This is one of Jamila Jasper's latest BWWM books that you definitely won't want to miss. If you enjoy interracial romance books and contemporary romance novels with pregnancy, you'll definitely want to read this entertaining and touching story by one of the best contemporary fiction writers in the interracial romance genre.
Shawna Raymond has bad luck with love. She's a dancer with a successful YouTube channel where she teaches easy-peasy dance moves to her viewers. She's an attractive African American woman who would rather focus on her career than dating due to a serious break up.
The world of dancers in their town is small and full of drama. Her best friend Amalia — a far less successful dancer — takes her out on the town to cheer her up and introduces her to an attractive white man on the dance scene named Alistair.
At first, Shawna thinks that Alistair "doesn't swing that way" but after a night of hanging out together, she realizes that not only is Alistair interested in her, she's very much interested in him.
There's only one issue. Amalia.
Amalia's interest in Alistair unfortunately coincides with Shawna's and she tries to keep the two of them apart to save all of their relationships with each other.
Except Alistair and Shawna have a passion that can't be stopped and Amalia starts to go too far in her attempts to keep things "fair and square".
Will there finally be a resolution that will allow Shawna to keep her man without losing her closest friend? Will Amalia wreck their friendship? Will Alistair want to stick around either of them after seeing what they're capable of?
Just like that it was over. Their years together meant nothing to him. Shawna had never expected anything to hurt quite so badly. He was supposed to be the one. He was supposed to be her lover and he had promised her forever. She sat in her apartment alone waiting for Amalia to call her back. She choked back her tears. She didn’t want to tell people but Amalia of all people deserved to know what had happened between them.
Shawna couldn’t believe that he’d been the one to dump her after all that she’d put up with. He’d slept with so many women behind her back. He’d stolen money from her. He’d even stolen money from her parents. Despite all of that, Shawna had still believed that he could change. She still believed that there was nothing inherently wrong with him and that everyone else was just willfully blind to his potential to be a good person.
They’d been fighting for weeks before the breakup. He was jealous that Shawna’s business was starting to take off and he would accuse her again and again of cheating on him. Shawna couldn’t take his jealousy. She could hardly take a trip to the grocery store without him attacking her and accusing her of infidelity. Her phone was filled with hundreds of messages by the time she returned home.
Now she was alone. Shawna had called her mother to let her know about the breakup. After all, her mother had always loved André and she at the very least deserved to know. Shawna worried that her mother would be disappointed in her for not making things work. Shawna’s mother didn’t know the truth about him. She didn’t know about the cheating or the lies. All she knew was the image that André had presented to her. And he was talented at creating that image. He was a strong, upstanding black man and everyone had hinted (or even said directly) how there was no chance in hell that Shawna could do better.
As Shawna poured herself a cup of tea, her phone rang. As she saw her mother’s name flash across the screen she suddenly felt anxious about what she was sure would be a verbal lashing.
“Hey mom, it’s me.”
“Hello girl. How are you doing? How’s work? How’s André,” She asked.
Shawna took a deep breath. All of a sudden the words were straining to come out.
“That’s what I called to tell you mom. André and I broke up,” Shawna said.
“Very funny Shawna. Now put his ass on the phone.”
“I’m not joking mom.”
“Shawna! Did you cheat on him?”
Shawna knew that she should have known better than to expect sympathy from her mother. She had never been renowned for her tenderness.
“No, I didn’t cheat on him. He cheated on me.”
“So you left him? Do you know how many good black men there are left girl? You can’t let one little mistake ruin years of being with a guy.”
“He left me.”
“Oh darling… Well don’t cry now. You tried your best with him I guess. Is he doing alright though?”
Shawna couldn’t believe she’d forgotten how impossible it was to communicate with her mother. She couldn’t get anything across to her if she tried. All her mother cared about was how things would look to the women in her church. She didn’t understand the stress that Shawna was under with growing her business and trying to make a relationship work with a man who had never appreciated her.
“I don’t know what he’s doing mom. I actually called you because I need help. I need advice. I don’t know what to do…” Shawna snapped.
Her mother paused for a moment as if she’d realized her own selfishness.
“Well honey, there’s not much you can do. Let live and let God.”
“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”
“Don’t blaspheme girl. I’m telling you that things will work out the way they’re supposed to. You’ve just gotta pray. You’ve just gotta keep working.”
Shawna sighed but in a sense she knew that her mother was right. She knew that things weren’t perfect in her life but if she kept her head down, then perhaps there would be a bigger chance of everything working out.
“I love you mom.”
“I love you too Shawna. Now you take it easy. If André’s meant to come back, he will.”
Her mother hung up. Shawna wasn’t even sure she wanted André to come back. But even so, she had enough wisdom from her mother to make her next move. Shawna wondered if she would have time that evening to head down to the studio. She knew the owner and he’d given her a key so she could drop by after closing time to film. Before Shawna could make a decision on whether or not to leave her house, Amalia called her.
“SHAWNA!! OH MY GOD GIRL HOW ARE YOU?” Amalia screamed into the phone.
She had almost no concept of an “inside voice”.
“I’m fine. We need to talk though. André left me.”
“No way. No fucking way,” Amalia said.
“I’m serious. Can you come over? Please… I really need you,” Shawna said.
Amalia agreed to come over right away. Her mother’s wisdom was one thing, but Amalia understood the reality of what Shawna had been through with André over the years. Shawna got up and found wine glasses and a half drunk bottle of red wine. There’s no way that Amalia could sit and talk about a break up without wine. The woman loved her red wine.
Shawna couldn’t miss Amalia’s car screeching into her driveway. Amalia was possibly one of the worst drivers that Shawna had ever met. She banged one the door and screamed Shawna’s name in a singsong voice. Shawna opened the door to see her best friend standing there in the clothing she was wearing when she’d last seen her.
“Did you stay out all night?”
Amalia flashed her an impish smile.
“Don’t worry about all of that Shawna. Tell me you have some wine in here?”
Shawna made way for Amalia to enter her house. Amalia sat on Shawna’s couch and made herself at home.
“You know me too well,” She said as she began to sip on her glass of wine without invitation.
Shawna morosely joined her on the couch.
“I know… We have serious business to discuss.”
“I don’t know what to do. He’s just…gone. André… He’s just never going to come back is he?”
“He hurt you Shawna. He’s hurt you so many times.”
“But you don’t understand Amalia. We’ve been together so long. I can’t just sleep with a bunch of different guys until one sticks. Sure things weren’t perfect with André but we had history.”
“History doesn’t mean anything Shawna. It’s not about time. It’s about feelings. It’s about the love. Can you honestly say that André loved you? Or even had your best interests at heart?”
Shawna was silent for a moment. A part of her knew that Amalia was right. But where should she go from here?
“You don’t understand Amalia. In the black community it’s hard to find a good man that my parents would approve of.”
“Oh who cares about your mother’s approval? She loved André but it turns out that he was a piece of shit. Do you really want a guy like that in your life?”
“I don’t know! I’m just heart broken Amalia.”
“Girl, I understand. Believe me I’ve been there before. But the world isn’t over because he left you. Plus, who says you’ve gotta date another black man?”
“You don’t know what it’s like. Who says a white guy’s gonna date me?”
“He could be Indian.”
Shawna guffawed. “Now you’re being silly.”
“I’m just saying Shawna, you don’t have to be so closed off. Get with the times! Interracial dating is all the rage these days. People are starting to become more open minded. They’re really starting to think things through. You’ve got to take advantage of that. You’re smart! You’re sexy! You’re successful!”
“One little YouTube channel is hardly success.”
“Oh don’t be such a downer. If it’s not successful now, it will be soon. You need to believe in yourself a bit more.”
“And you think that will make this hurt less?”
“I miss him so much Amalia.”
“And that’s normal, but don’t put your life on hold. André was never good enough for you.”
Shawna felt tears welling up in her eyes. Amalia had made that point over and over again since the start of that relationship but Shawna had never listened to her. She’d always thought that maybe Amalia was jealous or that she just didn’t understand what real love was. It turned out that Amalia was right all along…
Amalia saw her friend’s tears and rushed to her side, wrapping her arms around Shawna.
“Don’t be down girl. I know it’s easy for me to say from the outside but you’ve just got to trust that you’ll find love.”
“How? André was my everything,” Shawna sputtered. Her tears were starting to pour down her face more forcefully.
“You just have to trust.”
“But what about my hopes and dreams of having a family?! No guy will want to start a family with someone as old as I am!”
“Don’t be dramatic Shawna. There are no rules about when you’re supposed to get married okay? There are no rules about when that’s supposed to happen. You just need to wait and the right guy will come along.”
“What about you Amalia? How do you do this? How are you so relaxed?”
“I don’t believe in love the way you do Shawna. I’m not looking for the cookie cutter life.”
“I wish I could be more like you.”
“Don’t say that,” Amalia countered. She rested her hand on Shawna’s arm.
“Why not? Things are so easy for you…”
“That’s what you think. I get myself into a fair amount of trouble.”
“Thanks for coming over. I just feel so terrible… And I needed you. You’re the best friend that anyone could hope for Amalia.”
“I love you Shawna okay? And whatever guy you’re with, they need to love you about ten times more than I do.”
Shawna chuckled. Amalia’s dramatizations could always put a smile on her face.
“Did you call your mother and tell her?” Amalia asked. She knew that Shawna Raymond’s mother was more in love with André than Shawna was. She’d treated him more like a son than she’d treated Shawna like a daughter.
“Yes. She told me to live and let God. I don’t even know what that means or how on earth it’s supposed to help me,” Shawna mumbled.
“You know for once, I don’t think that’s bad advice… You know what? Let’s toast. To your mother’s good advice and to new beginnings on the horizon.”
Shawna raised her glass and clinked it against Amalia’s. The wine trickled down her throat in three gulps. To new beginnings…
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