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As soon as Eminence received the gold-and-black invitation, she wanted to rip it up, burn it and send the
charred pieces back to Jordie with a note that simply said, “You’ve burned your bridges.” But Eminence had
grown up. As an adult, she needed to confront her demons head on. Plus it would be interesting to hear the
reason Jordie had invited her to a club opening especially since Eminence had planned to open her own
This trip wouldn’t be personal. As a business owner, she had to check out her competition. If Jordie got too
familiar, Eminence would have to remind her of that.
Eminence retrieved the crumpled invitation from her purse and fanned her face, now overheated from thinking
about Keys, the betrayal and how this night would go.
A brick wall of a doorman spotted the invitation in her hand and waved her up. Eminence smoothed her hand
over her hair and did a slow stroll to the front door. It looked like the events of the night would be going her way.
Tank had to blink a few times, rub his eyes, and do a quick and silent prayer in his head when spotted a sexy
damn woman in line who looked so much like the first and only real love of his life, Eminence Dutton.
Working the door at Jordyna’s new club wasn’t the highlight of his day…until now.
“Will you check this out?” Dru, the other doorman, said as he stared at sex on two legs making her way up to
them. “Damn. Do you think that swagger is for real or put on?”
The longer he stared, the more Tank realized the woman approaching the front door was Eminence. She must
not have noticed him standing behind Dru. She kept her gaze up and forward.
Her chestnut colored hair was styled in a swept-up hairdo with little sprigs of hair framing her face. Her light
brown eyes held him still in her gaze. Just like when they were in high school, her full lips looked too juicy to not
want to nibble and kiss. And he had loved her body back then. Almost as tall as his six-feet-three inch height,
she used to be all arms and legs. Now she knew how to work her incredible legs. And her tits filled out nicely in
her tight outfit.
Even though his body betrayed him, his heart wouldn’t, not again. She’s not the only one who can turn feelings
on and off. Tonight he would give her a taste of her own medicine, see how she liked getting so close to
complete happiness before someone shattered her dream.
“Hey, I think she’s one of the ones J. said to watch out for.” Tank nudged Dru in his side.
“What?” The big man split his attention between Tank and the cutie heading toward them. “Word? She’s on
Tank kept his gaze directed on Eminence, ignoring Dru and the throngs of people in line trying to get the duo’s
attention to gain entrance into Epitome.
“Oh, hell. You scoping her out? Hell no. I checked her out first.” Dru pounded his fist on Tank’s shoulder.
“Yeah, but you owe me.” Tank pulled his baseball cap down over his eyes to camouflage his facial appearance.
“Or did you forget that you forgot to tell Jordyna about that unopened bottle of Cristal that ended up in your
Dru’s eyes widened.
“I replaced it before she found out. But I ain’t bailing your ass out any more, especially if you block this.” Tank
nodded his head toward Eminence, who was now so close she was lethal.
“Fuck!” Just as Eminence took a step up toward the door, Dru stopped her. “Sorry, ma’am. We’re going to need
to pat you down.”
“Pat me down? At a club? For what?”
As soon as Tank heard her voice, it confirmed his assumption. Eminence’s fiery spirit still existed. He knew as
soon as she made him out, that he would have a small window of opportunity to state his case. Telling her how
he truly felt would be payment for all of those years he was left wondering.
“In case you’ve been living under a rock, people still bring guns and knives into clubs all of the time.” Dru
crossed his arms over his massive chest. Why the man chose to wear sunglasses at night was beyond Tank.
Dru could barely read the names on the guest list while wearing them.
“Yeah, but in this outfit, where would I hide a weapon?” She held up her hands.
Tank took that moment to scan her body. Hourglasses longed to have her shape. He licked his lips, then
nudged Dru in his back to get this ruse going.
“Follow this guard to our search area.” Dru nodded his head toward Tank, who opened the front door for her
while keeping his head down.
“This is ridiculous. Forget it. I don’t need to come to this damn club anyway.” She tore the invitation and threw it
to the ground, inciting a feeding frenzy among the folks in line.
“I’ll use this if she doesn’t want it!” One woman held one half of the invitation while another man grabbed onto
the partner half.
“Let us in! These count as two invites, right?” The man held up his half of the card.
“Hey!” Tank bellowed over the crowd.
She made a slow pivot before putting her fist to her hip.
“The owner would like to talk to you.” He nodded toward the club.
Tank hadn’t been completely full of shit. He and Jordyna both had talked about trying to get Eminence to come
to the club when Jordyna opened it. Whereas Jordyna wanted to patch the friendship, Tank had other motives.
He never thought Eminence would show. The last time he saw her, she called him a liar and said Jordyna was a
whore for stealing her man. She didn’t even believe him, didn’t trust him.
“Why would she want to see me?” Eminence asked as she made a slow approach back to the door.
The closer she got, the more Tank had to hide his face. He lowered his head, then hunched his shoulders to
respond to her.
“This is ridiculous.” Eminence stomped up the steps. “I don’t get all of this cloak-and-dagger shit, but to give
Jordie a piece of my mind would be worth it.” She whisked past Tank.
No longer did Eminence carry the fragrance of flowers. No, now she smelled like a woman with a heavy vanilla
and citrus scent. God, he could have eaten her right there and then. Pain and hurt be damned. His body
craved her still. Tank would have to punish his traitorous body in the gym after he gave Eminence a piece of his
“Follow me.” He walked by her, purposely brushing his shoulder against her.
“Fine, Lurch. Lead the way.”
Tank bit his lower lip to keep from laughing at her jab. She still had a sense of humor. Good. She wouldn’t be in
a jovial mood once she figured who he was.
“So where are you taking me?” she asked from behind him.
He almost didn’t hear her over the loud, thumping music. “It’s where we do our extensive searches.” As he led
her down a darkened hallway toward a room where many of the employees had clandestine encounters, his
heart hammered. He’d never taken advantage of the camera-less room, but he would tonight.
At the end of the hallway, he opened the door for her. “Right this way.”
She paused outside of the door. “Is this where I’m going to get searched and meet with Jordyna?”
Afraid that she would recognize his voice at such a close range, Tank simply nodded. She stormed by him. The
room, a spare, unused office, only had a desk, an empty file cabinet and an overhead ceiling fan contained
inside. With only a small lamp on top of the file cabinet illuminating the room, the space was cloaked in semi-
darkness. Tank liked that. The more he can hide his identity, the longer he would have with Eminence.
Eminence slammed her purse onto the desk. She whipped around to face him with her arms crossed over her
chest. “This seems a little extreme.”
Tank would keep this as straight-laced as possible until her guard lowered. “Interlace your fingers. Hands to the
back of your head, please.” He stood before her, but remained in the shadows.
“What is this?”
“A pat down, ma’am.”
“You’re not putting your hands on me. If anyone is going to search my person, it’s going to be a woman.”
“Ma’am, I’m a professional.”
She cocked her head. “You’re a big guy who looks intimidating. That’s why you were hired. Unless you’re going
to show me a badge, you’re not going to touch me.”
“Fine, ma’am. I’ll just contact the local police department to see if they can send over a female officer to check
you out. I don’t know how long it’ll be before she gets here, if they even send one. If they ask why they were
contacted, I will have to tell them that you were being uncooperative, which may not be in your best interest.”
Tank cleared his throat. “I assure you. I will not hurt you.”
Those were the same words he’d said to her the very first time they’d made love. He’d meant it then, but
resentment enveloped his heart now.
“Fine.” As requested, Eminence laced her fingers together and sat her hands on top of her head like a suspect.
Tank came up behind her. Her scent nearly crippled him. The first touch, the very first connection since they
parted as reckless teenagers, made his fingertips tingle. As soon as he felt her hands, the air escaped from his
body. Handling her soft skin jumpstarted his heart.
“Night out on the town, huh?” he began as a way to break the ice.
“Started off okay until this shakedown.” She huffed and shifted her weight from one foot to the other.
“I appreciate your cooperation.” Tank caressed her bare arms down to her armpits. “Feels like you’re in great
shape. Are you still doing pushups?”
“Not that it’s any of your business, I’ve joined a gym.”
Tank coasted his hands down her body to her waist. As soon as he eased his hands around to her belly, then
brought them up to rest underneath her breasts, Eminence’s body stiffened. He used every bit of will to prevent
himself from cupping her tits. It was bad enough his cock started to get hard and threatened to let her know just
how he was reacting to touching her again.
“Wait.” Eminence started to turn her head to face him. “Did you just ask if I’m still doing pushups? How would
you know that I did them before?”
This time it was Tank’s turn to freeze.
“Who the hell are you?” Eminence brought her hands down and turned around.
Not ready to let her go just yet, Tank held her waist. She, on the other hand, pulled his hat off of his head.
A range of emotions registered on her face. When she furrowed her eyebrows, Tank knew she was trying to
figure out who he was. He’d gotten more muscular since their old high school days. He’d also gotten rid of that
horrible beard he used to sport. And to cut down on dressing time, he maintained his hair in a buzz cut instead
of that shaggy mop of a ‘do he used to have that he thought all of the girls liked.
Within a millisecond, Eminence’s face relaxed. “Keys?”
Against his will, he smiled. “No one has called me that in over fifteen years.” Before he could stop himself, he
pulled Eminence close with one arm around her waist while he stroked her cheek with his free hand.
~ ~ ~
Copyright © 2008 by Bridget Midway. All rights reserved.