Shana was the only white woman on the block. It was summertime and the heat was scorching outside. Her first floor apartment was muggy—there was no AC—and all she could do was open the windows and hope a breeze might pass through. She was a single mom with two children, waitressing six nights a week, daydreaming about rich men and a better life. But for now, this was it. She’d had such little time to herself, and even after three weeks, she was living mostly out of boxes.
But today, she had the day off. The custody battle was settled, and her children had made friends. Shana’s white tank top stuck to her sweaty chest as she leaned out the living room window. Her two young sons were jumping through a stream of water on the sidewalk while a little dark-skinned girl held the hose. Her mother was sitting on the front step, talking on a cordless phone and keeping an eye on them. Shana was glad her boys had found a place. It was easy to tell they were mixed—their skin was very light brown, and Jasper, the youngest, had blue eyes. She knew they were beautiful and made sure they knew it, but acceptance wasn’t exactly easy for some—on both ends of the racial spectrum.
But the minute she’d moved onto this block, she’d felt the sense of home they’d all longed for. Neighbor after neighbor stopped by to introduce themselves, and all of them came bearing some kind of food. Shana sighed and glanced at her messy kitchen. She should return the favor someday. Soon. But all of these boxes just seemed impossible. She opened one with pots and dishes she’d never used. It was time to find a place for them.
But the pretty blond had barely gotten through half the hand-me-down Longaberger when a knock sounded on her open door. She turned, running a hand through her long hair, in an effort to keep it from sticking to her neck.
The sight that met her blue eyes was unexpected. A tall, smooth-skinned black man stood in the doorway, smiling with perfect white teeth. Shana had never seen anything like him. His skin was impossibly dark, straight African, and it glistened like melting dark chocolate under the heat of the sun.
Damn, there was something about hot summer days on the streets of New York City. Shana’s lust was instant.
“I’m Coffie,” the man introduced himself. “My mother lives next door—Ms. Fifi? I’m visiting and thought I’d come say hello.”
Shana wiped the dust from her hands onto her skin-tight jeans. Of course. She’d heard a bit about Ms. Fifi’s sexy son.
“It’s good to meet you. Ms. Fifi’s been so kind to us.”
She took his strong hand in hers and shook it. Her knees weakened instantly. God, he was beautiful. Late thirties, confident, proud. He was in dress slacks and a wifebeater—the perfect combination of clean and casual.
“Us?” he asked, glancing around the doorframe at the children playing. “The two light-skinned boys are yours?”
Shana nodded and joined him at the door. Her children had moved into the street now, and two girls just a little bit older than her sons were with them.
“The girls are mine,” Coffie explained.
“They’re gorgeous. Is your wife still visiting with your mother?”
“No wife. God knows where their mother is.” He gave a small smile, and Shana returned it.
“Would you like a drink?” she offered. “A soda or water…? I could make lemonade.”
“Lemonade sounds wonderful.”
Coffie sat his tall frame at Shana’s small kitchen table, and she took a pitcher out of a cabinet. Coffie was turning the dial of a box fan with no result.
“It’s broken,” Shana told him.
She was unapologetic, but simple things like that served to remind her that her life wasn’t everything she’d hoped for as a little girl. She was tired, single, broke, and…God…just looking at those large, strong hands made her all too aware of how long it had been since she’d been with a man.
“I can take it for you. I’ll fix it and bring it back in a day or two.”
Shana was surprised at the offer. But, then, she’d spent the last two weeks being surprised at people’s kindness. She’s barely known her neighbors when she was growing up, and she’d never expected to be accepted, to make friends here. But she had. And here was one more. One more incredibly gorgeous friend.
She nearly spilled some of her lemon juice and bit her lip quickly, trying to keep her desire from becoming obvious. But it was overwhelming her. She couldn’t explain it. Perfection had walked through her door, and she couldn’t help her attraction to it.
Shana opened the cabinet above her head and reached for the glasses. The only clean ones were on the very top shelf. In an instant, Coffie was there, very near to her, grabbing two of them easily.
“Thanks,” she murmured softly.
She poured the drinks and handed one to him. He remained standing as he took a long sip. Her gaze lingered on his smooth lips. He caught her looking and smiled. She returned the gesture and stared at a cardboard box on the floor.
“If you need help unpacking, I’m sure my mother and her sisters would be more than happy to come over.”
“She’s already offered, but thank you. I can handle it.”
“I bet you say that a lot.”
She glanced at him, confused and intrigued by his assumption. He didn’t even know her. “Why do you say that?”
“Single parents.” He shrugged, the muscles of his shoulders rippling beneath his dark skin. “We think we can do it all.”
Shana smiled and finished the rest of her drink. “Yes, we do.”
Coffie set his empty glass down on the counter and reached his hand out to shake hers.
“It was good meeting you, Shana. I’ll see you again soon.”
He took her fan with him when he walked out the door. Shana went to the window to watch him wrangle his children. She bit her lip again, too aware of her body. He’d awakened something within her, and she knew the attraction was mutual. She couldn’t wait to see him again.
And, as always, be sure to check out the other flashers!
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