Genre: 20th Century/Historical/Interracial
You may think it’s sloe fizz gin
But honey we’re sober, just drunk on men
When three African-American women meet at a resort on the Jersey Shore in the 1920s, they say goodbye to their old lives. Finding men as intoxicating as bootleg liquor, they pin their futures on happily ever after. But love can be worse than a hangover when the men’s flaws threaten to destroy them.
Hannah knows it’s time to replace her fiancé who died in the war, but the abrupt white man who rescues her from rough surf hardly fits the bill. Belle longs to ditch her latest meal ticket, but is the rich African-European owner of an upscale hotel out of her league? And while Edie struggles to face her upcoming arranged marriage, a rugged Hispanic-white fisherman decides to stake his own claim on her.
Excerpt (Vol. 1)
Hannah looked down at herself. It was even worse than she imagined. Sand caked her wet feet and legs. She’d never be able to put her stockings and shoes back on without ruining them. And her frock… Lord help her, it clung to her in a very provocative way. Or at least it would if she weren’t so thin. So why did his gaze heat her skin to the point of frying?
“Where are you staying?” he prompted.
She glanced across the boardwalk at her hotel. To her dismay, it appeared grander than ever against the pearly sky with its dark cedar siding set off by white trim. Grooved columns with curly things on top ringed the large porch, making it resemble a mansion.
“Wilmott Hotel,” she replied.
His head reared back as he laughed. “Wilmott Hotel? You’ll make quite an entrance soaking wet. Whatever possessed you to do such a thing? Young ladies who stay at the Wilmott don’t usually—”
“I don’t know what came over me. I’ve just never seen the ocean before.”
His lips curved into a semi-smile. “Never?”
“My aunt is sure to be looking for me, sir.” She glanced at the hotel again. “I’m going to try to return to my room, without getting thrown out.”
He adjusted his hat. “You need a blanket to cover you. Ah, there’s one.”
“No,” she called out after him as he headed toward it. “It belongs to someone. Probably those women bathing over there.”
“A few years ago, you could have been arrested for exposing bare legs.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Not that I agree with such a useless law, but—”
“Arrested?” Hannah exclaimed. “I had no idea.” That would be worse than death.
Even Esther had never been arrested.
She nibbled her fingernails as he approached the ladies. Her ocean adventure got more embarrassing by the minute. After an exchange of conversation she couldn’t hear, he picked up the blanket, carried it to her, and wrapped it around her body. Her skin warmed even more. How could she let a white man put his hands all over her, especially where everyone could see?
“What are you doing?”
“Those kind ladies agreed to let us borrow their blanket for a few minutes,” he replied. “Long enough for me to get you upstairs to your room.”
“You?” Hannah sputtered as sea water dripped off her hair onto her face. “You can’t go to my room.”
“Don’t worry,” he said as he tightened the blanket and lifted her in his arms. “I don’t plan to do anything inappropriate. My hotel is serving the midday meal , and I don’t want to be late.”
Hannah opened her mouth, but too many words churned inside her head to choose from. “You can’t—”
But he was. Although not muscular, he carried her as if she weighed less than a small chicken. He cradled one arm around her back and the other behind her knees. The warm contact through the blanket pressed her wet clothes against her skin. The combination of heat and cold made her dizzy.
Drowning had to be easier than this.
Even Morris had never touched her so…familiarly. Her reputation as a decent Christian girl was as smudged as her dirty, wet frock. Morris’ memory didn’t fare much better.
“Put me down!” she yelled. “I don’t want you and the rest of the world staring up my dress.”
“I’m sure there’s nothing there the world hasn’t already seen, generally speaking.”
Forgive me, Morris. I don’t dare slap a white man, so I’ll turn the other cheek.
Afton Locke is a USA Today Bestselling Author who prefers romantic fantasies to everyday reality. Fantasies take her to different times, races, places, and beyond. She lives with her husband, several unnamed dust bunnies, and a black cat that can be scary or cuddly, depending on the current book. When she’s not writing, Afton enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and watching retro T.V.
Web site: http://www.aftonlocke.com
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