I feel like I’ve been particularly neglectful. Moving into a house was more stressful than I had imagined. You never know how much junk you have until you have to pack it all up and move it. I’m consistently fighting the urge to throw everything away.
If you own your own home, you are probably used to the hundred and one small things that need fixing. Most recently moving from an apartment where everything is repaired for you, it’s overwhelming when you move into a home and start noticing these things.
All this and at the same time, you’re surrounded by boxes and you don’t know where anything is.
But enough whining—I do like my house and the additional room to roam around.
Undeniable is available for pre-order at Amazon and will be released on May 5. I’m trying something different this time. Undeniable is available through the Kindle Unlimited program. This means it will only be available at Amazon. From what I’ve noticed, that’s where most of my books are sold.
For those of you who have read I Want You Back or the re-release of Deceived, the following excerpt will be familiar. Don’t worry. I’ll post another excerpt soon.
“Seriously, Anais, you’ve got to let me set you up with someone. After all, you did find Stuart for me.”
Anais Heart unpacked the last jar of her homemade, all natural hand cream onto the shelf and turned the jars so that their labels faced front. Only then did she direct her attention to her best friend and employee. “I didn’t find Stuart. He just walked into the shop and I introduced you.” He’d been shopping for his mother. Through the course of their conversation he had mentioned that he liked shopping for antiques. Since she knew that antiques were one of Nicole’s favorite topics, she had quickly introduced the two. Personally, she hated antiques. They gave her the creeps. Why would she want someone else’s old crap?
Nicole and Stuart had hit it off right away. That was six months ago. She sometimes missed her friend, but there was no denying the happy glow dating Stuart had given Nicole. Plus, this meant she no longer had to spend her weekends with Nicole dragging her to yard sales, flea markets, antique shops, and estate sales.
“Anais, you can’t tell me you don’t want someone special in your life. I mean, when was the last time you had a date?”
Anais folded the box she’d used to transport her goods from her home to the store. “Ha, I’ve got you there. It was three weeks ago.”
Nicole frowned. “What was his name?”
Anais’s brow furrowed as she struggled to recall his name. She’d met him through an online dating site. They’d met for ice cream at the mall a few towns over. Their date didn’t last long since he’d lied about his age. Instead of being thirty-two as he’d claimed, he was actually fifty-four. He’d used his son’s picture in his profile. Apparently, since he’d dyed his hair black, he thought he could pass for a man twenty years his junior. It was a real shame, too, because he’d seemed like such a gentleman in all the messages they had exchanged. He had been her first and last foray into online dating. None of the other men she’d talked to had even sparked her interest as it was clear that they were only interested in hooking up for sex. “That’s not important. But it was a date.”
“Couldn’t have been that good if you can’t remember the guy’s name. You should let me find you someone. I know you better than anyone else.”
Anais flipped the sign on the door to declare that A. Heart Natural Cosmetics was open for the day. She paused in the act of unlocking the door, grinding her teeth and wincing at the noise coming from across the street. “What exactly was the point of going through the process of beautifying the town and then letting that shop open right in the middle of it?” She had tolerated the months of renovation the old building had undergone with the understanding that the noise would stop once the construction was complete. Little did she know they were opening an auto body shop. The noise was fairly loud and pretty consistent.
Nicole came to stare out the window though there was little to see. The garage doors were down. “I don’t suppose there is anything they can do about the noise. It’s a small town. Sound carries—especially in the morning. And we’re not in the middle of town. We’re at the end of town.”
She ignored that bit of logic. “I have half a mind to go over there and-”
“Anais, please, don’t. I’m sure there’s nothing they can do about it. We don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with them. The mayor was just over there this weekend for their official ribbon cutting.”
“How do you know that?”
“I was driving by. The Chamber of Commerce was giving out hot dogs and all sorts of paraphernalia with their logo and phone number on it.”
Anais grumbled and unlocked the door. She went behind the checkout counter and Nicole followed her. “I’m telling you, I don’t know how long I can put up with that noise. Maybe I should look into relocating the store.” Her location wasn’t paramount to her business. She did a fair amount of online sales.
“Not if you don’t want to have to live through renovations. You know most of the buildings in town are falling in on themselves. That’s why the mayor was so thrilled to have them move in across the street. And I would think you would have enough construction going on at home that you wouldn’t want to have to deal with it at work as well.”
She sighed. “You’re right.” She’d been bequeathed a Queen Anne style Victorian house by her great aunt. The house was beautiful but unfortunately her aunt had been unable to afford the upkeep and much of it was in a shambles. Despite her dislike of antiques, Anais loved the house and decided to keep it. And it was a gift. It would be poor taste to turn around and sell the home. In the year that she had owned it, she had managed to make it safe. The remaining changes were largely cosmetic.
“Now that you’ve managed to change the subject for ten whole minutes, what is your objection to me setting you up? I think I know the perfect guy for you.”
Anais groaned. She couldn’t come up with a good excuse. It wasn’t that she had given up on dating. She was close to thirty. Twenty-eight to be exact. All of her friends except Nicole were married with kids. And as close and Nicole and Stuart had become, Anais could sense that marriage wasn’t far off.
She was looking for something serious. She was tired of wasting her time dating. She wanted to meet someone she could spend her life with. She didn’t even want to think about her ticking biological clock. As an only child, she wanted more than one kid. She didn’t want to panic, but she saw no reason to believe that she would suddenly meet someone special now any more than she had the previous five or so years. Unfortunately, she lived in a small town. She knew most of the eligible African American men already and she couldn’t think of a one with whom she was compatible. “Who is he?”
Nicole bounced on her toes and clapped her hands. Her thick blonde hair floating about her face. “He’s new in town. He’s handsome. This is going to be so good.”
Kyle Gray couldn’t believe he’d agreed to this shit. How had he let Stuart talk him into this? Oh, that’s right. He owed his cousin a favor for letting him know about the grants available for renovating buildings in town. He’d needed the opportunity since his life seemed to be going nowhere up north. He’d been working at the same place for almost ten years and he’d known he would be working there forever without ever advancing if he didn’t make a change. The only other thing holding him there had been his mother and they weren’t close.
He smoothed a hand over his head. He’d gotten a buzz cut recently because it was low maintenance. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked the text from his cousin again. The lady’s name was Anais and she would be wearing an eggplant dress. Kyle almost shook his head at his cousin’s attention to detail. Why couldn’t the man just say purple?
They were meeting at the town’s one and only bar/restaurant. It didn’t exactly qualify as fine dining, but the only other options were fast food and a family restaurant. The idea was to keep it casual and share a drink.
Kyle supposed he had no true objections to the set up. Since turning thirty-two last year he’d begun to think seriously of getting married and starting a family. Unfortunately, women took one look at him and assumed he wanted nothing but sex. That might have been true when he was younger, but he was tired of casual hook ups.
The timing was a bit difficult for him. He was still settling into a new place and opening his own business. For the moment, making his business a success had to be his top priority. He’d sunk all of his savings into the endeavor and he had no room for failure.
Kyle scanned the barstools in search of a woman in eggplant. He was causing a bit of a stir. He’d met quite a few of these people already. He returned nods of welcome and a spattering of hellos. He walked deeper into the bar and spotted a flash of purple in one of the padded booths at the back.
The first thing he noticed about Anais was her curly hair. It fell in shining, riotous spirals over her neck and shoulders. She had lovely brown sugar skin and a nice rack that made his breath hitch and his palms curl in anticipation. He tamped down on the sudden surge of lust, reminding himself that this was something that could lead to more. He’d let his dick lead way too often. He needed to get to know her. Then he could fuck her.
Besides, he still hadn’t seen her face. She had her head tilted down, her thick curls blocking her features as her finger skimmed over the touchscreen of her phone. He cleared his throat. “Anais?”
She stopped and looked up at him, her dark brown eyes meeting his for a moment before they scanned him from head to toe and then back up again, her lovely plump lips opening more and more as though she could not believe what she was seeing. Her shocked reaction reminded him of something that he’d forgotten. He didn’t exactly blend in with the small town look.