A Sneak Preview of “The Boy Next Door” by Mandisa M. Parnell



 Noelle Goodison manoeuvred her bicycle down the driveway and out through the gates before mounting it. She desperately needed some fresh air to clear her head.  Even though she had been emailing her friend back and forth almost every day, it wasn’t the same – a whole two weeks without Trisha and she was starting to go crazy. True, Danielle was doing more than her fair share to cheer her up but Noelle still could not help missing her best friend. After all, they had been in each other’s life from they were itty-bitty babies in prams being pushed by their mothers. Danielle had only come on the scene in the Seventh Grade so she, herself, understood that she would never be able to compete with a bond such as theirs. Noelle respected her for being there when she needed her and for allowing her space to stew in self-pity when she needed to do that as well.

As she rode past the Lees’ former home, she noticed that there were curtains hanging by an open front window and that the front door had been repainted. The lawn appeared to be freshly mowed and the hedges had recently been trimmed.  She smiled with delight at the sight of two hummingbirds splashing away excitedly in the clean water that now filled the birdbath that Mr. Lee had built some years before.

Ah must remember to tell Trish that the people dem move in.  Noelle thought. Ah really hope dem nice…!

She was so deep in thought that she was not looking ahead of her as she rounded the bend.



One minute Noelle was riding along slowly, the next she was sprawled out on the pavement with her bicycle on top of her! Within a fraction of a second, someone came crashing down beside her, his bicycle landing just inches away from her face!

“You eeeee-diat!” Noelle heard the angry words pouring out of her mouth. “SUPPOSE AH WASN’T WEARING MA HELMET! Yuh waan tell mi seh yuh never si mi comin’! Yuh blind or someting?”

The boy seemed unfazed by her tirade; he remained calm as he rose from the concrete in one fluid motion. “I’m sorry!” he told her, extending a hand to help her up. “I tooted my horn and I called out but you didn’t seem to hear me at all!”

“Oh. Now it’s MY fault!” Noelle hissed, swatting his outstretched hand, she tossed the bicycle aside and scrambled clumsily to her feet. “No thank you! I can help myself…” She grabbed the overturned BMX and proceeded to check it for damage. “Fortunately,” she added gruffly, “my limbs are all still functioning!”

The other youngster shook his head as he allowed his “helping hand” to fall to his side. “My my! Such venom!”

Noelle brushed off her derriere and hopped back onto her wheels. “Just shut up and MOVE!” she barked.

“Pleasure!” he said stepping aside neatly and bowing niftily as he made an extravagant sweep with his arm. “Forgive me for keeping you from going about your merry way, Your Highness!”

Noelle flung him a dirty look over her shoulder as she started off down the avenue.  Despite that, the stranger flashed what looked like a Colgate toothpaste-ad grin at her and saluted mockingly.

“Hope to see you around, hon!” he called out.

Noelle stopped and sneered at him. “I hope ah neva si yuh again as long as ah live, yuh blinkin’ demon yuh!”

Who was THAT? She found herself pondering as she pedalled along. I’ve never seen him before an’ I never forget a face…especially one like dat!

He had gotten on her last nerve at the worst possible time but that had not prevented her from noticing how good-looking he was. Not to mention his cute American accent.

Lord God! This ting wid Trish must really be gettin’ to ma head! She lamented inwardly. How could I shout at a hottie like that?

* * *




Dang! If all the Jamaican chicks are as fine as that one, I just know I’m gonna love living here!

But, on a serious note though: I could tell she was mad at me for running into her like that. Awww man! That’s a no-brainer if ever there was one – she was not accepting my apology at all. Dang! She’s got a mouth on her, fo’sho! I can’t recall ever being cussed out like that by anybody before, not even my Moms. Whooo! But, I gotta admit: I preferred her giving me all o’ that attitude and lip to all those chicks who’re always falling all over themselves when they see me for the first time, y’know.

Yo, I’m not being big-headed or nothin’ but I’m a good-lookin’ guy, y’know…the girls back home always call me a hottie. Plus I run track and some babes got mad weakness for jocks. My homies always try to tell me that I should be like a dawg and get with all them chicken-heads who be comin’ at me all the time. But, that’s not my style, y’all. My mama raised me better than that, y’know – do unto others and all o’ that and my Dad taught me to straight-up respect females.  So, I keep my nose clean, man – one girlfriend at a time, that’s how I roll. Ryan Reece don’t play that player’s game.

Man! But, that girl was gorgeous! Perfect chocolate skin and pretty dark-brown eyes. And, that shapeDang! Sexy as hell…and so ferocious! Man, I don’t even care that my handle bars got dented and I don’t even care that my elbow hurts from banging it on the pavement. Only thing I’m concerned about right now is how long it’s gonna be before I bless my eyes on all o’ that Nubian beautiful-ness again.




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