Release date: June 1, 2015
After five years in prison, Kareem Henderson is starting his life over. Though business is good at his barbershop, his goal is to open a high-end gentlemen’s salon. But the road back is rough, and he needs connections in the society he once snubbed to make his dream a reality. He just never expected his second chance to come from the sexy female barber he hired last year.
Patrice “Neecie” Baldwin escaped the pressure of being the perfect daughter in one of North Carolina’s most prestigious families to live life on her own. When family responsibilities call her home, she fears going back will expose her to the pressures that nearly ruined her. Neecie needs a shield, and tall, handsome, bad boy Kareem seems impenetrable. So she offers him a deal: If he’ll pretend to be her fiancé, she’ll introduce him to all of her well-connected relatives.
But the more time they spend together, the more the irresistible attraction between them builds. They’re from such different worlds, but can this fake relationship make the cut and become something very real?
by Synithia Williams
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Synithia Williams has loved romance novels since reading her first one at age 13. It was only natural that she would begin penning her own romances. When she isn’t writing, this local government gal balances the needs of her husband and two sons.
An excerpt from Making It Real:
Kareem’s head tilted to the side. He hadn’t seen this man before. The last guy sniffing around Neecie was some idiot who resembled the singer on the album she’d bought—soft, skinny, and sentimental. This guy, average height, clean cut, with a suit so sharp he could slice a tomato, did not appear to be Neecie’s type.
Instantly, Kareem disliked him. Neecie was a nice chick, and this guy looked like he would run game all over her romantic heart.
“You need to leave, Chad.” Neecie pushed the guy in the chest.
Kareem smiled. The spitfire was out. She tried to push pass him, but the guy grabbed Neecie’s arm.
Blood rushed in Kareem’s ears. His heart revved up, and he saw red. He stomped from behind the curtain, pushed Neecie behind him, and got in the guy’s face.
“You can’t keep your hands to yourself?” Kareem’s pulse pounded. He wanted the pretty boy to make the wrong move. He’d happily put a dent in the punk’s face for grabbing Neecie.
“How about you mind your business,” the guy said with a sneer mastered by those used to looking down on people. “This has nothing to do with you.”
Kareem took a step forward and cracked his knuckles. “When you’re manhandling my people, it has everything to do with me.”
The guy scoffed then glared around Kareem at Neecie. “Really, Patrice, you’re hanging out with thugs now. I expected better of you.”
Kareem balled his hands into fists. Who the hell is Patrice? “I’ve got your thug, pretty boy.”
Neecie rushed between them. Her small hands had little effect as she tried to push him back. The girl was five foot one, if that.
“Kareem, stop, I’ve got this,” she said.
“This asshole put his hands on you.” He didn’t look away from the smug smirk on the other guy’s face.
“Listen here, young man, why don’t you go back inside and worry about cutting hair instead of me and Patrice.” He waved a hand toward the back of the shop, his voice bored.
Neecie spun and put her hands on her hips. “That’s enough, Chad. You have no right showing up here.”
Chad narrowed his eyes. “I have every right. You’re coming home next weekend, or else I’m dragging you there.”
Neecie crossed her arms. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Kareem took a step closer to Neecie and placed his hand on her shoulder. She jumped, then stiffened beneath his touch. Not surprising—he wasn’t one to initiate personal contact. But he felt the need to back her up.
“Doesn’t sound like she wants to go anywhere with you, pretty boy. So get the hell out of my shop.”
Chad glared at Neecie. “Patrice, the time for playing games is over. You went away, had your little fun,” he flicked a nasty scowl Kareem’s way, “but it’s time to grow up. Look at you, you deserve better than this. Come home. Roland still asks about you.”
Neecie … Patrice held up a hand. “Shut up, Chad!”
Kareem’s grip on Patrice’s shoulder tightened. “Who the hell are you anyway?” Kareem asked.
The guy lifted his chin, looked at Kareem’s hand on Neecie’s shoulder, and sneered. “I’m her brother, which means I have more of a right to this conversation than you do. So, again, partner, why don’t you go back into your little office and leave this to me and my sister.”
Sister! Neecie didn’t look like she belonged in the same room with this jackass, much less the same family. He loosened his grip on her shoulder. If this guy really was her brother, then Kareem should step away. The idea caused his stomach to tighten.
“Is he really your brother, Neecie?” he asked.
Chad scoffed and shook his head. “Neecie?” He said her name as if it were funny. “Really, Patrice?”
She stiffened beneath Kareem’s touch and moved back. The back of her brushed against the front of him, and damn if his mind didn’t take note of the softness of her ass in that brief second.
“Yes,” she said. “Kareem, meet my brother, Chad Baldwin.”
Chad raised a brow and tugged on the front of his suit like he’d won a victory. Kareem wanted to knock the smug look off his face, but he knew when to step out of other people’s family crap. He lifted his hand, but Neecie’s snapped up to grip his wrist. She took a step back, pressing her soft, warm curves against him.
“Chad, meet, Kareem, my f … fiancé.”
Kareem’s fingers dug into her shoulder. Fiancé! There were a lot of things he wanted to do to Neecie, but marriage wasn’t on the list. To throw that out meant she was desperate. His need to back her up intensified.
Neecie sucked in a breath. “And … if I’m coming home for Mother and Father’s anniversary party … he’ll be there with me.” She turned her head and looked at him with soft, pleading, brown eyes. “Won’t you, baby?”