"As if sleeping with the enemy wasn't disastrous enough..."
For Camryn Cox, living a private, purpose-driven, drama-free life is a top priority. And in her opinion, Maverick Woods represents everything opposite of that.
He's social media-famous, ultra fine, and completely irresponsible, making him something like the enemy as far as Camryn is concerned. But everything changes when a surprise moment of passion between the two of them results in a positive pregnancy test.
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“Please leave before I strangle you.”
“Damn. Violence ain’t gotta always be the answer, mamas,” he laughed, making his way to the door before turning back to add, “And besides, if your hands are ever wrapped around my neck, it damn sure ain’t gonna be cause you’re tryna hurt me.”
It was out of pure reflex when I grabbed the closest thing within arms reach and launched it at him, a little bit tickled to watch Maverick dodge the item before he snapped, “Cam, what the fuck?! Were those scissors?”
I shrugged, smirking mischievously as I told him, “Had to make sure my violence didn’t get mistaken for anything else.”
“What if they would’ve stabbed me? Or hell, poked my damn eye out?” he whined. “I could’ve been patch-bound like Slick Rick for the gala fuckin’ around with you.”
The thought alone made me cackle, even more so when I realized, “Considering this old ass artist you booked for us, it would’ve been very onbrand.”
Chuckling a bit himself, Maverick stepped back inside of my office and insisted, “You hatin’ now, but I bet you dinner she’s gonna kill it.”
My eyebrow piqued at his wager. “As in, I’ll UberEats you a meal of choice if you’re right and vice versa? Cause dinner with you, even with you treating, is still not exactly a win.”
“It’s a lotta women out here who would pay good money to have dinner with me, Camryn,” he immediately defended. And while I couldn’t exactly disagree, I also knew where I stood about it, laughing to myself as I rose from behind my desk and replied, “Oh, I’m well aware. And something is truly wrong with them all.”
Instead of responding right away, he took a second to ogle my full look of the day, an outfit I was too stressed to put much time into this morning after waking up to the news about our performer needing to be replaced. But considering the way Maverick slowly scraped his teeth against his bottom lip while sizing me up, you would’ve thought I had on nothing at all. And I was mad at myself for warming up a little in response to his gaze as he finally agreed, “Fine. UberEats then since you can’t even stand to break bread wit’ a nigga.”
Again, I laughed. “Oh my God, why are you acting so butthurt? I mean, do you really think I wanna be the first girl you’re seen out with after your breakup, even platonically? You tryna have the Banksy Boos coming after me too?”
“They ain’t even that bad,” he insisted with a shrug like Lillian’s fan club hadn’t been harassing his ass all over social media since the breakup and like he hadn’t already done something in an attempt to contain some of the harassment.
I had that to lean on when I pointed to the phone in his hand while replying, “Open your newly-private Instagram and tell me that lie again.”
“Aight, so maybe they are wildin’ a little bit,” he admitted. “But I didn’t say dinner had to be at a public place.”
“I know. It’ll be in the privacy of my apartment where I’ll devour fifty dollars worth of some good eats on your dime while binging old episodes of The Bernie Mac Show, alone.”
The way he frowned in response, I assumed he was offended by my desire to exclude him from my plans. But to my surprise, it was… “Fifty dollars? I mean, I know those little convenience fees and shit add up, but damn.”
“All that ballin’ you do for the ‘gram and you’re trippin’ over fifty bucks?” I asked amusedly, crossing my arms over my chest as he answered, “Nah, but you might be when you’re wrong and gotta spend that same amount on me. I know my mama pays you well, but…”
Before he could finish, I cut him off with a gentle shove towards the door. “I’ll see you Saturday at the gala, Maverick.”
“Looking forward to it, Camryn,” he replied with a wink that had my dimples threatening to make an appearance until I saw my boss lurking nearby, sending me on a not at all obvious dash back to my desk as Maverick told her, “Let me know if y’all need anything else, Auntie J.”
With a kiss to her cheek, he disappeared to wherever as she curled into my office. And while I tried my best to make it look like I was working, I assumed Janet was getting ready to call my bluff once she started, “Patiently waiting on the day you two stop playing and get together already.”
Wait a minute… huh?
My face went tight with confusion when I asked, “What two? Me and Maverick?”
Her enthusiastic nod in response made me snort a laugh that turned into much more as I told her, “Oh, Janet. I’m so sorry, but you’ll have to ship us in your dreams cause there is no way in hell I’d ever date that man.”
Like I was being ridiculous, she frowned while asking, “Why not? My nephew is cute!”
This time, it was me nodding as I continued to giggle and agreed, “He is cute. Very cute, and equally annoying.”
“He’s only like that cause he likes you,” Janet reasoned with a grin, though her explanation really only gave more fuel to my giggles.
“What is this? Kindergarten? And why are you so convinced that Maverick likes me as if he wasn’t just in a very serious relationship with someone else a literal two days ago?”
Brushing that off as nothing, Janet insisted, “Lillian was cool and all, but she’s no you.”
Truthfully, I wasn’t in the business of comparison and had no shortage of confidence. But her statement made it way too easy for me to counter, “Tell the rest of America that, and they’ll laugh right in your face the same way I’ve been doing.”
That brought her frown back as I continued, “All of this is irrelevant anyway cause I don’t even like Maverick like that.”
I was stating it as a fact. But for whatever reason, Janet seemed just as sure when she replied, “Camryn, please. The only reason that boy gets under your skin the way he does is because you’re trying so hard not to like him.”
Her assumption felt like a Michael Jordan dunking in Space Jam kind of reach. I tolerated Maverick out of respect for his mother, respect for his family. We could share a room without me attacking him… for five minutes at a time. And maybe when I first started working for the foundation, I might’ve had an insta-crush since he was the kinda fine you only saw on the internet. But all of that stopped once I got to know him and his online persona that was so perfectly disappointing I couldn’t help but laugh as I told Janet, “Trust me, I don’t have to try at all. He makes himself very easy not to like.”
The magic of Potter Lake strikes again when Evonne Girard— cosmetologist and obsessed podcast fan meets Taj Wright— Registered Nurse and musician following a nasty fall in the parking lot at the Curl & Dye. There are jokes, there is flirting, lingering stares abound… but neither thinks they’ll see the other again any time soon.
When Evonne takes a step toward adulting and moves out of her parent’s home, she discovers that the cute house she’s renting belongs to the handsome, sexy nurse with the eyes she can’t forget. But she’s not in Potter Lake to meet a man. She’s on a mission to prove to her parents that she isn’t the failure that showed up on their doorstep ten years ago.
Taj is delighted to rent his guest house to the pretty, snappy former patient he can’t stop thinking about. Potter Lake was a place to run when his dream died, a haven to start over and give back what was given to him. When the opportunity to live that dream again rolls around, Taj isn’t sure that he wants it to come true.
Evonne and Taj are forced to live in close quarters during a severe storm and quickly become more than landlord and tenant. When the same storm drives them from Potter Lake to a beachside retreat, worlds collide.
One shared secret could change the trajectory of something beautiful. On a rainy night in Georgia, two hearts meet. They’re never the same again.
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Ebony followed closely behind me in the rental truck
while I drove the rest of my belongings in my car. I pulled
into the driveway and she parked behind me, then hopped
right out with her mouth wide open. I could understand her
reaction— the house was a beautiful stone stucco with huge
windows facing the street.
“This is what we’re doing now, Vonnie? This is how we
livin’? Started in the basement, now we here?”
“The owner said he left the key in the mailbox. Let’s grab
them and I’ll give you a tour.”
“Oh, he’s a he, is he?” Ebony followed. “He’s probably
rich, too with this big ass house. Living here all by his lonesome.
Have you met him?”
“Not yet. He’s a doctor or something so I’ll probably
never see him.”
I reached into the mailbox and felt hard metal. I pulled
out a set of keys and shook them in Ebony’s face. She
frowned and swatted them away.
“A doctor? If you don’t
snatch him up, I will.”
“The lease said the house was owned by some holding
company, so I don’t know his name.”
“I hope he’s nice. You know, not one of those thinks he’s
“Me too, considering he lives so close. As long as he stays
on his side of the property, we’ll be good.”
“Unless he’s cute, then he can be on all of the property, if
you know what I’m saying.”
I took the path along the outside of the house, toward
the front door. It was standard white metal, but it felt like
the entrance to freedom to me. I inserted the key in the
deadbolt and then the knob lock and swung the door open.
A scent hit my nose, something light and clean. After
walking around for a few minutes, I found the source: air
freshener plug-ins, the Clean Linen scent. A small bouquet
of bright yellow and white daisies sat on the kitchen counter
along with a brief note: Welcome Home. We’ll meet
I loved the friendly gesture. My landlord and I were
going to get along fine.
I set the note down and turned a full revolution, taking it
all in. Ebony walked through the place, swooning at everything
from the picture windows to the view of the backyard.
“Ooh, Vonnie! You can do your videos here!” She dipped
into an alcove space off of the kitchen. It was almost a room,
the perfect amount of space.
“Yeah, I thought that would be a good spot. I’m going
to get something to dress up the back wall. I’ll do those
open bookcases for products and display stands for my
wigs. I can mount the ring light on this wall,” I tapped the
wall nearest me. “And I’ll set up a shelf for the camera to
sit. I can edit the videos anywhere, so I’ll probably do
A rich tenor that I hoped wasn’t attached to someone
standing inside my place called into the house. I glanced at
Ebony, eyes wide. She bounded out of the alcove.
“Eb! Wait—” I wanted to grab her, in case it was a serial
killer who haunted small towns and kidnapped cute black
“Hey. We’re back here.” Brilliant, Eb. Tell him exactly
where to find us, chop us up and bury us in the backyard. “Who’s
Footsteps sounded on the tile just inside the door. “Hi.
I’m here for Evonne.”
I followed her around the corner. “Way to tell a stranger
exactly where we are, Ebony. You know that’s how that girl
got murdered on last week’s episode of The Butler Did It.”
My eyes sought out anything I could use for a weapon, if
I needed it. But then I realized that I wouldn’t. Need a
weapon, that was.
Because I knew the man standing in my kitchen. I could
never forget his soulful eyes, gorgeous dark skin, full lips…
and the blue scrubs that seemed cut to fit him specifically,
the way they stretched across his chest and cradled his arms
in such a nice way.
“Nurse Dude,” I finally said, when I could find my voice.
He was such a pleasant sight, considering that he was probably
not a serial killer.
“Nurse Dude? Miss Girard?” Ebony repeated, swiveling
her head from me to him and back. “You know him?”
“I-I-I…how... what...” I stuttered, then shook my head to
arrange my thoughts and cajole my mouth into forming a
complete sentence. “This is my new place. Do you live
“Yes, I’d say I live close.” He laughed, showing all of his
teeth. “I own the place. I left you the flowers and the note…
I snapped my fingers and pointed. “TW! Taj Wright,
“The one and the same,” he said, with a modest nod. “I
intended to be here when you pulled up. I don’t normally
work day shift, but I switched so I could be here. We had a
last minute walk-in and—”
He waved a hand, then tugged at the hem of his scrubs.
“So, welcome. Let me know if you have any questions. And
you’ll want to pull the moving truck into the driveway. It
sticks out into the street and the neighbors...”
He hummed, wagging his head side to side while rolling
his eyes. “I’m not leaving again tonight, so use my space.”
“Ebony?” I hinted, since she had the key to the truck, but
she stood there, her hands propped on her hips and her
chest pushed up and out. “Ebony! Go move the truck!”
“Oh, right!” She pulled the key from her pocket and
teetered out on her stilettos. “Be right back!”
I moved into the kitchen and leaned against the counter
in front of the dishwasher. The scent of the air freshener hit
me again and I realized that he had been inside my home. It
didn’t feel like a violation, considering the house belonged
to him. It was weird though, knowing that he had set things
up for me, bought flowers, wrote a note.
“So...” He mimicked, moving around the outside of the
kitchen, leaning a set of meaty forearms onto the counter,
muscular without hulking out like an NFL fullback.
Whew. I was going to be living mere feet from him? Look
“So...” I repeated, wishing I had a bottle of water because
my survey of him had me parched. “You didn't think you
should let me know that you, in fact, are TWM, LLC, the
holding company referenced on the lease? And that you
own this house and would be renting to me? And that it was
the same you that treated me at the clinic?”
He shrugged strong shoulders and smirked. “I put the
house under my LLC for tax and privacy purposes. And
there’s no law that says a nurse can’t rent a house to a former
patient. Speaking of—”
He straightened, stretching out his arm. “Let me
examine that cut. You didn’t come back to the clinic and let
me check it out.”
“Oh…” I clutched my still-tender hand to my chest. “No
need. It’s fine.”
“Then let me see it.”
“It’s okay. You did a fine job.”
“Then let me see it. Did it not heal okay?”
“Is this what it’s going to be like? You coming down here
to randomly check me for a fever?”
He laughed, dropping his hand. “Not at all. I take that
very seriously. I only came in tonight because the door was
open and someone was here to tell me to come in.”
“In the future, don’t do anything Ebony tells you to do.
She has ulterior motives. She plans to kidnap you and make
you her sex slave or Sugar Daddy.”
“Wait until you find out I’m only halfway kidding.”
He laughed again, so hard this time that the corners of
his eyes crinkled up. “So… well, I’ll let you unpack and get
settled. I came down to tell you about the truck. Would be a
terrible way to meet the neighborhood busy bodies.” He
moved toward the door, talking as he walked. “Let me know
if you have any questions. My cell phone number is on the
lease, so call any time.”
But suddenly I wasn’t ready for him to leave. “Hey, if you
want to check this,” I offered, waiving my injured hand in
the air. “For checking’s sake. It does still hurt.”
His brow furrowed. He came around the counter toward
me and immediately cupped my hand in his. He was warm
and his skin was soft. He’d been wearing gloves when he
“Any sharp pain? Like a stabbing feeling or throbbing?”
“More tender, not constant throbbing pain. But if I press
on it—” I did so, then flinched, sucking in air through my
“Well, then don’t do that.”
He peeled back the bandage and inspected the progress.
“Hmmm. It shouldn’t be this red, but it could be irritated by
using the hand a lot. Try to give it a rest tonight and leave
the bandage off. Let it breathe. Let’s see how it looks tomorrow.
It seems to have closed up fine.”
“You think I’ll have a scar?”
He peered closer, tipping his head one way and then the
other. “Hard to tell. Why?”
“They’re often on camera, so—”
“Camera?” His eyes rolled up, meeting mine. “Will you
be shooting any low budget films?”
I laughed, yanking my hand back from his grasp. Then
regretted doing so, not from the twinge of pain but because
he was so warm. “I have a web channel. Hair by E. I do
beauty and hair reviews and stuff. Aside from that, I need to
be able to use both of my hands at the salon.”
“You should be fine, Miss Girard. But let me know if you
need a referral to a plastic surgeon.” A beautiful brown,
lushly lashed eye winked at me.
“See, there you go. Giving me shit.”
He laughed. “You make it so easy.”
“If y'all are done flirting,” Ebony interrupted, a large box
labeled WIGS, 1 of 4 in her arms. She didn’t seem amused at
how close Taj stood to me or how friendly we seemed to be
toward each other. “We need to unload that truck so I can
return it tonight. I’m not letting my car sit at the rental place
“I’ll let you get to it. Holler if you need anything.” Taj
sauntered out of the kitchen and out of the front door,
pulling it closed behind him.
I made a half turn, trying to decide where to start. “That
box is wigs, so let’s start a stack along that wall.” I pointed
toward the hallway leading to the alcove. Ebony smirked,
slowly sauntered past me and set the box down, then
pushed it against the wall.
Then she turned to me, a hand propped on one hip.
“Don’t start, Eb. I’m going to grab some boxes. Did
Daddy put his dolly in the truck?”
“Nuh uh, Vonnie.” Stubborn, she folded her arms across
her chest and planted her stance, her head tipped to the
side. “You weren’t going to tell me about the super cute
chocolate nurse with the face and the arms and the chest
and the eyes and shit? And how he lives next door?”
“He was my nurse at the clinic the night I fell, Ebony. He
bandaged my cut, that’s all.”
“Had to be more than that. Y’all got nicknames for each
other. Miss Girard.”
I rolled my eyes to the ceiling, noting the beautiful, hand
cut wooden fan for the first time. The design details in the
house were impressive. “I flipped him shit. He flipped it
back. He happens to own this house, which I told you I
didn’t know when I rented it. Can we unload this truck
“Fine. But expect me to be out here visiting a lot. I might
need a lot of personal health care from your landlord.”
Between her job at the firm and her husband's suspicious infidelities, Rashawn decided to listen to the advice of her close friends and set up online account. Inside the private world of Ultimate Pleasure adult club, you can chat and then meet up at a secret location.
Peppermint Candi, as Rashawn soon calls herself decided it's time for them to meet in person, but in this twisted story, Dark Chocolate isn't whom she expected.
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As I began to walk down the hallway toward the conference room, someone grabbed me from behind by my arm, force me into a dim-lighted room and locked the door. I wanted to scream, but couldn't and didn't.
I couldn't see his face because he quickly turned me around and had me bento over with my hands on the desk.
"Relax, I'm here to satisfied you." He whispered into my ear.
"Dark Chocolate!" I was shock. "How did you know where I work?"
At first his touch startled me, but the more he rubbed me the more I began to enjoy the feel of his warm, strong muscular hand on my skin.
Emerson “Em” Jordan always wanted a Valentine’s Day wedding. But after being dumped by her boyfriend, she spends the holiday at Seashell Cottage on the Gulf Coast of Florida with Devin Gerard, a family friend who has no interest in her or any other woman and is instead concentrating on his pediatric medical practice and continuing medical missions in Costa Rica.
Em, who’s always wanted a large family, doesn’t mind his disinterest. At thirty-two, she’s decided she doesn’t need a husband to have a child or to adopt one. First, she’s going to fulfill her dream of setting up her own landscape design business in upstate New York and has promised to continue to help run her grandmother’s flower shop.
It isn’t until Em and Devin become friends that Em realizes she might want more than friendship from him. But with his work in Miami and Costa Rica and her busy life in New York, it’s out of the question until something happens that changes everything, even a couple of hearts.
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"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.