heads are males. I’m not surprised they would want to bring in their own team once the merger happened. Lucky for us, the only casualty from our department was Charlie.”

“Yeah, I couldn’t enjoy Christmas with this merger looming over our heads.”

“Nothing gets in the way of me enjoying holidays and my time off.”

“You weren’t nervous at all?”

“No.” Of course, I was worried, but I never liked others to see me sweat.  I could be fiercely private with everyone except my sisters.  People will let you down, especially if you show you care about something or someone. You only have yourself and if you’re lucky, your family.

Karol said wistfully, “I wish I could turn off my emotions as you can. I care too damn much over too damn much.”

“It makes your life much easier if you can, trust me.  We still have twenty minutes before the management meeting, and I forgot to get my coffee.” I tugged my black sleeveless sheath dress down over my knees, grabbed my red blazer, and cell. “You want anything?”

“The coffee in the breakroom is good enough for me.”

“When there’s a Starbucks downstairs?”

We walked to my door together and she warned, “Don’t be late Spring. It’s busy down there in the morning.”

“I won’t be and besides Stan is always running fifteen minutes behind and we can’t start without him.”

Stan, our fearless leader and CEO, who’d managed to negotiate the merger and maintain our company name and most of our jobs, was notoriously late for every meeting.  I greeted various staff in the Human Resources department as I headed to the elevator, believing I had plenty of time to get my tall mocha latte with nonfat milk.

On the fourteen floors down, I checked my text messages. Already had two from Romel this morning, trying to get together again after work.  I bet if I wanted a relationship, he would run screaming the other direction. Men liked the chase. I preferred men chasing me too, but I had no intention of getting caught.

I giggled at the dick pic that Mike, a pharmacist I used to fuck sent me reminding me that we hadn’t seen each other in a while. Definitely have to hit him up later. He might be who I do instead of Romel.

As the elevator touched on the ground level, I wondered if I would agree with Karol, who had questionable taste in men, about our new boss. I didn’t believe in playing where I worked, so his appearance didn’t matter. Most of the new people were diverse and friendly enough that the merger hadn’t changed the company drastically which we’d all hoped for. Working in the oil and gas industry although lucrative was also ever-changing. One day you could be making six figures, loving your job and the next fighting for severance pay due to job lay-offs from company acquisitions, mergers, or a steep decline in oil prices.

When I hurried out of the elevator I bumped into a hard body. Without looking up, I grumbled, “Can you watch where you’re going?”

A deep, voice responded, “You were looking down at your cell.”

“Which meant you saw me…” I stopped speaking the moment I looked at the man who had a soothing voice. “You’re the selfish guy from this morning?”

Now, even finer, impeccably dressed in a coal gray suit, and deep red tie, he moved past me with a quizzical expression, holding a cup of Starbucks coffee. “Selfish? This morning?”

I watched him and others get on the elevator. “You hogged the treadmill.”

He slapped his forehead comically. “Oh, I do remember you. The spoiled princess.” The elevators closed to snickers and giggles from the other people.

“I hate him.” Beyond irritated, that I had two run-ins with the same infuriating man on the same morning, I stormed to the Starbucks café. Thankfully, only two people stood in line. I needed coffee this morning to calm my nerves.  

*****

By the time I grabbed my coffee and rushed back to our conference room, I was ten minutes late. I could hear Stan’s booming voice. Great! Of all days, he decides to be on time. I hurried into the meeting, searching for a leather seat in the back of the room to avoid drawing any more attention to myself. As one of the managers, I was supposed to sit at the conference table, but I didn’t want to disrupt the meeting by walking in front of the staff.

Stan, a friendly, tall red-head guy who for some reason still wore a buzz cut from his Marine days, beckoned me to the front. “Spring, we were just wondering where you were. Before you sit, briefly introduce yourself to Miles.”

He gestured to the man I hadn’t noticed until this very moment. 

It was the asshole from this morning and on the elevator, staring back at me with a slight smirk! He couldn’t possibly be my new boss. Please tell me he’s a new hire in another department. 

“It’s okay, Stan, I can catch her up to speed. Ms. Locke, right?” Miles asked as he stood up. 

I nodded, finding myself surprisingly mesmerized by his engaging smile.

“Name’s Miles Davenport and I’ll be heading up your department. The managers introduced themselves and you were the last manager before moving on to the staff. I presume your chair is next to mine.” He pulled back the only vacant chair. “I asked everyone to tell me his or her name, where he or she is from, current position, years worked at Lear, and a fun or interesting fact about yourself.” 

I walked closer to him holding my hand out to him. “My sincere apologies for being late and missing some of the introductions.” He grasped my hand in his warmly. “I especially hate that I didn’t hear your interesting fact.” 

Miles’ smile faltered a bit as he released my hand. “Because I didn’t say it.”

“Oh, then I didn’t miss your introduction?” I’d already pegged him as the type who expected the staff to give and share while he remained private. “Good. I’ll sit and go after you.”

He cleared his throat and his eyes followed me as I sat down. “I already introduced myself.”

“Well, since everyone knows me but you. I’ll address you. My name’s Spring Locke and with Employee Satisfaction and have been with the company for almost ten years. Again, my apologies for my lateness, and welcome to the team.”

“An interesting fact?”

I calmly replied, “I don’t have any.”

Stan contradicted. “That can’t be true. You’re the life of the party in HR.”

I looked at Miles. “There you have it. I’m the life of the party.” A few claps and laughter spread throughout the room at the truth of Stan’s words. I loved bringing fun to the office. We spent more time at work than we ever did with family and friends, so I did my best to make my work environment entertaining.

“Thank you.” He nodded before turning his attention to the twenty or so people in the room. 

An hour later as we were being dismissed from the meeting, Miles said near my ear, “Ms. Locke, can I have a minute of your time?”

I clamped down the desire to shiver at the nearness of his kissable lips so near my skin. “Sure.”

While waiting for the room to finish clearing, I jotted down my agenda for the day. Anything to keep my mind occupied with work. It’d been difficult to concentrate sitting next to Miles. He smelled heavenly and I could feel the timbre of his deep voice every time he spoke. Although I was attracted to him, he seemed too uptight for me. I hope that he isn’t interested in me, that would be awkward since no matter what I don’t play and work in the same place.

Miles had been standing talking to various staff as they exited the room and once the last person closed the door, he chose to sit across instead of back next to me. “I just moved here from Los Angeles and I’ve worked for Schelling for six years, been in HR for fifteen years. And I’m happy about the merger with Lear and believe in working as a team. That was my introduction that you missed.” He leaned forward. “Ms. Locke, it’s a waste of time to repeat information that was given when you more than capable to receive the information the first time around. As the manager who’s next in line to me, I expect punctuality at all times. Five minutes early as far as I’m concerned is on time. We always lead by example. To show up late for an all HR staff meeting is unacceptable. We can’t penalize employees for tardiness if our HR department is late. Consider this a verbal warning.”  

I stared at him incredulously. “A verbal warning? In the nine-plus years I’ve been here, I’ve never been reprimanded verbally or otherwise. I assure you my lateness is not my norm.”

“Why would you decide to make a run for coffee fifteen minutes before the start of a staff meeting in which your new supervisor would be introduced? Do you really think that was the best decision given the circumstances, especially since there’s coffee offered throughout this company?”

“How did you…” I stopped myself at his pointed look at the Starbucks coffee cup next to my leather portfolio. “I thought I had time…the barista took a long time to prepare my coffee. And Stan quite honestly is always late for every meeting. I didn’t think today would be any different.”

“I thought you said that ‘lateness is not your norm’?”

“It’s not. Just explaining my behavior.”

Miles calmly replied, “No excuses, Ms. Locke. We will work closely together at times and I need to be able to rely on you. We can’t expect success without dependability. Punctuality is also necessary for me to trust our working relationship.”

I nodded in agreement before asking, “Do you also value honesty from your team?”

He planted his palms down on top of his folder. “Of course.”

“Reprimanding me within an hour of meeting me is not the best way to start a working relationship.”

“I need to be clear on what’s expected.”

“You could’ve made it clear without telling me I’ve been verbally warned.”

Tilting his head, he reminded, “Ms. Locke, were you or were you not late for a mandatory meeting?”

I gritted my teeth and took a deep breath. “Yes, I was late.”

“Then my verbal warning stands.” We locked eyes. 

I straightened my shoulders. “Yes, sir. Understood. Is this a good time for you to tell me what expectations you have for me? Or do you want to suggest another time?”

Miles settled back in his seat. “No need to call me ‘sir’, though I appreciate the respect. I prefer Miles and that we discuss expectations in my office for two o’clock.”

I picked up my belongings. “Is there anything else?”

He began to write on his notepad. I stared at the top of his wavy hair debating whether to confront him on his rather curt tone with me. I decided against it, thinking he would consider me insubordinate, and rose from the chair.  

Once I made it to the door, I heard him tap his Monte blanc against his notepad. “I once won a hip-hop dance contest.”

I turned my head to look back at him. “Excuse me?”

“An interesting fact about me.”

“Oh.” Somehow, I couldn’t picture him dancing at all, definitely not hip-hop.

“Ms. Locke, I believe in leading by example and earlier you purposefully didn’t share a fun or interesting fact because I didn’t.” He quietly assessed me. 

“Well, I once auditioned for Alvin Ailey,” I softly admitted before leaving the conference room. I couldn’t believe I’d shared that with him. No one and I mean no one ever knew I’d auditioned for Alvin Ailey my sophomore year in college….

Read the rest of Spring Blossoms when it drops this Friday, August 7, 2020! Pre-Order and your copy will be in your kindle Thursday night/wee hours of Friday morning…

And once you finish reading, join me in The Love Noters Lounge (https://www.facebook.com/groups/204678854179191/293909871922755) for:

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