My next full length novel drops Monday!
Raleigh Simone couldn’t tell you anything about love and family. After watching her mother suffer from the abuse of her father for years, Raleigh decided love would never be worth the possibility of pain.
Haven Jackson didn’t have a normal childhood growing up. He didn’t experience the love and nurture that his friends received from their mothers, or the guidance and teachings they gained from their fathers. It was because of his lack of a loving family that Haven made finding a wife to love his priority.
There’s just one problem–the woman he chose to love doesn’t want to have anything to do with it or him.
The second Raleigh laid eyes on Haven she knew he would be trouble. He stirred up feelings within her that no other man ever had. Between her pushing him and his offer to love her away, and him pulling for her to give him and his love a chance… someone is bound to fall.
The question is… which one will it be?
Will Raleigh fall into Haven’s love and find peace in what she’s been running from for years? Or will Haven fall for Raleigh and find himself shattered by her inability to catch him or pick him up?
Sneak peek –
There are two kinds of people in life; those who allow the traumas of their pasts to make them bitter, and those who allow the traumas of their pasts to make them better.
Well, which one am I?
No, the better question at this point would be why did I agree to give this speech at the twentieth anniversary of my father’s death? Because the money from the ticket sales to what they were calling the event of the year were going to be donated as grants to numerous families in need here in Memphis. That’s why I agreed to give this speech.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
Okay, woah. That voice. Deep. Low. Velvety. Smooth. The kind of voice that captivated you and forced you to listen. The kind of voice that had me scared to look up and see the face that matched. My eyes went from my notebook on top of the table to his shoes.
Without my dang on permission, my eyes slowly trailed up his burgundy slacks. Nice tailor made burgundy slacks. Gray belt. White button down shirt. Tucked into his pants. Gray blazer. Burgundy and gray checkered pocket square. His arms were crossed over his sculpted, wide chest. Flexing his muscles unintentionally.
Just that alone had me biting down on my lip. Could I handle his face? Why did it matter if I could handle his face? He was a total and complete stranger who needed somewhere to sit.
Get a grip, Raleigh.
Finally, I lifted my head slightly to look into his eyes. His under turned deep brown eyes. The color matched the richness of the black coffee I was sipping. No cream. No sugar. Just black. Just strong. Just deep.
Like his eyes.
Since I was already gawking at the man I allowed myself to take the rest of his face in. His pointy nose. Oh my God his lips. The top one was brown and the bottom one was a dark pomegranate shade. They were full and plump and slightly lifted into a smirk.
Like he knew what the sight of them… the sight of him… was doing to me.
With this beard trend going on I wasn’t surprised to see a full one on him. What did surprise me, however, was how it looked like it grew out of his face. Okay, listen, I know that all beards grow out of their faces! I mean… his looks like it’s a natural part of him. Like he’d had it since birth. It was perfectly shaped. Thick. Kind of shiny–yea, like the hair on his head. His tapered fade had the same natural shine of his beard. Like he soaked it in coconut oil.
Ole boy’s melanin was so popping I bet he sweats coconut oil.
I think that was my favorite part of him.
His skin was the color of almonds.
He was so… almondy.
That’s what I’m going to call him.
My attention went from his beard to those rich eyes.
Almond joy smiled, blessing me with a set of striking white teeth.
“I asked if this seat was taken?”
That gruff yet honeyed voice. Mmmmm. Shaking my head, as if that would shake my lustful thoughts out, I looked from the seat that was next to me to the five empty tables around me. Now Almond Joy had his pick of all of these empty tables with empty seats and he wanted to sit next to little ole me?
“Here?” I confirmed, while pointing next to the empty seat beside me.
“If that’s cool with you.”
His smirk. Cocky ass.
“Ummm no. I mean yea. Sure. Take it.”
Still refusing to believe he specifically wanted to sit next to me, I pushed the seat away from the table and closer to him so he could take it to the table he wanted. Maybe the rest of the empty seats in the coffee shop were dirty or something.
Almond joy let out an amused chuckle with a shake of his head while pushing the seat back into the table. He unbuttoned the only button that was holding his blazer together, then sat down. Ooh he smells so good too.
I got whiffs of cedar, citrus, ginger, frankincense… all the scents that mixed together to make my most favorite men’s cologne–Bleu de Chanel–and trust me I’ve gone to Macy’s enough and smelled it to know, but on him it smelled… different. Like it was seeping from his pores as his natural scent. How could a man make Bleu de Chanel smell better? It was always the other way around!
I admit, I couldn’t resist sneaking another glance at him. The moment I did Almond joy lowered himself in his seat. His eyes sank–sweeping over me fully as he licked his lips. That strong jaw clenched and he licked his lips again before meeting my eyes.
Did he just check me out?
What the heck was going on?
“Large caramel latte extra whip extra syrup,” my favorite barista, Keisha, called out.
Almond joy looked me over briefly again before standing and heading to grab what I now knew to be his drink. This was my only chance to make a clean break and avoid what I felt was coming–him asking me out. So, I did what any sane woman would do when a fine brown good smelling well-dressed brother asked to randomly seat next to her in a practically empty neighborhood coffee shop. I took one last sip of my decadently good coffee, snatched my notebook off the table, tossed the strap of my purse onto my shoulder, and got the heck out of there!