Sample-Everything To Me

Haze wiggled her toes in the sand and stretched her arms above her head. Her eyes locked in on the summer sky, watching the sun creep from behind the clouds. “Good morning Mama,” she whispered.

A cool breeze brushed against her skin, making her smile and reminding her that she wasn't alone. It had been three years since her mother died from cancer, but to Haze it felt like yesterday. The pain was still fresh, and her heart was still empty.

Taking another moment to enjoy the calming sounds around her, Haze smiled. She couldn't think of a more beautiful place to spend her days. Hawaii had memories, and they were good ones. Placing two fingers against her lips, she took a deep breath and blew a kiss into the sky. “I love you,” she said softly, and then jogged towards the back porch of the house that once belonged to her mother. As soon as she made it inside, she grabbed her wireless headphones and pushed them into her ears. Her eyes traveled the screen of her cell, searching for just the right song to get her energy flowing for the day. She needed something that could make her feel good. Smiling, she tapped on her favorite playlist, turned the music up as loud as her ears could stand and strolled into her kitchen. 

Swaying her hips from one side to the other, she grabbed a wooden cutting board from the cabinet, placed it on the countertop and cut up a few pieces of watermelon. Stuck in her own little world, she didn’t notice her best friend, Avery, come through the back door.

“Are you deaf?” 

Startled, Haze yanked the earbuds from her ears. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to see you gliding your ass across the room like a little sex kitten.”

Haze laughed. “Sorry, I was trying to clear my mind and relax a bit before we head out for our run.” 

Avery and Haze had a routine. Every morning, they jogged along the beach for forty-five minutes, played catch up, and then headed off to work for the day. Haze worked at a little ice cream parlor not too far from the beach and Avery owned a swimsuit shop in the area.

“What you listening to?” Avery asked, snatching her phone from the countertop. It didn’t take long for her to notice Dominic’s album cover pop up on Haze’s screen. Dropping the cell back down she said, “Do you ever get tired of listening to this nonsense?”

“Dominic’s music isn’t nonsense. It makes me feel young and sexy.” 

“First of all, you’re twenty-five, so stop talking like you’re some old ass woman trying to get your groove back. Second, I don’t see how you can truly enjoy his music. All he sings about is how many different ways he can drive his dick into women while having them scream his name in the process.” Avery slid into the tall chair near the kitchen island. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s nice looking. I mean, if you like that dark chocolate, muscle-bound type. But damn, there's more to life than fucking.”

Haze shrugged, leaning back against the sink. “I don’t see anything wrong with it.”

“Of course you don’t, which is pretty sad and says a lot about who you are as a person.”

“Damn! It’s like that?”

“Look, I'm just being honest. Dominic is shallow as hell, and his music proves it.”

“I bet you haven’t even listened to his latest album.”

“I don’t need to. I’ve heard enough to know that it’s the same bumping and grinding bullshit that he puts out every couple of years.”


“Don'twhatever me. You know I'm right. And to add to my already strong case, the majority of the women in his videos are fake ass foreign women.” Lifting her finger, “Oh, and let's not forget about the women that he's been involved with.”

“Seriously, Avery?” 

“Look, I don’t care how much you like his music, you need to face the fact that your boy has an issue with black women.” 

Blowing out a heavy breath, Haze pushed her fingertips into her temples. “Oh my God, please shut up.” She didn’t want to hear it. It was the same shit, different day.

“Why? I'm spitting facts right now. As black women, we deserve to be respected by our black men. We should get the same opportunities as these other women. We're sexy and beautiful too.”

Confused, Haze asked, “If you feel like all Dominic talks about is sex, why would you even want us in the videos?”

She stopped, gave Haze a long glare, and then waved her off. “You’re missing the whole point.”

“You didn’t make one.” Haze laughed. “You talked bad about Dominic, basically saying that his music is degrading towards women, but you’re pissed off that we’re not the main focus in his videos. Makes no sense to me.” Haze shrugged. “I will say this though…whether we’re present in his videos or not, as black women, we should be proud of who we are and what we look like. We shouldn’t need anyone else to validate our natural beauty.”

 Completely ignoring her point, Avery said, “Well, I’m proud of my beautiful dark skin and any man that has the luxury of having all of this should be grateful.”

“Could you be any more conceited?”

“I'm not conceited. I'm just keeping it real.”

Without a doubt, Avery was a big ball of realness. The shit drove everyone crazy, including Haze. Thin in stature and big frizzy hair, Avery walked around with all of the confidence in the world. 

Haze grabbed a piece of watermelon and tossed it into her mouth. “Well, I think you're extremely conceited, and your crazy ass theory about Dominic is ridiculous.”

“What’s so ridiculous about it? You think because the two of you are friends, you know him inside and out?”

“As a matter of fact, yeah, I do.”

“Okay. Well, would you like to tell me what happened to him last night?”

Haze frowned. “What are you talking about?”

“You haven’t heard?”

“Apparently not. What’s going on?”

Avery smirked and then dipped her fingers into the bowl of watermelon. “Rumor has it, Dominic collapsed backstage after his show. An ambulance showed up and everything.”

“What?” Haze’s chest tightened, a million thoughts rushing through her mind. She snatched her cell from the counter. “Did they say why he collapsed?”

“Nothing has been released yet. Are you calling him?”


“Good.” Avery stuck her hand into her sports bra and whipped out a tiny notepad, waiting for Haze’s next move.

“What the hell are you doing?” 

“What do you think? Trying to get the scoop.” 

“This isn’t the time for you to be getting a story for your damn show, Avery. Something could be seriously wrong with Dominic.”

Rolling her eyes, she lowered her notepad. “Oh, please. I'm pretty sure he's not dead. If that were the case, we would know that already.”

Haze couldn’t believe her response.

Choosing to ignore her, she paced the floor, waiting for Dominic to pick up the line. Eventually, it went to voicemail. 


“What’s wrong? Is it really bad? Did he die?” Avery stuffed her mouth with another chunk of watermelon. 

“He didn’t answer.”

“Oh. Wow! Maybe he is dead.”

“Stop saying that!”

Avery shrugged. “Sorry.” 

Haze’s phone vibrated in her hand. It was a text from Dominic’s mother. 

Tonya: Hey Haze. Dominic’s resting right now.

If he’s resting, that means he’s okay, she thought to herself.

Before she could type out a response, another message came through.

Tonya: I guess you've heard the latest. Just in case you're wondering, Dominic is fine.

Haze sighed in relief.

Haze: Thank you so much for telling me that. I was definitely worried. 

Tonya: No problem. I’ll have him call you when he wakes up. 

Haze: Thanks. 

Noticing her pleased expression, Avery said, “So, I guess lover boy is okay?”

“Yes. Thank God.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know. His mom didn’t say.”

“You didn’t ask?”

“No. If Dominic wants me to know, he'll tell me when he calls me back.”

Sifting through what was left of the watermelon, Avery whined, “I’m trying to get the inside story.”

“First of all…” Haze said, snatching the bowl away from her. “This is my watermelon. If you’re that damn hungry, take your ass back to your house and make your own. Second, I’m not feeding you information so you can come up with a million an one ways to talk shit about him on your little show.”

“Don’t call my show little. You know how much I hate that.”

Haze wasn’t trying to talk down about her show, but it was hard to take the thirty-minute video clips of her talking trash about celebrities seriously. Of course, through Avery’s eyes, she was just giving her opinion on what was already out there.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Yes you did, but it’s cool. A lot of people tune in and like what I have to say. It’s not my problem if certain people don’t.”

Not willing to go back and forth, Haze said, “You know what? I’m done. Let’s go.” She reached under the couch and grabbed her sneakers. “You really get on my damn nerves sometimes, you know that?”

Avery shrugged. “I don’t care. I bet you’ll never get rid of me.”

Haze took a deep breath, and then let out a loud sigh. “Yeah, you’re right.”

Sample-Everything I Need





Damn, he’s fine.

Imauni leaned against the bedroom doorway, admiring her ex as he finished up the last bit of his workout for the evening. Crunches, push-ups, planks. You name it, and he did it. It was Jordan's nightly routine—a routine that had definitely given him results. He had a perfect set of abs, strong ass biceps and a nice firm chest to prove it.

Stop staring, Imauni scolded herself. 

But that was impossible. 

She couldn’t stop herself from staring at the man that she was still in love with. The man that her heart still had its own special rhythm for. Imauni couldn’t turn away, even if she wanted to. She was hypnotized by his dark brown skin, perfectly toned frame and that damn beard—the beard that tickled the inside of her thighs before bed every night. 

Just thinking about it made her shiver. 

Stopping his push-ups, Jordan lifted his head to meet her gaze, his coal black eyes assessing her presence. “Come here,” he whispered. 

“For what?”

“Don’t play with me, Imauni,” he spoke firmly. “You know why.”

She definitely knew, but she couldn’t help but give him a hard time. Her efforts always paid off in the end. 

Sliding the small elastic band down the length of her sleek ponytail, she strolled towards him. The closer she got, the more her insides tingled. 

Jordan waited patiently for her to secure herself on top of him, her stomach resting against his back. “You good up there?” he asked. 

“Always,” she said, wrapping her arms around his chest.

With one hand planted on the ground and the other reaching back to grip her barely covered ass, he eased down to the floor and back up again. His ability to effortlessly do a one-handed pushup made a flash of heat rush to the seat of Imauni's panties. She had only been in town for a few hours, and she already knew how she wanted the night to end. Actually, she knew before she even left the airport, but she was trying to play it cool, keeping her thirst to a minimum.

“I miss doing this together,” he said, his eyes trained ahead. “Eight months was too damn long for you to be gone.”

“Well, I'm sure you could have found any number of women to keep you company while I was away,” she teased.

Oh really? I see your ass got jokes?”

Imauni laughed. 

It was definitely a joke. Despite them no longer being in a relationship, she would never be okay with another woman being next to him like this. “I just thought that I would give you a hard time,” she said.

“Oh, trust and believe, you’re doing that.” He peered over his shoulder. “If you slide your hand down a little further, you’ll be able to see for yourself.”

Imauni licked her lips. As tempting as it was to get a good feel of what she couldn't wait to wrap her mouth around later, she insisted on holding off, telling him, “Nope. You're not about to get anything started until you finish your workout. You won't be blaming me for throwing you off schedule. You know how you like to do.”

“Alright, that’s cool,” he replied, returning both hands to the floor. “But once I finish, it’s going down.”

“Once you finish, your ass is getting in the shower.”

“That’s fine. As long as you’re getting in there with me.”

“I just got out.”

“Well, now you’re all sweaty so…”

“Yeah, thanks to you.”

“Don’t try to act like you don’t like it. Besides, I don’t know why you got in the shower so soon anyway. You knew I wasn’t going to have you here and workout alone. I thought you would have joined me.”

“I would have, but I was too tired. You know how I am after a flight. As much as I travel, I’m still not good with plane rides. My anxiety goes through the roof the moment I step on the plane.”

“Well, you’re on solid ground now, so you’re good.”

Pushing her lips against the back of his shoulder blade, she said, “Thank God.” There was a brief moment of silence between them. Suddenly, a weird feeling came over her. It was one that Imauni hadn’t experienced in a while—one that she had been working overtime to suppress. 

 Lost in her thoughts, she barely heard Jordan when he said, “You okay? You got kind of quiet on me.”

“Uh…yeah. I’m fine.”

But he wasn’t buying it, which was obvious when he asked, “Nah, what’s up? Something’s on your mind.”

Everything was going perfectly. She didn't want to mess things up by bringing up the one thing that she had promised herself that she wouldn't. She was taking a few weeks off, and she wanted to enjoy every single day that she had with Jordan. That meant keeping their conversations light and simple.

Seriously,” she insisted. “I’m fine.”

Resting his chest on the floor, he slid his arm behind his back and guided Imauni down next to him. She turned over, eyeing him as he hovered over her. The stern look on his face, telling her that he wasn’t going to let up until she told him the truth.

“You know I don’t play around like that. Be honest with me, Imauni. Tell me what’s on your mind.”

A heavy sigh escaped her lips, before she said, “I was just thinking about how hard it is for me to leave after we’ve been together like this. Every time I get ready to go on tour or do a show out of town, I cringe at the thought of being away from you.”

Jordan’s expression softened.

Lowering his lips, he pressed them against her forehead and whispered, “It’s hard for me too.”

“I just wish that things were different, you know? I wish that we could figure out a way to make this work all the way around. I wish—”

Jordan placed his finger against her lips, quieting the words that were soon to follow. Any other time that would have driven Imauni crazy…in a good way. But right now, she wasn't feeling it. Especially when he said, “Baby, I wish everything that you wish. I miss the hell out of you when you're not here—”

“Are you sure about that?” she stepped in.

A deep scowl appeared on his face. “Seriously? Are you really asking me that right now?”

“Yeah, I am. Because your mouth is saying one thing, but your actions are saying something completely different.”

Jordan’s brows shot up. “Don’t play me, Imauni.”

“I’m not playing you, I’m just telling you how I feel.”

“And I’m telling you the same thing.”

“Okay, so when are you actually going to do something about it? When are we going to be together again?”

There, I said it.

Imauni was sick and tired of beating around the bush. She was tired of pretending like she didn't want more when she did. Bottom line, she loved Jordan, and they were good together…well…they could be, if he would toss his damn pride to the side long enough to really give them a fighting chance.

But it was obvious that today wasn’t going to be that day, when he said, “Whenever you’re done doing your thing, I’m down. You know that.”

“Why does it have to be like that with you? Why can’t you just—”

He didn’t let her finish. “Imauni, don’t do this. You know where I stand and I hate having to hurt your feelings every time you bring it up.”

“Well…don’t,” she replied, pushing him off of her and standing to her feet. “Just give me what I want.”

“What you want is too damn complicated.”

“That’s only because you’re making it that way. It doesn’t have to be. For once, stop being a stubborn asshole and just do what you know is right for the both of us.”

Frustrated, Jordan blew out a heavy breath and met her near the window. “You keep acting like this shit is so simple and it isn't. We've been down this road already, and it didn't work.”

“And we both know why.”

Jordan’s brow lifted at the reminder of his role in the fall of their relationship. When they met, Imauni’s dance career was just starting to take off. She was so focused on finding the right platform to show off her sexy ass moves that she didn’t notice cupid aiming his arrow right at her. 

From the moment that Jordan approached her at his nightclub, Imauni knew that something would happen between them. And it did. Just from their first encounter, things took off like a rocket. One minute they were dating and the next, they were moving in together. They hadn’t even been together a year, and they were talking about marriage. But in the midst of all of that, Imauni struggled to find balance. She couldn’t figure out how to be all about dancing and give Jordan the time that he wanted, which took a huge toll on their relationship. 

But it wasn’t all on her. 

Jordan had this selfishness about him. On one hand, it made him sexy and intense, but on the other, it made him difficult to deal with. It was the one thing that forced her to love and hate him, all at the same time.

Giving right in to her thoughts, he said, “I love you Imauni, but I'm not about to compete for your time. I know how you feel about dancing and I would never want to take that away from you. What we have going on now, works. I'm not obligated to you, and you're not obligated to me.”

Wow!Imauni thought, jerking her head back. “So, that’s what our relationship was? Just one big obligation?”

Shaking his head, Jordan rushed to say, “No, I was talking about time. You don’t have to feel obligated to give me the time that you don’t have. We see each other when we see each other.”

“But, that’s the thing…we see each other all of the time. The second I get in town, you pick me up from the airport, drive me back to your condo and fuck me like ain’t shit changed.” Imauni gave him a heated glare, not giving a damn about how harsh her words sounded. 

The first few weeks after he ended things, Imauni wanted nothing to do with him. She was too hurt. But, it was impossible to stay away and he damn sure didn't make it easy. Between the phone calls, gifts and popup visits at her best friends place, he wore her down. One dinner date to hash things out turned into making love more times than she could count and a decision to accept whatever she could have of him…whenever

At first, she was okay with their arrangement. Neither of them was seeing other people, and when they were together, it was all about them. But, during the eight months that she was away on tour, thoughts plagued her mind. What if Jordan found someone else? What if he found someone that could give him what she couldn’t?The thought made her sick to her stomach. 

Pulling her from her thoughts, Jordan reached for her hand. “First off, let me correct you on something, I don't just fuck you…I never have. Do I go hard and heavy on you? Hell yeah. But to just fuck you, would mean that I don't give a damn about your feelings, and we both know that isn't true,” he said, his lips parting to give her a smile that always pulled her right where he wanted her. “Second, you know I'm not really good at sharing. I want you, but I want you when you don't have to be torn between two worlds. I want you when you can find the level of balance that it takes to move us both to the next level.”

“But, what about you?” she questioned softly. “It's a two-way street, Jordan. You have to be willing to put in some effort too.”

Gently, he lifted her chin, her lips meeting his. “When the time is right, I’ll do just that. But you just got back. Neither of us knows when you’ll be out on the road again, so let’s just make the best of the time that we have together now. We’ve spent way too much time going back and forth when we should be doing this.” Jordan dipped his hand into her panties and slid his fingers between her folds.

Imauni gasped, her eyes slamming shut. Shit!

Like second nature, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and they moved towards the bed. But, before they could give in to their desires, Jordan's cell rang.

Groaning, his head fell back.

“You better answer that,” she advised. “It could be important.”

The second Jordan grabbed his phone and looked at the screen, he rolled his eyes. “What’s up?” he answered.

Imauni dropped down on the bed and glanced between her legs. She was wearing a sports bra and matching panties. The light gray color didn’t do much to hide what her body was feeling. The fact that she was dripping wet was more than a little obvious. 

Crossing her legs, she peeked back at Jordan as he ended his call. “Is everything okay?” she asked.

“Hell no. There’s an issue at the club.”

“Really? What’s going on?”

“Blake is what’s going on.”

“Uh oh,”she whispered.

Imauni already knew the deal. If it involved his cousin, it was definitely a problem that only he could solve. Blake didn't respond well to anyone but him and drama followed her wherever she went.

Grabbing his dark suit jacket and the pants to match, Jordan said, “Let me hop my ass in the shower and get out of here before she turns my club upside down.”

“Yeah, you better hurry up. She moves pretty fast.”

“I know.” He leaned over and kissed Imauni’s cheek. “I guess we’ll have to take a raincheck on me tapping that ass tonight.”

“Not necessarily. I’ll wait up for you.”


She shot him a wink, watching as he disappeared into the bathroom. Deep down, Imauni knew that she should have shut down any possibility of them having sex. Especially after he had just smooth talked his ass out of a much-needed conversation, yet again. But she couldn't help herself. Jordan had a power that she couldn't quite explain. Her legs parted for him with just the mere notion of his presence. It was beyond her control, but she couldn't help but wonder…what happens when he starts to make someone else feel this way? What if he already has? What if that’s the real reason he’s putting me on hold?