Here’s a look into Chelsea Maria’s “Why don’t We Fall in Love?” before it drops 6/20!
Nyla Monroe prided herself on never falling in love. She wore it like a badge of honor. Unlike her free-spirited friends, who freely loved, she created a rule book that gave her specific instructions to follow when it came to guarding her heart. Over the years, Nyla allowed her painful childhood to be a blanket of protection and reason behind being anti-love.
At thirty years old, Nyla finally grew tired of her Mother’s coddling ways and decided it was time for a change. Unsure of the first place to start looking, the person who has always guided her steps in and opens his home to her – her best friend Chea Bradley.
Whenever these two are in the same vicinity of one another, a harmony of love encompassed them to the point of suffocation, but what can be done when one is determined not to fall?
Uprooting from all she knew, Nyla heads to Colorado with the intentions of getting her business off the ground. Along the way of expanding her brand, it seems Cupid has a bow with Nyla’s name on it ready to strike its target – her heart, causing her to be open and honest about her feelings.
Chea Bradley is a man of strength and determination. Every step he has taken in life has been calculated down to the house he would buy. Unlike Nyla, who is blind to their unmeasurable chemistry, Chea steps in and gives Nyla all the love and strength she never thought she needed. But will that be enough? Will these two best friends of eight years do the unthinkable and embrace the inevitable, or will the fear of falling in love keep them stagnate?
Sneak peek – Nyla
I noticed my steps seemed hurried compared to his slow dragging steps as we walked to the elevators. Seeing his tired body barely moving at normal pace caused a rush of sadness to come over me. “Chea, we can do this tomorrow. Get some sleep.”
He glanced down at his watch, “I have exactly fifteen minutes before your day is over. It won’t take that long. Come on birthday girl.” He placed the most tender kiss in the corner of my mouth. No matter how many years have passed since he started giving me corner mouth kisses, the butterflies in my stomach awakened, and my knees wobbled as if it was the first time.
On the elevator ride down to the lobby, he leaned against the wall on the other side of me, watching. Assessing. “I love you, Ny, you know that?” A lump formed in my throat causing me to become speechless. I nodded, not trusting myself to speak.
I cursed Moe in my head. Why did she have to book us a room on the twelfth floor? It felt like forever, especially under the intense burning gaze of Chea’s eyes. He stood, devilishly handsome. Chea is by far the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. The shadow of his beard gave him an even more manly aura. There was an intrinsic strength in his face that drew you in like a bee to honey. His compelling whiskey eyes, the firm features, and the confident set of shoulders read dangerous. It had nothing to do with the badge or the gun he toted. Chea was a dangerous man – dangerously good looking.
Admiring his one of a kind features held no fire to the part of him that made me want to break the friend code. It was the two golds in his mouth on his top and bottom fangs, right side. Chea, Dade County breed, wasn’t your typical cop. No, he was that foine cop who you hoped pulled you over for speeding in a school zone. If he were a TSA officer, he’d have you willingly asking for cavity body searches in a private room ready to scream ‘search me, Mr. Officer.’
Even in a crowd, his presence was compelling. Chea had an air of authority and the appearance of one who demanded instant obedience, and oh how I wanted to test his limits.
That slipped out.
I’m getting carried away.
I cannot have these feelings of attraction towards my best friend.
Chea walked forward, stopping in front of me. His eyes bore down into mine. I failed to keep eye contact. The intensity of it was too much. Way too much under the circumstances. We never crossed those lines, and I wasn’t about to waste years of friendship off my ridiculous crush.
Shifting from one foot to the other, I fidgeted with my fingers hoping he got the hint of my nervousness. He didn’t get the memo. The minute the doors opened he pulled me to his side and walked out.
A moan slipped out from inhaling him by accident. I didn’t mean to take a deep breath of his masculinity. It was either smell him or run my hands up and down his muscular tatted arm. Sniffing him seemed more logical until he realized what I had done. His eyebrows shot up in surprise.
What are you doing, Nyla?
We had one glass of wine. Cool yourself.
“Chea, why are we walking to your car?” I trusted Chea with my life, but I’m sure whatever he had to show me could’ve waited another six hours when the sun was out.
“You’re safe with me, Ny.” He gave me a smile that sent my pulse racing. “Stay right here so I can see you. I’m going to grab something out the trunk. Don’t move, Nyla. I mean it.” He chastised with a knowing grin. A twinkle of moonlight caught his eyes as he glanced at me.
How could I not listen to him looking at me like this?
“I won’t move. Scouts honor,” I held my hand up and gave my best reassuring smile.
He turned around and popped the trunk. While he dug for his buried treasure, I took the time to admire the sculpture in front of me. His muscles stretched wide and flexed under his shirt.
And his neck. There was nothing like a strong neck on a strong man. Then he had the nerve to be bowlegged and have dreads. Why was God torturing me like this?
“Happy Birthday, Nyla,” Chea handed me a red gift bag. He alternated between scratching his head and stuffing his hands in his pockets.
“What’s in the bag? It better not be a prank.”
“Take it out and see.” He hopped on the trunk leaving me standing. I never saw Chea nervous. Like ever.
“Okay. If I blow up, I’m haunting you in death.” I reached into the bag and pulled out the soft object wrapped in gold tissue paper. I looked up to see him watching my every move while chewing on the inside of his jaw. “Chea, why are you so…” I gulped hard and squeezed my eyes shut.
He listened to me.
“Chea.” Brushing away the tears to see, I held the doll in front of my face hoping, begging, that this was real. I was overcome with acute nostalgia from my childhood.
“I searched for a long time. Your mom helped as much as she could, but I wanted to be the one to bring you happiness.” His warm voice branded my heart. When did he move from the car? Glancing past the stuffed doll, I watched my strong pudding juggle nervousness. “She smells like chocolate like you said, and the outfit matches the one in your pictures. I can’t say if this is the real one…” He didn’t need to finish. I had heard and seen enough. Throwing my arms around his hard waist, I placed my face in the middle of his chest and released years of guilt.
When I was a baby, my grandmother gifted me a doll named Jammie Pie. She smelled like the richest chocolate and was the softest doll I ever had. No matter how old I got, she was my favorite and lived on my bed. One summer day I decided to spring clean. Two large garbage bags were filled to the brim with old stuffed animals and dolls. Unbeknownst to me, my Jammie Pie was in one of those bags.
I begged my Mom to take me to the shelter where we dropped the bags off. By the time we made it back, all the bags were taken away to another location. My Jammie Pie was gone. I cried for days, months, and even years later now when I allow myself to drift down memory lane.
How Chea managed to find the doll, I don’t know, but I would make sure I never lost this one. I knew it wasn’t the original one my grandmother gave me; it was just the meaning behind it that he remembered. A story that I told over five years ago.
“Thank you,” I spoke into his chest.
His strong arms tightened around me. “I always listen, Ny. Seeing you happy is all that matters to me.” He cupped my face in his hands and kissed the corner of my lips. “I love you, Nyla.”
“I love you too, Chea.”
I did it.
I spoke my truth…out loud.
Until next time,
Love, the authors of BLP