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Sneak Peeks

The Davenports: Meet Amy-Rose!

We’re celebrating some of our favorite characters from The Davenports as we count down to the historical romance debut from author Krystal Marquis! Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Amy-Rose. The childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, Amy-Rose dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. 

Learn more about The Davenports here and scroll down to read a sneak peek about Amy-Rose!

A set of footfalls came crashing into the kitchen. It was John Davenport, with his tie undone and his jacket over his arm. His finely tailored pants hugged his long, lean legs. Amy-Rose had thought all the Davenports had left for the party already. What is he doing here?

John glanced up quickly and smiled. His easy, playful disposi­tion softened his features, which were so like his mother’s. “How do you think that pressing comb will do against intruders?” His fingertips reached toward her. “Not hot, is it?”

“What?” Amy-Rose looked down. She was clutching an iron to her chest. She hadn’t even realized she’d picked it up. “I’m sorry. I thought everyone had left.” Heat rose in her cheeks.

“I got caught up in the garage. And then in my rush to get dressed, I tore one of my buttons right off,” he said, gesturing to his shirt. “How is your sewing?”

“Fair,” she said, her eyes staring at the floor between them.

“I tried to do it myself, but I kept sticking my finger.”

“I’m not sure fixing a button counts as sewing,” she joked. Amy-Rose regretted the words the instant they left her mouth. Her tone assumed a familiarity that was lost during her transition from playmate to servant. A pinch in her chest reminded her of Jessie’s advice. The past should stay where it is. Now her own mouth felt dry at her boldness, but John just laughed. She watched the knot in his throat bob and a dimple appear on his freshly shaved cheek. Soon her shaky laughter joined his.

Then John deftly unbuttoned his shirt. “You’ll need this,” he said, handing it to her.

Amy-Rose tried to keep her attention on his shirt and not the toned muscles of his arms, exposed in his sleeveless undershirt. Or the way his just-steamed trousers hugged his waist. Her fin­gers picked through the sewing kit for the right needle and a silk thread strong enough to keep his shirt together over his broad chest. “What would you have done if you hadn’t found anyone to stitch this for you?’

“Walk around naked, I guess.”

Amy-Rose nearly stuck her own finger with a needle at his re­sponse. She blushed and pretended not to hear him.

John moved closer to her to watch her work. His hip brushed against the side of the counter, so close she smelled the soap on his skin and felt the heat from his body. Her skin tingled at the nearness of him. A few more strokes and the button was secure.

“Thank you, Amy-Rose.” He brought the shirt close to his face. “Better than ‘fair.’ Not even my mother will be able to tell.” He shoved his arms through the sleeves, the fabric pulling against his broad shoulders.

Amy-Rose smiled as she packed up the sewing kit.

“What are these?” he asked, gesturing to the papers on the table.

The question caught her off guard. John held the sketch of her salon. His brow furrowed as he studied her dream put to paper. Could she share this with him? Not even Jessie had seen her plans.

John’s fingers grazed her own. She looked into his eyes. Some­thing in them made her brave.

“I want to open my own salon,” she said. “Specialize in Black women’s hair—styling it. So much of what we do is dictated by magazines filled with people who don’t look like us.” Amy-Rose turned back to her notebook and flipped through the pages filled with ingredients for pressing and curling kits in a mixture of French and English. Her shoulders relaxed and her voice grew louder. She’d done her research, following the work of other pio­neers in hairdressing. Peppering the ladies at the drugstores on the South Side about what works best for them. And her mother. She’d written down everything her mother ever taught her. “There is more than one kind of beauty.”

When she looked at John, he was staring at her. How often did she imagine a moment like this? John’s strong jaw was inches from her face. His skin was a rich, smooth brown against the stark white of his tuxedo shirt.

John’s eyes searched her face. “I think it’s a wonderful idea,” he said. His fingers brushed hers again, sending an electric jolt through her hand that traveled all the way down to her toes. It left her skin buzzing with energy and the fine hair on her arms lifting with a wave of gooseflesh.

Penguin Teen