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“Tell me what you want me to do... my sweet little Liddie. Hmmm. Do you want me to stop?” Ryder’s voice was dark and husky with smokey and spicy undertones in his voice Mrs. Thornton-Walker never heard from her son or in any sort of situation before. Red blush flushed her face as she came to understand she was indeed far too late to stop them.

“No, Ryder. Please don’t stop.” The young woman’s voice seemed to have risen an octave higher. She was panting and pleading him for more. The sounds wafting from inside the room were unthinkable and terrifying to the older woman.

Her son had married a woman who was nowhere near his social status and she was one of the most unattractive black women she had the misfortune to see. Her pictures displayed a short, dark brown African American woman who was rather on the chunky side. The only thing that struck Amelia silent was the girl’s eyes. They were her only redeeming quality. Never had she seen anything so interesting in her life.

Even with a certain “Je ne sais quoi/I don’t know what,” this thing was not happening.

Amelia Elizabeth Thornton-Walker would not be played or fooled by a son she refused to believe was capable of moving against her wishes. She burst open the door and was met with a scene straight out of a horror show.

The ebony leg draped over his left shoulder gave him the leverage he needed as he leaned down rocking the bed back and forward with the sheer force of his massive frame. Ryder used his right hand to steady himself with the headboard to make his motions more effective as the elderly woman walked in. The sight of them made his mother retch. She turned and ran from the room as if she had seen a ghost.

To her dismay, he was making love to his new bride and she was far too late to stop him as the young couple continued the act of consummating their union.

Sex sounds grew louder and more disgusting as she ran down the hall to flee what her son had done and what she was sure would bring him to his ruin.

(MICHAEL Head of Security)

“Dr. Kensin... I’m sorry. I mean Dr. Thornton.” The nurse called her name as she poked her head around the door.

“Yes, Neva?” The doctor replied.

“A gentleman named Kemi Eustace is here to see you.” The secretary was ushered in and invited to drop the paperwork she held on her boss’s desk. Lydia lifted her eyes from what had her attention for hours just so she could better focus on what the nurse was presented to her.

If those words had been spoken six months earlier, Lydia would’ve suffered an anxiety attack at the mention of his name. However, his name no longer had any power over her. She was no longer his prisoner.

“Dr. Thornton, would you like for me to get rid of him?” Michael’s question was laced with a subtle desire to repay the visitor for the pain he had inflicted on his friend’s wife. When he was assigned to her detail, enough information was shared with his security team to prepare them for anyone who might try to harm the boss’s wife.

Still, Michael heard from one of his best men who saw the doctor before she was completely healed. When the man shared her condition from the first time he saw her, he watched as Michael balled up his fists just hearing those facts. He always wanted to meet the man who chose to beat a woman the way she had been beaten and repay the favor.

As he requested her permission to deal with the jerk, he knew she would never stoop to that animal’s level. Michael wanted to put his hands on that guy in the worst way just once and teach him a valuable lesson about assaulting defenseless women. He quietly awaited her response from the adjoined office. One thing he promised was to always respect her wishes.

“There’s no need for that, but I would appreciate it if you would join the conversation.” Her smile always followed any request. She was the sweetest person he had ever met. He was convinced there wasn’t a malicious bone in her body.

Michael never met a woman who was as humble as Lydia Thornton. Because she was such an easy-going person, everyone appreciated being the center of her attention. Any interaction with her was always full of joking around and genuine smiles. Goodness he rarely observed in others came naturally to her. She was unlike any of the ridiculously wealthy and powerful people he had worked for in the past.

The head of Ryder Thornton’s security team was assigned to become Lydia’s constant shadow. He was tasked with the protection of her life the moment she was cleared by both her primary care physician Dr. Hubert and her Psychiatrist Dr. Steele.

Even though they both agreed it wouldn’t hurt for her to stay at home for a little more relaxation, Lydia wouldn’t hear of it. She missed her patients. Her staff called to wish her well and to congratulate her on a wedding to one of the most elusive bachelors in high society.

When the time had come for her to leave the house and return to work, Ryder pleaded with her to spend more time at home recuperating, but she felt guilty for being absent from her practice for so long. He finally conceded after she asked him if he could stay away from his business as long as she had.

Initially, Michael planned to assign one of his best people to protect the subject. He had personally worked with him to prepare her nerves for returning to work. When his lifelong friend insisted he wanted him to protect his wife himself, he realized she must be a very special woman. It wasn’t long after he accepted the assignment that he came to understand why Ryder described her as his most valuable asset.

It was communicated to Michael that this assignment was of the utmost importance. His order was to make sure no harm came to one hair on Lydia’s head.

Being a professional required him to represent his clients well. Even though he wanted to kick Kemi’s ass and rearrange his face for treating Lydia the way he had in the past, Michael reigned in his anger and left his office to escort the asshole in to see his boss’s wife.


“How can I help you?” Lydia asked in a formal yet distant voice. The time she spent with this man as his fiancée no longer took up space in her mind. It held no emotion or any meaning for her at all. She now only saw him as one of the many faces in the crowd. Lydia noticed the way his eyes roved up and down her body. At one time in her life, his attention would have made her heart leap. The only thing she felt when she looked at him was disgust and a need to get him out of her office as quickly as possible without showing any emotion or concern.

“Liddie you look amazing,” Kemi stared at her as if he couldn’t believe she was the same woman to whom he was once engaged.

“Thank you, now how can I help you?” She questioned flatly. Lydia had no intention of making this meeting easy for him. Her ex taught her to hate herself and did everything in his power to destroy her. Even though Lydia never spoke the words to anyone except her therapist, she resented Kemi Eustace for every diabolical thing he did to her.

When Lydia and Ryder decided to get married, she hated herself so much it hurt. It wasn’t until her husband told her that he respected her too much to force her to do or be anything she wasn’t comfortable with that she understood what it was like to be valued.

The first real kiss conveying desire was on the day Ryder asked her to marry him. Lydia recalled thinking to herself how nice it felt to be desired. His lips were hot and his hands were gentle. The foreign emotions swirling around in her body were scary at first because she had never experienced them before. Every day, she waited for the moment when Ryder would change his mind and become a thing she escaped once but was sure she would never be able to survive a second time.

As days turned to weeks and weeks to months, she began to work on her own health. Although she was indeed thick, Lydia lost some weight and toned up her body because that’s what she wanted. Ryder made sure she knew he loved her just the way she was. Because he was understanding and didn’t try to make her feel bad about her looks, Lydia became comfortable enough to figure out the way she wanted to see herself every day.

“How are you?” He asked as if he cared, drawing her from her memories. Lydia could sense he was trying hard to be on his best behavior. Michael sat on the leather chair next to him in silence.

Kemi glanced over at the man sitting next to him. Anyone with or without eyes could see he was extremely uncomfortable with the presence of the gentleman sitting in on the conversation. Wearing a black Armani custom-fit suit with a black matching tie and an earpiece, Lydia’s personal security was impressive and intimidating. Her guest fidgeted as he realized the other man would not be leaving the room.

“I’m doing quite well. How can I help you?” The cold question poked at the real beast who both Lydia and Kemi knew all too well. She saw a flash of anger race across his face before he swiftly reigned himself in.

The old days of shrinking away from Kemi were gone. Lydia and Ryder had been together for eighteen months and she was no longer the pushover she had once been. Twelve months of intensive therapy with a psychiatrist helped her understand she owed her family and Kemi absolutely nothing. Six months prior to the current visit, he had attempted to see her but she wasn’t ready to even so much as look at him.

Lydia was a new woman and she wouldn’t be backed into a corner by a blip from her past.

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