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Journey to Fortune

By´╝ÜDixie Lynn Dwyer

Prologue




“You’re lying to me again. I know you are, Salvador. Just spit it out. I want to know why you didn’t show up last night. I want to know why you’re breaking things off with me. I can handle the truth. Stop patronizing me, Goddamn it!” Tia Rose Richman raised her voice in frustration. She couldn’t take it any longer.

Salvador was avoiding her. She was tired of his mistreatment and lack of respect. She felt like she was drowning in this relationship. No matter what she did, he wasn’t happy. She never should have stayed with him. Slash that. She never should have gotten involved with him. It was just like her relationship with her parents, except Salvador hadn’t hit her. Yet.

She paced her bedroom in her small apartment on the East Side of the Village. New York City wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. She was mega pissed off. The fucker stood me up. Again.

“I don’t think that you can. You’re a child. You need to grow up,” he snapped at her, in that irritating English accent of his. The fucking snob. Me, grow up? I’ve been working my ass off since I was twelve, and had a damn paper route, for crying out loud. Now, after college, I’m still doing odd jobs on the weekends to make money. What the fuck does he mean, grow up?

“I am far from a child. Just because you have a fucking master’s degree in psychology does not make you a damn expert in knowing everyone’s personalities. You don’t know me at all. I am working my way up at Malone’s Designs.”

“Working your way up, my ass,” he snapped at her. “They’re using you. You’re their damn puppet. You never stand up for yourself. You never speak your mind. You let people walk all over you and it makes me sick. You’re weak, Tia Rose, and your boss knows it. Why do you think you keep getting passed up for promotions and that yearly trip to Paris?”

The bastard knew that statement would hurt me. He knows how hard I’ve worked.

“You know that my designs were stolen.”

“Oh, give me a break. Little Miss Missouri is crying again about how hard it is living in New York City, one of the toughest places around.”

She felt the tears sting her eyes. He was such a heartless bastard, and he was too old for her.

“I’ve had it with you putting me down and saying that I’m not good enough. Not for you or for my profession.”

“Well, you’re not. I’m done with you. I was with another woman last night.”

Her heart ached something terrible. It wasn’t that she loved Salvador, but he was so good looking, and so many women craved his attention. When he had found her six months ago, standing in the Marquis hotel, unsure of where the conference room was located, he escorted her and swept her off her feet. She had been naive and stupid. Her parents were right. She was a loser. Their hateful comments and the way they always put Tia Rose down filtered through her mind, making her feel worthless. Salvador’s words just added to the facts.

“Did you hear me, Tia? I was with another woman last night.”

“With Leza? You slept with Leza?” she asked, knowing that blonde Amazon wanted Salvador so badly. She wanted his money, his reputation, and to be escorted around town as his lover, or mistress. Was she considered a mistress because Salvador was with Tia? She had fallen for his charms, was impressed by his money and maturity, but never connected on that deeper level she yearned for. She shook her head as Salvador released his claws.

“She’s a real woman. She’s strong, sensual, and open to exploration. I know that you have fears, but you’re the coldest bitch I ever fucked.”

She gasped and felt her blood pressure boiling.

“Are we back to this again, Salvador? Back to your sick fetishes? I don’t need a master’s degree to see that you’re sick in the head. I won’t allow you to tie me up and cut me, so that you can get off on your power trip.”

“Tia Rose. Don’t push me. It was one time. One time I shared a secret with you and how it made me feel empowered. I was thinking that allowing me that control of you would make you feel empowered, too.”

“Ha! As if. You want power and control? You have that in your freaking businesses that you own. You always get what you want when you want it. Not everyone is so spoiled. Leza is so great and so sensual? Then keep her. I’ll have you know that I’m a very sensual woman. In fact, I wasn’t the problem. You and your small penis were. Good-bye, Salvador, and go to hell!”

Tia Rose disconnected the call.

She stared around at her small, elegantly decorated apartment and absorbed the silence. She glanced at the coffee table, and a small box of ripped movie and Broadway show tickets from when she and Salvador went on numerous dates. She was shaking with fury and some fear. Salvador expected respect, and when he was questioned, she experienced his wrath. It wasn’t pretty. She had enough verbal abuse at home. It was another reason why she left. She thought about her parents. The fact that her mother allowed her husband to hit her still to this day frightened Tia Rose. Was Salvador capable of hurting her like that?

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