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Seduced by Mr. Right

By:Pamela Yaye

Seduced by Mr. Right - Pamela Yaye
Chapter 1

“Emilio, we have a problem.”

Frowning, Emilio Morretti hit Pause on the remote control and glanced over his right shoulder. Sunshine splashed through the windows of his Greensboro estate, filling the living room with a harsh, blinding light. But he could still make out his business manager’s silhouette in the open doorway. Emilio was drained, but he nodded his head in greeting. Today was the second anniversary of his nephew’s death, and although his spirits were low, he slapped a smile on his face.

“Hey, man, what’s up?”

“Sorry for barging in like this, but this couldn’t wait.” Antwan Tate slipped off his aviator sunglasses and rested his leather briefcase at his feet. Antwan reeked of confidence. His black Tom Ford suit didn’t have a wrinkle in sight, and he was wearing more bling than Diddy. The men had known each other for years—ever since Emilio relocated from Italy to Atlanta in 2006—and he could tell by his manager’s creased brow and stiff posture that he was stressed-out. Over the years, they’d become closer than brothers, and Emilio considered Antwan family. Antwan had been there for him during his darkest days, and he trusted him wholeheartedly.

“What’s going on?”

“You need to look at this,” Antwan said, offering him a large manila envelope.

Emilio stared at it but didn’t touch it. “What is it?”

“It’s a letter from the Internal Revenue Service. It arrived at my office this morning by courier, and once I spoke to the other parties involved I drove straight here.”

Reluctantly, Emilio took the envelope from Antwan’s outstretched hand and opened it. As he scanned the letter, his heart began beating harder, faster. Unable to believe what he was reading, he looked at his manager closely, searched his face for signs of deception. A known prankster, Antwan took great delight in punking his friends, but this time Emilio wasn’t falling for it.

Determined to beat Antwan at his own game, Emilio crumpled the paper, tossed it over his shoulder and hit Play on the remote control. Cheers, laughter and shrieks of joy filled the room. Emilio never got tired of replaying his nephew’s soccer games, and he grinned every time Lucca’s image filled the eighty-inch TV screen. Two years had passed, but Emilio still couldn’t believe that Lucca—his adorable nephew with the curly hair and high-pitched giggle—was gone.

Emilio leaned forward, gazing intently at the TV. The DVD was cutting in and out from being played so much, but his nephew’s celebration dance at the end of the game was his favorite part of the video. He chuckled at Lucca’s antics. Emilio wondered what he’d be like today if he were alive. He would have been in the second grade, and no doubt faster on the soccer field.

“Throwing away the letter isn’t going to make the problem go away...”

Emilio tuned his manager out, pretended he wasn’t there. Pain stabbed his heart like a knife. His throat closed up, becoming dry and sore. Emilio stared at the TV with a heavy feeling in his chest, wondering for the umpteenth time how he could have been so irresponsible that afternoon, so damned reckless. I screwed up, and it cost me everything I hold dear, he thought. I’d do anything to have Lucca here. Anything at all.

Hanging his head, he raked a hand through his short, thick hair. He tried to channel positive thoughts, but nothing came to mind. Every morning, he woke up thinking the accident had been a horrible dream, but the moment he realized his nephew was really gone, he broke down. Why did Lucca have to die? He looked up at the ceiling as if the answers to his questions were written there. I miss him so much it hurts.

“We need to come up with a plan,” Antwan continued. “Before it’s too late.”

Emilio lowered his head and kept his gaze on the marble floor. He didn’t want Antwan to know his emotions had gotten the best of him—again. When he least expected it, grief overwhelmed him, and there was nothing he could do about it. He was a broken man, consumed with regret, and his pain was constant, always there. Pulling himself together, he straightened his shoulders and cleared his throat. “Nice try, but I’m too old to fall for your stupid pranks.”

“This isn’t a prank.” Antwan picked up the wad of paper, dropped down in the chocolate-brown armchair and flattened the letter on the glass coffee table. “This letter from the IRS is real, and so is this 2.5-million-dollar tax bill.”

“That’s impossible,” he said, convinced his manager was trying to pull the wool over his eyes. “Monroe Accounting has been doing my taxes since I moved to Atlanta, and every year they assure me that everything is kosher.”