Ever since Alisha Houston runs into Daniel Mason on the ski slope it seems that they are destined to be together. At first, mad at the leggy, dusky- skinned skiing disaster, Daniel is sure he should keep a safe distance from her. But their paths keep crossing and he is puzzled how he can be so annoyed at a woman and still be so attracted to her. And she definitely turns him on.
Alisha is mortified that the one, sexy man she is fascinated with at the ski resort is the one she sends to the hospital! Then one shattering, unexpected kiss launches them into a love affair that brings red-hot passion and deep caring. Until Alisha’s estranged father dies, leaving behind a secret that devastates her.
A secret she cannot, and must not share with the man she loves. Even if it means leaving him without warning or explanation. Even if it means breaking his heart.
“No, Daniel. It’s best this way,” Alisha Houston whispered into the phone, hoping to convince the both of them.
“Yeah, sure, just like last night at the pub. I stood in the rain waiting half the night for you to show.”
“I couldn’t bring myself to face you again.”
“Because you knew you wouldn’t be able to walk away.”
“Yes. That’s true. Had I been with you, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what needs to be said now.”
“Why are you doing this? I know you’re still in love with me.”
“I love you and always will, but we can’t be together any longer.”
“I don’t understand, Alisha. In fact, nothing you’ve said so far makes any sense. How can you do trash our relationship especially now with Christmas coming in a few days? We would’ve been together for a year.”
“Stringing you along until after Christmas would’ve been worse. Look, I’ve got to go.” Alisha said abruptly ending the call.
“Please don’t go,” Daniel said but she’d already broken the connection.
Alisha’s throat closed as her tears fell more rapidly. She let them fall as she rolled her suitcase to the boarding platform. The Amtrak train to Vermont would be leaving soon. And she would be beginning a new chapter of her life—without Daniel.
Alisha hadn’t wanted to end their relationship this way. In fact, she had become so despondent over her situation that she briefly considered taking the cowardly way out. All she had to do was swallow a bottle of sleeping pills and just go to sleep. That way, Daniel wouldn’t feel guilty about moving on because there was no chance she’d ever return. However, Alisha didn’t have the heart to do that to him or the will to take her own life. No matter what. She was a nurse, for heaven’s sake, sworn to preserve life, not take it—even if the life was her own.
So what choice did she have? In Alisha’s eyes, breaking off with Daniel on the phone was the quickest way even if it was cowardly.
Daniel Mason, stared at his cell phone in disbelief. A freelance graphic artist and ITT consultant, his home office suddenly felt claustrophobic. He could hardly breathe. There was no way he’d be able to remain here, let alone, continue working. Quickly, he powered down his computer, grabbed his wallet, coat, and keys and headed for the door of his condo. The wind had picked up and a steady, cold rain was falling. Fitting, he thought, as he ran to his car. Once inside with rain dripping from his hair into his eyes, he was about to start the engine when he realized he had no idea where he was going. He whisked the rain off his forehead.
Of course he felt lost. The rudder of his life and the reason he awoke each morning, Alisha, had just left him. Now, like a rudderless boat, he’d be merely adrift. He needed a drink while he tried to sort out what Alisha had said and make some sense of it. There were a number of bars nearby, so he started the engine and headed to the first one.
Despite the fact it was a week night, judging by the cars in the parking lot, the bar was busy. He went inside and found a seat at the end of the oak bar. Ordering a beer, he sipped it slowly, as he replayed Alisha’s hurtful words in his mind. What the hell had happened to induce them?
As far as he could tell, they had been a happy couple. In fact, he was thinking about asking her to marry him. What had changed? Better still, why did Alisha feel her only option was to leave? Especially without talking about it. Most of the time they discussed everything to the point of ad nausea and that stuff paled in importance to the reason she decided to destroy their relationship. What bothered him the most, aside from her not wanting to discuss it and taking the coward’s way out of running away, was the fact she gave him no reason for doing so.
Daniel realized that the only emotional trauma that Alisha experienced recently was the death of her father. For the last five years, Alisha’s old man had been residing in an assisted- living apartment in New Jersey. In all honesty, his death should not have been that traumatic.
Alisha wasn’t close to her father. He’d been angry with her for moving to New York. It seemed a silly reason.. It wasn’t as if she’d moved across country. But from what Alisha had let slip, they were never very close to begin with. Her mother had died several years before. One would think a dad would want to be close to his daughter, but Abner Houston disowned her. He refused to take her calls and returned every card and letter she sent him. Eventually, she stopped trying.
Then, about a week ago, she got the call from the assisted-living complex that he’d had a massive coronary and was dead. Daniel had expected to accompany Alisha to New Jersey for the simple graveside funeral she planned for her father. He was surprised when she told him that she wanted to go alone. He even kidded her about her being embarrassed that he was white. He remembered what she said about that.
“I don’t care if you’re green or from Mars. I need to do this by myself. Please respect my wishes.”
What could he say to that? So in the end he’d let her go alone. Now he regretted that decision. Daniel took another sip of his drink. Alisha had called from New Jersey and told him that she was staying overnight to clean out her father’s studio apartment. When she came home the following day, there seemed to be a veil of sadness lingering over her. Of course, Daniel had attributed this to the loss of her parent. No matter what Alisha had said, the man was still her father and she still had to feel his passing.
However, that night in bed, it appeared that Alisha wanted to celebrate life—or so he thought. She nearly ripped off his clothes and seemed to be insatiable. After roughly pushing him down onto his back, she kissed him with such passionate ferocity that his mouth ached. Then she slid her lips down his neck leaving kisses as her hands moved across his chest as if reading Braille. Not a single spot of his torso had remained untouched. Her unusually aggressive behavior turned him on.
Alisha moved further down his body like a heat-seeking missile zeroing in on his cock. She ran her tongue around the head eliciting a groan of pleasure from him before lapping at his sacs. Daniel remembered trying to capture her in his arms, but found it nearly impossible to rein her in. She was obviously a woman on a mission and very much in control.
She rose above him and lowered herself down on his erection. As soon as she’d settled in on a rhythm, she rode him as if he were a stallion. He reached up to grab her swaying breasts. Alisha closed her eyes as she rode him even faster, rubbing herself against him with such fervor. Daniel squeezed her nipples harder and she cried out with pleasure. He could tell she was coming and judging by her moans, whimpers, and groans, it was going to be intense. The more excited she got, the more vocal she became.
Daniel waited until she was spent before he withdrew and pushed Alisha onto all fours so he could enter her from behind. He didn’t last long and ejaculated. He lay down beside her, wanting to snuggle and talk, but she went to her side of the bed and fell asleep. Daniel kissed her cheek before spooning with her. He wondered what had gotten into her. She’d never been that aggressive before, but he certainly hoped this was a new trend.
Sometime during the night, Daniel felt Alisha rub her bottom against his flaccid cock. Sensing she wanted to make love, he rolled over and kissed her gently. She returned the kiss in kind. As he kissed and nuzzled her neck, he reached for a breast as she repositioned her body giving him complete access. This time, he sensed that melancholy had come over her as they made love again. There was such sadness in her eyes and he thought that perhaps the loss of her father had affected her more than she let on. Had he also detected tears? He tried to recall.
What difference did any of that make now? Alisha was still gone just the same. Then he realized that she most likely had made the decision to leave him right after her father’s death. She had decided to go before she left New Jersey. It would explain her behavior in bed that night.
Again he thought, what difference did it make now?