Read When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance) Online

Authors: Kenya Wright

Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Multicultural, #Romantic Comedy, #Multicultural & Interracial

When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance) (4 page)

BOOK: When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance)
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Zorro slow clapped. “That’s the most depressing thing I’ve heard all day.”

“Shut up and put your hands back on the wheel.” I tried to brighten my mood, but nothing much helped. The exchange with Kassie shouldn’t have meant anything to me. She was just another beautiful woman. Granted, the first one in a while, that had told me no so adamantly, but it shouldn’t have bothered me this much.

Chapter 3

Kassie

T
he
next morning, I hung upside down on an inversion table.

Fuck you, writer’s block!

Apparently, the act of dangling from my feet would rush the creative juices down to my head and trigger the words to flow. The author of the
The Da Vinci Code
raved about the table in several articles. He claimed it knocked out his writer’s block. It was damn sure worth a try. Who had the time to cry at their computer screen? Besides, I’d already done that for three months. These months were for rebuilding.

Today, I will write! I can just feel it.

After taking Rich to school, I returned and strapped myself onto this rotating board with leather bedding. The equipment could’ve been sold in a sex shop. It looked so odd. I couldn’t imagine any other use for it besides sex or the stupidity of hoping to hang upside down. Once buckled in, I used my weight and gravity to rotate all the way over so that my head lowered to the ground and my toes pointed into the air. Already I regretted it.

I think I’m going to throw up.

While blood did rush to my skull, my stomach and other organs dropped too.

Come on, inspiration. I’m ready.

So far, the only thing that happened was dizziness and watering eyes. Blood surged to my dome. My focus warped into a fuzzy point-of-view, everything turned the wrong way. The ceiling was the floor. The carpet and furniture hovered above my head. I’d had a big breakfast and my stomach dropped down to my throat. Food threatened to come heave from my mouth— eggs, bacon, and all.

And. . .now, I know I’ve lost it. What the hell am I doing?

Another minute passed and I teetered on the edge of passing out.

“This might be the dumbest thing I’ve tried, yet. I’m getting out of this.” I swung my arms around. At first, no movement occurred, and then the board and I lifted up and down, swinging back and forth and dizzying me even more. My stomach grumbled.

Fuck! How do I get this thing back up?!

I swung some more, rocking my hips, and moving my head back and forth until finally, the damn thing tipped over to the side.
No!
The sex trap and I crashed to the floor.
The pain!
Once I screamed like a baby, unbuckled myself, and kicked the contraption several times, pain penetrated my head. I might’ve even broken a toe.

Fine. I’m hurt, but maybe it worked.

I stumbled to the computer. Determination pulsed in my heart.

I’m going to write, this time!

I had a sense that I’d gotten my mojo back. The magic. The thrill. That sensation of a book pouring from my fingers. The electrical craving to sit down for hours and write until my hands grew numb and my behind and legs ached to stand had returned.

Back when I’d been married, my only problem had been to find the time to get all of the sentences down. Now, I had the time, but no words. Nothing but blank white screen.

“I got this.” I limped over to my desk, sat down, focused on my computer, and placed my hands over the keys. “I’m back, baby. I can feel it.”

Then my brain ran blank, my fingers went numb and I typed absolutely nothing. Twenty minutes passed. I couldn’t even come up with a title. Every idea failed me. I wallowed in disappointment. My mind was a constant, churning sludge of inactivity.

An hour went by and I sat at the computer, trying to form something together, but nothing would come. Somehow the words couldn’t connect. I got pretty close to completing a sentence, but then I began rewriting it, repeatedly. First, I battled with point of view.

Should I tell the story in first? What about third?

Nothing sparked my interest. I shifted my attention to the main character.

Who would it be and what was their goal? Man? Woman? Weird being? Maybe, I should make it an object, like a tree. Maybe a tree watches the love affair unfold. No. That’s fucking stupid. Why would a tree care about two dumb ass humans humping against it?

Nothing filled my head. I moved on to other elements.

What about theme? What do I want this story to say? Hmmm. What’s something I learned recently? Hmmmm. Men are pieces of shit that can burn in the flames of hell. Hmmmm. Not a good theme for a romance at all. Hmmmm. What do I want to say with this book?

Nothing.

I had nothing to say.

My life had crumbled into shambles. What the fuck did I have to say to anybody? My real life story was a cliché—broken woman shattered by a sick man. People had heard that before.

I’d learned nothing from the situation. I’d shot my ex-husband in the leg three times. They’d rushed him to the hospital and arrested me. However, I used to be a lawyer, so I had a friend get me a sweet deal. There’d been no reason to scream
non-guilty
. At least ten people, at his law firm, witnessed the shooting. So, my legal team and I took the obvious route. Insanity. There was no denying that I’d lost it. I figured I might as well own it and get some help.

I served a month in jail and then eleven months in a mental facility. The entire time my ex, Ellis, pawned our son off to my mother in Sarasota. By herself, Mom took Rich back and forth to school, attended his events, and pretty much raised him full-time.

Ellis only visited Rich one or two times a month. That bastard never stepped up. Our boy sat with his grandmother, confused and alone. We ruined our son’s life. One day, Rich had been in a large home in Miami with two loving parents. The next day, he sat in my mother’s apartment in a new city and at a strange school. Ellis could’ve done more. My ex-husband’s lack of action made it even easier for me to get over him. Not only had he broke my heart, he’d hurt our son.

When my sentence at the crazy bin ended, I vowed to get out, be better, and do right by Rich.

I’d been free for only a month.

Though, not a fan of Sarasota, I moved up here to keep Rich in the same school he’d been in last year. He needed balance. Things needed to remain the same for a little bit, before I decided my next move.

I just need to get my writing back so I could pay the bills.

I hadn’t seen Ellis since the courtroom. So far, my ex hadn’t called, visited my son, or sent a check.

The douche bag will call soon. Let’s just hope Rich doesn’t continue to get hurt in the process. He keeps breaking my baby’s heart, and I might have to shoot his ass one more time. And, this time, I will aim for the heart.

I stared at the blank screen.

I’ve lost it, and I can’t get it back.

“Fuck!” I hit the desk. “That stupid inversion table cost three hundred dollars and I couldn’t even get three words out.”

Why am I even doing this? Maybe I should give up. Maybe writing isn’t for me. Maybe I should get a 9 to 6 and just. . .oh shut up. Maybe I should just figure this out and stop doubting myself so much.

“On to the next experiment.” I got up from my desk and paced in front of my home office’s doorway for several minutes. “I’m not going to let this writer’s block bullshit ruin me. Not going to happen. I’ll figure it out. I always do.”

But, nothing had worked. For the past four weeks, I’d tried it all—researching the writing habits of famous authors and reading the bios of amazing artists. I had tested out all of their methods.

One famous literary author used to beat himself for twenty minutes before he wrote. He claimed it opened up all of his senses and made him describe settings better than before. I’d bought a whip and hit my back several times, only to scream out like a mad woman, cry, and bitch about the tiny marks the rest of the week.

I discovered more idiotic techniques to get rid of writer’s block and tried them—meditating at sunset invoking mythological muses with prayed-over candles, and cutting out lines of newspapers and gluing them to a paper, creating a collage to come up with an inspiring story.

None of those things worked. I couldn’t find a story. All inspiration had abandoned me.

Now, this wasn’t working either

Okay. It’s lunch now; soon I’ll be grabbing Rich from school. I only have time for one more experiment.

Last week, I’d ordered a huge box, close to five feet high and four feet wide. A psychologist claimed that artists should get inside of an actual box, stand in the darkness, think about what they’re going to create, and then minute by minute, slowly tear through the box. This was supposed to trigger inspiration.

Let’s do this.

I placed the big box in the center of the floor, lifted it, got inside, and felt stupid as hell. Darkness enclosed me. Not one romantic storyline came to mind. Only a horror tale of a serial killer sitting in a home office, behind a weird author as she hid in a huge box.

So, I don’t have a story, but maybe the ripping away of the board will make something come.

“Yes.” I rubbed my hands together. “Time to break through the box and break through the block.”

An hour later, cardboard pieces scattered the ground, writer’s block still seized my passion, and my phone buzzed.

“Great.” Pissed, I walked over the torn pieces. “That’s all I need is more distractions.”

Samantha’s name lit up the screen. I groaned. She was my best friend and sister-in-law. Even though her brother and I didn’t work out, she refused to let me go, and I would’ve killed her if she had. However, that wasn’t why I groaned.

Samantha was also my literary agent and slave master.

I picked up the phone. “Hello.”

“How’s your writing?” She asked the question that she always did, every week. “Have you started anything? What did you work on?”

“Nothing yet."

“Nothing at all?”

“No.”

“You need help, Kassie.”

“I’m actually trying some things to get over the writer’s block.”

“Oh, God. What are you doing, now? You didn’t hold another séance with a chicken in your back yard, again, did you?”

“No. Today, I hung upside down and then sat in a huge box and ripped it apart.”

Sarcasm dripped from her tongue. “Well, that’s just awesome. That doesn’t make me question your sanity, at all.”

“Jokes on you. I’ve been in a mental hospital for close to a year. If you haven’t realized I’m crazy, then I’m now questioning your sanity.”

“You should talk to someone about this writer’s block.”

“I talked to people all last year. I’m done with head doctors. Besides, my next experiment is to submerge myself into a tub full of ice. I’ve got about ten bags.”

“I don’t have a response for that, but at least you’re not trolling the internet.”

“Kassie, you need me to step in and help.”

“I don’t need your help.” I entered the kitchen of my new place.

In my old house, I had granite counter tops complementing cashmere slate floors, a matching island with full grill, and an elegant backsplash of turquoise tiles. It was a beautiful kitchen—breakfast bar, solid maple cabinets with pull-out shelves, and built-in speakers outlining a small TV in the wall.

Now, my new kitchen could fit into my old one, and there would still be space left to run around. The new place had a rusty sink, old microwave, ticking fridge, and stained oven. The counter was linoleum or something white with golden specks that cracked on the edges. When I turned on the faucet, loud buzzing sounded.

In that moment, the noise filled the apartment, as I washed out a glass.

“I’m not really sure what you’re going to live on. You have a couple royalty checks, but sales are going down.”

“Stop stressing me out.” I opened the freezer and stared at a tub of ice cream. “I’ll be writing, soon.”

“Look. My brother is a creep and douche bag for cheating on you. If I could legally disown him, I would. However, it’s been a year, and although you have a right to be sad still and broken hearted, you do not have the right to stop creating stories that makes
us
money. Write me something that I can sell.”

I grabbed the chocolate mint chunk from the freezer and headed for the drawer to grab a spoon. “Well. . . I have been working on this one story, but you won’t like it and neither will my fans. I stopped at the fifth chapter and didn’t write anymore.”

Her voice brightened. “Oh, really? Let me be the judge. What is it about?”

Spoon in hand, I headed back to my tiny office. “This guy dies every night in really cruel ways.”

“Okay?”

“Each chapter he wakes up in the morning and by the end of the chapter, boom. He’s dead.”

“O-kay.” Hope left her voice. “And the heroine? Is she smart, pretty, and in need of love?”

“There is no heroine yet.”

BOOK: When the Smoke Clears (Interracial Firefighter Romance)
6.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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