Blindfold Me, like much of my stories, is set in Brooklyn, New York where I happen to live, and is the story of childhood sweethearts reunited after a lengthy and forced time apart. Secrets live and breathe within these pages, but nothing is ever as it appears :)
In the scene below, the heroine, Lyric, meets the hero, Grayson for the first time in thirteen years. Naturally, it's not a warm and fuzzy welcome.
Thirteen years ago, Lyric Benson's boyfriend accused her of sleeping with his older brother then disappeared. She never stopped caring, never stopped hoping. Now, all these years later, Lyric is stunned to discover the new owner of her company is one Grayson St Clair, who never forgot or forgave her transgression.
Grayson wants nothing to do with someone he thinks hurt him so deeply. He can't let go of the past and he can't trust Lyric. It doesn't help matters that while on her watch, the Masonry company she oversaw was hacked into and the company's top secret client list accessed. Reluctantly, Lyric and Grayson team up to find the culprit, with Grayson denying their blossoming feelings at every turn. But when his brother appears, secrets in tow, Grayson will have to choose: live in the past or move on with Lyric.
Lyric pressed her palm to her stomach in a futile effort to calm the sudden flutters. She waited until everyone entered the conference room before she took a deep breath and followed.
Everyone waited—José the foreman, Paul the accountant, and the two drivers Mike and Brian. She paused in the doorway to study the newcomers off to the side with Evelyn. The dark-skinned black man looked younger than she first thought—closer to his late thirties.
An image of the would-be worker’s tight ass and broad shoulders flashed in her mind. She fanned herself discreetly. God, the idea of a hot guy had her sweating.
She turned her gaze to the third stranger, the one who’d gotten her all hot and bothered. His golden skin heralded his mixed race. He sported a faux hawk and stood legs apart, muscular arms folded across his chest. His hard stare centered on the workers sitting at the rectangular conference table. A chiseled, clean-shaven face held a hint of annoyance.
His gaze wandered over to her and Lyric averted her eyes. She stepped into the room as Evelyn took a seat. All three men turned to Lyric, and she approached them with her hand outstretched. “Gentlemen, welcome to Ilsha. I’m Lyric Benson, the manager.”
The white gentleman—obviously a Wall Street type—pushed up his wire-rimmed glasses before taking her hand. “Ms. Benson, it’s so nice to finally put a face to the name. I’m Richard Prescott, lawyer for GS Holdings.”
She nodded. “Nice to meet you as well, Mr. Prescott.”
The third man stared at her, his gaze like a hot brand across her skin. She chanced a glance at him. Suddenly, the room spun in front of her and blood pounded in her ears.
Those eyes. She knew those eyes.
“This is my colleague, Hayden Bastien.” Richard turned to the second man. “He’s also a lawyer and representative of GS Holdings.”
Lyric shook the man’s hand while a sense of foreboding crept up her spine.
“And this is the new owner of Ilsha Industries, Grayson St.Clair.” Richard gestured to the man she’d assumed to be a worker.
Damn, not good.
The name Grayson St.Clair dredged up bad memories from thirteen years ago.
“Now that you know who I am,” her new boss said, “I’d like you to tell me who you are.” He looked expectantly at the people sitting around the table, and one by one they recited their names and job description.
“Evelyn, I’ve already met.” He nodded to Lyric’s secretary and she smiled at him. Finally, he turned to Lyric, silver eyes like headlights trained on her in the darkness.
Mouth dry, Lyric blinked. Her tongue no longer worked, her palms itched. What’s happening to me? She swallowed and fought the urge to bolt.
Grayson’s lips curved up at the corners, like he read her thoughts. “Hello, Lyric.” His drawl, slow and thick, flowed over her like warm honey. “Long time no see.”
And he winked. Damn him.
Grayson recognized her voice. But before she spoke, he’d been drawn to the hot stranger giving him the once over from the doorway. He watched her watch him from the corner of his eyes, and while she spoke to Richard, he took the chance to examine her.
Asymmetrical dark hair brushed her shoulder on the right and barely reached her jaw line on the left. Her coffee-colored skin glowed, and her generous breasts strained against her white blouse. He loved the sexy buttoned-up look of her tight gray skirt belted at the waist and blue heels.
Surprise and anger vied for top billing on her face.
“You guys know each other?” Evelyn looked back and forth between him and Lyric.
Grayson shrugged. “Oh, Lyric and I go way back. Though I can’t say we ever really knew each other.”
Lyric’s dark eyes flashed at him. She pressed a hand to her stomach.
Grayson ignored his sudden unease at her discomfort. He motioned for Hayden, his business partner and friend, to hand out the folders with his info, his history, his accomplishments, and his vision for this new chapter of Ilsha Industries. When Hayden finished, he addressed his new employees.
“The folders are a little insight into me, to help you understand who I am. If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.”
One of the drivers raised his hand.
The driver looked up from the folder. “So, you’re from
Grayson shook his head. “No…uh, Mike, is it?”
“I was born here in Brooklyn, but I’ve been living in
for the past thirteen years.” Florida
He glanced at Lyric. Her eyes remained on him while she worried her bottom lip with her teeth. “Anymore questions?” No one said anything, so he clasped his hands behind his back and spoke to Lyric. “I’d like to meet the other workers and tour the warehouse.”
He headed for the door, Richard and Hayden by his side.
“Uh, Mr. St.Clair? We have a situation.”
He turned around. “What is it, Ms. Benson?”
She glanced at the floor then squared her shoulders and stared him in the eye. “Our client list has been compromised.”
Silence filled the room.
“I’m sorry, repeat that?”
“Our system was hacked a few weeks ago. Someone has been soliciting our clients, trying to get them to switch suppliers.”
“How long ago did you say this happened?” he asked.
“About two weeks ago. Why?”
Grayson took a deep breath and prayed for patience. “Why wasn’t I informed the minute this happened?”
“In case you forgot, we learned your identity like a minute ago.” She folded her arms across her chest and narrowed her eyes.
“Yes, but I seem to recall you being in contact with Richard this whole time. Why didn’t you tell him?” he demanded.
“I wanted to make sure there was something to tell,” she said. “We knew we were hacked, but we had no idea why, or what the damage was, until three customers contacted us.”
“That’s unacceptable. It was your job to make sure the company ran smoothly during the transition.”
“I know that, but I had no control over the situation.”
“Not good enough!”
Hayden laid a hand on his shoulder. “Gray, come on. Take it easy. Let her explain.”
“Explain? Explain what? That I’m now the proud owner of a company whose clients could jump ship at any time?” Grayson shrugged his hand away.
“Our clients wouldn’t do that. They’re loyal to us,” Lyric said softly.
Grayson swung around to face her. “And what the hell would you know about loyalty, huh? The minute they’re quoted a cheaper price, they’ll be gone!”
She bit her bottom lip, but kept silent.
Everyone in the room stared at them. Grayson turned to Evelyn. The secretary watched him with her mouth open.
“Get them out of here.” He gestured to the workers at the table. “Lyric stays.”