Engaged By Christmas is one of Jamila's touching holiday themed romance novel excerpts perfect for those who love romantic stories that focus on themes of family and acceptance around the holiday season. This is one of her steamiest interracial romance books that isn't just sexy, but has a deep vein of romance for our inner hopeless romantic.
Breanna Wynter is on an amazing second date with her new lover, Cliff Myers. Cliff is different from every guy she's ever dated: he's caring, sexy, loyal and white. This isn't a problem for Breanna but everyone else around her seems troubled.
Breanna's ex-boyfriend Zion Joseph pops up in her life again, determined that Breanna belongs with a black man like him, he'll stop at nothing to make her his woman again. When Breanna rejects him "for real", Zion shows just how far he'll go…
Her twisted ex isn't the only thing getting in the way of Breanna's happily ever after. When she meets Cliff's white parents they don't just disapprove, they're aggressively racist.
Breanna is desperate to figure out if her relationship with Cliff is worth all of what she's been going through when he gets called by his company to work in Brussels for six months. While Cliff is away, Breanna's left alone to sort out her feelings and fend off Zion's unwanted advances.
Will her feelings for Cliff survive the distance and the drama?
Zion Joseph had very few goals in life. He saw life as something just to be lived. He existed in the moment and he rarely had any existential questions. Everything just was. He was the definition of a stimulus-response individual. When Breanna Wynter had met him, that type of attitude seemed so liberating. It quickly grew old however. What was once fun-loving soon became irresponsible. What was once hilarious became immature. Anything that had appealed to Breanna about Zion had quickly started to fade.
Zion Joseph was a transiently unemployed Jamaican immigrant who had swept Breanna off her feet years ago with his accent and his charm. He had made himself out to be the perfect guy, the antithesis to the assholes that had come sniffing around. Breanna thought he would be a nice change from all the guys her age that she had dated. He was five years older than her, seemed to always have money and he showered her with compliments and gifts. He was always telling Breanna how smart she was and how much she had to offer the world. Breanna had never felt so loved. This is all well and good for a while, but when Breanna started want more from their relationship than the occasional present, Zion quickly backed down.
He had a goal with Breanna… But he didn’t know if “commitment” was a part of that goal. He didn’t see the point in letting one woman tie him down.
Zion saw the United States in the land of opportunity. The girls back in Jamaica were all too fast. The women in America knew how to care for him properly. Zion wanted to capitalize on that care. Right before he left Jamaica, he would recount his goals to his boys…
“Mi one goal in life… Is fi impregnate five American women,” Zion would tell them.
His “boys” found Zion endlessly hilarious. They all took it as a joke. After all, what grown man has something so simple as his only life goal? But Zion wasn’t joking at all. He saw life was something to be experienced. He was quite serious about his pursuits and when he finally got his green card thanks to his Aunty Sharon, he was more than happy to hit the ground running.
Zion was only 17 when he first arrived in the United States. He met Breanna when he was twenty-five. By then, his accent had mellowed out and he adopted a more American twang as opposed to his thick Jamaican patwa. Every once in awhile he would switch back and forth between the two to keep women hooked.
They had been on and off for years. Now, Breanna Wynter was 25 herself and Zion Joseph was 30. Breanna worked part time at a coffee shop while finishing her online business certification. Her dream in life was to start a nail salon and own her own business. They had been broken up for a year, but Zion would occasionally pop back into her life every now and then. There was just something about him that made it difficult for Breanna to stay away. She knew about all Zion’s flaws, but he was sure to pepper her memories with some sweetness too. Of course, that was all intentional. He liked the idea of keeping Breanna close but not so close that she actually started to expect things from him. In truth, Zion was having some difficulty completing his goal and he saw Breanna as an easy target. He wanted her around in case some of his other girls dumped him.
It was more difficult than Zion thought it would be to get an American woman pregnant. In Jamaica, the women were fast and they also didn’t know about birth control… At least this was Zion’s warped view of the world. Was it actually true? Probably not. But that bizarre worldview informed all of his actions. Zion knew that Breanna would never date another man as long as her feelings were entangled in him. He kept bouncing back and forth like a yo-yo. Eventually, she would give in to him and he would be able to give her a baby. That was all Zion wanted. A little man he could teach how to handle women…
Zion was a pathological when it came to his behavior with Breanna. He was desperately clingy when he was in her life, and he used this to make her feel needed. After all his pleading Breanna would eventually let him into her life again. Then he would shower her with texts, calls, emails and unexpected visits. At first this would seem flattering, but eventually it would annoy Breanna and she would try her best to disentangle herself again. This was all part of Zion’s elaborate plan. When Breanna would eventually get so tired of him that she needed to break it off, he would beg and plead again but eventually leave. Then he would go ghost for three weeks at a time just to scare her little bit. Eventually she would get worried and then call him back. The cycle continued.
Between spells of dating Zion, Breanna had very few other suitors. Most of them were men who made Zion look like a tame, kind-hearted kitten. Breanna had patently awful taste in men. She was the type of women who attracted assholes who saw her kind spirit as an opportunity to walk all over someone.
This time, Zion was worried that she had moved on for real. The evidence was piling up that something fishy was going on with her. She had dumped him and claimed it would be the very last time should let him into her house again. Zion knew he could get past that part, but he was starting to worry when Breanna hadn’t called him for over two weeks. If her emotions no longer lay with him, all his power over her would be gone.
Normally, she would at least send a text. Could she really be done with him? Zion couldn’t have that. He was stringing along this gorgeous red skin girl with coolie hair named Chastity. The woman was anything but chaste but Zion knew it would take a lot of work to get this woman to let him impregnate her. He had another woman named Gabriela lined up, but she hadn’t turned eighteen yet so Zion was lying in wait before sleeping with her. He wanted easier pickings, especially since the holiday season was coming up.
So back to Breanna it was…
Breanna was sitting at home enjoying an amazing date with her new man. Zion was right to be scared that Breanna was moving on. Things had just clicked with this new man. She was starting to really feel like Zion was a dead weight. Dating someone new was for her own good. Finally, she had woken up and decided she would actually try to go on a date with a real man. The opportunity had come quickly.
Breanna was surprised to find out that normal men were actually interested in her. She had been dating Cliff Myers for two weeks. They met at a mutual friend’s party. Breanna was despondent over her recent breakup with Zion and she was shoving cocktail shrimp down her throat to soothe the pain. (Breanna was an emotional eater.) Cliff had come up behind her made a funny quip and within a few minutes of conversation asked her out. They hit it off instantly.
Now, they were on a date at her house drinking tea and watching old anime movies together. They happened to find out about each other’s strange interest in Japanese animated films and bonded quickly. Breanna and Cliff were similar in terms of interests, but there were underlying differences that they were both too scared to ask the other about. Namely… How far were they willing to go with this relationship? Were they dating casually or was this something more?
Breanna sat on the couch occasionally casting a glance over at her date. He was tall, with deeply tanned skin. Cliff had been a lifelong athlete and former artist who had sold his soul to work a high paying job as CFO for his friend’s Start-Up after graduate school. Fast Forward five years and he 32 years old making way more than six figures annually. Cliff had a masculine square face with that Brad Pitt jaw. His eyes were soft bottle green color.
Cliff’s hair was a dark sienna and his stubble had a few gray hairs in it, even if he was far too young to be graying. Apparently job stress could make you grey faster than anything. His face had slight wrinkles in it from smiling; his smile was so big and bright that the moment his lips curled up, the entire room was filled with his joyous energy. That was the main thing that attracted Breanna to him. That and his green eyes. Something about that rare color made her feel something spiritual. As Breanna looked over at him, she thought that the way he stared intently at the television screen was so sexy. But she hadn’t really breached the topic of sex yet. That was another wall between them. Was Cliff interested in her sexually or was he just trying her on for size?
Breanna should have known that Cliff was attracted to her, but she often found it difficult to believe that men would be attracted to a woman like her. Besides Zion, Breanna’s dating life was a long string of unreturned affections. She would go out with a guy, he would seem into her and then he would never text her back. Sometimes, something worse could happen. She would be in a texting conversation with someone and they were just boring boring boring. No matter how much she tried to spice things up, when they weren’t talking about sex, men were less interesting than a damp paper towel.
Breanna found it hard to believe that a guy like Cliff could like her. Not only did he have a good job and a great personality, he was white. Breanna had never met a white guy who was attracted to her before. Most of the white men who piqued her interest in the past would tell her point-blank that they couldn’t date her because her skin was too dark, their families would never accept her or she just wasn’t there type and they couldn’t be seen dating someone who wasn’t their type. No matter what excuse they gave, it always had the same effect on Breanna. She became depressed and more nihilistic about dating than ever before. Of course, being involved in this on and off relationship with Zion had done nothing for her self-esteem. Breanna considered herself a romantic failure too broken to be fixed. No man would ever love her or choose her when they had other options.
This “thing” with Cliff just seemed too good to be true. There had to be a catch here. There had to be something so terrible about Cliff that would make her change her mind completely. Breanna shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she considered that fact. What skeletons was he hiding? She had completely tuned out of the movie they were watching. Luckily, Cliff didn’t seem to notice.
“Hey, do you want some more tea?” Breanna asked.
Cliff nodded; Breanna got up and went to her kitchen. She took a deep breath once she got there. She needed some time away to give herself a little pep talk.
Have some confidence girl! This guy obviously likes you and you’re doing everything in your power to talk yourself out of it!
Breanna’s pep talk helped. She was forced to acknowledge that she was beautiful. It wasn’t her fault she had trouble seeing her own beauty. Breanna was a thick girl who had always been overweight. In school, she had been mercilessly teased for her chub. In ninth grade, everyone referred to her just by grunting and making pig sounds. It had taken a long time for Breanna to undo the damage of high school.
When she was finally 20 years old, she had undergone a massive transformation. She finally felt beautiful. While Breanna didn’t lose much weight, she realized that her beauty had nothing to do with the numbers on the scale or the size of her clothing. She started buying clothes that fit her body instead of baggy potato sacks. She realized that being fat didn’t mean she was ugly.
Breanna started taking care of her hair. She stopped the relaxers and did a big chop. For a while, this made Breanna’s self-esteem worse. Being fat, dark skinned and having short hair left her more insecure than ever. Her aunts and family didn’t bother to hide the fact they thought Breanna’s choice to go natural was a mistake. But without her hair as a crutch, she was absolutely forced either love herself or fall even deeper into despair. At 25, Breanna’s natural hair was down to the middle of her back and it was well cared for in a way it hadn’t been in years. Even her aunts had to hush up. She had a much better style than when she was younger and she had a much better attitude to match. While the occasional bouts of low self-esteem still plagued her, overall she considered herself a whole new woman.
Cliff had probably been attracted to her because of this big change. Breanna still had self-doubt but she was still more confident than she’d been in years.
Breanna was re entering the living room with refreshed mugs of tea when she heard her doorbell ring. Cliff looked over at the door.
“Are you expecting anyone?” He asked.
He was bummed. Secretly, Cliff had been hoping this was the night he would finally get Breanna into bed.
“No…” Breanna answered as she walked over to the door to answer it.
This had better not be Trinity messing up my date!
Her visitor was far less welcome than her best friend Trinity would have been.
“Good afternoon my sweet butterscotch,” Zion yelled.
Hearing another man’s voice at the door, Cliff paused the movie and stood up.
Breanna was furious. And mortified. She hadn’t told Cliff about Zion at all. That was intentional. She was trying to move on from that chapter of her life completely and she didn’t want to let Cliff know how far she had fallen in the past. Breanna wasn’t proud to have dated a man like Zion. They’d broken up and gotten back together over five times; Breanna wasn’t proud of that either.
“Mi girl… You got a man in there?” Zion asked. Breanna was fuming.
Cliff stood behind Breanna and then stuck out his hand, “Hi, Cliff Myers nice to meet you.”
It was so very white of him. Breanna was even more mortified by Zion’s response.
“Yes boss man, I see you with mi girl… She tell you she have a boyfriend?” Zion answered.
Cliff just stood there awkwardly for a second and then laughed as if he thought this was a big joke. (Re-examining the situation, Breanna wasn’t sure he actually understood a word of what Zion said. His accent was still strong to an untrained ear.)
Breanna interrupted, “Don’t listen to him. He’s absolutely not my boyfriend… Cliff you know, I’m sorry but I really think we’ve had a nice time but I think we should pick up our date sometime later. I just… Now isn’t a good time.”
Cliff was surprised with Breanna was suggesting. After all, he had wanted the date to end well into the night. But he had picked up on the fact that she was in an awkward position and he didn’t want to make things worse for her. Whoever this Zion fellow was, he was up to no good. Breanna must have had her reasons for wanting Cliff to leave.
“Alrighty then, I’ll message you a bit later,” Cliff said. He kissed Breanna right on the lips obviously making a statement.
She kissed him back as Zion stood in the doorway glaring. Then Cliff got his stuff and left. Zion had made his way inside by then and he was sitting on Breanna’s couch arms folded in visible displeasure.
“What the hell are you doing here,” Breanna huffed.
Her sweet demeanor disappeared when it came to Zion. He brought the devil out of her faster than three glasses of Henny.
“Baby mi love yuh,” Zion said.
He always started sounding more Jamaican when he was trying to get on Breanna’s good side. It was as if his accent was just another tool in his arsenal to trick her into getting close to him.
Breanna folded her arms and said, “Zion… I want you to get out of here. What makes you think that you can just come waltzing back into my life like this? We broke up. I haven’t called you. I’ve moved on.”
“So you think you fresh because you have a white man?” Zion asked.
He stood up and puffed out his chest like he was about to get aggressive. Breanna wasn’t going to get sucked into Zion’s drama again. She was trying her best to be done with him.
“You need to leave Zion,” Breanna said calmly.
Zion made no moves to go.
“Or I’ll call the police…” Breanna tried again.
Zion whispered threateningly, “A lot can happen before police get here.”
“I’ll call immigration,” Breanna threatened again. She was unfazed by Zion’s threat. He’d done worse things than lay hands on her.
Two could play Zion’s game. His face soured when he realized that he’d been had.
“You think you bad now?” He asked.
Breanna made herself as physically imposing as possible. It wasn’t too hard. She had never been a delicate woman.
“Maybe I do,” She answered.
“Well we’ll see how long that lasts baby. I love your fire. Nuh call police or nothing. I’ll get out of you ‘air,” Zion said; his tone regained its pleading nature.
Zion started to leave the house.
“I love yuh baby, more than any man. I’ll come back for you,” Zion said as he exited Breanna’s house.
Breanna said nothing and closed the door behind him. Once she saw Zion get into his car and drive off, she released a sigh of relief and realized that she’d been holding her breath nearly the entire time. Her heart was beating faster and faster. Breanna sat down on her couch and hoped to God that Zion had been bluffing and he wouldn’t be back again.
She wanted him out of her life once and for all.
Did you like this romance novel excerpt? If so, check out some of Jamila Jasper's other excerpts. I recommend White Knight — a taboo pregnancy romance novel by Jamila Jasper. Click here to keep reading.
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