Can’t Breathe Without You


1. Just one foot in front of the other, Tom thought to himself as he traversed the seemingly endless length of red carpet. He was slightly proud of himself for remembering to stop by the big name reporters and bloggers as his publicist requested of him. It was all a blur, of course, with cameras flashing, reporters rambling superficial questions, and fans screaming to gain a wave, nod, or a shout-out from their favorite celebrities. Always polite yet in his clipped tone, Tom answered the incoming questions ranging from: How are you feeling about your chances of winning Songwriter of the Year tonight? What projects can we see from you in the future? Who are you wearing? Who’s the lovely lady on your arm? His answers to all were on autopilot by the time he reached the last crush of reporters. Pretty good. Many new works and collaborations coming up. Tom Ford. My sister, Sarah. All the while, the only thing he could think about was getting inside the theatre and getting a drink. Actually, if truth be told, he would prefer having that drink while sitting on the back porch of his Texas ranch house strumming a melody on his guitar while his beast of a dog, Bear, sat at his feet. Once inside, the ushers escorted them to their seats in the large lush and gilded theatre. Tom was thankful when he saw that he was assigned an aisle seat. The rows were so narrow he couldn’t imagine squeezing his 6’2” frame into those seats for the next three or four hours of the award show. “At least smile and act like you want to be here,” Sarah reminded him as she settled into the seat next to him. “You know I don’t,” he said, unbuttoning the top button of his black dress shirt for a more comfortable and relaxed look. “Come on, you have to admit it’s kind of fun dressing up in these fancy designer clothes, walking the red carpet, hearing all those screams from the fans. And the celebrities? Seriously, do you not see that Blake Shelton is sitting just two rows in front of us? Oh, and he’s even dreamier in person,” Sarah swooned. Sarah was genuinely star-struck and Tom couldn’t blame her. It wasn’t everyday his young sister, a teacher and single parent of two, was invited to the Grammy awards on the arm of “country’s hottest rising star.” No, Tom wouldn’t rain on her parade for the night. He was even generous enough to pay for the designer gown she was wearing, along with treating her with a day at a spa to get ready for the event. Wasn’t that half the reason he dreamt of being a successful recording artist; to have the means to indulge his family for the love and support they have bestowed on him over the years. Teasingly, Tom smiled, “Hey, I thought I was your eye candy for the night?” “Please, you only brought me because mom was busy,” Sarah teased her big brother. “Ouch!” Tom feigned injury from her statement. But it was true. The only considerable options for a date for the biggest night in his career was his mother or his little sister. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t find a date, he just didn’t care to find a date. It was difficult to find someone truly interested in him and not the fame and fortune that came with his skyrocketing music career. Besides, he didn’t have time to commit to a relationship, he was constantly traveling across the country either on tour or in the recording studios in Nashville. When he wasn’t on the road, he preferred spending his time alone, relaxing at his ranch house in Texas. “Excuse me. I’m sorry, I think we’re down this row.” A young woman interrupted his thoughts to gain access into the row passed his extended legs. Tom stood, a bit annoyed, as an entourage of boisterous pop stars filed into the row. It was at that moment he laid eyes on her as she shuffled past him. It was only a few seconds, but felt like time had slowed down for him to commit her to his memory. Her petite yet curvy frame was at least a foot shorter than his as she slipped passed him. Tom took note of the slinky liquid gold sequin dress that clung to her curves with a devil-may-care plunging back, exposing the span of her smooth caramel toned skin to the top of her well-rounded derrière. Her waist was so tiny, Tom imagined that if he wrapped his palms around it, his fingers would touch as he pulled her closer to him. As she passed, Tom caught the scent of her — a sweet feminine floral aroma with the hint of exotic fruits. He wanted to lean in and touch her, caress the bare skin of her smooth brown back as he pulled her closer and lower his face to the crook of her neck to inhale her intoxicating scent. “Thank you.” She smiled as an afterthought as she made her way to her seat with her crew. As Tom returned to his seat, he was shocked by his overwhelming reaction to her. It was such a brief encounter and very unlike him to get so hot and bothered by just the passing of a woman. Hell, he hadn’t even seen her face and Erenköy escort he already wanted to put his hands all over her body. Realizing where his thoughts, and hormones, were taking him, Tom had to shake himself out of it as Sarah drilled him about his non-existing acceptance speech. “Tom, are you okay?” his sister asked. “Huh? What?” Tom asked while he was trying to figure out what just happened. “Earth to Tom. You just went into your head there for a moment. I knew it, you are nervous. I mean, I understand. You should be. This is a big deal, being nominated Songwriter of the Year after your first album. That’s huge, Tommy!” Sarah said trying to encourage her talented brother. “Um, yeah, I guess so,” Tom said, but his attention was farther down the row. It didn’t even bother him that his sister called him Tommy, which he hated. He was too busy trying to get a glimpse of the mysterious woman that affected him so strongly. As she settled into her seat, Tom finally got a full look of her lovely heart-shaped face. Smooth caramel skin with a small button nose and big luminous hazel eyes. His eyes fell to her full succulent lips, covered in sheer pink gloss, as they formed a confident and playful smile. Her attractive face was framed with a shiny black mane of curls, swept to the side in an artfully arranged ponytail. Her curls cascaded over her right shoulder and all Tom should imagine was pressing his lips against her bare left shoulder as he held her in his arms. This beautiful woman held Tom’s attention for the rest of the evening.***** “Look at this! I love our seats this year. I’m definitely boss!” Keisha boasted as she settled into her seat, smiling at Patricia, her cousin and manager. “You’re presenting an award this year, that’s why they put you up close,” Patricia said checking Keisha’s ego. It was a full-time job trying to keep Keisha grounded and humble. Keisha Love was one of the hottest female R worn yet polished and well cared for. He was expensively dressed in designer apparel, yet everything about him said authentic cowboy. When she meet his eyes again, she had a coquettish smile on her lips, “I’m Keisha Love.” She extended her small brown hand to him. Tom returned her playful smile, “Yes, I know who you are.” “And I know who you are. You performed tonight and just won a Grammy for Songwriter of the Year,” she said remembering why he looked familiar. “Yeah, that was me,” he said modestly. “Congratulations,“ Keisha offered, then added, “Planning to celebrate the big win, huh?” “Yeah, hopefully with you,” he said taking a step closer to her. Keisha grinned. “Really, huh?” She wondered what on earth this handsome cowboy wanted to do with her. Skeptical, she asked, “Why do you want to party with me?” Tom smiled. “Why are you surprised? You are the most beautiful woman here tonight.” Flattered, Keisha admitted, “Well, you’re not bad looking yourself.” Downplaying how she really felt about his looks, but Keisha have always been the Queen of playing it cool. “But, I doubt you have the same idea of partying as I do.” “Why? Is it because I’m white?” He took another step forward. This woman before him was so full of sass yet very mesmerizing, he was drawn to her. “No, because you’re Tom Walker.” Keisha took another step back. Not many people could get Keisha to give up her ground, but there was something alluring about Tom. She didn’t see it as backing away, more like seeing if he was daring enough to step closer. “What does that even mean?” “It’s simple, I’m R to bring those luscious lips to mine, and kiss you so thoroughly as my hands explore your body. I’ve thought about tugging that piece of fabric masquerading as a dress up over your hips as my hands move up your legs, between your thighs, then slide my fingers so deep inside you until you moan my name. My single goal is to make you so wet before pulling your panties off, lifting your legs around my waist so I would enter you so deep and fully you can’t breath.” As he spoke he inched closer and closer, placing his large hands possessively around her waist as he pressed her against the wall of the terrace. His lips were just a breath away from hers. Keisha’s breath caught in her throat just imagining all that things he said coming true. She tingled as she became aware of the sudden emptiness in her core, awaken by a hunger he provoked. She placed her hands on his chest, loving the feel of his warm solid chest beneath the his shirt. She leant into him, his strong masculine scent enticed and excited her. Keisha whispered with a impish smile, “Not to ruin your little fantasy, but I’m not wear panties.” “Are you teasing me? Do you want me to take you right here on this terrace?” he asked, softly brushing his lips against hers as his hands pulled her even closer to him. Keisha grinned wickedly, licking içerenköy escort bayan her lips, as the heat from his mouth flirted with hers. “I’m not teasing. You’ve made me so fucking wet.” “Keisha!” At that exact moment someone called out her name. Startled, Keisha jumped away from Tom as Sean suddenly stepped out onto the terrace. “Hey, there you are! Baby, I’ve been looking all over for you, girl.” Sean grabbed Keisha’s arm. “Sean! What are you doing here?” Keisha asked surprised to see Sean. “Keisha, I tried to stop him.” Patricia appeared on the terrace behind Sean. “Sean, let me go! I’m not going anywhere with you!” Keisha said pulling her arm free. She could tell by his slurred speech that he was already drunk and he reeked of pot. “Babe, come on. You’re still mad about that? I told you I’m sorry. You want to make me beg? Is that what you want?” Sean said. “She said she’s not going with you.” Tom stepped between them, using his towering height to his advantage. He had no idea who this guy was or his relation to Keisha, but could tell that Keisha didn’t want to go with him right now. “Who the fuck are you, cowboy?” Sean said sizing up Tom. “Hey! Sean, calm down!” Patricia said firmly stepping in between them. “Don’t start a scene. You had too much to drink. Keisha will talk to you when you sober up.” She lied, there was no way she would let Keisha around Sean again. Sean backed down, “You better!” he said turning to walk away. Patricia placed her arm around Keisha, who was visibly shaken from the whole turn of events. “Are you okay?” “I’m fine, Patti,” Keisha assured her. “Come on, we should go inside.” Patti ushered her back into the party, avoiding Sean and his crew. As the ladies vanished into the crowded party, Tom could hear Patricia asking what exactly happened and who was that guy out on the terrace with her. “Nothing happened, Patti, don’t worry. It was nothing,” Keisha said with one last look over her shoulder at Tom Walker standing alone and frustrated on the terrace. 2. Except it wasn’t nothing. The next morning, Keisha rolled around in her bed, unable to get a restful sleep. She had dreams of a tall handsome cowboy leaning over her, undressing her as she eagerly undressed him. His hands moved between her thighs with fingers diving so deep inside her she orgasmed and begged for more. Her dream lover entered her quickly, filling her with his thick hard rod, fucking her so good and hard that her headboard knocked in rhythm with them against the wall. “Mmm, yes.” Keisha moaned in her sleep, while subconsciously her fingers sought her wet clit. As she drifted from sleep, she realized it was just a dream. She was alone, touching herself, and the knocking she heard was not the result of hard fucking, but someone’s insistent knocking on her bedroom door. Reluctantly she rolled over in bed, groaning, she looked at her alarm clock. The bold red digits showed her that it was well past noon. “Keisha! Keisha! It’s Patti, open up!” “Shit!” Keisha groaned groggy sitting up in bed. “Just a minute,” she yelled, grabbing her plush robe to cover up her aroused and naked body. The gold sequin dress she wore the night before laid in a heap on the floor and her heels were scattered about the bedroom. She was tying the belt on the robe when she opened the door and Patricia marched in, “Keisha! I told you we had to be at the airport at one this afternoon!” “Shit, Patti, I know. Sorry, I overslept.” Keisha yawned. “Luckily, I called ahead and told them we’re running behind. The pilot is delaying take-off, so you better hurry up.” “Okay, okay, just let me jump in the shower. Lay some clothes out for me.” “You have five minutes,” Patricia said, shaking her head. She loved her cousin, but she often wondered where Keisha would be without her. Yes, the girl was talented and could sing her ass off, but she had no sense of time management or moderation of any sorts. Ten minutes later, Keisha stepped out of the shower, freshly scrubbed and somewhat awake. She pulled on the undies, skinny jeans, and tank top that Patricia had laid out for her, skipping the bra. She gathered her damp tresses up into a ponytail, pulling on a White Sox all-black logo cap. Even though she had lived in L.A. for the past eight years, she would always be a Chicago South-Sider at heart. Smiling, she slipped into her sandals and pulled on her oversized dark sunglasses. “See, that didn’t take long.” “Great, now we have fifteen minute to get to the airport,” Patricia said ushering her out the door. “Oh, I think I’m forgetting something. Yes, my phone.” Keisha retrieved her iPhone from the charger on the bedside table. “Okay, let’s go,” Patricia said impatient. “Yes, ma’am.” Keisha headed out the door, rolling her eyes and groaning as she scrolled through her phone. “Ugh, I have like Escort Tuzla 50 angry drunk texts from Sean.”***** Just several blocks away, Tom woke up to the sound of his phone buzzing with an incoming call. Groaning, he rolled over in the large empty hotel bed and picked up his phone from the nightstand. His phone was full of messages of congratulations, well wishes, and requests for appearances and interviews. Currently, his PR manager, Christie Sloane’s number was displayed across the screen. He pulled himself out of bed as he answered. “Tom, where have you been? I’ve been calling and trying to reach you all night,” Christie said. “Well, good morning to you, too,” Tom said sarcastically as he stumbled into the kitchenette of his hotel suite and started a pot of coffee. After Keisha was abruptly pulled away from him last night, Tom spent the rest of the night alone in his room nursing a bottle of bourbon and cooling his overheated hormones. He was definitely paying for those choices now. Christie took a clue and started over. “Hi, yes, good morning, Tom. Are you just waking up?” Tom scratched his scruffy chin, “Aren’t I allowed one little indulgent after yesterday’s circus?” “It’s just that every entertainment and news network has been wanting to meet with you after your big win last night. Now, I have some interviews lined up for you, but you have to actually show up for them,” Christie scolded him. After pouring himself a big mug of strong black coffee, Tom shrugged his shoulders, sighing as he agreed to fulfill his end of the game. After a quick and sobering cold shower, Tom dressed for the day ahead. He reluctantly endured all the media hype, his canned responses to the questions started to irritate even him. But one question did stick out to him, How did he feel about last night’s win? His response was a lot different than what he actually felt. For him, his win last night paled in comparison to the encounter he had after tracking down Keisha Love. He had never experienced such a strong physical attraction to anyone. Even her own reaction to him seemed intense. If they hadn’t been interrupted when they had, Tom would not have awoken to an empty bed. It has been awhile since his last intimate relationship. Since his music career had taken off at a rocket’s pace, he haven’t had a chance to get involved with anyone else. Even while on the road touring, he had tons of women throwing themselves at him, but the idea of taking on groupies for a quick fling wasn’t his thing. So naturally, the need for a physical release was just greatly overdue.Something about Keisha set off primal urges within him that he had neglected for far too long. It even made him dumb enough to jump in between her and her angry boyfriend or whoever that guy was. He wasn’t quite sure what the story was with that, but Tom would have stepped in anyways. He hated seeing men mistreat women. It was uncharacteristic of his low-key profile to react so hot-blooded, yet from the moment he laid eyes on Keisha, Tom hadn’t felt like himself.***** After being rushed to the airport to board a chartered private jet to the Bahamas, Keisha took it all in as she usually did — in a state of oblivion about the people that went out of their way to provide her the privilege of her celebrity status. It wasn’t that she was intentionally mean or rude, she was just very self-centered. These luxurious were laid out to her from such an young age and often didn’t include her in the decision making, she just assumed this was the way of her life. On the plane, Keisha tried to get more sleep, but Patricia was insistent on sharing the itinerary for the rest of the day once they landed. “It’s not a vacation, Keisha. We have a meeting with Pierre to talk about the locations he scouted, then you have a meeting with Scott Hyland,” Patricia informed her. “Of course, I know,” Keisha said trying to pay attention and keep up with everything that Patricia planned, but her thoughts kept straying. She kept rewinding last night’s encounter with Tom Walker. Every time she thought about the tall handsome cowboy she tingled all over again. When she let herself daydream, she imagined what would have happened had Sean not interrupted them. She considered herself a modern bad girl, but having hot and reckless sex with a complete stranger in the midst of a party wasn’t something she did or thought she was capable of doing. Well, not until last night. Not her usual type, Keisha was surprised by her own instant attraction to Tom. Yes, he was attractive by any standard — tall, lean, and well built with dazzling blue eyes and a killer smile. Yet, it was all about the way that he approached her that held her attention. He was so sure about his attraction to her and his illicit description of what he wanted to do to her made him even more appealing. Like a spoiled rich brat, Keisha was used to getting what she wanted, and now she wanted to know more about Tom Walker. Keisha swiped her finger across her iPad, opening up the Google search page. She typed Tom Walker into the search bar and was bombarded with an endless array of media coverage on the recent Grammy award winner.

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