Ebony Campbell is a smart, sexy career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is Brian Young, a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player to step up to the challenge.
Despite negative reactions, their fling develops into a deep relationship, and Ebony discovers juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures.
Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and the trust of those she loves.
“Have you ever been rollerblading?”
She laughed. “Not since high school.”
I stood up and extended my hand. “Come on, let’s give it a try.”
She hesitated. “Are you serious?”
“I will probably fall flat on my ass,” she warned as she stood.
I made a show of looking at her lovely ass. “I think you’ll be okay. Besides, I’ll catch you.”
Ebony choked out a laugh.
“Come on, we’ll wear knee pads and helmets. It’ll be fun.”
Twenty minutes later, we found a skate rental shop, padded up, and were ready to go. She asked the cashier to take a picture of us on her cell phone. She called it the ‘before’ picture. For some reason, she felt we’d end up covered in grass stains and bloodied knees.
I had my fair share of sports related injuries over the years. I’d done everything from rollerblading to trick bicycle riding. My true passion was surfing.
Staring out into the distance, I wondered if she would be willing to give it a try. Maybe not, but the idea of her in a bikini sent my imagination running wild.
We reached the boardwalk and struggled to find an area where skaters and bicycle riders weren’t clogging up the space. It took a few minutes for Ebony to gain her balance. After many attempts, she laughed, a look of pure happiness on her face.
“Let me help.” I slipped a hand around her bare waist. Her skin was unbelievably soft. The scent of strawberries and whipped cream from her funnel cake mixed with her perfume made it hard to keep my focus.
“Don’t let me fall, Brian.”
“If you fall down, I’ll protect you.”
She didn’t seem reassured, but she took my hand and held on tight. “Believe me; if I go down, I’m taking you with me.”
Once she found her balance, I moved in front of her. Ebony kept her knees bent and skates pointed straight while I pulled her along, skating backward doing all the work until she got comfortable.
We started slow, navigating our way down the boardwalk staying out of the way of the more experienced skaters, bike riders, and skate boarders. I continued to glance over my shoulder, keeping our path clear.
The happiness on Ebony’s face was a memory I would never forget. Her eyes were full of laughter. She smiled the entire time, and never once did she loosen the grip on my hands. No matter how hard her grip, the connection was what I savored.
We traveled a good distance away from the skate shop. I mentioned it to Ebony, and she looked over her shoulder.
A dog ran by chasing a Frisbee. The dog’s sudden appearance surprised Ebony who instantly moved her feet. Our skates tangled. Everything moved in slow motion as I started to fall, allowing me to live up to my promise to protect her body.
“Oh, no, Brian, are you okay?”
I lay on my back, closed my eyes, and took a moment to evaluate the situation. I could still feel my toes and fingers. My head was okay, thanks to the helmet.
My butt on the other hand was a problem.
An unexpected weight rested on my chest. I opened my eyes to the most beautiful sight: Ebony on top of me, staring into my eyes. Strange, I hadn’t noticed the light flecks of gold in her brown irises. Her lips were inches away from mine. My first thought was to feign unconsciousness so she’d perform CPR.
“I’m sorry!” She fiddled with the straps of my helmet while I groaned. “That dog ran by…oh, man. Where does it hurt?”
She sat up, straddled me, felt the back of my head, and then ran her fingers over my chest. Since her hand came away free of blood, I assumed I wouldn’t die today. She shifted her weight and ran her hands down my legs. The pain was worth having her hands on me. The feeling ignited my body. It wouldn’t be long before the growing bulge in my pants became visible.
“Why don’t they make butt pads?” I struggled to sit up. “I’m okay.”
Ebony aided me in the movement, genuine worry in her eyes. In the end, we were sitting facing each other.
“Are you sure nothing’s broken?”
“Yeah.” I massaged my neck and rolled my shoulders. I would pay for this in the morning.
Ebony removed her helmet. Her hair was a mess, but it looked good. She reached to release the curly locks from the ponytail holder, allowing them to settle on her shoulders.
Once our eyes met, she bit her lip. Her eyebrows shot up as she stifled a laugh. I smirked, which caused her laughter to burst out and me to join in. We looked like idiots.
Ebony wiped tears from the corners of her eyes. She was beautiful. Unable to resist, I ran my fingers through the free strands of her hair. She didn’t pull away. I indulged, brushing my fingers along her cheek, and tucked the hair behind her ear.
It felt like silk. As my fingers grazed her cheek again, her laughter slowed. Her eyes focused on me with just a hint of a question. Her lips parted, sending what I hoped was a silent invitation.
I was aware of the people veering around us as they rushed by. The sound of the ocean, laughter, and dogs barking were no longer the focus of my attention though. Nothing else mattered. No longer thinking, I did what came naturally. My finger rested beneath her jaw as I leaned in to kiss her.
I pressed my lips lightly against hers, inviting her to return the kiss, silently praying for permission for more. Her body tensed beneath my fingertips, so I stopped my lips from taking what they wanted. But, it was too late; I’d crossed the line.
After a day spent talking, laughing, and getting to know each other, it all came down to this kiss. Ebony didn’t pull away, so I kissed her again.
I was about to give up hope and deal with the consequences when her lips came to life.
For a moment, I thought I imagined it. But then she did it again. The warm slide as her lips pressed harder against mine.
I didn’t hesitate. I opened my mouth wider, slipping the tip of my tongue in and tasted…strawberries. Her hand came up and slid into the hair at the nape of my neck. If it were up to me, the kiss would never end. But this was neither the time nor place to explore the softness of her lips.
Ebony moaned when I pulled away.
“We’d better get up before we get run over,” I whispered, my voice thick with longing.
She said nothing, only nodded. I stood first and pulled her back to her feet. We rolled over to the nearest bench and removed our skates.
After wanting to kiss Ebony hours earlier, I had no idea I would be able to do it. She hadn’t said a word, and I didn’t know what to expect next. So I stood, holding my skates, and extended a hand. She took it willingly, and a smile played over her lips. Curiosity and something else I couldn’t identify filled her eyes.
We strolled back to the skate shop hand in hand.
M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, she never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free. Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple straitjacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.
MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken (Butterfly Memoirs, Book 1) became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.
MJ can be found online connecting with readers and other authors sharing her writing, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people.
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