While the women marry independence at a beachside ceremony, Clive, Raoul, and Drake look on, vowing to become the men they deserve, but can flawed men really change? Clive wrestles with a ghost from his past, Raoul makes an unbelievable sacrifice, and Drake stumbles across his missing heritage. But when a racial incident divides the town of Ocean Promenade, will the men remain worthy of love after the smoke clears?
When three African-American women meet at a resort on the Jersey Shore in the 1920s, they say goodbye to their old lives. Finding men as intoxicating as bootleg liquor, they pin their futures on happily ever after. But love can be worse than a hangover when the men’s flaws threaten to destroy them.
You may think it’s sloe fizz gin
But honey we’re sober, just drunk on men
From the boardwalk, Drake watched his woman race into the water. His chest burned when he saw the joy on her face. Why did she have to be so happy…without him? Raoul Fabrizio and Clive Scribner watched, too, and shook their heads as they headed toward the boardwalk. At least they’d danced with their women. He, on the other hand, had promised to stay away from Edie, so he stood at a distance.
How the hell could he keep that promise?
He leaned on the wooden railing, oblivious to the splinters digging into his bare forearms. Her cries of laughter as she frolicked in the water reminded him of her moans of pleasure under this boardwalk.
In the past month, he’d bought the farm across the Promenade River like he’d always planned. And worked from dawn until he dropped at night from exhaustion. Anything to avoid sitting inside the empty house that should be filled with Edie and their children.
Staring at the ocean didn’t even move him anymore. He hadn’t set foot in a boat since he’d walked out of her classroom one month ago.
“What are you doing here?” Raoul asked, eying him warily as if he were a poisonous snake.
Drake raised his hands. “Just watching. I’m not planning to cause any trouble.”
Raoul leaned his elbows on the railing. “Did you ever see such a thing? A marriage with no men.”
“We only have ourselves to blame, you know,” Clive said as he claimed a spot on the other side of Drake.
“So we’re not perfect,” Raoul argued. “Show me a man who is.”
“I want her back,” Drake said through tight lips.
“I’d give anything to have Belle again,” Raoul said quietly. “She’s the hottest thing I ever had in bed. She nearly scorched my sheets.”
He tore his eyes away from the girls and faced them. “Let’s get them back.”
“But look at them,” Raoul said, flinging his hand out. “They’re better off without us.”
“They’re better off away from the men we were,” Drake said, raising his chin. “Not the men we can be. Will be.”
“But how can we change when we’ve already tried and failed?” Clive asked.
“I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m about to find out,” Drake said before heading back to his automobile.
He walked toward the Sands, needing a drink worse than his next breath. Or five. Or ten. With iron-stiff steps, he forced himself to pass by temptation and head straight to the car. But when he got home, he’d probably give in, open the liquor cabinet, and drink until he passed out with Edie’s name on his lips. Just like he had so often the past month.
Maybe the other men were right. Changing would be hopeless, but he wasn’t about to give up without trying.