contemporary romance novels with pregnancy

Zaddy: Interracial Pregnancy Romance | BWWM Romance Books

zaddy interracial pregnancy romance novella bwwm romance by jamila jasper cockygate author

zaddy interracial pregnancy romance novella bwwm romance by jamila jasper cockygate author

⚠ONLY READ IF YOU LOVE FILTHY, REAL INTERRACIAL ROMANCE⚠

Zaddy... 

The man who has it all:

★A big, long, throbbing, thick, back-breaking, rock hard... ego.

★All the money in the bank to treat his black queen like royalty

★KIDS that he takes care of without being asked. ZADDY loves kids and he protects all of them with his strength.

★He LOVES single mamas and worships at the altar between their thighs

We may call a man "daddy" but "ZADDY" is something different...

Someone wilder...

Someone hotter...

Someone stronger...

This steamy hot interracial romance novella drips with filthy hot scenes that will make you sweat your weave out as you fantasize about the ZADDY you desperately crave to fill all the holes in your life. With 35,000+ words of spicy action, you'll love this kinky BWWM novel. Don't believe me? Take a peek inside and see what this novel has to offer...

Here's the trailer for this novella, 100% FREE on YouTube: smarturl.it/ZaddyTrailer

What do you think of the POPPIN' description to this brand new, upcoming interracial romance novella? If you dare take a peek before the launch, hit the "read more" to read the first chapter 100% FREE. 

Romance Novel Excerpts | Zaddy: BWWM Pregnancy Romance

A successful cooking blog, two children and an escape to a home in Miami, had all been conjured up out of a big fat pile of B.S. Eliza considered the fame a blessing or at least a respite from every damned thing she’d put up with over the past decade. Life had been hard. Two kids, who she’d never regretted, had been harder and at thirty-five, she loved her daughters, her home, and life in the bustling, diverse Florida city. Eliza watched her daughters playing together on the newly carpeted floor of the living room, taking great care to avoid spilling their crayons onto the fresh, white carpet.

Karen and Sylvie wore their hair in matching afro puffs that spiraled towards the sky from their tiny brown foreheads. Sylvie was always more animated when they played, her large, dark brown eyes gleaming with mischief and excitement as her sister went along reluctantly with their new game.

Eliza looked at her watch before leaving the house. The solid rose gold watch had been her first big purchase when her blog had first sky-rocketed to success and reminded her of how hard she’d worked to build this life for her daughters — too hard. It should have been easier and she shouldn’t have done it alone but a hardworking woman knows how to get shit done — and she does it. Always. 

5:00 p.m. After a long day of answering emails, talking on the phone and editing a lengthy recipe for bouillabaisse on her blog, Eliza had the responsibility of getting food for her girls. The irony was that running her cooking blog left little time for simple cooking for her daughters, especially on busy days like this one.

“Karen! Watch Sylvie for a minute. I’m headed ‘round the block to get some jerk chicken.”

“Yes mama!” Karen called back.

“And don’t forget Grams is just across the way.”

Eliza wouldn’t have left the girls alone if she didn’t share a duplex with her parents. It was just enough space that she could have privacy without worrying too much about her girls being alone up in that house.

She left the house and bustled towards Jemma’s Jerk. The streets were noisy, the Miami heat beat down on the tops of her thighs, causing sweat to pool between Eliza’s legs and her hair to stick to her neck before she got halfway down the block. She fingered the bills in her pocket, reviewing her order and pondering deeply whether or not she wanted one type of jerk sauce or another.

Food was Eliza’s life — her whole life — and even a decision as simple as what to order could zip her away to another world. A world where she wasn’t hiding out in Miami, on the run from her past and struggling to be the type of mother that she’d never planned on being: alone.

Eliza hated that her kids needed a daddy — and she hated even more that she couldn’t have a man around to take away the daily pressure of raising a family and running a business and working her ass off. There wasn’t any man who could live up to Eliza’s standards anyway. At least not in Miami. But she could still hope for the day when some magical stranger would just… whisk her off her feet.

There didn’t seem like there was much of a chance of that happening, but Eliza never lost hope. 

Eliza arrived at the place two blocks away from her house faster than ever. Even if she’d been away from Trey for three years, she still couldn’t stop looking over her shoulder anxiously when she left the house alone. There was no way he’d trace her to Miami. She’d started using her middle name “Eliza” after the divorce and she’d started using her mama’s maiden name, Rice. 

The line for jerk was long. Eliza silently cussed herself for not knowing better than to show up so late. The place was steaming hot; there was no air-conditioning to give the customers respite from the Miami sun. Eliza wrinkled her nose at the smell of the other customers’ sweat. She knew she must not have smelled too hot herself and she folded her arms, self-consciously swaying as the unabashed stinkers debated about their upcoming orders. There were still five more people in line before her.

Eliza folded her arms and popped in her headphones, listening to some D’Angelo while she waited in line. This place had the best jerk chicken in all of Miami but damn were they slow. 

As Eliza waited, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the store window. 

I look tired. She thought to herself. 

She’d looked tired for years now. Eliza remembered when she’d first moved away from Miami. She was seventeen and she’d run away with her boyfriend Trey Lane. Trey had convinced her that her family was no-good and he was the only person in the world that could love her. 

They’d lived in Mississippi for a year until Eliza had turned eighteen. She hadn’t even graduated high school; Trey convinced her that she wouldn’t need to ‘cause he would take care of her. Looking back, Eliza realized how much of a fool she’d been to believe him. When Eliza turned eighteen, they got married and she’d gone from Anna-Mae Eliza Jackson to Anna-Mae Lane. 

After they got married — a quiet, private service in Trey’s living room — life started to get worse for Eliza. Trey had lied about everything. He was over $120,000 in debt; he had no way of taking care of Eliza and he hadn’t quit his lifestyle of drinking and crime. Everything he’d sold Eliza on was a lie.

In quiet desperation, at 20, she’d had her first child, Karen. 

Having a baby had only made things better for a little while. Trey had stopped having violent outbursts and he’d stopped drinking for a spell. He promised Eliza that things would get better, that he’d start making more money and really start to provide for them. 

That “change” hadn’t lasted long and Eliza had started to fantasize about escape. That wasn’t so easy. She had no high school diploma. Trey refused to allow her to get a GED or a job, she was estranged from her family and too ashamed to tell them that she’d been a fool. Plus, she knew her mama would flip if she found out that she had a baby. 

So Eliza stayed, even if she knew Trey could kill her without a second thought. He’d certainly threatened it enough and Eliza could still smell the whiskey on his breath as she remembered him threatening to cut her body up and throw her into the swamp. Trey’s drinking kept her hooked. He’d convinced her that he couldn’t survive if she left. He’d convinced her that he’d find her and kill her if she left. He convinced her that if she weren't such a gold-digging whore, he’d be able to find the motivation to get a better job.

So Eliza stayed.

At twenty-eight, Eliza felt like a shell of her former self. With an eight-year-old daughter around, Eliza feared that she was ruining her daughter’s life. Trey never hit Karen, and by God, he never touched her, but he had no problem slapping Eliza up in front of her. Eliza wanted to escape. She’d started to make plans and had everything all set up to run in the middle of the night.

Then Trey found out. He held her down on their marriage bed, threatened her life, and as she screamed, that’s how he’d given her Sylvie. 

Luck had set Eliza free in a morbid kind of way. Trey had been out late drinking one night and he’d gotten into a car accident. When Eliza got the call from the hospital, her hands shook and she had promised him that she would be there soon. She took her one year old child and her nine-year-old and all the cash she had to rent a car.

That was how Miami started.

She had never looked back, never checked on Trey, and she’d left a life behind with no clue how the hell she was going to keep going forward. Eliza had to keep going because that’s what strong women do… With the protection from her mama and papa, she’d filed for divorce. Eliza’s Southern cooking blog had started to really take off right after she’d arrived in Miami. After a long, traumatic legal battle, Anna-Mae became Eliza. Mrs. Lane became Ms. Rice. She was free. 

Recovery had been a long hard road and Eliza hadn’t dated anyone else seriously since Trey. It wasn’t just out of fear, but because of her daughters. Eliza’s ultimate motivation in life was to keep her daughters safe from their ain’t shit daddy forever. Karen had already suffered enough watching her mama get beat up by Trey. Eliza knew what she had to do. She had to stop.

When her blog started to make bigger and bigger bucks, Eliza had found a way to hustle her way into a duplex. Her mama and papa shared one half; she lived in the other with the two girls. Eliza had bought herself a nice 2013 Ford Focus and she was working her ass off to save more and more cash for a rainy day. With Trey out there still, a rainy day could come any time, a fact that Eliza was painfully aware of.

The line grew shorter ahead of her, but the Jamaicans were always slow with the service and all the huffing and puffing you could do wouldn’t make a damned difference when it came to dealing with them. Eliza tapped her fingers on her thighs, still stuck in the past. 

Physically Eliza had changed a lot since she was that skinny 17-year-old that Trey had snatched from her home. She’d gained about fifty pounds so her body had a little shape to it. Having two kids had definitely affected Eliza’s figure. Even if she ate right and exercised, she had plenty of stretch marks all over her tummy and legs. 

By some stroke of luck, her large breasts still sat up perky in her top and her face still had the youthful look of a woman in her early twenties, despite the fact that her thirty-fifth birthday had only just passed.

As a regular at Jemma’s Jerk, Eliza just hoped she’d be able to get out of that place soon. Beads of sweat were starting to build up on her forehead and Eliza worried she’d sweat her wig clean off.

The girl at the cashier yelled, “Next customer!” 

Eliza peered around the line. Her favorite cashier Kelly was working. That would definitely mean her food would come faster. The Jamaican girls working at Jemma’s Jerk weren’t afraid to play favorites.

“Ay pendejo!” Two of the people in line in front of Eliza started arguing and mumbling to each other in Spanish.

Eliza sighed and smiled. Sometimes, she just had to appreciate the slow pace of this part of Miami. The city was incredible diverse and everywhere she went she met Cubans, islanders and other immigrants. The city bubbled and broiled with heat, energy, and spices. 

The door to the jerk joint bust open with a bang. All the customers jerked their necks around, unafraid to let the aggressive entrant know they were watching him closely. 

The man who entered was tall, white and buff. He wore a black tank top and denim shorts. His arm was covered in a black ink tribal tattoo that wrapped around his bulging biceps.

“KELLY! YO KELLY!” He yelled running to the front of the line, practically pushing the customers out of the way.

Kelly kissed her teeth, “Wha’ di rass Brett? Get di hell outta ‘ere!” 

“Naw. I ain’t leavin’ till you give me a straight answer.”

Kelly started yelling, “Lemme come ‘round this counter, an’ I’ll buss yuh ass.” 

“You’re full of shit Kelly. You don’t know a damned thing about what happened and I swear to god if you mess with me again—”

“Get di FOCK outta mi restaurant!” Kelly yelled.

“Fuck you Kelly! Just fuck you!” 

“Mama! Jemma!” Kelly screamed. 

An old dark-skinned Jamaican woman erupted from the back of the jerk joint.

“Get di fock outta mi restaurant Brett!” Jemma screamed.

“Fuck you both. I ain’t leavin’ till you tell me why Destiny called the fucking cops on me!” 

Jemma glared, “Watch yuhself white boy.” 

Kelly folded her arms and smirked, “Yuh ‘eard ‘er. Get di hell outta ‘ere!” 

Brett looked from left to right and noticed that all eyes in the restaurant were glued to him. His face was bright red and he slammed his hands on the counter staring Kelly right in the face. Kelly kept smirking and she hardly flinched.

“Fockin’ waste man,” She spat.

“Watch yourself Kelly. If you fuck with me ever again I’ll show you how much of a fucking deadbeat I can really be.”

The man turned around and left the restaurant. As he did the tension melted away. Eliza slunk back into her position in line. Phew. That was crazy. The Miami heat could sometimes bring out the worst in people. She rolled her eyes and exchanged glances with a couple other customers. What a psycho.

Finally, Eliza arrived at the front of the line. Kelly smiled. When she wasn’t angry her hard Jamaican accent softened up quite a bit.

“Hello dearie Eliza. How are you and the children?”

Eliza smiled, “They’re good. Picking up two jerk pork and one jerk chicken.”

“Extra spicy?”

“Only on one of the jerk porks.” 

“I got you girl. That will be $15.” 

Eliza fished into her wallet for fifteen dollars and glanced behind her. The restaurant had emptied faster than she realized.

“What was going on with that guy?” Eliza asked as she rest her money on the counter.

Kelly kissed her teeth again, “Brett? He just come ‘round here lookin’ for trouble with me and mine. Waste man…”

“I was worried shit was ‘bout to pop off.”

Kelly loved drama, and Eliza knew it. But that guy had more darkness than the usual bad boys that Kelly was always embroiled in altercations with. 

Kelly rolled her eyes, “He’s all talk. Just mad ‘cause he can’t handle business.”

Eliza smiled, “An ex?”

Kelly rolled her eyes and kissed her teeth again, “Oh hell no! Not an ex. Just trouble.”

After a few minutes, she brought out the jerk pork orders and the chicken.  Kelly bagged up all the takeout containers.

“Drinks?”

“Can I get a Ting? The girls would love to split it.”

“Sure thing,” Kelly answered, reaching into the fridge for an ice cold Ting.

“One dollar.”

Eliza reached into her pocket for four quarters and put them on the table. 

“You tell the girls I say hi. Next week mama’s bringin’ some special patty and coco bread.”

“I’ll be sure to stop by. Thanks Kelly!” 

Armed with dinner, Eliza burst out of the hot restaurant into the slightly-cooler Miami air. 

She saw the man who had raised the scene inside of Jemma’s Jerk standing on the corner. Without the raging, Eliza noticed that he actually looked pretty attracted. He reached into his pocket for a box of cigarettes and Eliza tried to avert her gaze quickly. She didn’t want any “incident” before arriving home.

Eliza didn’t go unnoticed despite her best efforts to keep her head down and away from this mad man.

“Ma’am! Excuse me, ma’am!” 

She tried to keep her head down but Brett ran behind her and gently tapped her arm.

“Sorry, didn’t hear you,” Eliza mumbled as she turned around to face him.

She continued, “Listen, I don’t have any money.”

Brett grinned, “Name’s Brett. Not hustlin’ you for money ma’am. Just lookin’ for a light.”

As Eliza fished around in her pocket for a lighter, Brett kept talking.

“So what’s your name ma’am?”

Eliza shot him a sideways glance.

“Sorry ‘bout all that commotion… That’s not the man I really am.”

“Okay.”

Eliza didn’t want trouble and she got the distinct sense that disagreeing with this man would bring trouble. 

“What’s your name, pretty lady,” he said, a broad smile plastered across his sun-tanned face. 

“Eliza.” 

“Eliza… Wow… Eliza… That’s a beautiful name.”

Brett flicked the lighter once, twice and then finally got his cigarette lit. Eliza tried her best not to enjoy the fumes wafting in her direction. She’d quit smoking the day she left Trey and she’d never looked back.  The lighter in her pocket was an old habit that she’d never managed to quit.

“Thanks.”

“Live around here?”

“Why should I tell you where I live?”

Brett chuckled, “Sorry ma’am. It’s just… you’re awful pretty and I wanted to walk you home.”

“It’s only a couple of blocks.” 

“So you won’t stay and talk to me here then?”

Eliza rolled her eyes. 

“Maybe for a minute…”

Brett’s face lit up. Eliza saw his bright smile and wondered if maybe he wasn’t so bad after all. Brett was tall and he had a body built with the brute strength of a farmer. His biceps bulged out of his tank and his denim shorts were worn from the work of an outdoorsman. 

Brett had a classic Southern look. He had longish dark brown hair with streaks bleached from so much time in the sun. His face was soft and kind, with a few light wrinkles around the corners of his eyes and the area of his mouth that cracked into a smile. 

“So what was Kelly so mad at you for?” Eliza asked.

Brett shrugged, “Ain’t nothing important. Just got mighty heated over an argument we had over some mutual friend.”

“Must have been a pretty big argument for you to cuss up a jerk chicken joint.”

“Hell, I know I got a temper on me. It’s the Irish blood. Sorry you had to see it. I promise, that’s not the man I am.”

“Yeah,” Eliza replied nonchalantly, “I knew a man who would say the same thing.”

She tried to rid herself of the sad look in her eye. There was no need to drudge up all the messiness of her divorce with a total stranger who was obviously trying to flirt with her.

“So what do you do for a living Eliza?” 

Eliza answered, “I’m a chef. Cooking blogger now, really. My parents are Jamaican but I was born and raised in the South so I do a blend of Southern and Jamaican cooking.”

“Well I oughta have you cook for me,” Brett teased.

“Yeah, right…”

Eliza continued trying to feign interest, “What about you? What do you do for a living?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Brett whispered.

Eliza rolled her eyes. Okay, this guy had to be full of it.

“Try me.”

“Sure you’re ready for this?” 

“Yup, I’m sure.”

“I’m a millionaire. So now I just invest in a few projects here or there, keep my portfolio stable.”

Eliza folded her arms, “You’re right. I don’t believe you.”

Brett let out a full-bellied laugh as if her disbelief were the funniest thing in the world.

“Why don’t you believe me?”

Eliza pursed her lips. She wasn’t going to get trapped like this. She was sure that this was Brett’s idea of a joke but she didn’t find it particularly funny.

“I don’t know.”

“Oh c’mon. You know. You don’t believe a man who talks like I do and who dresses like I do could be a millionaire.”

Eliza shrugged. Brett was right but she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that.

“Well I’ll tell you how I did it if you let me walk you home.”

“Nice move,” She began, “My kids must be getting hungry anyways. You can walk me home. But I still don’t believe you’re a millionaire.”

Eliza started the walk home. Brett offered to carry her bag with the jerk chicken cartons, so she let him.

“Well, my mama’s the daughter of some Atlanta multi-millionaires. They didn’t want a damned thing to do with her when she married my paw. He’s a poor farmer, owned a place ‘bout fifty miles outside of Miami. So they cut my mama out of the will and when my granddaddy died, all his money went to his grandchildren.”

Brett took a drag of his almost-finished cigarette.

Then, he continued, “Well my granddaddy banked on my aunties havin’ kids but none of ‘em did. Both of ‘em got hitched to other women and fled up north. I was the only grandkid left kickin’ round. My granddaddy died ‘bout eight years ago and I inherited everything he had.”

“What about your grandma?”

Brett shrugged, “She died a week after he did. From grief. Can’t figure out why. He was an old bastard…”

Eliza flinched at Brett’s harshness but she had to admit that she found him appealing. She wasn’t sure if she believed his story. It could have been true or it could have been some well-crafted tall tale to impress her. Either way, she nodded along as if she believed him.

“So you’re a multi-millionaire.”

“Yup,” Brett nodded, “My mama’s part of the Colton family in Atlanta.”

“Hold on… Like Colton Hardware?” 

Brett nodded, “Yup. My granddaddy sold the place years ago but that’s us.”

“Holy shit.”

“But you aren’t…”

“Naw, I ain’t a Colton, bless the Lord. I’m Brett Carver and I thank the Lord I’ve had a normal life. There was a reason my mama wanted to escape Atlanta and I’m glad she did.”

“That’s crazy…”

Brett grinned, “What’s crazier is how beautiful you are.”

“Whatever,” Eliza replied, unimpressed.

Smooth talkers like Brett ran the south and they left babies everywhere their sweet-talk worked. Eliza wasn’t so stupid to find herself falling for cheap lines from tanned Southerners with cigarettes hanging from their mouths.

“Are we close to your place?”

“Yes.”

He followed his compliment with a deep, penetrating stare as if he was searching for something in Eliza’s eyes. She hadn’t realized how attracted to him she felt until she the heat started rising to her cheeks and she felt her bosom heaving with desire. What the heck? 

Sure, he was good looking, strong and he had a certain amount of charm. But Eliza knew better than to pursue every twinge of attraction she felt for a man. After Trey, Eliza knew that she had to be careful. All those years of pain meant she’d learned a valuable lesson about letting men into her life just because of the way they made her heart flutter. Something about Brett put a pause on her desire to suppress every positive sensation stimulated in her by a man.

“So tell me more about yourself, Eliza?”

Eliza’s heart quickened with a mixture of fear and excitement. Why did he want to know? He wouldn’t give it a rest if she didn’t answer; Eliza could tell that much. 

Eliza sighed, “Well I got two kids, my own business, own a duplex that I share with my parents and by the time I’m forty-five I want to retire.”

Brett grinned, “Two kids?”

“Yup. Sylvie and Karen.” 

“Pretty names.” 

“Thank you.” 

“Are your daughters as beautiful as you are?”

Eliza grinned, “Yes. They are.”

“You shy, Eliza? Don’t get complimented like that often?”

“I get complimented just enough thank you very much.”

“Quit the sass ma’am, just tryin’ to find out if there’s any other dogs barkin’ up your tree.”

Eliza wrinkled her nose, “No, there aren’t any dogs barkin’ up my tree. And that phrase is disgusting by the way.”

“Just part of my Southern charm…”

“We’re only a few houses away from my place.”

“Lemme guess, that gorgeous white house is yours.”

Eliza was surprised that he’d actually guessed.

“Yes…” She admitted, “What are you, some kind of stalker?”

Brett laughed.

“Naw. I can tell you’re a classic kinda woman. You wouldn’t belong in any other place but that what. It’s nice, Southern and fit for a Queen.”

“Oh yeah?” Eliza teased, “So a ‘millionaire’ like yourself doesn’t look down on my humble little abode.”

“Just ‘cause I’m rich don’t make me a snob. I never knew money my whole life,” Brett confessed with a shrug.

Jada wasn’t sure that a single part of her believed him. Just ‘cause he kept saying it, didn’t mean he was truly rich. Brett reached into his side pocket and pulled out another cigarette. Then he reached into his back pocket for a lighter.

“Found yourself a light huh?” Eliza asked.

Brett threw up his hands, “You caught me… That was just an excuse to talk to you. I noticed you standing in Kelly’s and damn, even if I was mad as hell you caught my eye.”

“Well your little ploy worked… But I’m at my place so I’ve got to leave you now Mr. Carver…”

“And I guess I’d better leave you Mrs…”

“Not Mrs. I’m Eliza Rice. Miss Eliza Rice.”

“Alright Miss Rice. Are you sure I can’t come in?”

Eliza shook her head.

“Sorry Mr. Carver, my kids are up there and they are hungrier than a pack of coyotes.” 

“Well maybe I can see you again some time?”

A date. He was asking her on a date all up front like that. Eliza was intimidated by how forward he was. All of this had happened so suddenly. Moments ago, he was causing a scene at Jemma’s Jerk and now he was asking her on a date? 

In theory, it seemed like a bad idea. But Eliza had enjoyed her walk home with Brett. He pricked her nerves, but he also made her heart race in that warm and delicious way that happens when there is new love. She’d enjoyed his stories, his liberal compliments and the gentlemanly way he’d carried her food all the way to the door. Eliza wasn’t a fan of the smoking but she could tolerate it. At least it was better than drinking. As usual, drinking made her think of Trey, which served as a sober reminder to slow down when it came to men — especially men who could turn on the charm like that.

“I don’t know…”

“I know you want to say yes,” Brett asserted.

He was right too. Eliza did want to say yes. Even if it was unconventional for her to go out with a man she’d met off the street. He made her want to say yes. 

“You’re right. I do want to say yes,” Eliza started, “So yes, yes we can see each other again.”

“Next Friday?”

Eliza nodded, “Sure.”

“I’d better give you my number then,” Brett said.

He reached into his back pocket for a his wallet and a ballpoint pen. He scribbled his phone number on an old receipt and handed it to Eliza.

“You know where you can find me,” Brett added with a wink.

“Thank you, I really appreciate it.”

“No trouble at all missy,” Brett said, “See ya later.”

Eliza waved goodbye and then entered her house. Karen and Sylvie sprinted towards her. They’d been waiting quite a while for their dinner and they were voracious. Eliza sat them down and shared out the heaping portions of jerk pork and chicken. She sat around the small dining table with her daughters and they started to eat.

“Did y’all call grandma and grandpa?”

“No mama,” Karen said.

“And you minded your sister?”

Sylvie’s face broke out into a mischievous grin.

“Karen fell asleep!” Sylvie announced.

“Sylvie shut up! You such a damn snitch!”

“Hey! No cussin’,” Eliza chastised Karen.

Her daughter glared at Sylvie who stuck out her tongue in retaliation.

“Y’all better fix your mood once you eat that jerk. I don’t wanna see no more of this fighting.”

“Yes mama,” They replied in unison.

Eliza felt blessed by her daughters’ ability to get along with each other. There were many difficult aspects to being a single mother but her daughters made life both easy and worthwhile. As she ate dinner and listened to her daughters talking, Eliza’s mind wandered to her pending date with Brett.

She’d been so focused on their first meeting that she hadn’t really thought about it. She might have first caught Brett at a bad time but he wasn’t broke, he was handsome as hell and he had a daredevil attitude that made Eliza’s heart race. 

A date with a man like Brett` would be a very interesting change of pace.

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Our Best Contemporary Romance Novels: Black Bride White Baller (BWWM Basketball Player Romance)

bwwm pregnancy romance swirl pregnancy basketball romance by jamila jasperOur best time of year for contemporary romance novels has just come around and I have something fresh and hot to share with you. This basketball + pregnancy romance is perfect for fans of Love And Basketball, Basketball Wives, or any fans of NBA teams. This book follows the fictional Kansas Sundevils player, Rex Irving and his romantic relationship with the last person on earth he expected: his best friend's pregnant ex-girlfriend.

This book drips with lust and love that you expect from amazing romance novels with African American characters. Lydia Lowell, the female main character is a dark-skinned ex-model with flawless skin and a struggle to carve out a stable life for her unborn child. If you love beautiful romance novels saturated with the best contemporary fiction out there, check out this story between a black woman and a white man in a world that's darker and grittier than either of them could have ever imagined.

Here's the official book description: 

REX IRVING

My three interests are fighting, drinking and f##king. 

When my best friend’s pregnant ex-girlfriend turns up at my doorstep, getting involved is the last thing on my mind. 

Lydia isn’t like other women.

She doesn’t care what any man thinks of her, least of all me. 

No one says no to Rex Irving.

I don’t care if she promises to never date another baller again. 

I know just the way to change her mind. 

Black Bride White Baller Romance Novel Excerpt: 

Lydia Lowell 

 

Hank’s fingers snaked through my braids and he yanked my head to the left, slamming my body into his apartment wall.

 

“OUCH! You’re hurting me!”

 

“SHUT UP AND I’LL LET GO!” 

 

“Fuck off, Hank!”

 

“I’ll make you pay, Lydia, I swear to God…”

 

“I’m pregnant with your child. I dare you nigga! I dare you!” 

 

He punched the wall next to my face. I screamed and ducked, running down the hallway of Hank’s apartment, racing for the bedroom where I could barricade myself in when he calmed down.

 

“I swear to God, Lydia…”

 

I reached the bedroom door before him, but at seven feet, three inches tall, Hank could grab me from across the room, and he did, grabbing the back of my neck and yanking me back.

 

“Where. Is. It,” he growled.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

 

“You know, Lydia. You knew where it was.”

 

“Can’t you get a new one made?” 

 

“No!”

 

“I swear, I didn’t take it.”

 

“I left it right inside that vase. Right there”

 

“Maybe one of your side-pieces took it!” 

 

“Watch your mouth.”

 

“Let go of me.”

 

He released my arm from his grip and I grabbed it, rubbing the area where his fingers had pressed into my skin.

 

“This is how you treat the mother of your child?”

 

Hank sighed.

 

“I’m sorry, Lydia.”

 

“You’re always fuckin’ sorry.”

 

“I mean it,” Hank said, walking to the kitchen and pouring himself a full glass of Hennessy.

 

“Want any?” 

 

“No. I want you to stop drinking.”

 

“Shut up, Lydia.”

 

He drank and my heart quickened. I’d come here with a plan. As usual, Hank had gone crazy on me, and I was having second thoughts. Only this time, I’d practiced for every scenario with my best friend, Tiana. She was just a phone call away in case Hank went crazy.

 

“You have a game tomorrow. What do you think your coach will say if you show up drunk?”

 

“I said, shut up.”

 

I reached for my keys inside my bag, pushing them between my fingers in case I needed an easy weapon.

 

“Why do you even need that key?”

 

“It’s none of your business.”

 

“I didn’t take it.”

 

“Whatever, Lydia. I don’t want to talk about it. Now get dressed. I told the team we’d meet them at the club.”

 

“Which one?”

 

“I said get dressed,” Hank snarled.

 

“No.”

 

“What did you just say to me?”

 

“You heard me,” I replied, my hands trembling as I gripped my keys fiercely.

 

Hank polished off his Hennessy and approached me, the cognac on his breath churned my stomach.

 

 

“What did you say, Lydia?”

 

“I’m not going to the club.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Because it’s over, Hank. I’m dumping you.”

 

He laughed. It wasn’t a polite or awkward chuckle but a deep laugh with a vibrato that shook Hank Humphries’ high ceiling kitchen.

 

“Very funny.”

 

“I’m not joking. It’s over. And I’m leaving.”

 

“You’re pregnant. Where the hell are you gonna go?”

 

“I dunno,” I lied. 

 

Hank snickered, “Great plan. Pregnant ex-model homeless in New York City. I’m sure you’ll have clients lining down the block.”

 

“That’s not funny, Hank. And anyway, I don’t care what you think. I’ll send Tiana on the weekend to collect my things.”

 

He glanced over at me and saw my pursed lips and shaking arms. 

 

“You expect me to stop you?”

 

“No,” I lied.

 

“Good. Get out of here. You’ll just be a trash whore knocked up by Hank Humphries. It’ll be the best fucking thing that ever happened to you.”

 

I saw him for the pathetic man he was and for a moment, I nearly felt sorry for him.

 

“Try to quit drinking, Hank.”

 

“Get out. If you’re leaving, get out.”

 

I walked towards the front door of his apartment but before I could reach the door to the penthouse, Hank was behind me. I reached for the front door and he grabbed my other hand, throwing me up against the wall again. I cried out as my head slammed against the wall.

 

“Ow!”

 

“Why are you doing this now, huh Lydia? Are you sleeping with one of my team mates? Are you choking on another guy’s cock…”

 

“Let me go…”

 

“Tell me,” he growled, “Now.”

 

I stared into his deep brown eyes with resentment.

 

“No. I promise.”

 

“Good. Because that pussy is mine. Whether you like it or not, it’s mine forever.”

 

He let go of me forcefully and I nearly lost my balance.

 

“Get out of my house, whore.”

 

“Goodbye, Hank.”

 

“Whatever.”

 

I made it to the hallway and breathed a sigh of relief. After five years, I’d managed to shake Hank Humphries, and its as all because of my baby — all because of her. I touched a hand to my stomach and smiled as I walked away. No more Hank. I’d finally done it. Once I got closer to the elevator, I felt freer. 

 

I walked outside and prepared to walk the mile or so back to my place. I reached for my phone and called Tiana as soon as I was on the street.

 

“I’m alive.”

 

“Thank goodness!” 

 

“Yeah. It’s surreal. I finally did it.”

 

“Good. Did you bring up Bali?” 

 

“No.”

 

“Fuck him. Did he lay hands on you?” Tiana asked.

 

“No… Well, yeah. A little bit,” I admitted. Tiana made me promise I’d stop lying about when Hank went too far with me.

 

“Fuck that bastard.”

 

“He’s still the father of my child,” I reminded her.

 

“Ugh.”

 

“I could do worse. He’s in the NBA.”

 

“He’s a deadbeat,” Tiana reminded me, “They’re all deadbeats.”

 

“Right.”

 

“So fuck them!”

 

“Right.”

 

“Are you home?”

 

“Not yet.”

 

“K, I gotta go so call me once you’re home?”

 

“Gotcha.”

 

“Love you girlie!”

 

“Same.”

 

Tiana left me in bliss for the walk home. Yes, I’d caught my man cheating on me while I was four months pregnant with his baby, after we’d gone through so much to have this kid, but that wasn’t even the worst part of our relationship, just the straw that broke the camel’s back.

 

My feet were heavy as I climbed the stairs up to my apartment, much smaller than Hank’s on a sketchier, more fragrant side of town. As I approached the door, I noticed a piece of paper stuck to it. 

 

These Jehovah’s Witnesses at it again, I thought to myself. 

 

I didn’t mind the kind old ladies and their faith so much as I wished they would stop leaving pamphlets taped to my door. As I got closer, I got a sinking feeling that Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t have red pamphlets and “EVICTION NOTICE” probably wasn’t one of those obscure books of the Bible either. I grabbed the piece of paper and ripped it off the door, rereading it over and over again. 

 

“This serves as notice that you have been evicted from the premises, effective immediately. Please speak to the manager to begin the process of moving your belongings. Your presence on this property without permission of the manager is a crime, and the authorities will be called.”

 

Bullshit. I paid my rent on time, every month and I’d never so much as smoked inside the building. Evicted? Like this? No way in hell. I chucked the paper on the ground and stuck my key in the lock. I rattled it. 

 

“What the hell,” I muttered out loud to myself.

 

I rattled the key in the lock again. The key didn’t budge. I picked up my cellphone and called my landlord, a chubby, short white woman who lived in yoga pants, messy buns and twenty year old New Balance sneakers. 

 

“Kathy? It’s me, Lydia.”

 

“Oh hey Lyd, what can we do for ya?” 

 

“I just uh… showed up at my apartment after a day away and there was an eviction notice pinned to my door and uh… my key won’t work.”

 

“Okay…”

 

“Well uh. This has to be some sort of mistake. Can you check?”

 

“Jerry’s out of town, but he’s got a whole system, I’m sure it’s not a mistake.”

 

“Is your husband here in LA?”

 

“Uh huh. He must have changed the locks.”

 

“Could I call him, get them changed back? Kathy, you can check the direct deposits, I’ve never been late on a payment, I swear.”

 

“Call Jerry, 555-4322”

 

“Okay. Thanks.”

 

I hung up, my hands trembling. Kathy’s reaction hadn’t exactly been apologetic or reassuring. I called Jerry.

 

“Heya, who is this?”

 

“It’s Lydia Lowell, your tenant in the Hamilton Estate Complex.”

 

“Oh Lydia! What’s goin’ on?”

 

“I got home today to an eviction notice on my door.

 

“Right.”

 

“I’m pretty sure it’s a mistake. I’m not behind on rent or anything.”

 

“According to Ryan in accounting, you are.”

 

“I’m not though. I pay by check every month. The money comes out of my account.”

 

“Hm. I’ll have to look into that. I’ll call you back tomorrow and we’ll see if we can sort it out.”

 

“Tomorrow? Jerry, listen, maybe you don’t understand… My key doesn’t work. I can’t get into my apartment. At all.”

 

“What about that fella of yours, the Sundevil.” 

 

“Hank and I broke up.”

 

“Oh, sorry to hear about that ma’am.”

 

“Jerry, where am I supposed to go tonight? Can’t you call your guy and find out what’s going on?”

 

“No can do. I got a business dinner with some developers from Denver.”

 

“Thanks, Jerry. Thanks.”

 

I hung up and slammed my phone against the wall with a frustrated groan, lucky that I didn’t crack it. Great. I couldn’t go home, I couldn’t go to Hank’s and I was getting tired of standing on my feet. The first trimester had been hell and so far the second wasn’t any better. 

 

I called Tiana.

 

“Hey girl, I’m home. But I have some bad news.”

 

“Is it Hank?”

 

“No. There’s been some kind of fuck up with my landlord and they served me an eviction notice, changed the lock and everything.”

 

“Damn girl, what happened?”

 

“I don’t know. It’s a mistake. I just — I’m pregnant. I can’t handle this right now!”

 

“Come down here.”

 

“My money’s inside, I only got about $20.”

 

“Uber.”

 

“I told you I don’t use Uber anymore,” I snapped.

 

“Sheesh, calm down! One Uber driver grabs your ass and you’re willing to throw the whole thing out the window.”

 

“Sorry, I don’t want to deal with creeps right now, Tiana. I’m pregnant and hormonal and having the worst goddamn day.”

 

“Okay. Fine. Walk down here then. Can you handle it?”

 

“Yeah. I think so.”

 

“Great. I’ll wait for you. But Felix and I wanted to take you out.”

 

“I don’t want to go out…”

 

“You have to. You got dumped by Hank Humphries, the media is going to be on this shit.”

 

“I don’t care about the media. I’m going to be a mom. I want a good life for me and my baby, that’s it.”

 

“Your baby will never have to worry about a damn thing.”

 

“Fine. I’m on my way.”

 

“Good. But no drinking for you!”

 

“Of course not.”

 

“Ciao, girlie!” Tiana shrilled before hanging up. 

 

I started walking towards Tiana’s place, a long way away from mine on foot. I felt like a fool, adorned in Yeezy sneakers and a Gucci bag but with only $20 in my pocket and an NBA player’s baby. I’d become a stereotype for L.A. Models and the love that I’d been seeking was nowhere to be found. I stomped on the eviction notice, causing the orange paper to rip as I stormed away.

 

At night, the sweltering heat of Los Angeles in the summer cooled to a tolerable but smoggy climate. I walked as fast as I could, hoping to get to Tiana’s place before dark. Dark fell before I’d completely a third of my journey. I reached into my purse for my phone, hoping that I could convince her to meet me at a café a little further away from her place so we could walk together. I pulled my phone out when I heard footsteps behind me. 

 

They were too close and too fast for me to react. I felt the cold steel press into my belly. My baby.

 

“Give me your fuckin’ purse.”

 

My body shook from head to toe.

 

“T-T-T-take it.”

 

“Give me the fuckin’ phone.”

 

He yanked the purse off my shoulder and I handed him the phone, my body trembling as I didn’t dare to move.

 

“Now the Yeezys. Take off the fuckin’ Yeezys.”

 

“No!”

 

He prodded my side with the gun.

 

“Okay, okay, fine.”

 

“These ugly fuckin’ shoes go for about $300, don’t they?”

 

I didn’t bother answering as I shamefully stripped down to my white socks. 

 

“Good. Now you stand still missy and if you dare turn around, I’ll blow your fuckin’ face in.” 

 

“Okay. Fine. I won’t turn around.”

 

“I know.”

 

He ran off in the opposite direction. By the time I dared to turn around, the street was empty and I stood all alone with no way of calling Tiana, no shoes, and no purse. There went my emergency $20. I kept walking, hugging my shoulders and staring off into the distance with a dazed expression. I couldn’t feel the chilly night and my mind was blank as I went through the motions, plodding one foot in front of the other.

 

A loud car horn blared behind me.

 

BEEEEEEEP.

 

 Great, another asshole. 

 

BEEEEEEEEEEEPP.

 

I kept walking and the car pulled alongside me, slowing down.

 

“HEY!”

 

I didn’t turn and look.

 

“HEY! Humphries’ chick!”

 

I jerked my head around. Rex Irving, my ex-boyfriend’s teammate and as I’d guessed, another complete asshole.

 

“Oh. Hey. Didn’t hear you.”

 

“Sure. What’s up, where are you shoes?”

 

“Long story.”

 

“I got time. Where’s Hank?”

 

“Hank and I are finished.”

 

He grinned.

 

“Sorry to hear that.”

 

His grin indicated otherwise.

 

“Yeah, you look sorry.”

 

His grin didn’t falter.

 

“Where you goin’ with no shoes?”

 

“The boulevard. My friend Tiana’s place.”

 

He laughed.

 

“You’re going to walk forty minutes with no shoes?”

 

“Yup.”

 

“Why don’t you let me give you a ride?”

 

“Because I wouldn’t get in a car with another NBA player if you offered me fifty-thousand dollars.”

 

“Your girl Tiana’s at the club anyway. Thought you should know.”

 

“What?”

 

“I follow her on the ‘gram.”

 

“Of course you do,” I replied with an exaggerated eye roll which amused Rex.

 

“What? Everyone knows Tiana Wheeler is smoking hot.”

 

“Thanks for the offer, but I think I can handle it.”

 

“You don’t have a purse. Or a phone. Or shoes. Let me guess, mugging?”

 

My cheeks grew hot.

 

“No.”

 

“Why don’t you just go home?”

 

“I got evicted today.”

 

“Damn. And you still won’t accept my offer for a ride? Hank must have really screwed the pooch.”

 

“He did. I’m pregnant.”

 

“Okay, now this is a matter of honor. Get in the car or I’ll honk my horn and I won’t stop until you open that door.”

 

“Rex, no —”

 

“BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE—” 

 

“OKAY FINE!” 

You can grab a copy of the book here: smarturl.it/BlackBrideWhiteBall

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If you loved this free sample and want to read another book opening 100% free, why don't you consider The Biggest Ego? Read the first part of this older woman, younger man billionaire romance here: Click here to read.

Romantic Comedy Novels: French Kissed | BWWM Pregnancy Romance

French Kissed BWWM Interracial Pregnancy Romance Tennis Star Black Woman White Man Romance WMBWRomantic Comedy Novels: French Kissed | BWWM Pregnancy Romance by Amazon best-selling interracial romance author Jamila Jasper. This story is a republishing of The Coach's Baby, a novella briefly published in 2015. This book has been updated to better fit a contemporary audience and many aspects to the story have been expanded upon and changed. 

If you love romantic stories with an interracial pregnancy plot you'll enjoy the story of Milo & Lucy. Their love is complicated. Of course, love can be complicated when you dedicate your entire life to tennis and barely have time for romance. So many of us black women work so hard that we struggle to see when true love is right in front of us. 

Maybe our Prince Charming is right across the court from us! Lucy and Milo slowly discover their love for each other over the course of this novel. We see Lucy struggle with her family and her commitment to tennis. With a baby on the way, the plot only thickens.

Keep reading for a gripping first chapter sample of this steamy interracial romance novel, one of our best contemporary interracial romance novellas of the year. 

Romance Novel Excerpts: French Kissed

Chapter One

Sitting with Earl meant forgoing relaxation. Since Lucy could remember, her father had always required proper etiquette, full engagement, and appropriate dress whenever he requested a meeting with one of his daughters. Lucy still felt a slight twinge of terror when she was meeting with her father, even if he had mellowed out over the years and she was certainly far stronger than him when it came to physical strength.

 

He'd ruled over his daughters with an iron fist and age couldn't change the fact that he was her daddy and daddy's word was law.

 

Lucy waited in the sitting room for her father to come out with “drinks” for the two of them. She wore a deep oxblood dress that highlighted the gorgeous undertones of her dark, mahogany-toned skin. Lucy’s hair coiled densely on top of her head held together in a bun by a strained band. Her dress hit just below her knees and on her feet, she wore a pair of two-inch heels. Anything higher and not only would she tower over her father Earl, but he would be sure to give her a lecture about the impact of high heels on the balls of her feet. She wouldn’t want it to affect her game now, would she?

 

Lucy could hear the blender stirring up a ruckus from the other room. Of course when Earl said “drinks” he meant a protein shake for Lucy and whiskey on the rocks for himself. Lucy would have rolled her eyes if it wasn’t so entirely predictable of him. Lucy crossed her legs at the ankles and waited, silently glancing at her phone to see if her sister had called. There was nothing from her twin sister, Diana. Of course not. She knew better than to try to stick her head in on days when Lucy and Earl met up to talk tennis.

 

Earl finally entered with a frothy white protein shake for his daughter and a glass of whiskey for himself. He grunted as he squished into his chair, the impact of sitting down almost seemed to knock the wind out of him. Lucy noticed how much he’d slowed down over the past ten years. He’d aged faster since his wife had fallen sick… 

 

“Here you go doll,” Earl said, gesturing to the tray on the center table. Lucy grabbed the drink and clamped her lips down around the straw, leaving the light imprint of dark, plum lipstick. 

 

“So… How are you doing papa,” Lucy asked.

 

Earl smiled, “I’m good, doll but you know we ain’t here to discuss how I’m doing.”

 

Lucy nodded and sighed, “I know. It’s about tennis.” 

 

“Recently, I’ve been watching your tapes and I just think something’s off Lucy. Now… The tournament is soon and I just think you should talk to Milo and come up with something new. I’m paying him all this damned money for what?” 

 

Lucy sighed. Having her father as her manager was both a blessing and a curse. 

 

Lucy answered, “I’m fine dad. You don’t have to worry, Milo’s doing a good job.” 

 

Her coach Milo had been with her for the past five years and Lucy wasn’t interested in finding a new one. Especially not so close to a tournament. 

 

“I don’t know if we should trust him…”

 

Lucy replied, “Well you say that about everyone and so far Milo has helped me win. A lot. You’re too suspicious.”

 

“Young lady…” 

 

“I know, I know… I don’t know what to tell you, dad. Milo looked at the tapes and he thinks I’m just tired. I need more rest.”

 

Earl scoffed, “More rest?! You think you win so many matches because you spend valuable training time resting?” 

 

Lucy knew there was absolutely no getting through to her father. She sipped on the remaining drops of her smoothie and sat quietly, waiting for him to continue speaking.

 

“Listen, child. I know you think I’m being a hardass for nothing but winning is how we keep your image good. Winning is how we get deals with Adidas or with Gatorade. You know they aren’t exactly racing to you the way they are with Jenny.”

 

Lucy cringed. Jennifer Winslow was her main tennis rival but she hadn’t managed to beat Lucy once in the past eight years, even if she’d come close a couple of times and had given Lucy a run for her money. Despite her serious losing streak, Jenny had managed to sign deals with Lululemon, Powerade, Nike and more. 

 

Both Lucy and her father knew the reason for that was the fact that Lucy was a black woman. Lucy could dominate on the courts but she had to work twice as hard to get half as much credit as a skinny blonde in the tennis world. 

 

“I’m going to win. I need to win papa,” Lucy said, reassuring her father that she was just as committed to the game as he was.

 

“I know you do, child. I’m just worried. I want you to be the best…” 

 

“I know.”

 

“Where’s that sister of yours?” Earl grumbled.

 

Lucy smiled. Diana might have been right to stay away.

 

“I think she’s out of town today,” Lucy mumbled before trailing off.

 

Earl huffed and then twirled his mustache. 

 

“She never comes to see me you know,” He said.

 

Lucy knew that “never” was an exaggeration but she let Earl have his moment. Ever since his daughters had hit their thirties and spent weeks at a time away from him, he’d taken up exaggerating his loneliness to encourage them to visit more. Lucy was sure he’d made the same desperate plea to her twin sister Diana the last time she had visited.

 

Lucy’s mood shifted as she thought about Diana and then her mother… 

 

“No talking about mama I guess?”

 

Earl shook his head, “You ain’t s’posed to worry about her ‘til you’re done that tournament.”

 

“Y’all are too stubborn,” Lucy muttered.

 

Earl smiled, “Damn right we are. Now, don’t you have practice?”

 

Lucy rolled her eyes, “I think I can keep my schedule in mind on my own papa…”

 

“Why’s your ass still sitting here, then? You need to be committed to winning Lucy. If I don’t see some changes I’ll get rid of that Milo fella…” 

 

“Papa!”

 

“Don’t chastise me, girl. Get down to practice so you can play better,” He said gruffly. 

 

Lucy brought her empty glass into the kitchen and then kissed her father good-bye. Sometimes his criticisms could be too harsh. He’d been managing his daughter since her tennis career began and sometimes the line between manager, coach and father blurred too much. When Earl finally retired from coaching Lucy directly, his grasp on her life had eased up a bit. But these days, Earl was finding creative ways to get an “in” to micromanage Lucy’s tennis career.

 

She drove back home at the tennis court entrance of her house where Milo would be waiting. He was consistently ten minutes early and always carried on with Lucy about her chronic “lateness” which really meant being right on time. 

 

As expected, Milo’s Audi was already parked there. Years of high-level coaching meant Milo could afford more than a couple sports cars with six-figure price tags. Lucy wasn’t impressed by it at all. She always thought guys who drove flashy cars tried way too hard. 

 

“Lucy… You’re late,” Milo said as Lucy walked into her training room adjacent to the courts.

 

She ignored his comment and locked the door behind her. Lucy looked in the mirror at her shapely muscles and curves. After tennis practice, she’d need to hit the squat bar badly. Lucy knew that for most women, her strength would be a dream come true. But the truth was, having a body that looked nearly perfect meant hours and hours of training and sculpting. Sometimes the upkeep could get exhausting. One of the few things keeping Lucy going was the thought that she would be retiring soon. There was no way she would turn forty and still be playing this game… 

 

Lucy changed into her tight white Nike skort that hugged the curves of her thighs and the shape of her thick ass. On her upper body, she squeezed her breasts into a custom-made sports bra. Lucy slipped into her tennis shoes and added a white headband to the entire outfit. She removed her piercings, makeup, and jewelry and then shoved them all into her gym bag. Now it would be time to face Milo’s “wrath” at her lateness and hit as hard as she could. She needed to prove her father wrong. At the very least, that might earn her a real weekend off with no training for the first time in years… 

 

She walked outside onto the court with her recently restrung tennis racquet. Milo was excellent at keeping her equipment in perfect working order. 

 

“Ready to hit?”

 

Lucy nodded. When Milo started a workout nicely, she knew that she was in for trouble down the road. She took a deep breath and started their usual warm up. Today, Lucy’s breath felt thick in her lungs. She knew that things had barely started but her mind was somewhere else, slowing her down. Keep this up any longer and she’d be forced to admit that her father was right about her training.

 

By the time Lucy was done with her workout, she was dripping with sweat. Her outfit still looked pristine and white as she walked to her cooler for a drink of water. Milo followed her with his hands on his hips.

 

“Lucy… That was awful,” he chided.

 

Lucy glared at him as she wiped the sweat off her brow.

 

Lucy nodded, “Earl thinks so too. He took the time out of his day this morning to tell me he thinks I’ve been playing like garbage.” 

 

Milo grinned, “He doesn’t mince words does he?”

 

Lucy shook her head and took a big drink of ice cold water. 

 

“No. He doesn’t.”

 

“Well take an extra five minutes. I think we should talk about this.” 

 

“I don’t need to talk, I need to play,” Lucy replied.

 

Her gaze intensified and Milo caught a glimpse of that fierceness in her eyes that he loved. He wouldn't have it any other way with his clients. Lucy had always been a delight to train.

 

She had that fiery look in her eye that Milo loved. No matter how much Lucy might deny it, tennis was her life. She cared every bit about winning as her father did. This wasn’t a life that he’d forced on her, even if she thought so during her times of weakness. Milo stood across from Lucy with his arms folded, waiting for her to adjust to the idea of actually talking through their strategy together. A part of what made Milo a good coach was his strategy. 

 

Lucy sat down on the bench and glared at the tennis court before her.

 

“Earl thinks we need to change things. He thinks I need to train harder. Or do something different.”

 

“I agree.” 

 

“You're my coach," Lucy scoffed, "Not Earl's." 

 

Milo was used to her harsh tone, so he ignored it and continued, “Yes, I am your coach. And I think that Mr. Walters is right.” 

 

Lucy glared at him again.

 

“Listen, Lucy, you’re training hard but there has to be something wrong.”

 

“Don’t you think I know that?” Lucy snapped.

 

“Well if you know so much, why don’t you fix it?” Milo hit back.

Lucy didn’t respond and took another swig of water. Right now, all she wanted to do was take out her anger at her father and Milo about this. She’d been practicing her ass off but match after match, she could feel that things weren’t getting better.

 

“Maybe I’ve hit my peak… Maybe I’m just getting old,” Lucy mumbled.

 

“Old? You’re thirty-four Lucy. I’m the old one around here.”
 

“Hm.” 

 

“Listen… Why don’t we compromise? We switch up your training but I’ll let you have more input. Earl should be happy and you can build in some more time for rest and recovery.”

 

“You really think he’ll let that slide?”

 

“I’ll talk to him, tell him it’s what’s best.”

 

Lucy grumbled, “Good. And stop riding my ass so hard.” 

 

“That’s what you pay me for ma cherie.”

 

Lucy winced at his use of the word “ma cherie”. She’d begged Milo to stop calling her these silly diminutive names around a thousand times and she was sick of it. Frenchmen were different, he'd claimed. And he'd used his French heritage as an excuse to keep up the diminutive phrase.

 

Milo had more than a French tendency for pet names. He also had French confidence and integrity. He wasn't afraid to push her hard, on and off the court. He understood Lucy's psychology better than anyone. The only person who knew her better was Diana.

 

Every once in a while when Milo let slip one too many "ma cherie"'s Lucy struggled not to bite back. She’d been treated like she was less than men her entire life, even if she could squat more than they could or deadlift more… or tear them apart on the tennis court. 

 

But today Lucy was tired. All she wanted was to end the practice and go visit Diana. She picked herself up off the bench, feeling that itch to get her heart racing and looked Milo square in the face before saying, “Let’s get started. I’ll show you just how much improvement I need.”

 

“That’s my girl,” Milo answered, standing back and watching her walk onto the court.

 

There was something alluring about that woman. No matter how tough and unapproachable she could seem, there was a deep beauty in her strength.

Thank you for reading! The book will be launching October 1st, so stay tuned. Did you know that some people had a chance to read this sample early? Subscribers to my Patreon get oodles of free content and early access. If you love interracial romance and you're impatient to get to your next read, I suggest subscribing. I add fresh content every week including free bonus stories, early chapter previews and early previews to trailers. Get your first look here. 

Our Best Contemporary Romance Novels: Get Pucked (BWWM Hockey Romance)

Get Pucked BWWM Interracial Romance Novels Jamila JasperGet Pucked is an interracial hockey romance featuring a French Canadian alpha male main character who falls for forbidden fruit... the African American publicist who is supposed to keep him out of trouble. If you love romantic stories and want to check out one of our best contemporary romance novels for the year, similar to Harlequin Kimani romance, keep reading for the description and then a length free BWWM romance sample for all fans to enjoy 100% free.

If you enjoy romantic comedy novels, dark romance books and sports romance books with plot twists, steamy romance scenes between black women and white men. This is one of my top romance novels of the year and you can now find the book on Amazon and other sites like Kobo, Nook (Barnes & Noble), iBooks, and Google Play. 

Book Description: 

Amy

Luc is my client. He’s aggressive, unruly and dangerously off limits. 

He wants to have me in every position and toy with me until I scream.

I must resist him. I could lose my job… I could lose everything. 

If either of us screw up our next gig, our entire lives will be ruined.

He’s supposed to be well behaved. I’m supposed to keep him that way.

But how can you tame a man who’s as much of a beast in the bedroom as on the ice? 

Luc

She runs the show in her world and I run the show in mine.

I’m what anyone would consider an alpha. My publicists shake in their boots when I walk in the room.

Not her. 

She isn’t afraid of anything or anyone. Not even me. Not even my past.

Amy thinks I can change my life around, but I know the truth about guys like me.

We never change. At least I never will… Not for her, not for anyone.

Get ready to squirm in your seat as the curvy black girl falls into the arms of a powerful white alpha male. This standalone interracial romance novel is 50,000+ words long with NO cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEA.

Romance Novel Excerpt: Get Pucked (BWWM Hockey Romance)

 

 

Luc Alfredsson

I spent my entire life on ice. I eat sleep and breathe hockey. My nickname growing up was "Puck", for obvious reasons. When I was sixteen, I flew to Canada to pursue my dream: playing hockey until the day I die. 

 

I stared at Coach Gagnon, a big French-Canadian bastard who stood three feet away from me, screaming his head off in my face. 

"LUC, ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?!" 

 

His thick Quebecois accent, pierced me out of my daydream. Coach Gagnon’s green eyes bored into my mine. I could see the reflection of my face in his eyes, staring back at me with that boyish smirk I couldn’t shake whenever someone started yelling at me. 

"Yeah," I shrugged, "I'm listening."

 

"What did I just say, then?”

 

Trick question. I hadn’t been listening and coach knew. I was a goner. 

"Uhhh... I'm in huge trouble?"

"Oui! You are in huge trouble you stupid bastard! Tabernac! How could you get on camera and say something like that for all the world to see?" 

I responded with a smirk, knowing it would piss off Félix and knowing that he'd kick my ass off the ice for doing so.

"GET OUT!" Félix roared.

 

I heard the others laughing, low rumbling chuckles common in the locker room. They watched with folded arms to see if I’d finally get what was coming to me. Coach was right, I had been an ass. But if he wanted to embarrass me in front of the whole team, I’d walk off the ice like a man with a smile on my face.

 

My smirk turned into a grin and I swung my gym bag over my shoulder.

"Fine. I'll leave." 

 

Dave Tanner stepped up, approaching Félix and resting a hand on his shoulder. He could always talk sense into the coach, or me.

"Coach, with all due respect, we need Luc on the ice today."

Félix's face glowed red hot. His bottle green eyes glimmered with rage and frustration. His face reddened because he knew Dave was right, he couldn’t bear to admit it. After what I’d done… After how I’d embarrassed him… It stung to let me waltz right back on the ice. But he needed me. Desperately. 

"Put your shit down Luc."

Dave nodded and I obliged, dropping my gym bag to the ground.

"He's right. We need you on the ice. We're playing Calgary in a month and I need you boys to whoop 'em."

Snickers and cheers of agreement erupted from the team. 

"Get dressed," Gagnon growled.

I nodded and stalked off to the locker room, victorious once more. I stripped down to my boxers and then suited up. Long sleeved warm-up tee, pants, pads, helmet and then my skates. Before I could lace my skates up, Dave opened the door to the locker room.

"Are you in here you big stupid bastard?"

“Here.”

“Trying to lose your contract, eh?“ Dave asked.

 

Dave always had my back when I messed up. He'd been that way since I was first drafted to the minors up in Toronto, all the way until now.

"No," I replied, "I can't stand when Coach gets like that."

"When he does what? His job?"
 

I glared at Dave.

 

"I don't need a lecture from you mom."

"Hey, don't take it out on me, eh?" 

 

He reached for my hand to help me off the bench.

"You're right. Maybe I should retire."

"Bullshit," Dave retorted, "You're one of the top shooters in the entire league. You have to play."

 

"With those fines... I don't know."

 

"You did earn those fines."

 

"It was a joke," I growled.

 

How was it my fault no one had a sense of humor these days? On my feet, I lumbered out of the locker room door towards the ice.

 

“A joke that went over poorly. Cough up the money and move on. You don’t have to make a big deal out of this.”

 

“Félix wants to.”

 

“Félix is pissed. He should be pissed. We’ve had media training. You should have known better.”

 

I grunted in response and changed the subject.

"Is Jane in today?" I asked.

"What do you care?" Dave asked, folding his arms.

"No reason."

"You aren't thinking of getting back together with her, are you?"

I scowled, "No."

"Good. You were a bastard to her Luc. You broke her heart."

I grunted. Broke her heart. Yeah right. Jane knew exactly what she was signing up for with me. My reputation is no secret and the incident only made things worse. The guys were already on the ice, sticks in hand, pucks slipping back and forth across the frigid terrain. Home.

 

Dave stepped onto the ice before I did and he was off. I might have been the best shooter on the team, but Dave was the fastest. He started off on the first part of our warmup, sprints. I followed him, racing as fast as I could, my lungs stinging with the sharp blasts of cold air familiar to the first five minutes of the workout.

My heart rate caught up with my legs. We skated forward, bursting across the ice at unthinkable speeds. The rush of adrenaline sent me flying faster. Then backward. We skated backward, our feet crisscrossing as we infused our brutish sport with real grace.

 

Pucks flew onto the ice and Félix stood outside, glaring at me as we started shooting. Stamkos, the goalie, stood impenetrable in front of the net. I grinned as I flew down the ice towards him, smacking the puck at full speed, knowing he couldn't catch my shot. He missed and I whooped, to his dismay. My shooting made John one of the best goalies in the entire league. He could stop a puck flying at his face at 90 mph. He was that good.
 

"Good shot," he called. 

 

John's thick German accent meant I could hardly understand a word he said, but his respect was visible in his eyes. Practice went on like that. Tough. Hard. My muscles ached from four straight hours of sprinting. Coach Gagnon was right though -- we had to whoop Calgary. My old buddies from the minors played on the team. Cal Sampson, an irritating Texan with a stick up his ass played for Calgary, as did my former roommate, Leo Lip-Twitch. He had a Polish last name I can't be assed to remember but we all called him lip twitch because when he was intensely focused, his lip twitched. 

Hey, I never said our nicknames were clever, did I?

On the ice, I came alive. My senses heightened and my body performed at its peak, executing all I'd trained it to do. It's hard to describe to a weak man what strength feels like, but it's like being high... all the time. Endorphins and adrenaline coursed through my veins as I dribbled the puck down the ice.

 

 

As I came close to scoring, our new recruit Henrik skated out of nowhere and flicked the puck out of my control.

"Bastard..." I growled.

 

He dribbled the puck back in the opposite direction as I chased him. For a new recruit, he was good, but the experience made me better. I caught up with him in a matter of seconds, but instead of pushing my stick out to grab the puck, I thrust it between his legs, causing him to fall over.
 

"Watch it," I growled, as he toppled over, losing his balance.

 

When Henrik returned to his feet, he glowered at me, hot rage surging through his pink face, his long blond hair covering his eyes through his helmet.

"Asshole," he grunted.

 

He lunged at me, but I was faster than him. I dodged his punch and landed another one on him. He grunted and hit me in the stomach. Where did that little punk learn how to hit like that? I grabbed his pads and pushed him against the wall, hitting him until I heard Gagnon's familiar shout.

"ENOUGH. LUC. OFF THE ICE. MAINTENANT!"
 

I eased off Henrik. His nose was only bleeding a little, but his face was redder. Like most young recruits, he wasn't afraid of fighting, but he didn't enjoy getting his ass handed to him.

 

Once I eased off him, Henrik skated to join the others, dribbling the puck he'd stolen from me playfully across the ice. Gagnon's face said everything once I was off the ice. I knew he was going to chew my ear out but this time, I was ready for him. Henrik knew the rules on the ice. He knew how our team played. He got what was coming to him for stepping out of line. 

 

After practice, Coach gathered us around.

"You boys did great. You, Dave, stay after practice."

"Me?" I asked.

"Did I stutter?" Gagnon replied, his French accent thickening with his frustration.

"Yes, sir." 

Gagnon sent the rest of the team off to get some rest, but he held me and Dave behind.

"It's clear we need to talk."
 

I glowered at him, "Henrik knows how we play. That little punk deserved it."

"Silence!"

 

I kept my mouth shut. Dave glared at me, encouraging me to stop being such a smart ass for once. 

 

"You need to make some changes Luc. I can handle you, but the boss doesn't like liabilities."
 

"It was one fight!" I protested, "That's what the game is about."

 

"Henrik is a new recruit but he is still your teammate. He is Swedish, just like you are you big lug. So show him some respect and keep your bloody hands off him. There's so much fire under your ass I could roast a fuckin' pig!" Gagnon spat.

 

He was practically foaming at the mouth and I struggled to keep my amusement under wraps. 

"Coach, I'll pay the fines. It'll be fine."
 

"Non!" Gagnon hissed, "It will not be fine. You fail to understand how serious this is Luc."

 

"With all due respect coach, why am I here?" Dave asked.
 

"Because you," Coach spat, "Are going to keep this crazy Swedish bastard in line."

 

Dave glared at me, "Got it. Do the impossible."

 

Gagnon chuckled. 

"That's not all. We're going to your publicist's office right now to discuss your next move."

Then I scowled.

"Coach, I'm tired. I killed it on the ice. All I want is to head home so my trainer can put my legs on ice and give me a killer massage."

Gagnon glared, murder in his eyes. 

 

"Luc, don't argue," Dave suggested.

"Fine," I growled, "Let's meet with the publicist." 

 

"Good," Coach said, "10 minutes, 42nd Street." 

 

It wasn't possible to get down to 42nd Street in 10 minutes but I got the message: hurry down there and try not to piss anyone else off. Coach left for his car and Dave and I walked back into the locker room to shower and change.

 

We showered in silence. I could tell Dave was pissed at me. 

 

"Hey man, I'm sorry you got roped into this," I said, hoping to make peace as I dragged a comb through my thick, shoulder length brown hair.

 

"You've got to stop messing around Luc."

"I know."

"What was that stunt with Henrik about, eh?"

"He's a punk."

 

"He's 19. He's just a kid. You should know better."

 

"Yeah, I keep getting that."

 

"Listen," Dave said, "I'm pissed at you but you can fix this okay? When you meet with Polly, she'll tell you what to do."

 

"Polly's an idiot."

"She's not an idiot. She's done PR for players up and down the coast."
 

"I said what I said."

"Hey, I'll have Ramon pull the car around," Dave said.

 

I nodded. Sure. My car was stuck on the Upper East Side since I hadn't expected to be allowed to stay for practice. I followed Dave and we stepped into his car to drive to my publicist's office. Traffic was thick and we were way off Gagnon's ten-minute deadline. He stood outside the office, waiting for us with a scowl on his face.

 

We walked inside and were instantly buzzed upstairs to Polly Patterson's fifth-floor office. 

 

Polly's desk was absolutely covered in papers. When we walked in, she scrambled to push them all into a pile before searching for her tortoiseshell reading glasses amongst the mess.

"Come in, come in. Félix, Luc... Dave..."

 

She offered each of us chairs.

 

"So... what are we here to discuss?" she asked, pursing her thin, pink lips into a faint half-smile.

"Why don't you tell us? I can't escape this media shit storm and I need a way out."

 

Gagnon cleared his throat, "What Luc is trying to say is, we need to find out how you're going to fix this."

"Ah. Right. Fix this."

 

Polly rifled through more papers on her desk, searching through them in vain.
 

"One moment, I have your case file right here..."

 

She shuffled more papers and a huge stack fell off her desk onto the floor.

"Shit!" she huffed.

 

Dave, ever the gentleman, got off his chair to help clean them up. I didn't. I kept staring straight ahead at Polly, wondering how the hell this woman could keep it together enough to do her job.

 

"Polly, stop searching," I barked.

 

She stopped. Dave and Félix both stared at me. Dave knew what was coming, but it was clear Félix didn't. He probably thought it was just me being me, doing something wild and crazy again without thinking it through.

 

I stood.

"Without looking, tell me exactly what the problem is with my public image right now?"

 

"Um... Um..." 

 

Polly looked terrified. I didn't care. I was angry. I forked over $40,000 a month to her firm to keep everything straight for me and she couldn't even get me a straight answer to the simplest question I could ask. My eyes narrowed, the way they did when I focused on getting the puck into the net.

"Let me tell you what's happening here Polly. I've paid this company a total of $1,000,000 over the years to keep my public image spotless. I make money on the ice, but I also make money through brand sponsorships. Everyone in this room knows I'm a notorious fuck up. Your job is to squelch those fuck ups."

 

"Y-y-es Mr. Alfredsson, I'm aware."

"Let me finish," I interrupted, "Your job is to squelch these fuck ups and last week, boy did I fuck up. Didn't I Dave?"

"Yes Luc, you did."

"I got on National Television and suggested that kids in America need more cigarettes. Yes, it was a spur of the moment joke that got out of hand but it was your job to stop it from getting out of hand."
 

Polly stared back at me with widened eyes as if she were about to cry. I hadn't even raised my voice yet. My nose wrinkled in disgust and I approached her desk, taking all the papers that were on it and sliding them off onto the ground.

"This is a mess," I growled, "A hot mess. I don't think you have what it takes to clean it up."

"I do!" she squeaked, "We strategized and came up with a plan."

"What kind of plan?" I asked, folding my arms.

 

Her lips trembled before she spoke.

 

"W-well, we thought you could make a charitable donation to a lung cancer fund."

Dave and Félix exchanged glances, accurately anticipating my anger. 

 

I roared, "I blew it on national television and the best you can do for me is tell me to make a quiet donation? Polly. Polly, I want you to look at me."
 

She avoided my gaze. I stalked up to the desk, balling my fists and resting them on her desk.

 

"Look at me," I growled.

 

Polly's lips quivered as she looked up at me.

"You can't fix this Polly. I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me the truth. You can't fix this."
 

She whimpered as if she knew what would happen once she admitted me.

"Admit it!" I roared.

 

"I can't fix this," she mumbled.

"Tabernac!" Gagnon muttered. Dave frowned, his arms folded.

"Luc, be reasonable," Dave suggested.

"No Dave, I won't be reasonable. Polly, you're fired. Dave, Félix, get me out of here before I wreck something." 

 

I pulled a photo off of Polly's wall and slammed it onto the ground. It shattered and she squealed.

"Luc!" Dave warned.

"I said get me out of here!"

 

They two men escorted me out. I was fuming. My fists clenched and my jaw tightened. I could feel heat pulsing in my chest, the same heat that flowed freely when I was about to deck some poor pathetic bastard on the ice. If I hadn't gotten out of there, who knows what I would have done.

We walked out onto the street, security hot on our tail from the mess I'd made in Polly's office.

"Did that go how you thought it would?" I asked Félix.

"Bastard," he muttered, walking off without response to his car.

 

Even Dave seemed fed up.

"Be honest Dave. If Polly had looked you in the eyes and said that to you, what would you have done?"

 

"Fired her," Dave grumbled.
 

"Exactly."

 

"You don't think Luc," Dave continued to grumble, "She's gone now but you still have a massive problem on your hands. Did you think about how you're going to fix it?"

"Not yet." 

"You'd better figure something out. We have a game and the press will be hot on your ass after the last time."

"Yeah, I know."

"Figure it out, Luc. Don't fuck up again."

 

Dave’s frustration with me showed. Practice had been a nightmare and the meeting with Polly had gone even worse. I had a media firestorm blazing a trail behind me and I’d just fired my publicist. By all accounts, a terrible move. I’d be lucky if Félix let me on the ice after what I’d just done.

Ramon pulled his car to the front of the building and we entered silently. Dave was right. I couldn't afford to screw up again. 

Did you enjoy reading this sample? You can finish reading the book on the website of your choice. The book is also available as an eBook and a Paperback. Do you want to read this book on iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google Play or with your local library via Overdrive? Click this link here to read the book: books2read.com/GetPucked

BWWM Books: Cocky Cowboy | Jamila Jasper

Howdy BWWM Books Lovers, hop in the saddle and let's skedaddle over to Omaha, Nebraska, the Western setting for my upcoming March release, what I expect to be one of my top romance novels of the year: COCKY COWBOY.

You've just become privy to a little secret and this is your first glimpse at not only the cover but a gripping free sample of the first chapter. Yeehaw! 

If you love interracial romance stories, or if you don't give a damn about color and you just want some hot cowboy action, this is the book for you. Check out the description and then check out this sample 100% free. When you're done reading the sample, share this page with your friends. 

If you share this with 100+ people (Facebook friends, Instagram followers, Twitter followers, ladies who lunch), email me jamilajasperromance@gmail.com for a FREEBIE! 

 

Description: 

This should have been easy.

Hiding out from my ex in Omaha while helping an old woman on her ranch.

One problem…

Her son Kurt O’Connor.

I should have known better than to get involved.

He’s tall, a pillar of muscle, icy blue eyes… and cocky as h*ll! 

He doesn’t just want my body. 

He wants all of me. 

I must resist.

This is a romance novel between a 45 + year old black woman and a hot alpha male! 

If you think you're in for a wild ride... You're 100% right! 

Cocky Cowboy by Jamila Jasper | Romance Novel Excerpt 

 

 

“I’m not a good man. I’ve killed once before and I’ll do it again in a heartbeat.” 

 

I sat, clutching my cup of coffee and staring wide-eyed at Sam O’Connor as she spoke. Her strawberry blonde hair sat in a loose French braid down her back. Her wrinkled face still carried a few scars and her earthy-brown eyes glowed with fierce intensity.  She shook her head.

 

“He said that to me,” she continued, “And he whacked me so hard I had a black eye for weeks.”

 

She chuckled, then gazed off almost wistfully.

 

“The day he died was the best day of my life,” she mused.

 

I drank the rest of my tea and set the mug down on the hand-carved dining table. 

 

“The boys,” she shrugged, “Well the boys missed their father of course. But I didn’t. Billy belonged six feet under. He’s just lucky I wasn’t the one to put him there.”

 

Helen smiled at me and nodded.

 

“Well, I’m so grateful you agreed to have me ma’am,” I said, pushing some of the hair from my blunt haircut behind my big ears that I inherited from my brown-skinned daddy.

 

Sam smiled weakly, “I’m just hoping you can help me. It’s like Billy’s ghost is haunting me, letting me know that I’ll never know peace, even now that he’s gone.”

 

Her eyes narrowed and she exhaled loudly.

 

“Enough about me. Helen tells me you’re a detective?”

 

“I was a detective. I quit and started working freelance five years ago.”

 

“That pays better?”

 

“Yes ma’am,” I replied, “Plus, my ex-husband was a cop. As we drifted apart, it made sense.”

 

“A cop huh? Did he hit you?”

 

Her forwardness surprised me, but it wasn’t a question I hadn’t heard before and it wasn’t a question I was afraid to answer.

 

“Yes ma’am.” 

 

She shook her head, “These men think as soon as they get a little bit of power they can treat women how they want. So long as you’re helping me out, you can stay here as long as you like.”

 

Helen nodded, “It will be a good long while before she’s ready to head back to the East Coast.”

 

I glanced at her and she nodded approvingly. This was the last thing I expected to be doing, hiding out in Omaha, Nebraska from the man I’d thought I would spend the rest of my life with. But in this room of just women, women who had all been through tough times at the hands of men, I didn’t feel alone.

 

Sam smiled, “I got sons about your age. Maybe a bit younger.”

 

“Two of ‘em,” Helen added, “How are the boys?”

 

Sam rolled her eyes, “Helpin’ me out and causin’ me mischief too.”

 

“Do any of them know what’s been going on?”

 

Sam shook her head, “No. If they know any more than I do, they haven’t let on.”

 

“I see.”

 

Helen grinned, pushing a few of her thin frayed dreadlocks out of her face.

 

“Nicki asks a lot of questions,” she said.

 

“It’s how I get closer to the truth.”

 

“We need some of the truth around here,” Sam replied, “Would you like something to eat dear? You’re awfully skinny. No good food out East?”

 

I grinned, “No thanks ma’am, I’m not hungry.”

 

Helen added, “Nicki used to be a vegan.”

 

“A vegan?” Sam raised her eyebrows as if she found the concept ridiculous.

 

“Not anymore,” I replied, “Anemia.”

 

“Well a good bit of meat never killed anybody. Out here, we slaughter all our own.”

 

“You got animals on the ranch?”

 

Sam nodded, “Yes ma’am. We got pigs, horses, cows, chickens… If you expect to stay ‘round here I’ll expect you to help. I’ll go easy on you. I don’t want to scare you off.”

 

“I’m a tough cookie. I can handle more than you think.”

 

“Well good ‘cause as I’m getting older the arthritis in my fingers acts up something crazy.”

 

She spread her fingers wide and then clenched them together in a delicate fist that hid all the bruises and calluses on her palms from decades of hand washing, roping cattle and tending the earth.

 

Helen touched Sam on the knee.

 

“I only got five minutes dear.”

 

Sam smiled, “When you gonna stop being such a rolling stone?”

 

Helen cracked her caramel colored skin into a smile, shaking her dreadlocks out of her face where they’d once again fallen. The silver and turquoise beads on her dreads clinked together, creating music with every movement of her head. 

 

“When life gives me a reason to settle down, I guess.”

 

At fifty, that had yet to happen. Helen lived out of her VW bus, traveling the country selling turquoise jewelry and tarot readings. Given her dreadlocks, her nose ring and her tattoos, she made a convincing fortune teller. I’d never asked her outright if it was all a con, but let’s just say I didn’t believe in her New Age woo-woo.

 

“You takin’ that rickety ole thing back over to Los Angeles?”

 

“Yes I am,” Helen smiled proudly. We all glanced at the VW bus that had taken me to Omaha parked out in the driveway. At some points on the highway, I wasn’t sure Helen was going to get me there in one piece. But now, she was heading out again, leaving me in a strange land with my suitcase of possessions, my modest savings and a house full of strangers.

 

Anything was better than staying in Boston. 

 

“Just make sure you drive safe,” Sam warned.

 

“I always do.” 

 

“And you stay away from that reefer,” Sam chastised.

 

Helen smiled and then winked at her old friend, promising nothing. 

 

“Take care of this one,” Helen told her, indifferent to my presence, “Make sure she don’t go back out there for a good long while.” 

 

Sam nodded, “Yes ma’am.”

 

“I’ll be fine Helen. I’m grown.”

 

Helen snorted, “You grown… I’ve known you since you were a child. You’ll always be Jamie’s little friend.”

 

Helen’s younger brother, now deceased, was the thread that had held us together. An old friendship from my childhood had been what ultimately rescued me from my husband’s mercy. Her rescuing had taken me further west than I’d ever been and further into the country than I was comfortable.

 

“I’d best be off,” Helen said when she was about to leave.

 

Helen had mastered goodbyes in a way I hadn’t. I teared up while hugging her but was sure not to let any tears fall. I was too old for crying. Too old to put up with a man beating me. Too old… That’s what everyone told me.

 

Sam was worse than I was, weeping about how she wasn’t sure she’d ever see Helen again. My guess was she didn’t get many visitors. We walked Helen out to her bus and she put on her Jimi Hendrix, blaring it from her tinny stereo as she pulled off. A dust cloud billowed into the unpaved road and like that her bus chugged off on the road to nowhere… 

 

Sam wiped her hands on her apron.

 

“That woman is something…”

 

“Yeah,” I muttered, “She’s something.”

 

“Braver than I ever was,” Sam continued, “That’s for damn sure.”

 

I didn’t respond to that one.

 

“I s’pose it’s time I give you a tour of the ranch. But I’ll let you get cleaned up and settle in first.”

 

“Thanks ma’am.”

 

“I got you a nice little suite upstairs. I designed it myself for guests. It’s got its own bathroom, own little balcony and everything.”

 

“I’m sure it will be lovely.”

 

“C’mon in then.”

 

Sam held the screen door open as I marched in beside her. Alone on the ranch with her and the sound of tractors outside, my isolation dawned on me. I hadn’t seen anything suspicious or felt any strange nagging at my gut, but even if I had, I’d now committed to spending at least six months out here. We creaked across the floorboards and up the stairs. Sam pointed to the two rooms at the end of the hall.

 

“That’s Kurt’s room and that’s Dierks’. Mine is downstairs. And yours is right through here…”

 

She pushed open the first door on the left which opened into a room far larger than I’d expected. Sam maintained the farmhouse decor, but a few modern touches like an air conditioning unit for the summer months, a memory foam mattress and a large shower made the space familiar. 

 

“It’s lovely,” I acknowledged, eyeing the well-curated decor of hens, roosters and other farm animals. 

 

The white sheets on the bed had tiny little cow patterns on them and the cozy comforter was ivory and real down. Sam opened up the old dresser, showing me where I could put my clothes.

 

“Now I’ll leave you to it for a minute. I’ll be up in twenty.”

 

“Thanks Mrs. O’Connor.”

 

She grimaced, “Please, Sam.”

 

“Sorry Sam.”

 

Her grimace turned into a smile and she walked out of the room, leaving me to my own thoughts for the first time since I’d entered her home. I peered out the window over the flat rolling fields. I’d expected Nebraska to be flat but the cornfields stretched out for miles and miles creating an almost impressive vista. 

 

The fact that I didn’t know a single soul in Nebraska except for Sam O’Connor was a relief to me. I was tired of answering questions about Dominic. I was tired of the judgmental stares or the whispers about the bruises on my arm. The rumors and the lies had chased me out west and now that I was here, I’d have a chance to start over. 

 

I turned over the events of the past month as well as my week long road trip with Helen. I unpacked my clothes in the drawer and hid my jewelry box under the mattress. I hung onto that box with all those memories of Dominic tucked inside, not because I wanted to remember him but because I’d let go of every other part of my identity. I needed something to remind me of who I was, at least who I’d been when I married him.

 

I unpacked and flopped back on the bed, running my hands through my new haircut, wondering where the heck I was going to find someone to do my hair in Omaha. 

 

A shout interrupted my ruminations. 

 

“BULLSHIT KURT AND YOU KNOW IT.”

 

A bass drawl boomed across the open fields. 

 

Kurt. If I remembered correctly, that was one of Sam’s sons. I glided towards the window and pulled the lace curtain aside just an inch so I could peer through the window without detection. No one had mentioned to me that Sam’s sons weren’t too fond of each other.

 

A deeper, quieter voice responded, “Stop making a damn racket. Ma will be out here with her shotgun again.”

 

The voices came into view. Sam’s “boys” were men, younger than me, but still men. From my estimation, they were both in their mid-thirties. They were young, but not young enough to be considered kids.

 

“I DON’T GIVE A DAMN. Y’HEAR THAT?”

 

“Listen, you need to calm down or I’ll sock you in the mouth.”

 

“I’D LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY YOU LYIN’ BASTARD.’”

 

The brown-haired one spat at his blonde brother. The blonde one rushed him and a knock at my door forced me to turn away from the fight which had now gone silent — at least from the second floor.

 

“Are you ready?” 

 

“Come in!”

 

Sam came in with a smile on her face and flour on her starched white apron.

 

“Baking downstairs. C’mon it’s time for me to show you the ranch.”

 

“Yes ma’am.” 

 

I glanced towards the window but I couldn’t make out where her sons had gone. As we walked through the fields, the pens and the barn, I caught no sight of Sam’s sons. But you bet your bottom dollar I still had questions about them.

 

“How old are your sons?”

 

“Kurt’s 35 and Dierks is 32.”

 

Mid-thirties just as I’d guessed.

 

“They work for you?”

 

“Yes ma’am. Kurt works with the horses and he traps furs. Dierks manages the farm hands.”

 

“Do you have many employees?”

 

Sam shook her head, “Not since the first frost. They’ll start up closer to the start of summer. Right now it’s just Jack.”

 

“How long has he been working for you?”

 

“Jack Wilson’s an old friend of Dierks. He’s a mean drunk but he shows up to work on time and he don’t ask for much money.”

 

Sam’s country accent made her more personable to me and she got real comfortable as we moved around the ranch and she explained what my morning duties would be. I listened to her while absorbing every detail of my environment. This was my new home. Most importantly, this was the site of my newest case. Sam had yet to explain what was happening precisely, but I’d gathered from Helen it was something bad and that I’d need to be alert.

 

“I’ll take you through the fields to meet the Brody family.”

 

“Neighbors?”

 

“Uh huh. Bitches too.”

 

I gasped and stifled a chuckle as I heard Sam cuss. She’d given off the impression that she was a good frontierswoman who minded her manners and kept her language polite. 

 

“What makes you say that?” I asked, both bemused and curious. 

 

Maybe one of those despised Brodys was what had been causing the trouble.

 

“When you meet ‘em, you’ll know.”

 

We eased through the cornfields and came to a small house. A man lay on the porch with a hat over his head. It was only when we approached the porch that I noticed this “man” was a woman wearing red lipstick. She was tan with freckles over her nose. Her hair was dyed black and she had a scowl on her pretty face.

 

“Good afternoon Mrs. O’Connor.”

 

“Hi Emma, is your mama home?”

 

If these people didn’t like each other, you couldn’t tell. Not yet at least. They hid their disdain beneath Midwestern politeness and broad smiles. 

 

“I’ll go get ‘er.”

 

Emma hopped to her feed, brushing her hands on her overalls and looking me up and down with a cheeky grin on her face.

 

“What’s her story?”

 

Sam glowered, “She’s a friend. She’ll be staying with me for a while.”

 

Emma snickered.

 

“Her? Out in Omaha? You warned her yet?”

 

I could tell Sam was getting all hot and bothered, but I could handle myself.

 

“I love Nebraska so far.”

 

“Yeah well, it’s a piece of shit.” 

 

Emma opened the door to her house and stepped inside, yelling up to her mother.

 

“MA! OLD SAM IS HERE! SHE’S GOT A BLACK CHICK WITH HER.”

 

I started to understand where Sam was coming from and why she might not have been fond of the Brody family. Stomping down the wooden steps alerted us that Emma’s ma was coming. The woman pushed past her daughter to stand with us on the porch. Emma stood next to her mother, slouching and slinging her hands into her pockets. She had stretched ears, thick Kohl black liner and a few nose and liprings. Not exactly the “cowgirl” you’d expect.

 

“Hi,” Emma’s mother introduced herself, “I’m Nancy.”

 

“Nicki. Pleased to meet you.”

 

Her palm lay limp in mind as I gave her a strong, confident handshake. I pulled my hand away and she wiped hers on her denim.

 

Nancy and her daughter had the same sharp blue eyes, but Nancy’s hair was a wheat blonde color, likely what Emma’s had been too. She dressed in simple jeans and a t-shirt with her blonde hair falling down to the middle of her back in gentle waves. A kerchief wrapped around her head kept her hair from falling into her face.

 

“Sam,” Nancy said, folding her arms, “Are you here to make accusations again?”

 

“No,” Sam replied, “Wanted to show Nicki a friendly face.”

 

Her sneering look told me that Nancy was who Sam really had problems with. The feeling appeared mutual. 

 

Nancy snorted, “What the heck are you doing out here in Omaha? You look like a real urban kind of girl.”

 

The way she said urban made my skin crawl, but I ignored it. I was too grown and experienced in life to let passive prejudice get under my skin.

 

“I’m helping Sam.”

 

“The problems at the ranch,” Sam continued, “She’ll be investigating. She’s a private eye.”

 

Nancy raised her brows and smirked in disbelief.

 

“Her?”

 

“Yes ma’am,” I interjected.

 

Nancy chuckled, “So you think she’ll help you find out who’s haunting the ranch? Well we all know it’s Billy darling.”

 

“Haunting?”

 

I narrowed my eyes. Sam had led me to believe this was a real mystery, not something paranormal. I’m a detective — a shrewd one at that — I believe in what I see right in front of me. I didn’t believe in hauntings of any kind.

 

“Yes,” Nancy continued, “Didn’t Sam tell you.”

 

I looked at Sam with confusion, wondering what was going on and wondering if I’d come out here for no reason.

 

“You and I both know it’s not a haunting,” Sam hissed, “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

 

“It sure looks like a ghost,” Nancy retorted with a shrug.

 

“And acts like a ghost,” Emma added.

 

Sam’s face reddened and I could tell she needed a way out.

 

“I’m sure you’ll explain the whole thing later,” I offered.

 

Emma chuckled, “Well good luck.”

 

Sam’s face now shifted from red to purple and I thought she was going to smack Emma Brody right in her smug face.

 

Before Sam could say anything else, we heard gunshots. Loud ones.

 

“FUCK. YOU.” 

 

I recognized the voices from Sam’s fighting sons. The gunshots continued and Emma chuckled.

 

“He’s shootin’ at his damned brother again?”

 

Sam’s face went from pale to ghost-white.

 

“Want me to grab my gun and silence ‘em?” Emma asked, gesturing towards the O’Connor house with an imaginary shotgun.

 

“No,” Sam replied, “We’ll be leaving. I’ll deal with the boys myself.”

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