A Snippet from Let Me Free You

Yooooo! Long time no blog. Popping in here to share a little something from the fourth McClain Brothers book, Neil's story (Coming 12.18.18). Enjoy!!!


“Damn! You sure you ain’t Nolan?! Man! You look good! No wonder you didn’t want any visitors. We thought you was in there detoxing and getting group therapy and shit, but what you were really doing was getting facials and massages and pedicures,” Everett said, as he stood by the passenger side of his SUV outside the healing center.
I stepped up to him and slapped his hand, smiled when he pulled me into a hug and smacked me on the back.
“Man, ain’t been nothing but hard work going on, but it was worth it,” I said, stepping back a little.
“It looks like it paid off. You ready to roll? Hey, Chink! Come grab Neil’s bag!”
Holding up a hand, I said, “I got it, Ev.”
Everett looked at me and nodded. “A’ight. You can throw it in the back and we’ll bounce.”
We made small talk as Chink drove us to my place. Well, the conversation was actually pretty one-sided with Everett catching me up on what was going on in his world. He shared the success of the Mrs. South EP, which had already gone double platinum. That was crazy in a time when folks could download a single cut with ease. But it was a good body of work that I couldn’t believe I’d contributed to in the fractured frame of mind I was in at the time. I wasn’t perfect after treatment, but I was a hell of a lot better off than I was before.
“I bet Lena has really gotten big,” I said, after he filled me in on the video shoot for Panty Gag.
“Man, let me tell you. I think my baby girl is gonna be tall like me. She’s growing like a weed!”
“Nat and Ella ain’t jealous, are they?”
“Naw, Ella is obsessed with Lena. If she could, I think she’d move in with us just so she can hold her all the time. And you know Nat; she goes with the flow. She loves her little sister and is taking this big sister thing real serious.”
“That’s what’s up.”
I’d been so damn preoccupied, talking to Everett while fighting my fears about leaving the center at the same time, that I didn’t notice we were in Calabasas until Chink was punching the gate code into the key pad at Everett’s place.
“I thought you were taking me home?” I said, my eyes on my big brother.
“This is still home for now. Look, I’m proud of you for getting help, but I wanna keep an eye on you for a while. If I like what I see, you can go to your crib.”
I wanted to curse him out, tell him I was damn near thirty-seven years old and that I needed my space, that one of the things that kept me from losing my fucking mind during the early days of my treatment was knowing the end result would be me getting my old life back, my independence, but I got it. He’d been out of a lot of money paying off my gambling debts and missed a lot of sleep worrying about me. He was afraid I’d relapse, fall back into my old ways, and since I shared the same concerns and knew beyond a doubt that it was all love on Everett’s part, I simply said, “Okay.”
“Now, look…I know you don’t wanna stay here anymore, but that’s the way it’s gotta be.”
“I feel you, Ev. It’s all good.”
“No, you are not going back to your house yet. I don’t care what you say. I’m your damn big brother, and I’m tryna take care of your ass.”
“Ev, I said it’s cool. I’m good with staying here.”
“For real?” he asked, his forehead full of lines and creases.
“Yeah, I know you’re just looking out for me. Am I in the same room?”
“Uh...yeah. Yeah, same room.” Everett sounded and looked confused as hell, but I understood that, too. He expected me to fight him on this, but I wouldn’t. I was determined to make this life thing work, to straighten my shit out for good, and if that meant being held captive for a minute, so be it.
“A’ight,” I said, as I opened the door and hopped out of the backseat. “I’ma head on up to my room and take a nap. Tell Jo I’ll catch her later.”
“Uh, okay?” Everett called after me as I hopped up the front steps of his house.

Let Me Hold You - Teaser #3

Sharing yet another teaser from Book 2 of my McClain Brothers series. It is unedited and subject to change. I'm still working on this book, but I'm in the home stretch. Will let you all know when I have a released date. 



I stood on the sideline and watched the hoard of twelve and thirteen-year-olds dribble balls, joke around, and mostly gawk at me despite the fact that I was standing right next to my boy, Polo, who was damn near seven feet tall, a big Shaquille O'Neal-built nigga who was always wearing a mug although he wouldn’t hurt a fly. I guess it was because I was new to the area and my team, or maybe because—
“Daaaaaamn, she fine!” Polo muttered under his breath. “Look at her booty!”
I followed his line of sight to her—tight beige skirt that fit her wide hips perfectly and stopped just above her knees so that those big legs of hers were on display. Sleeveless red blouse, huge layered pearl necklace, hair in some kind of fancy cornrowed pattern, smooth Lupita Nyong’o skin. Yeah, she was undoubtedly fine. No, bump that. She was sexy as hell.
Nevertheless, I turned to him and shrugged. “She a’ight. A little too young for me, though. You know how I do.”
Polo shook his head. “Yeah, I remember back in college while the rest of us was trying to get with the cheerleaders and those fine-ass sprinters, your ass was always sniffing in behind some professor.”
“Or one of those cheerleaders’ mamas. They were all fine!”
Polo laughed. “I will never understand you. And her? She older than us, ain’t she? I mean, she don’t look it, but...”
“Like I said, she ain’t old enough for me. I like my women seasoned. She salt and pepper, maybe a dash of paprika. I like ‘em with salt, pepper, paprika, Old Bay, garlic powder, Goya, muh-fuckin’ lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, and some Mrs. Dash. And she ain’t thick enough, either. Plus, you already know—”
“Mr. Logan, I’m so glad you could help us out with the program,” her voice interrupted me. I didn’t realize she’d made it over to us. Damn, she smelled good.
Polo nodded, licked his lips, and gave her a smile that I guess was supposed to be seductive but definitely wasn’t. “Call me Polo, and it’s no problem. I love the kids.”
She returned his smile, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her mouth. Her lower lip was bigger than her top lip. I bet they taste good as hell.
“And Mr. McClain, I want to especially thank you for agreeing to help us out. I know you had every reason to back out of this commitment, and no one would blame you if you did,” she said.
I raised my eyes from her lips to her up-turned, black-brown eyes. “It’s all good. I made a promise and I don’t break promises, Ms. Hampton. I’m looking forward to working with these kids, and I’m honored to get a personal thank you from the center’s director.”
She blinked, and her eyes softened a little, losing the apprehension I’d seen in them when she first approached us. “I figured it was the least I could do since you are volunteering your time here. Well, let me introduce you gentlemen to our boys and then you two can get to it. Thanks again, Mr. McClain, Polo.”
“No problem, Ms. Hampton,” I said.
“You got it,” was Polo’s response.
I watched as she walked away—okay, I actually watched her ass walk away from me. Damn! She was fine, like...for real. But anyway, she approached the thirty or so young men scattered on the basketball court then turned and shot another smile at me. “All right, I’m sure you boys know these gentlemen, or at least know of them, but I’d like to give you all a formal introduction to them. For the basketball camp portion of our summer program, you’ll be learning skills from some NBA players, including these two players from our own St. Louis Cyclones basketball team! First, we have Mr. Paul “Polo” Logan. Let’s welcome him!”
The boys clapped and yelled for my current teammate and old college classmate/teammate.
“And,” Kimberly Hampton continued, “a new Cyclone, formerly with the Heat, Mr. Leland McClain...let’s welcome him, too!”
More applause and louder yells, or maybe that was what my ego heard, but anyway, it was a nice reception, and a minute or so later when Polo and I separated the boys into two groups to begin teaching them the principals of basketball, I was wearing a smile.

Let Me Hold You - Teaser #2

Sharing another teaser from Book 2 of my McClain Brothers series, Let Me Hold You. It is UNEDITED and subject to change. Enjoy!!
~No release date yet, because I'm still writing it, but coming soon.~


I made my way back to my office, fell into the chair behind my desk, and stared at the mountain of papers and folders and phone message slips that were cluttering nearly every surface around me. Rihanna’s Work played in my head as I tried to decide what to tackle first—the grant proposal the fundraising consultant I’d hired had submitted for my review or the missed calls from the community center’s main—i.e., only—benefactor. Sighing, I grabbed my phone and dialed our benefactor’s number, hoping he was in a better mood than he was during our last conversation. He wasn’t, but the conversation wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, and after that duty was fulfilled, I dug into the grant proposal, then moved on to some PR stuff I needed to handle, was knee-deep in that paperwork when my cell began to buzz on my desk.
I grinned at the name that danced on the screen. “Hello?”
“Heyyyy! What you up to?”
“Working, what else?”
“Oh, yeah. I forgot you like working there. I mean, you like…actually enjoy your job. You’re an anomaly if I ever saw one.”
I shook my head, took a sip from the bottle of water that had gone from frigid to tepid over the course of the work day, and said, “My job is my calling just like singing is yours. Who doesn’t love their calling? Don’t you enjoy singing?”
“I love it, but you should be somewhere sipping tropical drinks on the beach. You damn sure earned the right to take it easy. I don’t know why you don’t.”
“Because, like I said, this is my calling. Now, I know you didn’t call me to harass me about my career choices for the millionth time. So, what’s up?”
“Oh, yeah! I was calling to see if you needed a ride home from work today. You get off in a couple of hours, right?”
“Uh, why would I need a ride? My car is new, Zabrina.”
“I just thought maybe you did. Hey, how about I meet you there? We’re still going out for drinks and dinner and stuff tonight, right?”
“Uh-huh, and you think you’re slick, don’t you? You remembered the NBA guys start helping out today, didn’t you?”
“Is that today?! Girl, I got so much on my mind, I forgot all about that!”
“Heifer, please. Your thirsty ass ain’t forgot nothing. You probably memorized the damn basketball camp schedule. I bet you know it better than I do.”
“Whatever. So…is Leland McClain as fine in person as he is on Instagram and on TV? You know, he likes older women. I could be his sugar mama.”
“No you couldn’t with your broke ass, and do you think I have time to check him out like that with all the work I have to do around here?”
“I think your ass is not blind. I mean, shit…as big and tall and fine as he is? Hell, he’s finer than Big South and you know that’s a damn accomplishment. How can you possibly not notice how sexy he is?”
“He was wearing basketball shorts and a Romey U t-shirt. He looked…athletic.”
“And fine.”
As hell. “I guess. But, uh…ain’t you got a man?”
“Sometimes? What kind of answer is that? Don’t you live with him?”
“That’s debatable. So, did you see a print?”
“Bye, Z.”
“Damn, it must’ve been a huge print for you to be trying to hang up without wishing me a happy whatever random holiday today is. You know how you are about your holidays.”
“Oh, yeah…happy Old Maid’s Day.”
“Fuck you.”
“What?! That’s an actual holiday!”
“And that was an actual fuck you.”
“Wow, okay. I love you, too, Z.”
“I do! And I wasn’t throwing shade. Hell, I’m older than you and I’ve never been married either and I don’t even have a man.”
“But you’ve been engaged before.”
“You really wanna take it there?”
“My bad.”
 “And as far as you not having a man, that’s by choice.”
“I know.”
“Mm-hmm…so, you sure you don’t need a ride or something else that will put me in the vicinity of Leland McClain?”
“Bye, Z!”
“Bye, ole cockblocking-ass woman.”
I relaxed against the back of my chair and released the giggle I’d been suppressing while on the phone with my first cousin and best friend for life. Zabrina Norris was a nut but spot on with her analysis of Leland McClain. He was fine, extremely so—tall, as fit as any NBA player, gorgeous brown skin, dark eyes, big Colin Kaepernick afro that he kept pulled up in a man bun most of the time, thick mustache and beard. The facial hair made him look older, but he was young, and I was…me. The last thing me needed to do was get involved with any man, especially him. Not that he wanted me anyway.
But whether I was his type or not, I damn sure could enjoy looking at him.

Wanna check out what I'm listening to as I write this book? CLICK HERE to see my Let Me Hold You playlist thingy on Spotify. 

A Teaser from Let Me Hold You

I've been working hard on Book 2 of my McClain Brothers series, hoping to finish it this month (no release date yet) and I thought I'd share a little snippet. Enjoy!!

**Disclaimer: This excerpt is unedited and subject to change**


I rolled over in bed, felt the heavy gold chain around my neck shift as I slid the soft hand from my chest and reached for my phone on the night table. Easing out of bed, I reached on the floor for my underwear as I stretched my body and headed into the suite’s bathroom, phone in hand. I missed the call, but after I emptied my bladder, redialed the number and leaned over the sink as I waited for her to answer.
Instead of a hello, she drawled, “I didn’t wake you up, did I?” Her voice was that familiar combination of gruffness and comfort that I loved hearing.
“Yeah, but it’s cool. You the only somebody who’s allowed to wake me up.”
She chuckled. “Well, I’m glad to know I got that kinda pull with you. How you doing?”
“Good. How are you, auntie? Your blood pressure okay?”
“I’m fine, boy. What I tell you about worrying about me?”
Staring at myself in the bathroom mirror and stretching my tired eyes, I said, “Can’t help it. You the only mama I got left besides Kat.”
She laughed. “That girl always did think she could boss you around.”
“Think? She did a good job of it! And she look so much like Mama that half the time I thought she was her!”
There was silence from Aunt Ever. I was sure she was trying not to cry, probably thinking about her baby sister, my sweet mother. I had cried all the tears I had for her when I was a kid and held on to the good of the fact that she’d ever lived rather than mourning her loss now.
“You getting settled in St. Louis? Liking it so far?” she asked, redirecting the conversation.
“Yeah, it’s cool,” I lied. I hated the move, was accustomed to living between LA and Miami. St. Louis was slower than both, in some ways even slower than Houston to me. I preferred a faster pace.
“Made any new friends?”
Before I could answer, I felt her wrap her arms around my waist and press her breasts against my bare back. That irritated the shit out of me. Not that I couldn’t go for some more of what she gave me the night before, but I was on the phone with my aunt. The last thing I wanted was a hard dick while talking to her, so I said, “Hey, let me call you back, auntie.”
“Mm-hmm, tell whoever she is I said hi.”
I shook my head as I ended the call. “Good morning,” I said, as I covered her hands with mine.
“Good morning to you,” she said, sliding her hand down my stomach to my groin, then adding, “and to you, too.”
I turned my head toward her a little and smiled. “You tryna get something started that I can’t finish. I got places to be, shit I gotta do.”
I heard her sigh, felt her warm breath on my back. “So, I’m being dismissed?”
Moving her hands, I spun around to face her. She was pretty, fine, and I’d enjoyed her the night before, but I really did have a packed schedule. I had to work out, had houses to look at, calls to make, and a prior commitment I didn’t want to be late for. “You ain’t gotta take it that way. I had fun with you, but like I said, I got shit to do.”
“You gonna call me later? Maybe we can have drinks…or something?”
I left the bathroom, re-entering the bedroom of the suite in search of the rest of my clothes. “Or something, huh? My schedule is packed, but I’ma hit you up as soon as I can, a’ight?”
“Okay, because I want you to meet my brother and my son. They’re both huge fans. And maybe we could catch a movie or something?”
It was my turn to sigh. What part of “my schedule was packed” did she not get? And damn, why was she trying to introduce me to her folks when I just met her ass last night? I swear, you’d think a forty-seven-year-old woman wouldn’t be trying to move so fast. Shit!
I didn’t answer her in the affirmative or negative, just finished getting dressed, gave her a kiss, and left her in my suite hoping she’d be gone when I got back, because like I said, I had shit to do.

Another #TeaserTuesday!

Here's another UNEDITED little sample from my current WIP (Let Me Love You). Still no release date yet. 

I stumbled through the front doors of Bijou Park, hoping, wishing, and praying that the black coffee and plain bagel in my hands would serve to appease my boss. Peter Park was a horrible person. Temperamental, demanding, flippant, but talented and at the top of the custom jewelry game. An internship with him was an anxiety-ridden thrill ride and an opportunity most aspiring jewelers would kill for. I just happened to walk in on the right day—the day he and his assistant-slash-girlfriend received a beat down at the hands of his wife, Twyla. He was bloody and in need of a new assistant. I took advantage of his desperation by adding a little custom jeweler training to the deal. I'd been assisting and training under him and his staff jewelers for a little under a year.
But today I was late.
Peter Park didn't do late—ever.
I nodded at Freda, the tall, ebony receptionist who could slay any fashionista even though she was in her sixties, and headed straight for the gold door with the silver lever handles that led into Mr. Park's office. I knocked, waited, and when the door swung open to reveal a livid Twyla, I thanked the heavens for my tardiness. Twyla was a certified fool and only showed up at Bijou Park when trouble was brewing between her and Mr. Park.
"Good morning, Mrs. Park," I offered.
Twyla flipped her forty-inch Remy hair extensions over her shoulder and clasped her hands to her wide hips. She was at least two inches taller and sixty pounds heavier than her Korean American husband, and a damn pit bull. Mean, jealous, violent, and destructive. Peter might have reigned terror down on his employees, but his wife reigned terror down on him. Oddly enough though, she liked me, probably because she didn't see me as a threat since I didn't dress or act like I was trying to catch a man—specifically, her man. However, I still hated being around her. With her drama-filled reality show antics, she made black women as a whole look bad.
"Jo, honey, give us a minute. I’m in the middle of reminding my husband of a few things."
I glanced behind her to see Mr. Park at his desk, his silky black hair disheveled, tie crooked, glasses askew. The contents of the top of his desk were littering the floor around it. I almost felt sorry for him.
But not quite.
"Uh...sure. I'll be in the back with Shirl."
"Mm-hmm." She shut the door in my face.
I scurried to the small office occupied by Shirlene Ramsey, the most tenured bench jeweler. Shirl's strength was making Peter Park's artistic visions a reality since he rarely got his hands dirty anymore, so to speak. She didn't design jewelry, but she was excellent at interpreting others' designs. My goal was to design and create, and I was fortunate to be able to see both sides of the process on a daily basis.
"She still on the warpath?" Shirl asked, when I dropped into a chair next to her work station.
"Yep. What'd he do this time? You know?"
Shirl glanced up from the piece she was working on and shook her head. "All I know is we had all barely made it through the front doors when she stormed in yelling and screaming, but I can guess what happened."
I could, too. Mr. Park loved black women, surrounded himself with us here at his company, and was a compulsive cheater despite the fact that Twyla always caught up with his infidelities. It was as if he refused to stop cheating on her and she refused to take their five daughters and leave him. He cheated; she beat his ass and tore up his office. Rinse and repeat. It was a wonder if the ridiculousness of it all didn't affect Bijou Park, but then again, half the clientele ordered custom pieces for their mistresses or side pieces. The relatability of Peter Park's life was probably what made the business so successful.
"You were late?" Shirl asked, her eyes on her diamond-drenched work again.
"Yeah...overslept. I didn't fall asleep until early this morning."
"Netflix or Hulu?"
I rolled my eyes at how predictably pathetic my life was. "Hulu. Watched a bunch of Top Chef episodes."
Her forehead creased as she carefully added another diamond to the eagle-shaped medallion. "I didn't know you liked to cook."
"I'm tryna learn how to cook."
"By watching Top Chef?"
I shrugged. "I've picked up some good tips from that show."
"Girl, you better be getting you a soul food cook book, so you can cook your way to a husband."
"Had one of those. I'm good."
"Humph. Okay..."

#TeaserTuesday - It's an excerpt!

I thought I'd let you all see what I've been up to. Here's an excerpt from Let Me Love You (tentative title), book 1 of my McClain Brothers series. It's unedited, subject to change, yada-yada-yada. Enjoy!!

Minutes later, I was in the backseat of a black Denali with heavily tinted windows with Oba in the front seat chatting with the driver on my way to—
“Hey, uh...Oba, who are we delivering this to?" I asked.
Oba shrugged while glancing back at me. "He didn't tell me."
I didn't ask the driver, because his old ass creeped me out. He reminded me of Samuel L. Jackson's character in Django Unchained—gray and ornery. I did, however, lift the lid and peek inside the box at the piece, one I'd seen Todd, another bench jeweler, working on. A puffed heart made of what appeared to be zillions of tiny diamonds on a platinum chain. It was brilliant and gorgeous.
What felt like forever later, we stopped in front of a boutique hotel, a really nice one, and I started feeling pissed about delivering this gorgeous piece of jewelry to some skank. Nevertheless, I slid out of the vehicle after the driver opened the door for me. Oba checked his phone, said, "Fifth floor. Penthouse suite," and then motioned for me to walk ahead of him.
I clutched the box nervously, wishing I had a bag to put it in because I was afraid I'd drop it and its contents before we made it to our destination. As if reading my mind, Oba said, "Hold on," reached into the front seat of the SUV, and unearthed a shiny black Bijou Park sack. I took it from him, carefully sliding the box inside.
Oba walked closely behind me as I stepped through the elegant lobby toward the elevators. My legs felt like rubber as the weight of what I was doing settled on my shoulders. I was delivering an insanely expensive piece of jewelry to someone, someone obviously rich and probably famous. What if someone had followed us from Bijou Park and tried to rob us? Sure, Oba was huge and armed, but what if a group of huge, armed dudes tried to rob us? What if they kidnapped me and held me for ransom and—the elevator dinged, making me jump, snatching me from my thoughts, and prompting me to step inside. Moments later, the doors opened, and after we exited the elevator, Oba had to give me a little nudge so I would start moving toward the only door in the hallway. A cavernous bassline grew louder and louder as I approached the door, and when I knocked timidly, I doubted it could be heard over the music.
Oba reached over my five-foot-two frame, which seemed even smaller in stature with his imposing one towering over me, and beat his fist against the door, startling me even though I saw him do it. I glanced up at him nervously. He gave me a shrug and a smirk.
The music was lowered and the door swung open. A man that damn near matched Oba in height and girth appeared with a scowl on his face. He and Oba were on opposite ends of the skin tone spectrum. Where Oba was dark as night, this man was extremely light-skinned with orangey-colored hair. He frowned down at me then let his eyes climb up to Oba. That's when a smile appeared on his face. As I stood there, he reached over my head and gave Oba dap. "'Sup, my nigga?!"
Oba was just as animated as he said, "Sup, Dunn?! You know…same ole grind. Shit, Park didn't tell me we were coming to see your guy. Wish I’da known. I ain't know what I was getting into."
"Who dat?" This querying voice came from inside the suite.
"Tell boss man Peter Park's folks are here with that piece," Dunn said.
"A'ight," answered the voice.
"Y'all come in," Dunn offered, and then he smiled at me. "O, man? Who we got here?"
I rolled my eyes before I could stop myself. Because I was running late this morning, I'd thrown on a pair of jeans and a loose t-shirt, didn't bother to apply a stitch of makeup so the freckles that I'd always hated were prominent on my face, and my wild natural hair was pushed away from my face with a thick, cloth headband. I didn't look hideous, but I wasn't displaying anything that made me worthy of his leer.
Before Oba could introduce me to Dunn and vice versa, the voice returned and I found it was attached to another behemoth of a man—all height and muscles like Oba and Dunn with a skin tone somewhere in between theirs. "Aye, the boss said y'all can go on back there," he announced, nodding toward a door deeper in the suite.
"A'ight, Tommy,” Oba said, looking from the voice to me. “Lead the way, Jo."
I swallowed and moved toward the door only to hear mumbling and snickering behind me, sure one or both of the two giants who evidently resided in that suite were looking at my ass. I rolled my eyes again.
Knocking on the door, I felt my heart begin to race. Who was this boss man of theirs? Was he rich and famous or just rich? Oba obviously knew who he was, because he was familiar with his security. I wished I had time to ask Oba who—
"Come in!" was yelled through the door.
I turned the knob and walked inside, stopping without giving Oba room to enter.
I recognized him instantly, but anyone would've since he was probably the most recognizable rapper on the planet. He wasn't old, only in his late thirties, but had been in the rap game for so long he was definitely considered one of the old heads at this point. Award-winning, multi-platinum-selling, world-renowned, skilled like no other, and fine as all hell. That's how I'd describe this man. I was shocked, pleasantly stunned into silence and paralysis.
He was shirtless and the swollen muscles of his chest and abdomen teased me as a sheet covered his lower body. He was sitting on the side of the bed, his dreads hanging loosely around his face. He wore a blank look on his face as I stood there unraveling in his presence.

No release date yet, because--ahem--I'm still writing it. I'll keep you posted!!

A Thursday Teaser from Stay with Me!

It's Thursday, I have a book release coming up, and I decided to share a little snippet to whet your reader appetite. 

This excerpt is from Stay with Me, Book 1 of the Strickland Sisters Series, and it releases on May 17, 2017. Enjoy!!

I slipped all the way out of my clothes and hopped in the shower, relishing in the hot water pouring over me as I lathered my skin with my favorite plumeria-scented body wash. About thirty minutes later, I’d pulled on my favorite old night shirt and climbed into bed, was on my way to La La Land when the sound of thumping bass jolted me out of my semi-slumber. More than a little disoriented, I rolled over, trying to figure out what was going on, what I was hearing, and why I was hearing it. Then it occurred to me.

Ryan Boyé.

I closed my eyes and sighed, grabbed my cell phone from the bedside table, and checked the time—1:00 AM. Really? Was this negro really blasting music at this time of night or morning or whatever?


And things were going so well.

I sat up and tried to mentally will this fool to turn his music down, because I really did not feel like having to walk over there and beat on his door to get him to do something his grown ass should’ve had sense enough to do anyway.

I waited for five whole minutes. I waited as the music thumped and the picture frame on my dresser vibrated, growing angrier by the second. I could’ve called him, but bump that. Instead, I stood up, released a frustrated groan, and threw a robe on over my night shirt. Barefoot and pissed the hell off, I left my place and stalked to his door, beating on it like I was the chief of police.

No answer.

Oh, hell no!

I kicked the door, and yelled, “Hey!”

The music stopped, and less than a minute later, the front door eased open to reveal a heavy-lidded Ryan Boyé, shirtless in a pair of red briefs, and from the looks of things, I had interrupted something or had awakened him from a very steamy dream, because ole boy was standing at attention. All of the moisture in my mouth traveled to my core. I shifted my weight on my feet and tore my eyes away from his groin, letting them amble over his muscular stomach and chest and finally settle on his eyes.

He raised his eyebrows. “Yes?”

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