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Without You (Quicksand #2)
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When trust is broken, can it ever be repaired?
At one time, Terrence “T-Murder” Burrell had it all—a wife, three kids, and an extravagant lifestyle as one of the most popular rappers in the industry. Because of his cheating, he lost his family and knew his life would never be the same. But one night with his ex-wife changes his outlook, and he sees a chance not only to redeem himself, but reclaim the life he once took for granted.
Charisse Burrell divorced Terrence after he broke her heart one too many times. In a moment of weakness she gives in to her desires and makes a mistake that she soon regrets. Now Terrence wants her to believe that not only has he changed, they should try again. Her brain says she shouldn’t trust him, but will her heart give him another chance?
(Quicksand is a series of stand alone stories based on love, sex, and romance. Why Quicksand? Because love pulls you in. The more you fight, the deeper you fall. You can’t fight your way out of quicksand, and you can’t fight your way out of love.)
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Looking at the monitor in the kitchen, Charisse Burrell saw when her ex-husband’s black Range Rover pulled in front of the three-car garage of her six-bedroom, seven-bath house north of the city. She tossed the dish towel onto the counter and rushed to the door, swinging it open as her kids traipsed up the steps to the front door.
They poured into the house with duffel bags in tow—seventeen-year-old Ennis, her ten-year-old, Terrence Junior, and the youngest, eight-year-old Chelsea. Her ex-husband, Terrence, sauntered in behind them and closed the door.
Charisse hugged each of her kids in turn, as if she hadn’t seen them in months instead of the few days their father had taken them to Miami for the weekend. She left the biggest hug for Chelsea since the boys were no longer as affectionate as they used to be when they were her age.
“Hi, Mommy!” said Chelsea, a lanky eight-year-old with colorful clips at the end of her braids that made each one swing around her little face.
She dropped a kiss to her daughter’s forehead. “How’s my little princess today?”
Chelsea was going through a stage where she called herself a princess, and her ex-husband didn’t help by gifting her with tiaras, which she wore every chance she could. She wore one right now. Along with the Tiffany-blue miniature bridesmaid dress under her jacket and the white shoes she wore, she certainly looked the part of a princess at the moment.
“I’m fine. Tired,” Chelsea replied.
“I bet you are. I’m sure Daddy kept you busy all weekend. Okay you guys, go ahead and put away your bags. You know the drill,” Charisse called as she followed the boys, who’d lumbered down the hall.
Charisse made her way back to the kitchen with Terrence and Chelsea following.
The kitchen was a wide open space and the heart of the house, filled with top-of-the-line appliances that included two ovens and a Sub-Zero refrigerator filled with all manner of beverages and snacks for three growing children. During the day, plenty of sunlight came in through the many windows and the French doors that led into the back yard.
Chelsea crouched down to pet the fat tabby that reclined in the corner near the table where they usually ate breakfast and dinner. “Hi, Simba.” Her cat yawned and lazily bounced his tail on the tiled floor.
Terrence tapped his hands on the marble countertop and watched as Charisse finished cleaning up from cooking dinner.
He kept much of his firm physique as he edged toward forty years old, and worked out with the same trainer he started in the music business with when he signed his first recording contract twelve years ago.
“How’d it go this weekend?” Charisse asked. One of his celebrity friends who lived in L.A. owned a place on the water in Miami, and he gave Terrence free range to use it whenever he wanted.
“Good, as usual. Too cold to get in the water, but they still had fun when we went out in the boat. You know how Chelsea loves making s’mores, so we did that every night in the backyard.” He sighed.
Charisse laughed and stuck the last glass in the dishwasher and turned it on. “You know she only demands you do that because you give in. You need to learn how to say no.”
“I can’t say no to my baby.” He sniffed the air. “What’s that I smell?”
She placed her hands on her hips. “Don’t you have somewhere to be?”
“Not right at this minute.”
“You’re supposed to be catching a flight to New York for the Grammys.” This year he’d been nominated in two categories—Best Rap Performance and Song of the Year.
His dark eyes narrowed. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think that you were trying to get rid of me.”
“Moi?” Charisse said with mock innocence.
“You made lasagna.” Terrence rounded the counter.
“Wait one minute.” Charisse spread her arms wide to block his path to the oven.
“No, Daddy. You’re going to eat it all and there won’t be any left for us,” Chelsea said.
Everyone in the family knew how much Terrence loved Charisse’s lasagna, to the point where he once jokingly asked her if she was half Italian.
“You’ve managed to turn my own children against me,” he accused her.
“I haven’t turn them against you, it’s just that everyone knows how greedy you are.”
“Yeah, yeah. Where’s the lasagna?” He stepped his broad body closer with mock intimidation, looking down at her with eyes filled with humor and his thick, luscious lips curled into a smile.
Goodness, he was handsome! His face was almost perfectly symmetrical, with dark umber skin and a long, narrow nose set in the middle of a face that at one time had been deemed “too pretty” for rap. His wavy black hair had started to gray, but he maintained its dark lustre with the diligent application of hair dye. And when he smiled, her heart clenched painfully.