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Harry had opened the resort five years ago. In the beginning there were just fifty suites and ten hotel rooms. Today the Swiss chalet-style resort had one hundred and fourteen luxury suites and sixteen hotel rooms. And this season they were offering ten two- or three-bedroom condominiums for larger groups who wanted more privacy.
At forty-two, Harry had already enjoyed one career: he was retired from professional football. One of the few black quarterbacks, Harry was proud to have played with the Denver Broncos the last nine years of his career. Although he was a Kentucky native, Coloradans had adopted Harry as their own, and loyally frequented his resort.
He saw plenty of locals in the crowd tonight, many of whom could not let him pass them without a "Hey, Harry!" or a fond pat on the back.
He was looking for his date, Marcia Shaw. He and Marcia had been going out for three months. She was a news anchor for a Denver station. Smart, attractive and just the right age to be seriously looking to settle down, Harry thought she was perfect for him.
Harry had this "life timeline" in his brain. When he was a football star in high school, he'd said that by the time he was twenty-five he would buy his mother a house. He had met that deadline. By the time he was thirty-five, he vowed, he would be financially solvent. He was a millionaire many times over by his thirty-fifth birthday. And by the time he was forty-five he would be married with children. He'd put off getting married this long because he was of the mind that when a man married, his wife should take precedence over everything else in his life. Therefore, his business had to be in good standing before he married anyone. Plus, since his own father died when he was a small child, he wanted plenty of time to spend with his kids.
Now that he was forty-two he felt an urgent need to find that special someone and start working on fulfilling the last item on his timeline agenda.
The orchestra was playing "Clair de Lune" and the beautifully dressed guests were either dancing or standing on the sidelines conversing, with small plates filled with appetizers and glasses of wine balanced in their hands.
Harry saw Marcia across the room chatting with another woman. He made a beeline for her, but was waylaid by John Santiago, founder of a Denver ski club for minority kids. Harry knew John well because he'd donated his time and money to the club over the years. He had even hired some members of John's group to work at the resort over the weekend, giving beginning ski lessons to children of his guests.
"Harry, could I have a word with you?" John asked with a serious look on his medium-brown face. John was five-ten and stocky with powerful shoulders and great arm and leg muscles honed from skiing, no doubt.
Harry was six-two and athletically built. Every morning Monday through Fridayhe still got up and jogged, even though his knees were beginning to give him problems. He spent at least an hour in the gym seven days a week. Both men were wearing tuxedos for the black-tie event.
"Sure, John, what's up?" Harry casually inquired, his thick brows raised.
John took a DVD in its plastic cover from his inside jacket pocket and handed it to Harry. "I've never asked you to do this before, Harry, but this girl is special. She's a downhill racer. I think she has the talent to qualify for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but she needs a sponsor. You know what that meansshe needs financial backing and the use of Karibu's facilities."
Harry started to say something, and John cut him off with "I don't want you say anything right now. Just look at this DVD, and I'll get back to you later. She's only seventeen and in her last year of high school. She lives with her mother, who's a nurse at a Denver hospital. Single mom, but she's done a great job with Danielle. That's the kid's name, Danielle Washington."
John smiled. "I'm gonna get out of your hair now." He looked around them. "Great turnout tonight, Harry."
"Yeah, thanks," Harry said, wondering what he was getting himself into.
John disappeared into the crowd and Harry continued across the room. Marcia was no longer where he'd earlier spotted her. He kept walking in that general direction anyway and saw her standing in an alcove adjacent to the white brick fireplace.
Her back was to him, so she didn't see him approaching. He could hear her distinctive voice quite well, though. "I agree, Harry's a great guy, but he's too attached to his mom. Can you believe he phones her every day? My mother would have a heart attack if I started phoning her that often." She laughed uproariously as her friend joined her.
Harry stopped in his tracks, unable to resist listening to the rest of the conversation. How could she think he was a momma's boy? Sure, he phoned his mother every day, but that was because his mother was recovering from cancer surgery and he was worried about her. He had tried to talk her in to coming out to Denver to have the surgery and recuperate so he could keep an eye on her, but Mildred had flatly refused.
She preferred to stay in her Louisville, Kentucky home where her daughter, Susanne, Harry's younger sister, could walk across the street from her house to check on her mother each day. Harry could understand so he hadn't tried to bend his mother to his will.
"I like it when a man's devoted to his mother," said Marcia's friend. "If he treats his mother well, he'll treat me well."
"That's not always true," said Marcia. "If a man wants to be with me, I need to be number one in his heart. I don't want an old lady beating my time!"
"Girl, you need to quit," chuckled the friend, obviously enjoying their conversation. "If I had a man like Harry Payne, I wouldn't be complaining about the time he spends on the phone with his mother as long as he spends time with me in the bedroom. Tell me you've seen his bedroom." She waited expectantly.
Harry held his breath. He had never been able to put up with a woman who discussed their sex life with anyone. Not her best girlfriends. Not her sister, nor her mother. That was private. He considered sex a sacred thing between a man and a woman. Unlike some of his male friends, he never talked about how a woman performed in bed with him.
"I have no complaints there," Marcia confided conspira-torially. "He's the best lover I've had in a long time. But Marcia needs to be the queen in his heart as well as in his bed. I will not share him with his mother. I won't have her taking away my time!"
Harry turned on his heels and walked back in the direction he'd come. He didn't want to hear any more. In fact he wished he hadn't heard as much as he had. Here he was thinking that Marcia Shaw was a sweet, unselfish woman with whom he had a lot in common, only to find out that she was jealous of the time he spent talking to his mother. In his opinion Marcia's behavior smacked of a woman who was insecure and immature.
He sighed deeply. When you were past forty, it was definitely hard to find a woman worth taking home to Mom. He supposed he could give up and marry some bimbo with hips built for breeding who was just in it for the money and the big alimony after the divorce five years down the road. But he truly wanted someone he could love. Someone who could love him for himself and not for what he could give her. Was that too much to ask for?
It's freezing out here! Cherisse Washington thought as she wrapped her arms around herself. The pashmina shawl around her shoulders wasn't doing much to keep her warm. But she couldn't stand to be inside a moment longer. Why had she let Sonia talk her into coming? She could have been at home, curled up with a good book. Instead she was in Vail at "the hot resort," as Sonia had put it. Opening night promised to be filled with plenty of unattached men looking for unattached women. Sonia had already hooked up with someone: a computer programmer from Denver who had also had the bright idea to spend his Saturday night looking for love.
If Cherisse hadn't given Sonia a ride, she would have been in her car by now on her way back to Denver. But she wasn't about to leave her best friend stranded.
So she'd come out on the balcony to fortify herself with a bit of fresh air before returning to the ballroom, and the awkward advances from men who were more out of practice than even she was when it came to talking to the opposite sex.
The moon was about the best thing she'd seen tonight. It was full and bright, the color a pale yellow. She could see the smiling face of the man in the moon. She could almost feel the warmth of the moonlight on her skin. Closing her eyes, and tilting her head back, she imagined she could feel the moonbeams dancing on her face.
"What are you, a stargazer or just a moonbeam bather?" asked a deep male voice from behind her.
Cherisse's eyes flew open, and she turned to face a tall strikingly handsome man. She had no idea he was actually the host Harrison Payne. She didn't follow football and had never been to the Karibu Resort before tonight so there was no reason that she would recognize him.
She didn't follow football because she'd had enough of the game when she'd been married to Charlie Washington, a professional football player and her ex-husband for the past ten years. She'd married him at nineteen and divorced him at twenty-seven when he hadn't been able to put his familyCherisse and their daughterbefore his gambling habit. She sometimes missed Charlie, but she didn't miss football.
As for the Karibu Resort, she had heard it was African-American-owned, and that was all she knew about it.
The guy was tall and muscular. From what she could see of him, he had a square-jawed, clean-shaven face and short, neatly cut hair. He smelled nice, too. "The moonbeam...
A must read...True seduction. Her writing is wonderful. The story of Cheri and Harry is real. Read in 2 days.Published 8 months ago by TANYA
This story is very much fun to read. Its deals with several topics and is filled with passion, love, jealousy, remorse, family devotion and happiness. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Happy Reader
I loved this book of romance, marriage, and children. I also loved the career aspect of nursing. This was truly a love story between the two main characters. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Carol Ann Culbert Johnson
This story was just okay and actually kind of boring. I think there was a lot of potential for the book to be better, but it was relatively flat for me.Published on February 22, 2011 by Ronna L. Cason
I felt the storyline had potential and was capable of bringing so much more. Many areas were left so unexplored to the point I wondered why they were mentioned at all... Read morePublished on April 30, 2010 by Tweety
I have read several of Janice Sims books and really enjoyed them all. So when I read this book I was really disappointed it was terrible. Read morePublished on March 4, 2009 by Read A Lot
As usual Janice Sims has delivered a great love story.
Harry wants a unselfish, mature woman who is confident enough to accept his relationship with his mother. Read more
In Janice Sims' Seduced by Moonlight, it seems as if everyone is getting a second chance at something. Read morePublished on December 14, 2008 by Brina D.