Check out another one of Jamila Jasper's inspirational romance novel excerpts. If you enjoy a good love novel with an attractive and relatable African American protagonist you will love this book. As one of her contemporary romance novels with pregnancy woven beautifully into the plot, Prepped For Love is an outstanding work of fiction and a heartwarming story of forbidden love.
Tammy Powers is a black woman with a past filled with mistakes. At eighteen, Tammy was disowned by her entire family when she became a teen mother. Years later, Tammy Powers is trying to get the best for her thirteen year old son Jabari. Despite all the vitriol she received around town for her past mistakes, she remained optimistic about love.
Jabari was finally accepted into Willowcrest Prep, the same school Tammy attended before her pregnancy. At Willowcrest, Jabari began to have difficulties in Spanish class. When Tammy went in for a parent-teacher conference she met Victor Del Toro… again. The rich white man who taught her Spanish as a teenager still worked at Willowcrest.
Tammy and Victor find themselves falling in love and feeling something for each other they'd never felt before…
The only problem is their relationship is still taboo. Rumors and lies keep their small New England town afloat and their relationship going public could cost Victor and Tammy everything they care about.
Will the ghosts of Tammy's past continue to haunt her and prevent her from having the future she desires?
An unexpected pregnancy helps Tammy and Victor realize that there's only one way this story can end…
Romance Novel Excerpts: Prepped For Love
Jabari Powers was terrified about what would happen when he went home. He didn’t know how he was going to tell his mother about the terrible day at school he just had. Would she be upset if she heard yet another story like the one’s before? Jabari tucked his shirt in and fixed his collar. He breathed in deeply before entering the midsized family home. I hope she’s not mad. He thought to himself. Jabari’s mother Tammy Powers was waiting for him as he arrived. When Tammy saw the look on her son’s face as he walked through the door, she knew it had been another crappy day at school. Luckily, Jabari wouldn’t have to deal with this for very long. Seeing her son coming home disappointed yet again hit Tammy hard.
Tammy was doing everything in her power to protect him and she hated to think of herself as a failure. She was a relatively young mother and she was still self-conscious about her parenting. Even if she’d been at this for years, Tammy still felt like she missed out on having some guidance when it came to being a mother. Most mothers of the child Jabari’s age were in their mid-40s with high six-figure incomes. They had it all; they knew what they were about when they gave birth to a child. Not to mention, they had nannies to help them out. Well, Tammy didn’t have to worry about a six figure income or hiring a nanny. She had more than enough money and more than enough time. But she still felt insecure like the other mothers were judging her either for inheriting her fortune or for being such a young mother of an eighth grader.
“Good afternoon mom,” Jabari mumbled. He was turning into the stereotypical teenager in some ways. Tammy was getting worried that some of these changes were more than typical. She could see the familiar light in his eyes was dimmer. He was always like this after school ever since seventh grade had started. Jabari went to Southwest Middle School in their town. There was no space for a little black boy who was interested only in mathematics and engineering. If his teachers weren’t discriminating against him for his dark skin, Jabari’s peers were mocking him and bullying him to no end. Tammy could see that he didn’t want to tell her the truth of what he was going through but she had found out anyways. Luckily, Tammy had great news for Jabari and hopefully bring back the familiar glint in his eye that she had grown accustomed to in his childhood.
“Good afternoon Jay, come give me a hug,” Tammy said to her son, getting up off her stool at the kitchen counter. Jabari came over and give his mother reluctant hug. Tammy was still getting used to the way he was growing up. Before, he was a little boy who loved hugs and kisses. Now that he was a teenager, things were starting to be different. He’ll always be my little boy. Tammy thought to herself.
Once Jabari had hugged her, Tammy began to tell him her good news. She hoped that it would put a smile on his face.
“Jabari… I have some news for you. I spoke to the headmaster of a Willowcrest Prep and he said that someone got expelled two weeks ago and a seat opened up in the eighth grade class. You can start as soon as you like,” Tammy announced.
Jabari’s eyes lit up. He had heard many tales of Tammy’s time at Willowcrest Prep. To Jabari, attending a school like that seemed like a far-off dream. While Tammy had been blessed with an amazing childhood with two loving parents, Jabari’s childhood experience had been a bit different. His mother Tammy had attended every private school her parents could afford from preschool until high school. Jabari was left in the care of a young single mother without much experience or assistance. While Jabari was pampered in a number of ways, his life wasn’t quite as luxurious as Tammy’s had been. There were very few trips around the world, very few big family vacations and Tammy had been unable to finagle a seat at a private school for her son. (That had nothing to do with money by the way.)
“Really mom? Willowcrest?” Jabari asked. He ran his hands over his head and looked down, not wanting his mother to see how widely he was grinning. Tammy knew that this is exactly the news that her son had been hoping for. He had begged her to find a way to get him into Willowcrest Prep since the beginning of that school year. Jabari was having a terrible time at Southwest. Jabari had even been begging Tammy to get in touch with her parents… That was what made Tammy realize just how far Jabari wanted her to go. She promised to do everything in her power to get him into Willowcrest. Finally she was successful.
Tammy replied, “Yes. I talked to Stan Duffy just this morning on the phone.”
She pulled Jabari in for another hug. “Thanks mom,” he said. This time he hugged her the same way he did when he was a child, holding his mother tightly as if he was afraid to let go.
Yes, Tammy Powers was a graduate of Willowcrest preparatory high school. The private school was about 50% day student and 50% boarding. It was one of those fancy prep schools like the one JFK attended. Tammy had been privileged to spend 6th grade through 12th grade at Willowcrest. Since Tammy Powers’ family had owned mansion only 20 minutes away at the time, Tammy had attended the school as a day student. As one of four black girls in her year, she felt pretty isolated at first. She was the girl who was into old English literature and Sylvia Plath poetry. She was decidedly a bookworm. Tammy had none of that “black cool” that would have made her a popular figure back in those days. Cool didn’t matter to Tammy back then; she graduated with honors and made her parents proud. (That pride would only be temporary.)
Because the school was small, Tammy knew nearly every teacher and the headmaster incredibly well. In fact, Stanley Duffy, the headmaster, had been Tammy’s Latin teacher when she attended Willowcrest. Now that he had received a promotion to headmaster, he was more than willing to help out one of his brightest students. Tammy was certain that this favor wouldn’t have been granted to anyone else. A part of her felt like she had earned this. Tammy had made a mistake long ago and she was paying for that mistake in many ways. At least Jabari offered a certain degree of comfort. Jabari was the love of her life and Tammy had been dedicated to him from the moment she decided to have this baby. Without Jabari…Tammy didn’t know if she would have made it that far. Would she have had the courage to leave Randall without him?
Tammy had given birth to Jabari when she was 18 years old. She found out she was pregnant a month before graduation. At the time, she had been in love with a man named Randall Combs. Randall Combs was far too old to be sniffing around an eighteen year old like Tammy, but he had found a promising target and launched his attack. Randall had promised her the world and he had delivered absolutely nothing but pain. When he discovered Tammy was rich, his sole goal in life became to impregnate her and eventually marry her so that he could get a piece of the pie.
But Randall didn’t quite understand how money worked in a wealthy family like Tammy’s. When things didn’t go according to plan, he left her high and dry with the baby only five months after Jabari was born. The Powers’ family was not too pleased. They had hopes and dreams for their daughter Tammy. Not only did they have dreams, they were devout Catholics who didn’t believe in premarital intercourse. When they found out Tammy had a child out of wedlock with a man like Randall Combs, they were furious. They had wanted Tammy to meet someone who “shared her status” and when they found out she was keeping Jabari their rage became even worse. (They didn’t detect the bitter irony there.) Tammy had been cut out of her family’s life entirely and she didn’t receive a red cent… At first.
But then, when Jabari was 2 ½ years old, long after Randall had disappeared, Tammy Powers’ father passed away. Although her parents had cut her off, they hadn’t accounted for the fact that one of them might die soon and Tammy was the sole recipient of his inheritance. Over $6 million had been left to Tammy. For the rest of her life, that fat 6 million would sit in a bank account and appreciate. Some far off accountant managed her investments. Tammy only had to worry about collecting checks. Every month, she would receive a dividend of over US$17,000. Tammy never had to work again. While she was grieving the loss of her father, Tammy had received a bizarre blessing. What was the universe trying to tell her? Regardless of the message, Tammy didn’t have to worry about Randall’s true intentions and she didn’t have to worry about where her next meal was coming from.
Tammy’s mother had nothing to say about the mistake on the will. She didn’t contact Tammy personally at all. Lawyers settled everything. But it was too late for Randall… He had already shown his true colors by then and Tammy kept him at arm’s length. While Tammy had plenty of money, she also carried the shame and stigma of being a single black mother in a town full of wealthy white people who all hated her guts. Those people who knew her story judged her. Tammy hadn’t been able to get her son into private preschool or private elementary school because of that judgment. Even if she could afford it, nobody wanted someone who represented her type of “values”. They wanted the children of career women or family women who had the decency to get married before procreating. The subtext was clear. Everyone was judging Tammy for a mistake she had made when she was 18 years old and Tammy didn’t know if it would ever stop.
Finally, someone had given her a chance and Tammy had jumped at it. Perhaps Jabari would have a chance of getting the education that she did and beyond. If Jabari had that chance, at least Tammy could be certain he wouldn’t show up one day pregnant. He could make something of himself and have hopes of doing more than living off of his parents wealth.
The rest of the evening, Tammy and Jabari spent quality time together. This wasn’t unusual for them. Jabari and his mother were very close. Jabari finished up his homework quickly while Tammy cooked them dinner. She wasn’t the world’s best cook but she could whip something up. That night she made spaghetti. There was nothing gourmet about it.
As Jabari and Tammy ate together, he told her all about what happened at school that day. Tammy understood why he was reluctant to share. In their English class, the teacher had assigned them to write a poem. Jabari had written one but he didn’t want to be the person to stand up and share his work. Of course, seeing his reluctance the teacher had prodded him even more. Jabari was forced to reveal his deepest insecurities to his class.
All the boys in his class mocked him for being so sensitive. Some even shouted homophobic slurs at him. One kid had stolen his backpack and hid it so that Jabari had to spend 30 minutes searching for it before coming home. Overall it was a nightmare. Tammy was tired of her son being a target. It wasn’t that Jabari was weak… He just didn’t believe in violence to get his way. He was a peace loving boy and there was nothing wrong with that. The students at Southwest held a different opinion.
Within two weeks, everything was arranged for Jabari to transfer over to Willowcrest Prep. Once his tuition had been paid and all the minor details had been hashed out, Tammy prepared to bring Jabari over for his first day at school.
Tammy got ready to drop her son off at school for his first day. It had been a long time since she driven her little boy to school. But since it was his first day and Willowcrest was her old stomping ground, she wanted to make sure that he was introduced to everyone and that she could get a chance to speak to Headmaster Duffy in person and thank him for this amazing opportunity.
Tammy wanted to dress to impress. This was the first time should be setting foot on the grounds of her old private school; she wanted to make a good impression. She was already well known around town as the teen mother. It was time to shed that image of her past behind. Tammy didn’t want to care or think about judgment. Her reputation from 13 years ago had no bearing on who she was now. Tammy wasn’t here for appearances. She was here to give Jabari the best shot at an education. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought.
As Tammy got ready, she looked in the mirror at her face. Although she was 31 years old, her skin had no sign of wrinkles. Growing up, Tammy had stayed out of the sun. Her parents always warned her about ruining her perfect skin and Tammy guessed it was starting to pay off. Tammy’s skin was a deep coffee color. She was around 5 foot eight and average sized. Tammy’s body was incredibly curvy and thick. She had large breasts, a little tummy pooch and an ass that was to die for. Tammy loved switching up her hair and she changed her look as often as she could. Now, she was wearing a 32 inch Brazilian Remi weave. She thought it looked damn good. Tammy slipped into a professional looking navy blue dress and 6 inch black designer heels.
She did her makeup in a muted, natural look. She definitely looked way younger than her age. Tammy didn’t give a damn anymore. Let them judge her. Jabari was about to have the best middle and high school education that a child could hope for. How could Tammy give a damn about being “judged” by people who had all inherited their money too? Just because Tammy didn’t have to keep working didn’t mean they were better than her. Plus, her father had died and Tammy had never made amends… Her story was far deeper than anyone knew. There was nothing “lucky” about losing a parent young, especially when that parent died without warning. Especially when she had never been able to say goodbye. Especially since Tammy was pretty certain her father had died hating her guts. He’d never even met his grandson.
Tammy gave herself a little pep talk and motivated Jabari to hurry up and get his butt in the car. Sitting in the front of the bright red Audi, Tammy could tell her son was starting to feel nervous.
“Is everything okay Jay?” Tammy asked him.
“I dunno. I guess I’m nervous,” Jabari confessed.
Tammy replied, “It’s okay to be nervous. But you grew up hearing stories of Willowcrest. I’m sure it’s still the same… No matter what you make amazing friends and you’ll get the best education out there.”
Just talking about amazing friends made Tammy feel a little sad. Some of the best friends of her life had gone on after Willowcrest to accomplish amazing things. Many of them were already married too. Tammy sometimes felt like the failure during their weekly Skype calls to each other. All she had accomplished was inheriting money and having a child. Sure, Tammy thought that raising Jabari to be the boy he was today was an amazing accomplishment but most women these days felt like you had to be a career woman too or your child rearing was worthless. Not to mention, Tammy’s love life was a disaster and it had been ever since Randall. Tammy sometimes wished she could live up to her friends. These days she was wondering if she could even still relate to them…
It wasn’t long before she pulled the car into the parking lot of Willowcrest Prep’s admissions office. When she set foot in that familiar brick building, Tammy felt at home. She had never felt such a wave of nostalgia before. Tammy had not set foot in the building since her 10th high school reunion. Had it really been that long ago? Jabari followed her into the building. For his first day of school he was dressed up in long khaki pants with a navy blue polo. He looked good. Tammy was proud of her son. He was so different from his father…
Once inside the admissions building, Tammy knocked on the door to Stanley Duffy’s office. She hadn’t seen him in person in years. She remembered when he was a middle-aged teacher. Now Stanley Duffy was an old man and the headmaster of the school he had served faithfully for so many years. Stanley Duffy invited Tammy and her son into his office.
“Good afternoon Miss Powers,” Stanley huffed. He had gained about 100 pounds since Tammy had last seen him. His fat was covered in wrinkled, sunburned skin. Stan Duffy still had his signature mustache from his younger days and his classic tortoiseshell glasses. He peered over them with his bright blue eyes and looked at Tammy and her son with a mixture of nostalgia and joy.
“Is this young man Jabari Powers?” Headmaster Duffy boomed.
“Yes sir,” Jabari replied. He stuck out his hand to shake Headmaster Duffy’s. After a firm, strong handshake, Stan Duffy gave Tammy and her son idea of how things would work now that Jabari was enrolling half way through the fall semester. Tammy could already tell that Jabari was excited to be surrounded by students who cared just as much about their education. As Headmaster Duffy gave him a run down of the school, his eyes gleamed with excitement.
This was a big change for her son. Once the Headmaster had told them where to go next, Tammy gave her son a hug and a kiss on the cheek before leaving the Admissions Office. She sent Jabari on his way. He was a big boy now and should be able to figure out how to get to his classes without his mommy. Next, Tammy had to figure out where to go to join the parent teachers association. Since she was unemployed, she wanted to give her all by investing in Jabari. By joining the parent teachers Association Tammy would be able to ensure that her kid and all the others in his class had a great time that year.
Once Tammy had made it her business to get the e-mail address of the PTA secretary, she headed home to make an unfortunate phone call. Randall had begged her to keep in touch every once in awhile about Jabari’s life. If she didn’t call Randall about a big change like private school, she was certain he would be furious. Tammy couldn’t stop Jabari from speaking with his father so Randall would most certainly find out. The man had been absolutely lazy about being a part of Jabari’s life but would randomly make demands like this. Tammy didn’t want to deal with Randall any more than she had to.
“Wassup babygirl?” Randall began when he answered Tammy’s phone call. Randall seem to live in a dream world where Tammy was still interested in him. Tammy wondered how on earth he managed to keep up this delusion. She tried to keep things professional. They had a child together but none of Tammy’s love for Randall was present anymore. Had it ever really been “love” or was it all a manipulation. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that she despised Randall on some level.
“Hey Randall. I just called to tell you that in Jabari is starting at Willowcrest today,” Tammy said. She was already regretting this phone call; she hoped this conversation would end soon. The last thing she wanted to do was have Randall get started on whatever would inevitably upset him about her phone call.
“At Willowcrest? Who the hell is paying for that?” Randall barked. Tammy felt her blood pressure rising. Randall didn’t even pay child support. He hadn’t invested more than $10 into Jabari in the past five years. What did he mean who was paying for it? She was the one who always paid for everything. He was clearly asked this question to get a rise out of Tammy and it worked. Randall knew how to push her buttons.
“Well who the hell do you think is paying for it?” Tammy yelled back.
This was always how their arguments began. Randall would instigate her and Tammy would take the bait and fall for it. Randall launched into a long rant about Tammy and how she never let him see his son. That was always Randall’s go to argument when he knew he had no ground to stand on. He wanted to distract Tammy from the fact that he hadn’t paid a cent of child support and was barely involved in Jabari’s life at all. Tammy couldn’t believe she was actually sitting there listening to this shit.
She ended the conversation fast, cutting off Randall before he could insult her further.
“You know what Randall, I’m going to go cook dinner now. I don’t have time for your crap. Call me when you’re ready to be a real father to Jabari,” She barked before hanging up the phone. Tammy hoped that Randall would stay far away from Jabari. He had no idea what it meant to be a real father. But the way he’d been talking made it seem like he had plans to show up in her son’s life again. He only ever did that when he felt like he had something to gain.
Tammy hated the idea. Randall ruined everything he touched and he was a danger to everyone who was close to him. Tammy had found that out at a young age, but although young, it was still too late. Randall was toxic. And now, Tammy had to deal with him for the rest of her life. What’s worse, she wasn’t sure how much she could protect her son from him.
It had been two weeks since Jabari started at Willowcrest. Each day that he returned home, he seemed happier. He was fitting in shockingly well. At Southwest, Jabari was a “loser” according to the bullies. At Willowcrest, he started to find his niche of people. Since Willowcrest was a little ways out from their house, Tammy had started picking him up from school again. During the drive home, Tammy could see the real change in her son. Jabari had gone from being sullen and hateful at school to experiencing life as a happy young man who seemed to be making quite a few friends. Tammy was starting to feel secure in the fact that she’d made the right choice. All that needed to happen was Jabari needed to keep his nose clean and Tammy needed to maintain a good reputation around the town to ingratiate herself with the other parents and the board of trustees. If they decided Jabari wasn’t a “good fit”, he would be forced to head his ass back to Southwest in shame. Tammy figured neither of those two things would be very difficult to keep track of. She’d made her fair share of mistakes and this time, she wasn’t going to mess things up.
It was 3 PM and Tammy was racing to get over to Willowcrest as quickly as possible. Her doctor’s appointment had run a little long and she was going to be late picking up Jabari. For once, he didn’t have soccer practice. Tammy hustled over to the school eagerly. They would finally get a little time to spend together and she could ask him how he was liking Willowcrest. Jabari pretty much showed how he felt about the place. He was all smiles all the time. Even if he was in new student, he was accepted with all his quirks. Willowcrest was a social nightmare for girls, but most of the boys tended to have an easier time. Boys that age were only cruel if you were tiny and weak. Jabari was neither of those things.
When Tammy pulled up into the parking lot, she didn’t even have to call Jabari on his phone before he came bounding over. Today he looked a little bit less happy than he had the previous two weeks. Tammy immediately knew something was going on. She hoped that Jabari hadn’t stumbled upon a new set of bullies looking for someone to pick on.
“Good afternoon mom,” Jabari mumbled as he got into the passenger seat. His brow was furrowed in frustration.
Tammy greeted him back and then pulled her Audi of the school’s driveway so she could ask him what was going on.
“Is everything alright Jay?” Tammy questioned her son. It was important to Tammy that she knew everything that was going on with her little boy. He’s not so little anymore.
Jabari replied, “Yeah… Everything’s fine. I guess… Well my Spanish teacher wants you to come in tomorrow.” She could tell Jabari was trying to downplay the situation.
Tammy almost slammed on the brakes in surprise. She was a little bit frustrated too. Jabari was supposed to be doing everything right keep his place at Willowcrest Prep and now his Spanish teacher wanted her to come in? What was going on? If that boy is acting up in class I swear to God…
“Everything’s fine but your teacher wants me to come in? What the hell has been going on Jay?” Tammy said. She realized she was raising her voice. I need to calm down. It wasn’t that she was truly angry with Jabari, she was just scared. She knew that everything in her life was tenuous and she wanted Jabari to have this wonderful opportunity. Tammy knew she had messed up in not using her Willowcrest education to do something truly impressive. She didn’t want her son to take all of this for granted. Her parents were rich, but Tammy wasn’t. Jabari didn’t have the option of being an heir.
Jabari had a feeling his mother would react like this. He sighed and rolled his eyes. “It’s not that serious… I’m just having a little trouble and my teacher thinks for some reason you could help,” Jabari said.
His sass wasn’t lost on Tammy, but she didn’t have time to reply to it. She couldn’t stop thinking about what could possibly be going wrong. She wanted the best for Jabari and she was concerned that he had managed to hide the fact that he wasn’t doing very well in Spanish from her. Now that you’re bored with things get older Tammy was starting to lose the ability to keep track of his every move.
Tammy agreed to go meet with Jabari’s teacher the next day. The rest of the drive home, she tried to ask Jabari questions about school. She couldn’t stand the idea of losing her friendship with her son. Tammy was scared that the older Jabari got, the more distant their relationship would become. That had happened with her parents and Tammy hadn’t been able to mend her relationship with her father. Now, it was too late.
Tammy found out that Jabari had five new friends. She was thrilled and surprised. Tammy had always seen Jabari as a quiet boy who didn’t interact too much with other people. Apparently, surrounded by so many people he got along with, Jabari had found more than two people who shared his interests. Everyone else thought he was cool either because he was new or because of his interest in engineering.
Jabari was also starting to become closer to the people in his soccer team. Although he was on junior varsity, everyone was encouraging him to try out for the varsity team. Tammy couldn’t have been more proud. She had worked hard since she was 18 years old to raise her son to be the best man he could be. Tammy was a child raising a child, but she’d put her very best effort into Jabari. He wasn’t quite a man yet, but Tammy felt like he was getting close. Each day, Jabari seemed just a little bit savvier and wiser. He had even gone through one massive growth spurt and he was still shooting up like a beanstalk. Within a year, Tammy was sure her son would tower over her.
At home, Jabari did his homework under Tammy’s somewhat watchful eye. She made them a simple lentil soup for dinner and then left Jabari to read a book as she retired upstairs to her bedroom. As Tammy watched reruns of her favorite show, she started to realize how lonely she was. Sure she had Jabari, but he couldn’t be her only company all the time. When her friends were out of state, Tammy was sometimes is forced to confront the fact that she was single.
She had been single for almost 4 years now, and sometimes she felt like she was comfortable with it. Other times, Tammy wanted nothing more than to have a man she loved sharing her bed. Getting involved with men had its risks, especially with a young son. Jabari always came first. Not to mention… What man wants to become involved with a woman who has a 13-year-old son? Most guys saw Tammy’s teen pregnancy as a “red flag” without ever knowing the full story. Tammy’s life was not as cut and dry as people thought. She wasn’t a “slut”, but most people labelled her that way anyways.
Tammy decided she’d better put these depressing thoughts out of her mind. She had never imagined herself dying an old maid, but now it seems like a definite possibility. Tammy didn’t throw herself these pity parties often, but sometimes it was unavoidable.
I guess I’m just being a drama queen. Tammy thought to herself as she drifted off to sleep.
The next afternoon, Tammy got ready to see Jabari’s Spanish teacher. She wondered if she would recognize his teacher. She knew many of the teachers stayed at Willowcrest for years but also many of them left. Most of Tammy’s favorite teachers had already retired. Stanley Duffy was one of the few that remained and he was already pretty close to retiring.
Either way, Tammy wanted to make a good impression. She didn’t want to seem like a neglectful single mother going into this meeting so she took her time to get ready. A first impression was everything. That week, Tammy had done her hair in long Senegalese twists. For this meeting, she wore a gorgeous teal Calvin Klein shift dress with nude colored heels. The dress hugged her curves perfectly. The heels elongated her legs making her look even more like a model and even more professional. Tammy’s dark skin popped against the bright teal dress. Again, Tammy put on some light makeup and wore an old pair of pearls that she had received from her mother back when she went to Willowcrest. Tammy wished she looked a little older…
When she was satisfied with her appearance, she drove up to the school. The humanities building was just like it was back when Tammy attended Willowcrest. Not a single change had been made; not even the interior was remodeled. There were only a few buildings left like that. The old hardwood still had that familiar smell that took Tammy back to her childhood. As Tammy walked through the building to the office number she had been given, she couldn’t help but worry about meeting with this teacher. What would they think of her? Would they judge her for being a young mother and consider this case hopeless? Would this affect the teacher’s view of her son? Tammy tried to carry herself tall and proud. But she didn’t feel very tall at all. She still felt insecure even after years of dealing with people who liked nothing better than to judge her.
When Tammy knocked on room 221, a familiar voice called out, “Si!”
Tammy couldn’t believe she was hearing that voice again. Perhaps her nostalgia was playing tricks on her mind…
Tammy opened the door and her mouth hung open in shock when she saw the teacher sitting behind the desk. This was Jabari’s Spanish teacher?!
Victor Del Toro had been a young intern when Tammy Powers attended Willowcrest Prep. When she was 16 years old, he had started teaching as a fresh out of college 23-year-old. Every single girl in Tammy’s class had a huge crush on Mr. Del Toro. Tammy couldn’t believe that he had continued to teach at Willowcrest long after she graduated. He was the type of guy who had never seemed to be very interested in becoming a teacher. Willowcrest seemed like a pit stop. Señor Del Toro seemed like he was a rolling stone, always moving on to the next thing. But here he was so many years later, sitting behind a desk in a classroom very similar to the one Tammy sat in. She couldn’t believe this. Victor looked like he hadn’t aged much. Over ten years had passed and he still looked attractive. Tammy wondered if he had been married…
Even if so many years had passed, Señor Del Toro looked better than ever. He was well over six feet tall and his parents were directly from Barcelona. This meant his skin was more olive toned than pasty pale like your usual Anglo Saxons. When Tammy was in school he had coached rowing and cross country. Tammy remembered the girls ogling Señor Del Toro’s legs as he ran past with his team.
He was in incredible shape, even if he was quite large for a runner. Even seated at his desk with his prim and proper collared shirt, Tammy could see his large biceps rippling through. His chest was broad and strong too. He was the type of guy girls bent over backwards for. Victor Del Toro had the face of a Spanish model. There were even rumors he had worked for Calvin Klein before becoming a teacher. He had an angular, rugged face with a square jaw and bright blue eyes. Victor had dark chestnut brown hair that he always wore a little bit long. Tammy felt embarrassed at the fact that her breath had been taken away. She was just standing there with her jaw hanging open. It seemed like her high school crush on Victor Del Toro rushed back into her consciousness in an instant. She wondered if he would remember her…
“Good afternoon… I’m Jabari’s mother, Tammy Powers,” Tammy said confidently. Her heart was beating out of her chest.
“Ah… Si… Are you sure it’s not Tammy Steele or have you married since I last knew you?” Señor Del Toro said with a bright smile.
He really did remember her. Tammy had only taken the name “Powers” after she had her baby. It was her mother’s maiden name. Tammy wanted to distance herself from her father’s identity since he was the main one who had orchestrated cutting her off. Everyone who knew her prior to that time had known her as Tammy Steele. Tammy thought “Powers” sounded just a bit better.
“No no… It’s Tammy Powers. And I’m not married, just had a little bit of a falling out with someone in my family hence the name change. But yes, Jabari is my son. I’m kind of worried that I got called in for a meeting actually,” Tammy began.
She was trying to keep things professional but she couldn’t deny that she felt madly attracted to Victor Del Toro. As a teen, her attraction had been totally inappropriate. Now whether it was appropriate or not was more ambiguous. Tammy was worried that her nervousness was visible. This was so embarrassing! Señor Del Toro had taught her when she was an awkward teen and he probably had all kinds of memories of her as a nerd.
“Oh don’t worry… I just wanted to see his mother and give a few pointers about what was going on. Jabari isn’t doing very well in this class I have to admit, but it’s all a problem that can be solved with a little bit of hard work,” Señor Del Toro said.
He brushed his hair out of his face and tapped his pencil on the table. A huge smile was still plastered across his face. His blue eyes were gleaming with excitement. He seemed thrilled to come into contact with one of his old students. Victor hadn’t seen any students who knew him during his first year of teaching for a long time. Now, he wanted to catch up with Tammy more than he wanted to talk to her about Jabari’s academic performance.
“What kind of problems?” Tammy asked.
“You know… Let’s talk about that in a bit. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you Tammy. I remember you were such a pleasure in my Spanish Lit class,” Señor Del Toro replied. Tammy noted the subject change and went along with it.
Thinking about Spanish Literature brought a smile to her face. She’d received her best grades at Willowcrest in that class. “I remember that class,” Tammy answered. She twirled one of her twists around her finger. Something about Victor was causing her to regress into her high school “I have a crush” state of being. Tammy unconsciously bit down on her lip.
That Spanish Literature class had been some of the best times Tammy had at Willowcrest. In that Spanish class, Tammy had a crush on another student named Marco Ronaldo. He had been a sweet, nerdy boarding student from Canada. Back then, Marco had seemed more attainable than her sexy young Spanish teacher. Tammy had been totally infatuated. She remembered during that Spanish Literature class she would always get in trouble for passing notes to Marco and for letting him copy her homework.
She wondered if that was what Victor Del Toro remembered about her too. Gosh, she felt like such a little girl right now. Tammy hadn’t felt that way in a while. She had been a grown woman from the moment Jabari had left her womb…
It felt good to have a crush again.
If you liked this excerpt and you are interested in reading more romance novel excerpts like this one, check out United In Spirit by Jamila Jasper. Click here to read more!