Solid Soul

By: Brenda Jackson

Prologue




“My mom needs to get a life!”

With a sigh of both anger and frustration, fifteen-year-old Tiffany Hagan dropped down into the chair next to her friend, Marcus Steele.

“I thought you said that the reason you and your mom moved here to Charlotte a few months ago was for a better life,” sixteen-year-old Marcus said after taking a huge bite of his hamburger as they sat in the school’s cafeteria.

Tiffany rolled her eyes. “Yeah, that’s what I thought, but now it seems that her idea of a better life is making mine miserable. Just because she got pregnant at sixteen doesn’t mean I’d go out and do the same thing. Yeah right! I don’t even have a boyfriend and if she keeps up her guard-dog mentality, I never will. She needs a life that doesn’t revolve around me.”

“Good luck in her getting one,” Marcus said, taking a sip of his soda. “My dad is the same way, maybe even worse. He’s so hell-bent on me making good grades and getting into an Ivy League college that I barely have time to breathe. If it weren’t for my three uncles I probably wouldn’t be playing football. Dad sees any extracurricular activities as a distraction.”

Tiffany shook her head in disgust. “Parents! They’re so controlling. Can’t they see that they’re smothering us?”

“Evidently not.”

“I wish there was some way that I can shift my mom’s attention off of me,” Tiffany said, unwrapping her sandwich. “If only she had another interest, like a boyfriend or something. Then she could get all wrapped up in him and give me some breathing space. I don’t remember her ever dating anyone.”

After taking another bite of his hamburger, Marcus said, “My dad has dated occasionally since my mom died seven years ago, and although I’m sure some of the women have tried, none of them holds his attention for long.”

Tiffany laughed. “Then he better not ever meet my mom. One look at her and he’ll be a goner for sure. I hate to brag but my mom is hot,” she said proudly.

“Hey, my dad doesn’t look too bad, either.” Marcus grinned. “Maybe we ought to get them together since it seems that neither of them has a life,” he added teasingly.

Tiffany was about to bite into her sandwich when Marcus’ suggestion sank in. A huge smile curved her lips. “Marcus, that’s it!”

He looked at her, baffled. “What’s it?”

“My mom and your dad. Both are single, good-looking and desperately in need of something to occupy their time besides us. Just think of the possibilities.”

Marcus began thinking. Moments later, he smiled. “Yeah,” he agreed. “It just might work.”

“It would work. Think about it. If we got them together, they would be so into each other that they wouldn’t have time to drive us nuts.”

“Yeah, but how can we get them together without them getting suspicious about anything?” he asked.

Tiffany smiled mischievously. “Oh, I bet I could think of something….”





Chapter 1




Less than a week later



Kylie Hagan regarded with keen interest the handsome specimen of a man dressed in a dark business suit, who had just walked into her florist shop. That was so unlike her. She couldn’t recall the last time a member of the male species had grabbed her attention. Denzel Washington didn’t count, since each and every time she saw him on the movie screen it was an automatic drool.

She continued watering her plants, thinking that the woman he was about to buy flowers for was indeed very lucky. The good news was that he had selected her florist shop—she was the newbie in town, and Kylie needed all the business she could get, since she’d only been open for a couple of months. Business was good but she needed to come up with ways to make it even better.

Her heart jumped nervously when, instead of looking around at her vast selection of green plants and floral arrangements, he headed straight for the counter. Evidently he was a man who knew what he wanted and what he needed to woo his woman.

“May I help you?” she asked, thinking that with a face and physique like his, he probably didn’t need much help at all. He stood tall, six-three at least, with a muscular build, a clean-shaven head, chocolate-brown eyes and skin tone of the richest cocoa, altogether a striking combination. The drool she usually reserved only for Denzel was beginning to make her mouth feel wet. As she continued to look at him, waiting for his response, she suddenly noticed that he wasn’t smiling. In fact, he appeared downright annoyed.

“I’m here to see Kylie Hagan.”

Kylie lifted her eyebrows and the smile on her face began fading at his rough and irritated tone of voice. What business did this man have with her? All her bills were current, which meant he couldn’t be there to collect anything. And if he was a salesman, with his less than desirable attitude, she wouldn’t be buying what-ever it was he was selling.

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