Hello everyone! Only One for Me is now available. (See buy links after the excerpt) If you’ve read the prequel, Simply Amazing, this is the rest of Cannon and Yasmine’s book. If you haven’t read it, don’t worry, its in the back of the book immediately following the Author’s page if you prefer to read it first. In the meantime, enjoy chapter 1 below!
Dr. Cannon Arrington’s mission is to help people in need. But when his ex fiancée re enters his life after twelve years, he has a new mission. Never let her get away again.
Yasmine Dubose never stopped loving Cannon. Instead, she learned to live without him, guarding her heart in the process. However, when they are brought together to plan a wedding for their best friends, Yasmine is faced with the challenge of following her heart this time around or risk losing the only man she’s ever loved.
Yasmine dropped her briefcase and purse on the couch on the way to the ringing phone in the kitchen. She grabbed it and saw Sherika Williams, her best friend’s name on the caller ID.
“Hey, lady!” Walking to the refrigerator, she noticed a note under a magnet from her mother. Yasmine shook her head. Why didn’t her mother just text her? They both had iPhones. She pulled out a chicken and vegetable stir-fry she’d made yesterday and raked it into a plate. She hadn’t eaten since that morning. It was now late evening, and she was famished.
“Yaz, I had the best Valentine’s Day ever yesterday!” Sherika squealed.
“What romantic thing did Doug do now?” She glanced at the note.
Will be home late. Out on a date with you know who.
“He asked me to marry him!” Sherika squeaked, and Yasmine imagined her friend jumping up and down at the same time.
She closed the microwave door and pushed two minutes on the panel. “That’s wonderful! I knew it wouldn’t be long before he did. You two have been great friends over the years, and have always had a crush on each other. I was glad when you finally reconnected in the same city last year. I knew it would only be a matter of time before he popped the question!”
“Me too! I never wanted to do the long distance thing, but I’m glad we’ve always remained friends. But when he moved here, it just felt right.”
“How did he propose? I want all of the details.”
“He surprised me in my classroom at the end of the day and whisked me off to Montreal. He got permission from my principal so I could be off for the rest of the week. We’re here now.”
“Yep. He’s here for business, so he’s actually in a meeting at the moment. I just couldn’t believe it.”
“So when’s the big day?” Taking off her black suit jacket, Yasmine tossed it on a barstool next to the island.
“Well … we have to get married really soon, like the first weekend in June. He’s accepted a job in Madrid, Spain.”
“Congratulations. I’ll start looking for plane tickets to New York. Just tell me when.”
“Since my family is mostly in Memphis and his is in St. Louis, we’re going to get married in Memphis.”
“Makes sense.” The microwave beeped. Yasmine took out the plate, poured a glass of Merlot, and carried the items to the couch, plopping down on it.
“And you have to be my maid of honor.”
“I would be honored.”
“Thank you, girl. And I need a big favor. Because I’m in New York, there are some things with the planning process that I can’t do, even though I just secured a wedding coordinator in Memphis. I need someone there I know and trust, and I trust you.”
“Of course I will. Lucky for you, my consulting contract with the school system doesn’t end until the middle of June, so I’ll be here. Just email me the information and a laundry list of assignments, and I’ll get on it.”
Having lived away from her hometown of Memphis since she was eighteen, Yasmine had moved back temporarily six months ago from Atlanta to be with her mother, who was in remission from stage one breast cancer after completing her rounds of chemotherapy.
“Perfect. Doug has asked his best man to help with some things like the tuxedos and what not.”
At the mention of the best man, Yasmine’s heart dropped and the food on her plate no longer looked appetizing. She took a sip of her wine before asking the dreaded question.
“Who’s the best man?”
“Relax, its Doug’s big brother. He lives in St. Louis and will go with you to the first meeting with the coordinator this Monday at three o’clock if you can make it.”
Yasmine breathed easy again and took a sip of her wine.
“I can make it. I honestly thought you were going to say someone else’s name.”
“Nope. Doug did ask him, but he’s speaking at a medical convention in Vegas that weekend and won’t be able to come to the wedding.”
“Why am I not surprised that Dr. Cannon Arrington is too busy to attend his best friend’s wedding?”
“I can’t believe you haven’t bumped into him since you’ve been back in Memphis.”
“Fortunately, no. Besides, I’ve been with mother or doing consulting work for the school system.”
“Doug said Cannon has been in Brazil the past few months doing business for Doctors Unlimited. You know he’s the CEO of the organization. He’s in and out of town, so maybe that’s why you haven’t run into him.”
“Sherika, what is our agreement?”
Her best friend since fifth grade sighed. “That I never mention him or what he’s doing to you.”
“Thank you. Now back to you and the fabulous wedding I’m going to help plan.”
The ladies talked for a few more moments about the wedding details until Doug returned from his meeting and Sherika happily got off the phone. Yasmine finished her dinner in relief mode. The last thing she wanted to do was to run into Cannon, much less plan a wedding with him. Even though she was now thirty-six and not the naïve girl she was in her early twenties when she thought she was in love, she still didn’t want to see him. It took her years to get over their relationship that she thought was perfect. Eventually she’d dated again, and even had a few marriage proposals, but turned them all down. They had been nice guys, but she’d guarded her heart to the point of never falling in love again, dumping guys left and right when she thought they wanted a permanent relationship.
Yasmine glanced over the notes for the wedding she jotted down and breathed another sigh of relief that Cannon wouldn’t be the best man.
“Make sure to give her the medicine twice a day with food.” Cannon scribbled out a prescription for strep throat on his pad and handed it to his patient’s mother. “She’ll need to rest for the rest of the week, so I’m giving you a doctor’s note for her school as well.” He handed her another piece of paper.
“Thank you so much, Dr. Arrington. I’m glad you were able to squeeze us in today.”
“No problem. I’ve been your children’s pediatrician for years. I care about their well-being and your peace of mind.” He looked at the little girl who sat on the exam table, leaning her head on her mother’s shoulder. “Kailyn, make sure to grab something from the treasure box by the door.”
The little girl smiled and slid off of the table. “You’re my favorite doctor,” she said with a hoarse voice as she sat on the floor rummaging through the box.
After they left, Cannon washed his hands and headed back to his office. He checked his watch. It was almost two o’clock, and he needed to head to the other side of town. He chuckled. He couldn’t believe he agreed to be Doug’s best man that morning, but since he’d gotten the week of the medical conference mixed up, he was now available. Plus, Doug’s brother was a truck driver and would be in and out of town, making it hard for him to run whatever errands the groom needed.
Cannon hung his white coat on the back of the door and retrieved his blue suit jacket from his desk chair and took a deep breath. Today he would have to face Yasmine for the first time in twelve years. His heart stopped for a second. Just the thought of her still shook him. Even though he hadn’t seen or spoken to her, she’d still entered his mind from time to time. Her smile, her cute giggle, the sexy way his name rolled off her tongue and how she glided her fingers over his chest, all still occupied his brain. He’d hated the way their relationship ended and had felt guilty about it ever since.
“Getting ready to leave?”
Cannon snapped out of his thoughts and looked up to see his twin sister, Raven, standing in his doorway, staring at him with the same almond-shaped, chocolate eyes he saw every morning in the mirror. Her pink peacoat lay draped over her arm, a huge black leather purse dangled on her wrist, and the gray opera gloves lying in her hand matched the belt on her black sheath dress. Her reddish-brown curls were swept up into a bun on top of her head with a few escaped ringlets around her face. He smiled. His sister was always classy and elegant even when she wasn’t trying to be.
“Yep.” He grabbed his car keys.
“I’ll walk out with you. I’m off to the hospital to deliver your next patient.”
Cannon and Raven, at age thirty-eight, were the oldest of five siblings. They ran their family’s private medical practice, Arrington Family Specialists, which their parents started when the twins were in undergrad. The middle child, Sean, was a psychiatrist, followed by Bria, an allergist who also specialized in holistic medicine, and the youngest, Shelbi, who had just completed her first year of her residency, would eventually join the practice as an endocrinologist. Their parents had recently semi-retired, working only three days a week, and would fully retire once Shelbi completed her residency.
Once they made it to the parking lot, he could sense the hesitancy in Raven as she stood next to his black 745 BMW twirling her keys.
“Soooooo … are you nervous?”
“A little. I’m taken aback that I had no idea she’s been in town for six months or that her mother had cancer, but apparently she asked Sherika and Doug not to tell me.” He shrugged.
“It won’t be so bad. You’re just meeting with the coordinator to set up appointments and what not. Plus, you’re only responsible for selecting tuxedos and the groom’s cake. You really won’t have to see her again until the wedding weekend.”
“Don’t forget I’m planning the bachelor party.” He grinned with a wink.
“You should call Rasheed to help you.”
“Already did, but he said since he was married to Bria and had a baby on the way, those days were gone. However, he gave me the information I needed and offered his private jet to fly to Vegas.”
“Speaking of babies, I gotta run before this one delivers itself.” She walked toward her Mercedes. “I’ll call you when I have a chance.”
Thirty minutes later, Cannon sat in his car in the parking lot of the wedding planner’s office, strumming his fingers on the steering wheel. A few cars were there, all of which had Tennessee tags, except a black two door Lexus with Georgia tags and a sorority plate which was the same sorority Yasmine belonged to. He could picture her driving the car—too fast as usual—with her hair blowing in the wind and her favorite music blasting. She was always carefree and bubbly, which he’d admired about her. She enjoyed life and had taught him to do the same.
He didn’t know much about her life now except that she was an adjunct professor at Atlanta Memorial University and also did educational consulting for the school systems in Atlanta. Doug said she’d taken a sabbatical to move back to Memphis temporarily to be with her mother.
Inhaling, Cannon opened the glass door to the wedding coordinator’s office. A receptionist greeted him and instructed that he go to the waiting room, which was through the door on his right.
As he entered, he was greeted by soft wedding music playing through speakers on the wall and a familiar fragrance. He knew it instantly. It was Amarige, Yasmine’s favorite perfume. Mixed with her ambrosia scent, it was always an aphrodisiac for him. No one else was in the room except him and the beauty with her head in “Modern Bride” and so engrossed in whatever she was reading, she hadn’t noticed him.
His heart almost leapt out of his chest and onto the magazine-filled coffee table in front of her. She was a vision of loveliness, and he had a moment of déjà vu. When he’d met her fourteen years ago, she was reading a book to her first graders, not realizing he stood in the back of her classroom mesmerized by the sweetest voice he’d ever heard and her soft, angelic face. When she was alerted to his presence, she’d treated him to her simply amazing smile, and he knew he had to make her all his.
It wasn’t the first time he’d actually met her. She’d been the geeky freshman daughter to his biology teacher when he was a senior in high school. Cannon was always cordial and spoke to Yasmine in the hallway. She wasn’t on his radar, but it was something about her he’d found adorable and intriguing. However, the day he arrived to read to her students for a read-a-thon his fraternity sponsored, he definitely noticed the young, sexy teacher.
Cannon let his eyes wander over her and soak in her essence as he’d done that day in her classroom. Her hair was shorter than he remembered, but still with natural curls, and pulled back with a black head band. As always, she wore little make-up, and he noticed a few new laugh lines as she smirked over what she read. His gaze landed on her pouty lips that he’d spent endless hours kissing and nibbling as she sighed his name the entire time. Over the years, he imagined her lips on his or roaming over other parts of his body with her tongue licking and taunting him as if he were the most delectable dessert she’d ever had.
Yasmine had been his everything. His lover. His best friend. His rock. The one person he could depend on to keep him focused. She believed in him and supported his goals to the fullest. Throughout the years, he had replayed their last conversation—well, argument—in his head, trying to figure out how he could’ve steered it in another direction. However, he knew it would have ended the same. He hated to admit that everything was moving too fast for him, and deep down wasn’t mentally ready to get married, but he never wanted to be without her.
As he stood there, he was hit by an overpowering urge to draw her into his embrace and kiss her intensely and ferociously until she couldn’t think straight.
He cleared his throat, and her head rose. Their eyes locked, and the smile she had worn faded and was replaced with a questioning scowl.
“Hello, Yasmine.” His voice was steady; although, if looks could kill he’d be dead.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
Okay, so maybe this isn’t déjà vu.
I hope you enjoyed chapter 1. To read the rest of the book, the buy links are below.