Just Between Us

As a result of a survey on social media, Zach and Tosha’s story (#ZnT) is now known as Just Between Us.

Single mom Tosha has made a home with Chaz, her fiancé, and their toddler, Emily. She’d hoped that Chaz would have given her a wedding band after Emily’s birth, but he keeps dragging things out. During a visit to her friends’, Karida and Tevin’s, house, Tosha discovers she’s pregnant with Chaz’s second child. She figures he’d rush to the altar now. That is until she walks in on Chaz doing the nasty with another woman.

Young bachelor Zach is ready to commit to the right woman, but after the latest breakup, he’s grown hopeless that he’d find his match. His friends, Karida and Tevin, convince him to go on a blind date with a woman they are sure he’ll adore. Zach experiences an immediate connection to Tosha and takes her to visit a crystal statue of intertwined swans. She wins his heart when she understands the significance of the swan dance.

Tosha is amazed at how much she’s into Zach. The only problem: she bids him good night without telling him about her daughter and the baby on the way. He calls after the date as promised, but guilt over her secret prevents her from answering. Tosha’s not sure she’s ready to trust another man with her still healing heart.

An excerpt from my Black/African American Romance novel, Just Between Us:

Tosha placed her hand on the knob and opened the door to a tall, slender, well-built man, his well-dressed attire topped off with a black bow tie. His eyes brightened at the sight of her, and he granted her the biggest grin she’d ever seen on a first date. She gasped, smiled back in spite of herself, and had to proverbially pull herself off the floor.

“Good evening,” he said with a tenor voice as smooth as butter, “I’m Zach Caldwell. You must be Tosha.” He extended his hand, but it took a moment for her to register what he expected.

“Yes, Tosha Brown,” she responded, realizing that she needed to shake his hand. He had a firm, yet gentle grip.

“Are you ready to go?” he asked.

She nodded and hooked his bent arm.

He waved at Karida and Tevin. “I’ll have her back before midnight.”

“There’s no curfew. Just have fun,” said Tevin.

Zach opened the passenger door and ushered her into his car. Once he’d gotten settled next to her, he pushed the key into the ignition and turned toward her.

“I’ve never been on a blind date before. Karida said you’d be fine wherever we went, so I figured I’d take you to my favorite steak restaurant. Is that all right?”

“Yes, that’s great,” she said, suddenly feeling like a schoolgirl going out for the first time. “I’ve never been on a blind date either. I think I’m a bag of nerves right now.”

“That makes two of us, so how about we try to relax and not worry too much about pleasing our friends. I look forward to knowing you.”

Tosha nodded, and he started the car.

A few minutes later, Zach broke the silence.

“I must confess I didn’t come into this date quite as blind as you might think.”

“I know. Karida told me you saw a photo of me.”

“That picture didn’t quite capture the essence of your beauty. You’re gorgeous! I must tell Karida to purchase a different camera.”

Warmth rushed to Tosha’s cheeks. “Thank you. You had the advantage. I didn’t see one of you.”

“I hope you’re not disappointed.”

A nervous smile escaped her lips. “Not at all. You’re a very good-looking man.”

“You’re not just saying that? I’d think you beautiful no matter what your impression of me.”

“No. I mean it.”

“I’m not a disappointment?”

“You’re an I’m-having-trouble-breathing kind of handsome.” Saying “hot” or “eye-candy” just didn’t seem appropriate on a first date. With his complexion a lighter shade of milk chocolate, he was, mmm, so fine. Tosha fanned her face.

He grinned, and his cheeks flushed a reddish hue. “Thanks, Tosha, you made my day.”

“You’re welcome.” Tosha gazed out the window. She found it difficult to look at him for fear she would pounce on him and cause an accident.

“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I’m really glad you agreed to go out with me.”

“I’m all right. I’m glad, too,” she admitted, as much to herself as to him.

Zach grinned again. In minutes, he pulled into a parking lot.

“I’ll get your door.” He exited and walked around the hood with a confident businessman’s swagger—back and neck straight with a casual swing of the arms.

She glanced at the steering wheel. Lexus. He had to be a white-collar worker. No way a construction guy drives a car like this.

He opened her door and offered her his hand. His touch sent electric chills to her core. Why hadn’t Karida warned her that she’d found the man of her dreams? He released her hand the moment she stood, but she almost didn’t let go. She matched his long-legged steps until he reached the front entrance where he opened the door. He waited until she entered before doing so himself.

Tosha had never known what it was like to be treated so special. Every second spent with him was a dream she didn’t want to end.

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