Greetings from my very comfortable bunker, where I have been sequestered away on a writing retreat. It has been very good… I am about at the midpoint of the book, which is the point of no return for me. Once I get to that point, I know what’s happening and there is no chance I’ll decide the book is dumb and I can’t finish it.
I’m just about there. EXCITE!
I wanted to share a snip of something I’ve written this weekend, so grab a cuppa joe and settle in for a Sample Sunday!
This project is titled Leslie’s Curl & Dye. It is contemporary black romance, set in a small southern town. Tropes are Second Chance Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Small Town Romance.
Dueling salon owners with a history that hails back to their college days must overcome a long held animosity and work together to save the small town of Potter Lake, Georgia from a corrupt city government.
“So, what brings you to this side of town?” Leslie sprayed the remaining shampoo suds down the sink as she asked. “And don’t even try that ‘in the neighborhood’ business. You are never in this neighborhood.”
“Nah, I came over here on purpose this time. I wanted to know if you’d thought about what we talked about the other night.”
She led me around the corner, stopping in front of the tall stack of towels. She pulled one off the top and began drying her hands. “Yeah, I thought about it. Thought about it a lot.”
“Okay.” I straightened, standing with my feet apart and folded my arms across my torso. “And? What are your thoughts? Your arguments? Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow? Are you bringing anyone with you?”
“I’m coming to the meeting tomorrow. Tamera will be there and I’ll be bringing a few people, my dad and grandpa for starters. But it won’t be to support you or the other side of town.”
“Oh? So what’s the purpose of—”
“The purpose would be to show the Mayor that this side of town isn’t dead yet, so stop trying to kill us by bringing in modern replacements. Quincy Adams is shady as hell, and has been for awhile. I think the city council is afraid of him, but if we can get any reaction from either side of our issue, it’ll mean he’ll be out of the picture, which is good for my business and yours. But don’t for a minute think we’re marching over to that meeting tomorrow to support you. Far from it.”
“Les? You okay back here?” Tamera poked around the corner, sticking her nose in where it didn’t belong.
“I’m fine Tam. We’re just talking about the meeting tomorrow, about our purpose for showing up.”
“And how we’re not going up there to beg Mayor Adams to give KC some money?” She gave me the up-and-down glare, and pursed her lips into a scowl.
“Your face is gonna get stuck like that,” I told her.
She sucked her teeth and uttered, “Boy, shut up,” before dipping her head back around the corner.
I chuckled, hiding it behind a hand. “I like getting on her nerves.”
“I see that. But please stop it, because after you’re gone I have to hear her bitching about you all day and I’m not in the mood.”
“I’m surprised you don’t join in with her. Haven’t ya’ll been singing in the ‘Fuck KC Cavanaugh chorus’ since college?”
“Don’t get it twisted, KC. I haven’t spent all this time thinking about you, if that’s what you’re getting at. After you left Healy, life went on. I graduated, I met someone, we broke up, I came back here.”
“Ah huh. Okay, well..” I stepped back, putting some space between she and I. I sensed something stirring up and I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with it quite yet. “I appreciate that you want to approach the city council with me…”
“Alongside you. With a completely different motive. Related but not the same.”
“Alongside me, then.”
“So, if things don’t go the way you want them to…then what?”
I raised my hands in a sign of surrender. “I’m just trying to think about one step at a time right now. Let’s attend the meeting. Let’s see what happens. Then make a decision after the meeting and go from there.”
Leslie shrugged, which made her shoulder-bearing top shift. One side fell lower than the other, showing off the strap to her tank top and a patch of golden brown skin. Leslie had always had the perfect skin tone, like burnt cinnamon. The ring in her nose, a small gold hoop, was new but it fit her like she’d always had it. Like any respectable hair dresser, her locs were on point, as was… everything about her. I’d always thought she was the perfect match, a thick snack that was whip smart and funny as hell.
I realized, standing in her shop and trying hard to get along with her, that I’d missed her.
Some nights I would lay up in a hotel room in some city, or on the bus with the team, or on an overnight flight wishing I could talk to her. Wishing I’d taken the steps to turn us from best friends into something more, but I was— I don’t know if scared was the word. I thought it would ruin everything, make things awkward between us if I leaned over and kissed her one day. She didn’t make a move either, so I was paralyzed. I didn’t know if she wanted me or not.
This cutie from a campus sorority started hanging around, showing attention. Everything I wanted to do with Leslie, I did with her. I regret that, to be honest. Because here we were, ten years later, snipping at each other like a bitter old married couple.
“Anything else we need to talk about?”
She dumped the towel she’d used in a basket next to the washer, then started emptying the basket into the machine. My gaze traveled from her bare shoulder to her small waist and generously round ass. When she turned around and realized what had my attention, she shot me a glare that wasn’t as vicious as she thought it was. She adjusted the shirt to cover her arm and shoulder again, then propped her hands on her hips. Which, I know was intended to make her seem more hostile, but the pose perked her breasts up perfectly.
And I was having a reaction.
“Uh…nah. Just… I’ll see you. Tomorrow. At the meeting.”
I turned, rushing back through the shop to my truck. I needed to make my getaway before parts of my body betrayed me in an embarrassing way.