Although I shared this extended sample of A Heart Not Easily Broken earlier this week, some of you may have missed it. If you haven’t read the first novel in The Butterfly Memoirs series, but you’ve read the first chapter you’re probably wondering if Ebony decided to take Brian up on his offer to meet him in the VIP section of the club. I can guarantee what happens next is a surprise for not only Brian, but for Ebony as well.
Check out the next chapter told from Brian’s Point of View….
I loved to work, but after spending the weekend playing late night gigs with my band, sleeping in on Monday would have been my preference, except my bills made it impossible.
Besides, laziness of any kind was not in my nature.
My cousin, Dylan, waved for my attention. “Hey, Brian, we’re done over here. Is there anything else?”
I cut off the weed whacker to appraise Dylan and Peter’s work, inhaling the smell of freshly cut grass. They did a good job clearing the yard of all the clippings. The decision to hire my young cousins for the summer paid off. Letting them handle the grunt work left me to handle the finer details, like trimming the edges of my clients’ professionally landscaped flowerbeds.
Sweat dripped from my brow, stinging my eyes. “No, we’re done. Take the bags to the curb.”
Dylan nodded before passing the message to his brother.
I removed the weed whacker’s carrying strap from around my neck, placed it in the bed of the truck, and then reached into the semi-melted ice in the cooler to retrieve a bottle of Gatorade. The liquid saturated my parched mouth. The bottle was empty in seconds.
“Heads up.” I tossed them both a bottle.
They murmured their thanks before leaning against the tailgate.
“Man, it’s hot,” Peter said. “How many yards have we done today?”
Dylan laughed. “This is the fifth one, bro.”
Peter turned to me for confirmation. I nodded and threw my empty bottle into the truck bed, adding to last week’s collection of bottles to be recycled.
“Man, how did I forget that?” Peter mumbled.
“Because your mind is still stuck three jobs ago,” Dylan replied.
Peter continued to have a look of awe on his face. I chuckled. If he got this flustered at the sight of three grown women lounging topless poolside, he was going to be dumbstruck when attending his first frat party in college.
I remembered my time spent in college. Somehow, I managed to discover my independence without screwing up too much along the way. Hot women always found their way into my dorm room once they learned I was in a band. A year after joining Diverse Nation, I got over the hype and focused on my craft instead. Being a member taught me discipline and kept me grounded with my eyes on the prize when it came to my career.
Music was my life. Cutting grass made it possible to pay the bills until my career took off.
I walked the yard one last time surveying our work. The hedges trimmed, grass cut evenly, and clippings set curbside. Mrs. Dillard would be pleased.
“Finish loading up,” I instructed, while walking up the long stone path that lead to a partially covered overhang, and rang the doorbell. The narrow strip of shade didn’t do much to ward off the sun’s oppressive heat. My attention went to the flowerbed kept near the front door. There were a few weeds growing among her flowers.
I smiled down at the older woman as the door opened. She was in her late sixties and believed in looking her best at all times. Mrs. Dillard lived next door to my parents. She’d been my first paying customer. She’d advertised my services at the monthly homeowner’s association meetings until nearly every neighbor became my customer. As a thank you, I offered her a lifetime of free yard maintenance. She refused, insisting she pay a discounted rate instead.
“Mrs. Dillard, you look young as ever.” I flashed the smile that used to earn me milk and cookies.
She laughed. “Brian, you are such a flirt. If I were thirty years younger…”
I shook my head. “Yeah, but then Mr. Dillard wouldn’t want me to come back around.”
“True, oh, well.” She stepped out onto her porch to survey the yard. “A great job as always, thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Unable to resist, I asked, “When are you going to let me weed your garden? It would be free of charge.”
“Never. I love to have my hands in the dirt. You handle the rest of the yard. I’ll handle my weeds.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I accepted the check. “Thank you. We’ll see you in two weeks.”
Sweaty bare feet hanging out the passenger side window greeted me when I reached the truck.
“Peter, I am not going to be held responsible by Aunt Gina if your foot gets cut by road debris.”
“Sorry,” he muttered, sliding his feet back inside. “It’s hot as h-e-double-hockey sticks out here. My feet were on fire in those boots.”
Now that his feet were inside, it made sense he’d hung them outside. Telling him to climb into the bed of my truck didn’t sound like a bad idea.
“Aunt Gina’s not around. You can drop your choirboy act, and say ‘hell’. It’ll be our secret.”
“Yeah, right. My mom probably has my boots bugged. She’d come home and slap me upside the head after listening to the recording.”
I cracked up. “Do you plan to let loose when you move into your dorm?” I concentrated on backing out of the driveway.
Dylan and I both chuckled. My attention turned to my parents’ house next door. The yard would not need maintenance for another week. Unfortunately, my mother wasn’t home. What I wouldn’t give to snag a piece of homemade apple pie kept in the fridge for my dad.
From time to time, I missed home and my four obnoxious sisters. There were plenty of good times shared in my childhood home:birthdays, holidays, and just flat out fun. My father made sure that as the only boy in a household full of women, we spent a lot of time together. My mom and sisters taught me how to treat a woman while my dad taught me how to be a man. Work hard, and never, ever take no for an answer. Words I lived by on a daily basis.
We’d reached the front of the subdivision when my cell phone rang. I jotted down notes before snapping the phone shut. “It looks like we’ve got one more job.”
Groans erupted from my passengers.
“Hey, you want to get paid, right?” I glanced over my shoulder while punching the address into my GPS. “This is how it’s done. You guys want money for dates; I need money for my girl, too.”
“What girl?” Peter blurted.
Dylan cackled from the back seat.
“I have a girl. Unlike you guys, my girl isn’t high maintenance. She loves it when I hold her, and it doesn’t take much for me to make her sing.” I grinned so hard my face felt like it would split in two.
Dylan pretended to puke.
“Dude, you seriously need to find a girlfriend. I can’t stand listening to you talk about your guitar like it’s a real woman,” Peter said.
“Yeah, man, you need help,” Dylan chimed in.
“No, what I need is a new guitar. That will take my playing to a whole new level.”
Peter snickered. “Maybe, but your love life is gonna suck.”
I smirked, ignoring the ribbing. These young guys just didn’t understand. There was more to life than chasing after women.
Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the new customer’s address. There were no cars in the driveway. According to the woman who called, her roommate was on her way and would be responsible for payment. The guys waited in the truck while I surveyed the property, walking the length of the lawn, tossing small rocks to the yard’s edge. The last thing I needed was to pay for a customer’s broken windshield caused by a rock thrown by the lawnmower.
The two-story house had a decent sized yard. There were a few large shade trees in the front. A quick assessment showed the roots shouldn’t get in the way of the lawnmower blades. My height allowed me to peer over the high, wooden gate of the backyard. It was less than half the size of the front. We’d be able to knock it out in no time.
Peter and Dylan were out of the truck when I returned, so we went over the game plan. We’d just wrapped up when a car pulled into the driveway. I exhaled deeply before turning back to fill the weed whacker with gasoline. Our drive would not be a waste of time.
I heard the slam of a car door, followed by the opening of another. Light footsteps crunched on loose gravel in the driveway as my customer approached. I turned to introduce myself in full customer-service mode.
I paused; thankful my customer’s attention focused elsewhere, and quickly shut my mouth. It was Ebony, the woman from the club.
Her attention appeared to be on something in her purse as she walked my way, so she hadn’t seen me yet.
She was not dressed as she was Saturday night. Her hair wasn’t flowing over her shoulders, tempting my fingers to get lost in its waves. Her legs were not bare, nor did she wear a skin tight, short dress, showing off shapely calf muscles, as she had the other evening. Instead, she wore a baggy shirt over pants with some kind of printed design, something like standard medical wear. She wore her hair in a ponytail, and her feet were in tennis shoes. She struggled to balance an armful of books of various sizes and a book bag over her shoulder.
Ebony was still sexy as hell.
“I’m glad you haven’t got started yet. My roommate called me at the last minute and told me you were coming. I don’t have any cash on me. Do you take checks or−?” Her voice faltered when she saw me. “Brian? What are you doing here?”
I caught a hint of fire in her eyes and something else. Maybe guilt for not meeting me in VIP?
“I’m here to cut your grass.” I screwed the top back on the gas can, fighting the urge to laugh at the irony of the situation.
Play it cool. I was not about to let her know how disappointed I’d been sitting alone. What happened a few nights ago had nothing to do with the money she was about to put in my pocket.
“I thought you were a musician.”
I pulled goggles and gloves out of the driver’s side door pocket. “I am, but it doesn’t pay the bills just yet. This is my day job.”
Ebony’s eyes traveled to the truck and my cousins before settling back on me.
“This is my business,” I added, watching her thin eyebrows arch.
Since I hadn’t questioned her about the VIP incident, she seemed to relax. The sound of a lawnmower cranking up broke the awkward silence.
“Well, I’ll get out of your way.” She backed away from the truck and headed for her house.
It dawned on me I did not answer her question regarding the form of payment. At least it would give me something to talk about when we were done.
Saturday night, Ebony disappeared like Cinderella, without leaving a hint of a glass slipper. Now, barely two days later, I found where she lived. What were the chances? This was fate.
I took the opportunity to appreciate every inch of her hidden under baggy clothes. The image of her in the black form-fitting dress revealing every curvy inch of her body had haunted my dreams.
Outside the club, in natural light, Ebony did not disappoint. Her almond shaped eyes were a rich shade of brown, dark and mysterious. She wore no makeup on her caramel skin, and her lips were naked, with no hint of gloss.
I chuckled when she finally got her front door unlocked. It appeared she’d run into some trouble with her key. Flustered perhaps?
I hoped so. With a little luck, I just might have a chance to get her to talk to me about more than grass.
If you haven’t read the Amazon Bestseller, A Heart Not Easily Broken, buy your copy today! It’s $3.99 and available for Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and on Smashwords. If Paperback is what you prefer, find it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!
Ebony 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 a blond-haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge.
When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds 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 her best friend’s trust.
For more information on The Butterfly Memoirs Series and a sample of the next book, Jaded, visit this link!
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