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Give the Gift of Knowledge
Creations, The Sankofa Literary Society and The Black Authors Network
are proud to announce the launch of the 2014-2015 "Give the Gift of Knowledge Campaign," bringing readers and authors together to help improve literacy.
You can join the campaign too, go here!
Each new year, we encourage readers to purchase books to give as gifts 365 days
a year. Listed below are just a few of our book suggestions. Each week we will bring
many more! The books are available in our bookstore and in bookstores near you!
Let's all agree to "Give the Gift of Knowledge" and help to strengthen our future
generations by sharing our wonderful literary legacy! We have selected
several hundred books for your library, check them out at our
bookstore, go here. Please consider share this page and the
featured books with your network!
Ella Curry, President of EDC Creations
Black Pearls Magazine Online-Founder
Black Authors Network Radio-Founder
Social Media Strategist - Internet Publicist - Branding Coach
BPM. We Know You Want More!
If You Don't Know Me
by Mary B. Morrison
MOVE OVER REAL HOUSEWIVES…
If you can’t get enough of all things reality television get ready for the drama like only New York Times bestselling author MARY B. MORRISON can bring it!
New York Times and #1 Essence best selling author Mary B. Morrison knows how to write stories that will have readers on the edge of their seats.
Her critically acclaimed debut series Soul Mates Dissipate explored the topic that puzzles most of us: how to find— and keep — your soul mate. The series did so well that Morrison received a multi-film development deal. Publishers Weekly noted Morrison’s sensual novels “pack in dozens of juicy episodes” in her “high drama page turners” and described her as
Her new series which introduced readers to sexy vixen Madison Taylor and a whole cast of juicy new characters has continued to keep readers panting with Elev8.com noting “Mary is at the top of the African-American fiction genre” and Library Journal praising the second installment and encouraging readers to “buy in anticipation of high demand.”
Mary returns in April with IF YOU DON’T KNOW
ME; the third installment of the If I Can’t Have You series being published by Dafina Books in hardcover original.
Two women, a sizzling wager, and the fallout that would turn their lives upside down, that’s exactly what readers will find in Mary B. Morrison’s newest release. Sindy Singleton isn’t about to lose Chicago DuBois to Madison again. But getting him to open his heart once more won’t be enough to satisfy her. Enlisting the help of Chicago’s worst enemy is the fastest way she knows to expose Madison’s most brazen deception yet. But Madison has more than one devastating card to play.
If there’s one thing Madison has learned from her disastrous bet, it’s how to turn catastrophe into opportunity. Playing on Chicago’s fatherly instincts will maintain her access to the DuBois fortune—and keep her family’s empire successful. Using sweet Sindy’s niceness against her will knock her out of the running. And the cherry on top: Madison’s got the perfect scheme to finally take care of her ex-lover, her rivals, and the husband she’ll never let go.
EXCERPT: IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME
"When he walks in, you'll walk out."
"Are you sure?" Nyle asked me after the prison guard closed the door to our private glass-enclosed room.
We sat facing each other. The chill from the stainless steel chair made me sit on the edge of my seat. The rectangular-shaped metal table was cold enough to keep my favorite butter pecan ice cream from melting. Three feet of space separated us.
I stared into his crystal-blue eyes as I said, "Help me get Granville Washington back behind bars and you'll be discharged the same day he's booked. The remaining two-and-a-half of your three-year sentence will be dismissed. You'll be on a one-year probation with an officer that you'll meet face-to-face one time. After that you'll check in over the phone. A few people owe me favors. If you complete the assignment to my satisfaction, your early release is guaranteed."
Nyle sighed heavily. His neatly arched brows drew close together. His eyes darted to the left. He blinked. When he opened his eyes, they were intensely on me. Instantly, I became motionless.
"I've already done what you've asked of me."
"Not exactly my ass." Veins protruded from his neck. His voice escalated in anger. "The outcome isn't what either of us anticipated but I did my part. Now you want me to do you another favor? Fuck the money you paid me. I want out of here today."
That wasn't happening. When we left this room, I was going home; he was headed back to his cell. I did not influence him to commit a crime. That was his choice. Helping him get out was mine.
"What if what you want now isn't what you expect later? Then what? You walk away and leave me to do all of my time?"
Precisely. In my mind, I nodded, but didn't move my head. He had nothing to lose. I did. I needed him to calm down so he could focus on what was important to me.
I softened my tone. "Fair enough. Regardless of what happens this time, I'll keep my word." Not sure if I were lying, I extended my hand and shook his. I had to tell Nyle what he needed to hear.
Getting men to do whatever I wanted—with the exception of my father—that was my strength. Loving another woman's husband was my weakness.
Better for me to pursue the man I wanted than to allow my dad to arrange for my husband the way he'd done with Siara. I missed her. Skype was nice but I hadn't seen my sister in person in twelve years. Her being sold by our father wasn't my fault but she didn't feel the same. Occasionally, she still says, "You are my big sister. You were supposed to protect me." I think our father or her husband told her not to come back to America and not to let me visit her in Paris. I wasn't sure how or when but one day we would reunite.
Trust your gut instincts. That was how I lived. My word used to be a firm commitment. Since I was a little girl, when Sindy Singleton made a promise, I kept it. Truth or lie, right or wrong, my love for Roosevelt "Chicago" Dubois was gradually overruling my senses. Lately I'd been doing what was in my best interest. When things didn't go my way, I didn't hesitate to change my mind.
This morning I'd smoothed back my long straight cinnamon hair and coiled it into a bun that sat at the nape of my neck. My cream-colored pants, which I only wore when I visited the Federal Detention Center, were loosely fitted. A simple short-sleeved matching blouse draped my hips. Comfortable leather flats clung to my feet. No lipstick. No perfume. No jewelry. My purse was in the trunk of my Bentley that I'd parked in a downtown lot a block away. My keys were secured in one of the small lockers in the lobby. My Texas driver's license was left with the guard at the security entrance.
Sitting in a room reserved for attorney/client visits, I was the attorney. Nyle Carter was my protégé. I needed this inmate's help the same as he desperately desired mine.
"Let me get this straight. I have to find a way to bring Granville back to prison before you'll get me out of here?" he lamented.
Peering through the glass door, I scanned the visitors' room. There was a handful of folks who had come to see what I called "the mentally ill and prayed up." Prison made grown men ask the Lord, Buddha, Allah, Jehovah, or whatever higher power they believed in to set them free. Forgiveness wasn't practical for repeat offenders. I wished repentance wasn't an option for them either.
A lot of the criminals I represented were guilty but the majority of them had raised their right hand and sworn on the Bible that they were innocent. I was paid to defend, not to judge. Ultimately, that was God's job.
Nyle had pleaded the Fifth on his charges and still had to do time. He'd become known to those on the inside as G-double-A. Some youngster by the name of No Chainz had given Nyle the name saying it meant "Got All the Answers." I wished that were true for me. I wouldn't be sitting in this cold room trying to convince a man to entrap another man so that I could be with the man I loved.
"I said you were to make sure he never got out."
Nyle remained quiet.
On a scale from one to ten, Nyle was handsome above average. Put a suit on him the way he used to dress prior to getting locked up and no one would believe he was forty years old when he was arrested. Not that there was a better age to be charged but with his thick blond curly hair and smooth pale skin he could easily pass for thirty.
"I paid you twenty thousand to give Granville advice that would get him convicted with two consecutive life sentences."
He slid his hand from his forehead to the nape of his neck. No response.
Nyle could benefit from a daily dose of natural vitamin D. The inmates didn't get much sunlight. Everything was indoors, including the gym. The few windows they had were high above the basketball court. Nyle deserved to be here but didn't belong. There were some people you never envisioned behind bars. Others you knew it wasn't if they were going to do time. It was when and for how long?
"Why did the judge overturn the jury's decision?" I asked.
Getting myself this involved, I could risk being disbarred and losing Roosevelt if he thought I was part of the conspiracy to kill him. I was undoubtedly determined to have that man.
THE ENTIRE EXCERPT HERE
The Series in Order of Publication
Book 3: If You Don't Know Me
Book 2: I'd Rather Be With You
Book 1: If I Can't Have You
Purchase the entire series today!
The Real Thing
by Brenda Jackson
What happens when a pretend boyfriend wants more than make-believe? Find out in this Westmoreland novel from New York Times bestselling author
No red-blooded man turns down the chance to escort gorgeous Trinity Matthews—and Adrian Westmoreland is definitely red-blooded. For her, he'll pretend to be her man. But keeping his hands to himself? That is impossible. A Westmoreland always keeps his word, but how long before Adrian turns this fake affair into something real?
Excerpt from The Real Thing by Brenda Jackson
"I understand you're in a jam and might need my help."
In a jam was putting it mildly, Trinity Matthews thought, looking across the table at Adrian Westmoreland.
If only what he'd said wasn't true. And.. if only Adrian wasn't so good-looking. Then thinking about what she needed him to do wouldn't be so hard.
When she and Adrian had first met, last year at his cousin Riley's wedding, he had been standing in a group of Westmoreland men. She had sized up his brothers and cousins, but had definitely noticed Adrian standing beside his identical twin brother, Aidan.
Trinity had found out years ago, when her sister Tara had married Thorn Westmoreland, that all Westmoreland men were eye candy of the most delectable kind. Therefore, she hadn't really been surprised to discover that Thorn's cousins from Denver had a lot of the same traits-handsome facial features, tall height, a hard-muscled body and an aura of primal masculinity.
But she'd never thought she'd be in a position to date one of those men-even if it was only a temporary ruse.
Trinity knew Tara had already given Adrian some details about the situation and now it was up to her to fill him in on the rest.
"Yes, I'm in a jam," Trinity said, releasing a frustrated breath. "I want to tell you about it, but first I want to thank you for agreeing to meet with me tonight."
He had suggested Laredo's Steak House. She had eaten here a few times, and the food was always excellent.
She paused, trying to ignore how the deep, husky sound of his voice stirred her already nervous stomach. "My goal," she began, "is to complete my residency at Denver Memorial and return to Bunnell, Florida, and work beside my father and brothers in their medical practice. That goal is being threatened by another physician, Dr. Casey Belvedere. He's a respected surgeon here in Denver. He-"
Trinity's heart skipped a beat. Another Westmoreland trait she'd discovered: they didn't believe in mincing words.
"Yes. He wants an affair. I've done nothing to encourage his advances or to give him the impression I'm interested. I even lied and told him I was already involved with someone, but he won't let up. Now it's more than annoying. He's hinted that if I don't go along with it, he'll make my life at the hospital difficult."
She pushed her plate aside and took a sip of her wine. "I brought his unwanted advances to the attention of the top hospital administrator, and he's more or less dismissed my claim. Dr. Belvedere's family is well known in the city. Big philanthropists, I understand. Presently, the Belvederes are building a children's wing at the hospital that will bear their name. It's my guess that the hospital administrator feels that now is not the time to make waves with any of the Belvederes. He said I need to pick my battles carefully, and this is one I might not want to take on."
She paused. "So I came up with a plan." She chuckled softly. "Let me rephrase that. Tara came up with the plan after I told her what was going on. It seems that she faced a similar situation when she was doing her residency in Kentucky. The only difference was that the hospital administrator supported her and made sure the doctor was released of his duties. I don't have that kind of support here because of the Belvedere name."
Adrian didn't say anything for a few moments. He broke eye contact with her and stared down into his glass of wine. Trinity couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking.
He looked back at her. "There is another solution to your problem, you know."
She lifted a brow. "There is?"
"You did say he's a surgeon, right?"
"Then I could break his hands so he'll never be able to use them in an operating room again."
She stared wide-eyed at him for a couple of seconds before leaning forward. "You're joking, right?"
"No. I am not joking. I'm dead serious."
She leaned back as she studied his features. They were etched with ruthlessness and his dark eyes were filled with callousness. It was only then that Trinity remembered Tara's tales about the twins, their baby sister, Bailey, and their younger cousin Bane. According to Tara, those four were the holy terrors of Denver while growing up and got into all kinds of trouble-malicious and otherwise.
THE ENTIRE EXCERPT HERE
The Real Thing by Brenda Jackson
Series: The Westmorelands
Blue Butterfly by Marian L. Thomas
Is the World Ready for a Black Ballerina?
Precious Blue Johnson, young, country and naive, from Lutts County, Georgia, is traveling to the energizing city of New York to search for her birth father and perhaps make history by becoming the first black ballerina.
Her simple mocha skin and thick lips will put her in the center of a movement, expose secrets and unlock the past as she steps onto the stage as the Blue Butterfly.
She will be guided by the vivacious and wise Ms. Ann and fall in love with the alluring Ray Silvers.
Ray brings the whole package. Enchanting eyes, a bright future as a doctor, and a willingness to love completely. To Precious, he is perfect. Except Ray’s package includes his deadly past.
Will their love survive the one person who could end it all—his drug-addicted mother?
Excerpt Blue Butterfly by Marian L. Thomas
From Chapter One
They say on the night that I was born June 30, 1969 the fringes of the moon could be seen peeking out through the thin layers of the clouds. They say that the rain had done come down so hard it felt like something was tearing away at your soul, drop by drop. They say my mama was laying in the birthing room screaming because I was ripping her life away from her. They say that the doctors wanted to cut away at her tummy, but she had done plain-out refused. She was an ebullient woman, with the heart of an unbreakable but beautiful stallion.
I ain't never seen the woman with eyes so blue they felt like they could reach down into the pit of your core and tell you about yourself. I ain't never seen the warmth of her smile or the way she could soothe my daddy with her kind-hearted words. People talk under their breath about her. Talk about how long her silky blond hair was or how thin and soft her frame was. I do alls I can when I hear them whispering about the woman who gave her life so I could dance in the rain on a hot summer day.
Just before she took her last breath they say that she stared into my eyes and smiled because I done come into the world with what she thought was the better part of her. The one feature that my daddy loved the most.
She was the one who placed the weight of my name upon me. Precious Blue Johnson, but everyone around here in Lutts County, Georgia, fixed my name at Precious.
My dear, sweet Daddy is a tall, well-stocked-around-the-tummy man. I heard that back in his heyday he sported a nicely trimmed frame of six feet, two inches. That his hair used to be slicked back so perfectly there wasn't a black woman in Lutts County that wasn't dying to give it a coat or two of sweet brown sugar with the very tips of their hard-worked fingers.
His shoulders hang now sometimes, but that wasn't always the case. No, it be said that when Charles Johnson used to walk down these dirt-filled roads, his shoulders stood towering with an air of confidence that one could breathe in from a mile away.
Once upon a time, it be rumored that his hazel brown eyes were fixed on singing his way out of Lutts County. They still talk about this fact in the rooms of their barely-able-to-stand homes, where they figure can't nobody hear them but God. Whispering under the dim lights about how it is such a shame that he wasted his talent on a white woman.
There are nights when I would wonder what his voice must have sounded like. I would hear him humming sometimes, but I ain't never heard the sound of butter flowing from his lips.
That's what they say he sounded like.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Marian L. Thomas. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.
About the Author
Clean Fiction novelist Marian L. Thomas is a dynamic storyteller with four engaging and dramatic novels to her credit. Her books have been seen on national television stations and featured in print magazines and newspapers. She has also been a guest on many broadcast and online radio stations. Her titles “My Father’s Colors” and “Strings of Color” both received the USA Best Book Finalist Award.
What makes her books unique? Mrs. Thomas might be the first African-American pioneer of contemporary women’s clean fiction. She refuses to lace her work with explicit sexual themes or profanity. Ms. Thomas’ books are rich with ever-intriguing themes of race, family strife, love, divorce, friendship and abuse. And yet her tales, which seem to pre-stage current tabloid headlines, are spelled out in ways that suit the delicate moral tastes of both the Christian Fiction reader and the Clean Fiction book reader.
Ms. Thomas resides in a suburb of Georgia with her husband, family and dear friends.
Visit the author's media room for Blue Butterfly at: http://www.marianlthomasmediaroom.net
The Prodigal Son
by Kimberla Lawson Roby
The Reverend Curtis Black
hasn't spoken to his son, Matthew, in over a year-not since Matthew dropped out of Harvard to marry his girlfriend, Racquel, and be a full-time father to their infant son. Curtis knows that it was he and his wife, Charlotte, who drove Matthew away, but he prays that one day his son will forgive them and come home.
Matthew, however, can't seem to forget the pain his parents caused him and Racquel. Still, he wonders if maybe they'd been right, as fatherhood is not what he expected, and Racquel's behavior has become increasingly erratic. Matthew genuinely wants to be a good husband, though, and swears he'll never repeat his parents' mistakes. But when an old friend expresses her desire for Matthew, the temptation may be too great to resist...
Then, there's Dillon Whitfield, Curtis's long-lost-son, who has settled in as a member of the Black family. Yet the transition has been anything but easy. Charlotte, convinced he's only after Curtis's money, wishes he would move back to where he came from. Dillon, however, has no intention of going anywhere. After a lifetime in the shadows, he's determined to take his rightful place as Curtis's first-born son and heir, and he'll do whatever it takes to win his father's affection-even if it means playing dirty...
As jealousy builds and secrets pile up, both of Curtis's sons will be pushed over the edge and forced to take drastic action. Can these two troubled young men find their way back into the Black family fold, or will their family ties be undone once and for all?
Kimberla's novels are categorized as Contemporary Mainstream Fiction.
Her target audience is primarily women of all ages, but men read her novels as well. The primary subject matter discussed in THE PRODIGAL SON is family drama relating to both marriage and sibling rivalry.
THE PRODIGAL SON
Matthew stared at his wife of ten months and shook his head. Racquel, who was
sitting at the opposite end of the chocolate brown, leather sofa, looked over at
him and frowned. “What?”
Matthew shook his head again. This time, his eyes screamed disappointment. But
all Racquel did was purse her lips and turn her attention back to the flat
screen television. It was a noticeably warm Friday evening in May, and though
Matthew was a bit tired from his long day at work, he would have loved nothing
more than for the two of them to be out somewhere together; maybe have a nice
dinner and catch whatever new movie was playing. But as usual, Racquel was
contently curled up—like an unconcerned couch potato—doing what she did
best: watching some awful, ungodly reality show.
Matthew leaned his head back onto the sofa and closed his eyes. Not in his
wildest imagination—not in a thousand lifetimes—would he have ever pictured
himself being so miserable. But miserable he was, and worse, he now realized
that getting married at the young age of nineteen had turned out to be a
horrible mistake. He’d now turned twenty, but he could kick himself for giving
up a full, four-year, academic scholarship to Harvard University, something he’d
worked very hard for his entire childhood—and now this was all he had to show
for it? This, a tiny, two-bedroom apartment, a twelve-dollar-an-hour job at a
bank, and no love life of any kind to speak of?
since the day he’d been born had he ever had to struggle financially. Even
before he’d met his father, which hadn’t happened until he was seven years
old, Matthew had lived a pretty good life because his maternal grandparents had
always seen to it. Then, of course, when his mom had married his dad, he hadn’t
gone without anything.
He must have been crazy in love or crazy out of his mind to think he was doing
the right thing by getting married. He also couldn’t deny how right his mother
had been, every time she’d warned him about having unprotected sex. He still
hadn’t spoken to either of his parents in more than a year—not even when
they’d mailed him a ten-thousand-dollar check, and he’d torn it up—but his
mom had been correct in her thinking. Matthew wasn’t sure why he’d been so
careless and irresponsible. Although, he was proud of the fact that he’d
immediately manned up as soon as he’d learned of Racquel’s pregnancy and had
decided to be there for both her and the baby.
as it had turned out, Racquel’s parents had told him that they would take care
of little MJ until he and Racquel finished college—since Racquel had been
scheduled to attend MIT a few months after the baby was born. They’d also
wanted Matthew to get his education without any worries, so off to Boston he had
gone—and life had been great until that dreadful day in January when Racquel
had gone into labor much too early. A huge blowup had ensued between his mother
and Vanessa, the two grandmothers to be, at Racquel’s baby shower, and Racquel
had gotten herself all worked up over it. Next thing anyone had known, her water
had broken and she’d been rushed to the hospital.
Matthew remembered how terrified he’d been that Racquel would lose the baby,
but thank God, everything had turned out well. Little MJ had been born with a
respiratory problem, but he’d ended up being released from the hospital just a
few days later. Although, the more Matthew thought about all that had evolved,
he was saddened further because none of what had occurred on the day of the baby
shower could compare to any of what had happened a few weeks afterward. His
mother had concocted the most outlandish scheme, and before long, the Division
of Children and Family Services had come knocking at the front door of Racquel’s
parents’, stating that they’d received two phone calls claiming child abuse.
Of course, none of this had been true, and although in the end, the truth had
been exposed and Charlotte had been arrested, the whole idea of little MJ being
snatched away from Racquel had been too much for her to handle. It was the
reason she now regularly obsessed over their one-year-old son, and she never
felt comfortable leaving him with her own parents, let alone anyone else.
wasn’t even okay with Matthew taking MJ to see his sister, Alicia, or his
great-aunt, Emma because she feared something might happen to him or that he
might be kidnapped. That whole DCFS incident had ruined Racquel emotionally, and
Matthew had a feeling things would never be normal for them again. As it was,
she rarely left the house, and she no longer visited any of her friends when
they came home from school for the weekend. She never invited anyone over to the
The Prodigal Son by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Series: A Reverend Curtis Black Novel
Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural
by Pamela Samuels Young
This book will help African-American women with kinky hair learn the true beauty and versatility of their natural hair.
Have you been thinking about transitioning to natural hair, but don't know where to start? Then
Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide for Going Natural is for
You! This book is a collection of the best resources to help you begin your natural hair journey. You'll find the books, the bloggers, tools, product and more. You'll learn how to develop a hair care regime, how to determine the tools and products you'll need and how to track your progress. Whether you have a relaxer, press 'n curl or you're already natural,
Kinky Coily has something for you. So get ready to experience the true beauty and versatility of your natural hair.
Kinky Coily Excerpt
Transitioning to natural hair will require you to think differently about your hair. You’ll need to believe in the beauty and versatility of your natural hair. While the process will be frustrating at times, it will also be rewarding and fulfilling. If you make the commitment, I guarantee that you’ll end up with an appreciation of your kinky coils as well as greater confidence in yourself and your hair. Before we begin, here are four tips that are crucial to a successful transition.
A Positive Mindset
You’ll need to embrace a whole new mindset about the beauty of your natural hair to have a successful transition. Many of us with kinky hair have been raised to believe that we cannot take care of our own hair because it’s too unruly, difficult and just plain “bad.” That’s bull.
Start your natural hair journey with an open mind. Allow your hair to be all it can be and love it for its beauty and flexibility. How many straight-haired women can sport kinky curls, twists, locs, Bantu knots, micro-braids and cornrows? None I know.
My point is you’re going to have to erase all those negative notions you have about your hair. You have the most fabulous hair in the world. Embrace it!
I’ve heard many women say that going natural takes too much work. Really? I can remember spending three-to-four hours in the beauty shop, and that doesn’t include my two-hour round-trip commute. If I was getting a weave, the entire day and night might be lost.
If rocking your natural hair is important to you, you’ll have to make the decision to investment in yourself. Yes, deep conditioning once or twice a week, moisturizing and sealing your hair on a daily basis and styling your natural hair will take time. But so does anything worth having.
In addition to time, you’re going to need to be committed to the process. There will be times when you are disappointed because your hair isn’t growing fast enough. Transitioning to natural hair is not going to happen overnight. Hair growth takes time. Particularly if you hair is damaged.
You’ll need time to learn your hair and what products respond best to it. You will probably get frustrated and overwhelmed and feel like giving up. Don’t.
Think about the last diet or exercise program you started, but didn’t finish. Somewhere along the line, you just got tired of the bland food and gave up. Now think about the last diet or exercise program you did finish. How proud did you feel after reaching your goal? Transitioning to natural hair is something you’re doing for yourself. You deserve it. So make a commitment to yourself to stick with it no matter what.
This is the most important tool of all! The beautiful natural hair you want isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s going to take a lot of work and patience on your part. Along the way, there will be successes and failures. Products you love. Products you purchase after watching a tutorial on YouTube that end up being a complete waste of your money. It’s all part of the process.
Somewhere along your journey, you’ll find out what works for you and the results will follow. So practice patience! You won’t regret it!
PAMELA SAMUELS YOUNG TOP 5 HAIR TIPS
* Be patient. Transitioning takes time and effort.
* Develop a weekly hair care regimen and stick to it.
* Educate yourself about the care of your natural hair.
* Join a natural hair MeetUp group to share resources.
* Keep a hair journal to track your progress.
Purchase copies here:
Watch & share the Kinky Coily Tutorials: http://www.youtube.com/user/KinkyCurlyPamela
Meet the Author
Pamela Samuels Young is a practicing attorney whose fast-paced legal thrillers tackle law and crime.
Pamela’s first non-fiction book, Kinky Coily: A Resource Guide to Going Natural, goes on sale in
April, 2014. A former TV news writer, Pamela currently serves on the Board of Directors of the L.A. Chapter of Sisters in Crime, an organization dedicated to the advancement of women mystery writers.
To invite Pamela to your book club meeting or event, email Pamela via her website at:
Trust In Us
by AlTonya Washington
With a successful boutique in Charlotte and plans to open another exclusive one in Aspen, Alythia Duffy feels as if she's finally arrived. Then a wild week in the Caribbean at her best friend's bachelorette celebration threatens to ruin everything, though Alythia doesn't regret her passionate idyll with a sensual stranger.
Self-made developer Gage Vincent learned long ago not to believe the words of a beautiful woman. He thought Alythia was different. Yet, how can he trust her after he finds out that she is bidding for space in his hot new skyscraper? Will Alythia be able to prove to him that she is the special woman meant to share his life?
Excerpt from Trust In Us
Alythia Duffy had hoped taking her car; as opposed to hiring a driver, might play into her excuse of bad traffic which would have resulted in her missing out on the luxurious flight.
To her dismay, she arrived at the airstrip to find the plane still waiting. A chorus of birds were chirping somewhere amidst the late morning air as if they meant to welcome her to fun and excitement. Alythia appreciated the welcome, but all the while considered circling back to the Interstate in hopes of getting caught up in a traffic jam- a tad unlikely at that time of day, but who knew? It all could work in her favor and she might get-
“Can I help you with those?”
Alythia turned, her jaw dropping while her eyes zoned out in a show of surprise.
“Lucky,” she breathed the completion of her thought.
She wasn’t sure if the man who stood within touching distance had sparked such a reaction because of his height- she stood just shy of 5”10 in her bare feet. This guy had to be 6”2 at least. Sure, it could’ve been the height or the muscular build- more lean than massive. Alythia was more inclined to wager on the man’s remaining attributes.
Whoever he was, he had the most remarkable shade of skin, an unblemished tone of black coffee. The richness was offset by a long, steady brown gaze enhanced by overt gold flecks. His hair was straight-textured and close cropped. Thanks to that morning’s powerful sunrays, Alythia could tell that his hair was of the same deep brown as his eyes.
He was smiling and the curve of a beckoning, sculpted mouth was made more attractive by the singular dimple accompanying it. Still, that stare of his was impossible to ignore and difficult to perceive as anything other than intensely observant. That gaze lent a well-blended mixture of heat and cool to the smile.
“Are you okay?”
She heard him speaking to her, his smile carrying more heat when he leaned close to ask how she was. He extended a hand as if he meant to cup her elbow but barely let his thumb graze the bend of her arm.
Snapping to, Alythia ordered no-begged the sudden and completely uncharacteristic desire to moan to cease and desist the pressure it applied to her larynx.
“I um-I’m good,” she managed and then followed up the lie with a laugh. “I was good before I got here and saw that my ride was kind enough not to leave without me.”
He roared into laughter, the sound causing Alythia to jump at the full honesty of it. Despite the contagious effect of the gesture, she winced when he looked her way.
“Sorry, I know I sound ungrateful.” She said.
Curiosity intermingled with his amusement. “Why do you think you’re ungrateful?”
“Most people dream of visiting the Caribbean,” she looked toward the jet once more. “Of those who actually have those dreams come true, few get there on a private plane.”
Clarity surged in the liquid chocolate of his stare then and Gage Vincent realized that the woman standing before him had no idea that the plane was his or who he was for that matter.
“Um, could I take that stuff for you?” He inquired of her bags again before the dumbfounded amusement on his face started to make her feel uneasy.
“Sorry um,” Alythia began to relinquish her bags. “Thanks for your help-oh wait.”
Easing the strap of a tan duffle over his shoulder, Gage watched her fumble through a plump mid-sized purse.
“I knew I had a five or ten in here…”
“Hey?” He cupped her elbow that time and waited for her eyes to meet his. “There’s no need to tip me.”
Alythia blinked toward the plane. “I’m pretty sure you guys are way behind schedule because of me.”
“We’ll get there.” Gage voiced the soft reassurance while applying a light massage to the elbow he cupped. The intention was to relax her. In turn, it was the sensation of her satiny skin beneath his thumb that was ushering him into a state of relaxation.
“They aren’t gonna leave without you,” he winced a little against the sun in his eyes when he glanced at the plane. “This is a vacation. No clocks. Say it, ‘no clocks’.”
“No clocks,” Alythia nodded in a hypnotic manner while repeating the phrase that sounded like heaven. “No clocks.” She gave in to a smile that demanded to be seen.
Gage dipped his head to peer into Alythia’s eyes. He observed her that way for several seconds and then nodded, evidently satisfied that her outlook was improving and more than a little captivated by the stunning shade of her gaze. He then took four of her five bags; effortlessly hoisting the straps across his shoulders and angling one at his neck.
Alythia held onto an overnight case- the smallest of the five. Her smile brightened in approval of the button down shirt he wore. The short sleeves revealed the flex and ripple of well-toned muscle accentuated by the flawless café noir of his skin.
“Shall we?” He motioned her ahead with the hand secured about the handle of a boxy brown and beige case.
“Do you think your boss will be a jerk about me holding up the party?” Alythia was asking once they were crossing the tarmac toward the waiting plane.
“You’re good,” He studied the frantic ripple of her hair amidst the wind and smiled. “The man’s a sucker for women. Especially women who look like you.”
“Thank you,” her words were delivered coolly enough even though his remark had threatened to halt her stride. “Um… will you be on the flight or…”
“You’ll see me around,” Gage halted at the foot of the mobile stairway.
“Thank you,” Alythia made no secret of the fact that she was attempting to memorize his face before she headed on up the steps leading into the plane.
Gage’s smile went from friendly to smoldering within in seconds of Alythia’s exit. He thought her legs seemed to go on forever beneath the airy white skirt that flared above her knees. She wore an emerald racer back tank that matched strappy sandals that added emphasis on trim ankles and shapely calves. Not until one of the actual baggage handlers interrupted his survey to ask for the cases, did Gage look away.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, AlTonya Washington. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.
Trust In Us by AlTonya Washington
Meet the Author
AlTonya Washington has been a published romance novelist for 10 years. In 2013, her Harlequin Kimani novel "His Texas Touch" won the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Series Romance of 2012. She also works as a college Reference Librarian.
As T. Onyx, AlTonya released her latest erotica "Ravenous: Ruler of Perfection II" in 2013 as well as the 17th title in the Ramsey Tesano saga “A Lover’s
Debt.” January 2014 marked the release of the romantic suspense novel “When Ice
Connect with AlTonya Washington, MLS
Author/ Publisher/ Librarian
Isle of Beasts by Angela Hobbs
There’s a tropical paradise in the middle of the Meridian Sea that sits quarantined from the rest of the modern world. Ankira is an island devastated, with villages that resemble ghost towns and natives who are soon to become as extinct as the dinosaurs. A black magic sorceress from a rival island has cursed every Ankiran child. Under the curse, at the precise moment Ankiran youth reach the age of twenty, they undergo a gruesome, physical transformation into beasts that roam free and terrorize the land.
Like every other child he’s known, nineteen-year-old Raphael Solomon has spent his short life coming to terms with his own inevitable transformation. With his twentieth birthday just hours away, however, an uncovered secret rocks the entire island and leaves Raphael in a state he never imagined – alive on the other side of twenty. Raphael’s salvation incites the entire island to wonder, have Ankira’s children escaped a decades old curse?
An unexpected outcome sends Raphael right back into turmoil and places the future of the island teetering on his inexperienced shoulders. Allies turn into foes who challenge Raphael’s skill and courage in the face of danger. Ankira’s dark past thrusts Raphael on a path that leads him through betrayal, a shocking discovery, and right into the fatal clutches of the beasts.
Isle of Beasts thrills in this fast paced journey that stretches the imagination and questions our own will to survive under pressure. A visit to paradise has never been so intense.
Isle of Beasts by Angela Hobbs
Excerpt from Chapter 1
A receding sun painted the atmosphere in hues of vivid orange and yellow, setting thick rolls of clouds on fire. All traces of the day disappeared below into the Meridian Sea. The water glistened like a jewel and rolled on forever in every direction, but the outline of Ulaka Island protruded out of it in the distance. Ulaka loomed in the sea, large, silent and still, like a predator in anticipation of its kill.
Several miles north, on the neighboring island of Ankira, guards kept watch over a somber crowd huddled together on the beach. Each uniformed man bore a rifle, under the command to kill if necessary. They lined themselves along a dock made from wooden planks and beams that jutted out into the sea. A rusted ferry swayed at the end of the dock where more guards waited, none the less vigilant. Amongst the chorus of moans and weeping from the crowd, the guards’ eyes stayed fixed on the prisoner in their midst.
The scent of salt water rode a breeze along the sand and wafted between the mourners. They clung to each other as if letting go would result in the wind whisking them away. Like the guards, their attention stayed riveted on the ten by six foot cage on the dock that contained the prisoner. The guards wouldn’t allow them to approach the caged man, so they observed from a short distance away on the sand.
Raphael Solomon stood on the outskirts of the gathering with his hands shoved in the pockets of his cargo shorts. One sneakered foot burrowed a crater in the sand. Whenever his eyes lingered on the mourning family too long they’d bounce to Asa, the young man in the cage. From there, he’d hurry to focus on the canopy of palms towering over the outskirts of the beach, the massive rock cliffs that extended into the sea, and any other place that didn’t make his heart palpitate any faster than it already did. He stood with the family to pay his last respect to someone he’d known all his life. Raphael and Asa grew up together on Ankira. They shared a childhood filled with games of street cricket, diving in the Meridian, and hustling their wares to locals at Ankira’s street market. They’d eaten at each other’s dinner table with their respective families. Asa’s mother had been their elementary teacher years ago.
Now, Raphael stood with the woman and watched her son, whom the guards had locked away like a criminal. A spotlight on the ferry illuminated the scene before him. Asa cried and shoved his hands through the bars, reaching out to his family in vain. He paced the tight space inside like an agitated animal. Tears, sweat and mucous stained his face. As the minutes ticked closer, he lost all self-control. He pummeled his body against the bars and mumbled incoherently. Long, coarse dreads swung in a halo around his head as he flailed about. The guards watched him with tense expressions, but they didn’t move from their positions. A cry escaped Asa’s mother’s lips before she fainted into the arms of his father. Raphael shut his eyes and rocked from one foot to the other. A part of him wished Asa would hit his head against the cage with all that thrashing around and knock himself out. He didn’t know what was worse – the anticipation or the actual event that would take place.
A shrill sound rang out and hushed the crowd. One of the guards silenced his wristwatch alarm and called out the time right as movement within the cage came to an abrupt stop. A woman in the family huddle spun around without warning and tore across the sand to the road beyond the palm trees. Raphael watched her retreat and repressed an urge to follow her lead.
A low growl from behind the bars grabbed his attention.
Within the cage, Asa’s body began to spasm. His eyes were the first to change. The pupils expanded past their dark brown irises and painted the entire eye socket coal black. Veins pulsated beneath his skin like wiggling worms while his arms, legs, and torso elongated to lengths uncommon for any human being Raphael had ever seen. Clothing ripped under the force of Asa’s stretched skeleton and the top of his head shot up against the cage’s solid ceiling.
His finger and toe nails shot out and curved into knife sharp talons that rivaled those of any flesh tearing bird of prey. His front teeth, from one canine to the next, evolved into long fangs. His jawbone broke and widened to accommodate the vicious new teeth that overflowed from his mouth and shredded his taut lips into bloody slivers of flesh. Every strand of hair on his body shed to the ground and his dreads pooled around his feet, resembling thick, black snakes. Scales popped up and covered him from head to toe, giving Asa a reptilian appearance.
His ears dissolved into his distended skull and left dark holes in place of cartilage and flesh. The bridge of his nose flattened and left two air holes that pulsed with every inhalation. His eyes, like a set of onyx stones, blinked several times beneath a protruding brow bone. A sexless beast emerged from Asa’s former body and it roared and fought against the bars demanding release from its captivity.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Angela Hobbs. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.
Meet the Author
Angela Hobbs is a 2004 journalism graduate from Columbia College Chicago and the former editor of retired teen e-zine “Young City”. A native of Chicago's South Side, she enjoys reading and writing horror, fantasy, mystery, sci-fi and thrillers. Angela resides with her husband and three children. The 2013 published
Beasts" is her debut novel.
Purchase Isle of Beasts
Twist by Roni Teson
A Romantic Suspense full of twists and
When a steamy incident in the back seat of a borrowed car plunges sixteen-year-old Beatrice Malcolm smack in the middle of a global manhunt, she discovers that the search for her fugitive father has more to do with her than she could ever imagine.
With her mother gone, Bea's life is unraveling in the worst possible way as she's thrust into a world of government conspiracy, insanity, and mind-altering experimentation that forces her to make a life or death decision on who to believe—the FBI or her father.
In Twist, Roni Teson has crafted a suspenseful tale of love, betrayal and intrigue with a cast of characters who will leap off the pages and stay in your heart long after the last page has been turned.
Excerpt Chapter 1
I’d seen him at school before, the kid who came in with Mr. Drake. I didn’t know his name was Lucas. When he brushed his blond hair away from his forehead and his blue eyes met mine, my insides liquefied. I thought I saw a flicker of recognition on his face, but how would he know me?
“Do you go to Sage Creek High?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, as I looked down at my tennis shoes and wished I’d dressed better. But I didn’t know a cute boy would be standing in front of me tonight.
“I thought so,” he said. “Aren’t you new?”
We were at Aunt Charlotte and Uncle George’s house, me sitting in the living room and the boy hanging around the threshold.
Only a few seconds earlier, my uncle’s plumber, Mr. Drake, had said, “Stay here, Lucas. Talk to Beatrice for a minute while I work on George’s sink.” And then he followed my uncle into the kitchen.
“Did you hear me?” Lucas said.
“What?” I answered.
A tiny chuckle puffed off of his lips. “I didn’t think you were listening. Call me Luke.”
His voice was so smooth my belly did backflips. “Bea,” I said, because a single syllable was all I could manage under the gaze of such a magnificent creature as Luke.
“So, Bea.” His eyes wandered around the living room and stopped on me. “What’s your story? Where you been hiding?”
I stared at his perfectly straight, white teeth and froze.
“Dad makes me tag along on some of his jobs,” Luke said, as he sat down on the edge of the couch. “I’ve been to this house a lot, but I’ve never seen you here.”
“You weren’t here last week when the kitchen flooded.” I flicked a piece of lint off of my leg, acting disinterested. “I’m staying with my aunt and uncle for a while”—and then I stopped short, before the darkness of the last twelve months could creep into our conversation. I picked up the remote and channel surfed, looking for something he could grab on to instead of me.
“Where’d that frown come from?” he asked. Then when I didn’t answer, after a pause, he posed another question. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
And that was all I needed to hear. I lost interest. He was way too nosy, and far too comfortable asking me about my personal life. I kept my eyes on the TV and said, “Do you always talk so much?”
“Hey, a cute girl shows up at school and I want to know.”
“Now you’re way too flirty.”
“I like the tomboy thing you’re rocking. What can I say?”
In my peripheral vision I saw him wink at me. That was so cheesy, I thought I was being played. “Really?” I rolled my eyes.
“I’m just being friendly. Geez, Beatrice.”
And the timber of his voice, mixed with a playful tone, hit the right note—it softened me. “Call me, Bea,” I said.
“Can’t anyone be nice to you?” he asked.
When his lower lip protruded, exaggerating a pout, I must have been like a swinging mood tree because my entire being thawed. “Yeah, I’m just having a bad day,” I said.
More like a bad year.
We stared at each other and he smiled again, so I smiled, too.
“See,” Luke said. “I knew you had it in you.”
He moved closer to me on the couch and put his hand on mine. “My official name is Lucas Drake.” With that, he squeezed my fingers, lifted my hand, and kissed my knuckles.
An unfamiliar feeling of warmth ran down my spine and into my toes. I jerked my arm away and stood up in a curtsy. “Beatrice Malcolm.” I plopped down again, tucking my right leg under my butt.
Luke glided even closer and whispered, “I’m glad you moved to Cali. I think you’re cute.”
I wondered if his head had begun to swirl, the way mine had. I’d never experienced anything like this before, ever. But suddenly, Uncle George and Luke’s dad were standing at the front door, about fifteen feet from where we sat. And thank goodness Mr. Drake broke the spell with his gruff voice. “Lucas, let’s go!”
Luke seemed to become abruptly aware of his surroundings and even looked puzzled when he saw how close we were sitting. He flexed his hand and wiggled his fingers—I ran my thumb across my knuckles and glanced at him. We both blushed and quickly looked away. I was relieved to stand up and walk the few steps to the entryway with Lucas Drake behind me.
Uncle George shuffled a bit while his hand automatically searched the pocket where he used to keep his cigarettes.
Mr. Drake said, “George, I still can’t believe you quit smoking after all these years.”
“Shut up, Kyle. It makes me want one real bad when you talk about it.” My uncle clapped Mr. Drake on the head, and they must have seen the look on my face because they both burst out laughing.
“Your niece is looking at me like I have three eyes,” Mr. Drake said, and then he snorted, which caused Luke to laugh. “Darling, your uncle and I go way back. In fact”—he faked a punch at Luke’s stomach—“he was there when this one was born.”
Standing a few inches over five feet, I was a midget next to these men—including Luke. So when all three of them looked down at me with grins of epic proportions on their faces—the proverbial cats that swallowed the canary—I barked at them. “What?”
“She sure reminds me of Grace,” Mr. Drake said softly.
“I can hear you,” I said.
“It’s a compliment, dear . . .” For a split second I thought he was going to cry. “Grace was something else . . .”
As they moved down the steps, my uncle and I waved good-bye, and I heard Luke say to his dad, “Who’s Grace?”
“Beatrice’s mother,” Mr. Drake answered.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author,
Roni Teson. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.
Purchase Twist by Roni Teson
One Safe Place
by Alvin L.A. Horn
Friends and foes, politicians and lovers intersect in this exciting novel of love, lust, and crime in the Emerald City.
In One Safe
Place, lightning strikes of dilemmas and storms of lustful deeds intertwine with the well-thought citizens, as well as the criminal-minded. Under Seattle’s cloudy skies, the morally minded kiss the sexual deviant for advancement of careers and social status. Once again Alvin L.A. Horn rains down love, lust, and crime in the pursuit of clear skies in the Emerald City.
Everyone wants and needs one safe place, and former secret service agent Psalms Black puts thoughts and actions into his social righteousness. He knows how to exact revenge by any means necessary. His sexy lover, Gabrielle Brandywine, used to be the most powerful woman in the world as the Secretary of State of the United States. She still has clout, but has personal issues that can derail Psalms’ desired purpose in life. He and his friends are stealthy and tend to interpret human nature with skillful cleverness. In the mix though, are their own lives and love, and sexual issues must be controlled to complete missions.
Life is complicated when the deviant creep out of waters and from behind snow-capped mountains and mix with politics, sex, and dark money shadows. If evil acts occur like putting hands on a woman, or threatening a child, or harming a friend, you better hope Psalms Black and his friends don’t find out or someone could come up missing, or wish they had. Whether someone is on the right side of morality or if someone steps over the line, everyone wants and needs
Excerpts from One Safe Place
Maybe he thought he could read her mind with her head next to his because he sure wanted her to know his thoughts. He wanted her
understand the world might be breaking apart, but no matter what, he knew in his heart and mind, she was his one safe place to lay his
Up ten stories, I stare downward, avoiding the blinding sun and enjoying the water, watching the ferries go from Seattle over to the
local islands and coming back. On the beachfront down below, I'm watching my ex-Secret Service agent, my lover man, who is sparring
with the ocean air with quickness and hardly any effort in his fluent movements. He possesses the kind of power men fear. Psalms is on Alki
Beach, shadow boxing in the sand.
With downtown Seattle in one corner of his world, and the Puget Sound in the other, he works out with the street behind him as if his back
is against the ropes in a boxing ring. He beats the air until I'm sure the air is heated to one-hundred degrees in twenty feet in each
direction surrounding him.
Since I've known him, I've had the opportunity to see him do what he is doing now, many times, and I never grow weary of watching him. I
have watched him shadow box and heat up the air with his rapid-firing fists along an iced-over river in Moscow. I watched his body move
along the Panama Canal with the icy quickness of a Doberman as he seemingly cooled the hot air with the speed of his kicks. Along the
Great Wall of China, I watched him attack the breathed air of past warriors, and it evoked a vision of him fighting and defeating Genghis
Khan. Psalms Black has the build of Mike Tyson, yet he moves like a jaguar in the Amazon jungle.
I have felt that same power in his lovemaking, taking me and making me feel that he wants me. The responsiveness of his proficiencies in
lovemaking takes the form of a ballet dancer's grace. My ex-Secret Service agent, my lover, has picked me up and floated me down in a way
a man cannot be trained. He is all-natural in all he does. Psalms touches every square centimeter of my body with his strong hands, and
I sweat from the softness of his caress.
He gives me hot flashes and my body's clock is not there yet. When he touches me, it feels like whispers to the pores of my body that he has
opened up with the heat of his touch. When those golden eyes scan my body, he slays all my fears, and imprisons the stipulations I thought
I needed to maintain some control. He replaces my wants with total fulfillment of my desires so I can lose all control. When I'm in his
control, I'm truly free.
As my Secret Service agent, my feelings grew more intense each time he was assigned to protect me. I wanted him. I wanted any part of the man
who would take a bullet for me. Black Knight Syndrome, maybe? I am no different from any other woman who wants what they want in a man, no
matter whether if it's good or bad for them. I have surrendered to my fearless man.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Alvin L. A. Horn. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.
Listen to a BAN Radio Interview Alvin L.A. Horn, Candy Jackson and Bobby Cenoura
Go here: http://tobtr.com/s/4802381
Meet the Author
Alvin L.A. Horn is an author of three books. Brush Strokes, Perfect Circle, and now,
Place. Living in the Northwest, his writings are the byproduct of growing up in the Seattle lifestyle of social awareness. He feels his writing was triggered by his mother sending
him to the library when she placed him "on restriction, often for daydreaming in school."
He also credits the "gray-haired Jewish lady, the librarian," an internment camp survivor for introducing him to the likes of Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston and Nikki Giovanni. He
states, some of my erotic imagination came from my dad leaving Playboy magazines in a not so secret place. He says his friends fixated the
pictures, but him he just read the stories, most of the time.
Born in 1957 and growing up in the "Liberal on the surface" Seattle flavors flows through his writing. He lives on a houseboat (Sleepless
in Seattle style) with perfect views for writing inspiration for most of his current writing life.
He is inspired to write and recite the art honest emotions that he has have felt or someone may have shared with him at some time in my
He states, "I try to speak for those who would write or say how they feel. I want to remind people of lost thoughts, hidden feelings
and create new contemplations and desires whether it about love, money, social issues, family issues, passions and sex. I want people
to feel worthy, beautiful, sexy, and informed. I want to write and speak in ways, as Miles Davis said, "It not how many notes you play,
it's when you play them." I feel I bring a different perspective to my writing in that I have lived and traveled the world for over a half a
century and seen fads, fashions, music and politics change and how we communicate.
Follow on Twitter: @alvinlahorn
Alvin's Website: www.alvinhorn.com
Like on Facebook: www.facebook.com/alvinhorn
Purchase One Safe Place: A Novel
Something About April
by Cheri Paris Edwards
In Something About
April, Carla Jefferson meets the perfect guy, but he's not quite the man of her dreams. Will she hold on to love, or let it slip away hoping for a chance at the life she's imagined?
A rediscovered photograph and the return of old friends stir memories and a desire to reclaim the past, setting into motion events that may change the Jefferson family forever.
Something About April
is the second novel in a planned series of four books about the midwestern Jefferson family introduced in book one, The Other Sister. In this fast-paced story focus shifts to older characters, and moves from the conversation of faith to the daily struggles of the Jefferson family and their friends as they strive to meet life's challenges.
Meet the Jeffersons:
James Jefferson is a driven man, motivated by love for his family, devotion to church members and concern for the community. After centering her life around the interests of others, Lena Jefferson must readjust now that her adult daughters are living lives of their own. Older daughter Carla Jefferson juggles the responsibilties of a demanding career while hoping for love, while her younger sister Sanita strives to move through life with the same self-confidence that made her an athletic star. Get to know the Jeffersons as they navigate a season of love, laughter and heartache, wrestling with life's challenges while holding on to friends, faith and one another.
– is the father who is driven by his own humble beginnings by a need to give back to the community and take care of his family, so he’s a bit of a social activist with a pulpit. He defines himself as “project boy” and he is the son of single mother who struggled to raise him and a sister. A promising athlete, he grew up in the church, and his faith and the church became a respite leading him to eventually followed become a minister. Faith Community is not a mega-church but does have a thriving congregation. He also owns and sells real estate, and while not wealthy, has provided a middle-class lifestyle for his family.
Lena Jefferson – is his wife who spent much of her life shaping herself into the person she thought a minister’s wife should be. She served as part-time church secretary, and was a homemaker. Now that her daughters are adults and living on their own she’s left with a void in her life.
Carla Jefferson – is the older Jefferson daughter who’s always tried to do the right thing. She’s a bit of a perfectionist, a school administrator at a charter middle school who has felt eclipsed by her younger, athletic sister Sanita who is also more outgoing. In the first story, she had been on a few dates with ex-pro basketball player Terrence Catchings who fell head over heels for Sanita when she returned to town.
Sanita Jefferson – the younger Jefferson sister, who also is an ex-athlete. Poor decisions while she was away from home, put her both her health and freedom at risk, but with a cleared slate, she is rebounding, living on her own now and taking courses at the community college.
We learn more about James and Lena in this story and Lena’s attorney friend Nadine, Javier Quintero, and Mandy who is Carla’s good friend are introduced in this book.
Excerpt from Something About April
She couldn’t sleep. All day, sleep had wooed her with heavy-lidded promises, but as soon as she got into bed, the flirtation was over. She closed her eyes and her mind reeled and lurched like an uneven film. Lifting on her elbows, she squinted. The clock’s bright digits seemed to glare at her — another hour had passed. She sank onto her pillow. Hopeful, she shut her eyes, but as soon as her lids lowered, the show spun into motion again. Flashes from yesterday melded into this day’s events before whirling into plans for tomorrow. With a sigh, she sat upright. Peeling back the covers, she glanced at her husband. His gentle breathing sang a rhythmic hum. Sliding into her slippers, she snagged her robe from the footboard post, and tied it on. She stepped into the hallway, and gently pulled the door closed behind her.
Gliding stealthily through the darkened house, she moved as though she had a plan, but she did not. She paused in the kitchen to open the refrigerator and peer at the contents before settling on a bottle of water. Resting the bottle on the counter, she scooped used glasses into the sink before dampening a cloth to sweep away evidence of a late-night sandwich he made. “How many times have I asked him to not leave crumbs?” she grumbled.
Bottled water in hand, she padded through the dining room and into the wide expanse of the family room. At the fireplace, she drew the metal curtain to prod the simmering wood with a poker, then, rubbing her chilled arms, fell into the seat of a chair in front of her desk. She lifted the lid to her laptop.
“Why do you need a password?” he had asked the other day as he watched her logging in. His eyes deepened with curiosity. “It’s not like anyone else has access. It’s your computer.”
“From the writing class I was taking,” she explained. “We had to write poems now and then, and sometimes I still journal my feelings. Guess it’s like a diary,” she continued. “Giving it a password is like it has a key. Makes me feel safer writing about my feelings if I know I’m the only one reading it,” she finished, hoping she wasn’t talking too much.
“Safer? That’s a strange word to use. I’m your husband. Why do you need to keep your feelings safe from me?” A smile lifted the corners of his lips, but his eyes searched hers.
Waiting to find the right words, she was grateful when his phone alerted him of a new message. Distracted, he turned to his own computer and began to peck away.
Guilt stiffened her. I’m sorry, she thought. The excuse was true — it just wasn’t the whole truth. Conscience prickling, she shifted a glance at the doorway, expecting to see her husband’s frame shadowed there. Her eyes drew back to the computer, and she started the mail client. She watched the software whirr into view. Swallowing a gush of water, she willed the process faster, sighing aloud when mail finally began its descent into her inbox.
She didn’t know what had possessed her to do it. She hadn’t even thought about him in years.
At loose ends after completing a writing project for class, she tapped the name into the search box.
D-e-r-r-i-c-k T. J-a-s-p-e-r-s-o-n.
Her heart quickened when a dizzying number of links filled the screen. That he had done well for himself, was now a professor at a large university and a published writer, she knew — she just hadn’t realized how much he’d accomplished. Probing the pages, she paused and tapped a link. Colorful illustrations of figures holding trombones framed a web page heralding “The Effect of Jazz on Culture,” his latest book, hailed by Academic Press as “well-written dialogue about the importance of the distinctly black music’s effect on culture and society as a whole.” She clicked a link to an NPR interview but, startled by the sound of his voice, tapped the site closed and logged off.
Recalling the deepness of his tone made her heart race faster, and suddenly heat roared through her body with such ferocity that it sent her scurrying to slide open the terrace door, where she leaned against the frame and let the breeze cool her. Though weeks had passed since she looked him up, she could almost smell Derrick’s cologne as she pictured his horn-rimmed gaze staring at her from the web page. He had matured, but his features hadn’t changed much. Clicking one link after another, she had read about him. She studied photos, his face, the shape of his hands, the angles of his body.
Afraid to allow herself to think, she had quickly tapped a link, and the mail client churned into action. The untitled message window sprang to life and waited silently.
She had hesitated.
Then her fingers tapped the keys. I don’t know if you remember me. Fingers trembling now, she added, We went to college together. She hurriedly clicked in her name and tapped send.
Shivering, she pushed the patio door closed, and drifted to the couch, draping a worn plaid blanket around her shoulders before dropping onto a chair in front of her computer.
Every morning, she admonished herself for rushing to check her e-mail, yet swallowed disappointment when none of the incoming messages flooding her box bore his name. Throughout the day, she stiffened each time the alert sounded, but only junk mail, correspondence, and notes from the social site she used to communicate with the girls slid into her box.
“I’m being silly,” she told herself before swallowing a stream of water. “He probably doesn’t even remember me.” As the words left her lips, the alert sounded, and the address on the downloaded note seemed to shout: D. T. Jasperson, Ph.D.
( Continues... )
Copyright © 2014 by Cheri Paris Edwards. All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Cheri Paris Edwards. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.
Something About April (The Jeffersons-Volume 2)
Read more about the series: http://www.cheriparisedwards.net/#!books/cnec
by Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Damon Myers-Jones despised the awkward hyphenated name forced upon him at birth because it represented two things Damon would rather forget: his adopted father’s death and his real father’s absence. Now thirty years old, newly engaged Damon struggles with the constant tug-of-war with the women in his life.
His mother, Laverne Myers-Jones, who cloaked him with his name in the first place, wants to extend her influence to his choice of mate. Damon’s fiancée, Hope Daniels, can’t see beyond her longing to keep what she deems the perfect man and plans for her happily ever after.
In a desperate attempt to find himself, Damon impulsively sets out on a mission's trip to Haiti in search of his birth father where he experiences a shift that changes his world. Will his personal mission coincide with what God has in store for him?
Praise for Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Sherryle Kiser Jackson is to be commended for creating an emotionally authentic tale of redemption and one man's search for love. Fans of her other works will not be disappointed, and new readers prepare to discover your new favorite author.
--- Booker T. Mattison, filmmaker and author of Unsigned Hype and Snitch.
He boarded first at Shady Grove station. She boarded six stops later at Bethesda. They rode another six stops together.
She exited before him at DuPont Circle. He held his spot until Judiciary Square.
The red line of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area subway system—or Metro, as it is called—represented the vein of their relationship—a mastery of timing and schedules. A twenty-eight-minute ride, five times a week that became thirty-three minutes the midst of rush hour, was the delicate tissue that covered that vein. It provided a great quantity of quality time for their relationship.
Today was the beginning of a typical workweek for them, but it felt like anything but to Damon Myers-Jones. He glanced down at a text message summoning him and his teammates to a mandatory meeting, which would take place first thing this morning. Ever since the previous evening, when he first spotted the text, he’d tried to figure out what the meeting could be about. His preoccupation seemed to throw him off, to swirl in the nauseating abyss that immersed his life nowadays.
Damon missed the opening and closing of the doors, and his fiancée, Hope, entering the subway car, with her carefully rehabbed right leg, encumbered by a slight limp, moving toward him. He had muscled his way to a seat when he boarded, and used his bag to save the vacant seat beside him for her.
“What, no bagels?” Hope Daniels said, as she shifted his bag and plopped down beside him, wearing a waist-length leather jacket and a Wrangler satchel strewn about her body to tie together her outerwear.
“I’ve got that meeting,” Damon said.
“Yeah, that’s right, the mystery meeting,” she said. “Well, at least we both got seats.”
Staring at him with one arched eyebrow, a jutted chin and a smile begging him to smother her with his lips, a peck was the best he could do. He had too much angst for anything else. He had not always been reluctant to participate in the public displays of affection she craved. Now engaged, and although the ring had unlocked chambers and doors, a big part of his reluctance was because it didn’t get him any closer to the vault of physicality, the war chest of sex that he craved from her. A smaller portion of his reluctance was also due to the guilt he felt that he had not yet told his mom of the seriousness of his relationship with Hope, and that her little boy had taken the ultimate big-boy step. For that, he felt as if he were being watched, and the lookout would report the ring size, cut and clarity of the diamond directly to his mom before he had the chance to tell her himself. Still, a fraction of that guilt was reserved for the itch of an impulse that he kept a secret from both his ladies. So, as far as he was concerned, and with all he had going on, Hope’s engagement ring and Facebook profile would have to suffice her need to flaunt their upgraded relationship status right now.
Leaning forward, he rested his arms on his thighs amongst the butts and guts of passengers forced to stand in front of them. Once again, he checked his text message, as if it had changed in the last ten minutes.
“Damon, stop obsessing,” Hope said, stroking his back with her right hand. “Wait, look, I got something to show you.”
Damon watched her pull out a stack of papers with a section of the New York Times on top. He determined that if she started in on him about moving to New York again he would exit the train at the Van Ness station, leaving her alone, and connect with another train there.
“You know the extra credit vocabulary I like to assign from the crossword puzzle each week? Well, guess who came up with the right answer this week?” she gloated. She began shuffling through the pile of corrected papers. “A six-letter word that means spread dirt on someone crossed with a thirteen-letter word meaning the race for the highest office in a state, each starting with the letter G.”
Relieved, Damon sat up and began pointing at his fingers, as if he were counting. She punched him, and he smiled. “You got me. I’m the numbers man, remember?”
When Hope found the paper she was searching for, she bent the corner toward her so Damon couldn’t see the name. “Gossip and gubernatorial are the answers. Challenging, right? Guess who got the answer correct?”
“Dumb Donald,” he ventured, guessing Donald Hendricks, one of her notoriously off-tasked students at the high-priced prep school where she taught.
There was a pause. He noticed Hope get suddenly solemn and scrunch up her face in disapproval.
“Why would you say that? I have never called him dumb, Damon. I would never call one of my students dumb.”
They were only a month and a half into the school year, and she talked about Donald all the time. Donald and his cronies’ antics were the reason Damon would find himself stopping off at her job on the ride back in, coaxing her off the emotional ledge and into a nearby happy hour spot to unwind before seeing her home. Anything for Hope.
“Dumb Donald is a character; you know, from Fat Albert,” Damon said.
A blank stare replaced the animation of anger on her face.
He tried again to jar her memory. “You know, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids?”
“You mean the Cosby Show?”
Who didn’t know Fat Albert? Damon desperately tried to explain. “It was before the Cosby Show, before our time, really, but you could catch it on cable. It was a cartoon. They remade it as a movie,” he paused, feeling defeated. “Never mind.”
She looked away from him, but not before looking at him as if she had somehow disappointed him. Damon didn’t know if she was even aware of the look of contrition she sometimes gave when she didn’t get a cultural reference of his, especially when they first started going out. He knew in those moments she didn’t feel good enough for him, almost as if she worried about being “Black” enough. The fact is she wasn’t Black.
He didn’t plan to fall in love with a white woman. She didn’t look like anyone he had previously found aesthetically pleasing enough to date. Pale-skinned, thin-lipped, and brunette, she was ultra-cool, mega-smart and what he considered hella-sexy. Along with those features, she stood out to him in another way. She was not another conquest or female “friend” he hung out with on the outskirts of his real life until it became both ridiculous and mundane to continue to do so. It was her principles and the way she communicated them, and her passion that caused his curiosity and ultimately their connection.
They sat shoulder-to-shoulder, and he bumped her playfully just to get her eye again. He felt them both sigh heavily, but silently.
“Bill Cosby is from New York, right?” She picked up her copy of The New York Times, folded back to the daily crossword and waved it in front of him.
Oh, now she is a Cosby expert, he thought.
“I’m definitely in a New York state of mind. I just think the time is right. We should plan to move next fall after the wedding. My place is cozier, but your place is bigger and farther out. It would solve our dilemma of where to live if we start fresh across the board.”
He pursed his lips. “Oh my gosh, what a weak segue! I knew this was coming. I knew it.”
“You act as if we’ve never talked about you working in the Financial District. Remember Wall Street? I can teach anywhere, but there is nothing like the vibe there, the art and theatre. I can get a dog and run through Central Park. C’mon Damon, admit it; New York was always a part of our discussion of settling down. Well guess what?” She wiggled her left hand in his face. “We’re settling down.”
“Chill, will you?” He looked around for his mom’s lookout. “There are some things that can’t be discussed on the Metro. I’m so serious right now. I’m trying to mentally preset for this meeting.”
He was relieved that she left him alone with his thoughts, as scattered as they were. It gave her time to shove her papers back in her bag and stand instinctively as the subway car came to a halt at the station before her stop. He almost reached out for her hips to help steady her, but she grabbed for the nearby pole, held by several others, taking her slightly out of his reach. She was preset.
“Should I bring something to your mother’s this weekend?” Hope asked casually as she looked at her cuticles on her free hand.
She looked at him incredulously. “Food, Damon, duh?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said absentmindedly until he thought about how his mother would somehow misconstrue Hope’s kindness for smugness. When his mom cooked, she covered all bases. With the bombshell they were going to drop on her, he didn’t want to give his mom an additional excuse to find contempt for his future wife. “Uh, you know what? On second thought, no. I don’t think that will be necessary.”
Once again, Hope painted on a blank stare. “I can’t show up empty-handed. That’s tacky.”
He leaned forward and raised her left hand. “This is not exactly empty-handed.”
She held on to his hand, although it was a stretch for him to hold on. “So, six tonight? We can just do dinner somewhere.”
“I don’t want you waiting around, especially not knowing the outcome or ramifications of this meeting. If you get a text from me that says ‘I’m at O’Donnell’s,’ just know that it was bad.”
“I’m sure it’s nothing but another asinine project that’s due right away. Have you heard talk that they’re laying more people off? I mean, lay-offs are preceded by rumors, right, like the time they let that Chuck guy go?”
He added her last comments and her safety to his worries. “Get home as soon as you can. I’ll call you.”
Releasing the pole, Hope stepped forward to stand without assistance. She was testing him—testing that leg. He rose and took her by the arms. His body served as a buffer, as the train slowed and then surged forward to a stop at DuPont Circle. She smiled as if they both had passed the test. Before departing the train, she returned his smack from earlier in the middle of his lips.
Damon immediately noticed a woman, who wasn’t a regular on their commute, staring at him as if he were a suspicious package she should report. He would have thought she was his mother’s lookout, but she was white with even whiter hair. He never really noticed the subtle stuff like stares, which he imagined were rare, when he and Hope were in their own little bubble. He chose to ignore this one. He sat for the rest of the ride, choosing to obsess rather than getting preset for his meeting.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Sherryle Kiser Jackson. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.
The Last King
by A. Yamina Collins
The Last King went #1 on the Free Amazon kindle bestsellers list in three categories:
African American literature, historical fantasy, and African-American romance.
Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being an Elf from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.
Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people who marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.
But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings. Indeed, God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft and for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" and kill them off.
When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.
Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love.
The Last King, Book I by A. Yamina Collins is an 11-part serial novel
Available Now: Episode #1 and Episode # 2. View both
Excerpt The Last King: Book I - Series 1
It is doubtful the Master will ever hear of what is about to take place, Markus thinks, standing at the bank of this deserted lake. The branches on the trees around him sway peacefully, and the evening air hums a lullaby.
Markus does not suppose that the Master will hear about this and, really, what difference should it make if he does? It's just an old homeless guy that is going to die: Markus feels no guilt about it, so how could his thoughts give him away?
In a moment, he removes his hand from the old man's mouth because he knows the poor fool is too stunned to scream anyway---people are always speechless when they first see Markus's wings, stretched out as they are, twenty feet on either side of him, and tonight the old man simple blinks and lets spittle hang from the corners of his lips.
Markus does not know his victim's name, but his victim certainly knows it: Johnnie is what they call him, Johnnie Kubrick, and his very soul seems to have unzipped itself from his body and stepped outside of him. He is not just rigid but catatonic, and he longs for this to be some terrible dream he will soon wake up from.
But this is no dream, this is reality: there is a man standing before Johnnie who looks human, yet has glass wings on his back that are yellow and whose edges taper off to a thin, razor like end. The wings make a sound like metal crashing against metal as they flap - it is a harsh sound, a cold sound. And yet the wings themselves do not frighten the old man as much as what is attached to the wings do.
Johnnie's pale lips tremble.
"Wha---what are you?" he finally stutters. He does not mean to ask questions. He means to beg for his life because he does not want to die like this---not in these shabby clothes, near a bed of water where he can easily be disposed. He wants to die in a warm room, with someone who loves him holding his hand; Johnny Kubrick wants to die with dignity, different from the way he lived.
The old man chokes on his tears, wishing he was important again, the sort of man who would be missed in death, and he tries to recall how he ever became the sort of person other people diverted their gaze from on the streets. How had he become nameless, faceless, and useless to the world? When he was a boy, he never imagined the day his red hair, so straight and neat, would be constantly matted against his head.
Johnnie wants his mother here with him, so he could take in the soapy smell that was always on her, and smile at the sight of her emerald green eyes. If Johnnie's mother were still alive she would shield him from this boogeyman, and sing to him, like she did that Christmas morning when the cold of winter snapped at his bones but he happily cradled a shiny new firetruck in his arms.
Pink & Patent Leather
by Candy Jackson
Sasha "Pink" Jansen has heard the voice of God. He spoke loud and clear at her purity ceremony, when she was just sixteen years old and Pastor Malik Stroman placed that ring on her finger. And He was just as clear when He told her that purity ring would someday be replaced with a wedding ring from the same man . . . all Pink had to do was save herself.
Dreams of a life with Pastor Malik were enough to keep the privileged princess committed to her vow, dodging all kinds of temptation, resisting every romance, and the whole time, keeping her eyes on the prize –the day she would become first lady. There’s just one problem - Pastor Malik already has a wife. But Pink is accustomed to getting what she wants - by any means necessary. With her grace and virtue on the line - and what she thinks is God’s word in her head - Pink is on a mission no one understands.
She's determined to show Pastor Malik that they belong together – and come hell or high water, she plans to get the good reverend to agree. Candy Jackson has penned a page-turning tale of one-woman’s quest for love and the spiraling descent she’ll take to get it…
* Book Excerpt:
"True love waits," he said, as he gently slipped the platinum band with diamond chips onto my finger. "I am proud that you have decided to save yourself for marriage."
That's when it happened, right then, at that moment, in that instant. It was like I was being washed in this overwhelming feeling that God had a message for me.
* Book Excerpt:
As if I had an audience watching me, I sauntered over to my bed in nothing but my bashful colored Le Pearle lace thong and matching demi-bra. When I laid down, I let my thoughts wander to him.
I pictured his reaction when we'd finally come face to face once again tonight. It had been so long since he'd seen me. He was going to be surprised, mesmerized, and hopefully hypnotized with what he saw.
Because now, I was a woman.
* Book Excerpt:
Now, I was a grown girl, with my Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College and my high-rise condominium located in the great metropolis, formerly known as Chocolate City. With my fancy little 525 BMW with custom wheels and personalized tags. I truly was a long way from where I used to be.
Many might think that I am spoiled, but heck, I worked hard in college. I remained a permanent fixture on the Dean's list each semester, spent my summers abroad, and graduated magnum cum laude with a degree in journalism.
Now, I was a young, rising junior editor at Power Play Magazine, where even though I'd only been there three months, I was on the move. I was flirting, teasing, and proving to my boss that I had beauty, but it was my brains that was going to get me to the top without sleeping with him or any man.
About the Author
Washington, DC author, Candy Jackson is a cosmetology teacher who loves to create poetry and short stories. Her reading rose to a brand new height with the discovery of many black writers whose work exploded in the ‘80’s. An avid reader, she began to tap into her own creative side and decided to write stories of her own.
Candy is the mother of three young adult children and one grandson. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Purchase Pink & Patent Leather by Candy Jackson
Purchase today: http://amzn.com/099153221X
BGP Publisher: www.browngirlspublishing.com
The Replacement Wife
by Tiffany L. Warren
In this page-turning new novel from Essence® bestselling author Tiffany L. Warren, Atlanta's most eligible widower isn't looking to remarry--but for one woman, that's a mere detail. . .
Five years after his beloved wife's death, wealthy Quentin Chambers still hasn't returned to the church or his music ministry. Even his home is now devoid of music, and without his attention, Quentin's five children are getting out of control--until his mother steps in and hires him a live-in nanny. Montana is pretty, compassionate, church-going, and even has a beautiful singing voice. The children take to her right away, and soon enough Quentin finds his heart opening to faith--and love--once more. But not everyone loves Montana.
A "friend" of Quentin's first wife, Chloe has been scheming to become the next Mrs. Chambers since the funeral. Chloe is convinced she's just one seduction away from a marriage proposal. Now she'll do whatever it takes to get rid of Montana--including blackmail, theft--and digging up a troublemaking man from Montana's past. But Chloe forgets she's got secrets of her own, and the tables may turn with a twist she never sees coming. . .
Excerpt The Replacement Wife
Five years later . . .
Chloe walked into the packed nail salon for her weekly pedi- cure with her best friend, Lichelle. The Nail Spot was
always crowded and always cost just a little bit extra. Maybe it was because it was owned by an ex-rapper turned entrepreneur. Or maybe it was because gossip was on the menu, just like the paraffin wax and the acrylic tips.
Lichelle waved Chloe to the back of the salon—the VIP area. She’d saved Chloe a spot, which was darn near impossible to do, but Lichelle, the wife of a wealthy real estate broker, was a regular. And a good tipper.
Chloe slid into the luxurious chair and leaned back, careful not to muss her freshly perfected hairdo. Her short tresses were expertly sculpted, and they framed her face perfectly, softening the potentially strong features created by her excessive
“Girl, I thought I was gonna have to fight that queen over there. He kept eyeballing your chair like he was about to snatch it,” Lichelle said, as she blew Chloe a kiss.
“I am not thinking about him.” Chloe cut her eyes at the man, who gave her much attitude. She didn’t have time to exchange words with him, nor did she want to ruin her mood. She was going to Lichelle’s yacht party later with Quentin, and it was going to be a blast.
But first she was about to get her feet rubbed and mashed by her favorite nail tech, Trey. He was fine and buff, and his foot massages took her to the mountaintop.
Trey slid over in front of Chloe on his little stool. “Hey, ma. How’s your day going?”
Chloe grinned as Trey cracked his knuckles and took her foot into his hand in a miniature caress. “It’s going great now, babe. Do your magic!”
“I am telling Quentin,” Lichelle said.
Chloe lifted Lichelle’s left hand and touched the enormous rock on her ring finger. “You’re the only one married. I am still very unmarried.”
“But not unattached. You’ve been with Quentin for an eternity.”
Chloe winced at the word. It had been a long time. Five years, to be exact. Quentin didn’t seem the least bit interested in marriage. She didn’t think he loved her, but he enjoyed her company enough to foot the bill for her ever y need. He even gave her a small shopping allowance.
Admittedly, she wanted more. Not necessarily marriage, but at least a commitment. A bit of assurance that the fun times were more than temporary.
“Five years is not an eternity. Especially since we got together right after he buried his wife.”
“How long are you going to wait for him to marry you?” Trey asked.
“I’m not waiting for him to marr y me. I’m enjoying what we have. Savoring the moments.”
Lichelle sucked her teeth and shook her head. “What if he wakes up tomorrow and decides he’s ready to trade you in?”
“You do have quite a few miles on you, and you are definitely fine—I wouldn’t kick you out of bed. But you’re not a twentysome- thing anymore,” Trey said.
“Is this attack Chloe day? I’m not feeling this.”
THE ENTIRE EXCERPT HERE
The Replacement Wife
by Tiffany L. Warren
by William Fredrick Cooper
Inspired by the song 'Unbreakable' by Michael
From the critically acclaimed author of Six Days in January and There’s Always a Reason, this eagerly anticipated novel follows one man’s emotional journey to find love and triumph over despair.
It’s Valentine’s Day; seven years ago, William McCall lost Linda Woodson—the woman who restored his faith and hope. Still grieving her death, he drowns his sorrows at a local bar in Manhattan, when a new woman enters his life…
Keisha Gray is a Michigan schoolteacher visiting the Big Apple, and when she first meets William, they bond over their shared love for Michael Jackson. Soon they connect over much more and set out on a journey to heal their broken pasts. William is still trying to get over his heartbreak, while Keisha is on a journey to rediscover her self-worth after the double murder of her parents. The couple travels through New York, South Carolina, and Michigan to sort through their pasts and renew their faith in God, life, and love.
Highly emotional and embedded with powerful messages, Unbreakable is a love ballad that explores adversity, human connection, and what it takes to heal a broken heart.
from Unbreakable: A Novel
In 2001, Michael Jackson and Sony Records disagreed over the first commercial single released from the album ‘Invincible’. Vehemently stating his case, ‘The King of Pop’ desperately wanted the song ‘Unbreakable’ to be heard initially; instead, Sony chose to drop ‘You Rock My World’. Because of contractual disputes which killed the promotional push on the album, the dynamic standout was never released as a single. Well, it never got released, but… Delivering a high-voltage jolt to my soul, I am introducng my new book with a statement of transparency with the hopes that it helps someone handle life a little better than I have. Please follow me on this one…
PICTURE THIS: We’re in Miami, Florida, and the Hit Factory recording studio is rocking a Michael Jackson track produced by hit maker Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. Reeling you in, its piano-driven hook and relentless R&B-meets-gospel sound thumped.
Stomping out negativity and placing perseverance into your soul, the message in the music was blunt: Do not let anything or anyone steal your joy.
The jam, "Unbreakable", (featuring The Notorious B.I.G. with background vocals by Brandy) was an infectious groove that had everyone in the studio dancing.
Everyone, that is, except Author William Fredrick Cooper.
Somber from news he received hours earlier - a disturbing bulletin that likened him to a used car salesman - the melody was muted by tears in his eyes.
After everything that’s happened in his life, he was baffled.
Should he allow cemetery dirt to be thrown on him by way of insults and assumptions, or finally respond after years of quiet?
Imagining that the Gloved One and Biggie Smalls were on the other side of the room, he thought of the advice they might offer.
"Say something, but do it with L-O-V-E," the King of Pop stated.
Christopher Wallace agreed, sneering, "Let your haters motivate you to spit something sweet."
Taking a hand towel from his back pocket, the writer blew his nose.
"Man, I made mistakes in life just like anyone else, but people piled onto my errors and took advantage of my honesty. Some of that’s my fault, because I always looked for approval from others instead of relying on my inner strength. Others not used to my deep emotions think I’m a pity-seeking martyr, which is totally off-base.”
Biggie answered, “Tell them where to go, how to get there and make em’ kiss your ass before walking.”
Battling laughter along with everyone in the studio, MJ reiterated his insight.
“That’s not you, William. You have a beautiful heart no one understands. Again, if you say anything do it with love, man.”
Sighing, the perplexed writer said, "I gotta toughen up and remember that they talked about Jesus..."
Suddenly, the light bulb that comes with a breakthrough came on.
Catfish by Nina Foxx
Best Friends Dana and Damika share everything about each other, because that's what best friends do, right? But when it comes to relationships, the high schoolers are keeping secrets in cyberspace. After Boy Crazy Dana meets the "perfect" guy, she figures the only way to get close is to tell little white lies. As their relationship flourishes, an inappropriate photo sent for his eyes only...ends up going viral, and threatens Dana's reputation and her future.
Tech nerd Damika is able to reinvent herself online and she's created a cyber life that no one knows about but her. When she meets Rosheon, she's thrilled at their budding relationship, until she discovers there's a lot more to him than meets the eye because just as she can reinvent herself....so can others. As the lies become unmanageable, can Dana and Damika dig themselves out of a web of a mess before it's too late?
In this page-turning novel,
Nina Foxx dives into a world where nothing is as it seems and danger takes on new meaning in cyberspace.
Excerpt from Chapter One
My father was not slick. I tried not to twist my mouth as I listened to him attempting to convince me that what he talking about was a good thing. We have a pretty good relationship since he and my mother got divorced, but sometimes he was just transparent as hell.
“Dana, you’re gonna love this new church.” He looked at me all starry-eyed and he talked in that voice he used on me when he wanted something. He looked and sounded the same way my boy crazy best friend, Damika did every time she met a new hottie.
I groaned. “Church?” Since when had he found religion? Our time together was limited and we didn’t usually spend it in church. I wasn’t sure he’d even been inside one since before my mother divorced him, and even then, he’d only gone kicking and screaming.
He wanted me to say something. So, I did.
“And what’s your new girlfriend’s name?”
My dad’s mouth dropped open. That probably wasn’t what he was looking for. I might have been sixteen, but I wasn’t born yesterday. The only reason my father would be talking about new churches and religion was behind a woman. I shook my head. He was going to have to text me from hell.
I couldn’t blame him, really. My father was a hot commodity. He’s a single, good-looking black man with a good heart. He owned his own home and paid his child support like clockwork. Plus, he had it going on - for an older man. Even though he had a teenaged daughter, he was still attractive and dressed well. He might not be all swole with underwear model abs, but he was a catch. Back in the day, he was really into fitness and now that he was old, it paid off. He didn’t have a potbelly like other people’s fathers, so I was used to women chasing him. They’d done that before, even when he was married, and it had only gotten worse since.
A lot of kids get messed up when their parent’s spilt up, but me, I was okay with it. It was a relief actually, because when they were together, they’d fought all the time. My mother said they loved hard and they fought hard, too. The problem was, I remember the fighting more than anything. If there was love, I never saw it. A few times I’d have to keep myself from throwing up when I heard the noises in their bedroom, but even I knew that sex and love wasn't the same thing. Toward the end they would yell and scream way into the early hours of the morning.
“It’s okay. I’ll go if you need me to.” It almost hurt me to say that. I really didn’t feel like going to church, especially one all the way in Brooklyn, but it was easy to see how my words had made him happy. Unlike my mom, he was easy to please. His shoulders relaxed and the nervous look on his face was replaced by a smile.
“It’s not what you think. I actually used to go here with my mother when I was a kid,” he said.
I folded my arms across my chest and cocked my head to the side. “So, you’re saying that it’ll just be the two of us?” I knew the answer, but I couldn’t resist asking anyway. My father was just too easy sometimes. Clearly, I was the one running game here.
Dad fidgeted a little; similar to the way I did when I was about to tell an un-truth. “No. A friend invited me.”
“Um-huh. I knew it. You can’t put anything over on me, Dad. I’ve only been your daughter for sixteen years.”
He laughed. “You’ll like her. You’ll see.”
That remained to be seen. Lots of kids had hot moms, but having a hot father was another matter. Women threw themselves at him all the time, all kinds of women. They would hear that “boom-chicka-wawa” when he came in and it was all over. My parents fought about that often, like his swagger was something he could control. My mother would get mad and say it was my father’s fault. Now that they were apart, the women threw themselves at him and me, like they had to win me over, too. And they were right, they did.
I had to admit that I was going to miss the last one. She’d been a buyer for Macy’s, and let me tell you, that had its benefits for me. I owed the hot Baby Phat outfit I had on right now to her. She'd hooked me up with clothes regularly, but of course, the gear stopped coming as soon as they'd broken up.
“Dad, what happened to Susan? I liked her.”
“Too high maintenance. Can you go upstairs and put on a dress? If we’re going to get there on time, we gotta get going.”
I was a little upset that we'd be spending what was left of our weekend with someone that was practically a stranger to me, but it was obvious that my father really wanted me to go. I could overlook my disappointment just this once.
We picked up my father’s new girlfriend just a few blocks from the church. My dad was nervous as he introduced us. “Dana,” he said. “I’d like you to meet Wanda. My friend.”
I raised my eyes, but answered her politely as I was taught to do. “Nice to meet you, Ma’am.”
My father looked as nervous as the cat that just got caught with his paw in the fishbowl as she laughed. “You don’t have to call me Ma’am. Aunty Wanda will do.”
As if. My Mom had no sisters. I sat in the back so she could ride with my dad, and she was very polite. We’d been through a few girlfriends by now and I’d learned to watch and wait. If they made it past a few weeks, then maybe the two of us could be friends. Otherwise, there was no reason to get attached too early. One mistake, and poof, she could be gone, just like that.
If nothing else, this one was well-dressed, even if she was wearing one of those old lady knit suits. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun, and her makeup was flawless. She looked a little uptight, but was tall and Top Model thin. Her navy suit fit her like a glove, and she smelled good. Two points for the new woman. My dad was into smell. The funny thing was, this one seemed as high-maintenance as Susan had been. Another mom-ism echoed in my head. What was that she’d say? The things that attract you also make you crazy later? It was like my father was attracted to the same woman, over and over.
I stared out the window of the car and tried to ignore her chattering as we made our way through the streets of Brooklyn. A glimpse into the rearview mirror told me what I already knew. My father had a grin plastered to his face. He liked this one, but then, they always started out good.
“Dana, I’m so glad you were able to join us. Our church has such a great youth program. You’ll be able to meet some nice young people. Young people that are doing things.”
I rolled my eyes and kept looking out the window. There was no need for all the noise. Now, did I look like I needed a “program”? She obviously had things twisted. It wasn’t like I was some kind of problem child. I went to school regularly and got mostly good grades, and I was generally respectful to my parents, wasn’t pregnant and didn’t do drugs. I’d said I would go today, but I wasn’t trying to enjoy it and I made no promises about going again. And I certainly wasn’t trying to hang out with no church kids. I had my own life, in Queens, with all the friends I needed. What could I possible have in common with any of these people? Brooklyn was just too far for anything. I didn’t drive, and taking the bus or train all the way across town was just crazy.
We pulled up in front a huge, white brick building that seemed to take up the entire block. Crowds of people walked toward it. I was speechless as my father maneuvered the car into a space and we got out. I don’t know why I’d pictured a tiny little cute church, in a storefront or something like that. This building was huge, very old on one end, but it got newer as it went down the block. The corner stone said 1902. There was nothing that old in my neighborhood. Across the street, there was a huge parking lot that took up another city block and that looked like it was filling up, too.
Both Dad and Wanda smiled and greeted people and I tagged behind them. Wanda was the only one that looked comfortable, while my father just looked embarrassed. He was about to be on display like Wanda’s new man-candy. All the church ladies were grinning at him while Wanda walked with her head held high and her huge pink bible tucked under her arm, without a care in the world as she showed off her add-water-stir family.
I felt crazy out of place. All of these folks were smiling and laughing and all seemed to know each other. Me, I felt like a vegetarian at a beef convention. The best I could do was put a fake grin on my face. I couldn’t believe I’d let my father talk me into this. Not to mention, I’d dug to the bottom of my closet to find the dress I had on. I hated it and it felt like everyone could tell I wasn’t comfortable with my outfit. I kept tugging at the bottom to keep it from rising up. To make matters worse, just as we entered the church, I bumped into someone so hard, I almost fell back down the church steps. How embarrassed would I be all sprawled out at the bottom of the steps? What a way to make an entrance. I opened my mouth to swear just as a strong hand caught my arm. It was a good thing, too, because the words I was about to say had no business in a church.
“I’m so sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
I found myself looking up into the most handsome light brown eyes I’d seen in a long time. I couldn’t say a word. Even if I wasn’t between boyfriends I would have been speechless.
“He’s the clumsy twin. You have to forgive him. Are you okay?” Another voice said.
My eyes darted back in forth, from one bag of hotness to the other. Oh. My. God. There were two of them. Two caramel-colored hotties, identical, except one had a small mole under his left eye. They wore identical blue suits, but one had on a white shirt and the other didn’t. So I wasn’t hallucinating.
I managed to smile and I suddenly regretted that I hadn’t dug deeper in my closet. “No worries.” I brushed imaginary dirt off my dress just as my father called me.
“I gotta go—“I was barely able to speak, but it didn’t matter, they were already gone, almost as if they weren’t there in the first place. They’d vanished, like a dream. It wasn’t until later that I thought to wonder if I'd flashed everybody when I fallen. I could've kicked myself as I reviewed all of the things I could have said that would have sounded so much better than “I gotta go”. Somehow, I always managed to find the wrong words.
Wanda introduced my father to every other person we met, grinning all the time and holding his arm showing him around like he was the new “it” bag she’d just bought or something. For the most part, people ignored me, and I only halfway said hello if they spoke.
After what seemed like an eternity, Wanda finally led us to our seats, up in the balcony of the almost completely filled church. I scanned the crowd. There must have been over a thousand people in the building, so there was no way I could even think of spotting the twins. I hadn’t even thought to ask their names. I would surely be kicking myself for days about that.
“Okay, I’ll see you two later.” Wanda had a wide grin on her face like she was proud of herself for getting us to our places or something.
My mouth dropped open a little. I know she didn’t bring us here to leave us in the middle of this place.
“You aren’t staying?” I asked.
“Of course I am. I have to sit with the choir, remember?” She pointed across the church where the choir was gathering. They were far enough away that I wasn’t able to make out any faces, instead, all I saw was a sea of royal blue robes, interrupted occasionally by a flash of gold.
I blushed with embarrassment. She'd probably told me that she sang in the choir while I wasn’t listening, on the ride over. I nodded.
“Break a leg.” My father still hadn't lost his silly grin.
“Okay. You two come on back to the choir room when it’s over. You remember where that is?”
My father nodded quickly. "How could I forget? I spent hours in there when I was a kid."
“I knew you sang with that sexy baritone voice of yours. Sing to me sometime?” she said.
My dad didn’t answer, but instead blushed like he’d just been caught doing something he shouldn’t. He looked at me quickly, then looked away.
Wanda flashed my dad a smile and then turned and made her way through the crowd.
At first, my dad just stood there. I had to tap him in the arm to remind him to breathe. “Dang, Dad. Do you have to be so obvious?” He might as well have drool dripping down his face. It was amazing that he could be so old and still have a woman get his nose wide open like that.
My dad blushed, but didn't answer me. For a second, I was confused by the church-going, obviously whipped man that was next to me. I could barely recognize my father, but I knew he was in there somewhere.
I daydreamed all through the service. I tried to pay attention but it seemed to go on forever. I was so lost in thought, I almost missed the ending. I perked up when the choir sang, though. They seem to have two or three [A3] choirs and every one sounded like a professional television choir, complete with a very animated choir director and words projected on the wall like we were in a karaoke spot. Between the choir director dancing and one woman who looked like she was about to twerk any minute, they put on quite a show. A very long show.
In all the voices, I couldn't miss Wanda if I tried. She was the one hitting the crazy high note in every song. I didn’t know if I was going to like her or not yet, but she certainly had mad skills.
“What’d you think?” my dad asked when she was done.
I shrugged. “Well, I can certainly say I can’t do that.”
He laughed. “I know what you mean. Time to go, honey.” Almost two hours had passed and I'd been lost in my head practically the whole time, except for when the choir sang.
I nodded and followed my dad down to the choir room. “I thought you said this was your first time here. You seem to know where you’re going.”
“I told you, I went here as a kid. Things haven’t changed much in this building since then. That other building, that’s all new.”
It was hard to imagine my father as a church boy. He seemed so normal now, but I bet that he got into his share of trouble as a kid. Maybe he'd gone to church so much as a child that he never wanted to go now. He must have been a serious church boy at one point though, because he practically marched us right to the choir room, without hesitation. It was right where my father said it would be.
It was packed with people in various states of undress, and robes were everywhere. The whole church must sing in the choir because there was barely standing room. I stood with my back to the wall while he went to find Wanda. Three hundred different church lady perfume scents attacked my nose all at the same time. Good thing it wasn’t too warm. If it were summer, I’d be gagging all over the place. Dad owed me big time for this one.
I stood there, staring into space, when all of a sudden, my eyes focused by themselves. Mr. Fine was no more than a few feet away from me, talking to a group of kids. My breath caught in my throat. It oughta be a crime to look that good. My mother always says God is good, and you know she ain’t never lied this time. God was so good he did it twice. I took a quick look around for Mr. G.Q’s double but he was nowhere to be seen. I hadn’t really seen a guy in a suit that looked this good for a long time. Every time my mother tried to get me to go to church lately, I found an excuse not to go, and the guys at school wore gear that was fresh, but nothing that looked like this. In another situation, I might say that the suits were corny, but these boys looked hot.
I stood taller and sucked in my stomach. Since I wasn’t falling down any steps, I felt more confident and prepared this time. I wet my lips and stared in his direction. If you stare, people could feel you staring, and I wanted him to feel me, for sure.
He looked up right on cue. Butterflies did back flips in my stomach. Our eyes locked, and I knew right then it was meant to be. If my life were a cartoon, there would be two characters, running toward each other in slow motion to corny music. There was a reason I’d come today and I’d just found it. I smiled, and he came over.
“I didn’t hurt you earlier, did I?” The boy smiled and exposed dimples as deep as the Grand Canyon.
I shook my head. “My lawyer will be contacting you.”
“You got jokes.” He paused. “That’s good. “You tell him to call Jeffrey Barnes.”
The name echoed inside my head. Jeffrey. “And how will he reach you?” If I could have patted myself on the back for that one, I would have. Like I said, I’d had some time to think, and I was ready.
Jeffrey grinned and told me his number. I took out my cell phone and punched it into my phone and saved it, then gave him mine. “I’m Dana Banks.”
“First time here?”
“Of course it’s her first time, you ain’t never seent her before,” some girl said, approaching us. “I know you can read that name tag because you claim to be on the honor roll.”
She pointed to the big blue visitor sticker on my shoulder that they’d given us when we came in. It screamed “visitor” big as day.
The grating voiced-girl walked from behind him. She stood just a little too close, hovering over Jeffrey like a security guard. She practically raked her eyes over me as she flipped her long weave over her shoulder. It started at black at her roots and then faded to some blonde-beige combination at the ends. She was pretty, but she wore a ton of makeup, more than my parents would ever allow, and she had bad skin, covered with the remains of pimples. And then, not to mention, how she’d strung her words together, she could barely speak the English language. It took everything I had not to tell her that there was no such word as seent.
“I came with my father.” I hadn’t been in the building three minutes and someone was already tripping. I was surprised to hear the venom in her voice, but I wasn’t about to let her see me shook. How could you possibly dislike someone so much and you haven’t even met them? It was my turn to rake my eyes over her. Her hair was the best thing she had going for her because from the looks of things, she loved to eat.
“This is my friend, Michelle.” Jeffrey blushed.
Michelle practically pushed him out of the way to get closer. “Yes, I’m his girlfriend. We glad you could visit. Do you think you’ll be back?” She spat her words at me.
Jeffrey fidgeted like he was embarrassed. Our eyes met over her shoulder. I hadn’t planned on coming back, but it looked like I had a reason to come back now. She was challenging me, and one thing I was not, was afraid. I wouldn’t be my father’s daughter if I passed up a challenge.
“You know, I think I will.” A wide smiled spread across my face. “Your choir is off the chain.”
Michelle’s eyes opened wide and if I didn’t know better, I would say that Jeffrey was trying not to laugh. It was obviously on. And I couldn’t wait to make good on my promise.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nina Foxx. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.
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About the Author
Nina Foxx is an award-winning filmmaker, playwright, and novelist. She writes as both Nina Foxx and Cynnamon Foster. Her work has appeared on numerous bestseller lists around the country, and her films have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, Cannes, and the Rome International Film Festival. Originally from Jamaica, New York, she lives with her family near Seattle, Washington, where she works in Human-Computer interaction for a major software company. Nina is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, The Links and Jack & Jill of America. Visit her at www.ninafoxx.com or her blog at ninafoxx.blogspot.com
Open Door Marriage
by Naleighna Kai
“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of The Lair of the Python
A chance encounter lands NBA star Dallas Avery back in the arms of the woman of his dreams. A woman he hasn’t seen in years. A woman he soon discovers just so happens to be his fiancée’s aunt! But Dallas’ fiancee, Tori, isn’t ready to give up all that she’s worked for, so she makes him a shocking offer – go through with the wedding and she’ll still allow him to be with the one woman he now can’t seem to do without. Dallas will get a family, something her much older aunt, Alicia can’t give him. Tori will get the lifestyle she clamors. And Alicia will get the love she’s longed for all her life. Everyone will get a little of what they want . . . and maybe a whole lot of what they don’t.
The details of the trio’s love life play out in the tabloids and on talk shows, making Dallas the center of an NBA scandal. And eventually, the doors slam shut on this open marriage and Dallas is forced to make a choice to end the chaos. But moving on is easier than it looks and by the time all is said and done, secrets will be revealed, passions will be extinguished, and everyone’s lives will be forever changed.
“Open Door Marriage is a page-turner from start to finish, uniquely written to explore the emotions of three people who have bonds that seem unbreakable. That is, until they are tested in a relationship that causes their families, religious leaders, and the public to be up in arms. Naleighna Kai has written a provocative novel that is about a relationship that is as complicated as it can get.” –Valarie Prince, author of Lair of the Python
“While a few books have tackled this subject in different ways, the way Naleighna Kai approaches a difficult situation is sure to be fuel for heated conversations for years to come. Open Door Marriage proves many things, but mostly that the title of my novel holds true.—Janice Pernell, author of There’s No Right Way to do a Wrong Thing.
Excerpt from Chapter 1
THANKSGIVING - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
NOVEMBER 22—7:23 P.M.
“You slept with my aunt?”
The words still didn’t register, even though this had to be Tori’s fifth time saying them. She glared at her fiancé, still desperately trying to come to terms with the information her mother had blasted to everyone at the packed Thanksgiving dinner table.
“Seriously? How is that even humanly possible when you didn’t know the woman four hours ago?” Tori shouted.
“Tori, l-let me explain,” Dallas stammered.
Twelve pairs of eyes were now focused on the not-quite-blissful couple standing at the bottom of the stairs just off from the dining room.
“But not here. Let’s go somewhere and talk. It’s not what you think.”
“What did you do?” Tori snapped, glaring up at Dallas. “Trip over the sheets, and your penis somehow landed in a woman nearly twice my age?”
The drumstick in Uncle Bill’s hand paused in midair on its journey to his wide mouth. Cousin Tiny’s fleshy hand flew to her overexposed bosom and came to rest somewhere above her heart. Even Tori’s father’s frozen expression of alarm would have been Three Stooges comical if the situation weren’t so tragic.
Aunt Yoli was the first to recover. “Did they just say what I think they said?”
In unison, everyone nodded.
“Girl, shut the front door and run out the back!”
A few bursts of nervous laughter sprang up around the table, but they were not nearly enough to chase away the unease that had flooded the room when Tori stepped into the house. She’d gone to drop off Aunt Rose’s drunk self at home. Tori hadn’t even been in the house good when her mother, Bernice, blurted out that she’d caught Alicia and Dallas together. Alone. In bed. In the nude. Tori had picked up from there and summed it up in one sweep. “You slept with my aunt ...”
“Nothing happened, Tori,” Dallas said, his voice shaky. “I didn’t sleep with her.”
“So, my mama is lying?” Tori asked.
Dallas shifted uneasily.
“Hell naw. I know what I saw,” Bernice snapped. She had moved from the dining room table to the end of the staircase, right next to her daughter, poised as if she was ready to go to battle. “Both of you were in bed butt-ass naked.” She jabbed a finger in her sister-in-law’s direction. Alicia hadn’t moved from her spot at the top of the staircase. Probably, because she knew what was best for her. “She was butt-naked. And he was nut-naked,” Bernice yelled. “Wasn’t an inch of space between them.” She flickered a gaze a Dallas. “Look at him. You can tell he just got dressed!”
Tori closed her eyes and took deep breaths to calm the emotions that warred within her.
“See, I told you Alicia wasn’t worth a damn,” Bernice, crowed with savage satisfaction. “And looks like Mr. NBA ain’t much better. You thought he was all that and a side order of fries.”
Dallas Avery was the NBA’s most valuable player, and a man most women would give their right and left ovary to call their own. But Most Eligible Bachelor or not, he had set Tori’s bitch meter into overdrive. Even with his chiseled, handsome face, towering muscular frame and million dollar bank accounts, he was now worth next to nothing in her eyes. Too bad her aching heart didn’t get that memo.
Tori didn’t know if she was more enraged or hurt that her mother had been all too willing to drive this stake through her own daughter’s heart in order to publicly disgrace Alicia.
“Tori, we need to talk about this,” Dallas repeated before adding, “in private.”
Bernice wore a satisfied smirk as she glared openly up at Alicia, who just kept staring stoically at them from the second floor landing. “The angel of the family has fallen,” Bernice said.
“Hey, Bernice,” Bill taunted with a hearty chuckle. “Bet you won’t say that when Alicia comes downstairs. You know she’s gonna put a hurting on you.”
“You mean put another hurting on her,” Aunt Yoli added, doubling over with laughter.
Tori wanted to scream. Her life was unraveling in front of her and her family was cracking jokes.
Instinctively, Bernice inched away from the staircase and back toward the dining room table. Her hands went up to the small scar on her neck, probably remembering that a year ago on this very same holiday, Alicia had ended a vicious blow-for-blow fight with a knife at Bernice’s throat. Almost gave the woman a “Sicilian Smile”—an ear-to-ear slice across the throat.
Dallas reached for Tori’s hand. “It’s not what it seems.”
She snatched away, parted her lips to give him what was left of her mind, but Cousin Tiny chimed in first. “Alicia had every right to take Bernice to the floor last year for that foul mess she said! I would’ve pulled out my own can of whoop ass behind that one.”
THE ENTIRE EXCERPT HERE
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When Ice Melts
by AlTonya Washington
Icia Graham’s love affair with Rakim Transou had the makings of a fairy tale romance with the happily ever after ending, until the night of Rakim’s college graduation gathering. For Icia, it was the night her life was forever changed. Sadly, the changes were brought about by a horrific incident causing Icia to close herself off to everyone-especially Rakim. So desperate to escape the memories of being assaulted by Rakim’s two best friends, Icia left school and the man she loved.
Years passed and; in that time, both Rakim and Icia reached goals that carried them to the heights of success. For Rakim it was a powerful advertising agency that brought him a respected and revered name in the business. Icia’s accomplishment was a bit darker, but no less revered. In addition to counseling battered women, she offered her clients a special service-the service of destroying their abusers.
For Icia, her business brought her a satisfaction that could only be topped by seeing her own attackers pay the price for what they’d put her through. At any rate, she had no desire to revisit the past and be tortured by thoughts of love lost with the only man she’d ever wanted.
A series of events however would bring Icia right back to where she swore she’d never return. Once more Rakim Transou was back in her life and Icia was simultaneously overjoyed and distraught. How could she start anew with the man who still meant everything to her, when there were so many secrets between them? When the need for vengeance on two men; who were still very much a part of Rakim’s life, still raged so viciously inside her?
BOOK EXCERPT: WHEN ICE MELTS
“This is fantastic,” Leontynne McRae whispered, her slanting green stare focused through the magnifying glass. The contact sheet from her photo session of downtown Houston had turned out perfectly. She had been a bundle of nerves waiting on some word from The Transou Agency. The initial interview had gone so well, they called her back for a second meeting. Now, she was at her wits end waiting on a decision about the job. In an attempt to dispel some of her nervous energy, she decided to get out of the hotel and spend the day shooting the city.
A fashion photographer out of California, Leontynne was proud of the landscape shots she’d taken. It was a refreshing change, but Leontynne knew she’d never exchange it for the success and notoriety she’d acquired in fashion.
The phone rang, bringing a halt to the critique of the contact sheets. She rushed over to the maple message desk and uttered a silent prayer before answering.
Leontynne smiled at the deep voice on the line. “This is she.”
Rakim could hear the anxiety tingeing the woman’s voice and chuckled softly. “Ms. McRae, this is Rakim Transou from The Transou Agency.”
Leontynne pulled the phone from her ear and pressed it against her chest. “Yes, Mr. Transou?” She replied, once she’d calmed herself.
“I’m calling about the portfolio you left. It’s very impressive.”
“Thank you,” Leontynne managed, her excitement continuing to mount.
“Ms. McRae, we've been commissioned for several high profile TV spots around the time for the Super Bowl. We’re in the process of choosing a model and lead photographer. We hope to choose them both from the portfolios. We believe this would go further to insure a rapport with the team.”
Rakim chuckled. “I’m glad, because I think you’re perfect for the job.”
Leontynne let her excitement show. She uttered a piercing scream and jumped up and down with the phone clutched to her ear. “I’m sorry! Mr. Transou. I’m sorry. It’s just that this is-I just didn't think I could do this. I know the competition was something fierce.”
Another Woman's Husband
by Angel Mechelle
Bree Michaels finally has it all: her dream career, a new fiancé, athlete Eric Newsome, and a beautiful family. Yet she is unhappy. She can’t put her finger on it, but something is not right in paradise. Still haunted by Dre, who she knows is no good for her. But still…..
When she moves back to Florida, the last thing on her mind is Dre Edwards and all of the drama that comes with him. But elsewhere across the country Dre has still never forgotten about her and when a chance encounter drops the opportunity right in Dre’s lap to connect with Bree, he doesn’t hesitate to go hard in his quest to see her and be her man again. Newly single and practically drama-free, Dre wants a new start…and another chance with Bree.
Will Bree sabotage everything she has worked so hard for to give love with Dre one last try, or will she follow her mind and maintain her comfortable life as she maneuvers through the murky waters of life and love?
Excerpt from Another Woman's Husband 2
It wasn’t that long ago that Bree was tied up in a crazy love triangle that she couldn’t seem to get out of, no matter how hard she tried. The Dre, Neecy, Chante, and Bree saga had been over for more than one year and she was finally getting past it.
I was trying to find Trina and Nikki amongst the crowd when someone walked up behind me and grabbed my hand.
“Bree,” he asked in his deep ball player voice. I turned to face him and ask him how he knew my name and tell him about grabbing my hand, but when I turned around I was speechless.
“I know who you are. You play for the…”
“Can we talk?” He interrupted.
“I hesitated and then smiled. “Sure"
Recently engaged to professional basketball player Eric Newsome, things seemed to be on the up and up. But even though Bree loved Eric, sometimes she couldn’t help but think of Dre. Sometimes it was the smallest thing Eric did or said that would send Bree flying back to the past and right into those memories of the love and connection she shared with Dre and no one else since. She remembered how she fit perfectly in Dre’s arms back then. That was her spot.
Bree had to admit that Dre’s letter had her curious, especially the part about divorcing Neecy.
Smoke In The Citi
by Joy Avery
Where there’s smoke…
When Passion Phillips agrees to work elbow to elbow with the man who left her at the altar, flames ignite inside the Citi Café. Flames capable of engulfing her mind and body. She’s made the mistake of loving him once, but won’t make the same mistake again. Burned by his betrayal, she is determined keep him at a distance. If only her heart would listen.
Dasher Howard is not the man he used to be. All he needs now is the opportunity to show Passion that he’s no longer the man she once knew. With a mission to prove to her love can be better the second time around, he’ll do whatever it takes to reclaim her heart. Even if it means manipulating the odds in his favor.
The only thing hotter than the food inside Citi Café is the blaze igniting between Passion and Dasher. How will he prove to her that he is the only man for her? Especially when she is hell-bent on hating him.
Excerpt from Chapter One
The idea of showing up at Second Empire restaurant, in full wedding attire, to confront the man who’d jilted her at the altar two months earlier had seemed like a grand idea to Passion Phillips two hours ago; not so much now as she stood in the Pine Room of the restored Dodd-Hinsdale house.
Dasher’s eyes glowed intense as hot embers as he watched her with a hard stare. Those captivating brown eyes had once made her dizzy with desire. Had the setting been different, they probably still could. The reality of the admission caused a knot in her stomach.
The other diners at the table, presumably colleagues, stared at her as if she’d recently been released from a mental institution and still donned the facility-issued wardrobe instead of the Vera Wang gown she wore.
The strapless, natural-waist ballerina gown had cost over six thousand dollars. It’d been much more than she’d ever dreamed of paying for a gown she would only wear once. In awe, she’d marveled at the bottom layers of laser-cut organza with a floral pattern etched in, as well as the detachable bustier top with its sweetheart neckline. It wasn’t long before she’d fallen in love with the pricey garment. And thanks to the man in front of her, it had been a total waste of money.
Standing feet away from Dasher made her realize just how unprepared she was. Unprepared to face the one person who, despite her loathing, still made an inferno burn in the pit of her stomach. That shouldn’t be the case. Especially when he’d shattered her heart just months earlier.
Although distance lay between them, she could feel Dasher’s body heat. It was more likely the heat of rage and fury coursing between them as his lethal eyes penetrated to her core.
Standing in front of the rolling cameras of a local news investigation team a year prior, defending her restaurant against trumped up allegations of food poisoning, was a cakewalk compared to standing inches from the man with whom, up until that fateful day, she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with.
“Good evening, Dasher,” she said, sweeping her veil over a shoulder.
His dark, thick brows bunched. “Passion, what are you doing here?”
Was he that oblivious? Did he really have to ask? “I wanted you to see exactly how I would have looked on our wedding day. You forfeited that opportunity when you left me at the altar.” Simply saying the words made her want to break down in tears, but she took heed not to show any emotion. Why did he need to know how much she was still hurting over his deception? Why did he need to know that her heart was still bleeding over him?
Dasher scanned the table of well-dressed and distinguished men and women. “This is neither the time—nor place for this.”
A condescending laugh escaped her. “Really? And at the church, an hour before our ceremony, was the appropriate time for you to decide you didn’t want to marry me?”
by K.R. Raye
The Colors Trilogy follows three college friend as they strive for their goals. There's:
Naïve, romantic, biracial Melody Wilkins who aims to find true love at college just like her parents. Melody brings the heart and sense of hope to the story. No-nonsense Imani Jordan strives for good grades and a chemical engineering degree. Imani's the common sense, tell-it-like-it-is conscience. Lance Dunn is only serious about two things: football and protecting his girls, Melody and Imani. Lance is practical and fiercely loyal; he keeps them grounded with the male perspective.
Book 1. The Colors of Friendship: Three college friends search for true love, NFL fame, and a successful engineering career. Will one friend’s quest for happiness endanger all three of their lives? After the torrents of jealousy, sex, and abuse subside, will their friendship survive…The Colors of Friendship?
Book 2. The Colors of Love: After their lives are threatened, three college friends attempt to continue their search for true love, NFL fame, and a successful engineering career. When the dynamics of their relationships change, will their friendship survive…The Colors of Love?
Book 3. True Colors: After tragedy strikes, Imani, Melody, and Lance try to rekindle their college friendship. Can they move forward towards happiness or will ghosts from their past haunt them? When life’s challenges arise what are your…True Colors?
Prologue from True Colors
Cold. Hard. Steel. Pressed against her forehead. Melody closed her eyes and willed the situation away. But when she reopened them, the gun remained lodged between her eyes.
The setting sun painted a crimson swath across the budding landscape. Crimson red…blood red. Oh God, how did it all lead to this she wondered as the ice cold barrel ironically seemed to sear her skin, like a poker fresh from a stoked fire. Her blood ran cold through her veins and her body began to shake.
Why? The faster her mind raced, the more she trembled.
Her friends had warned her, but she didn’t want to believe them. If only she had listened to Imani or stayed with Lance, things might have ended differently.
But then again, what if her friends were wrong? Imani and Lance always meddled in her business. They were too overbearing and judgmental. Really, they had no one to blame but themselves. In fact if they weren’t here butting in now, making the situation worse…
The gun dug further into her forehead, threatening to break skin. Melody realized as cold dread soaked her skin, it didn’t matter whose fault it was; all three of them were going to die here tonight.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, K.R. Raye. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this sneak peek.
About the Author
K.R. Raye lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons. She grew up in Kansas City, attended college in New York, and has resided in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and New Zealand. Throughout her diverse career working as a mechanical engineer, adjunct professor, and in sales, she continues to weave her love of marketing, computer information systems, and operations together with her passion for writing. That diverse experience influences her writing style to traverse the contemporary, horror, romance, drama, mystery, and sci-fi genres.
Purchase books at:
The books are available in paperback and digital formats on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and they're coming soon to iBooks.
by Bobby Cenoura
In the late 90s, Washington D.C., affectionately dubbed “Chocolate City”, was recovering from the crack epidemic and the label of “murder capital”. Interaction beyond the bulletproof glass that divides Black customers and Korean merchants is what drives
SEOUL REVELATIONS. Race, culture and inner city survival are examined and revealed.
SEOUL REVELATIONS is a story of friendship and betrayal; one that analyzes the challenges of a budding interracial relationship between Marcus Richardson, a young Black community college student and aspiring four-year university enrollee, and Kim Han, a young Korean American college girl whose father runs Sunbeam Market, a liquor store/bodega in Marcus' inner city neighborhood. Marcus, wanting to escape the snares of the inner city, has built a friendship of trust and fresh perspective with Kim.
Meanwhile his best friend Tyrell deals with issues of depression and self-esteem because he feels that he lives his life in Marcus’ shadow. Neighborhood thug Delonte Harris has no intentions of leaving the ‘hood, in fact, he intends on becoming a major player in the local drug game. He gets an opportunity from a regional kingpin Parnell “P-nutt” Jacobs.
Worlds collide when Delonte cheats P-Nutt and is given an ultimatum to recover the money plus interest or face execution. Delonte sets his sights on Sunbeam Market as a target for robbery which drastically impacts Marcus’ and Kim’s relationship.
Excerpt from Seoul Revelations
Ms. Thompson knelt down a little and talked to Marcus. “Honey, I am honored that a handsome young man like you would stand up for a lady like Ms. Thompson. Not many grown men would do such a thing, but what you have to understand, honeychild, is that it is your duty to get your education. I know you are a young man, and you have to stand up for what’s yours. I want you to use your head. Students like Jamal can take you places where you don’t want to go.”
The beef between Marcus and Jamal and had marinated, and the entire 7th grade was buzzing about and wanted to see a barbecue at 3:20 p.m.
After school, Marcus, Tyrell and Delonte walked to the football field. All Marcus was thinking about how he would fight Jamal. Pride drug him to the battlefield, and no matter what he would retain his honor.
It was amazing that at such a young age they have a concept of honor. One could hear about numerous shootings in the city, sometimes because someone stepped on someone’s shoe, or looked at them wrong. Where was the honor in such senseless violence?
In feudal Japan, a man would be killed for stepping over the sword of a samurai. These timeless shoguns, symbols of nobility and martial art, could arguably be the most senseless or the most honorable, depending on how you look at it. In those times, if you wanted to live, or you didn’t want to kill, you would not step over the sword of the samurai. They lived by a code—and people of the street, follow these codes to determine who is who.
The only people talking about “senseless” are those with something to lose. They don’t want to lose their lives, or limbs, or go to jail and lose time, or lose their job, or reputation. There is a fear behind loss.
Everyone cleared a circle for the two fighters as Marcus stood in the middle.
JR said, “Go on,” and hit Jamal on the back. Jamal walked with his fists balled toward Marcus. As he approached, Marcus recalled a story his mother told him about David and Goliath. Marc felt as if he was David and Jamal was Goliath, the giant uncircumcised Philistine. This was the battlefield of the Lord. His fear left him and he walked toward Jamal. They both came to each other’s presence and then Jamal moved in close, face-to-face with Marcus, again.
Since Marcus was shorter, Jamal craned his neck down to talk in his face. “Pop all that junk you was poppin’ earlier.”
Marcus inched down a little, and Delonte saw it and shouted, “Come on, Marc, don’t punk out! Hit him!”
Jamal continued to talk in Marcus’ face as he shrunk lower.
“Come on, you punk, talk that trash again, so I can steal you in your face.”
Marcus crouched a little lower.
The Devil Made Me Do It
by Colette R. Harrell
On Shelves June 24, 2014
The Devil Made Me Do It
is Christian Fiction at its best. The novel is full of lessons about passion, pain and God's abundant blessings. Filled with suspense, laughter and touching moments, this page-turning novel will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page. Colette is a new author to definitely watch. Brava, Ms. Harrell.
--- Victoria Christopher Murray, Bestselling Author
The voluptuous Esther Wiley has always known that she is special. She’s a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying kind of Cinderella princess in disguise. The problem that her very own Fairy Godmother, the Prophetess Mother Reed, struggles with is getting her to live like it.
Briggs Stokes is the reluctant heir to his father’s worldwide, multimillion-dollar televangelist ministry, yet he yearns to be his own man. His past mistakes have caused him a private life of hurt and loneliness.
Esther and Briggs
meet and develop a deep soul connection, until tragedy strikes and the two are thrust apart. Their separation leads each down a different path scattered with emotional minefields. While each step they take brings them closer to who they were always meant to be, the devil is on assignment. He sends in reinforcements to usher in confusion and create chaos, and soon no one is safe. The members of Love Zion church reel from the rumors, innuendo, and downright sabotage that is going on around them.
When others devise evil schemes to seek the destruction of Esther and Briggs through jealousy, greed, and murder, only divine intervention can save them. As an all-out battle for dominion breaks out in the heavens, will Esther and Briggs become a casualty of war?
Excerpt from The Devil Made Me Do It
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep (Genesis 1:2).
Two ominous figures sat in quiet contemplation, the larger one’s head was gargantuan in nature, and foul droplets of acidic mucus fell from his protruding fangs.
The smaller one stood sixteen feet tall and his rapier tail was wrapped protectively around his middle. He sat as still as cold hard stone. His sinister eyes were yellow rimmed and telegraphed evil cunning. He was known as The Leader.
Their silhouettes cast eerie shadows against the backdrop of the smoke-filled flames that spewed from the lake of fire.
“Ummm, this is my favorite place. Listen to the melodic sound of souls screaming in agony—it is music to my ears. If you concentrate, you can hear the desperate pleas for release. Yessss . . .It allows me to know that all is right in our world,” The High Master said.
The Leader shuddered as the menacing timbre of The High Master’s voice snaked fear around his chest. For him, it was equal to the singe of demon skin from a thousand innocent prayers; he loathed it. His tail subconsciously tightened as he awaited his newest orders.
The High Master continued, “These human souls are pathetic with their self-serving natures. They frighten at the sound of our bumps in the dark, but create havoc in their own lives. What idiots they are and not fit for company until they have totally crossed to our side. And even then they tire me soooo . . .”
The Leader didn’t stir; his thoughts were of survival. He refused to speak. He knew a wrong word could cause such suffering and pain. The High Master’s punishments are prompt and fierce. One seeks death, but yet, death will not come.
The High Master continued his tirade, his grimace displaying double rows of slime-covered fangs. His was a chilling profile. “Your charges are young. Both are being raised in good homes, and, as a result, they are overconfident creatures. Leader, do not underestimate their youth; innocence is a powerful weapon. In their kingdom, the weak become strong. But we must prey on that weakness and use it to our advantage. You must destroy them before they complete their purpose. I am giving you this head start; you must not fail.”
After speaking, he stood his full twenty feet in height, his shoulders reared back as his frame vibrated with his frustrated bellowing. “In the beginning, we owned their world. After the fall, we adjusted; the land we were given was dark and empty, but we were content with our lot. Then He whose name is not spoken, created man, and we were once again demoted. All we seek is our rightful power, our rightful place. Make haste, bold one, and steal, kill, and destroy all that stands in your way.”
The Leader bowed his head in submission.
“And, Leader—this was a most productive conversation. You are learning.”
The Leader’s tail unwrapped from his torso as he swiftly rose and slithered toward his point of ascent into the Earth realm. He was determined not to fail.
The Detroit pollution and cold, foggy weather covered Esther Wiley’s shivering body in crisp, arctic shades of blue gray, reminiscent of watercolors dancing in the jelly jar after her arts and crafts class. She shivered, but stubbornly refused to let her mother put a scarf around her small head. She was going to be Cinderella. Cinderella didn’t wear an old ugly scarf. Well, maybe when she was cleaning, but she wasn’t trying to be that kind of Cinderella. No ashes to ashes and dust to dust for her. She was all about glass slippers and diamond tiaras.
Esther’s round cheeks were rosy from the wind, her hated freckles beet red glowing in contrast to the caramel cream of her skin. Her knobby knees were pressed together whenever she wasn’t bouncing from foot to foot in the frigid air. She was on a mission. She wasn’t allowing a hideous scarf to mess up her hair in exchange for a little warmth. She had endured two hours of “hold the grease jar lid on your ear pain” that produced silky pressed hair. There was torture in the quest for straight tresses. In her seven-year-old mind, her priorities were clear.
Esther’s petulant voice screeched. “Mama, how much longer do we have to wait? I can’t stand it. I want to try on the glass slipper—right now.”
“Mind your manners. In a moment, I’m going to give you what your Grandma Vic used to call a private deliverance in a public place.”
A curl of warm breath escaped when Esther sighed. She turned away, rolled her eyes, and then stared defiantly at her mother. The same hands that calmly cuddled her at night now moved restlessly after giving up trying to place a warm scarf on Esther’s head. Esther didn’t dare speak. She had badgered her mother to bring her and her two best friends to downtown Detroit for the Cinderella contest. When they arrived, the line to enter the historical skyscraper snaked around the building. Two hours later they still couldn’t see the front entrance. As the wind bellowed, time stood still, but because of her mother’s mood, she resisted the urge to tell her she was freezing.
She peeked at her friends’ reaction to her mother’s scolding. She could see Sheri and Deborah were indifferent to her embarrassment; their faces tense as they craned their necks to see the start of the line.
Esther puffed warm breath into her mittens. “Y’all shouldn’t have come if you didn’t want to wait.”
Sheri’s elfin face was etched in anxiety. Her shoulders sagging, she grimaced at the time on her watch. She leaned forward in a panicked whisper. “You know I had to sneak out of the house to come. If my mama finds out I’m here, I’ma get a whipping.”
“You should have told her,” Deborah smacked her sour grape gum, then twirled it around her finger.
Sheri’s jaw tightened. “I tried.” She pointed her finger in a mock role play of her mother. “‘Ain’t no such thing as Cinderella, and sho’ ain’t no Prince Charming. Get in them school books. There isn’t anything worse than being ignorant.’ Y’all know how my mama gets.”
Laughing, Deborah slapped her hand against her thigh. “Uh, uh, uh,” she stuck her gum back into her mouth and popped it. “Girl, you sounded just like your mama.”
With hands on her small hips, Esther swung her head toward Deborah. “Well, what about you? You could have stayed home.”
“Oh no, where you two go, I go. You can’t leave me out. I can stand this girly stuff for one day.” Deborah eyeballed her and popped her gum for emphasis.
The Devil Made Me Do It
by Colette R. Harrell
With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?
by Kennedee Devoe
With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies is a story inspired by actual events about a group of women who form a friendship in junior high school, and follows them into adulthood. Life is heating up for Chloe, Sage, Emil, Talia, and Kennedee.
Loyalty, character, and integrity will be tested as they deal with man issues, betrayal, and jealousy. But will the sisterhood be enough to maintain the friendship? Or will the wounds be too deep to mend?
Book Review for With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies
I could not put this book down. Kudos for proper grammar, editing, and syntax!
The story centered around several girlfriends who were tight as teenagers, but in essence, grew apart as young adults. This book shows the ups and downs, adventures, sisterhood, and discord among the friends as time progressed from being middle school students to adults. The descriptiveness was very clear, you could almost see the characters and feel what they were encountering. The book was written in a very believable manner and the characters almost came to life as you read the story.
The author's witty and periodically comedic storytelling kept the reader captivated from beginning to end. I read it in a day. I could not put it down for wondering what was going to happen next.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good, honest story void of pimps, prostitutes, guns, drugs, hustlers, money, and other urban cliches. Well written!
Chapter Excerpt: With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies
I remember it was like yesterday when Tyson and Talia met. It was summer of 2000 at Venice Beach. Emil, Talia, and I were walking from the boardwalk towards the parking lot when we saw this fine pack of men approaching us. I mean, they was all so fine that it was hard to choose which one I was going to mack up. As they came our way, I started to claim dibs on the one that I wanted. I dodged the pretty boy because somehow I knew he would turn out to be a problem.
The pretty boy, who turned out to be Tyson, ended up talking to Talia. Tyson was fine. He was at least 6’2” with a caramel-brown complexion, pretty hazel eyes, and curly hair, but I think it might have really been an S curl. Either way he was fine. In addition, he was quite charming, and intelligent. He would tell Talia that he’d never met anyone as beautiful as her.
Talia was an assistant bank manager. She was in charge of promoting and marketing the branch and its products, meeting with customers, resolving any problems or complaints, ensuring there was a high level of customer service, monitoring sales targets, and reporting to the head office. She was making decent money. She had always low-key been a geek so I wasn’t surprised at her success.
She had come a long way from the ugly duckling she was in junior high. She had what some would say was the body of a goddess, but a face from hell. She finally had gotten some glasses that complimented her face a bit. However, Tyson seemed to really be into her. I was happy for her that she had finally found a good man.
I thought it was true love until he asked her to borrow $400. I don’t know about you, but giving/loaning grown men money is not a good look, especially if you’ve only known him for about twelve weeks. That beefcake must have been hella good, because Talia totally ignored my warning when I told her not to give that boy that money and she did it anyway. She could be so damn gullible when it came to men. When she called me crying about not hearing from him after he got the money, I wasn’t nowhere near shocked.
“Do you think you can pick me up?” she asked.
I said, “I’m on my way to church, what’s up?”
She suggested, “Why don’t you pick me up so you can go with me to this new church?”
“What new church?”
“It’s in Inglewood.”
“No, I just haven’t been there before,” she said.
“Alright, be ready in thirty minutes.”
When we got to Faithful Central, she motioned for me to pull into the parking lot. “Park right over there!” she demanded.
I said, “Why everybody look like they coming outta church already?”
“Oh, I think this is the 11:00 service or something letting out.”
I found a parking spot, I backed the car into the stall. Talia began to recline the passenger chair. “What are you doing?” I asked as I looked over at her.
“From who? We at a church.”
With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?
by Kennedee Devoe
The Next Thing is Joy: Gospel According to Vivian Grace
by Tracey Michae'l Lewis
HOW DO YOU FORGIVE THE ONES WHO HAVE HURT YOU?
Knowing that she doesn't want to live a life that lacks significance, Vivian Grace begins working to empower the people in her community. She believes she's found her true calling as a member of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. What Vivian doesn't count on finding is love.
ALL THAT GLITTERS…
But Vivian's love affair with the charismatic Black Panther Party leader, Reggie, takes a turn for the worse when his abusive side surfaces. To protect herself and her unborn child, Vivian has to commit a cardinal sin in order to escape the relationship alive. She finally finds refuge in the most unlikely of places and begins her long journey toward healing. If Vivian can receive God's forgiveness and extend the same to those who have hurt her, waiting for her is a love she could have never imagined.
As part of the read-in-any-order "Gospel of Grace Women" trilogy, Tracey Michae'l Lewis reveals the genesis of the generational curses that have plagued the Grace women: Sasha Renee, Crystal Justine and the matriarch, Vivian Grace. This story shows how the struggle to choose courage over fear and forgiveness over bitterness is a real but necessary fight.
Book Review for The Next Thing is Joy
“Lyrical. Powerful. Moving. Passionate. Enduring.
Tracey Michae'l Lewis' latest work; The Next Thing is
Joy, is exactly the kind of literature people should be reading. It's not chick lit, or a beach read, because it really transports the reader to a different place and time.
You feel the character's emotions and angst. Sometimes, I wanted to shake Vivian by her shoulders and tell her to, 'Wake up!' Other times, my heart broke for her because I know other women that have suffered like she did.
This is a great read and I look forward to more work from Lewis.”
- Written by Keleigh Crigler Hadley, Author of Revenge, Inc.
Excerpt from The Next Thing is Joy
“Um, so why are we crouched down in your car outside some strange building?”
I really couldn’t believe what we were doing.
“My neck is starting to hurt, Maddy.”
She waved her hand.
“Okay, okay. Give me a couple more minutes. He should be...”
Her voice trailed off.
The day started off normal. I’d spent the night at her house and we got up early to do our usual: nothing. We laid around drinking coffee, reading magazines, the paper, and chit-chatting. I loved the coffee and chit-chat but reading the paper always made me nervous. The Panthers were in the news regularly and I was constantly afraid that she’d ask me about them.
She never did.
That afternoon Madison asked me to take a ride with her to Oak Park, Illinois, a small suburb just west of the city. I wasn’t terribly comfortable with that only because Oak Park was probably one of the least integrated places in the area. There were a few black folks moving in from the city, but you could probably count them on one hand. I was certain my large Afro and black, three-quarters length jacket would stand out a bit. But Maddy was adamant. She said she had to go check on something and didn’t want to go alone. I didn’t want to leave her hanging, so I jumped in her car and we rolled.
But sitting in the car outside of a large, semi-detached home waiting on God knew what, I regretted my decision.
“Listen, I don’t know what we are doing here but I can only imagine it has something to do with Daniel.”
Daniel was her newest “boyfriend,” if you could call him that. She met him during one of her many shopping trips on Michigan Avenue and found herself in his bed that same night. He was amaaaaazing, let her tell it. But after a few more dates and a few more nights, his calls became increasingly infrequent. That didn’t surprise me at all but it dumbfounded her. She thought they had a “connection.”
“Is this his house, Maddy?”
She looked up at me from her bent over position near the floor of the car. Her eyes affirmed what I thought. I was no fool. As soon as we reached the intersection where the house was located and she abruptly told me to “get down,” I knew something was up.
“Okay,” she whispered. “Yes! This is his house.”
“I don’t know. I just have to know what happened, Viv.”
I looked at her incredulously. Her hair was straightened and dyed black allegedly because, according to her, she was channeling Cher. I suspected that it was a style he recommended.
“Seriously? Are you really trying to say that you don’t know what the deal is?”?
She was silent.
“Or is it that you don’t want to know?”
She still didn’t say anything.
“You are going to have to admit to yourself at some point, Maddy, that the way
you go about these relationships is not working for you.”
Her eyes narrowed and I knew what she was thinking. I wasn’t really in a
position to talk. But it wasn’t about me in that moment. She was the one
spying on a man.
She shushed me again.
An attractive man with blond hair and who seemed to be more tan than was
possible even during the hottest of Chicago summers, stepped outside of the
doorway and walked down the pathway toward the street. He was dressed
impeccably, wearing fitted, bell bottomed trousers that accentuated a narrow
waist and a white, butterfly-collared shirt unbuttoned low enough to show a
bushel of blond hair peeking out from the top.
“See? He’s by himself. It’s fine. Maybe he’s just been busy,” I said,
By that point, I’d gotten sick and tired of her shushing me. I started to sit
upright when suddenly a woman stepped outside of the same door Daniel did. I
slid back down in my seat and watched as my friends’ world stopped.
The woman looked like she was wearing a man’s overcoat and nothing else. She
ran over to Daniel and handed him what appeared to be a watch. He smiled at her
with pure adoration in his eyes and leaned down to kiss her passionately on the
lips. He loved that woman.
The Next Thing Is Joy: The Gospel According to Vivian Grace
What If It Feels Good
by D.J. McLaurin
Michael Bagley, street savvy and beautiful, learned the art of the con and sleeps with older women to survive. When an accidental shooting sets off a citywide manhunt and thrusts Michael into certain danger, his mother, a stripper at a local nightclub, is finally forced to confront the biological father who didn’t know Michael existed. Soon he finds himself whisked off the streets of Detroit and transplanted into a world of champagne dreams with more money at his fingertips than he ever thought possible.
Then Michael’s life takes a bizarre turn as he bonds with his father’s best friend. Chachi is a charming, down-to-earth ladies ’man who awakens sensations Michael can’t explain, throwing him into identity turmoil. But when the dust settles, Michael learns that neither riches, fame nor age has anything to do with love. As Michael fights to keep a relationship that may be against the odds and out of his league, he hopes the streets have toughened him enough to withstand a scorned woman’s wrath, his parent’s attempted sabotage—and the public’s outrage.
In this story of love, betrayal, and revenge, bonds are tested, friendships are challenged, dark secrets surface and an epic romance blossoms amidst a media circus.
Book Review Written by CHayes
What If It Feels Good by D.J. McLaurin is a riveting novel that throws you into the pit of hell and drags you into another world. This book is filled with everything from abusive relationships, cheating, stardom, uniting, and salvaging memories; you name it, it is in here.
Meet Michael Bagley, a young man forced to move out of his mother's home because of an abusive boyfriend. Where can he turn when he does not know who is his real father? Michael hits the streets where he does anything for money, food and shelter. When Michael tries to save his mother, Sarah, from her violent boyfriend the confrontation has him on the run. Facing jail time, Sarah must tell Michael the truth about the identity of his father, and Michaels' life will never be the same.
D.J. McLaurin pushes you to the point of no return. When Michael meets his father and is faced with his fathers' lavish lifestyle and happy family, all hell breaks loose. For goodness sake he was eating out of garbage cans, prostituting himself and sleeping under a bridge. How could Sarah let him live under these conditions given his father's status?
Michael now has a new battle to face; he has fallen in love with his father's best friend of twenty years. Will love prevail? When the lies become too much and boundaries are crossed who will come out unscathed?
This book is filled with an abundance of emotions; forcing me to feel the inevitable, cry and pray for Michaels' safety and sanity. As a parent, I was filled with mixed emotions, in regards to the lack of parental control the parents had over his life. I did however, enjoy reading this book, and look forward to the riveting sequel to find out if love conquers all.
I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys reading, feeling and appreciating a good story.
Reviewed by: Cheryl H, APOOO BookClub
Book Excerpt: What If It Feels Good by D.J. McLaurin
The phone rang. Michael ran to it.
“That little fool!” Sarah screeched. “He hung up on me!”
“Who?” Michael asked.
“I called the number you gave me and respectfully asked to speak to Joe, right? Why did that little
prick ask me how I got the number? Like it was any of his business!”
“I oughta hop a plane right now and go beat the crap out of him! I see what you mean now, honey! I don’t want you there anymore!”
“Ma, what are you talking about? Who hung up on you?”
“David! I asked to speak to Joe and he told me he couldn’t take my call, and just hung up on me--”
Michael dropped the phone and headed for the door.
“Uh, Oh,” Eric muttered. He and Leah scurried after him.
“What’s going on?” Leah asked as they descended the staircase. Michael ignored the both of them.
“Look man, this is just ridiculous!” Eric put his hand on Michael’s shoulder but, with a shake, Michael sent him sailing down several stairs before Eric was able to stop his fall by grabbing hold to the banister railing.
Michael searched rooms, kicking doors open, until he found David in Joe’s study, reading an investment magazine. David spun around in surprise.
“You hung up on my mother, you little prick?” Michael growled.
Michael’s fist made contact with David’s jaw, knocking him backward out of his chair.
“Daaaad! Daaaad!” Leah shrieked.
Michael grabbed David by his shirt collar and punched him over and over again.
Eric made a fruitless attempt to separate them before Joe and Dominic came rushing from the adjoining office.
David’s shirt was already splattered with the blood oozing from his nose and mouth when Joe reached them.
“Stop it!” Joe demanded. He wrapped his arm around Michael’s neck and attempted to pull him away from David. He underestimated Michael’s strength and all three of them went toppling forward.
Dominic wedged his body between the two boys to help separate them. It finally worked.
“What is your problem?” Joe yelled at Michael.
“You too!” Michael spat at him.
Joe touched his hand to his face and watched the wet stuff drip down his finger in disbelief. “He did not just spit on me…” he said, his eyes widening then shrinking as his face darkened.
“I hate all of you!” Michael shouted. His chest heaved, his eyes were red with anger. “You think you’re gonna treat my mother like a piece of
shyt, you good-for-nothing, stuck up--”
Joe dived on top of Michael.
They tussled on the floor before Michael twisted from underneath his father. He sprang to his feet with the agility of youth, fist raised and ready.
Joe stood too, aghast with shock. “How dare you,” he snarled, seething with anger.
Eric, Leah, and David huddled behind Dominic, watching helplessly.
What If It Feels Good by D.J. McLaurin
Contemporary, Alternative Fiction
Momma: Gone A Personal Story
by Nina Foxx
"Momma set me on the jukebox." So begins the personal story of Denise (Sweetie) Wooten, set between a post-civil rights era New York City and a growing, but stale rural Alabama. We are thrust in the midst of a family longing for normalcy, but instead struggling with illness and all that comes with it; denial, anger and misunderstanding and love.
As cultures clash, we see the family through a child's eyes and walk with her as she makes sense of war fought far away, but with effects close to home, and a tragedy that changes her life forever.
More truth than not, Momma: Gone is a story of survival, where all the lessons are taught by the child who must eventually lead them through and a classic American story of overcoming life's misfortunes to find the bloom on the other side.
Momma: Gone A Personal
Story by Nina Foxx was shortlisted for a Doctorow Award in Innovative Fiction
Praise for Momma: Gone A Personal Story, by Nina Foxx
A grief laden journey that will tug at your heart. Profoundly moving.
---Anita Doreen Diggs, author The Other Side of the Game, former editor, Random
Chapter Excerpt from Momma: Gone
Momma put me up on the jukebox. I could see everything from there, even all the people in the room.
“Sweetie is my little lady,” she said. She steadied herself with one hand and pushed away from the bar with the other. Her skin was fair and the bluish veins showed through like she was much older than her thirty years. They all turned and looked and smiled at us with that plastered-on, woozy kind of smile. The smell that goes along with men in bars followed their heads as they turned and I could smell it, strong, leaping out at me. I heard Gramma call this “preserved-in-alcohol.” I smiled because I knew I was supposed to, but I was a little scared. Butterflies swam in my stomach. I bounced my legs off the jukebox to help calm them down.
From where I was sitting, I could see over the top of everyone in the room. Momma and I were the only two ladies here. I guess the other ladies don't need medicine, only men and Momma. Momma says that other ladies take their medicine at home, but Daddy doesn't let her have hers there so we go to get it. Sometimes, just like now, she takes me with her. I really don't understand it all; medicine is supposed to make you better, but Momma seems to get sicker and sicker after she has it.
Freda Payne is singing “Bring the Boys Home.”
Everyone has forgotten about me.
“Turn it up, Jeffrey. Turn it up.” Momma closed her eyes slowly and opened them again. Her head moved to something deeper than just the rhythm of the song.
“Bring 'em back alive!” Freda said. Whenever I hear this song I wondered who she was talking about. Momma liked it and she played it over and over at home. She played it so much and danced and cried out for June-Bug till Daddy threw the record player in the yard. I was sad when he did that; I couldn't play my Muffin Man song anymore. We tried to make the record player work again, but it was no good trying; it just wouldn't go. Daddy apologized to Momma and when I asked him why he did it, he said because that song made Momma sad and he couldn't stand to see her cry. Maybe that is why I didn't get beat like other kids on our block; I cry as soon as I get in trouble, so Daddy just leaves me alone.
I don't know where June-Bug went but I sure wish he would come back. They said he went someplace to fight folks. Momma and Freda want him back like I do.
“How come he can fight and I can't?” I asked the same question over and over but I never got an answer. It’s almost like they think I don’t understand how things work, but I do. More than they want to say.
June-Bug is the best big brother a little sister could have. He buys me ice cream and takes me everywhere he goes, even to see karate movies. He has an Afro and people call him Red because he is the color of the Alabama Red dirt that Auntie calls “bay-bay” dirt. She bakes it in the ovens sometimes and eats it too. I like when she does stuff like this; folks in New York never bake no dirt, but folks in Alabama ain’t ever seen too many folks like June-Bug neither.
I want an Afro like June-Bug but Momma says no Afro for me. We tried it in secret one time but my hair wouldn't stand up. To tell the truth, his don't stand up either, not really. His 'fro was always sort of flat on one side, but that is okay with me, he still looks cool.
“Elva, can that sweetie pie of yours dance?”
One man hollers at Momma although he doesn't have to. He was standing right by her and the music ain’t really that loud. The fat man kept wiping the bar and Momma laughed. She put me on the floor at the same time.
“Dance, baby. You show 'em your stuff.”
The almost spilled her drink on me and I felt sorta trapped with all the big smelly people around me, but I danced anyway. When Freda said to turn the ships around, I did one of my best spins I could. I put myself far away; I imagine I was a ballerina like on TV, but with more soul. I twirl and bop as best I can, halfway listening to the music. I wanted to take dancing lessons but Momma said I was too young. I asked Daddy if I could and he said he didn't want no buck-dancing niggers in his house; he said I needed to concentrate on learning to read and write so I could make something of myself. I asked Gramma what buck dancing was. She told me to get away and to go play before she got her switch. Grown-ups are so confusing. I heard her ask Momma what they were teaching me up in the north.
Freda was finished now, and I stopped dancing and looked at Momma. Some man started to sing about loving somebody being wrong and he don't want to be right. I didn’t understand that either because whenever I call Gramma she was always telling me to make sure I do right. This man was singing about doing wrong and everybody sings with him.
The song was over and everybody went back to smiling and grinning at me. The man with one leg behind the bar gave me a soda. I looked at Momma and she nodded to me that it was okay to take it. He popped the top for me with his can opener and I drank it directly from the can. It fizzled as it went down and I thought about the burn in my throat and followed it down to my tummy.
“Say, thank you, sweetie,” Momma said. One piece of her hair had fallen into her face. She pushed it away.
She always called me Sweetie. I think some folks think my name is Sweetie, but it's not. My name is Monica Denise Wooten. I am seven years old and I am going to start second grade in school.
I said thanks to the man in my small voice and Momma took my hand in her real soft one with the thin skin. He gave me a nickel and smiled at me with a wide-open grin. I could see that he is missing teeth too. I could look behind the bar now and I stood behind Momma's leg and took a peek around her skirt. It scared me and was exciting all at the same time because I knew the man only got one leg. The other leg is a peg. Momma says that Sugar took his leg every time I ask and I always do.
I wonder who Sugar is and I also want to know why she needs an extra leg. They always laughed at me when I said that. Momma told me to remember not to ask Daddy that question. I guess I would have to explain to him why I was in a bar taking soda and money from a man with one leg and missing teeth.
It was bright outside and I blinked when we stepped into the light. I don't know why they didn’t turn on more lights in that place anyway. It was kinda early and I knew we were going home now so Momma could go to sleep. She comes home from work at the hospital in the morning before Daddy leaves for work. Momma is a nurse and she takes care of crazy people. At least that is what Daddy says. We drive her to work at the hospital that locks its doors every night and she gets a ride home with somebody else. We have to drive her there because somebody stole her car. It was a yellow car with stripes down the middle and my daddy gave it to her. She loved it even though it had a dent in the front from where the truck hit us. The truck really backed up onto us while we wasn't moving, but Momma says it hit us so I say it too.
Anyway, they found the car later and we went to see it. It didn't look like much of a car to me anymore. It didn't have no wheels or doors left. I looked in what was left of the trunk to see if my Peppermint Twist was still there but it was gone. I knew it was. Any thief with sense would want it; it was such a great toy. My favorite. It had a ring on the end of a string, with a ball attached to the end. Mine was all purple and pink and yellow. You put your leg into the ring and swung the string around and jumped over it with the other leg. Too bad that it is gone because I had almost learned how to do it, almost as good as the big girls.
I only got my legs wrapped up in the cord occasionally now. It felt so good to put the ring on the end of it around my skinny leg and look down as I swung it around and around. I hopped over it with my other leg almost perfectly, almost every time. But it is gone now, just like June-Bug. Maybe Daddy will get me another one.
( Continued... )
© 2014 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Nina Foxx. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the publisher's written permission. Copyright infringement is a serious offense. Share a link to this page or the author's website if you really like this promotional excerpt.
Momma: Gone A Personal Story, by Nina Foxx
(May 2, 2014) Link: http://amzn.com/0615902162
Betrayal by Naomi Chase
Some people know better and do worse...
Since she was acquitted of murder, Tamia Luke has been on a mission to prove she’s a changed woman—especially to the love of her life, Brandon Chambers. She thinks she’s succeeded—until Brandon reveals that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, and it’s his duty to marry her.
With time running out, Tamia is determined to have one last rendezvous to win Brandon back. But she’s stunned when the man who blackmailed and betrayed her suddenly reappears on the scene—with an offer she can’t refuse, though she knows she may regret it. And when Tamia finds her life on the line once more, will she die harboring another secret—or live to commit another
Praise for Naomi Chase
“Chase delivers an astounding sequel to Exposed and Deception. Betrayal
is brimming with tantalizing and addictive sex, gutsy dialogue and conniving and demented characters—all linked in a frenzied scandal that boggles the mind right up until the bombshell climax. Chase develops a twist on betrayal that is superb.”
— RT Book Reviews
Excerpt from Betrayal (Exposed)
Time ground to a halt as Tamia stared up at Dominic Archer, stunned speechless.
She couldn’t believe he was standing at her table, looking like he had every right to be there with his hands casually tucked into his pockets, a smile playing at the corners of his full lips. She couldn’t believe he had the audacity to approach her after the way he’d nearly ruined her life, blackmailing her for sex by threatening to expose her past as a porn star.
As fury quickly replaced her shock, Tamia spat, “What the hell are you doing here?”
His eyes glinted with amusement. “Hello to you too, Tamia.”
“Don’t ‘hello’ me, motherf—” Glancing around the elegant restaurant, she lowered her voice to an angry hiss. “I don’t know what the hell you think you’re doing, but we have nothing to say to each other.”
“I disagree,” Dominic said calmly. “I think we have plenty to talk about.”
“I don’t give a shit what you think.” Tamia turned her head, darting an anxious glance toward the front entrance. The last thing she wanted was for her ex-boyfriend Brandon to show up and see Dominic standing at her table. There was no telling what Brandon would think—or do.
“You need to leave, Dominic. I’m serious.”
“Why?” His eyes gleamed. “You expecting someone?”
Tamia scowled. “Not that it’s any of your damn business, but yeah, I am expecting someone. He should be here any moment.”
Or so she hoped.
For the past twenty minutes, she’d been anxiously waiting for Brandon to join her at Da Marco, the Italian restaurant he’d taken her to on their first date. She’d told him to meet her there at four o’clock. It was now ten minutes past the hour.
He’s coming, she assured herself. He’s just running late.
She didn’t want to consider the alternative. That Brandon was at the justice of the peace this very moment exchanging vows with his fiancée, Cynthia Yarbrough. She couldn’t bear the thought of it.
“Let me buy you dinner,” Dominic drawled.
Tamia gaped at him, incredulous. “What part of ‘I’m expecting someone’ did you not understand?”
He looked amused. “Come on, Tamia. You don’t really think he’s coming, do you?”
Her eyes narrowed with suspicion. “How the hell do you even know who I’m waiting for?”
Dominic chuckled softly. “I think I can safely assume that you’re waiting for Brandon. Which is unfortunate, since I heard through the grapevine that he’s getting married today.” He raised a thick brow at Tamia. “Did I hear wrong?”
She glared at him. “How did you know I’d be here?” she demanded, ignoring his question. “Have you been following me?”
“Of course not,” he said with lazy amusement. “I had a business meeting this afternoon, but my client had to cancel. I was just about to leave when I saw you.”
Tamia didn’t believe him, not for one damn second. This was the same conniving bastard who’d had an affair with her while he was married. She couldn’t believe a word that came out of his lying mouth.
Before she could light into his ass, the waiter appeared. After topping off Tamia’s water, he divided a friendly smile between her and Dominic. “Will you two be dining together this evening?”
“No,” Tamia said so sharply that the man looked startled.
Dominic smiled at the waiter. “Give us another minute.”
“We don’t need another minute,” Tamia interjected through clenched teeth. “He’s not joining me for dinner. I’m waiting for someone else. In the meantime, I’d like to order the grilled scampi with orange honey salad.”
“Excellent, signorina.” The waiter shot a sympathetic glance at Dominic before moving off.
Tamia picked up her crocodile Dolce & Gabbana handbag, one of many expensive gifts Brandon had lavished upon her during their recent trip to Italy.
“I’m going to the ladies’ room,” she coldly informed Dominic as she rose from the table. “I expect you to be gone when I get back.”
With that, she turned and stalked off, feeling Dominic’s gaze on her ass until she rounded the corner and disappeared from view.
Once inside the empty restroom, she slipped into the nearest stall and retrieved her smartphone from her handbag. After taking several deep breaths, she pulled up Brandon’s number and pressed SEND.
Her heart sank when her call went straight to his voice mail.
“This is Brandon. Keep it short and sweet.”
Tamia inhaled a shaky breath, debating whether or not to leave a message. If he’d gone through with marrying Cynthia, there was nothing she could say or do at this point. But if he was somewhere having second thoughts, she had to at least try to get through to him.
The beep sounded, prompting her to speak or hang up.
Gripping the phone, she nervously moistened her lips. “Hey . . . it’s me. I’m at Da Marco waiting for you. I hope . . .” She trailed off, not wanting to sound too desperate. “I hope to see you soon.”
She disconnected, closed her eyes and held the phone to her thudding heart.
Please don’t let it be too late, she silently prayed. Please let Brandon be on his way to the restaurant, not the courthouse.
( Continued... )
Excerpted from Betrayal
by Naomi Chase. Copyright © 2014 Naomi Chase. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.
Purchase Betrayal (Exposed) by Naomi Chase
Women’s Fiction/Urban Lit
Meet the Author
Naomi Chase went from chasing stories as a newspaper reporter to weaving juicy thrillers spun from her own naughty imagination. Like the real-life dramas she once chronicled, her steamy novels are sure to deliver enough sex, scandal, and suspense to leave readers breathless.
Betrayal is the third installment in Naomi’s popular Exposed series. The previous novels, Exposed and Deception, were chosen a “Top Pick” from RT Book Reviews and were both nominated for Reviewers’ Choice awards. In 2012, Naomi Chase was named Featured Author of the Year and Featured Romance Author of the Year by Shades of Romance magazine. Naomi also writes contemporary and erotic romance novels as Maureen Smith.
She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and two children. Please visit her main website at
The Perfect Affair (The Shady Sisters Trilogy)
by Lutishia Lovely
In this thrilling new series, acclaimed author Lutishia Lovely dives into the scandalous heart of romantic obsession with a cunning, sexy seductress, and the object of her affections. . .
Freelance writer Jacqueline Tate arrives in Los Angeles and soon meets brilliant, award-winning scientist Randall Atwater, the man she's come to cover at a conference on trends and technology. He is everything she's read about--brainy, witty, handsome, and cool. And after a week spent with the most fascinating man she's ever known, there's no way she can give him up.
There's just one problem: Randall's wife of twenty years. No matter--men like Randall are few and far between. Jacqueline knows that with a few bold moves, she can win the man she loves. But what happens when her love story is not a love story?
The Perfect Affair (The Shady Sisters Trilogy)
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
African American | Contemporary Women's Fiction
Lutishia Lovely website: http://www.lutishialovely.com
About the Author
Lutishia Lovely is an award-winning author of seventeen novels, six of which are romance titles written under her alter-ego pseudo, Zuri Day. In addition to her wildly popular Hallelujah Love Series, Ms. Lovely has a hot new trilogy called "The Business" about a soul food dynasty where delicious drama and sizzling scandal is always on the menu!
Prior to becoming a full-time author, Lutishia enjoyed many different careers. They all, however, had one thing in common - they all were linked into a "world of words". From administrative assistant to radio personality to actor to managing editor and senior writer for a holistic magazine,words have always been the magic that made Lutishia's world go 'round. Probably one of the spins that would most surprise readers is the fact that Lutishia was a rapper! That's right, for a short stint in the 90s, Lutishia was billed as "The Rhaptress" (a combination of a rapper and an actress), and toured with other singers and musicians throughout southern CA. She's happy now to beat out a rhythm on her keyboard...songs in the key of "writer" that she hopes will inspire and entertain!
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