Man of Her Dreams - Excerpt

November 6, 2013


[You can continue reading the excerpt below or download a PDF version here.]


Prologue


Priscilla rubbed her hands together and looked up at the door whenever a new customer walked in. She’d found a guy online and now she sat anxiously waiting for him to show up at their agreed upon meetup spot – Good Vibes Coffee Bar – in Myers Park, an exclusive Charlotte, North Carolina neighborhood which also happened to be the side of town where she lived with her rich husband. She felt like she was cheating but this was so far from cheating. Sneaky, but not cheating. This was her scheming, doing something she probably had no business doing in the first place, but it was too late to turn back now. The guy was due to show up at any minute.
She rubbed her hands together and took a sip of decaf. She reasoned if she met the guy in a public place on a safe side of town, she’d be okay. Still, her stomach bubbled with nervousness. She’d never done anything remotely close to this before – meeting somebody online and then meeting them in real life. In person. But she had her reasons. Well, motive. Yeah, motive was more like it and that motive was proving her best friend, Elsie Evans wrong.
Elsie wasn’t like her. Wasn’t as outgoing as her. Elsie was as introverted as introverted could get. She stayed barricaded in her apartment most days and would only come out to make money at her boring mailroom clerk job at Trade Tower.
Well, Priscilla was fed up with it and decided to call Elsie out on her bull. Elsie would always go on, and on, and on about this mythical man of her dreams, talking about she never dated because she couldn’t find a man that came close to the kind of guy she wanted.
Yeah. Right…
It was just another excuse. Priscilla knew it and so she wasn’t buying it. That’s why she took it upon herself to find a man for Elsie, and after browsing social media, she’d come across the ideal candidate – one who fit the perfect guy image that Elsie claimed she wanted. Now, she had to meet this guy.
The door chimed again and Priscilla looked up at a gentleman stepping inside like he owned the place. He had on a black coat, black gloves, a black hat and while he was a good distance away, she could tell he was a handsome man and so could the other women who couldn’t take their eyes off of him. She glanced down at the profile picture of the man she was waiting for. It was a dead match. This was the guy.
Would you look at that…somebody who actually looked identical to their profile picture…
She chewed on her lip, analyzing the guy. She’d lured him here by claiming to have a business idea she wanted to discuss and since he was a business consultant who, according to his About Me section was ‘actively looking for new clients’, he responded back quickly, agreeing to meet and go over the specifics of her business idea in person. Judging by looks alone, he seemed like he’d be a reasonable man, even though her ask of him would be totally absurd. She knew that going into this, but what the heck? What’s life without taking risks and going for it every now and then? Since Elsie wouldn’t go for it, she’d do it for her. Well, sort of.
She threw up a single hand to flag the guy over and when he caught sight of her, he smiled with teeth so white, they matched the color of freshly fallen snow. Wow! And the smile enhanced the brilliance of his face. What had she gotten herself into?
“Hi, are you Priscilla?” he asked, extending his gloved hand to her.
Oh my…
His voice sounded like an easy rumble of thunder. She didn’t know why she was so taken off guard by that deep voice emitting from the mouth of a man with such a pretty face. She could just melt. A light-skinned black man with green eyes, a killer smile, a nice body from what she could gather beneath his overcoat, a dimple in his left cheek, a small cleft in his chin and a voice that sounded identical to what she imagined God’s voice sounded like when he gave Moses the Ten Commandments. This wasn’t just the man of Elsie’s dreams. This man was perhaps the representation of every woman’s dream, with a sexy voice to boot. Hot dang!
“Ma’am?”
“Oh.” She snapped out of it and realized that he still had her hand. Or that she still had his hand. And what a hand, what a hand, what a hand, what a mighty good hand…
Releasing his hand finally, she asked, “And you are—um—you are—?”
“Trevor Myerson. You’re the woman who contacted me on social media a few days ago, correct?”
I bet there’re a lot of women contacting you on social media…
“Ma’am?”
“Oh. Yes. Sorry. I completely lost it there. Yes, I’m the woman. It’s me, Priscilla Dorsey.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Priscilla.” He removed his gloves, then took off his coat, laying it on the back of the chair next to the one he sat down in.
Priscilla tried not to notice how the turtleneck he had on contoured to his chest, but some things just couldn’t be ignored or helped. She cleared her throat and said, “I bought you a cup of coffee.”
“Oh. Thanks,” he said, taking the cup from the center of the table, wrapping his hands around it. “It sure is brisk out there today, isn’t it?” he asked, using the winter weather to break the ice.
Priscilla was so busy studying his ringless ring finger, she hadn’t heard the question. “I’m sorry. What’d you say?”
“The weather. It’s cold.”
“Yeah, it is. It’s not usually this cold here, but the last few years, we’ve been having some rough winters.”
“We have.” Trevor took a sip of coffee and released a satisfying, ahh, soaking in the rich, hot flavor as it played a part in warming his body. “Okay, now that the small talk is out of the way, let’s get down to business. What do you have for me, Priscilla?”
Priscilla scratched her head. Suddenly, she had no idea how she was going to bring up her so-called ‘business proposition’ to this guy who was not only gorgeous but intelligent, well-spoken and a man who didn’t look like he would entertain her insane proposition. He would think she was off her rocker if she started chitchatting about Elsie. How was she going to approach this?
Hmmm…
“Um—” she hummed fumbling through her notebook (like she needed notes to talk about Elsie) and then glanced up at him again, meeting his inquisitive, yet puzzling gaze.
“Is something wrong?” he asked, alternating glances between her and the notebook she was so busy staring at.
“Um…your eyes are really green. My friend would just love you.”
His forehead creased. “Your friend? What are you talking about?”
“Okay, I have a confession to make,” Priscilla said, deciding that there was no way to get around the weirdness of this. She just had to come out with it.
Trevor’s face went flat as he leaned back in his chair, disgusted. Were women so desperate nowadays that they’d lie about having a business proposition just to meet a man? “Let me guess,” he said, his agitation apparent by his furrowed brows and sharpness of his jaw. “You don’t have a business proposition to discuss with me at all. Am I right? You want to know if I’m married, single, taken or just looking.” He glanced at her hand and saw a ring. “And you’re a married one. Jeez.”
“First of all, I’m not here to pick you up if that’s what you think,” Priscilla said. “I’m happily married.”
“Then why am I here, Priscilla, because I get the feeling this is a complete waste of my time and I do not like to waste time?”
“If you would let me explain—”
Trevor glanced at the black Movado watch on his wrist. “Then, please, get to it.”
Priscilla took a sip of coffee. “You’re a business consultant, and I know the owner of EBN,” she said boastfully.
“EBN…what’s that?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Being in the business field, I thought you’d know what EBN was, but let me help you out—E-commerce Business Networks. Ring any bells?”
He nodded. “I’ve heard of them. In fact, I offered some consulting services to them last year. Never heard anything back.”
Priscilla smiled. “Well, today’s your lucky day if you’re willing to play ball with me.”
“That depends on the game. I don’t play all sports, Priscilla.”
“It’s really simple. See, my husband, Billie Dorsey, owns EBN.”
His eyebrows rose. “You’re married to Billie Dorsey?”
“I am. Is that so hard for you to believe because I’m black or because he’s white?”
“Actually, it had nothing to do with race. I’m just curious why the owner of EBN’s wife requested this meeting with me.”
“Well, I know for a fact that Billie’s actively looking for a few consultants.”
“Now, you’ve got my attention. In what capacity?”
“To improve the way the organization operates. His aim is to streamline processes, make the business more efficient—things I’m sure you know all too well.”
“And I take it there’s an offer in here somewhere for me.”
A smile came to Priscilla’s face. “There is.”
“Then, I’ll ask again...what’s the game?”
“Okay, here’s the deal. I have a friend, her name is Elsie. She’s my best friend, but she’s not like me. She’s more withdrawn I want to say.”
“She’s shy?”
“Yes. Like seriously introverted. Don’t get me wrong—she’s the sweetest, nicest, kindest person you’ll ever meet, but she has no adult interaction outside of me and the people she works with at her job. She stays cooped up in her small, one-bedroom apartment all the time and the poor thing has never been on a date.”
Priscilla fiddled around on her phone and pulled up a picture she’d taken with Elsie, presenting it to him. “There she is,” she said when Trevor took the phone. “Pretty girl, although she doesn’t try to actually fix up or anything. Anyway, she’s never been on a date…doesn’t even know how to interact with a guy and—”
“And you want me to take her out in exchange for the consulting gig at your husband’s business,” Trevor said, handing the phone back.
“You’re a quick study,” she commented.
“It doesn’t take a genius to see what you’re trying to do here, Priscilla, but why do you want me to take her out? You could’ve picked someone else that you actually know instead of some guy you found on the Internet.”
She giggled. “That’s how you view yourself? Some guy on the Internet?”
“I’m just saying…you found me online when I know you’ve crossed paths with men you know. Men you trust, so why go out of your way to track me down?”
“Because, Trevor Myerson, you’re the man of her dreams.”
Trevor frowned. “Excuse me.”
“You’re the man of her dreams. One of Elsie’s reasons why she never goes on dates is because she says other men don’t add up to this mythical man of her dreams. I know it’s all a ruse to hide the fact that she’s scared out of her wits to talk to a man, but she insists that’s not the case. I want to prove her wrong once and for all.”
Trevor narrowed his eyes. “Are you crazy?”
“Nope. Not crazy. I’m what you would call a risk taker.”
“No kidding.”
“The way I see this playing out is, you’ll initiate contact with Elsie first so she won’t suspect anything. You’ll ask her out on a date and botta bing, botta boom—Elsie will turn you down cold. Then, I’ll have definitive proof that she’s scared of men and she won’t be able to hide behind that man of her dreams nonsense any longer.”
“Wait a minute…why am I the man of her dreams? I think you skipped over that part.”
“Because,” Priscilla flipped to a different page in her notebook. Reading from a list, she said, “You have green eyes, a fancy nose (whatever that means), a mustache, pretty lips, a dimple, a smooth cut and you’re over six feet tall. That, my friend, is Elsie’s kryptonite. Well, supposedly, but we’re going to find out soon enough.”
“Let me get this straight—I’m the man of your friend’s dreams because of the way I look?”
“Of course.”
“Is she that shallow?”
“No, she’s not shallow at all. In her defense, people don’t initially fall in love with personalities, which yours seem to be a little off by the way. No offense.”
Trevor chuckled slightly. He knew who he was as a person and no one could assault his character with words, especially this flaky broad. Still, he asked, “What’s wrong with my personality?”
“Look, I’m not here to be your therapist.”
“Oh, that’s golden.” Trevor chuckled.
Priscilla rubbed her hands together excitedly. “I can’t wait. I already have butterflies in my stomach. This is going to be epic.”
“I haven’t agreed to anything yet.”
“You will. This is an offer you can’t refuse, Trevor Myerson. This job at my husband’s firm will give your solo consulting career a boost. Everyone’s looking to advance in this world. I know you’re not the exception. Besides, your profile said you were actively looking for new clients.”
Trevor mused over her words. She was right. Landing a consulting job with EBN would be huge for him as a consultant. With a name like E-commerce Business Networks on his portfolio, surely it would attract the attention of other businesses. “How certain are you that I’ll get the position?” he asked.
“You’ll be a shoe-in after I give my husband word about an excellent consultant I ran into one day while running errands.”
“He won’t question you about how you know me?”
“Not at all. My husband hangs on to my every word. The job is as good as yours.”
“And all you want me to do is ask your friend out on a date.”
“Yes. That’s it. And here’s the good part for you—Elsie’s going to turn you down, so you wouldn’t even have to actually plan a date. You don’t have to do anything but ask her. So, what do you say, Trev? Deal or no deal?”
He smirked. This chick was wacko, meeting a stranger and in a matter of minutes had become comfortable enough to call him by a self-invented nickname. And this deal didn’t seem like a deal at all. He didn’t want to gain more business this way. He would like to think he was getting work and growing his portfolio based on his work ethic and skills, but she was giving him an easy in. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I’m in,” he told her, “But I’ll need everything in writing.”
“Already done,” Priscilla said, whipping out the one-page contract she drew up and placed it on the table in front of him.
“You thought of everything, I see.”
“I have.”
Scanning the document, Trevor asked, “And what do you do for a living, Priscilla?”
“I’m a housewife—if I had a job title, it would be Housewife Extraordinaire. I plan parties, I clean, I bake, I—”
“Meddle in your friends’ personal lives,” Trevor added, then smirked. Now, it all made sense. The woman didn’t have anything exciting to do with her time, so doing things like this gave her some excitement. Or maybe she was just bat-crazy. He narrowed his eyes. She didn’t look crazy, but these days, you couldn’t judge a person’s level of sanity just by the way they looked.
“I don’t consider it meddling. I’m trying to help Elsie.”
“How? By embarrassing her? You already said she didn’t talk to men or people for that matter, and that she was withdrawn and shy.”
“And that’s precisely why we need to go through this little experiment. Once she realizes she’s met the man of her dreams—”
“Stop calling me that.”
“Hey, those are her words, not mine. As I was saying once she realizes she met her green-eyed boy toy—”
Trevor rolled his eyes, not flattered in the least.
“And turned him down,” Priscilla continued, “Because she will turn you down, then it will be time for us—me and her, not you—to have some discussions about overcoming her fears.”
Trevor lowered the contract to the table and said, “This is a bad idea.”
“No, it isn’t. It’s brilliant, and it will work.”
“Well, I need a few days to think about it.”
“What’s there to think about? All you have to do is—”
“Ask her out on a date. I’m not slow, Priscilla. I just think this is morally wrong.”
“Why? Don’t tell me you have a girlfriend.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Wife?”
“No. I have a conscience. I don’t know your friend, but I don’t want to hurt her by playing this game.”
Priscilla smiled. “I admire your decency, Trevor, but it’ll be fine. No one knows Elsie better than me.”
“Not even her parents?”
“Well, she’s estranged from her parents, so yes, not even her parents. Look, no one is going to get hurt. I need an answer in the form of a signature now. Are you in or are you out?”
Dang, he didn’t want to do it. The voice in the back of his mind told him not to, but the businessman in him wouldn’t let an opportunity like EBN walk. “Pen,” Trevor said, holding his hand open. When Priscilla gave him the pen, he signed and dated the document and then asked, “Where am I supposed to meet your friend?”
“It’s all going down at Baconville. I’ll have to talk her into going out to breakfast with me and you should already be there.”
“When?”
“Saturday.”
His eyes widened. “Saturday? Like two days from now Saturday?”
Priscilla smiled. Those eyes. Goodness. “Yes, at the Baconville in Concord. There’s only one, so you should be able to find the address.”
“What time?”
“Let’s say around eleven-ish. It’s going to take me some time to pry Elsie out of her apartment. I literally have to pull her out of here. Oh, and don’t be shocked by how she looks. She’s not a morning person, and she never wears makeup. She’s just bleh. I tried to get her out of that, too, but no luck.” Priscilla took a sip of coffee.
“Okay, let me make sure I’m following you. You want me to be at Baconville at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning?”
“Yeppers. Any more questions?” she asked.
“No. I don’t have any questions.”
“Good,” Priscilla said, taking the contract and hiding it between the pages of her notebook. She extended a hand to Trevor for a shake, and when he grasped her hand, she said, “Nice doing business with you, Trev.”
It would’ve been nice if he didn’t feel like he’d just made a deal with the devil. But what was done was done and as long as nobody got hurt, he could live with himself.

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