To Be Continued….

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but life keeps happening. It looks like I’ll be adding to my own personal love story really soon with twins, we’re expecting. We’re thrilled and happy but trying to take care of yourself of as a type 1 pregnant diabetic is a full time job so the stories will have to wait. But please keep looking out because I’m not done, I’m bubbling with ideas and happy endings. See you later.

Love Never Leaves-Chapter 4

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Jake entered Helena’s home it was beautiful and comfortable as he knew it would be she had photos and art all over the walls they told of her culture and travels. He was intrigued, she seemed very worldly to him and he liked that his wife Connie had also traveled the world. He found that it made her more interesting and Helena seemed to be that kind of woman.

“Jake would you like something to drink?” She asked as they entered the living room.

Helena looked at him curiously; he looked deep in thought as he perused her walls looking at the art and photos. He seemed not to be aware that she even asked him a question.

“Jake!”

He looked up startled for a moment. She was standing there looking at him oddly.

“Yes.”

“I was just asking if you’d like something to drink.”

“Oh I’m sorry, I was just really intrigued by your artwork and photos they’re really beautiful.”

“Thank you. I’ve traveled all over the world and collected art from many places. I love those photos, they remind me how wonderful my life has been and all the love I received from it.”

“Wow, that’s really special. You’re very lucky.”

“I don’t think I’m lucky, I know I’m blessed.”

He looked at her and smiled a bit but she noticed it didn’t seem happy there was something about him that was sad something in his eyes. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible had happened to this man but she wasn’t sure he was ready to share it.

“Well Jake I’m headed to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of wine. I’d be more than happy to pour you a glass while I’m there.”

He did smile then, a big genuine smile, “sure. I’d love a glass of wine.”

He walked behind her into the kitchen. There was light from the porch outside streaming through the windows, it gave the place a romantic glow. He liked her kitchen it seemed lived in and used. He’d only been in his house a week or so but he barely touched anything regarding the kitchen. He thought that may have been because his wife loved being in the kitchen, it was her domain when she was alive. It seemed so sacred to him now as if he had no right to touch it or make it his own. He’d been eating out of to-go boxes and the microwave for the last couple of days he just couldn’t seem to bring himself to use the stove and cook a meal.

Helena opened the fridge and took out a bottle of Pinot Grigio she had in there, she went into the cupboard and pulled out to wine glasses and filled them. She handed him a glass and he smiled and raised it to her in a toast.

“Here’s to our new friendship.”

She raised her own glass in acknowledgment and took a sip; it was cold and tasted delicious.

“Why don’t we go back into the living room and sit and chat for moment. I’d really like to get to know more about you Jake.”

He nodded in agreement and they walked back into the living room together. Her living room seemed to invite comfort the pillows on her couch were plump and soft, at least they looked that way. She fell into the couch and seemed to relax immediately.  Jake sat on the other end and turned to look at her. She was really beautiful and he wasn’t really sure he should be there on her couch drinking wine. Maybe this was a dangerous place for him at this moment. She picked up a remote, pushed a button, and music begin to flow from speakers near them it was the soothing sound of jazz. She sighed and kicked off her shoes as she put her feet under her to get cozy in the downy softness of her sofa.

“Now I can ask you more questions,” she said to him with the sneaky grin on her face.

“I’m not sure I’ll answer them all if you do ask.”

“You mean if I ask questions you’ll dodge them?”

“I didn’t say that, I may answer and I may not. I get to make that choice.”

“Oh, are you telling me you’re enigmatic?”

“I’m just saying I may or may not answer the question. It doesn’t mean I’m mysterious just that I’m private about some things.”

“I can respect that but I’m not going to delve too deep this early.”

“I’m thankful for that, you seem like a nice lady and I think I’d like to get to know you better too but I don’t want to invade your space.”

“You’re not. I’m an open book for the most part, but I can understand that others are not like me. I mean your reception when I first came to your front door told me a lot about you. One of the things it told me was that you’d like your privacy.”

Jake had a look of deep regret on his face, he knew he’d been really rude to her when they first met and he wasn’t sure how he’d make that up to her.

“I’m still very sorry about that incident. You and your friend didn’t deserve my scorn.”

“I told you it was no big deal we lived; we’re not scarred from it. I don’t expect you to apologize again and again about it we’re supposed to be moving forward in this relationship. I only mentioned it because you said you were so private and that incident really let me know how private you were. So now that that’s over with tell me a little more about being the famous author, Earl Gall, I find it interesting that you’re a famous writer. Does it seem sublime to you that you walk around all day and no one knows you’re Earl Gall?”

Jake looked at her and furrowed his brow, “no, not really, since I like my privacy it’s nice that people don’t know. That’s one of the reasons I made sure not to have my picture taken too frequently when I’m on book tours. Some people do know but surprisingly people aren’t that pushy. Particularly here in the Pacific Northwest they seem to love to give you your space. Although I sometimes notice that people are staring and they may recognize me but they won’t come up and say anything. Some people do ask if I’m Earl Gall and I always answer honestly but they’re very nice.”

“Do you enjoy writing?”

“That’s a funny question, of course I do. I’ve been writing all my life. I have lots of drafts of stories I wrote in my teens and 20s but I never thought I had the talent to do it full-time.”

She laughed. Jake enjoyed watching her laugh it gave him joy. He felt like he should be ashamed of his feelings toward her but he wasn’t, he was happy. It confused him he’d been depressed for so long about his wife and son’s death he didn’t understand this woman who was practically a stranger making him happy. He’d met people before and they didn’t do this to him. He’d spent time with family and that didn’t make him feel happy either at this point in his life. But sitting there with Helena was just such a delight she was contagious, her happiness was contagious.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” she asked. Helena had noticed that he seemed more relaxed and the look he gave her was full on erotic.

“Helena, you’ve made me feel something I’d thought was lost.”

“What’s that?”

“I feel delight with you, it’s strange since we’ve known each other such a short time. But with you I feel at ease and I’m not really sure how to take this. I want to tell you all my secrets but I’m not sure if you can handle them. But sitting on this couch with you more than anything I want to touch you, I want to kiss you, I want to hold you.”

Helena just looked at him she was shocked he’d told her this he’d been a tad closed off the whole evening. Now here he was telling her she was bringing him delight and he wanted to kiss her. She thought, well she wanted him to kiss her too. There was something in him that she felt needed the human bond. Helena knew that she needed that bond also but in her mind she felt they were moving too quickly. But there was something about him sitting on her sofa now appearing so relaxed and so at ease it didn’t matter how quickly they moved.

Suddenly she felt herself move forward as she saw Jake moving toward her his eyes softening and filling with need. She wanted to kiss him and it looked like he was going to reciprocate that feeling. She felt herself being cradled suddenly in his strong arms as his mouth moved towards her, his lips were on hers before she could think about what was happening. It was soft at first then she felt the urgency in him his mouth crushing against hers, his tongue seeking out her own. It felt good as she wrapped her arms around him and held him tight and close. He was holding her against him as if his very body wanted to merge with her own. Their mouths separated for brief moment to catch a breath while in her ear, he whispered to her, “Helena I need you so badly. I don’t know what’s come over me but I need you.”

They looked into each other’s eyes as he moved in again to kiss her it was a heady feeling for both of them. Helena felt the stir of passion while she tried her best to keep her emotions under control. She smiled as his lips pressed against hers and felt a joyful giggle come to her lips this was the best kiss she’d ever had even better than kissing Scott. Then suddenly Jake’s body jerked away from her his arms went to his side and he had a look of complete horror on his face.

“Oh my God what have I done,” he said more to himself than to her, “I’ve betrayed you, I’ve betrayed you!” He was talking to someone but not her.

He rose from the couch swiftly and suddenly left Helena there sitting, wondering what the hell had just happened. She got up and moved to the door that he’d run out of and opened it and stared as he ran to his house. He looked back only briefly with the same look of anger and despair she’d seen the first night she met him. He opened his door slammed it hard and locked it.

She wasn’t really sure what had just happened they were sitting there enjoying a passionate kiss and suddenly he breaks away in horror. She picked up her cell phone and called him she wanted to know what happened. She was confused and angry. His phone rang and rang but she got the voicemail. She called again and got his voicemail again. She was tempted to go across the street and bang on his door like a maniac but she didn’t feel like she needed to chase him. She wasn’t sure what she’d done to make him so upset but she knew the things she’d felt from the first time she saw him were true, this man was hurting and maybe he just needed time. Maybe he just needed time.

 

The Handy Guy-Chapter 2

imageGrace sat in Craig’s truck on a plastic tarp covered in oil wood stain. While she was stooping down in the hardware store someone’s precocious youngster had poured a can of oil stain down her back. It was in her underwear, her hair, and completely ruined her thong Birkenstocks. Craig had been mortified, he’d met this woman, and brings her on a shopping trip to get supplies only to have this happen.

‘I’m so sorry Ms. Underwood, I really am. I’ve never had an incident like this occur on a trip to the hardware store with a customer.’

She looked over at him with her eyes squinting, she was angry but not really with him but the kid well the parents more so. The parents had just let their child run wild and it seemed he’d been wreaking havoc all over the store.

‘It’s okay Mr. Bellows but I’m not sure how I’m going to wash this stuff off. You know…I have no shower. I think Mrs. Chen is gone with her kids today.’

‘I realize that you don’t have a shower. I was wondering would you like to come to my place? It’s not far and I swear I’m not going to kill you.’

Grace looked over at him suspiciously for a moment, ‘well could try but Mrs. Chen but I’m pretty sure her son came to get her today. I’m wondering would I rather be covered in wood stain or take my chances with you possibly murdering me for a shower. Although Mrs. Chen did know you were coming today so if something happens you’d be a suspect.’

He laughed a little and he saw her smile, although she smelled of wood stain she actually had a beautiful lilting laugh and she just lit up when she did. For a moment Craig found himself enchanted and wondered if this had actually been a good idea. But he needed to help her he’d gotten her into this, well sort of. He started to head for his place, he lived in a beautiful old home he’d done most of the refurbishing on himself. After he’d divorced Wendy he bought the house and went to work, it as great way to relieve the stress and anger he had towards her as she continually dragged him in and out of court. Next weekend was his time with his daughter, he had Chelsea two weekends a month, all summer, Christmas break, and they rotated holidays. He suspected that Wendy was getting ready to drag him back into court regarding parental visitation, she seemed to be getting antsy and snippy with him lately. He always knew when a battle was brewing with her. He pulled into the driveway of his house.

Grace was impressed, it was huge, two stories, a farm house of all things. She wondered if he had a girlfriend or children because one person couldn’t live in something this large. He parked she watched as he got out, she was going to make a move but thought better she was still rather oily and she didn’t want to get anything on his truck. He appeared at her door and opened it and helped her out of the cab. He was a gentlemen something she hadn’t seen in awhile, in a long while. This city was so liberal, many times she thought men forgot she was a woman. But she must say Mr. Bellows made her feel like a lady, even when she was covered in wood stain.

‘Ms. Underwood, why don’t we go around the back. That way you can use the laundry room to undress. I can bring you a robe and tell you where the bathroom is and then throw your things in the washer. How does that sound?’

‘It sounds like a good plan.’

‘Well…I always have a plan,’ he told her with a twinkle in his eye.

Grace was trying her best not to get drawn in by his charm and incredible looks and mouth watering physique but it was not easy. He lead her to the back, he had beautiful yard with a deck and stone patio. It had been well kept, she wondered did he do all this himself. He opened the door and she stepped into a mud room, it was large with black and white tiles, it was painted white and a soothing shade of blue. She was amazed if the rest of his house looked like this, it must be dazzling. She looked through another door with a glass pane into a spectacular kitchen. She was awestruck it was beautiful.

‘Ms. Underwood?’ she heard him mutter politely. She’d been scoping out his kitchen so hard, she didn’t notice him open the laundry room door for her to enter.

‘Oh I’m sorry. I’ll step in. And you’ll be back with a robe?’

‘And towel if you’d like? I know that oil is just probably driving you nuts.’

‘Yes, thank you.’

He walked through the door into the kitchen then turned and disappeared. Grace stepped into the laundry room, which was also incredible. Who did this man’s decorating, Martha Stewart? The same calming blue and white that were in the mud room were in the laundry room. He had a front load washer and dryer, Kenmore no less. He looked liked the Made in America type. She stripped down, her clothes were stained. Thank goodness these were just some casual clothes, it wouldn’t be a big loss but she had always liked that Wu-tang t-shirt. Oh well, she thought. Maybe the oil would come out, she hoped it would. Her underwear was another story, this bra and panty set were from Victoria’s Secret and were not a cheap buy. It was turquoise green so she was hoping for the best, they weren’t too stained with oil but oil stains could be hard to get out.

‘Ms. Underwood?’ She heard him outside the door, she opened the washer and dropped her clothing in. She wasn’t looking forward to a strange man handling her skivvies.

‘Yes.’ She hoped he didn’t turn out to be a pervert because she was standing their in absolutely nothing.

‘I’ve got the robe for you.’

‘I’ll stick my hand out and you can pass it to me.’

‘Okay.’

Grace cracked the door and made sure she stayed pressed close to it so he couldn’t even get an accidental peep of anything but her arm. She stuck her arm out and he handed her the robe which she grabbed swiftly and closed the door.

Craig was shocked, he hadn’t even given her the towel so she wipe out some of the oil from her hair. Even more shocking was what he saw as she stood behind that door. There was a mirror on the opposite wall, he kept it there because sometimes he liked to shave or check himself out after a long day of hard work. It was easier to do it in there when he was grimy but he figured she hadn’t noticed it. He wasn’t trying to look just happened his eyes caught sight of her backside before he knew it was her backside. Goodness, what a nice backside it was. He felt his cock jump but he had to get that under control. This was a client, maybe this was a bad idea after all. She’d had him hot and bothered the moment she opened that door this afternoon. Now her she was at his house with nothing on but his robe about to take a shower in his bathroom.

She opened the door, there she stood, all 5’5″ of her. She looked so tiny in his big robe but goodness she was incredibly sexy.

‘I forgot to give you this, I’m sorry.’

She took the towel gladly and begin to wipe her hair down. It was the most erotic thing Craig had seen in such a long time. It had a been awhile since he’d been with anyone, almost a year. There was this cinnamon goddess standing in his mud room with nothing but a robe on wiping her hair down.

She looked up at him puzzled, ‘Mr. Bellows, you can lead me to your bathroom.’

Craig came out his erotic fantasy, ‘oh, oh yes. Come this way. It’s just down the hallway.’

She followed him, it was an incredible house, the kitchen was marvelous, his decorating was simple and understated, very masculine and it was very beautiful. She noticed on the hallway walls pictures of him in different exotic locales, fishing, hunting, racing, biking, skiing, lots of outdoor stuff. Then pictures of him and his family which consisted of what looked to be his mom and some other men, she figured they were brothers but no dad. Then there were pictures of beautiful blonde little girl. She was very cute, he had pictures with her lots of them and a couple featuring another woman, she was blonde also, who didn’t look happy in any of them. But he looked absolutely joyous and in love with that child. She wanted to ask but figured it wasn’t her place, she was just his customer, they were not friends.

They reached the bathroom it was white, green with silver accents. It had large gray and white block tiles on the floor. It had a glass enclosed shower stall along with a large white clawfoot tub.

‘Here you go, in the cabinet there are more towels. In the shower there’s shampoo, it’s Sauve if that’s okay with you.’

‘That’s fine.’

‘Also in the cabinet there’s a hair dryer. The water is warm so check it before you dive in.’

Grace smiled at him as he closed the door and left her. Craig stood on the other side and just sighed. He thought maybe he had made a fatal mistake he was not in the mood for these types of problems right now.

The shower felt wonderful, it had been awhile since Grace had been in anything so luxurious. The water temperature was fantastic, it didn’t go suddenly cold like her shower at home. She needed to replace that crappy water heater. The shampoo worked well, it took a few washing to rid her hair of wood stain and the pungent smell had finally been washed out of it and off her body. She stepped out onto the plush rug and stepped onto the floor which was heated, my goodness this was a man of extraordinary talents. Too bad she couldn’t hire him for other work or maybe she could coax him into…oh goodness she needed to stop that line of thought. He was definitely fine but what did some redneck want with her and what did she want with a redneck. Grace dried her body and was drying her hair when she heard the knock. The immediately wrapped the towel around herself thinking he might enter but he didn’t, he spoke through the door.

‘Ms. Underwood, are you okay?’

‘I’m fine, everything is fine. The shower was fantastic,’ she hated to sound so eager but it was good.

He smiled to himself on the other side of the door. He wasn’t sure why it pleased him so much that she liked the shower but it did.

‘Good, it’s getting late and I was wondering if you’d like some dinner? I have some leftover pot roast, red potatoes, and salad I could give you.’

Grace wasn’t sure she should accept, but her stomach started to grumble. She hadn’t really eaten all day and it was getting late. This day was not turning out how she imagined but he’d been nice enough to ask, she hoped he didn’t drug her food. But so far he’d been a complete gentlemen not creepy or weird at all, in fact she was feeling more at ease with him every moment.

‘Sure, I’ll take a plate. How about my clothes, are they ready?’

‘Oh I’m sorry, I just put them in the dryer. They should be dry in about 30 or 40 minutes.’

‘Okay, I’ll be right out.’

‘Well when you come out you can find me in the kitchen.’

Craig turned to walk toward the kitchen and get her a plate fixed up. He’d put her clothes in the dryer without thinking it wasn’t until he pulled out those sexy lace underwear that he realized that him drying her clothes may have been a bad idea. He really hoped she didn’t think he was a sex fiend.

He was cutting slices off of last night’s roast when he saw her enter, she looked so fragile. There was something about her petite figure in his large robe that made him want to protect her. Her hair was still partially wet and sticking to her face it had come out of its stick straight form and was more wavy and curly. She had pinned it back in that same messy ponytail thing she had when he’d first met her this afternoon. He didn’t know what was happening, he felt this compelling urge to push her against a wall and kiss her senseless.

Grace was blushing at his look, she looked down at her feet as they made circles on his wood floor. She had on the robe but the way he looked she felt naked, but the truth was the look didn’t bother her as much as it turned her on. He had the look of man who had just spotted the last biscuit on the plate, open lust and hunger swam in his eyes. Grace was slightly shaken at her own primal response to it.

Craig turned to pile some potatoes on her plate and put it into his microwave to warm up.

‘I can get you something to drink Ms. Underwood.’

‘You know, enough with the formality. I’m just a Grace, please call me Grace.’

‘Okay, that’s fine and please call me Craig.’

‘I will.’

‘Now. Something to drink?’

‘Umm yes, what do you have?’

He opened that huge refrigerator it was incredible stocked shelves full of food and he did have everything. Wine, beer, Coors of course, iced tea, juice boxes, orange juice, milk, Coke, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, goodness he had supplies for the winter. That had Grace thinking maybe he was a doomsday prepper like she saw on TV but it couldn’t be true he seemed really…normal.

‘A diet Coke would be great.’

‘Okay, please have a seat. The plate should be warm in a minute.’

The whole lay out was open, she sat down in a breakfast room next to the kitchen. There was a place setting there with beautiful white stone ware and flatware that was to die for, Grace was more impressed by the minute. This man had impeccable taste.

‘Here you go,’ he set a plate that smelled delicious in front of her or maybe she was just really hungry. He set his plate down along with a bowl with a really appetizing salad in it. ‘We should pray before we eat.’

Grace looked up, she hadn’t prayed over a meal since, well since her mom died. ‘Okay.’ She wanted to be respectful of his home. They bowed he said a quick prayer and then she looked up. He was smiling again and she was trying not to feel uncomfortable and weird sitting at his table in nothing but a robe. She had wrapped and tied so tightly it was cutting off her circulation.

She dug into the plate and he put salad in a bowl for her. She was just overwhelmed at how much of a gentlemen he was, it had been so long since she’d met a man that was this considerate of women. She didn’t think they existed anymore.

‘Thank you so much for dinner. Who cooked this for you? A girlfriend?’ She knew it was sneaky but she was fishing for information.

He chuckled a bit before answering, ‘no, I cooked it.’

‘Really.’

‘You act like you don’t quite believe me but I do cook. I can’t go out everyday so I know how to cook.’

‘Well, this pot roast is melt in your mouth and these potatoes are seasoned to perfection. It’s a little hard to believe that a man such as yourself can cook.’

‘Such as myself? What does that mean?’

‘Well…you seem kind of, how do I say it…’

He sat looking at her intently hanging on her every syllable. Now Grace was sorry she’d brought it up.

‘…you seem kind of macho. Not exactly like the domestic type.’

‘Is there a domestic type? Boy, you sure do have a lot of nice neat boxes you like to put people in.’

Grace was indignant about his tone, ‘excuse me? I’m not putting anyone in a box, you’re the ‘Handy Guy’ I just assumed.’

Craig put his hand up in surrender the last thing he needed was a huffy half naked woman at his table. He was barely keeping it together as it was if she gotten any madder he would have jumped over that little breakfast table and tried his darnedest to seduce her.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said. He figured it was best to just apologize first and avoid the drama.

‘I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t be that rude to you in your home.’

‘It’s okay, I sometimes get pissed when people try to pigeonhole me.’

‘I know the feeling,’ and she certainly did as a black woman it was easy for people to make lots of assumptions about who she was. ‘Why don’t you tell me something about yourself so I don’t make that mistake again. Okay, Craig.’

‘I’d be happy for you to get to know me better.’ There was something in his tone that had Grace thinking he meant more than she bargained for and she didn’t mind at all.

They’d had a nice dinner, he’d even given her a scoop of chocolate ice cream for dessert. She’d learned a lot about him. He was the oldest of five boys, who’d been raised by their mom and grandparents on their farm in Eastern Washington, around Yakima to be exact. His brothers Earl, Lane, Theodore, and Marshall all lived in the Seattle/Tacoma area and none of them were married. That was surprising because if they looked anything like him she wondered what was wrong with them. He also told her that the cutie pie in the pictures was his daughter and he had been married but had been divorced about 4 years. She found out about his business and all the work he’d put into it over the last 7 years. It seemed it was his baby, the way he talked about just enthralled Grace. He came to life when he talked about his daughter and his business both of which he seemed to love more than anything. He surprised her with his knowledge and he was a college graduate, he’d gone to school for architecture. His grandfather had taught him and his brothers about construction and how to landscape. His mom was a music teacher so he knew how to play the piano. She was the one that had taught him to cook. His brother, Lane, was a chef. Grace couldn’t believe it, this man was pure renaissance. He hunted, fished, and camped which wasn’t as surprising but he was much more than what she’d made him out to be. They’d been sitting for awhile talking and laughing as he told her more about him and his life and childhood. She found herself being drawn in, not what she wanted but she couldn’t help it.

‘I better get your clothes out of the dryer.’

Grace had almost forgotten she was sitting there in his robe. ‘Oh yea, that would be great.’ Her hair he reverted to it’s natural wavy curly state and she probably looked a hot mess but he didn’t seem to notice.

Craig was in the laundry room getting Grace’s clothes out, she was so gorgeous and also seemed so interested in what he had to say. Wendy never had that kind of rapt attention when he talked about his business, which had always been a lifelong dream. At the age of 35 he was a successful businessman but she never saw that, she wanted a suit and tie guy and he was never going to be that guy. It was nice having Grace here it had been a long time since he’d enjoyed the company of any woman. He tried dating a few years ago but the business needed his attention and most women weren’t keen on that but now that things had fallen into place with The Handy Guy, maybe it was time for him to think about dating again. Maybe it was Grace Underwood he should think about doing that with. He’d never dated a black woman not that he figured they were any different than any other woman but his taste leaned more toward leggy blondes with too much boobs and not enough brains. Maybe he needed to go against his typical fare, she was definitely cute as a button and he was attracted to her. But she was a customer so he hated to mix business and pleasure but then again with an ass like that maybe it was worth it.

Craig was taking Grace home, her clothes had dried and they’d chatted a little more on their way back to her house. By the time they pulled up it was almost 8:30 pm neither realized how time had flown. He really hated for her to go, he hadn’t allowed himself to think how lonely he’d become. How he longed for exhilarating female company and she was it. She was funny and smart, they hadn’t started debating politics but he figured she could hold her own. He was really taken by her and wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do next. She sat in the seat next to him in the cab of his truck getting ready to open the door.

‘No wait,’ he said as he jumped out and rushed around to help her out. It could be tricky because his truck was tall and she was not.

‘Thank you.’ She seemed so demure but he also caught glimpses of a firebrand under there and he was intrigued by that.

‘I’ll walk you up.’

‘You don’t have to Craig, I’m okay.’

‘No it was my fault this all happened.’

‘Well that would be fine. Do you still have tools in the house you to need to get?’

‘No, I packed up most of it up. I hate to leave things lying around people’s homes even if I’m coming back.’

They stood on her porch under the light, Grace fumbled with her keys till she got the lock opened. She was feeling skittish for some reason. Well, she knew the reason, Mr. Craig Bellows was wreaking pure havoc on her senses. She felt at any moment she was about pop out of her skin. He was so close right behind her with his warm breath tickling her neck.

Craig stood there behind her feeling the warmth of her body, she smelled like that Suave lavender shampoo and it was heady. As she opened the door she turned and looked at him.

‘Thank you so much for the use of your shower and dinner. I really appreciate it.’

‘Well I’m trying to be of service. I’ll be back tomorrow and I won’t charge you for today.’

‘Really? You know you did work, I’d be happy to pay.’

‘No, no I won’t be billing you. That’d be bad customer service.’

imageShe looked at his lips as he spoke, his words seemed more of a seduction than conversation regarding charges for today’s work. He had beautiful lips, they looked strong and were full and as he spoke his tongue would peek out every so often to lick them.

Craig saw her eyes drift to his mouth, he really wanted this woman. She had just endeared herself to him today. He had to do something, say something.

‘What would be good customer service, Mr. Bellows?,’ she said jokingly.

‘This would…’ And he went for it, he kissed her as she stood there looking as if she needed a good kiss so he gave it to her. He gathered her into his arms and she didn’t fight she just melted, he kissed her hard and deep he wasn’t just going for lips he wanted all access. Grace gave it willingly, she opened her mouth and they explored each other. Her hands wrapped around his muscular shoulders as he held her against his solid chest. His hands around her soft waist as his fingers probed under the hem of that t-shirt to caress that supple newly cleaned skin. Craig couldn’t believe it she was intoxicating and his cock had sprung to life immediately. Grace’s head was spinning she hadn’t ever felt like this kissing someone. Then there was the sound of a car alarm, it startled them both back to what they were doing on her front porch, having a full blown make out session..

Craig pulled back and let her go he was shocked at his loss of control, this was a customer dammit.

‘I’m sorry, Grace. I’m so sorry.’

Grace tried to compose herself but she was flush she could feel the heat on her cheeks, in fact, all over her body.

‘Umm that’s okay, it’s not your fault. I have to go, I’ll see you tomorrow,’ she said hurriedly as she scrambled inside.

As he was telling her goodbye the door slammed shut in his face. Craig walked back to his truck trying to calm his raging hormones, he hadn’t gotten that hard that fast since he was seventeen in the back of grandpa’s truck with Heather Mooney. He wasn’t sure how he was going to be able to work anywhere near her now.

Grace was on the other side of the door cursing herself for letting it go that far but also reveling in how alive she felt because it did. This was going to be a long week with him here everyday.

Star’s Favorite…Authors- Roslyn Hardy Holcomb & Crystal Hubbard

31SQ6cy-QGL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-72,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I had a reader of this blog share a story with me a week or so ago. She talked about how much she enjoyed reading romance but that her last visit to the bookstore had left her yearning for more, something that reflected her as a black woman and the types of romance stories she enjoyed. She said she left the bookstore empty handed. She then commented how much she enjoyed my blog because I wrote interracial romance with black women and white men as the central characters. She also said she’d just discovered interracial romance books with black woman and non-black men as the hero and heroine. She was excited and it showed in how she spoke about this new romance sub-genre discovery.

I know the feeling, I discovered interracial romance in 2008 as my previous marriage was going down the crapper and I just needed something to take me away. I don’t remember how I actually found out that there were romances written about the type of relationships I’d been in all my dating life. But hallelujah and pass the tambourine, it was a joyous occasion. I remember buying my first three books of  interracial romances from Amazon, I wasn’t sure what to buy because when I discovered this pot of gold I also discovered the gold had been there many years. So there were a crapload of interracial romance books featuring black women and non-black men. How could I have been so blind? But two of those first three books I bought were by these two women and I’ve been a super fan of them ever since. Most of us don’t really get to know the authors of our books but I can say I know these two ladies via social media, they are both engaging and funny. They’re wonderful, genuine women which makes reading their books even better.

Roslyn Hardy Holcomb, writes some of the best interracial romance and erotica ever. The first book I ever read by her was Rock Star, if you haven’t read it pick it up. Also just pick up anything else she’s ever written too. She is amazing. She’s what I believe they were talking about when they say wordsmith. Her writing is crisp, full of emotion, and she doesn’t hold back. I enjoy that she doesn’t insult the intelligence of the reader. I figure she thinks if you’re reading this you’re smart enough for her to fully engage you. She’s never written a bad book, at least not for me. Anyone I’ve ever told to read her writing was as smitten by it as I was the first time I read her stories. She is not one to miss, go on Amazon now and put her name in the search engine and buy every book she’s written you won’t regret it, I guarantee. Also check out her blog The One Who Writes, she is funny and straight forward, and always has an encouraging word for black women. I can’t tell you how much you’ll enjoy it.

Now, Crystal Hubbard, I met online after reading her book. I think I talked about it in a little Yahoo online group I had regarding interracial romance books. She found the online chat group and just got in there like she’d known me all my life and in a way I felt she did. She’s so friendly, quirky, fun, and silly and has an amazing loving spirit. She has had an ongoing a battle with cancer that occurred a little after I met her. She has the most determined spirit. Both of these women are mothers and have some awesome kids and I like that they share that partially with us. The first book I read by Crystal was, Crush, I think I read it in 2 days. She took me there, her ability to weave a tale and put you right in the midst of it is fantastic. She’s got an amazing ability to be descriptive without being too wordy. She also writes children books and horror and fantasy stories. I can’t tell you anything but that you need to read her work. It will enchant you, as will she.

41UnnBlx0YL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_I am a die hard romance fan, always have been since my teen days but discovering interracial romance just brought me life. I cannot express in a more definitive fashion how important it is for you, if you’re a fan of this sub-genre, to get and read these two ladies’ books. Also find them online and talk to them, they are both thoroughly engaging, intelligent, funny, and kind women. You don’t always get that kind of opportunity with writers but I’m so glad I know these two. I’m even happier that I’m a fan of their work. Don’t forget to look them up at Amazon for all their titles.

Remembering Your Heart-Chapter 6

Mona had taken the day to drive out her Aunt Julie’s in Astoria, she was still living in the same home she’d lived in all her life. Mona had many fond memories of playing in the yard and family dinners and just plain love. She’d been feeling really down since her run in with Luke and his lunch date. She thought she might be ready to think about hearing him out but now she figured it was over. She pulled into the driveway of her Aunt’s house, it never seemed this little when she was a child but she remembered sharing a room with Georgie and Pauly as a kid. She smiled as she turned off the engine. Aunt Julie appeared on the porch and Mona jumped out to run into her arms. She loved her Aunt so much and she knew she loved her. They had a bond that even Georgie and Pauly didn’t share with their own mother.

‘Oh I’m so glad to see you, child,’ her Aunt said as she squeezed her tight and kissed her cheek.

‘I’m so glad I could come out.’ Mona leaned back from the embrace to look her Aunt. This woman was still strong and beautiful. She always had a regal appearance to Mona. Now she was little older and stiffer it seemed, but she was still gorgeous with gray hair she kept in a bun and as usual, she was the sharpest dresser ever. Every outfit for Aunt Julie was coordinated at all times, Mona figured that’s where Georgie got it from.

‘Come on in, I made lasagna for lunch.’

‘That sounds delicious,’ but as she said it Mona thought about Mr. Serrano’s lasagna which lead to thoughts of Luke and tears began to fall.

Her Aunt was shocked, ‘what’s wrong Mona? You never cry. You were the strongest little girl I ever saw. Okay, come on in and sit down, I need to know what’s going on.’

Mona trudged inside with tears still streaming down her face. She couldn’t believe that the mention of lasagna had in her in full blown tears.

‘Sit on down Mona. Darling, you have to tell me what’s going on.’

Mona set on her Aunt’s leather couch it was worn but still comfortable. Her Aunt sat down in her wing back chair that she’d had reupholstered a few years ago. Mona was trying to get her breathing together and stop the flow of tears but it was difficult.

‘Does this have something to do with that boy?’

Mona had told her Aunt a little about the romance between her and Luke but she hadn’t spoken about what had happened recently.

‘Yes, Aunt Julie, it is.’

‘Well, I spoke with your cousin and she told me you two had broken up awhile ago. Why are still upset? And why are you this upset?’ her Aunt’s face was a mask of worry.

‘Aunt Julie, it’s such a long story.’

‘Look here child I got all day, so you can tell it.’

Mona settled back into the couch and started to spill the whole sorted tale.

‘I couldn’t believe it Aunt Julie, I just couldn’t. I’d fallen in love with the man who had participated in the murder of my parents. How could I have been such a damn fool?’

‘Now okay Mona, I know you’re upset but no foul language in my house.’

‘I’m sorry but this entire situation has me in complete knots. I’m so hurt and torn up. I don’t know if I ever want to love anyone again.’

Aunt Julie was sitting there watching her niece. She had things she needed to tell Mona. Now looked like the opportunity she had been waiting on.

‘Mona, I need to share something with you about your friend, Mr. Serrano.’

‘What?’ Mona was confused what could her Aunt know about Luke.

‘I know him. I know you’re confused but I do know him. When your parents were killed, we tried our best to shield you from the whole situation. Now, I don’t know if that was a good thing for me and Uncle James Stanley to do, but we did the best we could. We went to the court for the trial, we met with the prosecutor. The whole thing was sad and I was angry, thank the Lord for your Uncle because I wanted kill some folks. Somebody had taken away my sister, my Emily.’

This was the first time she’d ever heard this from her Aunt. She has no idea how this had affected her too. Mona was just a child so her pain was the only important thing to her at the time, but she’d forgotten Aunt Julie had lost her beloved baby sister.

‘They weren’t sure they could find and convict that monster who did this, but then someone came forward. A witness. We were surprised and so was the prosecuting attorney but everyone was thrilled. Someone would testify to what they’d seen that night and what happened. This person knew who the person was that had set fire to your daddy’s restaurant. I was so thankful because if they hadn’t come forward, we would probably never had known who did that evil thing. You know who that person was?’

Mona just stared at her Aunt blankly.

‘It was your Mr. Serrano, I remember him. I wasn’t sure when you told me his name that this was the same man but it is. My Lord, what a small world we live in. He was brave and, yes I was mad he took part in that, but I knew he was kid and fear made him run. He didn’t help or even stay as those boys set fire to your daddy’s place and he did the right thing, he came forward. You know I think God brings people into our lives for a reason. We may not always know right then but it reveals it itself.’

Tears came to Mona’s eyes again, not tears of pain but tears of joy. He hadn’t actually been there, he hadn’t actually participated, and he’d testified against what she figured were his friends at the time. He’d done the right thing then, but she knew he’d done the wrong thing now by not telling her sooner. She wondered why. He could have easily explained this whole thing, why had he chose to keep it a secret? She’d told him about her parents, why didn’t he just say something.

‘Aunt Julie, thank you for this information. I remember when I was little my mama always telling me ‘remember baby, remember your heart, there’s a reason you have one’. I was never sure why she said that until now, my heart is forgiving. All these years I didn’t even realize I’d been keeping all this unforgiveness, all that hate in until right now. All my pain and anguish at the death of my mama and daddy. It was so unfair, it was so unfair.’

Her Aunt got up and went to sit beside Mona and put her arms around her and just held her as she cried.

‘It’s okay darling, it’s okay. You know God can give you double for your trouble. From what I’ve heard this man loves you, he treats you well. Yes, he wasn’t right for keeping that secret but I think he kept it because he didn’t want to hurt you.’

‘Hurt me? Hurt me? I’m in so much pain now.’

‘Listen Mona, we all do things that at the time we think are a good idea. I think me and your Uncle thought it was a good idea not to speak about your mama and daddy. We thought it would hurt you if we did so we just tried our best to make sure your life went back to normal. But really how is anyone ever going to be the same again when their parents die? Especially since you were so young. It was dumb of us, but we tried.’

Mona took her head off her Aunt’s shoulder and looked at her, ‘no, no Aunt Julie it wasn’t dumb. I knew you and Uncle James Stanley did the best you could in a tragic situation.’

‘Then why don’t you extend Mr. Serrano that same understanding.’

Mona had to sit back for a minute, her Aunt was right. But with all that had occurred between her and Luke she didn’t know if it could ever be the same between them.

‘I don’t know Aunt Julie. How do I overcome this?’

Her Aunt Julie looked at her with love and took her arthritic finger and poked her in the chest and said, ‘remember your heart.’

Through the tears Mona smiled for the first time in a long time. There was hope and she felt free.

‘Okay darling, come on back here and get some of this good lasagna.’

Mona realized then too that for the first time in a long time she was starving. They got up and headed for the kitchen with the smell of delicious lasagna. Mona was relieved, things would be alright.

shadow-man-woman<<<<<*****<<<<<>>>>>*****>>>>>

Luke was coming into his condo with take out, he’d been hold up there since his run in with Mona and had no idea how to mend this tragic situation. He’d been thinking about just showing up at her house with roses and the ring he’d been hiding in his sock drawer for the last 2 months. Yes, he wanted to marry her but just hadn’t mustered up the courage to ask before this debacle occurred and now it seemed it too late. He’d looked high and low for a ring to fit her and finally decided she was more unique than any diamond could express. He’d found a beautiful ruby ring with yellow diamonds surrounding it. It set him back a few thousand bucks but nothing was too good for Mona, nothing except the truth. Now it set his drawer, taunting him every time he saw it with his own stupidity. What the hell was he supposed to do now?

As he walked through the door, he saw Brady and Amber cuddled up on his couch laughing watching a movie. He really liked that those two were together and he tried his best not to put them in the middle of his drama. He’d explained to Amber exactly what happened the day they saw him at lunch with Sheila Webster, but he asked her not to tell her Aunt. He didn’t want to seem like a slithery snake running around having these kids do his dirty work. They deserved to enjoy each other. They’d both be heading back to school in the next week. He’d actually miss them both. Brady had been great to have here at the house and Amber was just delightful. He couldn’t have made a better girl for Brady. He hoped his son knew how lucky he was to have a great girl like her. It was something he knew now, he thought regretfully.

‘Hey guys.’

Brady looked up to see his dad and tried to shift so he and Amber didn’t look too intimate.

‘Hi Luke!’

‘Hey dad, what’s up?’

‘Nothing. How about you two?’

‘Nothing much just hanging out watching movies. What you got?’

‘Oh it’s Thai, do either of you want any? There’s plenty.’

‘We’re cool dad, we ordered pizza.’

Luke went into the kitchen and set down his bag and began to pull out containers. It smelled delicious but he wasn’t sure he was hungry.

Suddenly Brady and Amber appeared in the kitchen staring at him.

‘Dad, you okay?’

‘Yes, I’m fine. You guys go back and finish your movie.’

‘Luke, we’re just asking. We both worry about you and Aunt Mo.’

‘I know and you two have been fantastic but don’t concern yourself with what we old folks are doing. You two have college starting up soon, worry about that. Let me worry about what’s happening with me and Mona.’

‘Luke, I don’t know what’s up but I did want to tell you that my Aunt Mo went out to see my grandmother last week. And when she came back she was different.’

Luke furrowed his brow at Amber, ‘different? Different how?’

Amber looked over at Brady who just shook his head encouraging her to continue.

‘She seemed peaceful, not really happy but at ease. I don’t know. I asked her about it and she just kind of…I don’t know hemmed me off.’

‘Has she been like this the whole week, do you know?’

‘Yea, ever since she came back from seeing my grandmother in Astoria. It’s weird but she just seems better. I don’t know what that means for you Luke.’

‘Thanks for telling me that, sweetheart. Right now it doesn’t matter what it means. I’m just happy she’s better. You guys finish watching your movie.’

Amber smiled at Luke as she and Brady left and he returned it. He was thrilled to hear that Mona was okay, but he wondered what happened between her and her Aunt that she’d have this change of heart. He left his dinner and went into the bedroom and closed the door. He opened his sock drawer and extracted the ring box. It was beautiful box, black leather with silver stitching around it. He opened it to peer at the ring he wanted to give to the love of his life as he asked her to marry him. He looked and wondered what the news Amber had just given him meant for their chances or did they still even have a chance.

<<<<<*****<<<<<>>>>>*****>>>>>

It was 7:15 p.m. on a rainy Thursday evening. It has been getting colder as Autumn approached. Mona was sitting in the TV room with Vince Torino and Sergeant Chuck Riley at the table laughing and talking. She had a shift till 5 p.m. tomorrow then she’d be off a day then back on for a 14 hour shift. She’d been feeling better more like her old self again but she still hadn’t spoken to Luke. She knew she needed to but there was just something in her that was holding back. The odd part was after the visit with her Aunt Julie and letting her grief regarding the death of her parents flow, she’d forgiven Luke for his deceit. But there was still something that couldn’t let her face him just now. She’d been working on that but at the moment she still needed time alone to figure out where or if they’d be moving forward in life together.

The guys that were there tonight were either washing clothing or eating. Kimura and Powell were sitting on the couch watching something mindless on television, it was relatively quiet. Hopefully tonight would stay quiet, Mona hadn’t been getting as much sleep as she needed lately although but the nightmares about her parents had stopped. She wasn’t looking as haggard as she had but even she knew her glow had not returned. She kept wondering was that due to the fact Luke was still out of her life. She looked from Torino to Sgt. Riley both with happy and laughing at some joke Chuck had just told. They had loves of their own. Torino was dating a nice guy, Chuck’s family was great as ever, he and his wife were getting ready to celebrate their anniversary. That’s what Mona wanted, deep in her heart that’s what she knew she deserved. She decided right then that within the next couple of days she’d get in touch with Luke. She wanted this ache to be gone, she wanted to know what would happen between them. If the love was still there.

‘Mona, you okay?’ Torino asked.

‘Yea, Vince I’m fine. I’m just a little tired, maybe I need to turn in…’

The sound of the fire alarm cut off Mona’s reply. Time to go. She and the rest of the guys jumped up and headed for the poles, they made quick work of everything. Getting on their gear in a few quick minutes and onto the trucks. There was shouting of instructions as dispatch started giving details on the incident, a house fire, she disliked those. They could easily get out of control and spark fires in nearby homes, these houses were packed on top of each other in this neighborhood. It was a constant source of annoyance for the firefighters at the firehouse.

Mona set in the front cab of the truck, listening and taking notes as dispatch spoke. Kimura was sitting across from her, relaying information regarding the incident site. There were so many things going on all Mona could do is concentrate and pray. It never got any easier when they went out on a call, her adrenaline was always rushing, she was scared but that served her well. Frightened was good, it meant she avoided making stupid decisions at the incident site.

They pulled up and it was worse than they imagined, the fire was raging out of control. It was two story home and it looked like the fire’s origin was on the first floor. That would make it easier to try and get under control but there were so many things to watch. She was out in a flash, helping Kimura get the hoses unfurled and hooked up to the hydrant. She and Kimura worked well together he knew his role and she knew hers which made things easy. There was a couple with three kids standing near the street sobbing, the woman kept putting her head in the man’s shoulder.

She heard Chuck shout, ‘there’s one missing. There’s a kid missing,’ over to Torino and Powell.

She knew that meant, there was a person who may not have gotten out.

‘Powell. Anderson. Start searching. Torino get over here and get on the hose.’

Torino came running and Mona took off in one direction as Powell took off in the other around the perimeter searching for the other kid. She was 14 years old and named Phoebe Weiss. Mona had searched for missing people before at incident sites, she was sure that’s why Chuck sent her. She had a knack for knowing where people maybe hiding and that’s what she was praying for that this child was just hiding because there was no way anyone was going into the fire, not tonight. She heard Powell’s voice calling out to the side of her.

‘Hey, is anybody here? Phoebe?’

Then suddenly in her peripheral vision she saw him go toward the house. There was complete commotion everywhere. The last thing she needed was Powell doing something stupid.

‘Powell, what the hell are you doing?’

‘I’m going in. I hear her so I’m going in.’

‘Powell! Have you cleared that?’ she shouted running towards him. Sometimes the hissing of fire could sound like a human being, they all knew that. Why was this jackass going into that house? Even if it was the child’s voice it was too risky, especially alone. She saw him enter the burning house and thought, you idiot, this was going turn into a disaster. As she looked in she could see him, he was turning in circles as if he was disoriented, which wasn’t hard to do when inhaling smoke even with the mask on. Suddenly she saw him stagger and fall, it all happened so fast. Mona couldn’t wait, she had to get in there. She couldn’t leave a fellow firefighter to die even if she hated his guts. She was on her radio in a flash reporting to Sgt. Riley.

‘Powell is down. I’m going in after him.’

Mona didn’t wait for a reply she just charged ahead. It was foolish thing to do she knew but she no choice.

She heard a crackle and then Sgt. Riley say, ‘Anderson get the hell out of there! I’m ordering you to abort that rescue.’

Mona couldn’t hear much more as the fire crackled and sizzled around her. Items in the home were bursting from the flames and heat, the whole place was combustible. Then suddenly she heard it, the ceiling caving in and then she saw as it fell on top of Powell’s limp body which was now buried under a pile of burned wood and sheetrock. She turned to see Torino standing at the side door and suddenly Mona felt a hot swoosh as something landed on her hard. She went down as everything began to go black and the last thing she heard was, ‘Mona! Mona!’ as Torino screamed her name.

I Have Some Stories to Continue

Like many people who write romance I may every once in awhile write secondary characters that are in a budding romance themselves. In these stories I don’t go into much detail about these secondary characters or their story, but you get glimpses. Those glimpses are there so you know there will be an upcoming story, an offshoot, from the main romance about these two secondary characters. I’ve done this on a few occasions in A Common Kind of Love, Rendezvous, Remembering Your Heart, and now in Surviving in Dateland. As I’ve told you before I do love a series and I find this the best way to do series for romance. But the thing is you haven’t seen me start any of these stories, well at least you haven’t seen them posted yet on this blog. But please be assured, they are coming and coming soon. There are tons of story lines dancing in my head about secondary characters from the stories I’ve mentioned. So I want to encourage you to stay with me as I bring back some of my secondary characters in these stories for their own romantic adventures.

Zoe and Al from A Common Kind of Love

Kurt and Joy from Rendezvous

Amber and Brady from Remembering Your Heart

Bailey and his mystery woman from Surviving in Dateland

Also if you haven’t read some of these, please check them out. I thoroughly enjoyed writing and sharing them all. So please don’t worry if you liked a secondary character and were dying to hear their love story, it’s coming, it’s coming…

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