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Won't Be Denied

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Won't Be Denied - Novel Excerpt

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“The life I have known is burning. Let a gust of wind carry the ashes away,” I said with conviction in my voice. It felt like an ending to a beginning—I looked forward to.

I looked out my window to see children laughing and playing in the circular fountain rings across the street at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. I quite often glance out of the two-story school building where I teach to see life in progress in downtown Atlanta.

Today was a great day. I received many gifts and cards from my students. I will see many of them next year, just not in my class. Tomorrow I’ll begin working with the preschoolers, which will be a nice change of pace.

After a long day with the kids, I made my way down onto Luckie Street and shouted, “Betty, I’ll see you in the morning!”

As I strolled down the street, the sky, once pure blue and empty of clouds, began to darken. I looked up to see the clouds roaring in, thick and with a dirty tint. The sky’s pure blue had turned somber.

“Great! It’s beginning to drizzle,” I said to myself, as I continued to walk. The drizzles were coming faster, steadier, and harder.

Spotting a bookstore, I said to myself, “I better go in here, because a sister isn’t trying to get her hair messed up.”

While standing in the doorway, I decided I’d go inside and check on a few home-improvement books. I like to be creative with my townhouse. There are a few things I have in my home that just stand out and everyone loves them. I try to tell people to check out the show Trading Spaces. It’s a great home decorating show.

As I thumbed through a book, I sneezed.

“Bless you.”

I looked to my right. There stood a stunning African-American man. He looked through the books on the opposite bookshelf, behind me.
Like, whoa, what a beautiful brother. He lifted the spirit of my mood.

“Thanks again,” I said, as I continued to look through the book. I didn’t want to appear overjoyed by him.

In my head, I went through what I just had a glimpse of. A tall brother, who had to be at least six feet, three inches tall, and his gear suited him well. His skin had a smooth, dark caramel tone. His hair was cut low, with a little extra on top.

His voice caught my attention, but his beautiful smile was also inviting. The tone of his voice resonated in my mind: deep, smooth and strong.

As I stared into the book and thought of this man, I casually looked back over to the right to take another look, to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

Guess what? He was gone. “Damn!” I muttered. Some women can be aggressive. That’s not me. I like to show interest in a man to provide him an open window. I guess I’m old-fashioned; I like to be pursued.

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I grabbed two books and made my way to find a seat. As I walked, I could see through a window the sky falling in a downpour of rain. I looked around the reading area in the bookstore and it was packed. I guessed everyone must have dashed in from the nasty weather.

Beginning to walk away, I noticed a spot next to the brother who blessed me a little while ago.

I walked over to the loveseat and asked, “Is this seat taken?”

He looked up with a genuine smile. “No, please, have a seat.”

I thanked him as I settled myself on the right end of the loveseat.

We sat there, each engrossed in our reading. At the same time, I thought of ways to strike up a conversation. I made a quick jerk as I crossed my leg, and one of my books fell to the floor. The gentleman leaned down to pick it up.

“So, you’re into home improvement,” he said, looking at the book cover.

That’s what I was waiting for . . . my window of opportunity to dialogue with this brother.

“Without a doubt. I’ve had the opportunity to see Ty, Vern, and Frank from Trading Spaces live,” I stated.

He looked interested and said, “Really? I haven’t taken the time to do so myself. How were they?”

“Amazing! I saw them two years ago, at the World Congress Center. It was at one of their home-improvement expos,” I told him, reaching for my book.

“Many people would be amazed at how much home remodeling they can do for themselves,” he said. “I’m sure I don't have to tell you.” He paused, then said, “I apologize, my name is Travis. Here I am talking as if I know you like that and I hadn’t even introduced myself.” He extended his right hand.

“Don't worry about it. My name is Maré,” I replied, as I reached to shake his hand for the formal introduction.

His hand was big, and he grabbed my hand, firmly, yet gently.

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Chapters 1, 2, & 3

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