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This should have been easy.
Hiding out from my ex in Omaha while helping an old woman on her ranch.
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!
“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.
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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?”
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.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
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.
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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I never expected my Swiss Holiday to end up like this…
In his arms…
In his bed…
A killer on the loose, and a suspect in my bed will make this holiday more interesting than I bargained for.
I trust him.
I love him.
It can’t be him… can it?
Dream’s Swiss holiday takes a turn for the worse when her new lover Axel is accused of a murder she knows he didn’t commit.
Take a peek inside this ultra-steamy BWWM romance for the intriguing, page turning, panty-dropping romantic suspense you’ll need to stay warm this winter.
VOSS SKI RESORT:
“The avalanche means we will be here another two weeks,” Camille sneered, “This will be at no additional cost to you Meess Weelleeyums.”
“Except the cost of my time,” I snapped.
The Swiss indifference conflicted with my American sensibilities about punctuality and efficiency.
A man peered out from the back office.
“No Axel,” she huffed.
“Will I at least get to eat for free or do I have to buy two more weeks of these overpriced prison meals?”
“Non mamzelle, you eat for free,” Camille muttered.
She glanced up from the register with cold, swampy green eyes. She tucked a few strands of blond hair out of her face. Tiny pink lips pouted in my direction.
“Would that be all ma’am?” Axel asked in her stead. Camille’s eyes cut daggers and neither of us wanted to talk to the other for much longer. The prospect of another two weeks in Switzerland sent worry shooting through my chest.
“There’s an awful noise in my radiator, can I get that fixed?”
Axel rounded the counter, “I can come and help you now, mademoiselle.”
He stretched out the French word long and slow, then he smiled at me. My face still scrunched in rage, I could only muster a grimace.
“Show me to your room. Camille will get you sorted.”
Axel’s commitment to appease me caused me to look upon him with greater favor than Camille. I hated her brusque attitude and constant pout. I sound harsh, bear with me. I’d seen the way she looked at me, one of two black guests at the resort. She didn’t think I belonged. The other guests hadn’t had to go through half the trouble I did after the storm passed. I’d had to revisit the front desk three times to stop the excess charges. I’d started to think she inconvenienced me on purpose…
Her co-worker, the ski instructor Axel Olson, was far more agreeable. After two tumbles with him down the bunny slopes, I’d decided skiing wasn’t for me. I needed to stick to what I was good at — writing. Axel didn’t agree with me and each day he pestered me about taking another ski lesson with him. If the lessons he gave had less to do with skiing, I would have accepted his offer gladly.
“Third floor?” he asked as we stepped into the elevator.
“Oui,” I replied.
I hadn’t learned much French besides the basics. German and Italian lay beyond my scope too. A few phrases were all I could muster to converse with Axel in his native tongue.
He pushed the button and the doors shut. Being alone in an elevator with Axel made my palms sweaty. He was far too good looking to be tucked away in the Swiss Alps. In my younger, more reckless days, I would have spent every minute flirting with him. Now I admired from afar — an appropriate distance.
“You speak English well,” I complimented him as the elevator pulled to a stop.
“Around here, we get a lot of Americans and English.”
He pronounced the words Ameri-canes and Een-gleesh. My stomach flipped as I heard his husky voice enunciate the vowels with that gorgeous Swiss French accent.
“I’m the last room on the left,” I muttered.
He followed me down the hallway, then he muttered something to himself in French.
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you,” Axel spoke.
I slipped my card key into the lock and pushed my door open. Axel brushed past me as he entered. As he brushed past me, a strange tingling erupted in my chest. The scent of his cologne, the culprit for my emotional spike, was a fresh pine and dry cedar scent with leather base notes. The wintery outdoors mixed with his cologne to create… heaven.
“Mmm,” I blurted out unwillingly.
I slapped my hand over my mouth the moment the sound came out.
“What was that?” Axel asked, grinning at me from ear to ear.
I scowled and didn’t respond, rushing over to the radiator on the back wall of my room against the window.
“It makes this awful banging sound all the —“
On cue, the radiator began its clattering noise. BONGBANGBINGBINGBONGBONG.
“Ah, this is easy to fix,” Axel assured me.
I nodded, “Great. Then fix it.”
I fluttered away from him, keeping my eyes on him as he got to his knees and pulled a couple tools out of his belt.
“This room has this problem a lot,” he told me.
“Oh?” I feigned aloofness.
“Can you help me grasp this pipe?”
Our eyes met as he asked me. Color rushed to my tawny cheeks.
“Right here,” Axel gestured to the pipe he held in place with one hand, while wrenching with the other hand.
I crouched next to him, so close I could smell all the notes in his cologne. The pine sap smell was from his hands. As I grazed his hands to hold the pipe, a few sticky bits of sap pressed into my fingers. I gripped the pipe and he continued to screw it shut.
“Are you enjoying Switzerland?”
“I was only supposed to be here a week.”
I shrugged, “I’ve got trouble back home, that’s all I can say.”
“What kind of trouble?”
He let go of the pipe and stood up.
“Are you finished?”
He folded his arms, still staring at me.
“What kind of trouble?”
“What’s it to you?” I narrowed my eyes, wondering why he cared.
Axel shrugged, “I am curious. America is another world. I imagine you have city girl troubles — troubles that are lightyears away from me.”
I smiled — I couldn’t help it. His arctic eyes gleamed as he fantasized about life across the Atlantic.
“Book trouble, that’s what I’ve got.”
“I’m here ‘cause I’m a writer. My second book didn’t get picked up by my publisher and I need to figure out how to fix it.”
“So you’re a real writer?”
I glanced at my door, not wanting to converse too closely with a hotel employee in my room. It seemed gauche. I walked towards the door and opened it. Axel held the door and ushered me out of the room.
“I want to hear more about this writing.”
“Because… you’re interesting.”
He stared at me as he said interesting. I saw a flash of desire in his eyes (or perhaps imagined it). He brushed his chestnut brown hair out of his face.
“Tonight, come down to the lobby. You will tell me about it.”
I shrugged, “There’s nothing else to do here.”
He took my hand and kissed it. As he released my hand, I wondered if he was flirting, or if this was European politeness.
He turned and walked down the hall towards the elevator. I didn’t follow him, but I watched as he walked away. Axel’s tall body was formidable and bulky from his hours on the slope. I’d never noticed how much of a giant he was until he disappeared down the resort’s hallway, ducking to avoid the light fixtures as he approached the elevator.
I re-entered my room and sank into the chair at my desk, appreciating the silence — welcome relief from the cacophonous radiator.
I shot off an email to my editor. Paul recommended I go on this pricey retreat in the first place. I wondered how he’d react when he found out I’d be forced to stay here another two weeks. The storm served as both a pain in my ass and a blessing in disguise.
After I sent out the email, I sniffed and took in the lingering scent of pine from Axel standing in my room. Mm. Now that was a good smell — much better than the Axe body sprays my exes used to douse themselves in.
I shook the thoughts of Axel’s alluring Swiss frame out of my mind. My stomach grumbled and I left my room in search of a meal. I pushed my door open, sliding the keycard into my pants pocket and securing my denim jacket around my curvaceous frame. The jacket, snug at first, had loosened since the storm.
As I neared the staircase, I saw one of the other guest. A small bunch of us had been stranded together and I felt it best to make myself familiar with the names and faces. It was too cold outside for me not to be warm. Her face pouted miserably and tears stained her cheeks. Her blonde hair whipped around her shoulders like a ferocious mane.
“Good afternoon!” I greeted her with a cheerful smile.
Bunny Wharton sniffed and glared at me, curling her upper lip in disgust.
“Yes,” she replied, “I suppose it was.”
She stormed past me, leaving the distinct scent of her Chanel No. 5 perfume in her wake. I turned to watch as she stormed past.
What a rude person. I thought to myself.
She continued clomping down the hall as I made my way to the stairs. Since I was trapped for two more weeks in this wintery castle, I figured I should keep my heart rate up and exercise. Lord knows my trainer back on the mainland would be happy that I did something while I was away.
I pushed open the door to the stairs and started to walk down the flights of stairs. The distance between each floor was immense. I didn’t get one floor down when I ran into Charlene Frost — the only other black woman at the resort.
“Hey Charlene,” I greeted her.
Charlene smiled and widened her eyes, looking nervously from left to right before replying.
“H-h-hi,” she said.
She swallowed and nodded.
“Mm, yes. Quite creepy isn’t it? The whole avalanche… being trapped… I won’t get in these elevators either. Nuh-uh not me. My aunty from Queens got into one of those and she was stuck between floors for two days. Can you believe it? Two days. No one thought to look for her. I take the stairs whenever I can.”
“How are you? Did they sort out your room?”
“Yes, finally. That front desk chick has a bit of an attitude.”
Charlene glanced over her shoulder, then returned her fickle attention back to me.
“Uh huh. She don’t like black folks much. I can tell. Something ‘bout the look in her eye. Reminds me of this black woman my cousin told me about down in Georgia. She had a white maid from Slovenia — one of those countries. The woman got so jealous that she killed her.”
Charlene let out a loud and awkward laugh. Haw-hee-ha-ha!
“Can you believe it?” she finished, “Racism can push people so far.”
“I guess so.”
“See you around, Dream.”
“See you Charlene. Take care.”
“You too. This place is spooky.”
She stepped up past me and then pattered off down the hall to her room. I worried for that woman. Charlene, despite her dark eyes and her beautiful, cocoa colored skin struck me as an unwell woman. It wasn’t just the sallow deep bags under her eyes, but the way conversing with her reminded me of being on a merry-go-round.
I continued my descent. One floor above the lobby, I heard hushed voices. I slowed my movements so that my feet barely made a sound.
“If I don’t have this abortion, it’s over!” The voice hissed.
“Can you calm down?”
“No, I cannot calm down! Pregnancy was never part of the agreement.”
I stopped. This I had to hear. Call me nosy, but I’m a writer. The resort had no new entertainment since the blizzard and being stir-crazy meant I’d do anything for something new and different. The search for my next story turned me into an amateur sleuth, like the leading lady, Annette, in my novel.
The voices hushed.
“You’re crazy!” The woman huffed again.
She shouted, “Stay away from me. Stay away from me or I swear you’ll regret it!”
Footsteps away. Then I heard heels coming in my direction. I had no time to hightail it back the way I came. I proceeded down the stairs, trying to keep my expression aloof. Four steps down and I ran into the female voice.
“What the hell are you doing here,” Nari Long sneered at me.
The woman’s appearance was stunning, in stark contrast to her attitude, which was worse than Bunny’s.
“Headed downstairs,” I replied, “Is that okay with you?”
“Were you listening in on a private conversation?”
Her black eyes were shiny buttons in her deep sockets. Her cheeks flushed scarlet.
My face blanked.
“Good,” she hissed, “If you’re lying to me, and you did hear any of it, remember that I’m not the kind of woman you want to mess with.”
Her raven-black hair cut into a blunt bob framed her face and highlighted the sharp angles of the Korean woman’s cheekbones. Her deep tanned skin glowed in the dim light of the staircase.
“I told you,” I replied coldly, “I didn’t hear anything.”
“Good. Then we have no trouble here. I can’t believe they let just anyone stay at a place like this,” she sniffed, before storming up the stairs past me.
The true colors of the guests started to emerge since the storm. I knew some of them tossed snide glances my way, not appreciating that “their” luxury resort was occupied by someone they didn’t think belonged there. I kept the success of my first novel a secret from all who I spoke too and no one connected the dots between me and Dream Williams, the successful author.
Good. I liked when people kept their dirty, rotten personalities right near the surface where I could see it. When hatred lies covert, that’s when you really get hurt. Bigotry on the surface had always been a part of my life. I couldn’t let it bother me — not while I was supposed to be coming up with the next award-winning idea.
After Nari stormed off, I hurried down the stairs to the lobby. There was no sign of who she might have been talking to — I assumed it was her husband. The couple appeared mismatched from the first time I saw them. Mortimer Long was around thirty years older than her with a raspy, shaky voice. It was clear their arrangement was financial. Poor Mortimer hadn’t wised up to that fact. Charlene had mentioned speaking to the man and how desperately in love he was with the cold woman I’d just spoken to.
I couldn’t imagine why.
In the dining room, I ordered a veggie burger with a healthy serving of French fries. I knew my trainer would kill me if he could see this. But I was in Switzerland. On vacation. I couldn’t deny myself every bit of pleasure now, could I?
I ate alone this time. Across the dining room, Axel sat in an engaging conversation (in French) with the two married detectives who were guests on the second floor. I couldn’t help glancing over at him. Axel’s French, although incomprehensible to me, sounded so… spectacular. After Switzerland, I’d be eager to learn the language — if I made it out of here alive.
Satiated, I returned to my room for an evening writing session. I sat at my computer like a prince about to slay a dragon. A mystery novelist must meet certain expectations that her readers have. My first book had done that spectacularly. The publisher hated my second book. They wanted a series. I wanted to leave my main character, Annette, right where she was.
I toyed with ideas for finishing up the series for an hour. Nothing stuck out to me. My riveting African American female detective was just as stuck as I was — balanced precariously in the world of fiction. I closed my laptop. As if on cue, as the laptop shut I heard a blood curdling scream.
My heart stopped.
The scream reminded me of a pig sent to slaughter. I leapt out of my chair and rushed to the door, sticking my head into the hallway to discover the source of the screams.
No stuck pigs or damsels in distress. Teenagers. An American doctor, Vanessa Sullivan, brought her twin boys Jay and Kyle to the resort. As the youngest guests, they were often the most annoying. Two more weeks of their antics could push me to the bank of insanity.
Seeing my head peering into the hallway, they slowed their gallop to a trot.
“Hi Miss Williams,” they muttered politely.
“Good night. Quiet evening?” I asked.
Kyle brushed his brown hair out of his face, “Uh… Yeah. This place sucks now.”
“Yeah it’s lame,” Jay grumbled, brushing his wheat colored hair from his face.
“Right,” I replied, “Mind keeping it down a bit? I kind of like boring.”
“Yes Miss Williams, sorry,” they grumbled in unison.
“No worries,” I continued, “You boys are reminding me I need to get some air. But don’t let your mama hear you.”
I walked out of my room and past the boys whose heads lowered sheepishly. Their mother Vanessa was friendly enough, but she ruled her sons with an iron fist. They took any minute away from her to rebel — loudly.
I left my room to head downstairs. The dining room lay in silence. A fire crackled and the dark wood enveloped the room in a comforting mahogany scent. I’d been hoping for a night owl to spend some time with. I sat alone, pulling my notebook out of my denim jacket in an attempt to brainstorm my way out of writer’s block. Dream became lost in a daydream.
A voice whispered into my ear, “Can’t sleep?”, yanking me from my day dream.
I whipped my head around, ready to yell at whoever had disturbed my peace. Then I saw Axel.
“You scared me.”
“Sorry,” he replied.
“Not with that grin on your face you’re not.”
“Accompany me outside?”
“Outside? It’s cold.”
“Take my parka.”
He took his parka off and stood before me in a grey henley shirt that hugged all his muscles. (Muscles that I hadn’t realized existed).
“Okay, sure,” I replied, desperate to get a break from my failed brainstorming.
“Perfect. We can go to the balcony off the lobby.”
I slipped into his parka. I gasped as the coat hugged my curves. I did a poor job of avoiding time alone with Axel. As long as I didn’t act on my urges, my attraction to him couldn’t hurt.
“Best parkas for the slopes.”
I agreed and followed him outside. He pushed the door, letting me slide past him. I caught a whiff of his pine and leathery scent again. Mm.
We stood on the balcony. I shoved my hands into the pockets of his coat and looked out at the Alps. Switzerland had given me mixed feelings, but I had to admit, the beauty was unlike anything I’d experienced in the United States. The crisp air was manageable.
The mountains stood potent and erect, surrounding the resort with protective strength. In the distant village at the base of the mountain, warm orange lights flickered. Cold wind whipped around us, forcing me to sink into the fluffy parka. Axel stood stoic and unbothered by the cold. This was his element.
I turned to Axel and asked him, “What do you want to know about me?”
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Her Summer Baby is Jamila's latest, steamy summer romance perfect for readers who enjoy reading free romance books online and those who enjoy interracial romance books...
This story is a 40,000+ word full-length novel with a guaranteed happily ever after ending featuring an ambitious 28 year old African American woman named Maxine and the guy she falls in love with Tristan.
This story explores some of the conflicts that all of us know too well...
Keep reading the description below:
Maxine is an African American graduate student taking on a summer internship funded by her wealthy parents. She meets an attractive white man named Tristan from the Bronx. Despite the instant attraction between the two of them, things don't start with a bang...
Tristan can't decide what he wants, Maxine is insecure about his feelings for her and there's a third party who is desperate to come between them for her own interests.
As the summer draws to a close, conflicts rise and the two will have to face facts: there's nothing stopping their relationship from hitting a brick wall once the summer ends.
Is what they have worth fighting to keep forever?
“Christina!” Maxine called.
Her daughter looked up from her “game” and grinned when she saw the look of anger on her mother’s face. Maxine stared at her formerly pure white walls, eyeing the mess of blue and red finger paints that Christina had smeared all over them.
She reached down and picked her daughter off the ground, swooping in to transport her to the brownstone’s bathroom. Maxine had long given up on keeping her clothing clean on the weekends so she barely flinched when Christina started to cling to her with paint covered hands. Luckily, Christina’s father wasn’t home…
Maxine stripped her daughter down to nothing and began to fill up the tub. Christina stood before her mother with chubby, soft, butterscotch colored skin, the perfect blend of her mother’s skin and her father’s. Coffee and cream. Christina’s hair was a natural, deep brown color and her thick curls framed her face. Maxine found her daughter’s hair beyond beautiful. Christina agreed, except on their wash and detangle day.
With the bathtub full of warm water, Maxine poured in Christina’s favorite bubble bath and sat her daughter in the water. Realizing her impromptu bathtime she giggled and clapped, splashing the warm water all over her mother’s clothes. Christina looked up at her mother and Maxine felt chills roll down her spine. She would never get over seeing Christina’s eyes -- perfect copies of her own. Christina’s bright grey eyes stood out against her tan colored skin.
Maxine helped her daughter scrub down from head to toe and then rinse off. Then, she allowed Christina even more time to play in the bath, appreciating the warm water and the soothing feeling that penetrated her skin. She removed Christina from the shower and then toweled her down, dressing her in an adorable dress. She warned Christina about staying out of trouble and then placed her in her playpen as she ran downstairs to clean up her mess. Now that she was three, Christina had developed an obsession with making a mess out of her paints. This was the third time that Maxine had spent an afternoon scrubbing a mess.
By the time Maxine finished, she had broken out into a sweat. She checked the time, hoping that her husband would be home soon. Husband… It felt strange to think of him that way. Maxine remembered when they’d met how right it had felt. She had confirmed what she’d always heard to be true in movies and books: when you met the right guy, you just knew.
As Maxine walked upstairs, her phone rang. But it wasn’t her husband this time, it was her mother.
“Mama, hi!” Maxine called.
Maxine wondered what on earth could be prompting her mother to call when they’d spoken not many hours before.
“Maxine child… What are you doing?”
“Well Christina just made another mess so I’m through cleaning it up.”
Agatha chuckled, “Oh that girl is just as much trouble as her mother.”
“Listen, I think I have a fantastic opportunity for Christine.”
Maxine was skeptical. What kind of opportunity could a three year old really have. She remained silent to listen to what her mother said.
“Well you know I want the best for my grandchild and I recently called up an old friend at Bank Street School who thinks she can get Christina a spot.”
Maxine had heard of Bank Street School. Some of her husband’s business associates were big fans of the swanky preschool with it’s $40,000/yr pricetag. Maxine hadn’t even started to consider such ideas with her daughter and she wasn’t sure how well intentioned her mother’s suggestion was.
Agatha scoffed, “Yes, really, Maxine. I think Ollie and I would be more than happy to foot 50% of the bill. I know I never get to see my grandchild but it would pain me to have her entertain anything less than the best…”
Maxine sighed. This was a big thing that her mother was offering. A part of her wondered if she would be forever stuck living off Agatha’s generosity. But another part of her was aware of how big of a difference this might make in her daughter’s life. Maxine watched her daughter playing happily in her playpen and sighed.
“Mama, I don’t know if I can accept that. Plus, I haven’t even discussed it with--”
“Alright, alright dear,” Her mother interrupted, “But I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Discuss it with the Mr. and get back to me. I think Christina could only benefit.”
“Okay mama,” Maxine answered, “I’ll talk to you later.”
Maxine hung up and then checked the time again. If she wanted to spend time with her husband upon his arrival home, she would have to get to work fast. She set herself up at the desk near her daughter and began typing urgently to meet her deadlines. Alternating between work and attending to Christina, Maxine conjured up all the productivity she had within her. It was well after five when she heard the door downstairs thrust open.
Maxine scooped Christina up into her arms and brought her downstairs to meet her father. He looked tired, haggard even. Maxine knew his week had been stressful, especially considering the recent offer to buy his company that he’d turned down. All the same, he picked Christina up in his arms, kissed her forehead and then held her tightly. He looked at her gorgeous, dark skinned wife and gestured for her to approach and receive an evening kiss too. When his lips touched her forehead, Maxine’s anxieties about discussing the posh preschool went out the window.
They spent the night together with Christina, talking and playing with her, watching her smile and laugh as she enjoyed the time with her parents. When she started to drift off, Maxine scooped her daughter up and tucked her into bed. With Christina asleep, she’d finally be able to approach her husband about what Agatha had called to ask.
She went downstairs and found him with a glass wine and a grin.
“Good evening my love…”
“Hi…” Maxine said. She sauntered over to his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing his soft lips.
Her husband whispered, “So… Before I let this red wine take over me… How was your day?”
“My mother called,” Maxine replied.
“Yes?” Her husband raised his eyebrows. His thick eyebrows over his chocolate brown eyes could never fail to hypnotize Maxine. Or maybe it was his delicious peach skin or his perfect, angular jawline.
Maxine snapped out of her fantasy.
“Uh… Yes. She told me that she got Christina an opportunity to go to Bank Street School and that she’ll pay half the tuition if we say yes.”
“Bank Street School? You mean that posh pre-school Jen was telling us about two weeks ago?” He said, with an instant look of disgust.
Great. Maxine knew she would have some convincing to do.
“Yes, that school. And yes, tuition is $40,000 but we will only have to pay half of it!”
“And Agatha takes care of it right?”
Maxine shook her head, “Yes she will. But that’s not a big deal! She wants to help out. She wants the best for Christina…”
“I know my world is different from yours Maxine, but where I come from, we didn’t pay $40,000 to play with blocks.”
“I know but… Don’t we want the best for her?” Maxine asked.
Her husband sighed, “I just don’t know if I believe in it.”
“Please… It’s super hard to get kids into that school and I know mama pulled some strings.”
He pulled Maxine close, “Can we just try it out for a year first?”
Maxine smiled and looked up at him. This had been easier than she thought…
“Yes, really. But you’ve got to promise me that we aren’t turning Christina into a brat.”
“I promise,” Maxine said. She kissed her husband on the lips, enjoying the flavor of red wine on his lips.
“I love you, Tristan,” She whispered.
“I love you too Maxine…”
3 Years, 11 Months Prior…
After two weeks at home, Maxine Brewer was exhilarated to find herself in the city for the start of her new unpaid internship at a glitzy new online magazine that featured corny clickbait articles and vaguely left wing journalism. A part of Maxine wondered if she was a bit too old for an internship at 28. But in graduate school, the job market was just as harsh as it had been before grad school. Plus, her parents didn’t seem to mind forking over the cash as long as Maxine pursued her education. As a black woman, they thought Maxine’s education was more important than anything else, no matter the cost and no matter how old Maxine was.
Maxine’s “job” was at the sort of magazine that people in their twenties loved. Maxine felt like she’d spent so much time in school that she was out of the loop of what was cool and hip. At least she was able to fake it enough to get the position. Maxine questioned some of the moral practices of the company -- stripping the trendy aspects of websites like Reddit or Twitter of their best elements just to max out on clicks and reads. Regardless of morals, Maxine knew it was a great opportunity. She would be part of the new face of journalism and her parents would be proud. This would be a big step towards putting her Masters of Fine Arts to good use after graduation. Being at home for too long was tiring. At first, her parents seemed happy to see her but then they would start asking the usual questions:
“When are you going to bring home a nice young man?”
“Why don’t you try going out with Galen from down the street?”
Maxine was surprised her parents hadn’t caught on yet… She wasn’t interested in Galen or any other man. They interpreted Maxine’s avoidance of men as being a problem, a signal that something inside her was deeply broken. Really, Maxine was just protecting herself.
As the only black woman in a neighborhood of white people, Maxine knew the score. Men were satisfied with having her as a friend or a casual sex partner but nothing more. They certainly didn’t want to come home to meet her parents. She couldn’t believe how her parents didn’t notice that. They should have understood what life was like for her in that town. Throughout high school and her four years of undergrad, Maxine’s life had involved little to no dating at all.
All her mother wanted was for Maxine to become a trophy wife. Agatha was convinced that Maxine could screw or marry away her blackness and integrate into America’s wealthy. Maxine tried her best to avoid all their questions and inquiries into her personal life but after a while it got exhausting. A part of Maxine wanted to just scream and tell them the truth: No man wanted to date her. Another part of her couldn’t stand all the drama that would accompany honesty. Some things were more trouble than they were worth.
Maxine would have loved to find a handsome black man to hold her down but the black men that surrounded her weren’t any better. The ones from her town were busy chasing after the “Kimberlys” and “Jennifers”, trying to have babies as soon as possible. The black men from out of town found Maxine “stuck up”. They thought that her focus on school and her career and her standards made her “bougie”. Maxine resented the idea of dating more and more the closer she got to thirty.
On her first day of work, Maxine was dressed far more formally than anyone else. Her mother had bought her an emerald green J. Crew shift dress just for the occasion. Maxine hated how her mother picked out everything for her even if she was in her twenties. But she felt like she had no control over the matter. Agatha Brewer was desperate to fit in and she wouldn’t take any chances with Maxine’s appearance not matching up with the norm of their Connecticut neighborhood.
Agatha Brewer was old fashioned and everything about her attitude screamed old money. She didn’t believe in public displays of affection or unladylike behavior of any kind. Agatha Brewer believed in the Holy Trinity: wealth, good looks and Ralph Lauren polo. Maxine resented her mother sometimes, but since her parents had snagged her this internship and paid for Maxine’s Cornell Grad School tuition, there were some annoyances she was forced to tolerate.
Maxine looked around the room trying to see if there is anyone in this crowd she could befriend. She hated the types of people she went to school with. They were so boring and so painfully white. But the black girls at her college thought that Maxine acted “too white”. Maxine was somewhere in the middle and uncomfortable to boot. This summer, Maxine was hoping to meet someone interesting… Someone who hadn’t gone to a prep school and someone who didn’t summer in Martha’s Vineyard. Her world felt so small and so suffocating. As Maxine’s eyes wandered across the room, she noticed a the most handsome guy she’d ever seen standing in the crowd as the interns were being addressed by the head honcho.
The man’s skin was a deep tanned color like he would have preferred surfing to standing in an office. He was at least 5 inches taller than Maxine and dressed way less like an uptight prep than anyone she’d ever met. From the moment Maxine saw him, she felt immediately self conscious about her Louboutin heels and J. Crew dress. Maxine didn’t even know why she felt so self conscious. She locked eyes with the man standing across the room and then blushed before looking away. This guy was gorgeous. Maxine hadn’t been so instantaneously attracted to anyone in a long time. There was something about him that didn’t seem like other guys she knew although he was clearly trying to play the part.
Maxine snapped back into reality when her boss announced, “Okay ladies, gentlemen, we’re going to do a little ice breaker here! Everyone go around say your name, university and one interesting fact about yourself!”
Maxine hated these ice breaker games but she was happy for the opportunity to figure out what the man’s name was. She wasn’t even paying attention to any of the other introductions.
“I’m Tristan Nixon. I go to SUNY Stonybrook and my interesting fact is… I was almost named Ricky Nixon but luckily my dad left and didn’t get a final say,” the man said with a broad smile.
The lines on his face revealed that his face was more often than not plastered in a smile. Maxine melted at the sight of it.
Everyone in the room chuckled. Tristan smiled; Maxine was captivated once again. So he was beautiful and funny. Tristan was a towering 6’4” and he was dressed with a relaxed, California cool surfer look. He wore skinny dark wash denim, black Converse sneakers and a black t-shirt. His hair was short, thick and curly. His body was muscular and lean, much thicker than the athletes in her town that were skinny from years of tennis or squash. Tristan’s thick lashes framed his deep, chocolate brown eyes. Everyone else in the room introduced themselves; Maxine couldn’t keep track of all the names.
When it was her turn, she stumbled over her words.
“Um… I’m Maxine Brewer. I’m a graduate student at Cornell and um… I’ve been playing the piano since I was six,” Maxine said.
She looked across the room at Tristan unconsciously hoping he approved. At the very least, he would know that she was educated. Tristan didn’t seem to have even noticed her. After they were done with their “ice breaker”, their boss -- Darien Williams -- continued to fill them all in on their duties. Then, Darien warned them about the rules and regulations of the internship. No lateness, no missing deadlines, no open-toed shoes and no office drama. The subtext was clear: don’t hook up with each other if you can’t handle the consequences.
“Remember ladies! Staying away from men now is the best thing you can do for your future,” Darien warned. Most of the room chuckled. Darien was warning a room full of twenty year olds not to get involved with each other and it was painfully obvious that no one was interested in taking him up on his advice.
Maxine folded her arms. Unlike everyone else, she didn’t think that would be a problem. Maxine wondered if there were any other black people working in this office. She was always filled with anxiety upon entering new environments. Maxine wondered if her new crush was interested in black women. Not just as romantic partners but as friends. That was rare too.
Maxine always felt miserable and alone in these all white environments. If she wasn’t performing she was easily labelled as unfriendly or rude. Black girls weren’t allowed the privilege of being shy. That was Maxine’s least favorite part about crushes… trying to figure out if they were interested in her or if they would reject her violently.
Maxine didn’t want to be treated like an experiment anymore. She’d had enough of that in high school. If she was going to be with anyone now, she wanted the real thing. She didn’t want to be their “first time with a black girl”. Maxine knew she deserved better than that; she’d settled for less for too long. At 28, she was done with the games for real. Any guy that came to her had to come correct.
After their introduction to the workplace, all the interns were left to their own devices. Maxine sat at her desk and checked her new work email to see what tasks she had been assigned. As she was about to open her email inbox, a girl popped over to her desk to introduce herself.
“Maxine right? I’m Nicola,” the girl said.
Nicola Stone was just the type of girl that Maxine had been hoping to avoid. She was a girl clearly floated in the wealthiest circles. Nicola was average height with an incredibly thin build and incredibly expensive outfit. Both of her arms were jingling with Kate Spade bangles and her ears and neck were decked with Tiffany’s jewelry. She was your quintessential girly girl who believed in wealth and more importantly, flaunting it. Maxine was about to be introduced to every single girl she’d gone to school with; in the past, her experiences with girls and women like Nicola had been less than positive.
“Yeah, I’m Maxine. Nice to meet you Nicola,” Maxine said flashing her smile.
“No offense but you seem like the only cool person in here. I mean your skin… It’s just so tan! And you go to Cornell. Do you know Mark Winslow? I totally fucked him last summer. He’s on the hockey team...” Nicola blurted out.
“Yeah, I know him,” Maxine replied. She hated Mark. He was a typical athletic douche bag who had threatened to “rape the black outta her” when she’d rejected him. His excuse afterwards was that he’d been drunk and everyone seemed to eat it right up. Maxine had never been able to let go of the experience, no matter how much her friends had prodded her to let it go.
Nicola answered, “That’s so cool. So you’re a Brewer right? What does your dad do? My daddy just bought a summer house on the Vineyard and we should totally ditch the city for the weekend. I scored some coke from my friend Matty yesterday and it would be so cool if we like chilled and stuff.”
Maxine’s eyes popped wide open. Was this girl really just offering her cocaine in their office? White girls truly didn’t know how lucky they were to do things like talk about cocaine openly at work. Maxine looked around paranoid but no bosses were around. Nicola was totally nonplussed as if what she was saying was the most natural thing in the world. Maxine didn’t even get a chance to answer her question with a resounding “No!!” when Nicola continued.
“Anyways, I’m going to see what other cool peeps this office has to offer. I’ll email you my number. Kisses!” Nicola announced before bouncing away.
Maxine had to admit she was a little stunned. That was everyone’s usual reaction to being bombarded by hurricane Nicola. She watched as Nicola bounced around the office and eventually landed at Tristan’s desk. Maxine stole glances at their interaction, trying not to make it blatantly obvious that she envied Nicola’s confidence. She wasn’t sure what they were saying to each other, but she could tell from Tristan’s body language that he wasn’t interested in Nicola at all. Maxine felt a pang of hope in her chest. Was it because he wasn’t into white girls or because Nicola was just annoying?
Maxine smiled and felt a little satisfied. But then she caught herself. I don’t even know if this guy likes black girls! She thought to herself. Talk about jumping the gun… That was the problem. She never knew until she knew. Sometimes you find out when it was too late. Sometimes Maxine made a bold move and was only disappointed. White men could be cruel in the way they rejected her. Maxine had lost many friends by just daring to think they could ever see her as romantic partners. Now it seemed much safer not to take any risks… Maxine didn’t even know a thing about Tristan but she was willing to risk it all for a chance to go out with him just once. Keep it together Maxine!
Maxine watched as Tristan excused himself from the conversation with Nicola who bounded off to another cubicle to bother someone else. Tristan got up and appeared to be going… directly towards Maxine’s desk. Maxine glanced behind her to make sure she wasn’t about to make a fool of herself. Nope, Tristan was coming right towards her.
“Hey, Maxine right?” Tristan asked.
“Tristan, right?” Maxine finished for him.
“Yeah… So did that girl, Nicola or whatever her name is come talk to you. Do you know what her deal is?” Tristan asked.
Maxine shook her head.
“No idea… She knows a couple people from my school,” Maxine answered.
Tristan leaned over and whispered, “She just offered me coke…Totally bizarre. I’m not into drugs like that anyways. I can’t believe how reckless some people can be.”
I’m being so awkward! Maxine thought to herself. Here she was face to face with this amazing man and she was acting like a shrinking violet.
“I totally agree. Well I’m always here to chat if you want. Plus we might get assigned to work on some articles together!” Maxine chipped.
Tristan replied, “Yeah I hope so. You seem smart so it will be great to have you on my team. This is a big opportunity for me. Getting this internship nearly cost me a relationship…”
“Yeah that totally sucks. But I think this whole thing will be worth it in the end even if we aren’t getting paid,” Maxine added. She was curious about this “relationship” that Tristan had mentioned.
Tristan raised his eyebrow. “I hope so…” He said.
Tristan continued, “So do you spend a lot of time in the city?”
“Yeah, I’m from Connecticut. What about you?” Maxine answered.
Tristan scoffed, “You? From Connecticut. Wow, you must be a rich girl. I’m from the Bronx.”
Maxine blushed at the term “rich girl”. She hated when other people pointed out how much money she had. It had been one of the ways fellow black students alienated Maxine from their outings and lunch tables. But Maxine was intrigued. She’d never met anyone from the Bronx before. While her parents had working class upbringings, they never let Maxine anywhere near that former life.
“Is it nice?” Maxine asked.
“Yeah… If you think fighting with cat sized rats on the subway is nice,” He chuckled.
His laugh was deep and low. Maxine couldn’t help but feel hypnotized.
Maxine felt embarrassed again at her naivety.
“Oh…” She answered.
“Don’t worry about it, I’m joking. Hey you’re kind of chill you know that. I think I should probably leave you be to work and all of that but if I want to escape hurricane Nicola I’ll come over to your desk again. I think she’s got a little crush,” Tristan said with a heartwarming smile.
He moved away, slow and suave with that intensely cool vibe he projected. As Tristan walked away, Maxine found herself ogling his butt. Damn. Tristan was built like a model, there was no doubt about it. He had strong, muscular thighs and a nice pair of taut buttocks. Maxine thought about the way Tristan had leaned over her desk and the way his musky cologne had seeped into her nostrils. She could practically still smell it on her clothing. Maxine couldn’t help but fantasize about him. She hadn’t felt so insanely attracted to a guy since she’d started grad school.
So far, Maxine’s first day of work was going perfectly. She couldn’t wait to get home to call her mother and tell her everything about it. That is, tell her about everything except her new crush. Maxine wanted Agatha far away from her potential love life at all costs. But she needed to include her mother in her daily life. Agatha was the primary black woman that Maxine looked up to. She was the light of Maxine’s life and her closest friend. All the same, Agatha’s thoughts on romance often depressed Maxine. She felt like she was “behind” her mother’s schedule for how things were supposed to happen and that stung.
Nope. Maxine vowed to keep every crush a secret until there was something real to report.
If you enjoyed this sample and you're interested in another story like this one, Walking Down The Aisle by Raven Ferrari. Click here to read the free sample.