The dark midnight sky blanketed over New York, but even at night this city did not sleep. Despite the cold November tempest rattling through their bones, everyone awakened during the after-hours. Streets bustled with friends and families, clubs were packed and bars were overflowing, the frantic lines spilled outside the doors. However, the crowds cleared when they saw one man strolling through the street. No one on the street dared to get in this man’s way because he had a reputation for being dangerous, unforgiving, and above all else, impatient when he was faced with disobedience.
Alonzo Sylvester reached the expensive black-matted Audi r8 coupé that was parked on the end of the street. It was a cool breeze that swept through the city, which would have stung anyone that wasn’t dressed appropriately. But never Alonzo, because his days of enduring harsh winters without a coat, gloves or even a proper pair of shoes were long behind him.
Alonzo unlocked his car’s door and was just about to get cover from the rush of people and noise, when the harsh breeze carried something sweet towards him. A voice… a melodic sound that caressed his body like the rich cashmere of his coat. Although dressed securely for the weather, Alonzo chilled to the bone when the voice travelled softly through the air again.
He slammed the car’s door shut and tracked the voice. His icy blue eyes had ignited like flames as he surveyed the surroundings of the dark street. Between the clubs, shops and some cafes, was a lone building that was an exclusive bar, which only allowed paid-members entry. Alonzo didn’t even hesitate before he crossed the road, because he knew that his face alone would grant him access, even if he wasn’t a member. Ordinarily, Alonzo would rarely enter these high-end and expensive bars because only stuck-up socialites filled the space, who were never good company during a chilled glass of malt-whiskey, which was Alonzo’s favourite if he ever favoured a drink.
The beefy large doorman spotted a tall, dark figure approaching and that doorman was about to stop the stranger too. But then Alonzo stepped out from the shadows of the night and appeared under the luminescent golden light of the bar. The doorman’s plain brown eyes widened when he recognized the stranger as the infamous Mr. Sylvester. The door to the bar swung opened and another man rushed onto the street.
“Mr. Sylvester, welcome to the Black Cross,” said the man who was likely the manager from his polite smile, prim suit and clean-cut brown hair. “We are thrilled to host you for a drink tonight-” the manager ushered the doorman to hold the door- “please, come in.”
The dimly-lit bar had black-velvet seating areas, privacy was granted for each guest. Alonzo recognized all the faces and knew the names of the people seated with their wives or husbands. The two bartenders were hard at work getting each drink made and passed out without wavering in their timing.
Alonzo stayed in the shadows of the bar, since he didn’t want to cause an uproar with his presence. Besides, when Alonzo wanted to stay hidden, he could, even if he was over six-feet tall. Languid but confidently, he moved around the bar but the voice he heard and came for was gone. The small stage was empty and the spotlight had been turned off.
Alonzo missed his chance to hear that voice up close. The bar filled with light jazz music, soothing to hear and relax to, not that Alonzo would know since he rarely had the time to relax, and it’s always been like that his entire life. Alonzo wasn’t going to stick around here since nothing was worth his time anymore. He turned on his feet to leave when the crowd broke into an applause. He froze in his tracks.
A piano began to play a romantic tune, but that wasn’t Alonzo’s style of music at all. It was just a band performance, he thought to himself.
But then a voice began, and that voice captivated Alonzo. He shifted back, his flaming blue eyes spotted the one he was looking for… the celebrated star Melanie Alistair. She had taken the world by storm with her angelic voice, that was beloved and cherished by millions of fans, even if someone wasn’t her fan or didn’t know about, they would all eventually fall in love just with one song she sings. But that didn’t matter to him, because it was what she did to him that fascinated Alonzo.
Alonzo’s gaze drifted over her curvaceous figure, that looked exquisite in a champagne-gold dress. The silky fabric flowed down her body extenuating her small waist and rounded hips. Alonzo prowled towards the bar, but his gaze stayed on Melanie as her sweet smile casted a spell on everyone in the room, including himself. The light from the stage showered over her; it gleamed on her ivory skin and face that had soft features, but her noble eyes were sharp like a bobcat in the wilderness hunting its prey. Alonzo knew that her plump lips were the lightest shade of dusty-pink rose. But right now, they were painted a crimson red; the same shade as the ruby diamond that sat on Alonzo’s middle finger.
Alonzo took a seat on the long bar-stools. The perfect spot to stay concealed by the darkness, but it had the direct view to Melanie’s performance. The bartender prepared Alonzo’s glass of wine on a napkin and placed it in front of him. He would have had a whiskey or two, but he had his car with him tonight, so a glass of Merlot would have to do. Except the drink wasn’t what he really cared for. It was the striking woman on stage, holding a confident stance as she sang using her smooth and sexy voice, that absorbed the entire audience in the bar. Her voice hummed and shifted like she played a game with the song to entertain the audience at every note. No one got bored or tired of her as she sang, it was always a surprise with what Melanie Alistair would come up with as she sang.
Alonzo leaned back on the chair. His body reacted to her, craved her. He wanted to hear what her sweet voice would sound like in his bed, underneath him as he took her deep into the world of pleasure. Her delicate hands that held the mic, Alonzo wanted her to touch him.
At the end of her performance, the crowd broke into applause. Melanie beamed a stunning smile, that was sweet enough to melt Alonzo’s tough heart. She thanked the band members and got off the stage, disappearing behind the black curtains and away from Alonzo’s vigilant gaze.
“Would you like anything else tonight, sir?” The bartender asked Alonzo.
“No. Thanks.” Alonzo didn’t find any need wasting his time here if Melanie’s last performance for the night ended. He gave the bartender a hefty tip and made his way out the door, so no one would even realize that he was here in the first place.
The clubs were still going strong and people were walking in and out the buildings. Alonzo crossed the road to his car when he spotted Melanie standing in the middle of the street. He guessed that she was waiting for a taxi, which was almost impossible to catch this late at night, or maybe a car would pick her up. On top of that, there was no one to keep her safe. She was alone and dressed like a goddess.
Alonzo’s temper rose when he realized that she had no bodyguards or any security-detail near her. Melanie was not only famous but she was drop-dead gorgeous. Alonzo had no idea what her older brother was thinking by leaving Melanie all alone, and to make matters worse, the woman was helpless in front of a damned bar where drunks gathered all the time.
Alonzo never desired to make his presence known that he had come to the bar tonight. But leaving her unaccompanied in the middle of the street riled his blood. Alonzo quietly got in his car and decided that he would stay back and watch over her. At least until her car arrived or she safely got in a taxi, then he’d leave for his house.
Melanie definitely wasn’t dressed for the weather. Her small coat was weak protection and her dress was as thin as paper. She shivered on the street for the past twenty minutes waiting for a taxi, but there was never any luck this late at night. Melanie pulled out her cellphone so she could message Enzo to pick her up. Logan would be too busy with work. She was sure that he probably wasn’t even home yet, so her next best option was her brother’s best friend.
The phone rang and was picked up like she knew that it would be. “Hello, Enzo,” she spoke through her chattering teeth.
“Hey, Mel?” Enzo’s charming voice spilled through the receiver.
“I’m at Black Cross and can’t catch a cab,” she told him. “Can you pick me up?”
“It’s so late. Why didn’t you call me sooner?” he asked, well he sounded more like he was scolding her. She had two brothers instead of one at times like this. “You know Logan doesn’t like you alone on streets.”
“I know, don’t tell him,” she winced.
Enzo sighed. “Go wait inside the bar, Mel,” he told her. “I’ll be there soon.”
Melanie smiled. “You’re the best.” She sensed his smile too before they closed the phone.
She slid the phone in her coat’s pocket. She was just about to return to the bar when a hard surface bumped into her. She lost her footing and was certain that her butt would greet the concrete floor. But then, an arm snaked around her waist before she toppled over onto the street’s pavement. He helped her back on her feet before he moved back. The stranger smelt of thick tobacco and heavy liquor and had an expensive suit on.
“Thanks-” she straightened her distorted state- “Sorry about that.”
“No, it was my fault for not looking where I was going.” His pale green eyes were glistening under the light-post. The man had dark brown hair that was styled back with hair-gel, and his cologne was way too strong, though it didn’t mask the scent of alcohol on him or his two buddies.
“You’re Melanie Alistair, right?” asked another guy.
Melanie held a decent smile to be polite, so the men would get bored and leave her alone. “Yes, I am,” she said, which she regretted immediately, she should’ve just lied because something was off about these guys.
“You’re even more beautiful in person,” said the man with stark green eyes. “I’m Brian-” he held his hand out to her.
Melanie slipped her hand in his cold grasp. “It’s nice to meet all of you and I would love to talk, but my car is about to arrive, so I’ll have to-” she pulled her hand away and protected it closely.
“Oh, don’t be like that-” Brian stepped in front of her. “I’ve been a fan of yours for a while now. Won’t you let me buy you a drink?”
Melanie stiffened. “I would love that, but I really need to go. So, goodnight,” she said strictly and even turned to move, but Brian didn’t let her.
“Come on, I’ll show you a good time,” he smirked with his perfect white teeth. “There’s no need to be afraid of us.”
Brian’s green eyes were beautiful, but that type of beauty made Melanie’s stomach churn inside her body. The fake elegance that this man tried to impress her with never worked on her. She had seen hundreds of men like Brian, and they never fooled her with their expensive suits but cheap personalities.
“I said… Goodnight, Brian,” she gritted out.
Brian’s callous smile fell. He stepped closer and his rough hand latched onto hers, he pulled her up against his body. The scent of liquor and smoke made her feel sick to her stomach. Melanie tried to rip his hand off her arm, but it was bruising her flesh from its tight grasp. She didn’t know how she was going to get out of this without it getting ugly.
It was stupid fast when Melanie was released from Brian’s grasp. Another stranger appeared from the shadow of the street. He was tall and muscular, which showed when he punched Brian in the face and the poor guy collapsed.
“What the hell-” Brian’s friends ran over to him. They all gaped up at the stranger, but something in their eyes recognized the face that faced them. But Melanie only saw her stranger’s broad back.
“How dare you!” Brian snarled as his friends lifted him off the floor, but he shoved them off himself.
“Fuck off,” he growled.
The man in front of Melanie who was blocking them from her, literally made a sound of a predator. A growl deep from his throat. She never thought that was even possible, but it was, and this stranger scared the hell out of all of them, including Melanie.
Brian and the two men rushed into the Black Cross bar before this fight escalated into a definite loss for the three men.
The man turned to face her and she froze. Her heart leaped inside her and the fluttering sensation in her body made her weak in the knees. The last person she expected to meet on any street was Alonzo Sylvester. She had met him only once before and she never forget him since then. Last year at a party, Alonzo had paid a hundred and thirty thousand dollars to have the first-dance at a charity gala with Melanie. She had never met him after she shared one, magical dance with this man, and he was still as gorgeous and dangerous from when she first laid eyes on him.
Alonzo was tall, broad-shouldered and shredded with muscle, which was clear even from so many layers of clothes. His thick hair resembled the dark feathers on a crow, it was pushed back from his face in an artful manner, which told Melanie that he raked it with his fingers. He wore a three-piece black suit, that was tailored to perfection for his stature and had to be worth a fortune. His tie was black and matched his black shirt underneath. He fashioned a long, charcoal overcoat with leather black gloves. She definitely felt that her thin jacket and dress was a bad choice of clothing for this cold night.
Alonzo looked nothing like Brian’s softer features and pale green eyes. The man that stood in front of her had eyes so blue they seemed surreal. The dark sapphires were hard and tough as the diamond itself, but the lick of flames within those sharp eyes seduced Melanie, and probably all woman around him. His face was built of muscular lines that were rugged and extremely hot.
“Where’s your car, Melanie?” his voice, deep and smooth.
“Huh?” she snapped out of her thoughts. She shifted her attention to his blue eyes, that saw everything, it was an unnerving thought that he could see inside her so easily.
“Your car?” he repeated sternly.
“It’s on its way right now,” she answered.
Alonzo’s jaw was set in a hard ache. He glanced at down at his expensive platinum watch. “It’s late. How come you don’t have any security with you?” He beheld her. Melanie almost turned away because his gaze was so intense as they watched her.
“I don’t like bodyguards,” she told him.
He raised a brow, which on him, was sexy as hell. “It’s for protection, so shit like this doesn’t happen,” he said.
Melanie bit her lip. “I know, but this rarely happens to me,” she told him, which was the truth. Despite her fame, she was rarely bothered on the streets because her fans always respected her space. Even if she was approached by her fans, Melanie always had fun with them because they were polite.
Alonzo’s gaze drifted down her body. She found herself shuddering in her strappy-heels from his brilliant blue eyes. Impatience and a touch of anger crossed his face. His gloved hands moved to pull off his coat, and he held it open for her. “Turn around, Melanie,” he held his coat open for her.
Melanie stiffened. “There’s no need, Alonzo,” she said. “My car’s about to be here-” his piercing blue eyes told her that he didn’t care. She awkwardly stepped back and slipped her arms into the coat.
Alonzo stood closely behind her. Her back against his chest that felt as an iron wall, and his arms that enclosed around her were strong too. Melanie wished that she hadn’t loved the feeling of his warmth, which wrapped around her in a safe cocoon. She tensed up in his arms as he closed the two buttons of the coat because she had smelt his scent. Dark, spicy cologne that was masculine and exactly like how he had smelt during their dance together. Melanie warmed in his soft coat, that smelt like him and he smelt so good.
“Cancel your ride. I’ll drop you home,” his voice was deep and authoritative, like everyone always listened to his commands, and they probably did if they didn’t fear for their lives.
“You don’t have to do that,” said Melanie.
Alonzo stepped closer, crowding her to him. His hand enclosed around her hand, the soft touch of his leather glove sent a chill up her spine. “I don’t like repeating myself,” the soft whisper of his tone was heavier than steel in its truth and sexy as hell.
Melanie searched his piercing blue eyes for the reason he was doing this for her now, when he hadn’t said anything to her this past year after their dance.
Melanie raised her chin stubbornly. “Just so you know, I’m cancelling my ride because it’s taking too long,” she told him. “Not because I want to go with you.” Amusement crossed his eyes, and she almost saw him grin, but he held it back.
Melanie pulled out her cellphone and texted Enzo to cancel the ride. Enzo asked her the reason but she told him that she’d tell him at home later, because she was stuck in a ‘situation’. Enzo texted back telling her to be careful, but something told Melanie in her gut, that no harm would come to her if she was with Alonzo Sylvester. He was a force to be reckoned with and Melanie understood that from the first night she met him.