A Kiss Before Lying(2)

By: M. SKYE



Curling up in bed, pushing the money to the floor, Draya looked down at the mess of hundred dollar bills and felt numb inside. Once again, he had managed to break her down so far that she felt cheap and dirty. She suspected that was what he meant to do to keep her coming back, and so far, he had been successful.

Standing at six-foot-four, with smooth dark skin, a crazy fit body, sparkling brown eyes, and the most hypnotic magic stick, he was probably the most handsome man she had ever seen. She knew it shouldn’t have been enough of a reason to play the fool she had for all these years, but she couldn’t control herself around him. He was always attractive to her when she was growing up, but the years had done a lot to diminish the fantasy. The reality she faced was a controlling, jealous, abusive bastard that threw money at her like she was an annoying hoe. The truth was, she had tried to leave him many times before but he never wanted to let go.

In the course of their seven-year affair, she tried to leave him a total of six times and each time, he promised to do better and for a few months, he would, and then once her guard was down, he would revert back to his old ways. After a while, she just got tired of fighting it, tired of fighting him. He had beaten her spirit down so bad; she just went with almost anything he said. It was just easier that way.

Looking at Draya in the real world, people would think she had a banging personal life. She had always been told she was beautiful, and she was. Gorgeous deep brown eyes, flawless caramel skin, flowing jet black hair and a figure that rivaled most. She could attribute her figure to her workout guru best friend, Brittney, but her looks, she took those from her mother. On top of all that, she was also smart, believe it or not.

At the age of eighteen, Draya inherited her grandfather’s restaurant, and although it was in deep financial debt, she turned it around. While no one else in her family wanted the hassle, Draya couldn’t stand for his legacy to go up in smoke. The fight to save the restaurant and looking for outside help led her back to her childhood church, and ultimately ended up landing her in the bed of a man who was once a friend of her father.

Damien and Draya’s father, Andrew, went to school together and were pretty much inseparable until her parents met. Once her mother was in the picture, the two started to slip apart and then her parents moved when she was twelve. After years away with no contact with anyone from her old life, Draya came back to run her grandfather’s restaurant and was alienated by the rest of her family in the process. She never understood what was so wrong with stepping up, but she just wasn’t content to walk away.

Here she was, seven years later and she had only seen her parents and sister a handful of times since moving back to Atlanta. Something was definitely going on with them, but she was on the outside of the circle. It seemed like the minute she took over the restaurant was the minute they cast her out. They had warned her against taking it and once she went against their wishes, it was almost like she was dead to them. If it hadn’t been for the holidays, she wouldn’t even know they were still alive. With all of that playing in her head, she was bound to flock to Damien. He was the only one to support her in her time of need.

When she rejoined the church, she came in contact with Damien, and he shared all he knew about business with her. Introducing her to his contacts in the business world, they bonded as he helped her revive the restaurant. At first, he was just lending a helpful hand and then something happened to spark his feelings for her. She wasn’t sure what flipped the switch for him, but one night, after talking over some plans for the restaurant, he came to see her in her office, and it went crazy from there.

***

“You should change the name, Dray. Make it something that fits you.”

“I don’t think I should do that, it’s not really mine. I’m just here until—”

“Until what? No one else is coming to save the day, baby girl. It’s all on you, and it is yours. Make your name count.”

Rubbing her shoulders he slid her down in her chair, attempting to relax her. While it was working, she still felt like she was carrying the weight of the world. Her life had drastically changed over the past few months, and she wasn’t sure all of this was for her.

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