Whew, ya’ll. This book is givin’ me the VAPORS. However, I WILL PREVAIL. No more giving up on books, amirite? (sure, until the next book gets hard and I feel like giving up).
Grab yourself a mug of something hot and delicious and enjoy today’s sample. The title of this book is Leslie’s Curl & Dye, about two former college sweethearts who are reunited when one moves back to a small town and opens a salon in direct competition with the other. Kade Cavanaugh might be putting Leslie’s Curl & Dye out of business, but he’s hoping to win her heart back.
“I’m being real serious. You have a problem and you want me to acknowledge it. When I had a problem, you said, uh, I ain’t mean to shut ya’ll down, my bad, but listen to how busy my shop is.”
I sucked my teeth and angled myself away from him. “If you think a bone in my body feels sorry for you, think again.”
“I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I want you to see the underhanded games this man is playing. I want to bring this up to the city council next week. I called today and put myself on the agenda. I’m going to try to get a bunch of people from my side together to sit in on the meeting. I was hoping you would do the same for your side.”
I shook my head. “You don’t know these folks over here. Mayor Adams could come set fire to their homes himself and they’d still think he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Only a few of us see through his smiling and baby kissing and glad handing.”
“That’s what I heard. He’s run unopposed for years. But that could change.”
“Wait…wha—“ I cackled, almost screamed in laughter. One of those gut level laughs you couldn’t even breathe through. “You… you think you could go against the Mayor in the next election?”
“Depending on how this meeting goes, I might think about it. Somebody has to do something, Leslie.”
“Interesting how somebody has to do something, now that your business is in jeopardy. Fuck mine, though huh?”
KC’s head dipped, his chin in his chest, shoulders slumped. “I don’t know how to go back in time and fix… everything. If I could, I would. But I’m doing something now and believe it or not, I want both sides of this town to thrive.”
The front door squeaked, announcing Mama hanging out of it. “Leslie, I told you to tell Tamera to come and get something to…” Her eyes grew wide with surprise and she came out onto the porch. “Well… hello, young man.”
KC stood, removing his cap again. He offered a hand to my mother, which she shook vigorously. About as vigorously as my eyes rolled at how she was fawning over him.
“Ms. Lee,” he drawled, the southern gentleman coming out in him. “I don’t know if you remember me– “
“Oh, of course I remember you. Leslie’s friend from over there at the University.” She pointed off to the left somewhere, as if that was even in the direction of Healy U. “And then, of course everyone knew who you were after you started playing for the NBA. I’m not a basketball fan but I sure loved hearing the talk around town. It’s good to have you back. You all done on the courts, then?”
“Yes, ma’am. I had a bad knee injury that hit at the wrong time and I couldn’t really get on another team. I cut out while I was still young and could do something else with my life.”
Mama nodded, just grinning up into his face, halfway in love with the man. I was ready for this day — and this visit to end.
“KC was just leaving. Came to deliver some news and he has to go. Right, KC?”
“Oh, well are you hungry? I could make you a real good meatloaf sandwich to go, with some potatoes on the side.”
The grin KC gave her could light up the night sky. Never ask a single man if you can feed him. It was like feeding strays.
“That sounds amazing, Ms. Lee. I would appreciate it.”
She nodded, grinning wider on the way back into the house. “I’ll pack it up for you right quick. Leslie, maybe he would like some tea?”
I glared at KC, arms folded across my chest, hoping all of my annoyance was evident on my face. “Do you want some tea?”
KC glanced over at me, then almost jumped back at my expression. “I guess not.”
“So, what is it that you want me to do?”
He resumed his seat next to me and slid the cap back over his head. Every moment was driving some small part of my body absolutely nuts. The sooner he could get off our porch, the better for us both.
“I need some support. I need to know that folks over here feel the same way I feel. The same way some of the folks over on the other side will feel, as soon as they find out there’s no money coming. I need the city council to see who they have leading the charge and if they don’t know, they should know. And if they know and are doing nothing, they need to be replaced. And so does the Mayor.”
“And if he doesn’t step down? And he decides to run for re-election in October?”
“Then he might have some competition.”
“From you? Need I remind you how loudly I laughed at that idea ten minutes ago?”
“Why couldn’t I? The leader of this country has no idea what he’s doing.”
I stopped laughing, the smile falling from my face. “That’s not even funny, KC.”
“Where is the lie, though? If he can do it, I can.”
“I don’t think it’ll be that easy.”
“I’m not saying it’ll be easy. It’ll be better than being swindled by a crook.”
The front door swung open again. We both stood and KC accepted the well-packed sandwich and sides in a brown paper bag. “I had some sweet potato pie left over from the fundraiser last weekend. I cut you a big slice and put it in there, too.”
“Mama, you feedin’ him like he ain’t ate food in a year. You see how big this man is?”
“It’s okay, Ms. Lee. It’ll get eaten, every bite. And I’ll send your containers back, too.”
“You do that. You headin’ out?”
“Yes ma’am,” he answered, one hand on the handle to the screen door. “Leslie, I hope we’ll talk soon.”
“We’ll see,” I answered, then went into the house and back to my dinner plate, leaving my mother to send him off. A few moments later, I heard the faint rumble of the Escalade start up and pull out of the driveway. I was suddenly ravenous, with a need to keep my mouth full so I couldn’t answer any questions about that nice, handsome young man.