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Will love blossom between these two as they contemplate a convenient marriage proposal?

Tahj Smith, a real estate investor with a lineage steeped in tradition, faces an ultimatum: inherit his Promised Land—or lose it forever. His deadline? The ticking clock of his thirty-fifth birthday is mere months away.

Enter Breema Winters, a spirited soul, unafraid to tread her path. She’s no stranger to heartache, having learned early on that men bring more trouble than comfort. Her goal? A stable income, a life free from reliance on anyone else.

When their paths cross, it’s not love at first sight. Instead, it’s a proposal—a marriage of convenience. Tahj needs a wife to secure his birthright, and Breema needs financial stability. It’s a transaction, nothing more.

As Tahj and Breema navigate the intricacies of their contractual union, sparks ignite. Shared laughter, stolen glances, and whispered secrets blur the lines between obligation and desire.

Speed dating? I thought as my brows furrowed in question. “To find me a wife?”

“Yeah. You already told Big Mama you were dating someone, so she’ll believe it when she meets her in two weeks.” Jordan lifted his hands. “I know you said… if you ever married, you wanted to marry for love, but we ain’t got time for that. You need someone now.” He picked up his phone, and I could see his fingers going to work. “Speed dating will eliminate the time-consuming process of finding the one until you secure your inheritance.”

 Leaning back against the wooden chair as I processed the suggestion, speed dating didn’t seem like a bad idea after all. The plan would be, I meet someone through networking. We pretend for a year. I will give her the divorce that she is entitled to as my spouse, and in return, I will take possession of my rightful inheritance. Within a day, I could have my single life back to find the woman meant for me. Now feeling better about the situation, a cocky smile spread wide across my face. 

“Aye, I’m about to pull up a location now. There's a ‘Singles Mixer and Speed Dating’ event tomorrow night at the Coffee and Wine Bar. It’s at eight. We should go,” he suggested in an upbeat tone.

My eyes connected with his and when I parted my lips, the sounds of clapping hands jerked my attention away from my predicament and onto the stage. A man in a grey suit walked on stage and breathed into the mic. “Ladies and gentlemen, please give another round of applause to this young lady.” 

The crowded cheered. 

“Before I introduced the next performer, take a five-minute break and show some kindness to the establishment and order another drink.”

The crowd laughed.

“So, are we down for speed dating, big bro?”

“Yeah, anything to get this over with. I just need to get married for my inheritance.”

“Say no more. I got you, Tahj.” He placed the phone on the table and scanned the scenery. “In the meantime—” He bit his bottom lip and rubbed his large hands, nodding with his head. “—I think you should pick one of these ladies here. To get to know them—” He winked. “—If you know what I mean, big bro.” He leaned forward, elbows on the table. “Just think, that’ll give you eighty-six more days. Now, raise your shot.”

I mimicked my brother as he raised the plastic cup. “Here’s to marrying for the benefits.” We clicked plastic to plastic as I chug the Casamigos shot.

I scanned the scenery and asked, “You heard the man... Want another Ultra?”

He gave me the answer I was looking for as I grabbed the empty bottles and plastic cups and strolled to a nearby trash can for disposal. While waiting for the attention of a bartender, thoughts of a convenient marriage surfaced. Could I make this work? Marrying a complete stranger? Chest rising and falling, I groaned at the annoying task at hand. The mere thoughts of welcoming a strange woman into my home and pretending had my jaws clenched and set in a tight line. 

Ever since I was young, I always knew I wanted a marriage like my parents. Their marriage embodied what a loving home resembled between two people who loved each other. A strong and healthy black love story. Boy meets girl type of love. While I waited for service, the thought came back to me because I no longer had that privilege of finding my love story like theirs.

“What can I get for you, handsome?” The velvety voice of the cinnamon-colored woman with golden-brown, shoulder length twists snapped me out of those thoughts. 

“Two Michelob Ultras,” I smiled, and she returned the gesture. 

She winked her right eye. “Coming right up.” The sister spun around and opened the fridge and grabbed two beers. 

I handed her a twenty-dollar bill. 

“Alright ladies and gentlemen, our next performer is up. Let’s give her a round of applause,” the announcer said as the crowd clapped.

At the sound of a soft, timid voice humming “Killing Me Softly,” I glanced back at the stage…



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