Sumeera dropped her compact back into her purse as a loud rumbling motor sounded outside. She
went back to the window and tilted the aluminum slat of the blinds down, willing herself to remain calm
when she spotted Nick’s truck. There was a time in her life when she’d only been attracted to a man in a
suit and tie, clean shaven, with a runner’s body. But nothing about Nicholas Jenkins-Moore resembled
Just over six-feet tall with dark soulful eyes and skin the color of toasted almonds, Nick, a sheet
metal worker by trade, ran one of the largest construction companies in Cincinnati. Her heart pounded
against her ribcage as she observed him standing behind his truck taking in his surroundings. He
reminded her of a poster boy for everything rugged and powerful.
She wasn’t sure why he parked on the street instead of in the driveway, but it gave her a chance to
admire him from a distance. He wore a dark wool cap pulled down low and sunglasses shielded his eyes.
Even in his work coat, one could tell he had wide shoulders and a broad chest. His tree-trunk-like legs
were encased in his customary blue jeans and dusty steel-toe boots covered his feet.
Sumeera remained rooted in place as desire hummed through her veins while she watched him. His
long, easy gait carrying him up the driveway toward the house. With a diamond stud earring in each ear,
his sexy goatee and tattoos that she knew covered his forearms beneath his coat, he was everything her
prim and proper mother would disapprove of. Yet, Sumeera was crazy in love with the man. Hence, her
biggest problem at the moment.
She and Nick had dated for seven months until she made the mistake of falling in love with him. It
was a mistake because he had made it clear up front that he wasn’t looking for a serious commitment.
Like so many women, Sumeera thought she could change him. Didn’t happen. Then she thought she
could handle being in a relationship without knowing if it would amount to marriage, but quickly realized
she couldn’t handle that either. And she definitely didn’t want to end up like her mother. Mona had stayed
with Russell, who promised marriage, but thirty-five years later he was still making promises and they
still weren’t married. That’s why Sumeera had put some distance between herself and Nick. She wanted a
different life than her mother’s.
Sumeera stepped away from the window and closed her eyes, willing away the slight headache
trying to creep in. She knew her constant tiredness and the random headaches were from working more
than she’d been sleeping, and lately she’d been paying for it.
Nick rang the doorbell, and Sumeera opened her eyes. She wiggled her shoulders to relieve some
tension, then ran her fingers through her hair hoping it looked alright.
“Okay. I’m ready.” She exhaled before opening the door. But no amount of preparation could have
readied her for coming face to face with the man she’d dreamed about during many lonely nights over the
last few weeks.
Nick removed his shades, placing them in the top pocket of his jacket that rested over his heart. She
swallowed hard when their gazes collided. He studied her for what felt like hours. His sexy brown eyes
scrutinized, doing a slow crawl down her body, and then back up again. Heat consumed her, making her
want to fan herself, but she didn’t move.
“Hello, Sumeera.” His rich, deep voice washed over her like a gentle breeze, nipping at her skin,
and her heart rate inched higher. His cologne, a woodsy scent, brought back memories of romantic nights
and happier times. She hadn’t seen him in a month and a half, but there hadn’t been a day that went by
that she didn’t think of him.