About Real Men Knit:
When their foster-turned-adoptive mother suddenly dies, four brothers struggle to keep open the doors of her beloved Harlem knitting shop.
Jesse Strong is known for two things: his devotion to his adoptive mom, Mama Joy, and his reputation for breaking hearts. When Mama Joy unexpectedly passes away, he and his brothers have different plans on what to do with Strong Knits, their neighborhood knitting store. Jesse wants to keep the store open. His brothers want to tie off loose ends and close shop…
Part-time shop employee, Kerry Fuller has kept her crush on Jesse a secret. When she overhears his impassioned plea to his brothers to keep the knitting shop open, she volunteers to help. Unlike Jesse, Kerry knows the knitty-gritty of the business and together they make plans to reinvent Strong Knits for a new generation.
But the more time they spend together, the stronger the chemistry builds between them. Kerry, knowing Jesse’s history, doesn’t believe their relationship can last longer than one can knit one, purl two. But Jesse is determined to prove to her that he can be the man for her forever and always—after all, real men knit.
Jesse Strong was having a good dream. Well maybe it wasn’t a dream because when you were dreaming did you actually know it was a dream? Weren’t dreams supposed to convince you of their own reality? Thinking on it that way he irrationally rationed that this wasn’t a dream. More like a waking memory, one that he was more than happy to hold on to since it was a memory of a warm body, smooth as silk skin, dark curly hair, bright eyes and full lips that seemed to only know the word, “Yes.”
Yes. His most favorite word ever.
But the dream started to change. The inviting “yes” turning to a dark whispered “no”. The warm body and bight eyes turning cold. Dead. No. She can’t be dead. Mama. Mama! You can’t do this to me. Don’t leave me please. Not again!
“No! I said no.”
“I’m sorry, no we’re closed today.”
He frowned deeper as the opposite of his most favorite word hit his ears, bringing him out of the bliss of his waking memory of Tamala from three weeks ago or was this memory of Erika from last week? No matter. The delicious memory was already fading, bringing him too close to the edges of the all too real present that he was not ready to face. Shit. Why do days keep cropping up every twenty-four hours? It seemed no matter how much he tried, drank, partied, fucked, whatever, he couldn’t seem to just sleep through and skip one. Skip just one day. Preferably the last day. Or days.
Jesse groaned as he ran a hand across his face and opened his eyes, wincing against the sharp rays of the sun that had the nerve to slip through the blinds and make it past the part of his curtain that wouldn’t make it all the way shut without a pin to hold it closed.
Screw you, sun. Shining bright on a day like today.
What the hell time was it anyway? Six? Seven am? He contemplated just turning over but went on full alert as the sound of a bang from downstairs hit his ears. What the hell? Did that come from the shop. But they were closed today. They were now closed every day. Not to mention the fact that it was the damned crack of dawn.
More shocking than the sun, just then there was the sound of something like a crash and he bolted upright, hitting his bedroom floor at top speed. They were closed today. Closed and Mama Joy was… well, she was definitely not down there where the crashing sound was coming from. Jesse hit the stairs at a run, though not before he grabbed his old high school baseball bat, kept at the ready behind the back of his bedroom door.
Bat raised, heart pounding, Jesse was filled with more than annoyance when he rounded the corner to the shop’s back kitchen area only to meet the wide eyes of Kerry Fuller. Her fearful and shocked expression of having him come at her with a baseball bat raised quickly turned to clear anger as her eyes narrowed and she gave him a slow up and down.
Suddenly, Jesse was fully aware of the fact that he was clad in nothing more than his grey striped boxer briefs and an early morning predicament that was totally normal but not one he was sure their sweet Kerry was used to. Though the look she gave him when her gaze came up once again and their eyes locked said well, maybe she was, and maybe she thought he didn’t quite measure up?
Jesse snorted to himself. Yeah right. As if.
He watched as Kerry’s eyes shifted from him to the bat in his hand and then back to him again. “You plan to do something with that or is it just for show?”
Jesse felt his brow quirk as he fought hard to control his other extremities from doing the same and he let out a low groan. “Dammit Kerry, what are you doing here so early? You scared the hell out of me and almost got your head knocked off in the process.”
She rolled her eyes. “Early? It’s past nine and you knew I’d be coming by this morning. I was practically laying on the bell before. Didn’t you hear me?”
“Obviously not.” He said with a shrug and a slight wave of the bat.
The movement once again seemed to bring Kerry’s awareness to his near nakedness and he watched as her eyes roamed over his chest but then she seemed to think better of it, quickly turning away and walking toward the coffee pot. She poured herself a cup and as the aroma hit Jesse’s nose, he felt his brain starting to come to life apparently catching up with his body.
“Don’t you want to head back upstairs and put some clothes on? Make yourself decent?” she said.
It took a moment for the comment to click in his brain. Once again, quicker body than brain situation. Decent. That word was so Kerry that Jesse couldn’t help the smile that tugged at the corner of his lips. In the midst of everything changing it was good to know some things never did. “No, not so much just yet,” he said, while reaching over her shoulder to take the cup from her hand. “What I want right now is some of this coffee.”
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author and native New Yorker Kwana Jackson spent her formative years on the A train where she had two dreams: (1) to be a fashion designer and (2) to be a writer. After spending more than ten years designing women’s sportswear for various fashion houses, Kwana took a leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer. Kwana is the mother of twins and currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband.