"I gave you fifteen years, two kids, and my everything. You still chose to give a woman you barely knew the ring, the house, and my happily ever after." Bitter? Of course Dallas was bitter. She sacrificed her all for a man. How was she supposed to move on and appreciate the love of a real man after that? Trenton Smith is definitely a real man. However, she's making it hard for him not to pay for the mistakes of her ex and for some strange reason, he's determined more than ever to prove to her that all men aren't the same.
Sasha hasn’t wanted anything more in life than to have a baby with her fiancée, Hunt. However, after years of trying to reproduce, she’s finally coming to the conclusion that having a baby just may not be in the cards for her. Her infertility causes her to question her womanhood and sends her into a fit of depression. But, when she begins to find comfort in the arms of another man, it has her questioning her reality.
Candace is the proud owner of a very successful jazzercise class business. After dating the momma’s boy, the thug, and her favorite, the tired negro with good sex and no money, she finally finds her knight in shining armor. Things are going good… until she discovers the roommate he conveniently failed to mention. When Sasha's brother, Diego, decides to help mend her heart, she discovers that her soulmate may have been right under her nose the entire time.
Love All Over Me is a flirty, feel-good novel that takes you on a journey of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery. These ladies send you on an emotional high and hold you hostage until the very last page..
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“Listen, are you coming to get the kids or not, Messiah?” Dallas grumbled, rolling her eyes at the sound of his voice. The mere thought of him caused her to cringe these days.
“Didn’t I say I was? Why you got to have an attitude every time I call. Bitter ain’t cute on you.”
Bitter? Dallas had to repeat those words in her head. She couldn’t believe his audacity. “You know what? Not today Satan. I will not let you take me out of my element. Bye asshole.” She ended the call before he could respond. Bitter? Hell yes, she was bitter and she had every right to be.
Fifteen years was a long time to love a man. Dallas Avery had invested everything in him. She gave up her dreams and sacrificed her own happiness to make sure that their relationship would end with the fairytale she’d imagined. She gave him the whole got damned cow and he still chose to marry another woman.
A frown tipped the corners of her lips as she thought about Messiah, her sperm donor. Sorry ass nigga, she grumbled, snatching a bronze dress from the clothing rack, giving it a once over, then hanging it back in place. Of course, their relationship wasn’t perfect, but whose was? Instead of trying to fix it, he found some young hoe that probably still had milk behind her ears and called himself replacing her. Just the thought made Dallas' stomach turn.
She may have accepted their break-up a little better if he'd ended things and let her be. However, somehow, he still found his way back to her bed every chance he got, stirring up emotions that she was desperately trying to rid herself of. How could she get over him when the familiarity of his touch still sent a shiver up her spine and shot her spiraling on an euphoric high?
Messiah was her drug and she was addicted to him. But just like every other high, it eventually wore off, bringing forth the sobering truth. He left her bed to go home to his fiancée while she hugged a pillow, wishing it was him.
She let out a sigh, thumbing through another rack of expensive dresses at Swank A Posh clothing boutique. Messiah's wedding to his young hoe was quickly approaching and Dallas was toying with the idea of crashing the ceremony and opening Pandora's box. They didn’t get to have their happily ever after while she sat in her room crying herself to sleep every other night. She was tired of being the bigger person when it was obvious that no one gave a damn about her feelings.
Mary J. Blige's Not Gon Cry had been on repeat on Dallas' playlist for the past three months. When Mary said “I should have left yo' ass a thousand times,” Dallas felt that in her soul. She wished she had left him the very first time he broke her heart. Now, he had her questioning why she wasn’t woman enough to keep her man. She had to pretend that she had everything together and put on the facade of the perfect mother, when the truth was, she was salty. She resented Messiah just as much as she loved him.
Dallas tried her best to push him from her thoughts as she scanned the price tag connected to the sleeves of a gorgeous, peach mermaid-style gown. Her brows creased. "Eight hundred dollars?" she mumbled, analyzing the dress again, attempting to tell herself that it wasn’t all that. But, being honest with herself, she knew she’d kill the game in it. Her body had always been stacked in all the right places.
She studied the price tag again, calculating which bill she could skip to pay for the piece. Messiah Jr.'s basketball camp money was due, the light bill needed to be paid, and Mr. Thomas had already given her an extension on the car loan. Her lips formed a pout. “Here I am robbing Peter to pay Paul while your stankin' ass is out living your best life. And you got the nerve to call me bitter?” She sucked her teeth slamming the dress back into its rightful place.
“Dang, what did that dress do to you? I think it would look fly on you.” A deep baritone massaged Dallas’s eardrums. His warm breath and the feeling of his presence sent a chill up her spine. She jumped, before focusing on him. Damn, he was fine.
Dallas snorted. “Not for eight hundred dollars. It better turn me into Beyoncé for that price.”
“Beyoncé is overrated. You're not giving yourself enough credit,” he added charmingly.
Was he flirting? Dallas took a second to scan him. He was so smooth… and handsome. His chocolate six-foot-two-inch frame was muscular, broad shoulders held up his blazer, a fresh cut had his waves spinning and he had thick kiss-me lips. Then, he had the nerve to be dressed GQ in a three-piece suit and a pair of wing-tipped Ferragamos. She knew what they were because Messiah had those same shoes. They’d actually argued over them. However, she couldn’t remember Messiah looking that good in them.
“Thanks,” Dallas muttered, tucking a stray strand of her chestnut hair behind her ear. Her gaze landed on the watch on her wrist, causing her eyes to bulge. She only had seven minutes to get back over to the office. She’d spent more time than she’d intended at the boutique.
“Dallas, right?” He smiled, pointing at her name badge. “I saw you walk in and couldn’t let you go without telling you how pretty you are.”
Her cheeks stained red. She couldn’t remember the last time she received a simple compliment. She actually didn’t know how to take it. Her lips formed a pout. “Thank you, but I’m not interested.” Dallas responded, studying the dress again, then focusing back on the stranger.
“Not interested in what? I never made any offers.” He corrected her.
Dallas rolled her eyes. She didn’t know why she was giving the man such a hard time. She couldn’t help it. Messiah left a sour taste in her mouth, and the poor stranger was the easiest to take it out on. “Whatever, I have to go.” She spat, stepping around him and making her way toward the exit.
“You still beautiful. Mean and all.” Dallas heard him. The half smile that crept on her face showcased the dimple on her left cheek. She didn’t want to be angry anymore. She didn’t want to cry over Messiah another night. Why was she finding it so hard to move on? After dealing with Messiah's no-good, cheating ass, dating another man was last on her agenda. He had really done a number on her. They'd been officially broken up for ten months, him engaged three, and she still hadn't opened herself up to dating again.
"Damnit, Messiah Jr., what did I tell you about leaving this ball in the middle of my floor? And why are your clothes spread all over my living room?" Dallas squalled, bracing herself from falling onto her face. She exhaled, sucking in a deep breath, attempting to calm her nerves.
Dallas loved her kids, deeply, she really did. However, she needed a mental break; mommy time with margaritas and girl talk or a night filled with hot, dirty, and disrespectful sex accompanied by a tall, sexy, chocolate brother with a nice body and… No, she had to stop herself while she was ahead. Having random sex wasn’t exactly her style.
"Sorry, Ma. My dad coming to get us today and he wanted us to dress nice. I was going to ask you which one you wanted me to wear," Messiah Jr. explained, snatching his basketball up and shooting at an imaginary rim. "We're going to dinner with that girl's family. I don't want to meet them, but Dad said I have to." His peanut butter face formed a pout. Messiah Jr. was so handsome. He was the perfect mixture of both parents, from his charcoal-black curly hair inherited through Dallas, to his brown eyes and full nose taken from his father.
Dallas stifled a giggle. "Don't call her that girl. She has a name. And don't be like that, son. She's your family now." Damn, it was hard being the bigger person. It nearly killed Dallas, but she promised herself to never talk down on their situation no matter how much it hurt.
"That's not my family! You're my family, Mom. I'll make a mistake and knock all the drinks on her dress if you want me to." He snickered deviously, causing Dallas to chortle.
"Messiah!" Dallas covered her mouth, unable to hold in her laughter. "It's okay this time, baby. I'll let you know when I need your backup," she added, nudging him and ruffling his curls.
The doorbell chimed before Messiah Jr. could respond. He tossed his basketball in the corner and raced toward the stairs. "That's Dad. I'll go get Meghan so y'all can talk." He made googly eyes at Dallas as he passed her, causing her to shake her head. Her son was a complete character. He wanted them to get back together so badly. It was almost as if he didn't understand that it was over. Their happy family was torn apart because his father decided to marry his mistress, his whore, his homewrecker. Dallas could think of quite a few more names she could have called the girl but she was trying not to let those ill thoughts consume her.
Dallas let out a husky breath of air, watching her son disappear. Was she ready to come face-to-face with Messiah? No. He'd just broken the news of his engagement and instantaneous wedding, demanding that their children participate as the official flower girl and groomsman. He hadn't even given the wound time to heal, yet here he was showing up at her doorstep, forcing her to suck it up. She always had to just suck it up no matter what it was.
Releasing another husky breath, Dallas tried her best to relax her nerves. It was just Messiah, right? The same tired nigga that went out and proposed to some hoe that he’d only known for months, although she had given him nearly fifteen years.
Fifteen years? Reciting that number almost made her lose her breath. She had given him the whole cow, milked it for him, and his ungrateful ass still went out and got him another woman. She gave him the best years of her life, she gave him his children, sacrificing her freedom, and he simply said fuck her.
Dallas wanted to hate him but she couldn’t. She just wanted to know why. That question kept repeating in her head. Why would he shoot a bullet right through her heart like that?
Biting into her bottom lip, Dallas swung the door open and smoothed the wrinkles out of her top, an attempt to calm her nerves. Standing before her with his hands shoved in his black slacks, the top two buttons of his shirt unhooked, and his tie loosened, Messiah was perfect.
Dallas loved him, that was something she gave up trying to deny. She didn’t understand how she could love a man with every fiber in her being and hate him just as much. She had to use all the strength she could muster not to break down at the reality of her broken forever standing in her face.
“Hey, Dally. Are the kids ready?” He pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied his watch. “We have an hour to make it to the restaurant. Tatiana’s people gets to acting stupid and I’m not trying to hear it.”
Dallas’s face contorted into the sourest frown. “I don’t give a damn what her family do.” She spat, pointing her finger at his chest. “You know, you’re really an inconsiderate asshole, Messiah. Wait here, I’ll send the kids out shortly.” She rolled her eyes, fighting to hold back those tears that were on the verge of escaping without her permission. She had shed far too many tears over him. He didn’t deserve anymore of them.
Messiah frowned. “Damn, I can’t come in the house now? I paid for the motherfucka and I left it to you, might I add. If I was an asshole, I would have taken it back.”
If looks could kill, the mug on Dallas’s face would have sent Messiah to an early grave. She could only shake her head at him. He really didn’t have a clue. “No, you’re still an asshole. You don’t get points for not putting your kids on the street being that you’re the one who walked away to be with your mistress.”
“Come on, Dallas,” Messiah groaned, raking a hand across his freshly shaved face. “It’s been ten months, how long are you going to keep bringing Tatiana up? It’s getting old.”
“How dare you cheat on me and decide when I’m supposed to stop hurting? So, fifteen years meant nothing to you? Huh? I did everything you asked of me, Messiah. I gave you a part of me that no one else had, and this random broad comes along and gets the ring, the horse, and the carriage? Don’t you dare tell me how to feel about that!” Dallas’s lips were clenched so tightly that she was barely able to get the words out. Her heart began to thump hard and fast. The uneasy feeling that settled in her gut almost made her nauseous.
Dallas thought about the little girl that he was supposed to marry. That’s what she was to her, a kid. At twenty-three, she couldn’t possibly have anything going for herself except a wet ass. Dallas had debated many nights on what the girl had over her that made Messiah propose. She beat herself up trying to figure out what she was doing wrong and how she could fix it. Sadly, after everything he’d put her through, a part of her was hoping that he’d realize the mistake he was making, apologize for her pain, and they’d live happily ever after. That’s what made her sick… the fact that she was willing to take him back. She was weak and she prayed for the strength to get over his sorry ass.
“Listen, Dallas,” Messiah started, jarring her from her mental debate, as he cupped her elbow to make her pay attention to him. He ignored the grim look plastered across her face and continued with his words. “You know I’ll always have love for you and my children. Me marrying Tatiana will never change that.” He bit down on his bottom lip. “But in the future, demand what you want out of a man. Because I, or shall I say he, will only do what you allow him to do. I didn’t want a maid, I wanted a partner, Dallas.”
Before Dallas could process her actions, her hand landed across Messiah’s cheek. She slapped him so hard that the sound echoed through the house. “Get out!” Dallas screamed, pointing toward the door. “Get the hell out of my house and wait for your children in the car. Go, Messiah!” Her voice was shaky and a little too loud for her comfort, especially with the kids being in the house. But how could Messiah not see that he was breaking her? She felt like his personal prisoner and he’d given her a life sentence. She pretended to be strong for far too long. She couldn’t do it anymore. She just couldn’t.
In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property.
At the same time she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.
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Author S.D. Moore is pleased to announce that her book, Before We Were Perfect, has been adapted into an award winning screenplay titled Perfectly Normal in Flagstaff. The screenplay won Best Feature Script in the 2018 Top Indie Film Awards and a 2018 Silver Screen award in the Nevada International Film Festival.
Inspired by true events; Before We Were Perfect is a dramatic comedy about the Havreaux family and their ragin' Cajun uncle. Julz Havreaux is a beautiful young woman with imperfections who meets an imperfect handsome wounded warrior turned writer. Through comedic mishaps and drama, they discover that in spite of their imperfections they are perfect together. Contains adult themes, intense drama, sensuality, humor and love.
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Nasir Valentine has one thing on his mind: winning a championship title in his first year as head coach of the boys basketball team. But when his team captain’s father is murdered just before the start of the season, he quickly learns coaching high school basketball in the inner city is a lot more than just drawing numbers and arrows on a dry erase board.
Struck by the tragedy of her father’s murder, Carmen Wellington is faced with the tough decision of keeping her life away from home or coming back to her hometown to support her little brother through his senior year of high school. It’s a decision that will change her life in more ways than one, especially with her brother’s handsome basketball coach in the picture.
Carmen is supposed to be focused on what’s best for her and her family. Nasir is supposed to be focused on what’s best for him and his team. But with those two worlds colliding and an undeniable attraction developing because of it, the two can only hope for more wins than losses...
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After ending a relationship that left her emotionally and physically scarred, Ivy is ready to start fresh by taking a break from relationships and focusing on herself. While avoiding love and relationships she finds comfort in an unlikely place. Her new work assignment may put a wrench in her plans to avoid love.
Career driven and workaholic Grant has been under his dad wings since high school preparing to take over the family business. Now that he has become CEO he is determined to expand the company to every major city. His new contract has him focusing less on work and more on love. Never one to shy away from a challenge Grant is instantly attracted to Ivy and will stop at nothing to be with her.
Will Ivy open her heart and take a chance on love again or will she continue to keep her heart closed off?
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I looked at my phone. Another missed call from my mother. I was racing home from a hotel I reserved for the weekend. I needed a getaway from my life. It was spiraling out of control. I was becoming a prisoner of love. I couldn’t take it anymore. I parked I front of my apartment building and exhaled. I needed to take a hot shower and relax before answering the in answers calls from my parents. I have been keeping this secret from them long enough. Now was the right time to expose the lie I was living.
I opened my front door and dropped my keys on my kitchen counter. I turned on the light in my living room and there sat Kingston. I quickly tried to make a break for the front door but I wasn’t fast enough. He grabbed me by my arm and threw me over to my couch.
“Where were you?” He asked. I could tell he was upset. His nostrils flared as we waited for my answer. The longer I took the more upset he got. He balled his fists up and punched the wall behind me. “ANSWER ME!” He yelled.
“I needed to get away and clear my head. A lot has been going on with us lately.” I struggled to get my sentence out before he started to choke me. He was choking me so hard I turned purple in the face.
“Get away? Clear your head? You aren’t going anywhere. You will never find another man to love you the way I have! You hear me Ivy?! No one!” his voice bounced off the walls of my one bedroom apartment. I felt his bare hand come across my face and I couldn’t help but ask why I allowed this to go on for so long. It has been six years of mental and physical abuse.
I loved Kingston with all my heart. He was my first love. Since I was 18 he was the only consistent thing going in my life. At first he was my knight in shining armor then he changed. I always kept hope that he would one day become the man I originally fell in love with but I now see that isn’t going to happen.
He just recently graduated from college and felt it was time to take our relationship to the next level and move in together. I was slowly coming to terms that our relationship would soon come to an end. I decided to leave for the weekend only telling my best friend, Autumn where I would be. He blew up my phone and my parents causing them to worry and question my whereabouts.
“Don’t you ever threaten or try to leave me again. Now get up we are going to my house.” He ordered as he threw my jacket towards me.
“No” I said holding my neck. “I am not going anywhere with you. We are done. Leave before I call the police.” I yelled. I had reached my breaking point. No man should ever put his hands on a woman that isn’t love at all. I had to cover bruises causing me to miss work and ghost on my family. I was constantly looking over my shoulder whenever I was out because Kingston would pop up on me whenever he pleased. I was tired of living like a prisoner. I am young and I have so much life to live. Kingston snatched me by my neck and slammed me against the wall.
“You aren’t going anywhere.” He said through gritted teeth. Tears began to fall from my eyes. He threw me on the floor and began to kick me in my stomach repeatedly. All I did was lay there and cry until I couldn’t feel or think anymore. I kept telling myself this will be all over soon…
Life has a way of going awry when you least expect it, and Khalila Skyers learns this lesson the hard way. In one devastating blow after another, she loses her cosy existence. Then Douglas Blythe overtakes her life like a flood, and she's not equipped to deal with an attraction that seems forbidden and overwhelming. But her body and heart want what they want, and leave her wondering if she ever knew herself at all.
Douglas is determined to help Khalila move beyond her obsession with the past and reach for love a second time. No matter how long it takes. No matter the distance. He’s going to prove he's worth the risk.
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Douglas stared me down until I wanted to look away from his gaze that seemed to cut to the deepest part of me. When he lifted my hand off the table, I relaxed despite the tremor snaking up my arm.
Using his thumb, he stroked my skin while he spoke. “Look, we know next to nothing about each other, but don’t presume to tell me what I want. I’m capable of making up my mind on my own.”
I was a little of everything—embarrassed, confused, speechless. How could he be so sure I was what he wanted? No matter what he thought, I had too much going on to be adding a relationship to the list.
“What are you afraid of, Khalila?”
My name on his tongue was a caress that scattered my thoughts.
“It’s not that I’m afraid of anything.” I pulled my hand out of his and drank the rest of the water while gathering my thoughts. “My divorce isn’t final yet and…”
My mind settled on Amir, who I didn’t want to think about now. Softly, I sighed. “It’s too early to be thinking about a relationship with anybody.”
“We’ve gone way past the point of thinking about what’s happening between us. I’m not asking you to marry me, but I’m interested in you.” His voice softened and I had to concentrate to hear his words. “Give me the chance to show you that what we did wasn’t only about sex.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I held my silence.
His gaze was analytical and he didn’t seem to expect a response. The longer he looked at me, the more my heart rate accelerated. It was ridiculous that at my age any man could get this kind of response from me.
“I hope that wasn’t all it was for you,” he said.
It took me a few seconds to catch up with him, but I didn’t answer. I was too busy trying not to squirm at the image of him on top of me in his bed.
After reading his watch, Douglas smiled. Why, I didn’t know, but it was a genuine gesture that made me want to respond in the same way.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
Nodding, I got out of my seat.
Douglas didn’t crowd me, but let me walk ahead of him. As I wove through the tables, I greeted a few members of the working team, who would also be leaving the hotel today.
Once we were out of the restaurant, Douglas touched my arm and directed me toward the elevator.
“Aren’t you leaving today?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m just making sure you get to where you’re going.”
Putting a smile in my voice, I said, “I’m not likely to get lost on my way upstairs.”
“I didn’t think so.” He laughed and eased both hands into the pockets of his shorts. “I’m simply doing what any decent man would do.”
My cheeky grin conveyed gratefulness and understanding. “Carry on, then.”
He nodded and in silence, we walked to the elevator. When it was a few floors away, he faced me. “I want to ask one favor of you.”
“Answer your phone when I call, okay?”
He stepped in close, kissed my cheek and then brushed his lips across mine.
I sucked in my breath and opened my mouth, wanting more of him, but he stepped back.
The elevator opened and he urged me forward with a gentle hand to my back.
I walked inside, asking myself what kind of game Douglas was playing. Why would he start something he couldn’t finish, not to mention leave me hot and bothered?
As the doors closed, our gazes locked and I swore that man knew exactly what he was doing and the state he’d left me in.
A British composer turns outlaw in Los Angeles in Turn On, Tune Out. Angelica Morgan flouts a computer law that cripples creativity. In L.A., Angelica finds an audience, love, and a passion to stop the insidious law from taking hold in Britain. In the near future of California, artists, who steal time off-line, are considered suspect, criminal, and dangerous.
Angelica’s friend, Rosetta, an outspoken painter, cautions the musician about the Stop, Look and Listen law. But Angelica dismisses the warning. . . .
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They say my music makes dogs howl, that it wakes the dead and hates the living. But I don’t hear it that way, and neither do my cohorts.
My music resonates the times. It echoes the world: today’s and tomorrow’s. It’s the year 2033. I don’t shut out reality with the gentle plucking of strings or the harmonic rhapsody of an orchestra. No pastoral symphony for me. The city floods into my art: the tripping of car alarms, the whooshing of cars, the wailing of fire engine sirens, the screeching of trucks, the whirring of police helicopters, and the booming of car stereos. These sounds grow the shell into which I drop those of the hearth: the ringing of the telephone, the droning of the television, the clicking of computer keys. These are my instruments along with the piano, the violin, and the rest of the orchestra.
Like a musical alchemist, I take ugly sounds and transmute them into art. I restore balance into a life from which it had escaped so long ago that there was no realization of its loss, much less desire for its return. Listeners find a way to make artistic sense out of our discordant lives.
I stand guilty of loving humanity, of caring enough for people that I will risk my freedom, of believing that we are the reflection of the Supreme Being so that the risk will not be so great. We have a short time on this earth, the wink of an eye, but life here is not all. We are likely to return again and again before we get it right.
Yet, the laws which threw me here into this cold, steel cell were not faith, hope and charity. They were bizarre codes of a skewed society, rules linked to electronic control of people. I didn’t follow them, not out of a spirit of rebellion, but because I led an alternative way of life. I didn’t fit in. I didn’t turn on and tune out.
Sometimes I listened to the quiet, which is never that. I’d lie on the carpeted floor of my beach town studio apartment, a bedsit, and listen to the seagulls. Or I’d gaze out the window, over the tops of trees. I lived in the penthouse of a two-story wooden shack, two apartments on each floor. Looking out swelled my heart with elation. I pretended to live in the country. Sometimes I read books, nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels, biographies of artists and composers who lived during a time when artists were not prohibitive, and I read travel tales about faraway places.
And always, each morning from four until eight, I wrote music.
I arranged my waking and dreaming hours around music, the heart of my life. I couldn’t squeeze in the daily four hours of screen-watching – television or computer – required by the state, not with the job I needed to pay rent and buy food, and the commuting from Long Beach to Century City on clogged Los Angeles freeways.
It’s my job that landed me here without music, except in my head, and without a view, except in my memory. Perhaps it’s unfair to blame my job. I could just as well blame people for allowing society to become what it has become, or music for seducing me, or my parents for conceiving me in April and giving birth to a free-thinking Aquarian. I could just as well blame myself.
What do you think? You be the judge.
Chance Washington only has a few things on his mind when he embarks on a trip back to his hometown. Completing the assignment for work that’s sending him there in the first place, helping his mom make progress on her fixer-upper home, and catching up with some of his best friends who he doesn’t get to see often enough. What is not a part of those plans is hooking up with one of his best friend’s little sister. But it doesn’t take long for him to realize that just because you walk into a game with a strategy, doesn’t always mean things are going to go as planned.
Londyn Miller isn’t looking for a relationship; a casual fling more her thing after blowing through the limited dating options in her hometown. But when a handsome – familiar - face returns to town for an extended stay, the decision to pursue him for a little fun is an easy one; as long as she’s sure not to let that fun turn into real feelings while also managing to keep it all from her overprotective big brother.
Just like Chance, Londyn quickly learns that plans and strategy can only get you so far before you’re forced to make in-game adjustments. And when those in-game adjustments evolve into something neither expected, it becomes a race for the finish line that Chance nor Londyn saw coming…
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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?