Sun-Kissed Secret Baby by Leigh Jenkins
Sam leaned back in his leather armchair, wearing nothing but his jeans, watching Nisha from under heavy-lidded eyes. It was warm in the room, not because the air conditioning was on the bum, but because the two of them had up until a few minutes earlier been sending the temperature higher on the large bed behind him.
He let his deep green eyes travel down her, this beautiful woman. Nisha was of mixed blood, the product of an East Indian father and Afro-Caribbean mother, and to Sam, she’d inherited the best of her ancestors. She was stunning: with flawless terra-cotta skin and a curly cascade of glossy black hair which, time and again, made him think of a raven’s wing. She was petite, slender-hipped and small-breasted, with an elegant, almost royal bearing.
She was also stark naked, sitting on a chair grasping a cello between her knees, and playing a sleepy, seductive tune, while daringly holding his gaze.
She was wordlessly inviting him back to bed, he knew, but he was satiated, and besides, there was work to be done.
She finished the tune, relaxed her bow, and gave him a sensual smile. “You like?”
“Nice.” He smiled back. Then, as she waited for him to take the lead, move towards her, he said ruefully, “I think you better get dressed. We’ve got to work.”
“Work?” she echoed in mock shock. “Sammm!”
He smiled, already heading towards the door, then stood there and turned to her, his hand on the door jamb. “That’s what you came here for, remember?”
“Ugh!” she groused but set her cello down carefully and began to dress. “Fiinne!”
He watched with regret as she moved about the room, locating her underwear and pulling them on. It was like throwing a sheet of ratty tarp over a Grand Master’s painting. But by the time she had wriggled into the short dress she’d arrived in, she was cool, relaxed, professional.
That was one of the things he liked most about Nisha: she didn’t put too much weight on their sexual adventures. Their business relationship had been in effect for more than five years, and they worked admirably together. Nisha was his executive producer and played a large role in his soca music production company. She was also a major shareholder, with enough financial clout to free him of any doubt about whether the sexual side of their friendship was unfair or inappropriate.
They’d arrived at the same conclusion years ago: they were attracted to each other, and compatible enough in bed to make their encounters deeply satisfying, but neither of them had the time or the inclination to form an emotional attachment.
Which suited Sam just fine. It allowed him to find sexual release, fulfil his need for close physical contact, without having to resort to the soul-eroding womanizing that had characterized his early musical career. Win-win, he figured.
Nisha joined him at the desk in the next room, where he had set up a smaller version of his official office in the city of St. Cillian. He fired up the laptop as Nisha took a seat next to him, peering at the screen with her glasses balanced on her nose. If not for the messily tousled dark hair tumbling around her shoulders, she’d look every inch the professional.
“Okay, so where are we?” he asked.
Through one of Sam’s companies, they were making final plans for soca concerts at upcoming Carnivals in Guyana and the Cayman Islands and were tightening up the lineup of soca artistes who would not only be performing live, but would also be offered record deals, depending on the response of concert patrons and the rest of the Carnival fraternity in those territories.
For the most part, they were in agreement, but there was one bone left unpicked, and Sam was pretty sure Nisha was about to throw it back onto the table to be chewed over once more.
She cleared her throat, and he inwardly sighed. Here we go, he thought.
“C’mon, Sam. Ladykilla. He’s been calling the office, demanding to know whether we’re willing to sign him or not.” She paused, and then pressed harder. “He’s a mega-star, Sam. He’d bring in ticket sales like nobody’s business.”
Sam snorted. “I’m sure he would, but I’m telling you, he’s bad news.” He began counting off on his fingers. “He can’t be trusted; he’s thrown his own band members under a bus at the slightest hint of a better deal for himself. He’s rude to the press and dismissive of his fans. More than one female backup singer has made comments about inappropriate behavior—”
“Never been proven—”
“I don’t give a shit. He’s bad news, and I don’t want him on my label.”
Nisha kept going. She was as persistent as a caiman with a young deer trapped between its jaws. That was one of the reasons she was such a good business partner. “We’d make hella money if he’s on board,” she reminded him.
He shrugged. “I’ve got hella money. And I’m not sacrificing my ideals for more.”
Her beautiful, dark, shapely lips drew into a pout. “Don’t I get a say in this?”
“You do,” he said in an attempt to placate her. The last thing he needed was for Nisha to storm off while their business was left unfinished. “But the company is mine, so the last say is mine. And I say no. Please advise his agent that this is our final answer.”
He lifted her hand off the mouse and held it in his. “Nish, you know where I stand on this. There are dozens of young soca singers, both male and female, who have the talent and the drive. They have what it takes to make it; they just need someone in their corner. To tell them how good they are, and put them out there into the world, so that others can see how good they are, too. All I want to do is help get soca on the world stage ….”
She rolled her eyes and he almost smiled. This woman was stubborn. But he could sense she was backing down just a little. He softened his tone, pressing home his point. “Almost ten years ago, someone noticed me, and offered a hand. If it wasn’t for them, I might have waited years for the world to hear my voice… maybe forever. I can’t pay them back… that’s not how the world works. But I can pay it forward. I’m duty bound, and since I have the means and opportunity, I’ll do so, understand?”
Her lips tugged into a reluctant smile, and she smacked him on the shoulder before picking up the mouse again. “Go on, Johnny-do-good. You and your bleeding heart are costing us money, just saying. But you’re the bossman, so ….” She shrugged and returned to her work.
A couple of hours later, the night had drawn in, and Nisha announced that she was heading home for a quick shower and change of clothes. “Ladies’ night at the club,” she informed him with a cheerful grin. “Champagne cocktails are half off.”
She gave him a quick peck as he saw her out the door, cello carefully held in its case, waggling her elegant fingertips at him. He watched the gentle sway of her slender hips as she left, and when she was out of sight, he shut the door, still smiling.
Then he picked up his guitar and headed out towards the gardens.