Catching Creole

Style, grace, charm and a pretty face. This is what Zeta Tau Alpha girls are made of.

School’s out and so is Aviana River Moore’s luck.

Having moved to New Orleans after Katrina, Aviana met Xavier Thomas Rousseau.

Between his smart alack remarks and her sassy ways they bonded like shrimp and gumbo.

They’ve done everything together. Dances, family affairs, even college. It was her way of keeping him. College is out, and he’s joined Doctors without Borders, leaving after the summer break.

Aviana has three months to do the one thing she’s never done. Tell him how she feels.

Can she get her courage, and show Xavier what he’s been missing?

Will Xavier see past the girl down the road facade and let love in or will Aviana forever be just a friend?

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Excerpt

Copyright © 2019 J. Haney & S.I. Hayes Catching Creole

Xavier

Bon Seyè a, kisa m 'fè? Mama Isa, she said the Lord was plannin’ somethin’. Wouldn’t tell me what. I bet the leaves and the bones showed her. I kissed my best friend. I sit up and the living room is dark, but the smell of gumbo invades my nostrils. Not just any gumbo, but Mama Isa’s. I know her spices anywhere. How long was I out? I look at my cell and see it’s after nine. Last I remember looking, it was like five-ish. That was before she spilled her guts. Told me she’s in love with me. Has been. Has been? That’s how I feel. I feel like the last one to the party, and now everyone expects me to be the entertainment. She’s gonna wanna know how I feel. How do I tell her I don’t know? I love her, but am I in love with her?

Can't I just pretend it didn’t happen? Stand up, go looking for her, and act like I don’t remember until I suss it out? She said it herself, she doesn’t expect me to remember it. I touch my mouth. I still feel her lips, soft, plump and juicy. They taste like salt and flesh. I can't help but imagine what the rest of her may taste like. I crack my neck. Do we owe it to ourselves to explore what could be? Is it worth ruining an almost twenty-year friendship over a little thing like a kiss? I get up, following my nose. There’s the food, untouched, but simmering on the stove. I turn on the light, find the baguette, and cracking it, I smother it with herbed butter before fixing the bowls. Gettin’ them and a couple beers on a tray, I head for Ana’s room.

I knock and wait. I’m pretty sure I just heard a sniffle and a throat clear before the door opens. “Feel any better?” she asks, opening the door wider. From the light behind her, I can see the puffiness under her red-rimmed eyes.

“It’s yet to be determined, but I figure Mama Isa’s gumbo will clear both our heads. C’mere and eat with me.” I hold up the tray as I pass her and set it on the bed.

She grabs her computer, moving it to the bedside table, then speaks with her back to me. “If you're going to tell me you only think of me as a friend, just do it and get it over with, please.”