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Authors: Adrianne Byrd

King's Pleasure

BOOK: King's Pleasure
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KING’S PLEASURE
 
KING’S PLEASURE
 

ESSENCE
BESTSELLING AUTHOR

ADRIANNE BYRD
 

To Alice: Forever my inspiration

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
 

To my family and friends, thanks for all the support
and love that you’ve given me.
To my editor, Evette Porter, for helping me
through one crazy year. To my wonderful fans
and readers, thank you for allowing me to do
what I do. It’s always a pleasure to entertain you.
I wish you all the best of love.

The House of Kings series
 

Many of you have followed the Unforgettable series, which morphed into the Hinton Brothers series. Now I’m introducing you to the Hintons’ playboy bachelor cousins—the Kings.

 

Eamon, Xavier and Jeremy, along with their infamous cousin Quentin Hinton, are business partners in a gentlemen’s club franchise called The Dollhouse. One of their most popular and lucrative specialties is their bachelor party services. With clubs in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the brothers are determined to make sure their clients’ last night of bachelorhood is one they’ll never forget. But it’s not as easy as it sounds dealing with hotel managers, outrageous clients and, of course,
the entertainment.
The brothers are prepared for anything…except when love comes knocking on
their
door.

 

In
King’s Pleasure,
Jeremy King meets beautiful Malibu party-crasher Leigh Matthews. Within minutes, he knows that she’s a woman who is used to getting whatever she wants. And for one wild night, she wants
him.
After their torrid, one-night affair, his bikini-clad goddess disappears only to return weeks later to hire him to plan
her
bachelorette bash. Stunned, he refuses to host her party, but quickly reconsiders. After all, the wedding is six weeks away, and there’s not a sexual trick in the books that he won’t use to try and change her mind.

 

If you missed the first two books in the House of Kings trilogy—
King’s Passion
and
King’s Promise—
both are still available. Better yet, buy all three and enjoy this sizzling summer series.

 

Remember, in love, never bet against a King….

 

Adrianne

Prologue
 

Q
uentin Dewayne Hinton was getting desperate. It began slowly, but now it was picking up steam. A part of him longed for the days when he was reckless and carefree—drinking by day, screwing by night. Why, oh why, did it have to end? Deep down, he knew the answer. His carefree life had ended when he became the very thing he detested: a successful businessman.

In the beginning, of course, it had been fun. But that was only because he had joined forces with his cousins, the Kings. And just like the three Musketeers—there were four of them. But as the late, great Biggie Smalls said: “More money, more problems.” And Quentin’s biggest problem seemed to follow him around wherever he went.

“Let me get this straight,” said Father Dickerson, braiding his fingers together. “You want me to perform an exorcism on you?”

Quentin coughed to clear his throat. “Well, me and my house…and my car. And if it’s not too much to ask, at this club that I work at.”

“You mean the strip club?”

Q coughed a little harder this time and straightened upright in his chair. “I guess for a lack of a better term… Uh, yes. I, uh, own a chain of strip clubs called The Dollhouse. Actually, there used to be four of us. Well, three, really.
They
were supposed to operate the clubs and I was just the money man—the silent partner. Then they started settling down and selling their shares in the business. The next thing you know—pow! I own the whole kit and caboodle.” He flashed the cleric an awkward smile.

Father Dickerson’s eyebrows crashed together in the center of his forehead. “Son, please forgive me if this next question offends you. But, uh, are you well?”

Quentin actually gave the question serious thought. “To tell you the truth, Father, I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer that just yet. I mean, honestly. I can be frank with you, can’t I?”

“Sure. Absolutely.”

“Good.” Another smile crept across Q’s face as he tried to clear his throat again with a deep cough. “To be honest, I feel fine—better than fine on most days. I mean, how could you own the hottest strip clubs in three cities and not feel upbeat about life, right?”

Father Dickerson just stared at him.

“Well, maybe you don’t know. But trust me. A man like me, still in his prime and surrounded by beautiful, firm, heavily oiled bodies is its own blessing.”

“I’ll take your word for it,” the priest said.

“Yeah, uh, right. Anyway, there has been some
un-
usual
— Well, not quite paranormal activity happening from time to time.”

“Paranormal? Like ghosts?” the priest asked, trying to quickly get to the crux of the problem.

“Well, that’s the ‘not quite’ part of it,” Quentin said, squirming.

“Son, if you’ve come to me for an exorcism, that leads me to believe that you’re seeing or hearing some sort of, shall we say, disturbing spirits?”

Quentin looped the phrase through his head a couple of times, but he was still uncomfortable with it. “Now, does your definition of spirits mean that the person or persons are…”

“…Dead,” Father Dickerson supplied as more lines creased his forehead.

“Well, see, that’s still my gray issue.”

“Come again?”

“Well, the entity that I’m dealing with hasn’t exactly died.”

Father Dickerson continued to stare at Quentin.

“She—”

“It’s a woman?”

“Yes. Actually, she’s my sister-in-law, Alyssa.”

“Your
living
sister-in-law?”

“As far as I know.” Quentin shrugged. “I mean, I haven’t talked to her in a few months, but I’m sure someone in the family would’ve contacted me if something had happened to her. Then again, who knows? I’m not exactly on the best of terms with my family.”

Father Dickerson snatched off his black-rimmed glasses and proceeded to rub his eyelids. “Let me try this again,” he said. “You want an exorcist to get rid of a spirit that isn’t really a spirit but a recurring vision of a woman who is very much alive? Do I have that right?” he said in disbelief.

“Well, it’s more than just a vision. She talks to me and tries to give me advice—most of the time when I’m not asking for it. She’s made me look crazy in front of some of my dates. Her specialty is popping up right after I— Well just because you wear that collar doesn’t mean you don’t know what goes on between a man and a woman. Am I right?”

When the joke fell flat, Quentin couldn’t cough long or hard enough to clear whatever the hell it was that was stuck in his throat.

“Son, this is probably the first time in my thirty-one years at this parish that I’ve ever said this to someone who has come to me for guidance. I would love to help you, but what you need—neither I nor the church can really help you with. I think that you need to see someone in the mental-health field—maybe someone in a white coat, with the authority to prescribe medication or who can admit you to someplace safe.”

“I’m not crazy,” Quentin declared defensively. “At least my shrink doesn’t think I’m crazy.”

Relief flooded Father Dickerson’s face. “Ah, so you
are
seeing someone.” He reached over and picked up the phone. “Is there a number or…?”

“What about the exorcism?”

“Son, I can’t exorcise a spirit that doesn’t exist. It is metaphysically impossible for someone who is alive to haunt you. Clearly you are seeing and hearing things that just aren’t there. I’m sorry. I’m sure that’s not the answer you wanted to hear, but that’s the cold, hard truth.”

Quentin shook his head. “Well, can’t you just sprinkle some holy water around? I mean, what’s it going to hurt?”

“Mr. Hinton, are you even Catholic?”

“Is that a prerequisite?”

With a deep sigh, Father Dickerson pushed his glasses back onto his face. “Good day, Mr. Hinton.”

“But—”

“I said, ‘good day.’”

“Unbelievable.” Quentin rose to his feet, barely managing to refrain from giving him a piece of his mind, which is what he really wanted to dish to the insensitive priest. “I guess I’ll just see myself out.”

He turned toward the door and stopped short when he spotted a bored Alyssa, still beautiful in the wedding gown she wore when she’d married his brother, Sterling, utterly breaking his heart. She was leaning against the wall with her arms folded and a smug look plastered on her face.

“I told you this was a waste of time,” she said.

“Oh, shut up,” he snapped as he resumed his charge toward the door.

“Excuse me?” Father Dickerson said.

“I wasn’t talking to you.” Quentin snatched open the door, but decided to leave the priest with just one bit of parting advice. “If I were you, I’d sprinkle some holy water up this office, because whatever you’ve been doing is clearly not working.” He stormed out, with his fake apparition following close behind him.

“Does this mean that we’re going back to Dr. Turner now?” Alyssa asked.

“It’s either that or the loony bin.”

“Good. Because I think you’re on the verge of a breakthrough.”

“God, I hope so.”

 

 

“Aah, Quentin. You’re back,” said Dr. Turner, greeting him in her downtown Atlanta office with a smile. “I wondered whether I’d ever see you again. It’s been a couple of months.”

“Yeah, I’ve been a little busy….”

“It’s okay,” she said. “It’s not that unusual for patients to disappear from time to time, especially when they’re anxious for results.”

Alyssa laughed. “She really does have you pegged.”

“Would you like to come in and sit down?” She stepped back and moved away from the door so that the next move was his.

Quentin’s gaze shifted to the black leather chaise in the center of the room, and unbelievably he felt a strange sensation, like he was finally home. “Just like old times,” he said, strolling into the office.

Dr. Julianne Turner’s thick, luscious coral-tinted lips spread into a breathtaking smile as she closed the door behind him.

Being a connoisseur of women, as he’d proudly proclaimed, Quentin immediately noticed that the good doctor’s perfume had changed. It was no longer soft and floral, but more fruity and woodsy. That wasn’t all he noticed in his short jaunt across the room to the chaise. Her clothes were different. Gone were the knee-length skirts that let her legs play peek-a-boo when she sat down. Now they were proudly showcased in a black number that hit her thigh a good five inches above her knees. Not only that, the tailored cut of the shorter dress led his eyes to her rounded hips and ass.

“What’s going on?” he suddenly asked.

“Sorry?” She leaned back so that she could look up to his tall frame.

That’s when he noticed the extra burst of color in her redbone complexion and that unmistakable twinkle in her eyes that let him know what time it was. “What’s his name?”

“What’s whose name?” She blinked, but the smile never left her face.

Quentin flashed his secret weapon—his dimples. “The name of the brother that put that huge, Kool-Aid grin on your face,” he said. When she opened her mouth to respond, Q held up a finger to cut her off. “And please, don’t insult my intelligence and tell me there isn’t a guy. You have that
glow
that women have when they’re with child or after a night of unbridled—”

“Quentin!” Alyssa snapped.

Dr. Turner finally blanched. “Mr. Hinton!”

“Quentin,” he corrected as his smile wrapped around his face like a rubber band.

“It’s been a while since you’ve been to my office, so maybe I need to remind you that these visits are for your benefit. I’m not the topic of conversation here. I would appreciate it if you would keep your sly comments and wolfish gaze to yourself. Do I make myself clear?”

“Wolfish?”

“I guess she told you.” Alyssa laughed.

“Now would you like to have a seat?” She gestured to the chaise and when she did so, Quentin caught the flash of a three-carat diamond ring.

He quickly grabbed her hand and pulled it toward him for closer inspection. “Silly me, how did I forget the third reason?” His gaze returned to her face as hurt and betrayal dueled for top billing.

Dr. Turner pulled her hand out of his grasp. “Now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity, can we get down to the reason you’re here?”

“Sure. But I’m still waiting for the name of this lucky bastard, and where I can find him so that I can wring his neck.”

“Mr. Hinton—”

“It’s still Quentin.”

“Is this going to be problem?”

“What, you bailing on me too, so that you can participate in this ridiculous institution?”

“Who said anything about my bailing on you? You’re the one who stopped coming to your therapy sessions. I could look at that as you bailing on me.”

“All right. I’m back. Now you can give this clown back his ring.”

“Reginald is not a clown.”

“Reginald?”
He laughed. “You’re marrying someone named Reginald?”

Her brows arched above her eyes. “There’s nothing wrong with the name
Reginald.
He’s a very respectable and distinguished doctor in his field.”

“Oh, respectable
and
distinguished.” Quentin rolled his eyes. “That’s another way of saying comfortable and reliable.” He moved toward her and crowded her space. “Tell me, how is old Reggie in the sack?”

Dr. Turner gasped and stepped back. “Careful, Mr. Hinton! You’re in dangerous territory.”

He smirked and erased the space she’d put between them. “Does that mean I’ll get a spanking if I don’t behave?”

“No, it means I’ll have to terminate this and any future sessions. And I won’t hesitate to do so.”

After his therapist’s declaration, Quentin stood his ground, engaging in a staring contest to see whether she was serious or not.

She was
.

He exhaled a long breath and then slowly gave her a lazy smile. “Well, I had to give it the old college try. Congratulations are in order.”

Dr. Turner drew in a deep sigh of relief as if she’d narrowly escaped a predator. “Thank you. Now would you like to take a seat?”

Q weighed the question in his head as his gaze bounced from the chaise to the door—and then to a frowning Alyssa. “Well, since I’m here.” He walked toward the chaise and then stretched out.

Dr. Turner took her usual chair and picked up her ever-ready notepad. “So what would you like to discuss today?”

“You mean, other than my abandonment issues? My war against love? Or these crazy dreams I keep having?”

“Dreams? What sort of dreams?”

“What else—wedding dreams.”

“You’ve been dreaming about weddings?”

“Hell, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise, considering how everyone keeps dropping to their knees and popping the big question. I swear, love has become a global epidemic that, quite frankly, some scientists need to hurry up and make a pill to eradicate.”

“That’s a bit extreme, isn’t it?”

“Humph. Not from where I’m standing. My once-devout bachelors-for-life are dropping like flies at the slightest whiff of a woman’s perfume. All my dogs have traded in their Milk-Bones for collars and short leashes. And, get this, they’re happy to stay and play in their own backyard. What kind of madness is this?”

“All right. So, no love. No marriage. It’s just you and your cousin Jeremy living the bachelor lifestyle from here till eternity?”

“Ha!” Quentin rolled his eyes.

“Problem?”

“Yeah. My family is nothing but a bunch of Judases.”

“Oh. So you lost the last member of your boys’ club?” Quentin grumbled.

Dr. Turner laughed.

“Maybe I need to just change doctors,” Quentin mumbled under his breath.

“No. No. Please. I
have
to hear this story.”

Quentin rolled his eyes.

“You might as well tell her,” Alyssa said, shrugging. “Who knows? It might help.”

“Fine.” Quentin shrugged. “After my so-called best friend, Xavier, decided to jump the broom, Atlanta sort of…lost its luster. So I figured I’d just hop a plane and go find me a California girl.”

BOOK: King's Pleasure
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