The Woman He Wanted

By: K. Alex Walker

Prologue


Atlanta will be a new start, Kellen Edwards thought as he pulled his car between the two white lines outside of the Starbucks, across from the hospital where he’d now be continuing his career. He had a new position, three new positions actually, and a new life away from the stressors that had plagued him in Louisiana—namely, his ex-girlfriend, Trisha. The last image he had of her was her naked, lithe body pinned between three men; one behind her with his hairy knuckles gripping her hips, one alongside her olive skin which had hints of caramel and a rose tattoo beneath her ribcage, and the other, dangling his uncircumcised penis in front of her mouth like a twisted fisherman.

He had a soft spot for women the size of Texas, but that would no longer be the case. Sex would just be sex, no strings. He’d go back to his college days of unscrupulous behavior, tearing at his sleeve until only the threads of his heart remained. And when that familiar loneliness interfered, washing over him on mornings when the temperature outside was perfect, and the spot next to him empty and as cold as a winter morning, he’d ignore it. Maybe, if possible, he’d pick up even more shifts at work although his schedule was already so full, he had to write in time to sleep and visit his family.

He pushed the driver’s side door open, got out of the car, and made his way across the street. He wasn’t much of a coffee drinker, but with his new lease on life and his dreadful hours, it made sense to at least try to pick up the habit. It was also shameful to be both of Spanish and French heritage and spurn the idea of coffee drinking.

He held the door open for a woman that was walking out, the gleam of interest in her eyes evident. Her lashes were long, her mouth was painted in a reddish-pink lip color, and her skin was beautifully tanned.

He flashed her a smile. “Thank you.”

She met his eyes. “Thank you for what?”

“It’s my first week living in Atlanta and I’ve already been graced with the presence of a beautiful woman.”

Her head fell and she bashfully tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Oh.”

“Actually, if you’re not—”

The sound of laughter stopped him in the middle of his sentence. Kellen’s head turned, almost automatically, toward the sound and everything came to a screeching halt. The blushing woman in front of him became a blur as his gaze landed on the dark eyes across the café that found him the minute he glanced over. His entire no-strings-attached speech in the car and his memories about Trisha all went out the window the minute he laid his eyes on the woman behind the counter.

You are mine.

He looked down at the woman eagerly waiting for him to ask her out, and mumbled a quick, “Excuse me,” as he brushed past her to make his way to the counter. The woman behind the counter’s dark eyes were still on his as he drew nearer. He didn’t have a clue what the inside of the coffee shop looked like, but he could tell those eyes swirled even darker the closer he became.

“And how may I help you,” she squinted at his chest, “Dr. Edwards?”

He looked down and pulled off the name tag that had been affixed to his blazer from a mixer at the hospital earlier. “Uh…I’d like a,” he took a quick glance up at the menu, “grande, medium roast, nothing fancy. For Kellen.”

When their eyes met again, he felt the charge between them. He wanted her. And though he could somehow tell the obstacle for that to happen would be great, he didn’t have a care in the world.

“A grande, medium roast?” she repeated. “Is that it?”

He nodded. “…Yes, that’s it.”

For now.





Chapter One


Bridgetown, Barbados

May 4th, 1986



Babies were always crying about something—throats gurgling, hands balled into tight, tiny fists, and legs flailing. Alice Green watched, one leg curled under the other from the edge of the mattress, eyes bleary and heart full of something. Not love, but something. She watched, eyes skirting over the baby’s light brown skin that also had patches of red here and there which, her mother had ensured her, babies often had. Hair as dark and rich as ground coffee sprouted from its head in hills of curls, much unlike her own, which was currently cascading down her back in a thick, puffy braid. Everything else was hers; button nose, full, thick lips that her father had affectionately compared to a fish’s mouth, eyes that could steal a person from midday right into midnight.

It was still crying—likely hungry, wet, or tired. Alice rose so that she could look down into the baby’s face. Her shoulders were heavy and in her heart, she felt something full and bursting. Something light waging with something regressing into darkness.