Growing up I was a sucker for history. How people lived in ages past always intrigued me. Born in 1956, I grew up a child of the 60’s Black is Beautiful movement. Nacent pride in being Black — as we were calling ourselves then — intensified my curiosity. I hungered for anything and everything that could teach me African American history. That’s why TV shows touching on the hidden stories of African Americans stick with me to this day.
I remember Ossie Davis guest starring as an ex-slave caring for his son on Bonanza. Watching Yaphet Kotto on High Chaparral where I first learned about Buffalo Soldiers. I can still see the boxed paragraph with illustration in the pages of the old TV Guide highlighting the episode. Little did I know as I watched those shows and others like them I too would be using historical fact to create historical fiction.
My most recent novella, Better To Marry Than To Burn, was inspired by a true story. African-American married women in Arizona mining towns advertised back East to bring marriageable women West. They convinced the unmarried miners to settle down instead of fighting over prostitutes all the time. What a great set up for an opposites-attract second-chance romance.
This wasn’t my first encounter with the concept of mail-order brides. I used to watch a show called Here Come The Brides about three brothers who owned a logging company in Seattle. Bobby Sherman, a teen idol back then played Jeremy the youngest Bolt brother who stuttered and David Soul, later of Starsky and Hutch fame, played Joshua the middle brother. Its premise was the Bolt brothers had loggers who were tired of having no women in their lives and were ready to quit. The solution was to send oldest brother Jason, played by Robert Brown, back East to Massachusetts and return with single women looking for husbands. Many would be available and willing thanks to the lack of men created by the Civil War. I remembered the show had done excellent episodes on finding mates for Jewish and Chinese characters. Somewhere in the dusty recesses of my memory I knew they had done an episode trying to match African Americans, too. Was the memory real or had I made it up? Lo and behold, Google showed my memory was still good.
“A Bride for Obie Brown” had aired in 1970. I was pleasantly surprised to rediscover who had played the roles of Obie and his intended bride Lucenda. They’re now household names although I wonder if some of you may not be old enough to know who they are. Here’s a hint: their equally famous partners were actress Tyne Daly and jazz musician Miles Davis. Can you name them?
Better To Marry Than To Burn
Erotic African-American historical romance
Release date: April 25, 2018
Freed Man seeking woman to partner in marriage for at least two years in the black township of Douglass, Texas. Must be willing and able to help establish a legacy. Marital relations as necessary. Love neither required nor sought.
Caesar King’s ad for a mail-order bride is an answer to Queen Esther Payne’s prayer. Her family expects her to adhere to society’s traditional conventions of submissive wife and mother, but Queen refuses. She is not the weaker sex and will not allow herself to be used, abused or turned into a baby-making machine under the sanctity of matrimony. Grateful that love is neither required nor sought, she accepts the ex-slave’s offer and heads West for marriage on her terms. Her education and breeding will see to that. However, once she meets Caesar, his unexpected allure and intriguing wit makes it hard to keep love at bay. How can she hope to remain her own woman when victory may be synonymous with surrender?
With thanks to God, he pushed past her flimsy drawers to the moist welcome of her center. Her vaginal walls gripped his fingers with surprising force. No amount of twisting or turning wrenched them free. God, to have that grip surrounding his shaft.
He pulled back and studied her face. Eyes still closed, a sly smile bowed her perfect lips. She enjoyed this battling as much as he.
“Was I too brutal for your enjoyment, Mrs. King?”
Her eyelids rose with the slow grace of sunrise. A gleam as sly as her smile shone in her gaze. “You call that brutal, Mr. King?”
She unclenched her lower muscles, allowing his fingers momentary retreat. With great care, she grasped his hand then slid his fingers between her folds once more.
“Holy Christ, woman. What—?”
The gentle rubbing robbed him of his ability to think.
“Jesus, have mercy,” he wheezed.
She slid his fingers from her wet sex into his mouth. He moaned, lost in her delectable taste.
Without taking her gaze from his face, she raked her gloved hand down his chest, across his belly, to his groin. Anticipation tensed his muscles in the wake of her touch. He watched mesmerized as, with a practiced ease, she unbuttoned his fly, pushed past the fabric, sought, found and stroked his cock. Her woolen gloves imparted a delicious friction he couldn’t oppose, even if he’d wanted. Delight enlivened every muscle in his body, including his jaded heart.
Jesus. This couldn’t be more than arousal. Could it?
Her fingers squeezed and his body arched upward on the yes swelling his spirit with joy. He threw back his head, mouth open, ready to shout as he neared the point of release.
Then she let him go.
He doubled over, slain by the abandonment. His lungs constricted, bereft of air. Reason deserted him too.
She stood and smoothed down her skirts with the hand that had massaged his shaft more deftly than he ever had. Reseated, she grabbed the reins and snapped the leather against his horse’s rump.
“Get up there.”
The wagon jostled Caesar from side to side. Still unable to straighten up, he looked into eyes gleaming with triumph. Her lips curved in a regal smirk.
“Was I too brutal for your enjoyment, Mr. King?”