Meet Asha Carrington, a woman with alluring eyes and a mysterious past who is hell-bent on having Carter and will stop at nothing to get him.
“What may I get ‘cha ma’ man?” the bartender asked Carter.
“I’d like a scotch on the rocks and a watermelon martini made with 3 parts mixer and one part vodka. Thanks.”
“Comin’ right up,” the burly man behind the bar answered prior to turning away to do his job.
“Cherokee?” a female voice asked.
“Excuse me?” Carter turned to her having realized she was speaking to him.
“I said, are you Cherokee?”
Carter regarded the petite woman for a moment. To his surprise, he found her to be strikingly beautiful. Her deep set, blue-gray eyes seemed to draw him in.
“I apologize if I’ve offended you; I thought you were Native American,” she said, after he still hadn’t answered. This time she smiled as she spoke.
“Well, no you didn’t offend me; I guess I just found your question odd since we’ve never met before.” Her eyes continued to captivate him. Yet at the same time, uneasiness crept over him.
“Oh, would that have made a difference? In that case, please excuse my manners, Asha Carrington. I’m the regional buyer for Finne Jewelers,” she said, as she extended her hand.
“I know who you are, Mr. Woodson,” Asha said, cutting him off.
“You do?” Carter felt his uneasiness escalate to another level,
“Of course, I always know who is in charge of making my money work for me.”
Carter smiled, but somewhere deep in the back of his mind, a small voice told him to run (not walk) for his life.
“Here you are man.” The bartender placed Carter’s order on the counter. Turning away from, Asha he picked them up.
“You never answered my question,” she said, placing her hand atop his forearm; her grip was firm. Carter swore he felt a chill run from her hand to his arm.
“Awwww..hell to the naw,” Bre whispered under her breath.
“What?” Taryn asked following her gaze.
“Who is that blonde talking with your man? She’s been pushin’ up on him for a minute.”
“I don’t know?” Taryn responded; the smile faded from her lips.
“Matt, who is that chick all over Rusty?” Bre asked using her nick name for Carter. All the while, she never took her eyes off the couple.
“I don’t know either, but I don’t think Taryn has anything to worry about. Carter is definitely not the messin’ around type,” Matthew said.
“Ummm hummm. It ain’t him I’m concerned about,” Bre added. She didn’t bother to explain her statement.
“What question is that, Asha. I’m kinda in a hurry.”
Asha noticed the edge in Carter’s voice, but it didn’t deter her from pushing for an answer.
“Are you Cherokee?”
“No, I’m not,” he said as he turned to walk away.
“I’m very fascinated by American Indian history. Maybe we can do lunch sometime. I’d love to talk with you about your heritage.”
“Actually, I’m not from New York but thanks anyway for the invite,” he answered as he walked away.
Asha smirked as she watched Carter leave. She thought to herself,’ I know very well you’re not from New York but you will see me again, Mr. Joseph Carter Woodson. We will have lunch and you will share yourself with me. I have big plans for us.’
Taryn noticed the change in Carter’s mood the minute he set the drinks down on the table. “What’s wrong babe?” she asked followed by, “Who was that you were talkin’ too?”
“I don’t know. She said her name is Asha Carrington, one of Finne’s regional buyers,” he answered tersely.
“Oh . . .” Taryn and Bre turned at the same time and noticed Asha still staring at the back of Carter’s head. It didn’t seem to matter to her at all that the two women observed her every move.
“You know man,” Carter said, directed his comment to Matt instead of Taryn. “I’m about sick of people actin’ like I’m some sort of freak show.” He ran his fingers through his jet black hair as he spoke.
“Just let it roll dawg.” his brother said without needing to ask what had transpired at the bar.
“Chick asked me if I was Cherokee,” Carter said, as if Matt had never spoken.
“What they think the Cherokee is the only tribe in the Indian?!”
“Baby, try and calm down,” Taryn said. “I’m sure she meant no harm – maybe she was just curious.”
“Wanted to have lunch so I could talk with her about my heritage.” Carter continued his rant as if no one had responded to him at all.
“Yo dawg, look,” Matthew said, leaning forward in his seat for emphasis. “We came out tonight to enjoy ourselves courtesy, Finne. Why are you allowing someone who obviously has no couth to ruin your night?”
“I mean, you got your beautiful woman with you. As soon as we dock, you headin’ back to the hotel to enjoy the rest of your night,” Matt nodded toward Taryn when he added the last statement. “And in the morning, we fixin’ to eat breakfast and spend the day hanging out with our ladies. I mean whaz-up?!”
After a few minutes of silence, Carter smiled and agreed with Matthew. Draping his arm around Taryn, he sipped his cocktail. “Betta drink up baby, cause we are gettin’ ready to do some serious dancing.”
As the conversation once again began to flow amongst the group, Bre continued to keep her eyes on Asha. She watched her as she finished her drink and placed the empty glass on the bar. Right before she disappeared into the crowd, Asha finally turned her attention away from Carter and briefly made eye contact with Bre. The slightest hint of evil danced in her eyes. Bre knew had she not been paying attention, she would have missed it.
When Asha finally entered the dance crowd, she blended in so well it was as if she had completely vanished.