Rookery Cove Vol. 3 Excerpt from Ocean's Call
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Copyright ©2012 Dawn Montgomery
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Nikita shouldered the door open and stared at the dank confines of her apartment. Failure. How can you call yourself a sexual healer? Fraud. She crushed the article clipping in her fist, crumpling it up and trying not to scream. The bitch had been so nice in the interview. Polite, reserved, and openly interested. Like a damned teenager stuttering about a first kiss, she'd walked into every trap, every damned pitfall the woman threw at her. Nikita kicked her door shut and threw the crumpled ball across the room. She dropped her carry-on and sniffed at the thin layer of dust wafting from the entry table. What should she have told her? No I can't tell you why everyone should buy my book since I haven't had an orgasm in over two years. Why yes, that is odd, isn't it? A sexual therapist who's bored with sex.
Anger warred with self-pity. Six months of warring with religious right-wing hypocrites. Six months of defending a woman's right to be interested in sex without getting your book burned, thrown at you, or getting spit on was a helluva lot harder than anything she'd ever experienced.
Her home phone's message light blinked a disheartening green. Anxiety twisted her stomach into knots and she cursed quietly. "Why didn't I get a cell phone?" No waiting till you got home to get messages, just take the calls immediately. No anxiety over who called to bitch her out. Getting bitched out quicker would be preferable to stressing over messages.
She pressed the button and went into the small kitchen to get a drink of water. Her voicemail system came on. She tugged on the worry stone she'd had strung as a necklace. The smooth outside felt comforting against her fingers.
"You have thirty-five voicemail messages. Message one…"
Nikita rolled her eyes and opened the cabinet doors, looking for a clean, semi-dust-free glass. Thirty-five messages? I wonder what my email inbox looks like.
A nasal hello echoed through the dingy living room. "Nikita, darling, we have to talk. Your book has released and it's not doing as well as we'd like."
Angie, her publicist. Nikita felt anxiety clench her stomach again. Why had she let the nutcase talk her into the book tour anyway? The phone rang and Nikita raced back to the living room and hit stop on her messages. She jerked the receiver off the wall and answered before looking at the caller ID.
"Nikita, it's Phillip."
She'd know his voice anywhere. Dark, enticing. The man could make most women turn into puddles of goo. Hell, she'd watched him turn arrogant businessmen into quivering nerves. The man was a wonder. Her eyes narrowed. What did he want?
"Hi, Phillip. It's been a while."
"Too long." He hesitated. "You've become very popular."
Nikita bit back a laugh. "Don't you mean un-popular?"
"Yes well, it's interesting what some people will do to advance their careers."
Nikita winced, knowing in her head he wasn't referring to her. Her heart, on the other hand, ached with guilt. "How's Rookery Cove? Still keeping an eye out for -- what did you call it?" She paused and grinned. "Oh yes, talent."
"The company practically runs itself."
Nikita laughed. "Riiiight."
He hesitated for a moment. "You know, my offer still stands."
Nikita leaned against the wall and sighed. "I don't think I'm what your company needs right now, Phillip."
"You're exactly what we need right now. I won't take no for an answer. At least hear me out. When was the last time you took a vacation?"
"I don't think a vacation is what you had in mind." Nikita slipped off her pumps and wiggled her aching stocking-covered toes in the plush carpet. "I'm not going to ask how you knew I was here."
"That's probably wise." She heard the smile in his voice.
An answering smile lifted her lips. Could she go to Rookery Cove? Work for Phillip? She thought about the thirty-some-odd messages waiting, the whining of her publicist, and any number of odd characters wanting to get to know the "Sex Doctor." Exhaustion tugged at her soul, and she realized another round of defending herself wasn't possible. She was already weary. A short vacation would be nice. "Okay, I'm in. When will the jet be here?" She'd need to make some arrangements. In a week she'd be ready to go.
He laughed. "No jet, sweet. How long has it been since you saw the ocean?"
Nikita blinked. "Years, Phillip." Joy sprung up in her heart and she grinned. Her book tour had left her too exhausted to see the ocean in California and Florida. She would be able to walk on the beach. Rocky cliffs, mountains, early morning mist.
"Great. I've made arrangements for you to fly out to Baltimore. There will be a boat waiting to bring you here."
Her head spun. "When did you make these arrangements?"
"The moment I heard the pain in your voice, Nikita." His voice was gentle. "The plane leaves in three hours. See you in a day or two."
Nikita rolled her eyes. Pain in her voice? Ha. He had an angle. He always did. She hung up the phone and glared at her baggage. "At least I'm packed."