Saidah's Christmas memories have been warped by personal tragedy. A chance encounter brings her unexpected love and a new outlook on life.
Here's to finding love where you least expect it!
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“I don’t know why you’re being so difficult, Saidah. Just put on some clothes, run a brush through your hair and come over.”
“Maybe I don’t want to go over there. Maybe I want to sit on my couch and watch A Christmas Story back to back while I drink myself into oblivion.” As if I needed to prove my point, I loudly sipped from my mug of spiked hot chocolate.
“That’s the exact reason you need to bring your behind over here. You don’t need to be by yourself on Christmas. Especially on Christmas.”
I rolled my eyes while switching the phone from one shoulder to the other. I was comfortable, deeply implanted into the corner of my new leather couch, under a chenille throw, in my pajamas and fuzzy Christmas socks. The socks weren’t actually necessary, since it was the warmest Christmas Atlanta had seen in years, but they were red and had little green Christmas trees on them, so they were helping to ring in the holiday season as best they could.
The trees on my socks were about the only sign of cheer in my condo. It had been years since I put up a tree and decorated for the season. It had also been years since I joined Faith, my friend-as-close-as-a-sister, and her family for Christmas dinner. My new tradition wasn’t one I picked up by choice; it was a natural consequence. And I was in no hurry to change something like a natural consequence.
“I promise you, honey. I’m fine right here. Enjoy your meal and your family. Are we doing after Christmas sales on Saturday?”
Faith sighed that long, drawn out sigh that usually accompanied a roll of her dark brown eyes and pursing of her pouty lips. “Why do you have to ruin everything, you stubborn brat?”
“Wait, what? I didn’t know we were name calling on today of all days, the celebration of the birth of sweet little eight pound, six-ounce baby Jesus.”
“Yes, we’re name calling when you’re being stubborn. I was trying to surprise you. Jay is coming to dinner.”
My heart skipped a beat at the mention of him. I didn’t have to ask for a last name or a clarification on who Jay was. I knew very well, and Faith knew, too. The very thought of him brought his face to my memory—strong square jaw with the dimple in the chin, skin like whipped mousse, chiseled cheekbones, classic nose, wide-set eyes so dark they looked black and the longest, prettiest eyelashes you ever saw on a man. Always impeccably dressed and intelligent to boot.
Jay was the one that got away.
“Don’t lie to me, Faith. Jay is really coming to dinner?”
“I wouldn’t lie to you, Saidah. Never have, never will.”
“Well. When did that happen? How did you even get in touch with him?”
“I have my ways,” said Faith. In the background, I heard the clank of the heavy lid to her Le Creuset Dutch oven. A Le Cordon Bleu trained chef that owned a successful catering company, Faith could tear up a meal like nobody’s business. You’d swear you were dining at a five-star restaurant and be right in her dining room.
“I’m serious, Faith! How did you manage that? How do you know he’s really showing up?”
“Anthony ran into him in Nashville a few weeks ago at that conference he went to— you remember they’re in the same frat? They started talking, catching up. He works in… building design or something. Was doing pretty well, but he hinted that his wife left last year.”
“Left him? Women are giving up rich handsome men these days?”
“Girl, I guess. There was an affair, or at least that’s the vibe Anthony got from talking to him. Anyway, he seemed to be having a hard time, said something about being alone this year so Anthony invited him over. He came home and told me and that’s when I called you and asked if you were coming over.”
As stubborn as I was about spending the day in my pajamas, alone, on my leather couch, the thought of seeing Jay after all these years could be a game changer.
We’d all gone to college together at Albany State University. Jay and Anthony were line brothers in Alpha Psi Alpha. Anthony and Faith were dating and were trying to hook me up with Jay. He and I were friends, then close friends, and then one night after a party, on the walk back to the dorms, he pulled me into the shadow of a building and pressed himself against me, walking me backward until I was caught between the cold brick wall and the warm man with the racing heartbeat.
His lips pressed against mine, tentatively at first and then with a moan and a tilt of his head, deepened the kiss with an open mouth and a probe of his tongue. After a few minutes of breathless kisses and roaming hands, I pulled him from the darkness and around the corner to the side door into the building.
I dragged him to the room that Faith and I shared, that I was pretty much living in alone since she spent a lot of her time at Anthony’s place. Jay wasn’t my first, but he may as well have been. Being with him felt so different than the few guys that had stumbled through quick, awkward sex. Jay moved slowly, fluidly, I felt like we were meant to be together. There was definitely no stumbling and zero awkwardness.
After, we talked and talked, tangled up in the sheets with my cheek plastered to his warm skin. I listened to his heartbeat and splayed my fingers across his broad chest, feeling him catch his breath. I was already falling in love.
We were inseparable, except when we were with Faith and Anthony. We were those cute couples that did everything together and always hung out together. Until we weren’t.
Jay was from a small South Georgia town and the college experience seemed overwhelming to him. While he did well in classes, he wasn’t used to having so many social options. The allure of being able to date so many women was tempting. So much so that, before the end of our sophomore year and right after Anthony and Faith got engaged, Jay broke up with me.
Over the next few weeks I saw him on campus, hands tightly clasped around the waist of one girl and then another. Looking into someone else’s eyes with that gaze I used to think was reserved for me, laughing that laugh that I thought only I could bring out. I was devastated. I tried everything to get him to realize the mistake he’d made, what he was giving up and leaving behind. Jay was more interested in the next party, the next girl, the next conquest.
Faith and I graduated, and a few months later, I walked down the aisle as her Maid of Honor. Though I hadn’t seen him in years, Jay was at the wedding, as handsome as he ever was, with a beautiful cinnamon toned woman on his arm.
Twelve years later, we’d be in the same room. Him so handsome, more mature and all grown up; hurt and vulnerable from the demise of his marriage. And me so… well, me.
“So, is he still fine? And what are you making?” I made a valiant attempt at sounding nonchalant but Faith was on to me. I could almost hear the grin in her voice, knowing full well what my moments of silence represented.
“I haven’t seen him, so I don’t know. But Anthony didn’t say he’d let himself go or anything. And I’m not going all out— just a bone-in prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, collard greens, macaroni and cheese. Maybe a wedge salad with bacon bits, some yeast rolls. Oh, and a Dulce de leche cake. And I’m thinking about whipping up a pound cake with buttercream frosting.”
“Not much? Not going all out? I just gained five pounds listening to that.”
“Dinner is at three o’clock. I’ll save you a place next to Jay. Bring some wine, a nice cabernet or merlot.”
“I already told you— what makes you think I’ve changed my mind?”
“Because I know you. And I know I can always change your mind. See you in a bit.”
My retort was cut off by a dial tone. I sucked my teeth, rolled my eyes and tossed the phone onto the couch. I stomped to the bedroom, heading straight for the closet. Dressing for this dinner was going to be of utmost importance. I hadn’t seen Jay since he paraded that woman in my face and had the nerve to be smug about it.
“Hamm…” I hummed, stepping into the closet to survey my options. “I’ll want to make a good impression… but not look like an attention whore.”
I eyed a pair of skinny jeans, dark rinse. My full figure did look ridiculously good in them, but the way Faith cooked, I would need more room than those would allow. “I need to show off my grown and sexy…. but not look thirsty.”
I thumbed through a few more options before I grabbed up a brand new black sweater dress with stylish zipper embellishment across each shoulder. It hugged my ample hips and showed off my bust in glorious fashion. At a perfect mid-thigh length, it was long enough to be classy but short enough to be sexy. I’d pair it with my over-the-knee, three-inch suede boots.
I plugged in my flatiron and turned on the shower. I was going to be a spectacle or die trying.
Time to show Jay what he’d been missing all these years.
Metatron: The Angel Has Risen
"A wild wish fulfillment juvenile romp that should be great fun for 12 year olds of any age." --Piers Anthony, New York Times bestsellingfantasy author
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Twelve-year-old Tyler Thompson has a secret: he's not a "normal" boy. After his father's tragic death, Tyler finds himself in one predicament after another, until one day he and his faithful dog Maxx fall into a cesspool of mysterious green goop.
When his grandfather bestows him with an object not from this earth, Tyler soon discovers he has strange powers. Unfortunately, so does the sinister Dr. Payne.
Together with his best friend Lukas, who also has a special ability, and Maxx, Tyler embarks on a journey to put an end to Dr. Payne's evil scheme to control the world's children. To do so, Tyler must make a life-altering choice-one that could change the world.
Metatron: The Mystical Blade
"St. John has done it again with The Mystical Blade; another novel 13 year olds of any age will really enjoy!" --Piers Anthony, New York Timesbestselling fantasy author of the Xanth series
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Thirteen-year-old Tyler Thompson is on the verge of becoming a superhero, but he must prove himself so he can earn the remainder of his superpowers and fulfill his destiny.
When his grandfather, Benjamin, is held prisoner at AREA 51, where the eternal powers are presumed to be hidden, Tyler attempts to penetrate the base's heavy security. However, Dr. Mason Payne, the evil scientist who killed Tyler's father, has insidious plans of his own.
Hunted by an unknown entity, Tyler races against the clock to retrieve the superpowers, rescue his family and help the others who are depending on him. And when all hope seems lost, help comes in a power he didn't know he possessed--a mysterious weapon known as The Mystical Blade.
Winter Wonderland Vol. 2 is a collection of four romantic shorts, featuring all of the workplace drama you've probably experienced and a little bit that you hopefully haven't.
The best parts of Mel & Dre’s work days involve each other, but they haven’t acknowledged it.
Destin and Nyah are a match made through text messages, but only one person knows the true identity of the other.
Perry is trying to keep his relationship with Zara intact, but one coworker is hellbent on doing whatever possible to break them up.
Jalen doesn’t want to work with the woman who once made him her side piece. Vanessa has big plans, which don’t include rekindling a romance.
At 225 Tiffany Avenue, clients show up for branding that’ll shine and expect to see a profit. But the employees are miserable and the drama never ends.
Welcome to The Foxx Agency.
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Excerpt from New Groove, story two in Winter Wonderland Vol. 2.
Unknown: For real though, happy birthday
Nyah: Thank you. Sorry for your heartbreak
Unknown: It’s cool, we been broken up for a few months. I do feel kinda played though
He tugged at my heart tonight.
I was in the middle of rapidly typing a reply, something that would help this random person feel better, and before I knew it, my thumb hit the answer button on a FaceTime call from the unknown number. I gasped and dropped my phone.
The sound that notified me that both ends of the line connected shocked me, but what shocked me more was the face that was on the other side of the call. I could see his face but all my side of the video call showed was the spinning ceiling fan and ceiling.
That face, that square chin, that almond brown skin, filled my phone screen. The face I usually saw in focus or laughter mode was relaxed tonight, as it stared into the camera, confused. A few seconds later, the call disconnected, because that call was obviously a mistake. Especially since he now knew I wasn’t Shae.
Unknown: My bad, didn’t meant to FT you.
He texted me back so quickly after he hung up, but not before the shock wore off of who I was texting and who I’d been casually talking to for the first time ever.
I felt bad for the stranger before. But now one question consumed me.
Destin Coleman had a broken heart?
THE ABDUCTION CHRONICLES is an abridged version of two books, An Abduction Revelation and its sequel, Abduction Revelation II.
Based on some true mysterious and compelling life events of the author who experienced some unusual phenomenon in his life. His ex-wife claimed they were abducted, on several occasions, by beings who were not of this world. He was unaware of them until he melted their instilled memory blocks.
Who are the abductors? Where are they from? What do they want? The answers will torment his reality.
An intriguing adventure packed with action, drama, mystery, romance, comedy, and a few exhilarating plot twists that will surely knock your socks off.
The dialog is written in a memoir conversational style. So pull up a chair and join ‘The Comeback Kid’ on his incredible life’s journey as he unravels the secrets behind his abductions and comes face to face with his abductors.
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“Tom. It’s CJ. (My ex-wife was calling herself CJ these days). I really must tell you this. No, wait. Listen. Don’t hang up. Please. You remember how I talked about the night we drove to Carmel, and they took you. Well, actually they took us both. I’ve been fasting and abstaining from sex. That helped me to melt their mind block. Yes, their mind block. I thought then they were aliens, but they’re not. Now I have discovered the whole truth. I’m not me. You’re not you either. No, wait. Let me explain. We’re someone else. We are...(spoiler). No, I’m not insane. No, no, I’m not delusional. You need to become a vegetarian and abstain from sex, and then you can melt your mind block and discover the truth. No, don’t hang up.”
But I had heard enough. Her babbling made no sense. If you remember, right after our divorce, she said we had been abducted by aliens. Now she claims that we are...(spoiler) and the abductors aren’t aliens. Needless to say, I figured she had to of had a few loose marbles. Keep in mind, that at this time in my life, I hadn’t yet melted my mind blocks, so I had no idea what the heck she was ranting about.
If you ain't got love you're . . . LIMPIN'. Ida Evers shares all of the trials and victories of their lives together, with her husband, James Evers, who has Alzheimer's. His reactions are hilarious and heartwarming. Her gripping storytelling is filled with all of the angst, surprise, joy and loss of lives lived thoroughly with love as its anchor. Tales of family life will come and go, but you will never forget the Evers.
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The blazing, early morning summer sun roasted the ancient tin roof of our tiny house as I watched my husband of fifty-four years make a mess of his supper. Sometimes, James would let me feed him as if he were still a human. Other times, he would become agitated and snatch the spoon out of my hand. Pleading with him did no good now. His mind was so far gone he didn’t understand much of what I said anymore.
James would usually put his spoon down when he was done piddling in his plate. Lately, I could only hope he wouldn’t throw it when he was done. He had started doing that about a month ago. So far, he had only hit me with it once when my back was turned. I wanted to throw that spoon right back at him, but he wouldn’t have known why I did that either. Instead, I thanked God it hadn’t been a knife or a fork and went back to doing whatever I was doing before.
The doctor told me James had Alzheimer’s four years ago, and that he would forget things and do strange things he had never done before. I thought that diagnosis was funny at the time because corn liquor had been doing that to James for over fifty years. As far as James doing anything he had never done before, I thought that impossible. If he got his back up about something or a load on, James always could and would do some pretty stupid things.
The doctor told me James was physically fine, but he would need to be watched all of the time because people with Alzheimer’s had a tendency to wander off and not be able to find their way back home. These people stuck their fingers into electrical outlets and fire on the stove. James has never done either one of those; however, he did decide he wanted to get something out of the well one night. The sun was up by the time we got him out.
None of this disturbed me. I had cared for my mother until she died twenty years ago. That doctor called Mama senile and gave me the same symptoms as this doctor was giving me for James’ Alzheimer’s. Mama was a piece of cake to take care of compared to James. My mother forgot some things most of the time, and was mean as hell all of the time. But, Mama had been a pistol all of her life. Expecting her to turn into a sweet, docile old lady would have been ludicrous.
James had slowly forgotten everything in the past four years. Speech had even escaped him most of the time these days, and the last things he said had not made much sense. It’s hard as hell watching a man who could rattle the windows with the anger in his booming voice turn into a six foot seven inch, two hundred and forty pound infant; aimlessly wandering around as if trying to remember what he was supposed to be doing all day.
I’m the only one who remembers anything now. All of the ups and downs of the lives and love of James and Ida Evers would disappear forever when I shut my eyes. James had no idea who I was most days, and the constant yelling and wrestling with a man who could snap my neck on a whim could only be done with pure trusting love.
Occasionally, out of the blue, James would still say something that made me wonder if he was all gone. As I cooked and cleaned the house, James would sit in his chair and watch me. The sound of his clear, coherent voice startling me, as he would ask, “Ida, what are you doing?”
“I’m cleaning up this mess you made, James. Are you feeling all right?”
“I’m fine, Sweetheart. Come here.”
I would walk over as James held his arms up for a hug. Seeing the recognition in his eyes always ripped at my heart. I knew it would disappear as quickly as it had come. I would give him his hug and a kiss before the light of recognition left. I always kissed him until his body went limp. That would be the signal that James was no longer present. These were the moments I lived for now. Brief glimpses of the original James Evers, though painful, were all I had left.
Our children and the doctor insisted I put James in a nursing home. No one seemed to understand that my life had revolved around James Evers since I was twelve years old. I couldn’t comprehend James not being here with me. Abandoning him when he needed me more than ever . . . never . . . I loved him.
Good Boy, Achilles! is based on the idea that, because we human beings are flawed and fouled-up, God has given dogs the task of helping us along. The story opens on a small farm, where a boy named Jeremy discovers that his family’s dog, Ginger, has finally given birth to her long-awaited puppies. Ginger explains to her puppies that they must leave the farm for new homes where they will take care of their own humans, for that is the Father’s plan. Jeremy’s parents tell him that the family can afford only one dog, Ginger, and will have to give the puppies away. As the story progresses, however, Jeremy and his favorite puppy, Thunder, or, as Jeremy calls him, Achilles, become best friends, and Thunder comes to believe that he will remain on the farm as Jeremy’s dog. Will he? On the way to finding out, he and Jeremy learn some basic Christian theology and some important life lessons.
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“Sit down on that couch, young man,” ordered Audrey.
“Exactly what were you trying to pull—putting
that box over that poor, little puppy?” his mother demanded.
“I just didn’t want her to pick him,” Jeremy said. “For all
I care, she can have all the others; I just don’t want anybody
to take Achilles.”
“Well, you listen to me . . .,” Audrey stopped. Her voice grew softer. “Achilles? You’ve named them?”
“Not all of them. Just Achilles. He’s my favorite.”
“Why would you name him Achilles?”
“We read a story about Achilles in school,” Jeremy half
mumbled, half moaned. “He was a great warrior. I thought
any dog as big and strong and pretty as him deserved a name
• Excerpt from Chapter 25:
Seconds later, Thunder stood at Jeremy’s side. He nudged Jeremy’s head with his nose, but Jeremy did not move. He barked, whined, and pawed at Jeremy’s shoulder, but Jeremy did
not respond. Thunder licked Jeremy’s face. He could smell and hear Jeremy’s breathing, but Jeremy’s skin was colder than it should be. Thunder’s instinct told him to stay with Jeremy, keep
him warm, and protect him. He knew he could do that, for the Father had given him a warm coat, big teeth, and powerful legs and jaws. He grasped the sturdy collar of Jeremy’s coat in his teeth and dragged him out of the water onto the creek bank. He stretched his massive body over Jeremy and lay on top of him. Surely, in the morning, when the Dawsons discovered that Jeremy
was gone, they would search for him. Until someone arrived, Thunder’s body would keep Jeremy warm, and anything that wanted to hurt Jeremy would have to get past Thunder.
As Thunder waited, alert to every sound and smell, ready to fight any enemy, once again the white snow seemed to turn gray, and the shining messenger stood before Thunder.
“Thunder,” he said.
“I did what you told me,” Thunder answered. “I found Jeremy.”
“Yes,” said the messenger. “You have done well, but your work is not finished. Jeremy is hurt very badly. He needs more help than you can give him, and he must have it very soon. You
must stop a vehicle.”
“The Father has made me very strong, and I can drag Jeremy easily,” Thunder said. “If I move him to the side of the road, a vehicle will stop.”
“No,” answered the messenger. “This is very rough ground, with many rocks, fallen trees, and thorns. If you drag Jeremy, you will hurt him more. You must stop a vehicle.”
Thunder’s ears drooped. “But my mother taught me to stay away from moving vehicles. She said they were dangerous.”
“Thunder, you must stop a vehicle.”
Then the messenger was gone. Thunder’s ears told him that the road was just a short distance away, up a small hill. He scampered up the hill and, just as he found the pavement, the lights of a car came into view. Thunder ran along the shoulder of the road toward the approaching car, barking and wagging his tail. As the car passed, he spun in his tracks and gave chase, but soon the car had sped out of sight.
“I’ll stop the next one,” he shouted. He didn’t have long to wait before a pick-up truck came rumbling along the road. This time, Thunder stepped into the truck’s lane and charged
toward it, barking wildly, ears pricked and eyes glowing in the headlights. As the truck swerved into the other lane, Thunder ran off the road and watched it pass, helpless to stop it. Thunder
stood panting and hung his head. What good were his thick coat, his powerful legs and jaws, and his big teeth now? He remembered his mother’s warnings about moving vehicles. He
remembered the words of the shining messenger. Then he remembered something else his
mother had told him: “If it was not too much for the Wounded One, it is not too much for us.”
Thunder stepped into the road. “The next vehicle will stop,” he said.
A puppy's first year is filled with findings, wiggles and laughter.
Puppies squirm in all the odd places, sniff all the strange objects, lick everything they can and find something to splash into even when we don't want them to!
This book of poems explores the first year of a puppy's life, going through an adventure after the other, one month at a time.
Puppy's first days, puppy's first weeks in a new home, puppy's encounters with snow and the school bag, puppy's duty to protect... What happens when puppy is full of good intentions, yet his actions go wrong?
Enjoy the stories and laugh with your little one.
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April: When a Puppy Is Born….
A little whimper, a lot of love.
Sleeping tight, drinking milk;
A bitsy tongue to taste the world,
A brand new puppy has been born
A toy, so small, with fur of silk.
A tiny ear; to flick and hear.
A tiny heart that beats so fast.
A mother’s cuddle is all he needs.
Hush, little puppy, sleep and dream
Of milk, your brothers and lots of love.
And games to play, places to explore,
Your life’s ahead of you, hush now.
And puppy sleeps and sucks and dreams,
He listens NOW, for one last time.
Soon he’ll explore his brand new life
And only listen when… fast asleep.
Why do we love the puppy so?
Because he’s soft and smells so sweet?
Because he trusts us so complete?
Puppies are miracles with fur.
Puppies are promise of new life,
They bring us laughter, they don’t bear grudge.
Puppies are perfect balls with tails,
Puppies love life and don’t ask much.
Train. Fight. Repeat.
That's been Princeton "The Prince" Lattimore's life for as long as he can remember. But when an interruption to his heavyweight champion world comes in the form of an alluring journalist who sees well beyond his undefeated stature, he quickly learns there’s a lot more to life outside of the boxing ring.
Write. Submit. Repeat.
As a budding journalist, Bella Stevenson is determined to solidify her place as one of the best writers in the game. But when she’s assigned to cover a boxing match – a sport she knows nothing about – she realizes that it’s going to take a lot more than just a good write-up to do so. And once chasing a good story turns into meeting the man of her wildest imagination, her world is quickly turned upside down in more ways than one.
Falling for each other proves to be an easy feat. But going the distance becomes the biggest challenge either of them has faced, especially as Princeton discovers who’s really in his corner…
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Ambiance – Loving her husband, building her brand, and being there for her girls are the only things that matter to her. But she’s quickly learning that her love is not enough to build a strong, stable marriage. Surrounded by family, friends and business constituents should be enough; yet, she’s all alone. When her love isn’t enough to suffice her husband’s needs, Ambiance considers stepping beyond the vows and taking matters into her own hands. The tragic results will have her running into the arms of the Lord.
Naomi – As a teen she made the decision to be a single mother. Choosing to build her life around her daughter has molded and shaped all the decisions she has made until now. Her relationship with her daughter is highly valued and nothing can shake it, not even her daughter’s attempts to grow up. But when her daughter’s so-called “deceased” father comes back, Naomi’s carefully constructed world may begin to crumble. Her efforts to protect her child may be the one thing that pushes her away, and she must decide if she will open herself up to love again.
Paige- running from her inner demons she struggles to build a life vastly different than her mother and aunt’s. With a mindset of use or be used, she takes the concept of “love ‘em and leave ‘em” to a new level, and her promiscuous lifestyle is a cause of concern for all those who love her. She doesn’t care whose heart she’s breaking or whose life she’s ruining, it’s all about her. Until it no longer is.
Three women are on a journey of self-discovery, as they deal with the fallout from choices made from emotion rather than self-awareness.
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Married, mother of none. Diva of the fashion consulting world! Personal shopper at Vanilla Rose Boutique and owner of Bleu Diamante Fashions, guaranteed to put your style on top. One hundred seventy pounds of mocha chocolate rolled into five feet and eight inches of woman. Wife of Eric Caldwell, daughter to Alexis (my step-mom) and my father, Jerry Richardson, best friend of Naomi Blankenship and Paige Dougherty. Those were the words most people would use to describe me.
But if I were to take out a personal ad, the description would sound more like: emotional, lonely, unloved, desperate thirty-two-year-old woman seeking, no, scratch that…maybe not seeking, but craving, yeah, that was more like it, craving personal attention. Yep, that’s me, Ambiance Lorraine Caldwell. And this is my story…
I stepped out of Naomi’s car and went to the trunk to remove my bags. While waiting for our friends, Jon and Sharon, to return to the vehicle, I decided to show Naomi what I had purchased in the market earlier. It was taking Jon and Sharon a while to come back with their lunch. Naomi was sitting in her new, navy blue Mustang trying out the Pandora radio feature. She was proud of the features and the horses it sported underneath the engine.
We were parked close to a nice, charcoal sports car. Just as I tried to open the back door and swing my big behind in, I accidentally bumped Naomi’s car door against the sports car.
Oops. I looked to make sure I hadn’t dented either one. Assured that I hadn’t, I closed the door back and decided to get into the front seat instead. When we first arrived, Naomi had pulled in forward. The car next to us was parked in reverse. The sports car’s passenger side mirror and Naomi’s car door were making it complicated for me to squeeze my booty in.
Just as I prepared to slip inside the front passenger door, the driver’s side door of the other car opened and a gentleman stepped out. Uh-oh. My heart began thudding, I knew he was coming to check the damage to his car. I was ready with attitude to check him and let him know there was nothing scratched on his precious vehicle. One day I would have a new, beautiful car to be protective over the way Naomi was about hers and the way I was sure this gentleman was about to be. Not that I shouldn’t have had a newer model car to be proud of, but finances didn’t allow it at the moment. But that was another story.
“Excuse me, ma’am.”
“Yes?” I questioned, turning around. He was dark-skinned and appeared to be six-foot-three. He smiled a crooked, beautiful white smile at me. I looked at the patio situated just above where we were parked. There was a group of young college students sitting up there who were about to witness me getting checked. I decided to forgo the attitude I planned to toss his way and come humbly, not wanting to create a scene. I was too grown for all this attitude mess anyway, and I definitely didn’t want anyone to witness my impending humiliation. I peeped down into the car, and Naomi was still consumed with her new sound system.
“I noticed you when you were standing at the back of the trunk. You’re a beautiful woman, and I just wanted to see if you would be interested in exchanging names and numbers.”
Huh? That wasn’t what I was expecting. Was he for real? I was not looking my best today. My long, thick hair was a bit frizzy from the July heat. My waves were not popping.
“Well, I don’t think so.”
“I’m not looking to get involved with anyone.”
“We can just be friends. I really would like to get to know you. I mean, I’ve been sitting in my car for a moment checking you out. It was something about you that captured my attention when you were at the trunk. And no, it wasn’t when you hit my car,” he mentioned with a laugh, after noticing my eyes growing wide.
“Sorry about that,” I mumbled in embarrassment.
“No worries. Here, just take down my number, think about it, and if you feel cool, give me a call. Just friends, nothing more. I promise.”
I looked down at my phone and contemplated. Friends? Uh-uh, I couldn’t do it.
“No, I don’t think so. But I’m really complimented by the attention,” I replied.
“Well, can you just take my business card? My name’s Nick, by the way. Can I at least know yours?” he asked, handing me his card, which I promptly slipped into my pocket. I would toss it in the trash can later. I didn’t want to be rude.
“Hmm, Ambiance, I like that. It fits a beautiful, mocha woman such as yourself. I hope you change your mind,” he said in a rich, deep bass voice.
Looking into his slanted, dark-colored eyes was like looking into a pool of sin. I could tell with his one gaze what he wanted to do to me. Yes, I knew I needed to end this conversation quickly. He looked like the devil in a suit. I wasn’t interested in getting involved, but I wasn’t blind, either. I would be foolish if I tried to deny that I found him very attractive.
His sexy voice and fine body, and just the way he looked at me, let me know it wouldn’t be nothing like a friendship. No, he definitely wanted more.
“Have a great day, beautiful,” he said by way of goodbye. He touched my wrist lightly, and I felt my heart flutter.
It made me think of all the things I had been desiring but could not find in my life. Any man who had the power to awaken every sensual nature of my innermost being at just the touch of my wrist was no good for me.
I waved goodbye to him and turned back to the car. Jon and Sharon chose that moment to walk up with their bags in hand. We were headed back to the office park they worked in. Jon and Sharon worked in the Imperial building with Naomi. I worked in a little boutique across the street from the office park. Because it was such a beautiful day for a luncheon, we had decided to eat at a little park near our workplace. They were chit-chatting a hundred miles a minute.
We had all shared lunch time whenever we could for the last three years. Jon and Sharon worked together at the same consulting firm. They had met Naomi when their office building had an after-hours soiree for the Christmas holiday one year. Naomi and I? We went way back, like high school way back. And she had introduced me to the two of them.
They hopped into the car, and I took over the front seat where Jon had previously been sitting.
“Ambiance, who was that fine chocolate specimen you were talking to?” Jon asked, turning to stare out the car as it peeled out of the parking lot.
“Some guy talking about a business deal. He was giving me information from his business card about an upcoming seminar in real estate. Nothing much, nothing I’m interested in,” I lied.
“Hmph, looks like he was definitely interested the way he was eyeing you and kept looking back over his shoulder after he walked off,” Sharon stated.
“Whatever. Come on, Naomi. You ready to roll?”
“Yeah, girl,” she stated, putting her car in reverse.
“It’s cool, girl, you can keep it real with us, you know,” Jon stated.
“Yeah, Ambiance. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with having male friends. After all, Jon’s our friend,” Sharon stated.
“That’s different, and y’all know it. Jon is gay, and he isn’t interested in getting with any of us intimately. Sharon and Jon, you two are the devil. Don’t be encouraging her to get mixed up in foolishness. Plus, Ambiance is married, and I’m sure the man isn’t interested in being friends with you and your husband,” Naomi chided, looking at me.
My stomach turned at the mention of my marriage. I had no business being attracted to him, or did I?
Jack Gard and Catlyn Lyte become friends in high school. Although he cares for Catlyn, Jack refuses to get into a relationship with Catlyn, due to her age. Then Catlyn is raped and her world is torn apart when Jack sides with his best friend. Devastated, Catlyn flees Newburgh, NY.
25 years later, someone is raping and killing young black females in Jack Gard, Chief of Detectives' hometown. Working against an escalating killer, Jack requests help from a special division of the FBI.
Enter Supervisory Special Agent Catlyn Lyte. She has always done her job well but is wary of working with someone she doesn't trust. Sparks fly between the two officials as Catlyn puts herself in the path of their quarry.
Can two ex-friends bury their differences to solve not only the mystery of the Newburgh Slasher, but also the one that ruined their budding romance 25 years ago?
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