RELEASE DATE: July 17, 2020
After three failed marriages, Renee Joseph is through with men. She just can’t seem to get it right. Then things heat up with her neighbor, Clive. Will this relationship last, or is she destined to spend the rest of her life alone?
Right when Adelaide Flores is getting used to life without her ex-husband, they’re thrown a curve ball that forces them together. As she and Hector handle a family crisis, the time they spend together reminds her of the good aspects of their marriage and how much she still misses him. But have they grown too far apart to make marriage work the second time around?
All her adult life, Jackie Bryant has worked to get to the point where she is. She owns three successful boutiques, but there’s something missing from her life, and her happiness will depend on the tough decision she must make when her old lover, Tyson, comes back into her life.
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What a night.
Clive had been too tired to clean up last night, so that was his job today, now that he’d finally gotten out of bed at eleven—much later than his norm.
He surveyed the damage and shook his head but smiled. He loved spending time with his friends, but the cleanup sucked.
“Time to get to work,” he muttered.
He gathered up the beer and soda cans all over the deck and tossed the trash in a bin. He cleaned the grill, swept the deck, and then sauntered back inside.
His daughter and granddaughter had already left for their Saturday outing. Because of Chelsea’s hectic schedule during the week, she always planned weekend activities for her and Margie, so that meant he had the place to himself for most of the day.
He walked toward the front door and Samson, who’d been relaxing in the hallway staring at the door, perked up.
“Hey guy, want to check the mail with me?”
Samson barked and jumped up, following him outside.
Just his rotten luck, Miss Joseph from next door was walking back from checking her mailbox, too. He almost went back into the house but refused to let this woman’s sourpuss attitude dictate his behavior. She glared at him as he made his way down the driveway.
“Good morning!” Clive said cheerily and added a wave, just to annoy her.
She simply stared at him. Samson barked, wagged his tail, and started toward her yard, but Clive whistled at him.
“No boy, come on, Samson.” He patted his thigh and the dog did a U-turn and followed behind him.
He’d picked up the mail and was on his way back up the walk when he realized Renee hadn’t moved. His eyes flicked over her attire—denim capris that emphasized her hourglass figure, platform heels that gave the illusion of longer legs, and a white sleeveless top that dipped a little low in the front and showed off the swell of her breasts. With difficulty he dragged his gaze higher. The only thing marring the delectable package was the frown on her face.
“Do you do it on purpose?” she asked.
“Do what on purpose?” Clive asked pleasantly.
“Go out of your way to aggravate me and your neighbors.”
“As far as I know, I don’t aggravate my neighbors, just you. But please, tell me, what I did now. Did I sneeze too loud? Does my laugh bother you?”
She straightened her spine and elongated her neck, as if she could make herself taller. He chuckled. She couldn’t be more than five-foot-two, tops.
Her eyes narrowed. “As a matter of fact, your laugh does bother me. That and the laugh of your buddies when it happens very loudly at one in the morning.”
“Is that why you were spying on us last night?”
“I was not spying.”
He hadn’t actually seen her lurking in the dark, but the curtain in one of her windows had been pulled across, and when he noticed it, it was quickly flicked back into place, which let him know she’d definitely been watching them.
“Looked like spying from my vantage point.” Clive pretended to ignore her and flipped through the bills.
“Like I said, I was not spying. The ruckus you and your friends made woke me up out of bed and I went to investigate.”
Out of bed?
His gaze lifted to hers and he almost asked, What were you wearing?
What did Miss Grumpy wear to bed? He imagined her in pajamas and a long, flannel nightgown, but he’d much rather see that body in a nice piece of lingerie. Pale pink or white would look right against all that dark brown skin.
His gaze flicked over her again, and his mouth went dry.
He should not be attracted to this woman, but almost every time he saw her, he wanted to knock the scowl off her face and replace it with an expression of open-mouthed, gasping satisfaction.
“Maybe instead of spying you should have come over to join us.”
“I wasn’t spying! You don’t care about anyone or anything, do you? You have no concept of being neighborly. I’ve heard you and your friends before, but last night was too much, and I’ve had it up to here with all the yapping and laughing loudly at all hours of the night.”
He felt kinda bad that he’d disturbed her sleep, and if he’d disturbed her, he had probably disturbed other people as well. Next time he’d have to make sure to tell the guys to keep down the noise, but he wouldn’t give this angry, grumpy woman the satisfaction of knowing he’d change his ways because of her.
Clive folded his hands over his chest. “What exactly are you going to do if you hear us making noise again?”
“Call the police.”
“Lady, you have issues. Instead of talking to people, you think the correct way to communicate is to threaten and yell. You’ve threatened my dog and now you’ve threatened me.”
“Because you don’t listen and have no respect for your neighbors.”
“That is not true!” Her accusation rubbed him the wrong way.
“Oh yes, it is, Mr. Stevenson. I’m sending a letter to the board, and if that doesn’t stop you, expect a visit from the police the next time you have one of your little late-night parties. This is your final warning.” Her eyes flashed angrily at him, and she stomped toward her house.
“Oh great, another final warning,” Clive said, walking up his own driveway.
Renee stepped into her house, turned, and yelled, “I’ll be sending that letter right away to the board, you asshole!” Then she slammed the door.
“If I’m an asshole, so are you!” Clive yelled at the closed door. He sure hoped she heard him because he didn’t usually yell and felt like an idiot. He glanced up and down the street, hoping no one saw or heard him.
Samson looked confused at the outburst.
“She hates me,” he muttered, rubbing the dog’s head. Now she was going to complain about him to the board, again. She really knew how to make his life a living hell.
“That woman needs to get laid more than I do. If she wasn’t such an ornery witch, I’d help her out.”
Clive slammed his front door shut.