Blue-Eyed Hunk is Jamila Jasper's latest 50,000+ word interracial romance novel. For all who love BWWM books and are interested in pregnancy romance books, you'll want to check this book out.
This contemporary romance with pregnancy features a brilliant, independent black career woman and an attractive, salt-of-the-earth white rancher who she can't help but fall in love with.
This story deals with heartbreak, friendship, and deep, deep feelings of love and romance. Check out the description and of course, the romance novel excerpt included below.
Imani is the new African-American girl in small town Oklahoma.
Ajax is the sexy, white rancher tasked with helping her settle into town.
Ajax looks at her like he wants to rip her clothes off but Imani has sworn off men — especially suave alpha males like Ajax.
Not even Imani can resist the lean, muscular cowboy, no matter how badly she wants to say "no".
1 FLYOVER COUNTRY
Nothing about Oklahoma sounded appealing to Imani when she’d first heard about the assignment. She loved travel and she loved the wilderness but Oklahoma was beyond wild. It wasn’t the countryside, the coyotes or the bears she worried about — but the people.
Imani was accustomed to forward thinking urbanites. She was accustomed to having access to corner stores and black hairdressers and places she could go and see her people. If the agency sent her out here, she’d have to spend months around people who could probably go months without seeing someone black, or anyone with color to them. It wasn’t that Imani had a problem with the white westerners, she just feared that they’d have a problem with her.
Ever since things had ended with Brian, Imani felt like a town in the middle of nowhere would be the perfect place to heal. Imani tried to get some sleep on the plane instead of thinking of Brian, but it was difficult. Four years of love had been torn apart in an instant and now everything they shared together had evaporated, leaving Imani alone to face life’s challenges alone.
Imani had tried everything to convince Brian to stay. She’d offered to learn Korean — the language he spoke. She offered to spend a year in Seoul. She lost twenty pounds. But Brian wanted to leave. That’s what Imani had trouble understanding. He didn’t care about their cultural differences or about all the promises he’d made to Imani. Brian’s father had died leaving him about $700,000 and Brian wanted to travel the world and experience what the world had to offer. Imani was sure a part of that meant becoming a bachelor again and experiencing the fine women too.
The ring he’d given her had been just another trinket. Something to keep her with him until something better caught his eye.
Imani tried not to think about it too much. She tried not to let her self-esteem take the natural dip that comes when your lover of so many years decides that uncertainty is more powerful than his feelings for you. Imani looked towards her work partner on the plane. Franco didn’t have to worry about problems like this at all. He didn’t seem to be worried about anything. He was sleeping — hard — on the trip to Oklahoma and unbothered by everything. Franco was the one who had finally convinced Imani to take the plunge and leave behind all the drama of the East Coat for six months.
Hung up on self-torture, Imani began to look through the pictures on her phone. Brian was still in many of them. He was tall, handsome, strapping and always had that far off look in his eye like he was thinking about being somewhere else. Now, Imani felt foolish for not noticing. Even looking at pictures of herself, she felt like she was looking at a stranger. She was still short, she was still a deep umber color and she still enjoyed wearing shoulder length wigs in various styles and colors. But she didn’t look like herself in those pictures. She was a ghost.
It was as if Franco could sense she was making a bad decision. He’d always been gunning for her to stay away from Brian. As Imani got swept up in deep reminiscence about the relationship that had ended, Franco roused from his slumber.
“Imani… What are you doing?”
“Nothing,” She said, too hastily, concealing her phone under the fleece blanket that was draped over her lap.
“Yeah right. You were obsessing again, weren’t you?”
“Give me the phone!”
Franco reached under Imani’s fleece blanket and grabbed onto her phone, swiftly unlocking it. Imani didn’t even bother ask how he’d figured out her pass code.
“You need to stop this Imani, okay? It’s not healthy! Brian is half-way across the world and now it’s your turn to travel and just soak it all in. He’s an asshole you need to move on.”
Imani scoffed, “Well visiting Oklahoma is hardly backpacking in Tibet…”
“And so fucking what? Brian gave up a chance with you to live out a teenage fantasy. In your thirties, you’re supposed to settle down. So I’m going to need you to stop feeling like shit and just prepare for the work we’re about to do.”
“Listen, you’re smart Imani. Very smart. Don’t let this guy play you.”
Franco held onto Imani’s phone and then tilted his head back like he was going to sleep again. Imani resented how correct Franco was about all this. He had been there for her when everything started going south. He’d been there for her when she could barely keep it together at work and he’d prevented her from getting fired over it.
Imani tapped Franco’s shoulder.
“Can we at least chat about the project before we land?”
Franco raised his head again and nodded. At least keeping him focused on the science would ensure Imani didn’t start “obsessing” over Brian again.
“So John got a call from a group of regional activists that fear this town — Homer — might be in some need of environmental advocacy. There’s very little enforced regulation out here and people in neighboring towns are starting to get sick from their water. Someone, somewhere is polluting and we’re supposed to find out who they are. And where they are. They think some of the ranches out there might be polluted.”
“Well we’ll also need to find out if any land owners are being affected by someone else’s pollution. They may be entitled to federal compensation.”
“Right. So where are we staying out there?”
“There’s a small motel and we’ll each have separate rooms… Shared kitchen. Gina organized the whole thing. So don’t worry, if you meet any sexy cowboys, you’ll have a place to take ‘em.”
“Very funny,” Imani said, rolling her eyes.
She didn’t think that she’d be taking home any cowboys, sexy or otherwise. A town like Oklahoma probably didn’t have any attractive men. They’d all be the kind of guys who smelled like cow manure and had no idea what a subway was. Or something.
After thirty more minutes of science-talk with Franco, Imani noticed the plane descending.
“Almost there,” Franco said, “It’s going to be real different from New York. Ready to receive the shock of your life?”
“Any idea how these people are in terms of politics?”
Franco chuckled, “Let’s just say conservative. Their science text book is probably the Old Testament.”
“Oh boy. What are we getting into…”
“Just relax Imani. It will be fine. Remember, you can’t judge them before you get to know them.”
Imani chuckled, “Easy for you to say! I can’t hide behind black…”
“You’re a smart cookie though. You’ll figure out how to keep these people from getting under your skin.”
Once the plane landed, they disembarked on the smallest airport that Imani had ever seen. Then they got into their ordered car towards Homer. The drive there was uneventful. They drove past cornfield after cornfield. Imani starred out the window as Franco made conversation with their driver. Their driver seemed tickled by the presence of rich “city folk”. Imani didn’t think of herself as rich. But compared to the small towns she saw peppering the dry, rural landscape, she understood where their driver could have come up with that idea.
Imani caught Franco’s eyes a couple of times in the rearview mirror. She was worried about how he would fare in Oklahoma too. He had a life back east but he wasn’t big into dating. Imani wasn’t sure why. Franco was attractive enough. He was tall, cared about nature and the environment as well as a religious weight lifting schedule. He had long brown hair and hazel colored eyes that glimmered whenever he talked about any of his scientific passions.
When they pulled up in front of the hotel, Imani understood why their agency had opted to put them up here for a few months. The costs had to be low, especially for such a long stint. As the car pulled up, the driver turned around and said to Imani.
“You know ma’am, I’m just warning ya to be careful ‘round here after dark. Don’t be fooled by the small town charm.”
Imani wasn’t sure what to say so she uttered an uncomfortable, “Thank you,” in response.
Franco checked in for them and carried both their bags up to the second floor rooms. They separated ways to enter their bedrooms and begin unpacking. The TV in Imani’s room didn’t work. Perfect. At least then she could be mostly unplugged from the outside world.
They’d outfitted a special suite for Imani and Franco. Their two rooms were completely separate but they shared an adjoining kitchen and bathroom. They’d definitely be wanting to cook out here. Imani couldn’t imagine what sort of restaurants they had, but she doubted they made anything close to what she could cook. Or Franco. Franco made Italian cooking better than any restaurant and he loved cooking too.
Imani unpacked everything. She didn’t have much with her. Boots for the field, then a pair of regular sneakers. Jeans to wear in the field. T-shirts. Warm clothes. The tiniest bit of makeup. A spare pare of glasses. Her tablet. Her phone. Her computer. Soil testing kits. A spare wig. Once she was done unpacking, Imani noticed how quiet it was. It felt unusual.
Imani knocked on Franco’s door.
“Before dark, can we explore?” She asked as he opened it.
Franco chuckled, “Girl, of course. I’m done unpacking but I need to get a coat.”
Franco suited up and then the two of them left the hotel room. Imani felt safer walking through the streets with Franco by her side. They’d been friends for years and Imani had always enjoyed seeing a new place with Franco. He had that fun, exuberant attitude that made the unfamiliar intriguing as opposed to stressful.
Oklahoma was warming up already. April meant that some parts of farming season had started and that buds were just breaking up through the earth and turning their faces towards the sun. Franco wanted to take a car into the downtown area, but Imani insisted upon walking.
The walk proved to be worthwhile. Oklahoma was flat, and in some respects boring, but it was teeming with wildlife unlike anything Imani had ever known. This was the real countryside. There was a sense of divine earth energy here that Imani couldn’t help but fall in love with. Just breathing in the air, she felt at peace. If she could just close her eyes and experience this land without the people, and without working, Imani was sure she would love it.
She hadn’t been camping much — only for work reasons — but she bet that some places out here had excellent camping grounds.
Once they approached the small town, the natural beauty deconstructed and it turned into a typical tiny town. There were pawn shops, general stores and tattoo parlors that all met on one big Main Street. Well, Main Street was bigger than any other street although it was hardly big compared to Fifth Avenue. Here, there were two restaurants, the Post Office and a library that looked about the size of Imani’s East Coast apartment.
As they walked through the streets, she held onto Franco’s arm. There weren’t many people there, but the ones they ran into shot Imani bizarre looks of disgust. Imani thought she might be losing her head. She had to be imagining the intense stare downs and snarled lips.
“I feel like people are staring at me Franco!” She whispered.
Franco shrugged, “Maybe they are. We’re not from ‘round here and I bet these people aren’t too fond of tourists.”
Imani doubted very many tourists came here anyways. She and Franco walked into a few of the small shops. The clothing was definitively Midwestern. There were wide brimmed hats, leather vests, cowboy boots, cowhide, coonskin caps and more. Nothing that Imani would ever buy — not even as a souvenir.
While they were in one of the little shops, Imani got the distinct sense that they were being followed. Franco seemed oblivious to it all, but Imani could tell that the smallish shop owner had his eyes glued to her back.
“Y’all need anything?” He asked.
Imani jumped out of her skin. The man was standing a few inches behind her at most, almost as if he’d snuck up on them on purpose.
“No, we’re just looking around,” Franco replied, seeing Imani’s surprise and stepping in.
“Lookin’ ‘round. Right. So y’all don’t need help?”
“Well don’t be gettin’ up to trouble or stealin’ nothing. Us folks ‘round here are armed.”
He looked Imani dead in her eyes as he said the word “armed”. She felt a chill run down her spine. Something about the way he was looking at her just felt off. Before Imani or Franco could respond, a man walked through the door of the shop.
“Jethro!” The man called to the shop owner, “Are you hasslin’ these out of towners?”
Jethro turned to face the man who had just walked in with a scowl on his face. Imani could tell instantly that they didn’t like each other.
“Why don’t you mind yer business? I ain’t come into yer place of business and tell you how to run things.”
“Just leave ‘em alone. They ain’t from ‘round here but they’re with the government.”
Jethro didn’t seem any more impressed by the revelation that Imani and Franco were with the government. Based on how run-down the town look, Imani could guess that they weren’t too thrilled with how things were being run. Government employees wouldn’t easily win them over.
“How did you know we were with the government?” Franco asked.
“Easy,” The strapping man who had just entered said, “Ain’t any tourists in Homer and y’all look like you’re here for a reason. Ain’t too hard to put two and two together.”
The man tipped his hat to Imani and said, “Plus, I know ain’t any tourists pretty as this one.”
Imani blushed and looked down. The man didn’t take his gaze off of her and she felt herself blushing uncontrollably. She hadn’t felt so giddy around a man in a long time. Everything about it was unfamiliar. This particular local was handsome too. He had brilliant blue eyes and blonde hair that looked bleached from hours in the sun.
Without giving a name, he continued, “Don’t let Jethro here scare you off. He’s just afraid of people who don’t look like they’re from Oklahoma… It’s why he married his cousin you see.”
“You little son of a bitch…” Jethro muttered, turning bright red.
“M’lady. Hope I run into you again,” The man said with a grin, flashing a boyish wink at Imani before leaving the store.
Franco turned towards Jethro who was sputtering madly at the door and said, “Uh… Thanks sir for your time. We’ll be heading out.”
He grabbed Imani’s arm and they left the store. Imani turned back once they were on the street, trying to catch sight of the blond cowboy who had flirted with her in the store.
“Who was that guy?” Imani asked.
“See? I told you that you’d find a nice cowboy,” Franco said with a grin.
“Oh shut it. He was just being friendly.”
“I’m not looking for anything out here Franco. I just want to test the soil, wait for the results and do our job out here.”
Franco smiled. He knew that getting Imani to actually cut loose would be a project and a half. She was determined to be stoic and reserved. Franco knew that she’d been burned pretty badly by Brian, but he still wanted her to at least get a start on moving on. Hell, Brian had certainly moved on. Franco hadn’t bothered to tell Imani how much he knew about that.
“Nothing wrong with having a little fun,” Franco replied.
They took the long way back to the hotel. Imani listened patiently as Franco talked about how excited he was to take a look at some of the flora and fauna of Oklahoma. Well, Imani tried to listen. Really, she was thinking about what had happened between her and Jethro, the store owner.
Once she was safely in her room, Imani decided to do a little more homework on Homer, Oklahoma. When she’d jumped into the assignment, she hadn’t actually researched much about the town. She knew Franco wouldn’t take no for an answer and she wanted to just do something spontaneously for once in her life. But Imani had to admit this was more than just her prejudices about small town folks. Something about the people in this town gave her the creeps. The way Jethro had practically threatened her felt off too. In fact, as far as Imani could tell, the only normal person in the town was the guy who had come to their rescue in Jethro’s store.
Imani typed “Homer Oklahoma” into her search engine and the first result sent chills down her spine.
“10 Sundown Towns Black Travelers Should Veer Away From”.
Imani clicked on the link and saw Homer sitting at #4 on the list. Sundown towns. Oh boy. Imani flopped back in bed and wondered what she had gotten herself into. Tomorrow she’d have to head to work at the various ranches around town and she’d have to face the people in this town without showing just how terrified she was.
About twenty minutes later, Franco knocked on Imani’s door.
“Can I come in?”
“Sure,” Imani replied, letting out a long sigh.
She allowed Franco to enter her bedroom and sat up on bed. Imani shut the laptop. Franco had such a positive attitude about the town and she didn’t want to ruin it by worrying him. Franco joined her, sitting at the foot of her bed. He was looking at her with a stern, fatherly expression. Franco said nothing for a while and Imani was forced to break the silence.
“I came here to check on you. I know you’re taking the break up with Brian hard and… I wanted to see if you needed to talk.”
Imani sighed. Of course she needed to talk.
“Remember that night Brian cheated on me?”
“Yes. How could I forget?”
“After that night, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t take Brian back. I convinced myself that cheating was the last straw. But still. I accepted more. I just kept taking and taking… I kept destroying parts of myself for him and now I just feel empty.”
“Brian was an asshole.”
“I know but… You don’t understand Franco. You don’t understand how hard it is for me to get over him. You don’t get the magnetism…”
“Wanna go outside? I need a smoke.”
Imani wrapped the fleece blanket around her shoulders, slipped into her bedroom slippers and followed Franco onto the motel balcony. The “vacancies” sign was glowing bright red (except it was missing the letters c,n, and i). Imani wouldn’t have been surprised if they were the only guests at the hotel. She doubted that Homer received many visitors.
Franco slipped into his pocket and pulled out a packet of Marlboros. He lit up and offered some to Imani which she politely declined.
“You know,” Franco said after taking a long drag, “I understand you and Brian better than you think. I get you Imani. I get what you love about Brian. First of all, he wasn’t hard on the eyes. He was smart too. And he always made you feel like if you were with him, somehow you were better than other people. Isn’t that right?”
Imani nodded. She hadn’t expected him to, but Franco understood her attraction to Brian better than most people.
“He wasn’t afraid of anything and because of that, you felt like you were untouchable too, right?”
She nodded again.
“But none of that was real Imani. I’m just telling you this as a friend… Not to be an asshole. None of it was real. Brian played you because that’s what he does and it’s not your fault.”
“It’s not my fault,” Imani whispered. She wasn’t sure if she was convinced. But she appreciated Franco’s commitment to trying.
She wrapped her arms around Franco and gave him a big hug. He continued to smoke with one hand and hugged Imani with his other arm.
“So what? Oklahoma is supposed to be a fresh start?”
“Yes. Why don’t you try going after that tasty cowboy.”
Franco laughed again.
“We’ll see I guess… I bet there are quite a few other sexy farmhands in this part of town…”
Franco finished his cigarette, had another one, and then they both turned in for the night. Even if Homer sent a shiver traveling down Imani’s spine, she was starting to have some kind of hope that this could be her fresh start. At least here, there was no way she could get lured in by Brian’s silver tongue again. She would show him that she could thrive without him. She didn’t need to keep destroying her life to uplift Brian’s.
Enjoyed this sample? The new release will be published THIS WEEKEND! Stay tuned for the 0.99 cent sale price. Looking for another sample like this to read while you wait? Check out the sample for the 50,000+ word novel Stripped Bare. CLICK HERE TO READ.
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