Romance author, Shontae Nichols is spending the summer with seven very friends – four women and three men.
This year her housemates will be a drama instructor, an accountant, a hip-hop video dancer, a cosmetologist, a calculus professor and a film actor.
For eight weeks sibling rivalry, girlfriend drama, and sexual attractions threaten to change every one of their relationships. But when one of the housemates faces a tragedy, it affects how all of the friends view life and each other.
“Remember I said I had this funny feeling about Devon?”
I crossed the room and sat on the edge of the bed, hoping she wasn’t about to reveal something about our new housemate that would require me to run a background check on him.
“I couldn’t figure out what it was until I got back to working on my story,” she continued.
“Nothing like this has ever happened to me since I’ve been writing.”
“Will you please tell me what you’re talking about?”
“He is the exact likeness of the hero in my book right down to his voice.”
“Fascinating,” I said, sounding like Spock from the original Star Trek.
“After Kinnik said who he was, I thought he looked familiar from the commercial or maybe from the few times I’d seen him walking the red carpet with Shari Wilcox on one of those magazine shows. That wasn’t it. Here, read this.” Shontae got up from the desk and patted the chair so I could sit in front of her laptop.
She pointed to the screen. “Start with the second paragraph.”
“Every eye was glued on Gregory when he walked into the conference room. This was the new district director? He looked like one of those models from the cover of Details magazine. The custom-tailored suit he wore emphasized his height and the straightness of his shoulders. Thick but neat brows framed his deep-set brown eyes. I’d never seen such a stunning face on a man. But what did irreparable damage to my nervous system was his voice. When he opened his mouth to greet the staff, it captivated every female at the table, the kind that demanded obedience, in the boardroom or the bedroom. My body immediately reacted in ways I didn’t want to be seen in a business meeting. I squeezed my thighs together and tried to will it away.
The passage described Devon perfectly.
“I don’t know how that happened. A few months ago I saw this face in a dream and when I woke up I decided to use it in my next manuscript then completely forgot about it until this afternoon. I don’t put too much stock in coincidence, but this is scary.”
Shontae and I had been friends for a long time. I knew she wasn’t easily flustered. That’s why I was so surprised at how shaken she appeared.
“Could be automatic writing. It’s writing produced without conscious thought; like a written message given through a spirit guide. And maybe Devon was sent here for a reason. You probably don’t believe in that sort of thing.”
Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Like what?”
“Don’t ask me. Is this guy in your book good or bad?”
“Good.” She smiled a coy smile. “Very good. He’s the hero. They’re not the same person, Lin. Devon is an actor.”
“Don’t say it like it’s a disease.”
“Isn’t it? Look at Kip. The man is so in love with himself and his looks, it’s sickening. I think the attitude comes with the job. They have so many women running after them. It can’t help but go to their heads.”
Now I was confused by the way she’d brushed Devon off. “So if he’s your dream man, what’s your problem with him?”
“Come on, Lin. The man in my book is a fantasy. I created him to be the way I’d like him to be. My character is a serious businessman who’s developed a good reputation in the business world by being honorable and trustworthy.”
Right away I knew what her issue was. “For all you know, Devon could be the most honorable man on the planet. You’ve already made up your mind that he’s got issues.”
“He gets paid to pretend,” she insisted.
“He’s not Ronald, Tae. Don’t hold that idiot’s sins against all men.”
Her mouth twisted and her eyes narrowed to slits. “Did I say anything about Ronald?”
“You didn’t have to. This is a different summer. Devon’s a different man. I know you don’t believe in karma like I do, but I think you saw him in that dream to let you know he was coming into your life. Give the man the benefit of the doubt.”
Shontae studied my face for a few beats and considered my words. “Yeah, I have to admit it is a little strange.”