Cover Photo: This illustration shows a black woman with an afro sitting at a table and writing on a laptop. She's looking at the audience. Behind her, on the wall, there's a wallpaper of romance book covers.
Illustration by Rachelle Baker for Catapult

Once I Publish This Romance Novel, Please Don’t (Slow) Burn Me at the Stake

After being an avid romance reader for years, I’m finally writing a romance novel—and I am terrified of messing up.

The Flame and the Flower

The Flame and the Flower

Something’s Gotta Give

What if it’s not good?Thirst Aid Kit

He presses his forehead to mine and whispers, “I missed you.” It’s hard to accept such tenderness from him sometimes. How did this man come into my life? I place a hand against his heart, feel how steady and sure he is. I tell him, “We just saw each other yesterday.” He leans back and searches my face, a mock sternness fighting his smile. “And your point is?” He always knows how to lift my spirits but tonight, I feel overwhelmed by the love between us. I close my eyes against a sudden wetness and ask him, “How did you find me? What did I do to deserve a love like yours?”

He places the bouquet on the bar and gathers my hand against his cheek. He waits until I return his gaze and says, “Maybe we wished on the same star as children. Maybe you’re the princess I died fighting a dragon for in another life. Maybe this is a type of hell where our punishment is knowing we’ll never have another love like this. I don’t know. But whatever I did to deserve you, I’d do it again and again and again.”

The woman behind me lets out a soft “damn.” John kisses my fingers and winks.

Oh no. I’m revealing far too much about myself here.

Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be Lilith, but Dark

Sometimes I Trip . . .

Nichole Perkins is a writer and podcast host from Nashville, Tennessee. She frequently writes about the intersections of race, gender, pop culture, and desire. She has hosted This Is Good For You, a podcast about finding pleasure in life, and previously was a co-host of Thirst Aid Kit, a podcast about pop culture and desire. Nichole is the author of Sometimes I Trip on How Happy We Could Be, a memoir, and Lilith, But Dark, a poetry collection.