Is it possible to meet, fall in love with, and marry “The One” within nine months? In this romantic suspense, Alretha Thomas introduces us to a woman who believes it’s possible. Cassandra Whitmore will be thirty in nine months and she’s determined to nab Mr. Right, before then. Her A-type quest is rewarded when she meets Nicolas Harte who hails from New York. There’s only one caveat. Cassandra soon finds out there’s something rotten in The Big Apple.
ALRETHA THOMAS IS TAKING READERS BY STORM
What a great book! –P Diddy
Great summer read. –Sepia Brown
A Great Read, Patricia Crowe –Ladies of Color Turning Pages
An Amazing Read –Yolanda Oliver of Essence of Books
WOW!! Selatha Smith –Circle of Friends Book Club
Excerpt Chapter 1
I’m staring at the calendar stuck to my fridge, wondering where the time went. It wasn’t that long ago that I was braving long lines and rowdy crowds in the quest for the ultimate Christmas gift. Now it’s February, and I’m looking at a photo of red roses. In four days, millions of women will receive cards, flowers, candy, jewelry—and the super-lucky ones, the almighty engagement ring. As for me, I’ll spend the day lying to myself. A lot. I’ll tell myself, “It’s just another day, it’s all about the money, I’m not letting someone dictate who I should love and when.” And my favorite, “It’s a day for fools.” If you haven’t already surmised, I’m dreading Valentine’s Day.
When I graduated from college, my eight-year plan looked like this:
1) Find the perfect man, get happily married (So far, no such luck).
2) Have at least two rug rats (Likewise, considering the miserable failure of item 1).
I remove the cap from the black Sharpie I’m holding in my death grip and place a large X on today’s date—Saturday, February 10th. I scan the previous forty X marks and replace the cap on the pen; I don’t want it to dry up like my love life. I have nine months before I turn the big three-oh, and I’m determined, by any means necessary, to be married before November 10th.
“Cass, what are you doing?”
My cousin’s high-pitched voice startles me. I tense hearing the sound of her footfalls along the hardwood floor as she makes her way from the living room to the kitchen. I take a moment and calmly say, “Nothing.”
She shakes her head, swishing her dreadlocks then snatches the Sharpie out of my hand. “You and that calendar. I don’t know why you put so much pressure on yourself. Why plan everything? Just let it happen.”
Yeah, that’s good advice. She just let it happen, and now she’s desperate to get out of a marriage to a guy with serious weight issues. It’s not entirely her fault. David is what she calls a “closet fatty.” When he and Cyn met he’d lost one hundred pounds. He managed to keep all his “before” photos out of sight until after the shotgun wedding. During the pregnancy they both gained a ton of weight. David got so big that he lost all interest in going out, having sex, and bathing—not necessarily in that order. On the upside, he’s a good guy and a great dad.
I take the Sharpie from her and toss it onto the island in my recently remodeled kitchen. “I am going to let it happen.”
With hands planted on her hips she asks, “How are you gonna let it happen when you’ve boxed yourself into a nine-month deadline? What if you don’t find ‘The One’ by then?”
“A lot can happen in a day—in a minute. I could walk out the front door and the man of my dreams could be standing on my lawn.”
She looks at me, hisses, and flounces out of the kitchen. Curious, I follow her into the living room. She draws the curtains back from the picture window, points, and says, “The only thing I see on your lawn is a pile of dog mess.”
My stomach drops at the sight of the crap. I paid extra this year to have my grass seeded; it’s the envy of the block. This is the third time my neighbor, a batterer and a dead-ringer for Denzel Washington, let his dog do his business in my yard. I ignore the smug look on my cousin’s face and say, “I don’t know why Michael lets his dog mess on my grass. Drives me nuts.”
“Why don’t you cancel with what’s his name and celebrate with me tonight?” she asks in a tone teetering between a plea and a demand.
“Cancel my date with Lawrence to celebrate what?”
“Having a black man in the white house. Did you ever think we’d live to see it?”
“Not really, but Cyn, if Barack Obama had relied on people like you to get elected, he never would have made it. It took you forever to get registered and the only vote you’ve ever cast was for Fantasia on American Idol. So stop trying to play the ‘I’m down for the black cause’ card.”
Busted, she says, “It’s ladies’ night. David’s at that teachers’ conference, and he won’t be back until Sunday. My mom’s watching Shelby. I’m dying to get out.”
“I’m not feeling the club thing. You know it’s not my scene.”
“Come on, cousin. Between David, my crazy clients, their kids, and my wild child, I’m losing it. I need to get my groove back. I’ll do anything.”
I go into the kitchen, grab a plastic bag from the drawer, and return to the living room. “Here.”
“What’s that for?”
“You said you’ll do anything.” I point to the yard.
Cyn, with a wide-eyed, disgusted look on her face, grabs the bag out of my hand. I open the door and watch her trudge toward the dog doo. She grimaces, snatches up the crap with the plastic bag, and looks at me, her face a question mark.
“Put it in the can around back.”
“Can’t believe I’m doing this.” Gagging, she pinches her nose and storms to the side of the house.
( Continued… )
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Married in the Nick of Nine by Alretha Thomas
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