Photograph by Thomas Martinsen
The forbidden fruit was always the sweetest.
Savannah James was a known sex blogger under the pseudonym Aura Sky. A reader challenged her to spy on a couple having sex, and it was an offer she couldn’t refuse. But when she spies on her roommate’s brother and his girlfriend and boyfriend having sex, and then blogs about it, she opened up Pandora’s Box.
Blake Hutchinson loved three things: sex, women, and cars – and not necessarily in that order. When he and his girlfriend decided to role-play one night, Blake could’ve sworn he felt another set of eyes watching from afar and enjoying the action herself. When a coworker talks about the hot sex blogger speaking about her recent voyeurism experiment, Blake discovers Savannah’s secret identity –and is determined to get to know more about her.
Fast cars, mechanical bulls, and more sex toys than a girl can imagine make up this short and sexy summer read by bestselling author Vera Roberts.
A voluptuous black woman opened the front door. She wasn’t fat, but she wasn’t skinny. She filled out her simple attire of blue jeans and a red sweater with pushed-up sleeves. She was hipper than what her age gave away because Savannah noticed the dark pink Gucci sneakers on her feet.
She was older and her hair showed signs of her wisdom, not age. She had small lines around her eyes but no wrinkles on her clean skin, blessed only by small freckles and moles. Her hair was in locs, with a mixture of grey, blonde, and black. What would look silly on someone else, looked elegant on her.
“Well, Blake…” The older woman’s voice was smoky and inviting. “…are you going introduce me to your friend?”
“My manners,” he smiled a charming smile, “Mom, this is my friend, Savannah. Savannah, this is my mother, Alicia Hutchinson.”
Savannah blinked several times and hoped the surprise in her mind didn’t appear across her face. Alicia was clearly a black woman. Blake was about as Orange County surfer dude as they come. And they were mother and son?
“Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Alicia.” Savannah stuck out her hand.
“Oh girl, give me a hug!” Alicia pulled her in and gave Savannah one of the biggest bear hugs she’d ever had. Alicia felt like Christmas morning, Southern hospitality, and Al Green songs. Alicia pulled away and just smiled at Savannah. “Oh, you’re just so beautiful! And your hair! I just love your hair, baby.”
It was a compliment Savannah didn’t know she needed. “Thank you, Ms. Alicia.”
“Now, do you eat soul food? You see I have to ask this because the last few times Blake brought home one of his things,” her eyes cut to Blake, who quickly looked up at the sky, “they didn’t eat. One time I made chitlins and I told the girl what she was eating after she finished a plate of them. Honey, she was stuck in the guest bathroom for an hour trying to throw it all back up!” Alicia chuckled. “It was the funniest thing in my entire life. I’m pretty sure if I made potato salad with raisins and whatever weird mess they put in there, she would’ve ate it all up.”
“Hmm,” Savannah agreed, “was her name Karen?”
“Why, yes it was, actually!” Alicia laughed as Savannah joined in. “Let’s see….there was also a Becky, and a Lisa and a Michelle…” Alicia’s voice became more Valley Girl-like with each girl’s name. “….and now I have a Savannah…hallelujah, praise God!” A proud smile curved Alicia’s lips as she turned to Blake. “What did I tell you, son? What did I tell you? I told you one day you were going to bring home a girl just like your mama and look at God! He answers prayers, you know?”
Blake was thankful he had a beard because the embarrassment caused by his mother made his cheeks feel pink. “Can we go inside, Mom?”
“Oh yes!” Alicia interlocked arms with Savannah and led her inside the home. “Let me tell you all about my Blake since I’m sure that boy hadn’t said a word about where he’d come from.” She shot a glance back at him.
Blake’s head fell back and he closed his eyes. “I love my mother. I love my mother. I love my mother…”
Alicia’s home was just like her. Decorated in soft hues of burgundy, tan, and olive, it felt welcoming from the jump. Oversized sofas were the centerpiece of the family room, which showcased a flatscreen TV on the wall and various family pictures.
Hardwood floors led to the many carpeted bedrooms and polished bathrooms spread across two stories. The kitchen had a country, rustic theme with old Mason jars that contained grown herbs and flowers.
The kitchenette was reminiscent of an old 1950s diner with a small, flatscreen TV in the corner; perfect for watching a daytime gabfest or a cooking show. The formal dining room was just that, and Savannah could tell it was only used for special occasions. It mostly contained storage for such events.
There was a touch of expensive items but nothing so drastic where Savannah felt she couldn’t even sit on the furniture. It was clear Alicia had money, and it was possible she was wealthy, but to what extent Alicia wasn’t sure. It was also very clear Alicia downplayed her wealth every chance she had.
As Savannah looked around the home more, she noticed the walls weren’t the standard stark white but a soft mauve color. Various family photos hung on the walls and Savannah smiled as she saw the transition of Blake from childhood to adult. Every photo he had with Alicia, and her husband, Willis, there was Blake with a huge smile on his face.
You’re always welcomed herewas the motto Savannah silently picked up from Alicia. Her demeanor, her home, and even her clothing. She wondered if it had something to do with the clear differences between her and Blake and Shana. Or maybe…the siblings were really taking after their mother.
“You’re probably wondering the one thing most of Blake’s girlfriends ask so I might as well address it now,” Alicia stood next to Savannah as she looked at a photo of Blake in his Little League uniform. “Blake and Shana are adopted. I had two sons and we wanted to have more children after them but we weren’t able to. So, we went to adoption agency and requested a black baby to adopt. They didn’t have any.” Alicia shook her head and gave Savannah a look that signaled, ‘You believe that mess?’
“So, I asked them, ‘Well, what do you have?’ and the lady said, ‘we only have white babies here.’ So, I asked, ‘Is there a law I can’t adopt a white baby?’ and she said, ‘No ma’am, but we currently have twins here. We told every prospective parent they have to adopt both but many wanted to separate them.’ And Willis said, ‘We’ll take them both.’” Alicia smiled. “I’m not going to sugarcoat and say it was easy. The twins got picked on a lot at school and both Willis and I had family questioning us for adopting two white kids. But as they grew older and we became more acquainted with our neighborhood, everyone knew us as a loving family who opened up our home to anyone. Ask Blake. Many of his friends spent the night here and stayed here when they had issues with their parents.”
Savannah smiled at the warmth Alicia and Willis showed their children. She knew it wasn’t easy raising two children who clearly didn’t look anything like them, but loved them as if they came from them. “How many children do you have?”
“Just those four and trust me, it’s more than plenty.” Alicia chuckled. “My boys – Derek, Dalvin, and Blake are very close in age. They’re only a year apart each. My food bill and my clothes shopping bill went through the roof during that time.” The older woman sighed as she reminisced. “I’m so glad high school and college is over.”
Savannah smiled. Blake was built like a UFC fighter yet his demeanor was warm like a children’s pediatrician. She definitely saw why he often kept a rotating door of female conquests. She also saw why he probably had no interest in her.
She quickly changed the subject before her heartbreak became apparent on her face. “What do your other two sons do?”
“Derek is a coach for the NFL,” Alicia proudly smiled, “he just won his first Super Bowl this past year. Dalvin is a music producer and does a lot of that rap stuff I don’t listen to. He recently worked with some guy named Dolce Gabbana, but I guess they did amazing work since they both won Grammys.” She softly put her hand on Alicia’s arm. “Willis and I went with him. We were his dates for the night.”
“And what does Willis do for a living?” Savannah asked. It quickly occurred to her that why Shana was pretty open with what her family did, Blake was more quiet and reserved about it.
“He’s a fire captain for the Las Vegas Fire Department.” Alicia replied. “He was a firefighter when we met thirty years ago. Every time he gets a call, I still get shakes wondering if he’s coming home. It only gets worse during fire season.”
“How do you manage?” Savannah asked.
Alicia gave her a sweet smile. “Prayer.” She paused for a brief moment. “And lots of wine.”
Her Little Secret will be out this month. It’s an erotic new adult novella.