From the Publisher
“Full of steamy sex scenes, thought-provoking dialogue and shocking revelations.” Zane, New York Times bestselling author of Afterburn
“Readers will become engrossed to the point where they will not want to put the book down.” Zane
“Witty and sexy. You'll find yourself married to the pages of this novel.” Eric E. Pete, author of Gets No Love and Don’t Get It Twisted
“A moving story of how anyone's life can change, if they change first.” Katherine Woodward Thomas, author of Calling in “The One”: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life
“Maryann Reid is hot, and a true voice of her generation. She breaks down the psychology of baby mama drama like no other.” Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, bestselling author of Love Prescription: Ending the War Between Black Men and Women
Read an Excerpt
“You know if you need me to spend the night, I’ll stay,” Douglas said as Giovanna picked out two handblown green mugs she bought on a trip to Bahia, Brazil, six years ago. She handed one to Douglas with a teabag.
“It’s okay, I’m used to sleeping alone,” she said. “I’m getting used to those dreams about Grandma June. Even though it’s been weeks since she died, it’s like yesterday.”
Giovanna filled the old-fashioned teakettle with more water and turned on the stove.
She poured herself and Douglas cups of chamomile tea with lots of sugar. He had been a great help to her in the past two weeks and took Isabella off her hands whenever she needed. He didn’t even once complain about taking off days from his job.
Douglas stared at her while he drank from his mug. Since Grandma June’s passing, Douglas had been extra attentive to her and their newborn, Isabella. Giovanna eyed his black slacks and his blue shirt hanging out. He had grown a five o’clock beard in the last week, and Giovanna liked the look. She wondered if he had a new woman in his life, but she didn’t utter a word.
Douglas put his mug down, opened the refrigerator door, and pulled out a Heineken bottle. He bit the cap off and took a generous guzzle.
“Where did the beer come from?” Giovanna asked.
“Oh, I . . .” Douglas wiped his mouth and burped. “Bought some when I was here with Isabella all day Thursday.”
“I guess that tells you how much I look in my own refrigerator.” Giovanna gently touched the rim of the cup with her lips.
“I also bought some more milk and those crescents you like,” Douglas said, like a schoolboy looking for approval.
“You mean croissants?”
Giovanna sipped her tea. She just thought it was so cute the way Douglas tried to impress her. “Thanks, I’ll pay you back in cash in the morning.”
“You could pay me back with a li’l somethin’ somethin’.” Douglas bit down on his lower lip. They hadn’t had sex since they made Isabella. Giovanna smiled at his sly look and continued sipping her tea. She liked Douglas, but at thirty-five she had had enough hurts to make her proceed with caution when it came to love.
Douglas teasingly walked around her into the living room. Giovanna stayed in the kitchen and listened closely to what he was doing. She wanted to see if he was getting ready to leave for the evening. It was already 10:30 P.M. and he had spent the whole day with her. Most nights she was anxious to be alone, but tonight she didn’t want him to go. When she heard the jingle of a set of keys, she sauntered into the living room.
Douglas was laid across her Victorian-style sofa, wearing black silk pinstriped boxers.
“Excuse me?” Giovanna said, forcing herself from looking below his waist. The straight line of coiled hair from his flat stomach disappeared under his boxers, which bunched up between his strong thighs. She put down her tea and scratched her head.
“Look, I don’t think you should be alone tonight. Just give me a pillow and a blanket, please. Does this sofa pull out?” He got up and examined the bottom of the sofa and found the latch. He yanked it a few times and unfolded the sofa into a bed.
Giovanna couldn’t believe that he was making himself so at home. He hadn’t spent the night there since Isabella was born.
“Comfortable?” She smiled, with both hands on her hips.
“Yes, are you?”
“Just don’t try any slick stuff. You stay out here,” Giovanna said, picking her cup back up. “And thank you . . . for staying tonight.” She fetched two pillows and a blanket from the linen closet and handed it to him.
Then she took the long walk down her hallway to the bedroom. She left the door slightly open, in case Isabella woke up in the middle of the night. She fastened her long, thick hair in an elastic band to keep it neat in her sleep. Sitting down on her bed, she opened the drawer to her nightstand. It was the most underused drawer in the condo, containing an old bank card, a notepad, pens, and one condom. Giovanna examined the foiled wrapper and noticed that it was still good to use. But she put it back, unable to bring herself to go there with Douglas. She didn’t even know if he had a girlfriend or who he was sleeping with.
She untied her black silk robe and let it fall at the foot of her kingsize bed. The only light came from a small lamp on her nightstand. As she slipped under her black satin sheets, goose bumps erupted along her legs. When she closed her eyes, she saw Grandma June’s coffin being lowered into the ground. An image of Grandma June, alone tonight under the earth, sent pains to her hands. She covered her eyes and turned over on her back, then on her sides, and back on her stomach. On her stomach, she felt a pressure building between her legs. She didn’t know whether it was from seeing Douglas in his silk boxers earlier or if it was her body calling to be touched, comforted.
Giovanna looked at her parted door. But then she looked away. She grabbed a pillow, stuck it between her legs, and squeezed them together. She could hear Douglas snoring, and it brought some peace to her. After several slow, deep breaths her eyes began to feel heavy.
At 4:30 A.M., her door slid open. She didn’t hear it open, but she felt the sheets move. The cool satin sheets were now warm. Douglas’s fingers walked along the outside of Giovanna’s arms. They stopped when they reached the fleshy top part of her breasts. She laid there, her eyes closed, just wanting Douglas to feel good. He slowly pulled down the strap of her nightgown and cupped one breast with his hand. His lips grazed the tip of her nipple, which hardened like a black pebble. Douglas climbed on top of her, sucking on them with the gentleness of sucking on a straw. She didn’t push him away or try to understand what was happening. He lodged light kisses down her breasts to her stomach, which was round and soft. The bristly touch of his beard made her skin tickle. Sucking on the sides, he took his time as his lips drank her soft, pillowy flesh. Giovanna bent her knees and caressed his bald head. Douglas’s tongue traveled down to her neatly trimmed warm, wet spot. He spread her lips with his fingers and licked her. The inside of her thighs became shiny with her own juices. When he entered her with a gentle force, her body felt loose and alive. The weight of a man on top of her was something she had missed. His gentle strokes chipped away all the pain she had within.