Dark Romance Books | Hitman's Captive | Book #3 BWWM Captive Series

hitman's captive jamila jasper interracial romance dark romance story bad boy bwwm romance novelsThe third and final installment in the BWWM Captive Series is finally here. We'll be closing out the novel with the final installment to this rockin' trilogy that follows the crazy stories of Gigi Jackson (Book 1, Seal's Captive) and Tyra Jackson (Book 2, Ex Con's Captive). These sisters have taken us around the world, okay?! In Book 1, we found ourselves in Costa Rica and in Book 2, we went all the way to Nairobi, Kenya with some part of the book in Uganda (Kampala) and Tanzania. 

It's been an incredible journey to Book 3 for me and I've spent many months tweaking the ending that I originally wanted to write a story that wasn't just about Dinah, but tied in the other three sisters so that you can all get final CLOSURE on the girls we have come to love throughout this year... 

What I can promise you in Dinah's book is that she's nothing like the reserved and shy Gigi or the loud-mouthed troublemaking Tyra. She's a breed of her own thanks to her upbringing by her CRAZY RICH father. This book explores what that life on the "dark economy" is like. 

Did you know that it's common for many rulers in ancient times to only surround themselves with female guards because they believed women are more trustworthy? There was no better woman for Jerome to trust than his own daughter so he turned her into the woman he needed her to be... a cold-blooded assassin. And yes, Jerome technically recruited "child soldiers" to protect his multi-million dollar fortune. This book delves into the depths of what this wealthy man left behind and how his daughter will manage to pick up the pieces of having grown up stronger than any woman she knows and struggling to let other people -- especially men -- into her life.

I don't want to spoil how the story ends for you, so without further ado, thank you for reading this far and I hope you enjoy the absolutely delicious teaser I'm posting below. Warning, you WILL be teased, so expect to end the sample wanting more (desperately).

Romance Novel Excerpts: Hitman's Captive | Book #3 BWWM Captive Series

 

CHAPTER ONE

“Miss Jackson, it’s handled.”

 

“What did they say?”

 

“They asked about the funeral.”

 

“There’s not going to be a funeral. My remains are…”

 

“I said they were lost at sea.”

 

“Good.” 

 

“With all due respect Miss Jackson, due to the short notice of your departure, I cannot guarantee that the truth will stay hidden from them at all.”

 

“I understand, Stephanie. But you know that I don’t have a choice here.”

 

“We always have a choice, Dinah.”

 

“Not me.”

 

“You’re Jerome’s daughter. I understand that. But your father is dead…”

 

“Exactly. And just like people came after Gigi and Tyra, they’ll come after me. You and I both know that I’ve done far worse than being Jerome’s daughter.”

 

“It’s not your fault.”

 

“I know. Consider this a semi-permanent retirement. When trouble has died down, I’ll consider coming back.”

 

“Elsa misses you.”

 

I leaned back in the red velvet seats on the jet, trying not to think of Elsa.

 

“Elsa is a dog. She doesn’t understand anything. She’s just happy as long as she gets her food every day.”

 

“You and I both know that’s not true.”

 

“Listen, Stephanie. We’re about to land. I’ll be back on the grid in twenty.”

 

“Is she beautiful?”

 

“Yes, the island looks the same. But somehow colder.”

 

Stephanie chuckled, “She looks colder every time.”

 

“When is the last time you’ve been back?”

 

“I don’t know. Years. Not since Wy—”

 

“You can say his name, Stephanie.”

 

“Not since Wyatt was around.”

 

“Yeah. Let’s hope he doesn’t think to look for me here.”

 

“He won’t. We took measures to ensure that he’ll never find you.”

 

“Promise me, Stephanie, you’ll make sure he doesn’t.”

 

“I will.”

 

“Good. I gotta go now.”

 

“Be safe, Dinah.”

 

“I will be. You know that.”

 

“Yes. But you have a funny habit of getting into trouble, don’t you?”

 

“I’m my father’s daughter. I can’t help that.” 

 

“Bye, Dinah.”

 

“If you don’t hear from me in three days, worry.”

 

Stephanie hung up and I wandered down the aisle of the jet, popping into the pilot’s cabin.

 

“Closing in, Jerry?”

 

“Yes. It’s tough landing her today. Snowstorm comin’ in tomorrow, I’m sure you heard.”

 

“I did.”

 

“You ready?”

 

“The house survived the winter of ’09 just fine.” 

 

“Good. Good.”

 

“I’m gonna miss you, Jerry.”

 

“Don’t believe that.”

 

“We’ve flown all over the world together.”

 

Jerry shrugged, “Coulda been any other lug Mr. Jackson hired.”

 

“But you’ve always been my pilot. Always.”

 

“You’ve grown up into a fine young lady.”

 

The plane approached the ground and I grew quiet as I watched Jerry take her in closer, flying the private plane smoothly to avoid bumps and discomfort. Our first flight together had been a nightmare compared to this one. With daddy dead, all of us would scatter to our little corner of the globe and hope that we could live without trouble for once.

 

“Thanks.”

 

“If you need me, call my place in Hafnarfjörður.”

 

“It’s only a three hour flight.”

 

“Exactly. I’ll miss ya kiddo. But it’s for the best.”

 

“I know. That’s what I told Stephanie.”

 

Jerry snorted at the mention of Stephanie’s name. 

 

“She still think you should stay in the tropics so they can hunt you down like deer?” He asked gruffly.

 

“She wants me to stay.”

 

“Not a chance. YOu’re too smart for that. And you’re right to come here. Nowhere is safer than Avalon.”

 

I didn’t respond and a few moments later, the plane landed on the strip, a mile away from the island’s main house. 

 

“Bundle up, missy.”

 

I wrapped my scarf around my face and pulled up the hood on my jacket so it warmed my ears. Jerry opened the plane doors and walked me down the stairs. He stared at me for a moment on the tarmac with tears in his eyes.

 

“Years. You’ll be here alone for years, Dinah. I just… I can’t imagine what your father would think.”

 

“He would understand. This is what he would have wanted.”

 

“I suppose you’re right. I suppose it’s safest.”

 

“If I’m with the rest of the world, they’ll track me down and when they’re done, they’ll kill all my sisters. I have no choice.”

 

“I know. I know.”

 

He hugged me and salty tears ran down his stubbly cheek onto my cheek as we pressed our faces together. I squeezed Jerry tightly, not wanting to let go. For a split second, I realized he was the last remaining parental figure that I had and I would have to say goodbye to him and to everything I knew. 

 

I finally pulled away, sniffling and disguising my own tears from him.

 

“Promise me you’ll stay in touch.”

 

“I will.”

 

“And stay out of trouble.”

 

“I will.”

 

“Sure you don’t want me to drive you to the house?”

 

“No. I can handle it.”

 

“Good.”

 

“Bye, Jerry.”

What happens next?! This month, you can find the extended version of this chapter as well as TEASER #2 on my Patreon. For as little as $1.49/month gain instant access to the rest of this sample, as well as 100+ posts with previous eBook samples, private blog posts, full-length short stories, and some full-length short audiobooks.

Take the plunge and join the private Patreon family here: www.patreon.com/jamilajasper

Just want to take a look at some more 100% FREE content? Check out the trailer to this book here: smarturl.it/HitmanTrailer

Get more information about this book or click to buy after December 21st: smarturl.it/HitmansCaptive

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Dark Romance Books: Beauty & The Biker | Alpha Male MC Romance

alpha male bad boy bwwm romance novelY'all aren't ready. The BWWM romance novel I'll be publishing at the end of March is sizzling hot interracial romance deliciousness that you won't want to miss.

If you enjoy reading dark romance books with desirable alpha males, bad boys who make you swoon and strong black female heroes, you'll enjoy reading one of our top romance novels anticipated for the year.

Read the description below and then the first chapter FREE. 

Description:

Savage fighter. Ruthless leader. Icy blue eyes. 

My now ex-boyfriend lost me in a bet.

The winner? The ruthless leader of his rival motorcycle gang — Heath.

Heath is a cold-blooded killer, or so I’ve heard.

He expects total submission…

I don’t let anyone tell me what to do.

On the open road, I don’t have a choice.

I’m his. He won me fair and square.

And he won’t give me up without a fight.

Romance Novel Excerpt: Beauty & The Biker | Motorcycle Club Romance

Heath took me prisoner two days ago. Since then, I’d scoped out every opportunity to run. Clinging to him on the back of his Gold Wing, I scrutinized the landscape as we rushed past. Thick forests hung over the highway, shading us from the blazing heat of the sun beginning its descent in the sky. When all the bikes stopped and the men started their tune ups, I hung close to Heath’s bike. 

 

As he stooped down to check his tires, I checked on my cash.

 

I reached into my jeans and pulled out my wad of bills, mostly fives and ones. This was all the money I had but it would have to do. 

 

I counted it for the second time and prepared to run.

 

“Kaja, get over here,” he called and I rounded his shiny metal beast, my eyes darting furtively along the highway.

 

“Yes?” I folded my arms. 

 

My time approached.

 

“Hold this. I need to screw on the bolts,” he growled.

 

I stuck out my palm with a scowl on my face and he stuck the spanner in it with a bemused raised eyebrow.

 

“You don’t have to be so sour.”

 

“Whatever. I want to get out of here.”

 

He chuckled. 

 

“Bossy huh? We’ll see what you say when we get to Chicago and I off-load you onto the first toothless bastard I find.”

 

“Buzz off.”

 

He chuckled again and bent down to adjust his tires. 

 

“Spanner.”

 

I handed him the spanner. 

 

“Good.” 

 

He opened up the toolbox on the back of the bike and shoved it back in.

 

“Why the long face sunshine?”

 

“Don’t mock me,” I spat back, “I don’t have to put up with your bullshit.” 

 

“Suit yourself.”

 

“Ready to go you bastard?” Rhys approached and smacked Heath on the back, causing the two of them to erupt in guffaws. Heath’s laugh was a low chuckle while Rhys’ pierced the air with the same pitch as his Southern accent. Rhys ran his hands through his blond hair and stuck it in a loose ponytail.

 

“Damn straight,” Heath said, “Where’s Jacob and his girl?”

 

Don approached then zipping up his leather jacket and twirling his helmet in his hands.

 

“Those two love birds snuck off for a bit of nookie in the woods.”

 

Heath chuckled, “Joining ‘em this time?” 

 

Rhys snorted, “That slut? No thanks. She’s been passed around by every guy with a bike on the Eastern seaboard.”

 

Don chuckled and retorted, “Yeah right, you’re just pissed off she chose Jacob instead of you.”

 

“Fuck off,” Rhys snorted, putting his helmet on.

 

“Reckon I should go scare him out?” He touched the gun on his holster.

 

Heath shook his head, “Nah. They’ll be here soon.”

 

Don smirked, “Knowing Jacob, it should be about… 90 seconds.”

 

The men erupted into laughter again and I just stood there, glaring with my arms folded. I’d tried to go unnoticed but Rhys noticed my scowl and approached me pressing his fingers to my lips and flicking them.

 

“Why the long face? You ain’t find us funny?”

 

“No,” I spat back.

 

“Hey watch your mouth,” Rhys spat, “You’re nothing but a piece of meat and if you catch an attitude I’ve got no problem ditching your sorry ass on the side of the road.”

 

“Hey!” Heath interrupted, “Leave her alone.”

 

Rhys snickered.

 

“Whatever man, don’t defend her.”

 

Don grunted, “Don’t be a pussy Heath, he’s only joking. No one’s going to harm princess over here.”

 

The men laughed again, like I was some big joke. I kept my gaze steady, trying not to care. I wouldn’t be stuck with them much longer. Five minutes later, Angie and Jacob emerged from the woods holding hands and laughing.

 

“Not much stamina, Jacob?”

 

“Shut the fuck up,” Angie spat, “Watch your mouth Don or I’ll cut your tongue out?”

 

“Why so you can shove it up you —”

 

“Watch the way you talk to my lady buddy,” Jacob interrupted, stepping in front Angie.

 

“Geez, it’s just a joke.”

 

“Yeah well fuck off leprechaun.”

 

“Me ma’s Irish, that’s why I’ve got this red hair,” Don replied, doing his best imitation of an Irish accent and breaking the groups tension, sending everyone into fits of laughter.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” Angie said, “Princess looks like she’s going to shit bricks.”

 

She jutted her chin towards me, drawing even more attention than I wanted.

 

“I’m fine,” I spat.

 

Angie winked, her brilliant blue eyes twinkling with excitement. Her daisy dukes barely covered her thin, pale legs with blue veins trailing through them. Her long chocolate hair hung to the middle of her back and she fixed it into a ponytail before donning her helmet and hopping on her bike.

 

“Time to ride…”

 

I had no choice. I hopped on the back of Heath’s bike, clutching his torso as he revved the engine up.

 

“Don’t let go sweetheart,” he both commanded and taunted me.

 

I wouldn’t let go. With only twenty miles to the next fuel station, all I had to do was wait. Once we got there, I’d go to the gas station restroom and make my break for it. I knew these backroads well enough and this would be my last chance to escape before these hooligans dragged me God-knows-where.

 

We drove down the highway, wind whipping my dreads into the breeze and my breath fogging up the helmet. I clutched Heath tightly because I had no choice. I had no choice but to hold onto his body or go flying down the highway. 

 

The road stretched out for miles before it curved, deserted since rush hour had passed. We were deep in the New England boonies and wouldn’t hit traffic until New York. The Steel Dragons spoke about going around the city when they thought I wasn’t listening. I’d been preparing to take my last stand. 

 

However they managed city traffic wouldn’t be my problem. I needed patience. Heath’s gaze fixated on me whenever we’d stopped. I’d have trouble getting out of his sight at the gas station but he couldn’t follow me everywhere. I hadn’t said much, hoping they’d underestimate me. He kicked the stand up and I squeezed my arm around him tighter.

 

The bikes roared and they kicked up dust as they accelerated down the highway. Jacob and Angie rode side by side in the front, Rhys and Heath rode together behind them.

 

Holding down the flank were Don, and Clay. Don would be the hardest one to get something past. He was too sharp and he didn’t trust that I’d stay with the Dragons in the first place. He’d begged Heath not to bring me along but Don didn’t make the rules around here — Heath did. 

 

I breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled into the gas station as they’d planned. My heart skittered in my chest. I was too accustomed to fear to allow it to paralyze me. I got off the bike and took my helmet off.

 

“You stay here,” Heath growled as he walked to the pump.

 

“I-I need to go to the restroom.”

 

Heath looked me up and down.

 

“Fine. Be quick.”

 

He gestured for me to hand him the helmet so I did, relieved that I was now unencumbered. 

 

The gang stared at me as I entered the gas station. I could feel their eyes on my back and of course, Rhys dog whistled which earned him a warning punch from Heath. A tinny bell rang as I thrust the door open and as the door closed behind me. 

 

I stood alone with the attendant, tempted to ask him to call the police. If the police found me, they’d find out quick that I knew Trey Holt. They’d want me to talk and if I dared say one word my life would be on the line. No cops. I didn’t need them. The attendant at the desk eyed me and then eyed the gang, clad head to toe in black leather in stark contrast to my jeans and white tank top.

 

“You with them?”

 

“Y-yes,” I replied.

 

I was too scared to say much to anyone. The man snorted.

 

“You don’t look like the type.”

 

“C-can I use the bathroom?”

 

“You sure you okay ma’am?”

 

“Yes,” I replied, “I’m sure.”

 

“Okay, it’s back there behind the hot dogs.”

 

“Thanks,” I mumbled.

 

I’d been here before with Trey. A girl had been working that time but the gas station had no reason to change. I walked into the bathroom and closed the door, turning the lock and exhaling.

 

“Pull it together Kaja,” I muttered, wiping my sweaty palms on my jeans and looking up at the window, perched a few feet above me just as I remembered it.

 

I stood on the toilet, grunting as I shoved the small window open. I was small enough to fit and I’d considered running away the last time I’d come with Trey so I’d thought the plan through before. I grunted again as I thrust the entire window open. I reached up to the sill and grunted as I pulled myself up, shuffling my body through the window.

 

There was an eight foot drop from the window that landed on a patch of grass. Lucky freaking me. I tucked and rolled as I dropped. I stood to my feet and without looking back, I turned tail and ran.

 

The gas station was just outside of a small town with plenty of New England charm and an absence of any people. My feet pounded the pavement as I hurried towards the trees. My heart thumped in my chest and my stomach tightened. If I didn’t get away this time, Heath would be pissed and the rest of them would be pissed. I’d be stuck riding to California with a bunch of crazy assholes — who hated me.

 

I burst through the clearing and stopped to catch my breath, bending over my pressing my palms into my knees.

 

“THERE SHE IS!”

 

Shit. Angie ratted me out. So much for girl power…

 

I picked up the pace, adrenaline bursting through my chest and forcing my legs to carry me. At the other end of the clearing I’d have to cross the highway and then I could get to the strip mall. Once I got to the strip mall… Well someone in there had to have a phone. I could call Julie and she’d come get me. Wouldn’t she? I knew she was Trey’s sister but come on, Trey got me into this mess. It’s not like I wanted to be here in the first place.

 

I ran towards the light, through the trees, hopping over felled tree branches and avoiding deep murky puddles with rotting leaves. 

 

“Don’t you dare shoot her!” A voice called — this time Heath.

 

Yeah, I’m sure he wanted Don, Rhys or whoever had pulled the gun to keep their hands off his precious cargo.

 

“She’s heading to the mall, guys we have to split up!”

 

My chest tightened. They knew where I was going and they planned to stop me. I couldn’t stop running. I was less than 1/4 mile away from the entrance to the highway and if I was lucky, I could find someone passing by who would stop and pick me up. 

 

I heard the sound of motorcycles revving in the distance but I didn’t stop running until I exited the deep woods and stood at the edge of the highway on the other side of the guard rails. Traffic was far from heavy, but the roads weren’t deserted with a few family cars heading up to the Berkshires for the weekend. 

 

I climbed over the guard rail, listening for the choking and heaving of the motorcycle mufflers  and waiting for the right time to dash across the road. I stuck my thumb out as I waited, hoping for one of the two options to work out for me. 

 

My heart raced faster, my eyes snapped wider taking in every detail of the landscape from the tall evergreen trees to the leafy green maples to the dust kicked up by the Volvo rushing past. I stuck my arm out and waved but nobody stopped.

 

When I got a break in the road I started to sprint.

 

“Gotcha,” the voice came first them I felt the arms around me.

 

“AHHHHH!”

 

Heath. He’d caught up with me.

 

“Stop squirming and this will over soon.”

 

“LET. ME. GO.”

 

I shrieked.

 

I kicked back and struggled against him. Having height, weight and size as an advantaged meant I was powerless against him. It’s not like I couldn’t throw a punch mind you. With Trey, we’d had to defend ourselves a few times as we rode across the country from bar fights to fending off muggers. 

 

Heath stood a full foot taller than my 5’6” and he kept his body in immaculate physical condition. I screamed and kicked again but he pulled me deeper into the woods, back towards the gas station.

 

“Pull shit like that again and I’ll strip you down and leave you on the side of the road,” he growled.

 

“PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN! HEEELLLLPPPP!” I screamed.

 

“Shut up!” He growled.

 

“I’ll shut up when you put me down!”

 

“You tried to run. You lost the right to stand on your own two feet when you did that.”

 

Gasping for breath and desperate to stop his thick muscular arms from crushing me, I whimpered, “If you put me down I won’t run. I’ll go with you.”

 

He dropped me and I fell to the ground, screaming as my back hit.

 

“Get up,” he growled.

 

“OW!”

 

I sat up and glared at him as I got to my feet and dusted my hands off.

 

“That hurt.”

 

“Listen up missy.”

 

“What?”

 

“I won you fair and square… You aren’t going anywhere unless I tell you to.”

 

“It’s illegal to hold people captive you know.”

 

He chuckled, “Yeah, ‘cause I’m a real good guy right? Like Trey?”

 

“Don’t bring up Trey.”

 

Heath chuckled again, “I’ll bring up Trey if I want to princess. You’re mine.”

 

He snarled the word mine with such vitriol I flinched. 

 

“Y’know the way back is much faster running than walking.”

 

Heath chuckled, “Nice try. Make a run for it again and you’ll regret it.”

 

“Won’t be my only regrets,” I mumbled.

 

“Hush. Too much talking.”

 

The rest of the way back to the gas station we walked in silence. Heath walked behind me with his quiet long stride. When I burst through the trees fear gripped my chest again. 

 

“Keep moving. Say nothing.”

 

I nodded and kept going. Angie and Jacob straddled their bikes, visors turned up as they watched me.

 

“How far’d she get?” Angie asked with a wicked smile.

 

“Not very I bet,” Clay added.

 

The entire bunch of them laughed again and clinked their soda cans against each other before chugging them down and dropping the cans on the ground.

 

“Ready to ride outta here?” Don asked.

 

Heath grunted, “Yeah.”

 

“Get her on the back of your bike and make sure she doesn’t try anything else,” Rhys drawled with his thick Texas accent, “I’m sick of this. When you made that bet—” 

 

“Quiet,” Heath growled, “I don’t want a lecture.”

 

Angie nodded and gestured Rhys away from us.

 

“C’mon, leave him alone before he hits you again.”

 

Heath smirked at that. Angie got on her bike and led the charge, speeding out of the gas station with Jacob behind her.

 

“She gives too many orders for a woman,” Clay grumbled.

 

He and Don bumped fists and laughed, flicking down their visors and revving their engines into action. Heath turned around to face me before getting on.

 

“No more funny business.”

 

“Yeah. Whatever.”

 

“Listen,” he growled, “If your stupid boyfriend hadn’t bet you like a fuckin’ poker chip, you wouldn’t be here. So blame him.”

 

“He’s NOT my boyfriend!”

 

“Do I look like I give a rat’s ass? Boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, fuckin’ preacher, whoever the fuck he is, he owes me ten thousand dollars.”

 

“What if I could give you ten thousand dollars?”

 

He grunted and laughed.

 

“You don’t have ten grand. Put the helmet on and hold tight missy.”

 

He slammed his helmet on and flipped the visor down after handing me mine. I put it on. He was right. This was Trey’s fault. Trey had lost the right to call me his boyfriend the moment he’d traded me over to the leader of his rival gang. He’d apologized — of course, he always apologized — but that time I’d had enough of him..

 

Tensions had been flaring between me and Trey for a while. I’d been waiting for the chance and as I kicked and screamed slung over Heath Danger’s shoulder, there seemed to be no better time.

 

I straddled the bike, wrapping my arms around him. He adjusted my grasp and revved the bike up. The sound was like a drug to me. I squeezed tight as he started down the highway getting faster and faster until he caught up with the rest of the gang.

 

I grabbed onto his coat, my fingers cold without gloves. The scent of leather and dirt wafted in through the helmet. My faux leather jacket barely protected me from the elements. 60 mph. 70 mph. We were all headed west over 80, each of the dragons as fearless and furious as the wind.

 

Sunset approached and they’d have to stop again soon — this time for sleep. I hadn’t planned to be with them so long. My escape attempt failed and I feared what they’d do to me if I tried again. But if we stopped for the night, I’d have another chance. I clung to Heath until we stopped just after sunset.

 

“Let’s get some grub then we’ll head to the house,” Jacob said once the bikes had been parked.

 

“Did any of you stupid fucks tell Hannah about her?” Angie asked, jutting her chin towards me.

 

“I’ll deal with Hannah. Jake, keep your girl in line,” Heath growled.

 

“What the fuck did you say to me?” Angie asked, folding her arms. 

 

Jacob stepped between them.

 

“Hey, hey can you two cool it for a sec?”

 

Don grunted, “Keep her quiet. We’ll eat. Heath will deal with Han.”

 

Clay nodded, “Sounds good.”

 

We walked inside the Ponderosa and Heath chose our seats, ignoring the chipper hostesses direction.

 

They all ordered and as directed, I stayed quiet. I didn’t think they’d feed me but Heath got me my own steak dinner. I’d barely eaten all day so I didn’t mind staying silent while I wolfed down the entire steak, the mediocre mashed potatoes and the horrible coleslaw. 

 

Who knows when I’d get my next meal, especially if I managed to break away in the middle of the night. So far Heath hadn’t been cruel but I was still his prisoner.

 

Once I was done, Angie slammed down a little over a hundred on the table and tipped the waitress a fifty. The money they’d made for their last deal covered the gang as they traveled across the country to California to make another deal with Angie’s step-brother in L.A. 

 

I got back on the bike and we entered the small blue house with the white door one after the other after the men parked their bikes. Hannah wore nothing but a thin camisole with her nipples poking through and yoga pants. Her hair was a mess, she reeked of menthols and she kept itching her wrists as she told us which rooms we’d have.

 

“What’s her story?” Hannah asked about me.

 

“Mine,” was all Heath said. He didn’t answer any questions about me after that. I knew better than to open my mouth and speak when I hadn’t been spoken to.

 

He marched me upstairs and pointed towards an air mattress on the radiator.

 

“This is our room.”

 

“Our?!”

 

“Listen cupcake this ain’t the fucking Ritz Carlton.”

 

He prodded me until I entered the room. 

 

“Get on the mattress.”

 

“What?” 

 

I turned to face him, fists clenched, ready to fight him off if I had to.

 

“Get. On. The. Mattress.”

 

My chest heaved with my anxious breathing and I stood my ground.

 

“No.”

 

He grabbed me by the wrist and sat me down on the mattress. I squealed as my back sank into the rubber. He pulled a pair of handcuffs out of his jacket and handcuffed me to the radiator.

 

“That’s so you don’t try to make a run for it while we talk business.”

 

I shook my arm and rattled the handcuffs against the radiator. Heath smiled.

 

“No making a fool out of me tonight,” he growled, “Stay nice and quiet and we won’t have any trouble.” 

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Dark Romance Books: Sleeping With The Mafia by Jamila Jasper

mafia swirl romanceSleeping With The Mafia is another one of Jamila's BWWM books similar to 50 Shades of Grey. This series was published after Jamila's Mad Mafia Love series

This mafia romance story is a second chance romance set in Boston. In fact, there are even references and hints to the fact that they may be set in the same universe. (Easter egg for you!) 

This novel is your typical mafia romance but with even more KINKY situations and drama than you're used to.

Get your copy of the eBook here => http://amzn.to/2jyYx6G

Continue reading and you'll get a free sample first...

Check out the description: 

Benito Orsini won’t take no for an answer…

He’s been dreaming about owning her heart for a decade.

No matter what secrets she’s hiding, he needs to get her between the sheets.

His old high school sweetheart has aged like a fine wine.

One night of passion is all it takes for him to change her mind.

He’s well endowed with the perfect length & girth plus a heart of gold.

Sheba Lewis is head over heels for this mafia ringleader.

But Sheba has a decade old secret. 

And when it gets out, things won't be pretty.

Free Romance Novel Excerpt | Sleeping With The Mafia

 

June 2007

She stared off across the river. The lights near the boathouse illuminated just

enough of the path that she’d be able to see him coming. There was no one else

here. The usual haunt for high school students looking for some privacy to hook

up was abandoned in favor of the prom dance floor. Sheba usually found the

boathouse creepy. But in the past year, she’d come to watch Benito row with the

varsity team and they’d made many memories here. Enough to quell her fears.

The deep, forest green of the river coated with a few spots of yellow algae

emanated a coldness only familiar to those who spent their lives deep in New

England — in small town Massachusetts specifically. Sheba had attended prom

for a few minutes. Not long. Her socially acceptable date did nothing for her,

despite the fact that he was a star on the track team, had deep chocolate brown

skin and dreadlocks that fell to his waist.

He was handsome. Just not for her.

Her pale yellow dress, cinched tightly at her waist and the tulle flowed to the

ground. Sheba had this dress hand-tailored by a seamstress in Boston for over

$500. Her father’s graduation gift to her. Sheba sighed. Benito was late. As

usual.

Sheba kicked off her shoes. Once out of the Steve Madden brown wedges, she

was down to her regular height of 5’5”. She tiptoed towards the edge of the

dock. The river had a damp, fresh scent and the smell of the evening dew added

to it. It was early June, which meant that nights down by the river were still

chilly compared to the warmer nights of summer.

Sheba hated waiting.

She hiked up her dress, just above her knees and sat down at the edge of the

dock. She dipped her toes into the icy water and then recoiled. For a split second,

she feared that something lurking beneath the surface of the river would reach up

and grab onto her toes, pulling her under. And no one would know.

Frustrated, she pulled out her new Sidekick.

“Where r u??”

Sheba sighed and set the phone down. The school’s campus was safe, but that

didn’t mean she intended on staying down here indefinitely waiting for Benito.

Sheba’s long, relaxed hair was dyed an ash brown color. She’d had it pinned up

in a bun with a Swarovski crystal pin holding her hair together. She took out the

pin and stuffed it into her clutch. Her long hair fell down the middle of her back.

“Beautiful.”

“Jesus Christ Benito!” Sheba exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting for ages.”

“I’m sorry my love.”

She stood up and rushed up towards the path where Benito had emerged.

“I had a lot of trouble breaking away.”

“Fine,” She whispered.

They embraced. The two eighteen year olds pressed lips together and their

tongues clumsily explored each other’s mouths before they pulled away. Benito

looked at Sheba closely, analyzing how beautiful her medium brown skin looked

in her yellow dress. Her blue-green eyes shone underneath the light from the

street lamps.

“You’re alone?” He whispered.

“Of course.”

They kissed again. Benito ran his hands through her long hair as they kissed.

Getting away from the party had been difficult, especially since his sister

Katarina had been keeping a suspiciously close eye on him.

“How was Chris?” Benito whispered.

Sheba smacked him playfully, “Oh shut up. Chris was fine… I told him over and

over again that it wasn’t a date and he still asked to hook up.”

“Oh no,” Benito said, chuckled.

Sheba looked into Benito’s eyes. His brown eyes glistened with mischief. His

brown hair was gelled up into spikes and his suit fit him so well, she couldn’t

help but feel woozy.

“And what about you?” Sheba asked, “How was Charlotte?”

Benito rolled his eyes, “She was… Charlotte. Bragged to everybody that we

were going to be a thing. She thinks because we’re both going to Oxford that

we’re meant to be.”

Sheba wrinkled her nose. Benito smiled and kissed her on her wrinkled nose.

“You don’t have to worry about Charlotte,” Benito replied, “She’s way too high

maintenance for me.”

“I don’t know how you got away from her.”

“Skill,” Benito replied with a smirk.

His face turned serious for a moment. He grasped Sheba’s hands and pressed

them to his lips.

“I have something important to tell you Sheba.”

“What is it?”

Benito muttered, “My parents are moving us back to Italy.”

“What?”

Sheba pulled her hands away from him.

“I just found out today. My mother wants us to be closer to Oxford. And she

wants me to become more fluent in Italian.”

“You’re already fluent!” Sheba exclaimed, “And what about us! What about

vacations? When are we supposed to see each other?!”

“I don’t know,” Benito said.

Sheba could see he was just as scared as she was, despite his attempts to hide it.

“I don’t know,” Benito repeated, “But this won’t change things between us.”

“I don’t believe you,” Sheba whispered.

Benito saw the tears glistening in her bluish green eyes. He wiped one of her

tears away and kissed her on the cheek.

“Tonight is not supposed to be about that.”

“I know.”

“So…” Benito continued, “Let’s forget it. We will solve the problem of my

mother later.”

“I don’t want you to go…” Sheba whispered, pressing her head to Benito’s

chest.

He kissed her forehead and pulled her close.

“Don’t worry Sheba. I promise… I will come back to you as soon as I can.”

He tilted her chin up so her lips would meet his once again. He kissed her cheek,

her lips and then her neck. Sheba exposed the flesh of her neck to him, allowing

Benito to graze his teeth.

“I promise you… I’ll make your first time worth your while…” He whispered.

Sheba clutched onto him. His jacket was still on and the Italian wool beneath her

fingertips was a sensation that would always remind her of Benito. Her hands

were shaking as she touched the first button on Benito’s shirt.

“It’s okay to go slow.”

Sheba nodded. She began to unbutton Benito Orsini’s shirt. As his tanned,

Italian chest came into view, Sheba could feel herself getting excited. From the

time she’d first started dating Benito she’d wanted this. But she’d still wanted to

be in love with him first. Benito, more experienced as he was, still had the

patience to wait. He had been willing to take things slow with Sheba,

introducing her to her first kiss. He’d made out with her for the first time and

taken the inexperienced nerdy girl on a slow romantic journey.

The only issue was their relationship was a secret. It had to be that way. Sheba’s

parents wouldn’t have approved because they thought the varsity athlete was too

much of a ladies man. Benito’s family didn’t approve of him having a

relationship with a non-Italian. So they’d kept their secret and met up in the

middle of the night to touch lips beneath the moonlight. Their expensive country

day school in New England had many secret spots where they could meet up

after hours at the library.

So they did. Sheba had been anticipating this night for months. Beneath her pale

yellow prom dress, she wore matching white underwear that hugged her curves

tightly. Benito’s mischievous smirk as he unzipped her dress caused her to feel

something between her thighs. This sensation was unfamiliar, something she’d

only experienced once in a while after a particularly long make-out session.

Benito took his jacket off and Sheba finished undoing his shirt.

“Let’s go behind the boathouse,” He suggested, “We’ll have more privacy.”

The grassy knoll behind the boathouse was totally abandoned. The only risked

they faced was the night watchman emerging from the path. But he only came

through once every couple of hours and Benito was sure they’d have plenty of

notice if by chance someone did arrive.

Benito led her behind the boathouse and lay Sheba down on the grassy knoll.

Her hair sprawled out behind her like an angel’s halo. Her breathing grew heavy

as Benito positioned himself on top of her. He kissed her neck again. Her

bosoms heaved beneath him. Benito could feel himself getting hard in his pants.

He’d been chasing after Sheba Lewis for two years. Now that he’d finally had

her, Benito had found himself more than craving her. He was in love with her.

Completely, and totally in love. His mother’s news about the move back to Italy

had not been taken well. Benito had smashed a few of her heirloom vases and he

had hell to pay when he returned home.

Sheba… He’d do anything to stay with her, to remain where he belonged with

Sheba in his arms. He began to pull off her dress. Sheba’s skin reacted to the

cool early summer air, prickling with gooseflesh as Sheba’s shoulder became

exposed. Benito pressed his warm lips to her shoulder and he slipped Sheba’s

dress down around her hips.

The white bra holding Sheba’s breasts into place sent Benito’s dick hard at

attention. The contrast of the white bra against her brown skin drove him wild.

Sheba’s gorgeous dark skin was one of Benito’s favorite features. He unhooked

Sheba’s bra, causing her breasts to swing into view.

His dick twitched in his pants. Benito slipped Sheba’s dress off and slipped her

underwear over her hips. She was naked beneath him. Benito slipped out of his

pants and began slowly kissing her.

“Are you sure you want this?” Benito whispered.

Sheba ran her hands through his hair, and touched his cheek, pulling his face

close to hers. She kissed Benito, the man she loved more than anyone in the

world. Benito, her first love, of course she wanted this.

“I’m sure,” Sheba whispered.

Benito kissed her. He released his member from his pants and lined it up with

Sheba’s entrance. She had no clue what to expect. She closed her eyes as Benito

began to slide his hardness inside her. He went slowly, exactly as he’d promised.

He kissed her as he started to press inside her inch by inch.

Sheba felt a mixture of pleasure and pain as Benito began to slide inside her. He

was the first man she’d ever had and she knew she would never regret this

moment. His lips were pressed to her neck as his entire hardness was inside her.

With his full length buried inside her, Sheba needed a few moments to adjust.

She breathed her way through it, eventually adjusting to the pain so she would

feel only pleasure.

Benito began to thrust inside her. At first, he stroked nice and slow. Then he

began to pound into Sheba harder… She moaned as Benito thrust that first deep

stroke. Sheba began to feel immense pleasure unlike anything she’d ever felt

before. Her wetness gripped Benito’s dick like a vice and she began to feel heat

building in her core.

She let out a loud moan and Benito was encouraged to pump into her harder. He

whispered, “I love you,” into her ears as he continued to thrust his hardness

between his girlfriend’s legs.

“Don’t stop…” Sheba whispered.

She’d been afraid from the moment she first felt Benito’s hardness against her

entrance, but now that she’d adjusted to his size she was eager for climax. She

gripped Benito’s athletic back muscles and pulled him deeper inside her.

He obeyed her demand for him not to stop and began to pummel her wetness

with fury and excitement. Sheba let out a loud cry as she experienced her first

climax of many. She grabbed onto Benito as he sank his lips into her neck again.

He felt her body vibrating as she moaned in climax beneath him. Sheba wrapped

her legs around him and for a moment they paused, enjoying the forceful

euphoria that existed between them.

“Keep going… keep going…” Sheba urged him.

Benito began to thrust into her again. This time, he pushed his dick into Sheba

with long and slow strokes. Her face contorted into pleasure beneath him and he

could feel himself getting harder as he watched her face twist into pleasure and

her body writhing beneath him.

He grunted, struggling to hold back a climax. Sheba grabbed his ass cheeks and

pulled him deeper. Benito pounded her wetness a few more times before he

released. He grunted and released inside of her. As far as he knew, Sheba was on

birth control and they’d both been preparing for this day so long that they’d both

been tested. This was 100% safe and 100% perfect first time for her.

Benito kissed Sheba again on the lips before pulling out of her. He got dressed as

Sheba slipped back into her underwear. Benito watched as she slipped back into

her prom dress. Sheba smiled shyly as she saw him watching her. Benito could

never keep his affection for her to himself — even in the past when she’d

rejected him so many times. Eventually, he’d won her over.

Before they were together, she’d had Benito all wrong. She’d mistaken him for

another crude varsity athlete who only wanted one thing. But he’d waited a

whole year before making love to her. And just like he’d promised, her first time

was perfect. Sheba inched closer to Benito.

“Come my love,” He whispered, “Let’s lie back and look at the moon.”

The full moon overhead had added to the pithy illumination of the street lights.

They lay back with fingers intertwined, staring up at the stars.

“Do you think Charlotte’s wondering where you are?” Sheba giggled.

“I hope not.”

Benito leaned over and kissed Sheba on the cheek.

“Don’t worry about her,” He replied, “I see you enjoyed yourself.”

Sheba felt heat rushing to her cheeks.

“I did. Think we could do that again?”

Benito chuckled, “Not now princess. Let’s just enjoy prom night. I promise…

There will be plenty of time.”

Sheba nuzzled close to Benito, resting her head on his shoulders. Benito began

to stroke her hair, running his hands through the strands. They stared at the moon

and then the river, rushing along past the dock.

“Even if I go,” Benito said, “I promise you Sheba, I will come back.”

“It’s hard to believe,” Sheba said.

Benito kissed her forehead.

“Well you have to believe me. I won’t abandon you in this small town,” Benito

replied.

Sheba knew what usually happened to couples after high school. She wanted to

have faith in Benito. So far, he’d proven himself to her. But she was scared. He

was her first love and losing him would break her heart. Sheba knew that. Still,

she was just young enough to have a tender response.

“I love you Benito,” She said.

Benito smiled. It still excited him to hear Sheba say these three little words.

“I love you too, Sheba.”

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Dark Romance Books: Cocked & Unsheathed | BWWM Romance by Jamila Jasper

cocked and unsheathed dark romance booksDark romance books can't beat Cocked And Unsheathed, the gritty military romance novel released by Jamila Jasper in August of 2017. This interracial romance novel follows the story of a SEXY military man named Zane when he comes back to his home of Peach, Georgia.

He meets Dana Bright -- a strong, confident, black woman that he immediately falls for. This story is perfect if you love romantic stories and interracial romance books.

This story has a surprising twist at the end... 

Read the description below and then keep reading to get a full taste of the sample:

Home from the military with a fire of desire burning inside him and a 9-inch python that makes women scream...

Zane's instincts to possess Dana Bright kick in the first time he sees her.

Her guard is up, but she can't help but crave the sexy soldier just back from the Gulf War.

After a sultry night between the sheets, everything in Dana's life changes.

Zane's the first man to ever make her climax.

Dana knows he could be shipped off to Iraq at a moment's notice...

But now that she's addicted to all of his nine-inches,

She doesn't know how the heck she's going to say goodbye...

Dark Romance Book Excerpts: Cocked & Unsheathed 

 

 

Prologue

As Told By Dana Bright

 

I tried to forgive my father. Well, technically John Porter was my step-father. My daddy had died when I was five years old. But my mama still had bills to pay and her small-time job babysitting white ladies’ kids barely cut it. The first man that had come along and offered to take those burdens off her shoulder seemed like a God-send.

 

But John Porter had been far from a God-send. I’d known him as my father since I was eight years old. And he’d stuck around. Though by now, I’m sure my mama and I both wish that he’d left.

 

Like every toxic marriage, things had started off great with John.

 

My mama never had to worry about the lights getting turned off. All of a sudden we had food on the table. All of a sudden me and my sister Cleo were going to the dentist. We had new shoes in the middle of the year. By the time my mama wanted to marry John, hell we couldn’t wait to have a father.

 

Having a man around the house started off nicely.

 

I remember waking up on a morning, slipping into my jeans and t-shirt for school and running downstairs to meet John. Daddy.

 

It was only after the wedding that things changed.

 

But their wedding day was beautiful. John didn’t have much of a family so to speak, so it was just us Brights. My mama’s family was Southern and they knew how to throw down. Aunties and uncles who had migrated to New York all came down to Peach, Georgia for the affair.

 

I think the big to-do made things worse in the end. But at the time, there was pure bliss in my house. Everyone wanted to see mama happy and with John, we all thought she would be.

 

It’s possible the little signs had been there all along. It’s possible there were hints and clues that mama had shielded us from.

 

We’d always known John was a drinker. We’d known about his two year stint in jail up in Massachusetts. But he’d assured my mama that it was all a set up and he’d been falsely accused.

 

When a woman is desperate and in love, she’s willing to do crazy things.

 

Letting John Porter into our home was certifiably insane. 

 

They hadn’t been married one week when it started. Cleo and I were playing upstairs when we heard a blood curdling scream — our mother’s scream. We turned towards each other and ran out of the room. The sound of ceramic crashing against the wall startled us as we peered down the stairs. 

 

John’s fingers snaked through our mother’s hair and he was pressing her body against the wall, punching her in the back as she screamed.

 

We stood at the top of the stairs, still and stunned. We said nothing. We froze and listened to our mother scream and scream until he dropped her. She collapsed to the ground wailing and John walked off. She sobbed and sobbed there whilst Cleo and I stood powerless, wondering what we should do.

 

We’d never been exposed to that before. A man putting his hands on our mama was plain incomprehensible. But we knew that we should never tell. We knew that what we’d experienced had been shameful. Our childish minds couldn’t process whether the shame belonged to us, our mother, or to John.

 

Now that I’m old enough to understand, it’s too late. Our childhoods already happened. Our mother is already broken. And my sister and I are drifting through life pretending to be normal. But nothing that happened to us was normal. And any chance at being normal was stolen from us.

 

Cleo developed such a deep distrust of men that I think it changed her forever — even more than it changed me.

 

Cleo didn’t speak to either of them anymore — not John and not mama. I tried to convince her otherwise, but she was adamant about wanting them out of their lives. That meant mama — in all her old age — was my responsibility. 

 

After work, I promised her I’d come over. John was out with one of his other women so mama thought it would be a good time to drop by. I was happy he was gone even if it was just for the afternoon. Despite my best attempts to forgive him, I still felt uneasy around John. I still felt that nagging sense that a whooping was just around the corner. Silly. John was too old to whoop anyone anymore.

 

That didn’t make my gut feel any safer.

 

I drove over to mama’s little house in Peach, just a few miles away from my own. 

 

The door was unlocked and as I walked in, I could hear her fussing over something in the kitchen.

 

“Momma I’m home!” I called out to her.

 

She didn’t reply.

“Momma it’s Dana!”

 

“C’mon into the kitchen child.”

I walked into the kitchen where my mother was cutting up some fresh cornbread she’d made in her cast iron skillet.

 

“Mmm. That smells delicious.”

“Lemme get you some butter.”

 

She buttered my cornbread, putting a fresh slice on each of our plates. When she’d served us both up, she led me out into the living room.

 

“John might not be back for another two or three days.”

I didn’t want to talk about John.

 

“He’s off with Edith?”

 

My mama shook her head, “No a new woman. Younger. ‘Round 55 years old.”

I pursed my lips in disapproval. My mother had known about John’s cheating for decades and she never did anything about it. After years of being beat down on, she didn’t have it in her to stop him. Even if he ran women ‘round her for decades, she did nothing.

 

“Okay mama.”

 

I bit into the cornbread, appreciating the flavor as my mama’s family recipe practically melted in my mouth.

 

“So how you doing? How’s work?”

 

“Work is work.”

 

“Mhmm. And what about that boy you were hanging round?”

I pursed my lips. My mama always brought up some boyfriend of mine right after I’d kicked him to the curb. I wasn’t one of those women who was confused about what the problem was. I’ll admit it to you right now. The problem was me. I was the one who kept choosing men that forced me to replicate my past.

 

I would see the good qualities that John had in other men and my magnetic pull towards them was immediate. Of course, just like with John, their bad qualities had come out immediately. The only thing I was grateful that I’d never done was get married.

 

Lord, I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to be married.

 

The closest I’d come was Willy Morris. He was fifteen years my senior and a police officer. We’d been together for eight years. Seven of those years he’d beat me black and blue until I snapped, nearly killing him in self-defense. I shot him right in the foot and he howled like a goddamn coyote. Willy didn’t press charges, but I never saw him again after that. He never came sniffin’ round and I promised myself I’d never let a man whoop me like that again.

 

You know the saying “there are many ways to skin a cat”? Gross, I know. But that’s sort of what it’s like with bad men. There were so many ways for men to treat me wrong without laying a finger on me. That’s what I was forced to learn after Willy.

 

And well, the last guy I was with had found a way to hurt me again. But this time, I wasn’t the one who’d left.

 

“Orville?”

 

“Yes, Orville. What ever happened to him?”

 

“He moved out west mama.”

“So y’all are finished?”

“Beyond finished,” I mumbled.

 

I couldn’t bare to tell my mama the full story. Orville had a whole family out west. In this current age of social media and the internet, his wife had found me and she’d pleaded with me to convince Orville to come home. He’d been gone from them for a year without saying a word and the poor woman was desperate.

 

I had to end it with him. 

 

Yet another boyfriend that ended up not being worth a damn.

 

I wondered how many years I could go on blaming John for how I was. Maybe I was just broken. And maybe I was always meant to be broken.

 

“You’ll find someone else. Someone who treats you right. Look at me. After your daddy died, I found John.”

Yes, my mama still said stuff like that. Even after John had beat her black and blue and even after he’d cheated on her with everything with a pussy in a fifty mile radius.

 

“I’m hoping not to find a man like John.”

I knew my sharp tongue would get me in trouble with her, but I still had a little bit of Cleo in me. I couldn’t pretend that everything was okay.

“Listen… John has provided for me. He’s provided for you and your sister. The man has his flaws but you two sound downright ungrateful sometimes.”

I felt the cornbread turning in my stomach. Yes. John had done so much for us. 

 

I remembered the first night he’d climbed into our bed when we were ten years old. How he’d held a knife to Cleo’s throat and forced me to do things to him. I remembered how it had happened for years and years. I remembered how I’d wet the bed until I was seventeen. I remembered how Cleo had gone to that New Orleans witch doctor to have an abortion after John had gone too far.

 

John. The provider in our family. He had done so much for us. We should have been eternally grateful.

 

“We ain’t ungrateful mama,” I whispered.

 

Speaking out against John would get you nowhere in her house. No matter what he’d done, my mama had been brainwashed into thinking it had been better than raising us alone would have been.

 

“Well Cleo’s damned ungrateful.”

I remembered the blood washing down her thighs after the witch doctor’s medicine that John had forced down her throat pushed the baby out of her. I stood with her in the shower, rinsing the blood down her thighs as she screamed in pain. Not just the pain of the induced miscarriage, but the pain of being impregnated by her stepfather. The pain of enduring years and years of rape, only to have it end like this.

 

We thought that maybe after we were older John would stop being attracted to us. But it never really stopped. And I never really knew how much our mama knew about it. We never told her and never spoke much about it. But she had to have known, hadn’t she?

 

How could she miss out on Cleo’s screams? Or the way our teenage years had been fraught with disciplinary infractions? How could she miss the fact that the life had been sapped from our faces? How could she miss out on the fact that we both carried the wounded empty expressions of woman who had been broken? 

 

John made no secret of his attraction to us when we were younger. So I told myself that she had to know. And I had to tell myself that she was just too scared to do anything about it. She was my mama, of course she cared about us. But she was under his spell too. I tried to forgive. I really did. 

 

And I thought I could forgive. My sister on the other hand couldn’t. Cleo had packed up and left Peach as soon as she turned eighteen. If she could have gone earlier, she would have. And I didn’t blame her the way my mama did. We hadn’t had real childhoods. Not after daddy died. John had stolen them away from us and each time I had to face him, I was reminded of that.

 

“I don’t think Cleo’s ungrateful mama.”

My mother snorted and then wandered off to the kitchen for more cornbread. I tried to relax. I hadn’t come here to get a lecture about Cleo’s malfeasance. And I hadn’t come here to be reminded of all the things I spent every day of my life trying to forget.

 

“You know… I know you two didn’t have the perfect life growing up.”

I said nothing.

 

My mother sighed, “But I’ve been praying for you Dana. I’ve been praying that the right man will come along.”

 

I snorted, “I doubt it.”

 

My mama chuckled, “You don’t believe me. But there’s a line in the Bright family that possesses the sight. I think you’ll meet someone very soon.”

 

I scoffed, thinking she was just trying to make me feel better. But I wondered how true that could be. Could there really be someone out there that would break my curse with men? Was it possible to attract a man who didn’t sense my dark past like a vampire? 

 

“Well mama I hope you’re right. I’m getting older and… it would be nice to have someone.”

“Don’t just settle for the first man who comes along.”

 

Sometimes my mama said more than she meant to say.

“Can I have some more of that cornbread?”

“Sure thing.”

 

I followed her into the kitchen. After I had another slice, we changed the subject to more pleasant things. No one wanted to talk about John anymore, or my last boyfriend, or the fact that Cleo hadn’t spoken to anyone in the family for over a decade. 

 

We laughed for a long time. My mama told me about new ideas for my yarn store. And she told me about Doris, her latest spades partner. Then after a while she got tuckered out and just fell asleep. I cracked open a book as she drifted off to sleep.

 

Her snores rang through the house. I read until I feared John would come home. I snuck out of my mama’s house, locking the door behind me with her keys. The screeching of cicadas created a soundtrack for me as I walked to my car. Once inside, I checked my phone and I saw a message from Cleo.

 

I was the only one she bothered talking to, but she’d made me promise not to tell mama.

 

“I’m getting married.”

That was it. I rested my head against the steering wheel and started to weep. Cleo had broken the curse of our childhood. She’d found a good man out there. I knew he had to be a good man because Cleo was no fool. She wouldn’t let anyone else get too close — not after what we’d been through.

 

My tears were both tears of joy and tears of envy. While Cleo had managed to step closer to happiness, I couldn’t have felt further away from it. I was still in Peach, dodging John, listening to mama deny the past, and falling in love with dead beats.

 

I was stagnant. 

 

And I wanted a big change.

 

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