In this sexy page-turning tale of unexpected love, Zuri Day introduces the Morgan men, three fine brothers who have it all—except what their mama wants most for them: wives. As the eldest, it’s up to Michael to pave the way. If only he’d stop running from love…
In the world of sports management, Michael Morgan is a superstar. But his newest client, Shayna Washington, may be his most lucrative catch yet. The record-breaking sprinter with the tight chocolate body has a talent and inner light Michael knows he can get the world to sit up and notice. She’s definitely got his attention. But while Shayna may be physically strong, she’s also vulnerable. And when a frightening chapter from her past catches up with her, Shayna needs someone to lean on. Now, it’s Michael’s turn to be the strong one—and suddenly the sworn bachelor finds his focus changing from races and endorsement deals to a finish line called love.
“Lovin’ Blue is funny and bright with serious undertones and lessons big and small about the importance of accepting the past.” —RT Book Reviews
“The pages of Body By Night are dripping with fire and desire.” —The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
“Engaging, entertaining, and just a tad bit naughty.”
—Rochelle Alers, National Bestselling Author
On a warm, overcast day in late September, the
forever-grooving-always-moving female magnet Michael
Morgan found himself spending a rare day both off
from work and alone. After sexing her to within an
inch of her life, he’d sent his latest conquest—all long
hair (still tangled), long legs (still throbbing), and . . .
well . . . perpetual longing—on her melancholy yet
merry way. As usual when his mind had a spare moment,
his thoughts went to his business—Morgan Sports
Management Corporation—and the athletes he wanted
to add to this successful company’s stable. At the top of
the list was former USC standout and recent Olympic
gold medalist Shayna Washington, a woman he’d been
aware of since her college days who he’d learned had just
lost the mediocre sponsor who’d approached her two
years prior. When it came to business, Michael was like
a bloodhound, and he smelled the piquant possibility of
this client oozing across the proverbial promotional
floor. Along with his other numerous talents, Michael
had the ability to see in people what others couldn’t, that
indefinable something, that “it” factor, that star quality
that took some from obscure mediocrity to worldwide
fame. He sensed that in Shayna Washington, felt there
was something there he could work with, and he was
excited about the possibility of making things happen.
The ringing phone forced Michael to put these
thoughts on pause. “Morgan.”
Michael stifled a groan, wishing he’d let the call that
had come in as unknown go to voice mail. For the past
two months, he’d told Cheryl that it was over. Her parting
gifts had been accompanying him on a business trip
to Mexico checking out a local baseball star, a luxurious
four days that included a five-star hotel suite, candlelight
dinners cooked by a personal chef, premium tequila, and
a sparkly good-bye gift that, if needed, could be pawned
to pay mortage on LA’s tony Westside. Why all of this
extravagance? Partly because this was simply Michael’s
style and partly because he genuinely liked Cheryl and
hadn’t wanted to end their on-again off-again bedtime
romps. But now, several years into their intimate acquaintance,
she’d become clingy, and then suspicious, and
then demanding . . . and then a pain in the butt.
Michael could never be accused of being a dog; he let
women know up front—as in before they made love—
what time it was. Michael Morgan played for fun, not
for keeps. Fortunately for him, most women didn’t
mind. Most were thankful just to be near his . . . clock.
He loved hard and fast, but rarely long, and while it
hadn’t been his desire to do so, he’d left a trail of broken
hearts in his wake.
Broken, but not bitter. A little taste of Morgan pleasure
was worth a bit of emotional pain.
But every once in a while he ran into a woman like
Cheryl, a woman who didn’t want to take no for an
answer. So when entanglements reached this point, the
solution he employed was simple and straightforward:
goodbye. But sometimes the fallout was a bitch.
“Cheryl, you’ve got to quit calling.”
“Michael, how can you just dump me like this?”
Heavy sigh. “I didn’t ‘just dump you,’ Cheryl. I’ve
been telling you for months to back off, that what you’re
wanting isn’t what I’m offering. This has gotten way too
complicated. You’ve got to let it go.”
“So what did that mean when we began dating
‘officially,’ when I escorted you to the NFL honors?”
This is what I get for being soft and giving in. If there
was one thing that Michael should have known by
now, it was that mixing business with pleasure was like
mixing hot sauce with baby formula. Don’t do it. Any
minute she’s going to start crying, and really work my
nerves. As if on cue, he heard the sniffles, her argument
now delivered in part whine, part wistfulness. Michael
correctly deduced that she was sad, and very pissed off
at his making her that way. “You’ve been my only one
for years, Michael—”
“I told you from the beginning that that wasn’t a
“And I told you that I didn’t want anyone else. There
is no one for me but you. I can’t forget you”—Michael
heard a finger snap—“just like that.” Her voice dropped
to a vulnerable-sounding whisper. “Can I please come
over just for a little while, bring you some of your favorite
Thai food, a few sex toys, give you a nice massage . . . ?”
Michael loved to play with Cheryl and her toys. And
when it came to massages, he gave as good as he got.
And then there was the sincerity he heard amid her
tears. He almost relented. Almost. . .but not quite.
“Cheryl, every time you’ve asked, I’ve been honest.
Our relationship was never exclusive. I never thought of
us as anything more than what it was—two people enjoying
the moment and each other. I’ll always think well
of you, Cheryl. But please don’t put us through this.
You’re a good woman, and there’s a good man out there
for you who wants what you want, the picket fence and
all that. That man is not me. I’m sorry. I want the best
for you. And I want you to move on with your life.”
He heard his other cell phone ringing and walked over
to where it sat charging on the bar counter. Valerie.
“Look, Cheryl, I have to go.”
“But, Michael, I’m only five minutes from your
house. I can—”
You can keep it moving, baby. I told you from the beginning
this was for fun, not forever. Michael tapped the
screen of his iPhone as he reached for his BlackBerry.
“Hey, gorgeous,” he said into the other phone.
“Hey yourself,” a sultry voice replied.
“Michael!” Oh, damn! Michael looked down at the
iPhone screen to see that the call from Cheryl was still
connected. “Michael, who is that bit—” Michael
pressed and held the End button, silently cursing himself
for not being careful.
“Michael, are you there?”
“Whose was that voice I heard?”
“A friend of mine. Do you have a problem with that?”
Michael had never hidden the fact that when it came to
women, he was a multitasker, especially among the
women he juggled. But the situation with Cheryl had
him very aware of the need to make that point perfectly
clear, up front and often. If a woman couldn’t understand
that when it came to his love she was part of a
team, then she’d have to get traded.
“Not at all,” the sultry voice pouted. “Whatever she
can do, I can do better.”
That’s how you play it, player! “No doubt,” Michael
replied as his iPhone rang again. Unknown caller. He
ignored it. Sheesh! Maybe I’m getting too old for this.
Just then, his house phone rang. “Hello?”
Paia? Back from Europe already? “Hey, beautiful.
Hold on a minute.” And then into the BlackBerry,
“Look, Valerie, I’ll call you back.”
“Okay, lover, but don’t make me wait too long.”
The iPhone again. Unknown caller. Michael turned
off the iPhone. Cheryl, give it a rest! “Look, Cheryl—”
“Ha! This is Paia, you adorable asshole. Get it straight!”
Michael inwardly groaned. How could he have forgotten
his rule about keeping his women separate and
him least confused? Rarely call them by their given
name when talking on the phone. Baby was fine. Darling
would do on any given day. Honey or dear based on the
background. Even pumpkin or the generic yet acceptable
hey you were all perfectly good substitutes. But
using names, especially upon first taking a phone call,
was a serious playboy no-no. Yeah, man. You’re slipping.
You need to tighten up your game. He’d just promoted
this beauty to the Top Three Tier—those ladies who
were in enviable possession of his home number. He
and Paia were technically still in the courting stage—
much too early for ruffled feathers or hurt feelings. At
six feet tall in her stocking feet, Paia was a runway and
high fashion model, an irresistibly sexy mix of African
and Asian features. They’d only been dating two months
and he wasn’t ready to let her go. He even liked the way
her name rolled off his tongue. Pie-a. No, he didn’t want
to release her quite yet. “Paia, baby, you know Mr. Big
gets lonely when you’re gone.”
“Uh-huh. Because of that snafu you’re going to owe
me an uninterrupted weekend with you and that baseball
bat you call a penis. You’d better be ready to give
me overtime, too!”
“That can be arranged,” Michael drawled. “Where
“I just landed in LA. But we have to move fast. I’m
only here for a week and then it’s back to Milan. So
whatever plans you have tonight, cancel them.”
“Ah, man! I can’t do that—new client. But I’ll call
you later.” Michael looked at the Caller ID as an incoming
call indicator beeped in his ear. “Sweet thing,” he
said, proud that he was back to the terms of endearment
delivered unconsciously. That’s right, Michael. Keep
handling yours. “This is my brother. I’ve got to go.”
“Call me later, Michael.”
“Hold on.” Michael toggled between the two calls,
firing back up his iPhone in the process. “Hey, bro. What’s
up?” Just four words in and said phone rang. Jessica! Unbidden,
an image of the busty first-class flight attendant
he’d met several months ago popped into his head. Was it
this weekend I was supposed to go with her to Vegas?
“Darling,” he said, switching back to Paia, “we’ll talk
soon.” He clicked over. “Gregory, two secs.” He could
hear his brother laughing as he fielded the other call.
“Hey, baby. I’m on the other line. Let me call you back.”
He tossed down the cell phone. “All right, baby, I’m back.”
“Baby?” Gregory queried, his voice full of humor. “I
know you love me, fool, but I prefer bro or Doctor or Your
Highness!” Michael snorted. “You need to hone your juggling
skills, son. Or slow your player roll. Or both.”