Authors: Toye Lawson Brown


“Unfortunately, his charge will be lesser than Kelly’s. 
In the meantime, I can take my lady on a much needed vacation.  We have the
tickets for the cruise, and what a better time to go than now.”

Taylor’s light brown eyes brightened with her smile.
“Really—you want to go to the Bahamas now?”

“I will call the travel agent and see if I can exchange
the tickets for August to an earlier departure date.  With any luck, we can be
on the Royal Caribbean Allure in a few days if you’re willing.”

Her arms went around his waist clutching him tight. “I am
so willing to do that. I cannot wait to get away from all this for a while.”

Detective Diego gave Mario the thumbs up. “Good luck with
your cruise and I will be in touch with developments concerning Mr. Stevenson,”
he said as he walked inside the police station.

Mario kissed the top of Taylor’s head. “You have skills. 
Instead of putting on a power suit every day, you should don a magnifying glass
and pipe and become a PI.  You pretty much solved the case.”

Taylor looked at him.  “I could not have done it without
you and Detective Diego.  Men don’t normally listen when women speak, but you
two listened to me.  I am so lucky to have such a forgiving man like you in my

He grinned. “Who says I am forgiving?  Once we are on
that cruise, you might have to do some freaky things,” he joked.

“Just name it, Papi, and I will do it,” she said teasing

“I like it when you call me Papi.  Come on, let’s get out
of here,” he said sliding his arm around her waist.


Four Months Later

The brisk November air had Taylor pulling the lapels of
her coat around her neck to shield the cold.  She admired the calligraphy on
the sign above the double glass-paned door Sebastian had hung.  In a few days,
the grand opening of Legal Minds was set to happen, and they were making every
effort to impress current and potential clients.

Sebastian folded the stepladder together leaning it
against the building. “How do you like it?”

“I love it, Sebastian.  You have done an outstanding job
remodeling this old building into a modern and efficient place to do business. 
How can I ever thank you?”

“Ah shucks, this is what I do best.  Thanks to you and
Mario, I have gained a lot more exposure,” he said gathering up his tools and

Taylor gushed.  “I don’t know what will get more oohs and
awes….the detail you put into the outside or the offices you remolded.  The
reception area is absolutely beautiful, Sebastian.  No one would expect this
type of elegance for a one-story building with six offices.”

“It does me proud to know how satisfied you and Mario are
with my work.  Also, I have the best legal counsel representing my company
now.  I am confident I won’t get ripped off anymore.”

Taylor rubbed her gloved hands together to ward off the
cold.  “You took a bullet for me.  I’m going to make sure you always have the
best representation if you ever need it.”

“Let’s put that incident behind us.  We’ve survived it
and moved on with our lives.  Oh, before I forget, my painters should be done
with your house in a day or two.  Are you sure you want sell it after putting
all the extra work into it?”

Taylor nodded. “Yes, I do.  Now that Mario and I are
married, we selected to live in his house and sell mine.  I think it’s for the

“Well, I will miss seeing you every day but you have to
do what is best for you.”  He tucked the dusty tarps under his arm and picked
up the red toolbox.  “I will be back to get the ladder in a second, I have a
date tonight and don’t want to be late.  And you should get inside before you
catch a cold.”

Taylor raised her brow questioning him. “Who is your date
with tonight?”

“I’ve been keeping it quiet until I was sure we would hit
it off.  I’ve been seeing a nurse I met when I was in the hospital.  If I play
my cards right, I could be getting married come next year.”

She hugged Sebastian elated with his news. “I’m so happy
for you! I can’t wait to meet her.  What is her name?”

“Kelly,” he said with a wide grin on his face.

Taylor dropped her eyebrow. “Say it ain’t so, Sebastian.”

“Nah, I’m kidding; her name is Kathleen.  I’m gonna
scoot, Taylor.  I will see you tomorrow.”

“Have fun tonight and behave,” she laughed going inside
the building.

The fresh paint and clean smell of the reception area hit
her nose immediately.  The high-polished marble floors and warm brown hues on
the walls were pleasing to the eyes.  The cream-colored modern furniture was
stylish and elegant.

Mario was standing by a large oak bookcase talking to
Todd Brantley, who chose to work with them instead of retiring as planned. He
had convinced a majority of Cartwright & Associates clients to follow him
to Legal Minds.  It wasn’t hard to do once the FBI named Anderson Cartwright as
the person of interest in helping Kelly with getting an assassin.

Taylor waved to both men as she went to her office.  The
décor of her office reflected her love for African art.  She’d moved some of
the artifacts from her home to her office since Mario’s home didn’t have enough
room for all her belongings.

Mario knocked on the opened door, closing it behind him
when he entered. “We did it, Taylor.  We are finally ready for business.”

The gleam in her eyes told how happy she was.  After
months of pure dread, she was happy again—happy with her life and deeply in
love with the man of her dreams.

She walked over to where Mario was standing.  Fingering
the large round Chocolate Diamond engagement and wedding ring, she said, “I
could not have done any of this without you.  When we asked the captain to
marry us on a whim, it was crazy.  But, I knew in my heart we were doing the
right thing and so far, it has been four months of wedded bliss, and some
stress trying to get this office together.”

“It has all been worth it, Taylor.  We’ve had four months
of being newlyweds and the years to come will be even better as we grow old

“I have to pinch myself to believe it is real.  The
nightmares are finally behind me.”

“It’s all about new beginnings, baby.  With Kelly locked
away in a prison facility thousands of miles from us, and Dillon having no
memory of anyone; we are free to live our lives; however, we want.”

Taylor moved away from him to pour a glass of water.  “If
Detective Diego had not witnessed it for himself, I still wouldn’t believe
Dillon doesn’t remember anyone.  How is he going to function not knowing who he

“The doctor’s aren’t saying he will remain an amnesiac. 
But, when he regains his memory, I will be sure to remind him of the hell he
put you through.”

“Baby, in a way he is being punished.  He is sitting in a
convalescent home with no memory of his life.  He has to re-learn the basics of
talking, reading, walking, and using the bathroom; that has to be hard,” she
said drinking the water and feeling sad.

“Taylor, he can talk, but he’s choosing not to talk to

“That is true.”

“Sweetheart, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.  But, I’m going to be honest, I feel bad
for him.  He was my best friend at one time.  It’s like I’ve lost a family
member that I will never have a chance to get back.”

He took her in his arms hugging her. “You are too caring
and passionate to be angry with him.  That is so rare to find in a person these

“I accept we have to share the blame in what we did to
each other.  I should’ve never let him comfort me, and he should’ve been
upfront with me about his feeling.”

“Taylor, I’m not taking his side or anything, but I think
he did show you how he felt about you; you just didn’t see it the same.”

“He did and I ignored it on purpose.  Anyhow, that is in
the past,” she said fingering the tip of his chin.  “We have a bright future
ahead of us.  I was thinking we could maybe try for a baby or two before you’re
too old.”

“Hey! What are you trying to say?”  He frowned pretending
to be upset.

“I am younger and you might not be able to keep up with
me in the bedroom.”

Mario tilted her chin upward. “I will never be too old to
do that with you.  I love you, Taylor.”

She awaited his lips to capture hers saying, “Yo te amo,


Dillon sat in a chair staring out the window at the
vastness of Lake Michigan.  His parents had sent him to a convalescent and
rehabilitation center, in Chicago, Illinois for care until he was able to
function on his own. He had not spoken a word since opening his eyes four
months ago.  He could not walk but had limited use of his arms and legs.

The nurse came to check on him.  “Mr. Stevenson, do you
need anything?  Blink once for yes and twice for no,” she said adjusting the
blanket on his lap.

He blinked twice and continued to stare out the window.

“All right, if you do need anything, here is your special
call button.  You remember how to use it right?”

He closed his eyes and opened them once.  The nurse
patted him on the shoulder and left him alone.  He reached inside the pocket of
his robe removing a wallet-sized picture.  Thumbing the image, he murmured, “I
will never forget you Taylor James and I will be back to get you.”

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