Taffy by Suzette D. Harrison
Twenty-three-year-old Taffy Bledsoe Freeman doesn’t need her gift of second sight to know her “mockery of a marriage” to a man twice her age is far good. After a seven-year exile Up North, Taffy travels down-home to the small town bearing her family’s name, plotting her escape from a marriage not worth the price of a press-and-curl. She only needs to retrieve the son her husband banished to her parents’ care, before boarding a train headed for the Windy City filled with liberty and opportunity. Instead, Taffy stumbles into Roam Ellis: her long-lost love and the man Taffy meant to marry.
Twenty-six-year-old Roam Ellis is a “broad-shouldered, hard-bodied” Pullman porter riding the rails coast-to-coast, outrunning the bitter heartbreak Taffy left behind. Now, after a seven-year absence, Roam is face-to-face with first love. Anger ignites. Old wounds are exposed. But when pain subsides, passion rises, thrusting Taffy and Roam into a hurricane of family secrets, betrayal, and lies. Bathed in southern lore and sweeping imagery, Taffy is a story of restoration and redemption that you won’t soon forget!
“I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to let you know that you are a writer with a story to tell. You get 6 stars. [Taffy] was the best story I have read in quite some time.” –T. Davis
“Loved, loved, loved your book.” –K. Thompson
“I just finished reading your book Taffy and didn't want it to end! Thank you for taking me into another place and time. Please do it again!” –C. Hendrick
“There are few novels that render me speechless, but I can truly say that Taffy has succeeded in taking me on the literary journey of a lifetime.” –J. Blue
“For those who love an excellent love story as well as a nodding sense of African-American history, this is a book to read. Highly recommended.” –Patricia E. Canterbury, author of The Secret of Morton's End
“Taffy is a book to pass on to the generations. Thank you, Ms. Harrison.” –Dr. David Covin, Blue Nile Press
“Vividly realistic characters, colorful dialogue, and rich imagery combined with rare paranormal elements make Taffy a memorable read.” –Shobhan Bantwal, author of The Dowry Bride
According to the chime of the grandfather clock, midnight came and went, finding Taffy sleepless. She’d counted stars, the chirp of cicadas. Nothing soothed. Irritable, Taffy climbed from bed, tucked the cool cotton sheet about Angel and tipped from the room. Quietly, she descended the stairs, heading for the kitchen and milk to warm. High-beams flashing across the wall sent her to the backdoor instead.
Cautiously she peered out, instantly recognizing the pick-up entering the gravel drive. “Drew?” Alarmed, Taffy prayed nothing was amiss with Chloe. Grabbing her mother’s sweater from the coat rack, Taffy tossed it over her shoulders, reaching the back porch just as Drew’s passenger pulled something from the truck bed.
“Hey, Taf, I promised Uncle T. we’d bring him a line,” Drew called from the driver’s seat, passenger already approaching the house with a string of fresh-caught fish.
“Where would you like these?” Roam asked, mounting the porch.
Tightening her mother’s sweater over her nightclothes, Taffy refused answers involving the man’s anatomy. “The kitchen sink’s fine.” Holding open the screen door, Taffy let Roam pass while glaring at Drew, wishing she had a brick for his head.
“You still know how to clean and gut fish, Miss Cosmopolitan?” Submerging the catch in a sink full of water, Roam looked over his shoulder at Taffy, hovering at the kitchen entrance, silent and not amused.
“I’m sure my father thanks you, but those fish could’ve held ‘til morning.” Nervously, Taffy fumbled with her sweater as if needing a shield.
Roam snickered, having already envisioned her in nothing but skin. “You okay?”
“Are you?” Taffy snapped, wishing up an extra brick.
They stood eyes locked, heat flowing between them. Roam approached. Taffy moved from the doorway, granting Roam room to leave. Instead, Roam leaned down, whispering, “I’ll be real good once we get some loving.”
“Satan is a lie, and Hell has room! I’m not interested in playing games in the backseat of some car with you.”
Roam laughed, low and deep. “Dollbaby, trust me, we won’t be playing.”
Ignoring the thrill shooting up her spine at the old endearment, Taffy held the door open. “Go home, Beelzebub. You’re wasting my life.”
Staying put, Roam chuckled before advising, “Lemme tell you like the Apostle Paul. ‘When I was a child I spoke like a child. Now that I’m grown I’ve put away childish things’.” Roam moved closer. “Backseat business is for hormonal kids. I’m all man. Our love-making won’t be kiddie-quick in the confines of a car.” Roam’s baritone dipped deeper. “Gonna use whatever room we need and take our time spreading all this heaven,” Roam slowly caressed Taffy’s hip, “real nice…and wide.” Grinning, Roam walked out, leaving Taffy utterly tongue-tied.
Drew’s truck was down the road before Taffy thawed enough to holler, “Red-headed crazy!” She doused the kitchen lights, fish forgotten, and mounted the stairs. Midway, Taffy plopped onto a step, leaning against the stairwell, head in hand. Roam Ellis was out of his unnatural mind and in need of an exorcism, if not an enema. Just the same…Taffy was stuck on Roam’s arrogant assertion.
“…once we get some loving.”
Roam’s sensual prediction incessantly circling her skull, Taffy uncomfortably squirmed atop the steps, something warm like bathwater seeping between her legs.
( Continued... )
© 2016 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Suzette D. Harrison. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
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African-American Historical Romance/Historical Fiction
Discussion Topics: Love, redemption, and freedom
About the Author
Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary journey began when her poetry was published in her junior high school’s creative journal. While Suzette credits Gloria Naylor, Alex Haley, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison for inspiring her early in life, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings exemplified the life-changing power of African American literary voices to her. A wife and mother, Mrs. Harrison operates a small homebased cupcake business. She’s currently working on her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes. Visit Suzette at www.sdhbooks.com.