Tamara Price’s world is about to tumble down around her and the one responsible for it is none other than Raymond Brock, her ex-boyfriend. She hasn’t seen him in one year after he ran off to Paris and married her best friend.
Tamara is smart, intelligent, single and a divorce attorney. When Raymond asks her to be his divorce attorney, they rediscover a passion that never died and the lies that kept them apart. Only one problem exists- Tamara is better at fixing broken marriages than she is at dissolving them. Can Raymond and Tamara find a way to overcome the obstacle of his wife- short of murder, that is?
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Aderonke is a self-published author who founded Adom Publishers at the age of 22. She appeared on several bestseller lists, amazon kindle being one of them.
Much of her works revolves around ordinary women who face seemingly insuperable challenges, but find their heart’s desire through unflinching determination. Compassionate and lively, and with future projects in the making, Aderonke is a woman with vision as she continues to blaze trails and inspire others around her.
She presently tours the country speaking about how to follow your dreams starting from a young age as well as encouraging other aspiring writers. A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, she is presently studying for a second degree at Indiana State University. She is presently living in Indianapolis, Indiana and working on her next novel, That Night (When Love Hurts, #3).
Tamara Price didn’t want to get up from bed. As usual, she hadn’t slept well. Actually, she hadn’t been sleeping well for months now. She could cover up the dark circles beneath her eyes with makeup and hide the weight loss by purchasing smaller-sized clothes, but nothing could be done to offer her sanctuary from the forlorn feeling of being alone, a feeling she had known ever since Raymond Brock walked out of her life without any explanation or goodbye. And even though she had tried everything to avoid being alone, she still felt alone whenever she lay on this damn bed. She had worked hard, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week, until her colleagues forced her into taking this stupid vacation. She didn’t want this vacation, but her colleagues refused to listen. Perhaps, they could tell she was miserable.
Her bedside phone rang, disrupting her thoughts. Rolling onto her back, she stretched a hand to pick up the phone. “Yes this is Ms. Tamara Price…No, I’m on vacation until next week…I understand. Tell Drake to go ahead and handle the case. I’m certain he’ll handle it well…Thank you…That’s fine…Bye for now.”
She dropped the phone, seriously contemplating pulling the covers over her head and staying that way for the next three days. She’d done it before. That fateful morning when she woke up to the harsh reality of the other side of love. She had woken up from a peaceful sleep, on a Saturday morning, to a beautiful dawn. After breakfast, she’d sat down to watch TV when she heard the shocking news. She could still remember every word: Raymond Brock, host of the syndicated talk show, Hello America, is officially off the market after marrying Dahlia Taylor in a small wedding in Paris. For three days, she had stayed in bed without talking to anyone. Each day, the pain in her heart deepened.
Swallowing, she fought tears that seemed to come so easily every time she thought of Raymond. And even though it had been a year since the incident, it still hurt as if it was yesterday. Pain knotted Tamara’s heart. She drew up her knees as if that would make the pain go away. She had managed to lock up the pain all this while, and was still capable of keeping it locked, she told herself.
Almost when she finally decided to pull the covers over her head and stay in bed, she heard her door opened. Startled, she rose and sat up to see who it was.
“Drake, you scared me!” she screeched.
“Oh sorry,” Drake said, his voice not quite apologetic.
“You do not enter my bedroom! I thought it was someone else!”
He laughed, walking over to sit beside her on the bed. “You live in a gated, security-conscious neighborhood, and you’re scared of an intruder?”
She scoffed and tossed her hair over her shoulder. “Risks of the job, I guess.”
“Well yeah, risks of being the best divorce attorney in town! And with your track record of ‘fixing’ people’s marriages, the only thing they’ll ever be tempted to break into your house for would be to surprise you with a fruit basket and a bouquet of flowers. Unless, of course, your client is a mafia boss, then you’re looking at a horse’s head!”
“Okay, smartass! Why’re you here? You could have called.”
Drake grabbed her arm and pulled her out of bed. “I know you’re going to sleep away your three-day break. So I got you something to do instead.” He pushed her toward the bathroom. “Go get ready. Our last client, Tiffany and John, are renewing their vows today. You’re going to be there.”
She struggled. “Drake, you know I don’t like to attend such events.”
“Too late. I told them you’ll be there.” He pushed her into the bathroom and shut the door.
Tamara and Drake became very close back in high school, and then in college at University of Maryland in Baltimore. They went to law school together. After graduation, Tamara had decided to start her law firm, and Drake offered to join her. They had been together since then and been through a lot together. Drake was about six-four, two hundred pounds, with caramel skin. He was good looking and was good with women too.
“Alright, Tamara,” Drake said, raising his voice enough for her to hear him. “I’ve got to rush back to work. See you later.”
“Hey, who was that lady who called my home phone from the office? She said something about a client,” Tamara said, raising her voice, too.
“That must be Sherry. She’s an intern.”
“Are you kidding me? You hired a female intern?”
“Yeah. What’s the prob?”
“You can’t screw a colleague or a client. You know that, right?”
“I’m not planning to have sex with her. And FYI, Tamara, I don’t have sex with every woman I set my eyes on.”
“All those girls you screwed in college? I’ll say yes, you sleep with every woman you set your eyes on.”
He laughed. “I haven’t slept with you yet.”
“I’m your boss, Drake!”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Shut up, Drake,” she yelled. “And get out of my room.”
“Yes, boss.” He bowed sarcastically and exited her room.
Tamara pulled into the parking lot. A crowd of about a hundred people stood outside the church. The church bell tolled as the people made their way inside the building. Tamara got out of the car and took a good look at herself before joining the horde of guests. She was wearing a white, figure-hugging Calvin Klein dress and heels as high as the Chrysler building. At thirty-two, Tamara had the body of a model. She was about five-feet, four-inches tall. She was slim, but had curves in all the right places. She was dark-skinned, bold and very beautiful.
An old woman spotted Tamara, nudged an old man next to her and whispered, “It’s her. It’s the woman!” At the sound of this, the rest of the crowd turned around, and when they saw Tamara, they started whispering to one another. As she got closer, the whispers got louder until they became murmurs. Realizing what was happening, Tamara tried to step away from the crowd.
The old lady who first spotted Tamara came to her, extending her hand. She touched Tamara’s hand, looked deep into her eyes and with the softest voice, she said, “Thank you so much for saving their marriage. My daughter does not stop talking about how wonderful you were during that tough period. We owe you a huge debt of gratitude.” Tamara didn’t know how to respond. She could only smile. The old lady wiped a tear from her eyes as she made her way into the auditorium. A man came from within the church and told them the bride would be arriving soon, so they needed everyone inside the church for her grand arrival. The crowd hastily made its way into the auditorium, taking their seats.
The wedding procession entered the auditorium to a rapturous reception of applause and whoops. The couples exchanged their vows, and when the ceremony neared its end, the groom was given the microphone to give the vote of thanks. After speaking for a short while, he looked in Tamara’s direction.
“…besides God there is one more person we’d love to thank; and that’s Miss Tamara Price. At a time when Tiffany and I were going through a tough period in our marriage, we turned to you to help make our divorce as amicable as humanly possible. Instead, you managed to solve our problems and heal us, something that not even our marriage counselors or parents could achieve. You were more than a counselor; you were a friend and present help in our time of need. We wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for you. So once again, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”
The whole congregation erupted into a standing ovation, with those near Tamara shaking her hand while others kissed and hugged her. For a moment, she felt happy. After a long time of unhappiness, she told herself that she deserved it. People appreciated her, and that was enough. It reminded her of why she loved her job. When she lost Raymond, it felt as if her whole world had crashed. She tried everything to be happy again, but nothing worked. Until she decided that maybe she wasn’t supposed to be happy. Maybe it was enough to make others happy. Still, it was ironic how she wasn’t capable of keeping a man, but was capable of fixing people’s marriages.
She wiped a tear from her eyes and then muttered, “Thank you” toward the groom as he blew a kiss in her direction.
Her mobile began to vibrate. She took it out, but ignored the caller. Shortly afterwards, it started vibrating again. She took it out and discreetly answered it.
“What is it?”
“Tamara, it’s Drake.”
“I know. What?”
“We’ve got a new client. Get over here right now!”
His voice was so tense Tamara could notice it through the phone.
“Drake, I’m on vacation. Handle it,” she ordered, trying to keep her voice low.
“Dammit, Tamara! I wouldn’t call you if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.”
“Who is the client?” she inquired.
He was quiet for a while. Tamara heard him take a deep breath. After a short silence, he managed to respond, “Raymond. The client is Raymond Brock!”
Tires squealing in sensitive anger, Tamara pulled up at the parking lot. Very quickly, she got out of the car and walked toward the building. Her heart was pounding, and she didn’t know how she would be able to stand before Raymond, the man who showed her love and then left her to wander the earth alone. She didn’t want to imagine how her meeting with Raymond was going to be. He was just another client and she would treat him only as such, she thought to herself.
When she got to the lobby, all her employees were standing there waiting for her. She had only three employees; Megan, Sherry and Drake. Megan was a lawyer who became part of Tamara Price & Associates after Tamara had helped fixed her marriage. She was in her early thirties, but looked 21. More than anything else, Megan paid attention to her looks. Her blond hair was always perfect, never rough or unkempt.
Sherry was the intern just hired by Drake. She had just finished law school, and it was like a dream come true for her to get a job at Tamara Price & Associates. She had always admired Tamara from afar. Tamara was her idol. And not only hers. Tamara was a big deal in law school. Most students admired her. Whenever her name was mentioned, it gave students goose bumps. Sherry particularly admired her strength and courage, and had always wondered what her driving force was.
When Tamara reached the lobby, she took a key out of her purse and tossed it to Sherry. “Go to my house. Get me a change of clothes.”
She caught the key. “Okay.”
As Sherry hurried away, Tamara took a good look at her. With a chiding expression, she raised her voice at Sherry. “Your skirt is too short, exposing too much skin.”
“Ahem…I’m sorry…” she tried to explain, but Tamara had stopped listening. Her attention had shifted to Megan. “Megan,” she called. “Make a list of our new clients. Let me have it within the hour.”
“I’m on it!”
Tamara then glanced at Drake. “Drake,” she called, and then was quiet for a second. “Just do something. Make yourself useful.”
He smiled. “Yes, boss.”
Tamara walked speedily into her office, where Raymond was waiting. She pushed the door open, and when her eyes fell on him, she felt her breath catch for an instant. She managed to pull herself together, reminding herself that he was just another client. Nothing more, nothing less.
Strangling the urge to walk over to him and slap him hard across his face, asking him why he betrayed her, she walked calmly toward him and extended a hand in greeting. “Mr. Raymond Brock, welcome to Tamara Price & Associates.”
“I’ve been waiting for an hour. I didn’t think you were the type that would come in late to work,” Raymond said, ignoring her greeting.
The hardened familiar voice crawled like ice down Tamara’s spine, reviving the anger she had been trying so hard to suppress. Pride and irritation took over her sense of self and she walked past him, giving him an obvious head roll to let him know she clearly had an attitude.
“I own this place, meaning I can come to work anytime. And last time I checked, I do not report to you,” she snapped.
“Are you always this rude to your clients?”
Tamara couldn’t keep a throttling grip on her temper anymore. His words had kindled a flare of anger that she knew he read on her face.
Taking few steps closer to him, she glared at him. “How dare you, Raymond?” she asked. The palm of her hand became a fist as she tried not to hit him. “How dare you? You want to talk about being rude. You! You have the guts to talk to my face that I’m rude to you. I gave you everything, did everything and I thought we were okay. I thought we were alright. I thought our relationship was great. And then you run off to Paris to marry my best friend. You didn’t break up with me. You didn’t tell me what I did wrong. You just left. And now you have the nerve to tell me that I’m rude to you?”
She had let it all out, but didn’t feel better. Instead, she wanted to say more. She wanted to let him know how much he’d hurt her. Her heart heaved in her chest and tears started to collect at the corners of her eyes.
“Mara!” he called very gently, cutting her off.
The way he called her brought back a familiar feeling. Mara. He alone called her that. Hearing it again reminded her of the good old times. And even though they were supposed to be good memories, it brought her even more pain. “Stop calling me that,” she said with tears in her voice.
He touched her hand so gently that her whole body responded to his familiar touch.
Very quickly, she jerked his hand off. “Don’t. Touch me.” She looked at him with the intent of glaring at him. His brown eyes came boldly to hers. And for the first time since she entered the office, their eyes met. The connection was so intense that it threatened to drain every resistance in her. And damn! Did the man have to still be this handsome? He stood six-feet, three-inches tall and straight, with caramel skin. His bright brown eyes were daring and addictive. His dark hair was neatly cut and the suit he had on fitted him well. She could smell his cologne. Eternity by Calvin Klein. She recognized the smell. She had chosen the cologne for him when they first started dating. That he was still wearing the cologne she had chosen for him made her thought that maybe he still had a thing for her.
Their faces were already so close that she could feel his warm breath on her skin. For a moment, she thought he might kiss her. She needed to move away, but she couldn’t. The intense connection she felt with this man had drained any resistance she had. His lips almost touched hers when they heard a light knock on the door. They quickly separated and took few steps away from each other as they glanced at the door. It was Anita, Raymond’s personal assistant.
“I’m sorry. Did I intrude on something?”
“Oh! No. You’re fine,” Tamara responded very quickly. Tamara and Anita got along okay when Tamara was with Raymond, and they exchanged warm greetings. After they had talked for few seconds, Anita turned to Raymond. “Your show will be airing live in less than two hours. We should get going.”
“Alright. We’ll leave in a few.”
“Okay,” she said as she left the room, shutting the door behind her.
Once Anita left, Raymond turned to Tamara. “We should set a time and a place. We need to sit down and have a long talk.”
“You know what? Forget that I mentioned anything about the past. We don’t need to talk about anything.”
A small sigh escaped his lips. “Ah! Mara, please, let me explain.”
“How can I help you? Why are you here?” she asked, ignoring his pleas.
“MARA,” he growled with a deep ultra-sexy voice. “Please, stop this attitude,” he said very gently, emphasizing the ‘please.’
“How can I help you?” she asked again, her voice hardened. She was back to treating him like any other client.
He was quiet for one long second, and then shrugged. “Okay, if that’s what you want.”
Tamara folded her arms across her chest, listening intently to whatever he had to say.
“I want a divorce from Dahlia,” he started. “And I want you to handle it. Make the divorce as amicable as humanly possible.”
She released her folded arms and drew slightly back. “Are you kidding me? I’m your ex.”
He nodded. “I know.”
“And you think I’d like to have anything to do with your marriage?”
“Yes, I think so.”
She gave a sarcastic smile. “You’re joking.”
“Well, I can’t help you. I have a reputation. I don’t get people divorced; I fix marriages.”
“That’s a lie, and you know it. You’re a divorce attorney. You’ve helped two or three couples get a divorce, and you’ve done it well.”
“I only do that when the marriage is beyond saving.”
“Well, mine is beyond saving.”
“You don’t determine that, I do. And I’m saying I can’t help you. I don’t want to help you.”
He shrugged. “Okay, but promise me one thing.”
“Should Dahlia come to you, asking you to save her marriage, you won’t accept the case.”
She chuckled. “Oh! So you want a divorce, but your wife doesn’t want one. And you’re afraid she might come running to me for help, and you decided to get to me first.” He didn’t reply, so she continued, “Don’t worry. I don’t have to promise you anything. Dahlia won’t come to me. I’m certain.”
She cut him off. “Okay. Mr. Brock, this meeting is over.” Walking past him, she held the door open for him. He walked to the door, but when he got to where she stood, he halted. Before he could say anything, Tamara gave another of her sarcastic smiles. “Good day, Mr. Brock. Hope to never see you again.”
He took a long, gentle look at her, and then walked out of the office.