It's the weekend.
You're quarantined and trying to remain COVID-free.
You've binge-streamed every show and movie that your heart desires, and you're looking for something new to pique your interest.
Well... Joi Miner to the rescue!
Welcome to Sneak Peek Saturday! Every Saturday, I'll share a snippet of one of my novels... either upcoming, or already available for you to enjoy.
This week's pick:
The Queen of Hearts
Damn, she’s beautiful. I wonder if she’s straight, I thought, staring at the reporter, Candice Anthony, who was interviewing me for my article in Atlanta Magazine. She was breathtaking. A little eccentric and talkative for my tastes, but I had to consider the profession she was in. I made a mental note to get the answer to my question before I left the office this afternoon.
“So, Ms. Brooks, tell us a little about yourself, and your company that’s the talk of Atlanta, Queen of Hearts Matchmaking Service,” Candice prompted, sitting the recorder down on the table between us. She took her suit jacket off and placed it on the back of her chair while waiting for my answer.
I looked from the digital recorder to her. I don’t know why those things made me nervous. I had something against a person that had a record of our conversation. But, that went back to my last relationship. My ex-fiancée, took me through it, and almost ruined my life and my career with doctored recordings. Hell, she almost cost me my freedom.
“Do we have to use the recorder?” I asked, cautiously. I mean, it didn’t hurt to ask. I was willing to even type up the answers to her questions.
“Ummmm no, we don’t,” she said, leaning forward to turn off the recorder.
I caught a great view of her breasts in her tank. Did she do that on purpose? Is she flirting with me? I asked myself. She caught me looking and smirked before leaning back in her seat. Reaching into her large, fluffy afro, she pulled out a pen, then picked up the steno pad that was on the table.
“I’m gonna have to ask you to speak a little bit more slowly since I’m going to be writing your answers. But, please, tell me—I mean us – about yourself and your company that’s the talk of Atlanta, Miss Brooks. It is Miss, right?” she asked, with a raised brow. I felt like she was feeling me out, and I was up for the challenge. I loved my women with a little spunk. It was fun to me. The conquest was even better when they put up a fight.
“Yes, it’s Miss. And what do you want to know? I mean, I’m thirty-five. Single… on purpose. Never married. But, I’m in love with love. So, just because I haven’t found true love… yet, doesn’t mean that I can’t help others find their soul mates. That’s where the concept for Queen of Hearts came from. Most people don’t even know what they want in a partner… better yet, what they don’t want. I help them sort through the ideals to see what they need in their lives. Since we’ve been in business the past eighteen months, we’ve had an eighty percent successful match rate, and a twenty-five percent marriage rate that’s slowly climbing,” I said proudly.
“You’re speaking in numbers and percentages. That kind of takes the romance out of it, don’t you think?” she dared. “And can you tell us some of the things that contribute to the successful matches versus the unsuccessful ones? And, my mama used to have a saying. She never went to a hairdresser who didn’t have her hair done. So, with you being single… on purpose, how do you rationalize your being the best person to offer matchmaking assistance?”
I crossed my legs and smoothed the hem of my skirt down. I’d heard about her, and knew that she was going to come with these kinds of questions, but I was more than capable of answering every one of them. I never broke under pressure. As a matter of fact, I embraced the shit with open arms.
“I’ll answer the last question first. Yes, it’s odd for a person who is single to be the one pairing couples and serving as a relationship coach. But, being realistic, my being single gives me a degree of objectivity that those in a relationship don’t have. See, what happens is we attach our own relationship to those of others, subconsciously. We either put what we desire from our mate, or what we have, onto the next person, which takes away from the advice offered. A person who isn’t in a relationship and isn’t jaded, like myself, can listen to the person speaking and hear what they are actually saying, not what they want them to say,” I said, and winked at her.
“Interesting,” was her only response.
“And, since I have had my own relationship failures, I’d say I am a bit of an expert in regard to what not to do in a relationship. As far as speaking in numbers and percentages, I’m still running a business, even if the business is romance. And, technically, romance is an ideal, which can make or break a relationship. I try to help my clients pair realism with their romantic ideals, and it helps prevent the natural inclination to “jump ship” when things aren’t how they want them to be, you know? That’s what plays into the successes and failures of the eighty out of the one hundred clients that I have successfully matched, versus the twenty that were not successful. Lastly, I don’t care what the hairdresser’s head looks like, as long as she can slay my head. Maybe, she hasn’t had time to tend to her own because she’s so dedicated to making sure her clientele is happy.”
“Very good,” she said, as she took note of my responses. “You have been called the “Stud in Stilettos”. What’s the story behind that?”
She nibbled on the end of her pen and her eyes showed a bit of intrigue. She was ready for the answer to that question and now, I knew the ball was in my court. Time for the slam dunk, I told myself.
“If it's one thing I've learned in this business, it's never judge a book by its cover. People are so obsessed with labels, that they forget that, at the end of the day, we’re all still people underneath the clothes. I dress… like a woman, if you will, whatever that means, because women in Polos, slacks, and loafers are dressed like women as well. I mean, they are women who are dressed, so the phrase “dresses like a woman” baffles me. But, I’m considered a femme. Yet my demeanor is very dominant.” I could tell that she wasn’t understanding. I took the opportunity to shoot my shot, “If you allow me to take you out for dinner, drinks, and maybe a little dancing, I can show you exactly where the nickname came from,” I ended, smiling seductively.
I rarely mixed business and pleasure, but this was one pleasurable matter of business that required my urgent and undivided attention.
She flashed her left ring finger at me, blushing at my flirtation. “I’m sorry, I can’t. I’m engaged.”
“Well, I mean, I’m sure she won’t mind you going out for dinner and drinks with your interviewee,” I fished, smiling innocently.
“He,” she corrected me. I didn’t allow my obvious disappointment to show on my face. “And that wouldn’t be a—ahem—good idea,” she shifted nervously in her seat. “I think I have enough information, Miss Brooks. Thank you so much for your time today.”
Standing with her hand extended, I matched her motions and took her hand in mine. One look in her eyes let me know that I could have her if I wanted her, but I wasn’t really in the mood to go through all those changes when I knew I wouldn’t be able to have her as often as I’d want. Candice was the kinda woman I knew I’d wanna have the aftertaste of on my tongue at least three times a week, and a fiancé wasn’t gonna make that easy.
“The pleasure was all mine,” I said, licking my full, matte-mocha colored lips. “I look forward to reading what you do with my— words.”
“I’ll be sure to send you a copy before it goes to print,” she promised, avoiding eye contact. I felt her palms begin to sweat.
“Until next time,” I said, rubbing the back of her hand with my thumb before letting it go, collecting my things, and walking out of the room and building to my car.
My Vickie Secrets were drenched. I needed that woman. But, I’d wait for the opportunity to present itself. And it would. It always did. Til then…
“Call Celeste,” I instructed my hands-free.
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See you next time, loves! 'Til then, be kind to yourselves and each other!