It's sweet, it's sexy, it's new, and it's guaranteed to bring you Joy! It's the final day of 20 Days of Love, and Suzette Harrison is stopping by to bring some Joy into your life. Read on!
Joy Matthews isn’t afraid of risks. She’s quit her Fortune 500 job and enrolled in culinary school, chasing her dream. Joy wants her own couture cake boutique. Pursuing her dream by day, Joy pays the bills working nights at The Hourglass—an exclusive gentlemen’s club catering to patrons who enjoy a little extra fine on a woman’s frame.
Joy’s catching up to her dream when a chance encounter reconnects her with Quinton Daley, a childhood friend. Mutual attraction throws the proverbial wrench in Joy’s relationship-phobic, happily agnostic life. A goal-oriented woman who ‘doesn’t do men with Bible breath,’ Joy sees in Quinton a whole lot of what she likes but doesn’t need. Tall, chocolate-skinned, and born-again, Quinton’s Christianity poses a risk even the tenacious Joy isn’t willing to take. Quinton Daley isn’t fazed. He’s a man of faith who’ll willingly wait on Joy to come to God…and him.
When love and lust heat up, Joy and Quinton face a predicament. Will they indulge? Or abstain? Join this wild mix of custom cakes, a saved, sanctified and sexy man, and an obsessed patron from The Hourglass who’s determined to make Joy’s life a sticky mess. It’s a recipe for a read that’s wickedly witty and delicious.
MY JOY EXCERPT:
"Why do you call me that?"
"What?" The man was cute even when confused.
"‘Baby’, Que. You realize you do, right?"
He shrugged. "Guess it’s just natural. You need me not to?"
I need you! No! No, no! No! Every devil was a lie. Joy Matthews won’t be needing a man. I might want one. But need? Thank. You. No, indeed. Indicating for Que to follow, I walked off the porch, preventing Mama and Miss Madeline further ear-hustling.
I stopped at my SUV parked in Mama’s driveway illuminated by streetlights and a full moon reflecting in Quinton’s beautiful eyes. "So, you find it natural for friends to call friends terms of endearment typically reserved for folks in romantic relationships?" I sounded weirdly defensive.
"Are you offended?"
"What I am is not wanting to get things twisted." I crossed my arms, feeling myself morphing into militant mode. "To resume an unfinished conversation, there’s a mutual attraction between us. Right?"
Leaning back as if to better see me, Que merely nodded.
"You’re unable to be booed up," I continued, wondering at the source of all the heat in me. "Still, you’re flirtatious. You send signals and drop words like this is some quasi-relationship."
"What signals, Joy?"
"Quinton, you just kissed me."
The man had the nerve to laugh. "On your doggone forehead, Bab—". He stopped, catching himself in the act. "Listen. Joy, I’m an affectionate man. If that’s problematic for you, I’ll apologize and pull back."
Crazy thing is, I did but didn’t want that. Never thought I could get into anything not leading to horizontal between the sheets, but I liked the innocence of Que’s flirtatiousness, his gentle touches. They were without expectation, or demand. Giving. Not taking. But obviously, for me, that didn’t compute easily.
"Are you suspicious of me?"
Well…bam! There’s that. I’m sure these gold-speckled eyes reflected surprise at Que calling my craziness on the carpet. Suspicious? Maybe, yes. What would this man want from me if not booty? Sensual, sexual was the way I managed mine. Guess my question to self was: could I do differently? "This here," I made swirly motions between us, "is foreign territory."
Que slid his hands in the front pockets of his jeans. "Are you afraid of that?"
"You do recall my telling you I don’t do relationships. Right? I wasn’t lying."
Que flashed that sexy, one-dimpled smile. "I see that."
"So what’re you after, Que? You’re saved. I need sex."
Quinton laughed that rich, deep laugh again. "Dang, woman, can I just get to know you?"
"You already do."
"Okay, Joy," Quinton muttered, doing that head-tilted-hand-over-mouth-this-woman-is-cray-cray thing brothers do. Exhaling, he looked at me. "It’s cool. Let’s keep this one-dimensional for your comfort."
"So now I’m shallow?"
Tossing his hands up, Que reclined against my vehicle. "You’re not gonna let a brother win for nothing!"
I had to laugh. "I can’t stand you."
"Because?" he demanded, all innocent.
"You’re adding complexity to my uncomplicated life." I fell silent before blurting, "You don’t get to be sexy as hell and a saved, sanctified Christian!"
Quinton was blushing and smiling. "So you were wanting to get with this, huh?"
We stood there grinning and goofy. Que reached out a hand. I took it. We continued looking at each other, cloaked by the sweetest kind of silence.
Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Mrs. Harrison pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother who holds a culinary degree in Pastry & Baking. Mrs. Harrison is busy cooking up her next novel…in between batches of cookies.
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