The Boyfriend Project - Farrah Rochon

Chapter One

Alexa, play Drake.”

Releasing an intentionally loud, dramatic sigh, Samiah Brooks lolled her head toward the opened bathroom door and called out, “Don’t just tell it to play a certain artist, Denise. Tell it what song you want it to play.”

Muffled footfalls shuffled across the bedroom’s alder hardwood floors. A moment later her sister appeared in the doorway.

“I don’t know any Drake songs. That’s why I asked the damn Alexa thingy.” Denise lumbered into the bathroom, plopped onto the toilet’s closed lid, and palmed her substantial belly. The opening bars of Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” began streaming through the HD speakers discreetly positioned throughout the condo. Denise pointed upward. “Is that him? Is that Drake?”

“Yes.” Samiah sighed again. She capped her Fenty Beauty 410 foundation and traded it for the liquid eyeliner. Tugging her lower lid downward, she muttered as she swiped the thin brush along the rim of her eye. “You know you can’t fake this kind of thing, right? Your students will see right through it.”

“Shows how much you know. I’ve been faking it for years. No one’s caught on yet.”

Samiah glanced over her shoulder and grinned. “Make sure you don’t say that around your husband.”

“Oh please.” Denise batted the air as she adjusted her position on the toilet seat cover. “He knows I sometimes have to fake it with him too.”

“Dammit!” Samiah nearly poked herself in the eye with the eyeliner brush. She swung around and glared at her sister. “You said that shit on purpose.”

“What?” Denise asked with wide, guileless eyes. Her knowing smirk nullified her weak attempt at innocence.

“If I gouge myself in the eye with this thing, I’m telling Mama it was your fault.”

“She’d never believe you.” Her sister gestured to the array of palettes scattered across the leathered granite vanity. “Why didn’t you get all dolled up before you went out with me? You wait until we get back to pull out the heavy artillery?”


“As if. I can barely remember to pack lip balm in my purse.”

Samiah tsked as she used the smudger brush to blend the shadow into the crease of her eye. “Master the smoky eye and you can conquer the world.”

“Is that your new motto?” Denise said with a snort.

She cocked one perfect brow as she peered at her sister in the mirror. “As someone who hasn’t worn a fully made-up face since cassette tapes were still a thing, you can’t grasp just how difficult it is to achieve this look.” She turned, closed her eyes, and pointed at her eyelids. “Girl, do you see this blending? I honestly just want to stare at myself in the mirror all night.”

Samiah dodged the incoming bath puff, pitched with precision by her National College Softball Championship–winning older sister.

“Hey, help me pick out something else to wear. I’m not feeling the silver dress anymore. It’s too dressy for the club Craig and I are going to tonight.” She pushed down on Denise’s shoulders when her sister tried to rise. “You stay here. I’ll bring the outfits to you.”

Samiah made her way to the bedroom’s huge walk-in closet and slid the knotted pine barn door—the deciding factor in buying this condo—to the side. She stepped in and thumbed through her dresses.

“What about that blue one you wore to your classmate’s wedding a few months ago?” Denise called. “What was her name? Tabatha?”

“Tamyra.” Samiah grimaced, recalling that night. She’d spent much of the wedding reception getting hit on by Tamyra’s sexagenarian uncle, whose fake silk shirt seemed to lose more buttons as the night dragged on. She’d spent the next morning scrubbing a stain from the bustline after he’d sloshed her with his Jack and Coke while pressing her to dance to an Isley Brothers tune from the midseventies. Samiah doubted she’d ever wear that dress again.

“Not that one,” she said. In fact, if Denise wanted it, she could have it.

She settled on dark blue skinny jeans and a red cowl-neck sweater, which seemed more appropriate for this evening’s amended plans and the unseasonable nip in the air on this early-August night. Austin usually felt like a sauna until at least late September.

Originally, she and Craig were supposed to start their evening with dinner, but he’d texted just as she was leaving work to tell her that he’d gotten caught up at the office and wouldn’t be able to make it downtown until late. He’d offered to call and cancel, which was the least he could do since she had been the one who’d spent