This month I would like to introduce you to my 1st published novel. It’s also the 1st book in a series called ‘The 1st Line’. I was experimenting with a genre I never thought I would right. Still it’s a romance novel and that’s definitely my genre. ‘Crimson Awakening’ was as they say a labor of love. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think.
‘Sweet’, Lena thought to herself while looking in the full length mirror on the bathroom door. It had been a long week. Lena was going over her book that should have already been to her editor. This was the final step before it went to print, but Lena didn’t like the ending and tried to change it, yet nothing seemed to work. She had decided to take a break and unwind at this club she heard was all the rave. Her friends had been bragging about it for months. They said that all the cutest guys and girls were there. Basically, everybody was there. It didn’t matter if you were gay or straight, this was the place to be. The club was called Zoe’s. When her friends called and told her that her favorite actor was there, she decided to go check this place out for herself. It was a Thursday night when she went. She was told that Thursday’s was Caribbean night and they played all the latest reggae, soca and calypso. That was her kind of music. After all her parents are from the Caribbean.
She dressed in her tight black dress. It was floor length without her heels in the back and right above her knees in the front. The dress had triangle cut outs on each side, a studded collar and no sleeves. She wore red bangles, and earrings to accent her dress with her red strap around the ankle shoes. She was hot. And just to make sure she grabbed her bolero and her pea coat and went next door to check with her buddy Marcus.
“Hey yourself. Aren’t you hot to trot.” Lena just smiled.
“Just checking to make sure I’m totally hot. Going to Zoë’s.”
“Oooo, you’re going to Zoe’s. Girl if I wasn’t going tonight I would be mad at you. You can’t go out by yourself looking like that.” She hadn’t noticed at first but Marc was dressed to party, with his tight black pants and a thin silk sweater. “Let’s go girl. The party is about to get hot.”
“Don’t you have to go to work in the morning?”
“Hmmm, like that is going to stop me.”
Well, the club was hopping indeed. The line was super long, wrapped around the corner. The music was blasting out of the doors. They were lucky, Marc didn’t have to wait on line.
“That’s what happens when you’re a regular, and you’re not allowed here by yourself.” She didn’t hear anything he said. She was lost in the atmosphere of the club. Zoe’s was great. The club had white walls and all black furniture and black sheer curtains dividing small sitting rooms from the dance floor. Not really sure what color the floor was.
“Is that a bed? What do they do in there? I, mean what are they doing?”
“Never you mind. You are not ready for all that right now. And did you hear what I said?” He grabbed her arm and turned her towards him to make sure she stood and listened to him. “Lena, did you hear me? You are not allowed in here without me.”
“Why, this place is me. And who is that?” Her focus was straight ahead and up. She was looking into the Dj booth. And there he was, tall, dark and hot. And if she didn’t know any better she would swear he was looking at her.
“And, don’t even think of making him your next boy toy. He’s not for you.”
“What, he is hot and if I didn’t know any better, I would think he was watching me.” Lena smiled and so did tall, dark and handsome.
“Of course he is, you’re fresh meat and you’re a hot tomalley.”
“I want to meet him and then some.”
Marc scoffed. “Come dance with me.”
She followed Marc to the dance floor but never took her eyes off that booth. He watched for a while before turning to talk to someone in the room with him. Then he disappeared. Marc and Lena danced for most of the night away. Eventually, he disappeared for two hours or so. She continued to dance for awhile, still it seemed like all the women who were surrounding her were being asked to dance but her. She wondered if she was making more of it than she should. Maybe they were intimidated. Or they figured she was too much up keep. She really just wanted to dance.
Eventually she decided to go sit down after the fourth girl was taken to the dance floor and then to a room behind the curtain. She sat by the bar and had a drink. She looked around and decided she really liked it. It was a pretty cool place. The music was great and so was the atmosphere. The rooms were a little weird. It looked like people were making out behind the shear curtains. Not exactly where she would kiss a guy and have him rubbing up on her, but to each his own. Still, pretty cool. There were guy girl couples dancing and guy on guy and girl on girl. She liked a place where people could be themselves.
Lena hated facades. One of the reasons she didn’t have a lot of men in and out of her life. She kept things pretty real and didn’t really want to deal with a lot of bull. So after the third date, she usually tried to assess the situation and let the guy know what was up. If he wasn’t down, so be it. But if he was she would see if he lasted for three months without the loving. If he did, he may get to second base and so on.
Lena decided to pay for her drink and get another one but the bartender wouldn’t let her pay for it. He said that her money wasn’t any good here and that she could have whatever she wanted. Odd but cool she thought. Someone really liked her. So she ordered another pineapple cosmopolitan and sat at a table near the dance floor. She wanted to be in plain sight when Marc decided to grace her with his presence again. And that’s when he floated over to her table. Well, not literally floated, but there he was. He was tall, handsome and muscular, but not too much muscle. His big curls of brown hair cascaded around his oval face. His eyes were dark and his lips full.
“Hello, beautiful lady. I am Lorenzo Michael Paulo Arias.”
“That’s definitely a mouth full. Hi, I am Yalena Charleen Count.” Just then her favorite song came on and she couldn’t help dancing in her seat.
“Would you like to dance Yalena.”
“Sure, and please call me Lena, all my friends do.”
“Ok, Lena. Then you must call me Ren, all of my friends do.” Lena nodded and smiled. She got her wish; she got to meet tall, dark and handsome. She wondered if he was the one who paid for her drinks.
“So is this your first time here?”
“Yes, my friend Marcus is a regular.”
“Marcus, Marcus…Jones right. He’s bi-sexual.”
“Yes, you know him.”
“I make it a point to know all of our regulars.”
“Your regulars? You own Zoe’s?”
“Yes, I’m partners with my friend Marcellus. He’s the DJ.”
“Oh, wow. He’s really good. I like his mixes. Some are hypnotic.”
“Yes, some are. You’re a pretty good dancer. You should come on latin night. I think you would like it.”
“Maybe. If I didn’t know any better, I would think you just wanted to see me again.”
“You would be right in that presumption. Tomorrow is Latin night, maybe you’ll save me a dance?”
“Maybe….” The song ended and he took her hand to lead her back to the table.
“Would you like to get something to eat? We have some great seafood. You look like a lady that would enjoy a good lobster. It would be on me.”
“Okay, I’ll let you buy me something to eat. You choose; after all you would know what’s good. But don’t expect anything.”
“I won’t take that last statement personally. You must have met some trifling men. I am a gentlemen and am not looking to take advantage of a beautiful lady. I will have your order sent as soon as it is ready. And I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow Ren.” As Ren was getting up to leave her, she saw Marc walking toward her out of the crowd on the dance floor.”
“I have met your beautiful friend. You have been keeping her from me.”
“Actually, yes I have. She’s too innocent for you.”
“Yes, she’s an innocent. But I have met her now. Guess I will see you tomorrow also. I’ll tell Marcia that you’ll be back.” With that he disappeared into the crowd.
“Marc, what was that about?”
“Nothing, you need to stay away from him.”
“Why? He seems nice enough. Besides, you appear to have hung out with him. He can’t be that bad.”
“He’s not bad. He is probably one of the nicest of the two owners. But he is not what he seems.”
“What? Anyway; where were you? For someone who didn’t want me to meet him, you didn’t stay to keep him from me.”
“I had to go see Marcia. She works here.”
“Oh. How do you know these people?”
“I’m Ren and Cell’s accountant. They are the ones who invited me down here… Sometimes, I wish I had said no.”
“What did you mumble?”
“Nothing.” Before she could get any more out of him their food arrived. Ren must have known that Marc would be hungry because he sent two plates instead of one. They ate and really didn’t stay much longer. Marc was in quite a hurry to leave the club. He complained that he was tired and ready to go and he refused to let her stay without him. So they went back to the apartment building. The next night was much the same. Lena went to club; didn’t have to pay at all for anything. She danced for a while to salsa and meringue with Ren while Marc went to see Marcia. When Marc came back, Ren disappeared, but not without the two of them eyeing each other. Then the food came, they ate and went home. Again Marc was in kind of a hurry to leave.
This went on twice a week for a little more than two months, each time Ren would spend a little more time with Lena than before. She always enjoyed her time with him. It wasn’t all night, but he would spend a few hours with her when she was at the club. She did learn that he was from Argentina and his parents died many years ago. He owned a building on Park avenue and lived on one of the top floors. It seemed like the club was his life and all the people who worked there knew him for a few years before the club.
She was enjoying the time that she spent with Ren. But she wanted more. They had a good time at the club, enjoying each others company. But the club wasn’t the best atmosphere to really get to know someone. She wanted to get to know Ren, see what he was made up of. He seemed so mysterious and that drew her to him. It seemed like he finally got the hint because he asked her to go to a movie and dinner with him. Finally! She thought.