#FeatureFriday- Sullivan’s Way by Wilhelmina Stolen

***5 Prince Publishing NEW RELEASE!!!!***

Cover

Historical Romance

A single day shattered her life and set in motion, events that would change the Sullivan family for generations.

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Marnie Joe Sullivan had the perfect life as the daughter of a wealthy Virginia businessman, but perfection wouldn’t last. As the War Between the States ends, she is struggling to keep her family together. After a botched robbery, fleeing rebels leave her mother dead and Marnie at the mercy of a killer. The year is 1867 and Virginia is still home to Confederate conspirators and a killer that must be stopped. Loyalty and love run deep in the Sullivan family and Marnie is no exception. As the eldest Sullivan, she feels obligated to rescue her father from the hangman’s noose. But a jailbreak at midnight lands her in the arms of Marshal Mason Kane.

 Death is never fair. Mason Kane is proof of that. The horror of war and the death of his brother made him a drunk. Consumed by guilt and grief, he finds himself occupying Richmond saloons and starting fights. But a forgotten promise to his brother forces him to put down the bottle and accept a friend’s plea for help. Mason has no idea that the scrawny, mud covered boy he just hit is Sullivan’s daughter and he has no idea just how tempting she is until he tries to mend her wounds. Bound by honor and promise, Mason sets out to find a killer. What he finds is the outlaw Marnie Sullivan. A woman he can’t live without and secrets that lie in the way.

 Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

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Excerpt:

February 2, 1868

Sullivan Settlement, Virginia

Them Damned Confederates

Marnie Joe Sullivan, a well-bred woman of Virginian wealth, sat at the head of her father’s table. Despite her cool exterior, she felt civility’s firm grip slip and a white-hot anger coil its way up her spine. The beast threatened to burst forth in a rage of unladylike vulgarities of which the gentlemen across from her would undoubtedly recoil and offer a hideous clicking sound of disapproval from their forked tongues! No, that wouldn’t do.

“Damn it Marnie! You can’t go!” The abrasive voice manifested itself from the older man sitting across from her. He heaved one foot upward and slammed it against the smooth cherry floor of the great room. The dull clap of the heavy boot vibrated against the stone walls of the Sullivan house, “We have to wait for Lucas. He’ll be back anytime now.” The stub from his missing first finger wiggled uncontrollably as he ran his gnarled fingers over his thinning, silver hair, creating a wild mess. The missing digit was Ike Ritchie’s trophy for his victorious fight in the Battle of Buena Vista in ’47, “Your Pa was crazy for going to Silver Creek!”

With an unwavering face of authority, Marnie lifted her chin and leveled her gaze. A delicate blush of pink rushed over both cheeks, “My Pa is not crazy! He’s grieving.” Her small fingers anxiously examined the delicate embroidery of her handkerchief as her eyes burned into Ike with disapproval. The midnight black of her silk dress couldn’t quench the green fire that raged in her eyes. Since her mother’s death, Marnie had adorned black in every sense of the word, her soul, her spirit, and her will were all shaded black by that day, but not today. Today was a day of action!

An indignant “humph” escaped the edge of her full lips. As if being prompted by the sound, a petite black woman stepped from the hall and stood with folded hands as they waited for their guests to arrive, her slate stare burning relentlessly into Marnie. Yes, yes, I know, Tillie! Ladies always remain calm! As leaders from the settlement below entered the room one by one, Marnie took a deep breath that generated a small look of understanding and approval from the housekeeper.

Marnie’s skin itched and burned from the laces of her corset, causing her to shift in her seat. Thanks to Tillie’s diligent efforts, she was presentable. It infuriated Marnie to know that over half the morning had been devoted to tying, lacing and buttoning her unmentionables just so she might look presentable to the men in front of her. In the time it had taken Tillie to carefully style her unruly blonde hair into the neatly formed chignon, she could have been half-way to Silver Creek. This is ridiculous! I don’t need their help! Will Roark, Louis Porter, and Charlie Wilcox, represented only a handful of families that homesteaded on her father’s land. The men had taken council at this house since Marnie had donned pigtails and played with dolls. They weren’t use to answering to anyone but her father, “Thank you all for coming on such short notice.”

Will looked confused, “Marnie, I don’t know what we could possibly do to help your Pa.”

Ike eased forward and rested his elbows on the table, “Marnie thought you gentlemen might accompany us into Silver Creek.”

Charlie frowned, “Why would we do that?”

“To help me break Papa from jail.” Marnie said hopefully.

Her statement provoked a laugh from Louis, “You want us to help you stage a jailbreak?” He glanced at the other men, “Is she serious?”

“I don’t find anything funny about it. It is possible.” Their snide smiles added to her frustration, “If we go in after dark, there’ll be only one or two guards.”

“That’s insane!” Louis interjected.

“No, it’s not!” With her fists clinched tightly at her side, she demanded an answer, “How can you sit there and do nothing to save him?” Their silence infuriated her. They weren’t taking her father’s capture seriously. “Papa’s been rotting in that jail for three days and God only knows how long Lucas will be gone!” It had been two days since her adopted brother, Lucas, set out for Richmond to find her Uncle, and Marnie’s confidence in the law and Maxwell Richardson was diminishing, “I haven’t seen my Uncle Max in years. How can we be sure he’ll even help Papa?”

“Maxwell won’t think twice about it.” With a dismissive hand, Ike waved her fears aside, “Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if old Maxwell dynamited the jail himself to free your Pa!”

It was because of her father’s selfish act that she sat like a plucked turkey, stitched and tied for the presentation at hand. Her father, Daniel Sullivan never left anything to coincidence. Why had he allowed himself to get caught by the law in Silver Creek? Haven’t I dealt with enough tragedy? Less than a year ago her mother lay lifeless on the floor as Marnie and her sister were ripped from their home and taken for ransom.

Tight lips controlled Marnie’s words. She lifted her chin and fought to steady her breathing. Back straight, shoulders square, you’re a Sullivan, baby girl! Her father’s voice echoed in her mind and unconsciously her posture straightened. Defiance rushed through her as the authority in her eyes demanded attention from each man.

“We can’t wait! Are you going to help me or not?” Marnie gave the table a single strike with her fist, “Someone answer me! My father gave you a roof over your head, and never asked for anything in return. Without his help, none of you would have anything. If Talon Dougal hangs Papa, nothing will prevent him from taking the mountain and everything around it!”

Louis adjusted his collar, “Marnie, we’re all concerned about your father, but he knew not to go. He was safe here. He knew if he went to town he would risk getting caught.”

“We could protect him here, but not in Silver Creek. Hell! We could be hanged right along with him!” Will shouted and Charlie nodded.

Ike agreed, “They’re right, Marnie.”

Twenty-five years ago, through dense forests and jagged rocks, her father carved out a life for not only his family, but for the families in the valley below. Now when he needed them, they cowered in fear like children, “So it will be the same as before? He needed you last year and you didn’t lift a hand to help him. You all wanted to run and hide.” She tapped the table with a finger, discarding the truth for her cause. The people around her father’s table were loyal, but fear made her desperate.

“Now wait just a damn minute little girl!” Her accusations brought Ike up out of his seat. In his younger day, he’d been a boxer, broad in the shoulder and narrow at the hip. Legend of the “Fists of Fury” spread through Texas like wildfire. Even now, his withered frame towered above Marnie. When his expression changed, she braced herself, “You seem to forget I was riding right alongside your Pa when them damned Confederates took you girls, and I helped him bury your Ma!” He shifted his weight from one leg to the other in agitation, “So don’t you go lecturing me about helping spring your Pa from jail!”

The outburst sent a silence over the men. Ike shook his head, “I’m sorry Marnie. I know you miss your ma, but−” Marnie watched him rub his furrowed face and produce a tender smile, “you girls, feel like you was my own and I don’t want to see ya get hurt.” He placed a hand on her shoulder, “We’ll wait for Lucas.” he instructed softly.

Marnie’s head shook feverishly, “We can’t wait. They could hang him at any time. Lucas might persuade the Governor to intervene in the charges against Papa, but Talon is a coward. He won’t wait for a judge or jury.” Marnie forced a wave of moving tears as she let out an, “Oh!” and pushed the handkerchief against her nose. She sniffed and dropped her head. Papa’s running out of time!

Ike eased down in a chair beside her, “Look Marnie, we can’t just go into the jail and ask for the key. He’s a wanted criminal, they’ll be guarding him close.”

“I won’t be moved by tears young lady.” Will interrupted Ike’s careful words, “I’d give my life for Daniel, but our actions have to be thought through. We wait.”

The firmness of Will’s words stilled her tears. I knew it! They’re not going to help me. Marnie refused to lose the fight. She calmed herself and raised her head, “I’m sorry, you’re right.” Her head nodded slightly in agreement and then bent forward with humility, “I know without your loyalty Papa would have been caught a long time ago, and Callie and I would probably be dead.” When she met Ike’s concerned face, the storm in her green eyes cleared, and a crafty smile eased its way onto her pouty lips, “Forgive me.” Her voice was soft, “I’m just scared.  I had to try.”

Ike cocked one bushy eyebrow upward and sighed, “Well girl, Lucas will be back from Richmond tomorrow.”

A half an hour later Marnie walked the last remaining man to the door. Ike shifted awkwardly and moved towards her. When the others had gone, he called Marnie by her childhood name, “Joe, in nineteen years I ain’t never seen you give into a fight. I saw them green eyes clear, and that means one thing. You’re up to something!”

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authorAbout the Author: 

Wilhelmina Stolen is the pseudonym for romance writer, Shannon Hayes. Shannon is a native of Kentucky and makes her home in a small southern town close to the Tennessee line. During her adolescence, her mother’s free spirited nature became restless causing the family to embark on a slew of adventurous moves across the country. The moves provoked a hunger for adventure and romance and introduced her to a wonderful world of history and beauty.

As with most writers, her stories began at an early age with long sessions of seclusion and secrecy. While her classmates and friends were outside playing, Shannon was locked away in her room hammering out ideas on an old 1940’s Royal typewriter.

After finding Mr. Right, Shannon found herself wanting the comfort and security of the small Kentucky town she longed to escape as a child. Fortune smiled upon her and she became the family historian; gathering pictures, wills, marriage certificates and everything else that somehow managed to fall into her lap. Stories flooded her mind and writing quickly became an obsession that turned into the Way of Hearts Saga. The saga spans six generations and three families.

Shannon holds an Associates in Applied Science in Technology, a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and Management as well as a Masters in Educational Leadership. Visit her author page at www.wilhelminastolen.com to learn more about the saga.

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Wattpad

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MJ

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5 Prince Publishing #NewRelease- Unforgiving Plains by Christine Steendam!

UnforgivingPlains1

Fiction/Contemporary Romance/Western

Rayna Fields is a successful realtor in Calgary, but when she receives a
visit from a lawyer, her whole life is turned upside down.

 She hasn’t seen or heard from her father in twenty years. Not since her

mother packed her and their belongings in a truck and drove off Fieldstone
Ranch. Now, she has to make her way to Foremost, Alberta, the “wild
west” of Canada and deal with the dilapidated ranch that was left to her
by her estranged father.

 Struggling with her feelings towards her father who has passed on, a

ranch in financial distress, and other problems that crop up along the way,
Rayna turns to the one person willing to help; Vince, the hired hand. But will
his past destroy everything she’s worked towards? And will she be able to
forgive, and find beauty in Alberta’s wild plains?

 Amazon      5 Prince Publishing 

Excerpt: 

Rayna reached for the radio dial and turned up the music as her car flew down Red Coat Trail at 110 km per hour. She had left the mountains far behind her, and the road spanning in front had the slow rise and fall of hills that spoke of their own special majesty. To anyone else driving through Alberta, they might have been struck by the beauty, but it was lost on
Rayna. Her mind was far away, preoccupied with thoughts that didn’t involve sight-seeing.

Slowing down just enough to make a turn, she directed her car onto a gravel road. Consulting the written directions on her passenger seat, Rayna saw that it was a straight shot to the ranch from here. Just a few more miles and her long journey would be over, It didn’t bring her any relief.

Driving down the gravel road brought with it no memories. Rayna didn’t really know what to expect, but she had thought there would be more than this nothingness, not even the slightest hint of sentiment or twinge of recognition. Nothing here looked familiar, and yet, this had been her home for the first five years of her life.

News of her father’s death, if he could really be called that, had come last week in the form of legal documents. Craig Fields
had died at the young age of 52 from a heart attack. “Worked himself to death most likely,” was what Carol, her mother, had said. Regardless, he had left everything to Rayna, his daughter, whom he hadn’t seen or spoken to in twenty years. It had been a shock for her. Carol had just nodded and encouraged her with a slight smile. He was trying to do right by her, her mother had offered. Great time to start, thought Rayna, bitterly, as she continued driving down the gravel road that seemed to stretch on forever.

Rayna never knew what had happened between her parents. There was no love lost between them; that was certain. Her mother hadn’t wasted a single tear upon hearing of her ex-husband’s death. And Rayna followed her example; having lived her life without a father, she felt no loss. It might as well have been a stranger that had died for all the emotion she felt.

Now she found herself driving unfamiliar gravel roads near Foremost Alberta. She cringed as gravel pinged off her car, likely peppering the paint with little chips. A cloud of dust followed her, wafting over the rolling hills. She had driven through farmland, but now, as she entered the plains, she was in ranching territory. Wild prairie grass swayed in the light breeze and the occasional antelope bounding across the coulees lent the area an exotic air that could not be ignored. She hadn’t seen
much of this in the province she had grown up in. She was more familiar with the busy city of Calgary and the untamed mountains of Banff and Canmore. She suspected the Alberta plains held their own form of wildness.

Twenty years ago she had left, her mother loading her and their belongings in the truck and driving away. They never once looked back. Her mother, Carol, had always said that the people that lived here were a special breed: hard working and secluded. It wasn’t unheard of to be snowed in or to have roads washed out and be stranded on a farm or ranch for weeks at a time. But they were happy, content with life. Watching the passing scenery Rayna wondered if it had been the land that her mother had run from in all its beauty and hidden trials.

Rayna slowed her car down at the sight of a weather beaten sign swaying on its arch. The words Fieldstone Ranch could barely be made out. “I hope that’s not an indication of the shape the rest of the place is in,” she mumbled under her breath.

Fenced in pasture bordered the driveway that had no visible end, but after cresting a couple coulees the house could be seen on the next ridge. Horses grazed at the bottom of a valley and a wide, lazy stream flowed through the middle.

Despite the gravel dust cloud that chased her, Rayna couldn’t help but feel awe over the beauty of her father’s property.

Pulling into the yard, it became apparent that the sign at the entrance to the ranch was an accurate warning to the shape of the rest of the property. The paint on the white clapboard house was peeling and she could see where the sunbaked shingles were peeling back. The barn wasn’t in any better shape; boards were loose and falling off and the door hung at an angle, attesting to the fact it wouldn’t close. Any beauty she had thought she had seen was gone. Now all she saw was a
rundown home that held very little worth. And to top it all off, it was now her problem.

Rayna parked the car and stepped out. The air was crisp and clean here despite the early summer heat, and the chirping birds made relaxing background music. The sound of her car door slamming announced her arrival, and a dog ran out from behind the barn, barking and jumping.

“Down!” shouted Rayna, moving away from the dirty animal’s bounding paws.

The dog seemed to comply and left her alone but followed close to her feet as if to supervise while she walked across the yard. Gravel crunched beneath her heels as she walked towards the house, and not for the first time, she wished she had worn more comfortable shoes, but she had come straight from work and hadn’t thought to change.

She hesitantly opened the door. It squealed loudly in protest on rusty hinges and made Rayna shiver despite the warm weather. Stepping in, she looked around. The house was in good repair inside, but it was messy. Dust could be seen floating in the sunbeams, layering the windowsills and every other unused surface. Dirty dishes filled the kitchen sink and mail lay strewn across the kitchen table. Rustic oak floors had muddy paw and boot prints and various food spills. It was a typical bachelor’s residence.

Rayna wandered around the small house, trailing her hand across surfaces, picking up dust on her fingertips. She tried to remember something about this place that had once been her home, anything, but she might have well been walking these floors for the first time.

Opening doors, she peered into two bedrooms and a tiny bathroom. It would take a lot of repairs and a little seller’s flare. Something like, “a quaint country home with lots of character.” It sounded nice, but basically meant it was a dump.

Rayna walked back to the kitchen and put a kettle of water on the stove to boil. She’d need to look around a bit more, get a feel for the place, but she needed a break first. Searching through the cupboards she managed to find a clean mug and some dusty tea bags with no label.

Mystery tea, lovely, she thought, a wry smile lighting her face in an attempt to stay positive. At least the sparse cupboards meant she wouldn’t have to pack up much.

The kettle whistled, sounding like a sick, dying bird.

Pouring the boiling water over her mystery tea bag, Rayna took her mug and sat at the kitchen table. Who was this man who had abandoned her? And why had he left all his earthly possessions to her? Perhaps it was out of guilt, or there really was no one else to give it to. She knew nothing of her father; he could have been a hermit for all she knew. A small part of her had thought that he might have re-married and had more kids which was why he had stayed out of her life, but all the evidence
said otherwise.

“What are you doing here?” boomed a voice from behind her.

Rayna jolted, rudely ripped from her thoughts, surprised that someone else was here. The sudden movement caused her to tip over her mug, spilling hot tea all over her lap. She jumped up, shrieking in surprise and pain, trying to brush the burning liquid off with no success.

As suddenly as the burning sensation had begun it was gone and replaced with the cold wet of water. Rayna stood still, in shock, water dripping from her shirt and skirt. She looked up at the man who seemed to have lost all anger and now wore a concerned look on his face.  An empty bowl hung uselessly from his hand. Recovering from her shock, Rayna glared at the man. “What is your problem?” she shouted. “Sneaking up on me and then throwing water all over me?”

The man grinned and cleared his throat. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be here.”

“Who are you and what are you doing here? This is my property.”

“So you’re the daughter.” Understanding lit his eyes. Pulling off an old, weather beaten leather glove, he extended his hand. Rayna gingerly accepted it, feeling his firm grip and rough skin chafe against her own.

“The name is Vince. I’m the hired hand.”

“Rayna. I suppose I should thank you for sticking around and keeping things in order for me.”

Vince smiled and Rayna knew the bitterness in her voice had not gone unnoticed. “I’m not looking for any thanks, just doing my job. How about you get something dry on and I give you a tour of your new place? And I’d put on some more omfortable shoes if I were you.”

Rayna grimaced, she had come here to see the place, but she didn’t really want to go with this cowboy. “I left all my things at my hotel in town. I had no intention of staying here,” she said, looking for an excuse.

“Well then, perhaps we can rustle something up, if you’re interested in the tour, that is.”

He just wasn’t letting it go. Couldn’t he take a hint? “How about I come back tomorrow morning? I’m a bit tired from the drive up.”

“Fair enough.”

Rayna forced a smile, glad he had let it go, and walked past Vince and out the door. He turned to follow her, jogging past to open the car door. Great, a gentleman. Just what she needed.

Crouching in, she fastened her seat belt and looked up at the dirty man leaning on the door of her Audi.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

Vince nodded and stood up. “Drive safe,” he said as he shut the door.

Rayna whipped her car around, eager to be gone from the ranch and all the questions that came with it. She’d be more than happy to sell the place and be done with it, forever erasing her father from her life.

Arriving back in the town of Foremost a half hour later, she parked her car outside the small motel and retreated to her room.

It was clean, that much could be said, but other than that it was a cheap motel room and nothing more. Rayna wasn’t exactly thrilled about staying here for the week or two it would take to set her father’s affairs in order, but in a small town like Foremost, there weren’t exactly a lot of options.

Changing out of her damp clothes, she jumped into the shower to wash off the layer of gravel dust that seemed to suck all the moisture from her skin.

It wasn’t late, but Rayna was exhausted. She had worked all morning and part of the afternoon before making the four hour drive out here. But, as much as she wanted to fall into bed, she needed to find something to eat. The hotel had a small bar attached and feeling inclined to stay close to home, Rayna decided it was a good enough option.

Slipping on some clean, dry clothes, she walked around the outside of the building to the front where she entered the dimly lit bar.

It was a lot fuller than she expected for seven or so in the evening, but there was likely no better place to go once the day’s work was done. Her short drive through town certainly hadn’t shown any evidence of anything better.

Finding a seat in a far booth in an attempt to avoid human contact, Rayna waited for a server to appear.

A bubbly blonde with a swaying ponytail came over. She handed Rayna a menu with a broad smile.

“Will anyone be joining you?” she asked.

Rayna shook her head. “It’s just me.”

“Well then, can I get you something to drink?”

Rayna perused the drink menu for a moment. “I’ll have a glass of the chardonnay and a chicken burger.”

“Sure thing. Fries or Caesar on the side?”

“Caesar.”

“I’ll be right out with that then.”

The waitress walked away, Rayna watching her as she stopped and greeted a table full of boys, likely friends of hers.

Rayna sighed and wished the waitress had offered her water to start. Anything to quench her dry throat. There was no moisture here. Everything felt dusty. Even her skin was starting to feel too small for her body, only adding to her feelings of discomfort, and she’d only been in the ass end of Alberta for a few hours.

It took a good ten minutes to get her wine and the waitress promised again that she’d be right out with her food. Rayna smiled and nodded, but didn’t put much faith in the waitress’ promise. In her experience bar food was never fast. By the time her burger came,

Rayna had finished her wine and just about used up her last drop of patience. She hated this little town more and more with every passing minute. Already it felt like she had been here two hours too long.

“Anything else I can get you?”

Rayna was tempted to get another glass of wine but the thought of delaying her acquaintance with the motel bed had her shaking her head. “No thanks.”

Finishing off her burger and grudgingly admitting to herself that it was actually quite good, she settled her bill and headed back to her room.

Rayna lay in bed, attempting to drift off to sleep, but despite her exhaustion, she was plagued with thoughts of her father’s ranch. How would she stage it? What could she ask for it? She had no real idea what ranches were worth or what the market was for them. And what would she do with the cattle? Did she sell them with the property? Horses? So many questions, some of which she hoped Vince could answer. But that was tomorrow, and tonight the only answer she needed was the one to her prayer for sleep.

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christine1-New PicAbout the Author:

Christine has been writing stories since she could put pen to paper and form words. Now, fifteen years later, her debut novel is scheduled to be released and her second book is in the works.

Christine has spent the better half of her life owning and working with horses, and these four legged companions often find their way into her stories. After all, no work of women’s fiction would be complete without a horse or two. 😉

She currently makes her home in the center of the world—no, really. Look at an atlas.

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Email

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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#FeatureFriday- Still the Best Woman for The Job (Book 1 of the Jenkins Family Series) by Sharon C. Cooper

stillthebestwoman - 200x300

Joint heir to the largest construction company in the state of Ohio, master plumber, Toni (TJ) Jenkins has been groomed to behave in a way that is befitting of the respected Jenkins’ family name. But after she breaks up with the only man she’s ever loved, to protect a secret she holds close to her heart, poor decisions lead her down a path of destruction that risks ruining the reputation of the company her family has worked hard to build.

 Cincinnati police officer, Craig Logan, knows Toni is the woman for him. They’ve been apart for months, but when they run into each other at a party, the passion between them sizzles stronger than ever. She says she can’t handle dating a cop, but he senses that something else keeps her from rushing back into his arms. Craig wants her to be his wife, and he’ll do whatever it takes to prove no matter what she’s hiding, she’s still the best woman for the job.

 Amazon

Excerpt:

Toni leaned back and narrowed her eyes. “What?”

“You heard me.” Craig readjusted Ronald against the wall, ignoring her date’s mumbling. “If you want me to help you get this bum home – to his house,” he emphasized, “then you have to agree to have dinner with me Friday night.”

Toni hesitated. Intense hazel eyes sprinkled with specks of green and laced with a light brown stared at her, awaiting her response. She would love to have dinner with him, heck, she’d love to spend the rest of her life with him, but there lay the problem. Craig already had the big house and the white picket fence, but he wanted the wife and the three-point-five kids to complete the fairytale. The problem in a nutshell was that he wanted her to be a part of that dream, and she couldn’t give him what he wanted.

“I can’t believe you.” She glanced back at the bathroom door and then closed it. Returning her attention to Craig she said, “After all we’ve been through, has it really come to this? You’re going to blackmail me into having dinner with you?”

“Hey, if it means spending time with you, I’m not ashamed to do whatever I have to do. Besides, I don’t see it as blackmail. I see my request as being nothing more than a man, who is still in love with you, asking you out to dinner.” He shrugged. “But you can call it whatever you want. I do know one thing though. If you don’t make up your mind in the next five seconds, your drunk boyfriend here is going to find his ass back on the cold marble tile. So what’s it going to be, Sweetheart?”

Toni scrunched up her face and twisted her lips into a frown. Could she have dinner with Craig and then just walk away? Walk away from the only man she’s ever loved? Walk away from a man who had the ability to make her heart rate triple and her body sizzle with just a look. Heck, occupying the same space with him now, his hot sexy body only inches from her and his unfaltering gaze appearing to look right through her was almost more than she could handle. How in the world would she be able to break bread with him and not want to jump his bones?

She glanced at Ronald. She knew Craig well enough to know that if she said no, Ronald would hit the floor quicker than a hooker’s panties and Toni would be right back where she started. She wouldn’t be able to hide out in the bathroom for much longer, and the last thing she wanted was for her grandfather to get a hold of Ronald, or her for that matter. God! Why me?

            She finally threw up her hands. “Oh, all right. I’ll go out to dinner with you Friday, but I’m not going to enjoy myself!” 

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About the Author: 

Bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, lives in Atlanta with her husband and enjoys reading, writing, and rainy days. She writes sweet and contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense. Sharon is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), board member and member of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), and a member of the Page a Day Writers Group. To read more about Sharon and her novels, visit www.sharoncooper.net.

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Subscribe to her blog     Goodreads 

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog! 

MJ

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Cover Reveal- Christians with Pervasive Issues by Annie Brown

book cover

Even as a faithful Christian, there may be times when you feel that there is no hope of escaping issues and themes in your life that ensnare and trip you up time and time again. When a certain pattern of behavior or type of suffering has been following you all your life, it’s hard to believe that you can ever escape from it. Christians with Pervasive Issues shows us that every child of God can be delivered from issues that cause them to be a victim, rather than walking in victory. In compassionate, no-nonsense language, Annie Brown demonstrates that with genuine repentance, using God’s principles, and the right counseling/support, you can overcome anything. Christians with Pervasive Issues gives you the ray of hope you need in order to heal your life, and get closer to God.

Amazon     Outskirts Press

Excerpt: 

A Remedy to Get to the Root of the Problem

WHAT IS NEEDED is that the people of God “must” clean out their secret compartments and confess that they need the Lord to deliver them. Confession is made unto salvation (deliverance). If we confess our faults, the Lord is faithful in forgiving us. You may ask, “Why do I have to confess if I was not responsible for what happened to me?”

The issue then becomes whether you have forgiven the person that caused me this harm. If there is no forgiveness, then you become a victim twice: a victim of circumstance, and a victim of bondage. This can be in some ways more dangerous than cancer. This will always be eating away at you. With cancer, at least you know what is going on in your body. Being a victim of circumstance and having an unforgiving heart bring torment. This torment becomes a part of you in such a way that it eats through your mind, destroys your inner peace, and puts your soul in jeopardy because it becomes a heart matter of sin.

***CONTEST!!!!***

The author is hosting a giveaway. Enter to win a copy of her book. Two winners will be chosen. Sponsored by author Annie Brown. Contest ends October 7, 2013.

head shotAbout the Author: 

Annie Brown is the mother of four adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She is a licensed minister and social worker. As a social worker, Annie works the terminally ill, providing emotional support at the most critical time in an individual’s life. It is Annie’s desire that Christians work through their pervasive issues before the end of life, so that the transition between death and eternity can be smooth, and not cluttered with unresolved conflicts.

Facebook    Website     Outskirts Press     Email

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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#FridayFeature- Who I Be by Annie Brown

Book Cover

Have you looked in the mirror recently? Was the person looking back at you the person you used to be or are you not sure who is starring back at you? Sometimes during the course of life we allow ourselves to become what society says we ought to be. Society and its norms should not be how we define ourselves. God has made each one of us to be uniquely different and special in our own right. When we take the time to examine ourselves we may be surprised how much of the real us is gone. Physically we disfigured ourselves or made ourselves sick trying to measure up to how society says we ought to look or be. Who I Be is personal. It is time that we focus on who and how God intended for us to be. We were fearfully and wonderfully made and we should find satisfaction in being made in God’s image and not who or what society says we should be. Our physical, emotional, mental, and financial status does not make us. Who I Be is about the person who can be themselves and not be stressed or anxious about becoming another product of circumstances or norms to be wholly.

Amazon

Excerpt:

We did not choose our parents, so we have no control over our DNA makeup. But I do know and trust God’s Word that we all were wonderfully and fearfully made. Is not that a blessing that no matter what our beginning features were like, God made us good and very good? It is that innate (inborn) desire within us to be accepted by the world standards that keeps us from accepting who we really are. Contributing factors are the lies the devil has us believing that there is always something wrong with us. We are never satisfied. If we are short, we want to be taller.

If we have a dark complexion, we want to be lighter. If we are white, we want a tan. If we are slender, we want to put on weight, and if we are obese, we want to lose weight. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to make some adjustments to our physical bodies, it becomes almost an obsession when the images that society and the devil paint as acceptable are what we yearn to be.

So what do we need to do as we feed into this deception and believe things are what the devil tells us they are? We should cry out to God as King David did on so many occasions for help. If we want to step from low self-esteem to confi dence, we must take heed of the Word of God and believe what God says about us. Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, the adversary (the devil) has been deceiving people to believe that he knows better than God. St John referred to the devil as a liar and the father of lies.

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About the Author:

Annie Brown was born to the parents of Lonza and Daisy Duckett in Alexander City, Alabama. She was the third of four children. Annie is the proud parent of four adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She is a licensed minister and attends Joyful Noise AOH Church of God in Sylacauga, Alabama where she serves as the church secretary.

Annie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from the University of Montevallo and  a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Alabama. She currently works at Lakeside Hospice, Inc. in Pell City, Alabama as a hospice social worker.  As a social worker, Annie works with the terminally ill, providing emotional support at the most critical time in an individual’s life.

Annie’s heart desire is that people will learn to love themselves. In order to love themselves a person cannot conform to society’s norms as to what is acceptable but rather believe what God’s Word says.

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Linkedin     Email

 

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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#GuestPost- Is the Grass Really Greener? by C.Michelle Ramsey

I’m proud to be feature a member of my writers group, C. Michelle Ramsey, and her new release, Is the Grass Really Greener? Her novel explores the relationships of five friends who secretly desire to have what the other has. Intriguing, right? Take a sneak peek at an excerpt, then buy your copy today!

Is the Grass Really Greener Book Cover_Final

Five women, five lives, five secrets. Each woman is battling her own personal demons, and hiding a secret from her friends and family.

Each of them envies another’s life, wishing her life was different, wishing she had what the other woman had. But what happens when what appears to be real, is all a façade?

Battling breast cancer, single parenthood, infidelity, the loss of a child, and managing the single life, can become overwhelming for these ladies.

Not satisfied with their lives, looking for something better, they contemplate alternative choices to improve their lives; crossing over to the other side of the fence is a very real possibility. We can’t see beyond the choices we make, but we must be held accountable for them.

And after they have crossed the fence, they realize two things simultaneously. Yes, the grass was greener on the other side; and also their grass could have been just as green had they taken care of it.

Amazon     Kobo     Smashwords

EXCERPT:

Courtney found herself nodding her head to the beat of the music, more than she was focused on her report. Anita Baker’s “I Apologize” was on the radio playing softly in the background on KSTORM. She had to get this report done for tomorrow morning’s budget meeting. Stretching back in her chair, she let out a long yawn and shook her head to shake the sleep off. It was 11:55 at night and she knew that she had to be up at four in the morning. But these numbers just weren’t shaking out right.

The right thing to do would be to put it away and go upstairs with Nate and go to bed. She found herself going to bed after her husband more and more these days. She used to be the one who was knocked out by eight or nine o’clock, but not anymore. Some nights she was still up until two or three in the morning, if she didn’t have an early day at the office. Nate didn’t question it, because he didn’t want to be bothered with her anyway. She couldn’t remember the last time they had sex. She stopped to ponder that thought, had it really been five months now? Damn, it had. Seems as if she was always attempting to get him in the mood, and the last time she had done that he had brushed her off and he didn’t show even the slightest interest in her.

“Lonely hearts, find someone to love. Fellas, take care of your women; remember to love them long and strong, ‘cuz if you don’t, another brother will. And to all my lovely ladies, I’m wishing you a good night out there in the ATL; thanks for spending another night with me. And come back tomorrow for another night of love with Hypnotiq on the Storm.”

And with that he blew his traditional kiss and Pierce was off the radio for the night. As if this were some subliminal cue, Courtney closed her folder, switched off the radio on the bookshelf behind her, walked over to the doorway, switched off the light in her office, and walked upstairs to her bedroom. She was halfway up the steps when it hit her.

Damn, she thought to herself, I’ve been staying up half the night every night to hear the voice of a stranger. I’m falling for a man who I don’t even know. She started walking back down the steps to her office and flicked on the light and sat in her chair behind her desk.

Courtney furiously ran her hands through her hair shaking her head in disbelief. What the hell is this? I’m falling for a man I don’t know? He’s a kid from the old neighborhood that’s what it’s got to be. He brings back pleasant memories for me at this rough time in my life. Hell I had one cup of Joe with this man and ran into him at my art exhibit, and I sit up every night to hear his voice on the damn radio, how pathetic am I? He might have a girl, hell for all I know he might not be interested in women anyway, or black women, she shook her head laughing at that one. The way he came on to her that night she highly doubted it.  “This is crazy, it doesn’t even matter. I’m a married woman…not happily, but I’m married just the same and I love my husband with all my heart,” she said aloud, “I’m taking my butt to bed, I’m tired…that’s what it is,” and once again she repeated the steps she had just taken, not even three minutes earlier.

But this time when she got to the bedroom Nate wasn’t asleep. He was sitting in the bed staring at the TV. She could tell he wasn’t watching it. Courtney decided it would be best to not say anything, because she didn’t want to argue. All of their words turned into arguments these days and they couldn’t have decent communication. But it wasn’t to be.

“Courtney, I want a divorce,” Nate said.

Thinking she must have lost her mind, or maybe forgot to clean the wax from her ears, she turned over in the bed to face him. “Huh?” she said, a little befuddled.

“I want a divorce,” he repeated in that same monotone he had just used.

“Why?” she asked with panic rising up in her throat.

“I don’t wanna be here anymore, I can’t do this,” he explained.

“Do what Nate?”

“Do us, this thing we call a marriage, this faking it we’re doing day by day, I can’t do it anymore,” he said with a little emotion coming into his voice.

“Look Nate, I know that you’re hurting, I’ve been hurting, too. And what’s hurting the most is that you’re shutting me out. You won’t even talk to me. I know you’re grieving baby, we’re both grieving, but you didn’t suffer this loss alone. I did, too and just like we lost him together we have to find a way to heal together, to go on with our future,” she pleaded.

“I don’t think you heard me. There’s no future for us,” Nate responded a little more passionately this time.

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Author PicAbout the Author: 

C. Michelle Ramsey takes your emotions on a roller coaster ride, one page at a time, with every story she creates. Author of “Reflections of Promises” and “Real Secrets,” she has now released her third novel, “Is the Grass Really Greener?” Her stories take a look at real life situations, real drama, and real people, in a fictional story.

A writing consultant for Bleu Skies Writing Services, she enjoys reading mystery novels, African-American fiction, and chick lit. Her favorite authors are: Terry McMillan, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, and Stuart Woods. Michelle is an Atlanta native born and bred, where she currently resides with her husband and three children.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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#WriterWednesday- Interview with L.V. Lewis!

Today I introduce you to my good friend, L.V. Lewis. No doubt many of you may have heard of her best selling parody, 50 Shades of Jungle Fever, now get to know the author!

Welcome, L.V.!

What inspired you to write?

My inspiration to write comes from a love I developed of the written word which began when I was in elementary school. I became a voracious reader at a very early age and would lose myself in the worlds built by authors I admired at the time. Since then, I’ve read thousands of books by various authors. When self-publishing became a possibility, I was buoyed by the success stories I kept hearing  about other authors. And once I read some indie books, I became convinced I could write something similar if not better in some cases.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

My current genre is erotic romance, although I’m lumped right in there under erotica most of the time, so I just claim that, too, even though there is a distinct difference between the two. And it definitely chose me, because until E.L. James did her thing I had no desire to write erotica.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Because I have a full time job, my writing schedule is insane. I would love nothing better than to write full time, however, working sometimes sixty hours a week doesn’t lend itself to a good writing schedule. Basically, I steal time to write around all the other hats I wear as career woman, wife, mother, and mentor to teenage girls. I used to write better in the wee hours of the morning after the house was quiet, but as I get older, I can’t seem to pull the all-nighters anymore, so now I write in the evenings, usually after dinner and exercise is done.  Sometimes I go until bedtime and other times not. Then during the day, I sneak moments when I’m on break at work, if I hear a scene in my head.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have to be in the male character’s head to write the best sex scenes. I really don’t know what that is, but I find myself thinking what the guy is thinking and building the scene first from his point of view.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I’m unapologetically a pantser. I can’t write from a rigid outline to save my life. However, I do have a loose outline that I try to follow, but if often doesn’t turn out the way I’ve written it. Maybe this is one of the reasons I suffer from writer’s block so much.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

Actually Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever is very loosely based on Fifty Shades of Grey, so not so much in that story is it based on any events I or anyone I know has experienced. However, I will say that Keisha’s mother, Clara Lee Beale, sounds like the actress Jenifer Lewis in my head. Also, myself and many college-educated African American women may have experienced life such as Keisha knows it. Unless we’re born with silver spoons in our mouths, the majority of women come from middle-class working families like Keisha’s, and have had some of the same experiences she’s seen in life. Many of my readers have written me to say how they either have known someone like Keisha or she resonates with them personally.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My advice to new authors would be to study craft, study craft, study craft. Then hire the best damn editor you can afford, and have a professional graphic artist make you a kick-ass cover.  I read too many indie books that are riddled with grammatical errors, and that also break every cardinal rule of fiction writing. One in particular I just read was raved about by my friends, but then when I read it, I found it sorely lacking. The plot was quite convoluted and the story extremely melodramatic. The characters in many instances did things that were completely out of character. The point of view from which the story was told was far from clean and the characters did a lot of “head-hopping.” Often times I wasn’t sure whose thoughts or dialogue I was reading. A good book shouldn’t leave you confused or going “why is this happening?” This book needed a professional editor who could edit it for both content and structure. The story really had good bones, but was not executed well.

I follow my own advice and know that I’ve not yet “arrived.” So, I do craft exercises and study whenever I can because I don’t know everything about the craft of fiction writing yet. However, as I’ve often heard said, I know just enough to be dangerous, and the more I learn about craft makes me a book critic of the highest order. Because I am a published author,  when I read now, I’m always picking the book apart, because I either want to learn from a book that is done well, or want to remember what not to do when it isn’t done well.

MJ: Great advice, all the way around!

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I am self-pubbed, proud, and wearing the tee shirt, flying my freak flag high, and all that jazz! I love having the creative control over my book as a self-publisher. I’m not saying I wouldn’t consider traditionally publishing if the opportunity presented itself. When that happens, I hope I’m in a place to negotiate a really stellar deal for myself, because I’m not sure there is a traditional publisher who can guarantee me a 70% royalty rate on my e-books.

What are your current projects?

I’m THIS close to finishing Exit Strategy and my cover reveal for it is right around the corner, then a few weeks after the cover reveal I’m hoping to have it debut. I’m also working on a kinky novella series with a group of writer friends that we hope to publish in time to hit around or before the Christmas holidays. I also have three other works-in-progress that I put on hold to finish Exit Strategy, that I hope to pick up again soon. I’d like to work on the 3rd book in the Ghetto Girl Quadrilogy in tandem with these works if at all possible, but that will depend on my work schedule and a lot of other variables. My other three works-in-progress are not erotic romance or erotica, they’re more contemporary romance and women’s lit.

50SoJF - The Block

Keisha Beale is a quarter of a million dollars away from realizing her dream of opening her own recording studio. A botched attempt at securing the funding required from venture capitalist Tristan White leaves her without many options… until Tristan White makes an indecent proposal. As Keisha navigates the treacherous environment of the billionaire’s secret kinky lifestyle, she discovers surprising things about herself and unleashes demons from her past she thought were long resolved.

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Smashwords     Kobo     iTunes     Audible  

About the Author: 

L. V. Lewis is a married mother of four who lives in South Georgia, and works in the Florida Panhandle. A new author who decided that stories like Fifty Shades of Grey needed a little more diversity and comedy in them, she penned Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever as a parodied response to those wildly popular books from a woman of color.

A voracious readers since kidnergarten, L. V. loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine. She and her husband are political junkies, a hobby that is time consuming, but free. Now that Lewis has young adults who think they don’t need their parents anymore, she has taken up the time-draining career of writing. However, she is happy to report that, for once, her extra-curricular activity costs far less than her husband’s. Her love for writing is only eclipsed by her love for her family.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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5 Prince Publishing #NewRelease- Through the Glass by Lisa J. Hobman

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It was love at first sight for Jim.  Felicity was his dream girl.  Beautiful, intelligent and talented.  Sadly for Jim he didn’t quite meet with the approval of Felicity’s mother and eventually she succumbed to the pressure of her mother’s expectations.  Jim relocates from London to the Scottish Highlands to try to rebuild his life and mend his broken heart when an unexpected visitor brings painful memories and tragic news.  Jim has to fight with his own desires to make the right decision.  He lost Felicity once.  Can he survive losing her again?

Amazon     5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt: 

Chapter 1

February 2009 – The break up

“So, that’s it then, Flick?” Jim raised his arms in exasperation. “You’re leaving? You’ve completely given up?” He was past trying to convince Flick that they could make a go of it; work things out; get through this and come out the other side stronger. The past few months had been one argument after another and Flick had spent less and less time at home.

“It’s for the best, James. And please don’t call me Flick.” She sighed, “It’s not my name. Not anymore. I grew up. It’s good in the adult world you should visit sometime, you might like it.” She snorted derisively.

Jim shook his head; sadness oozing from every pore, “Aye, well you’ll always be Flick to me. And I’ll always be Jim. What’s with all this ‘Felicity and James’ bollocks anyway?” His accent always became stronger when he was angry. This was one of those occasions when the true Scotsman came out fighting. His chest heaved as he tried to calm the storm raging beneath his skin.

He almost didn’t recognise the woman standing before him in their bedroom; her fitted designer clothes complete with pearls and a shoulder length smooth sleek hairstyle. Such a contrast to the girl he fell in love with. Back then it was all flowing blonde waves and long, floating skirts. She was softer then; in every way.

“Well, as I said James, Felicity is my name…Flick was left behind at university. She was doe-eyed, foolish and rash…look, there’s no point us going over old ground,” she pulled the handle up on her wheeled suitcase, “I’ll be staying with Polly and Matt for a while whilst I figure out my next move.”

Matt had once been Jim’s closest friend but that friendship had somehow fizzled as his relationship with Polly had intensified. That saddened Jim.

Felicity went on, “Nilsson-Perkins have offered to help find me a new place near the city centre so I can be closer to the main gallery.” She wandered over to him and placed her hand on his arm. “It’s for the best, James. I think you know that deep down.”

He looked, pleadingly, into her eyes, his chest still rising and falling at a rapid rate. “For whom? For me?. I don’t think so.” His voice cracked as he shook his head; he stared intently and for several moments she seemed caught in his eyes. He thought he saw her shield begin to melt but she shook her head and looked away.

Turning back to him she shrugged her shoulders. “It was inevitable when you think about it. We’re from two different worlds…we want completely different things, James.” Her voice softened as she squeezed his arm. Her blue eyes, however, that were once full of love, were ice cold.

She wheeled her case toward the bedroom door and turned back to face him one last time. Her eyes were glassy with unshed tears now and Jim was relieved to see some, albeit small, expression of human emotion from the woman he had witnessed, slowly, becoming some kind of hard, Siberian robot.

“For what’s it’s worth…James…I do love you. You were my first love and so I probably always will. I just feel like…” she paused, clenching her eyes closed as if to find the strength to carry on speaking, a tear escaped. “Like maybe we’re not good for each other. We’ve grown apart. I’m ambitious and you…you want babies and the white picket fence thing…I’m just not ready…I’m not sure I ever will be. In a way I’m doing you a favour.” A sob escaped her throat as she spoke, “This way at least you get to meet someone new and have children anddo all the family things that I’m just not capable of.” She sounded to Jim as though she was trying to convince herself.

Jim’s lower lip began to tremble. “I don’t want anyone else…it’s you. It’s always been you.” He clenched his jaw. “What I don’t get, Felicity, is that you wanted those things too. We were both on the same page. I don’t understand how we changed.”

“We didn’t change. I did. Like I said, I grew up.” She shook her head. “I know that you haven’t changed.” She snorted. “Sorry, Jim but it’s true. In all these years you’ve kept the same hairstyle, the same clothing and the same laid back attitude. You still work in the same second hand book store, you still drive that ancient Land Rover and you still take that bloody dog everywhere you go! You’re not a student anymore, James. Maybe I want more, huh? Maybe I want someone who makes an effort!” Her voice gained an octave as her emotions began to get the better of her.

Jim widened his eyes in horror. “Whoa! Now just hang on there, lassie!” He held up his hands and his stomach knotted at her stabbing words as they sliced at his heart.

He stepped toward her. “You can’t say that I don’t make effort. Just because I’m in no way materialistic doesn’t mean I don’t care. I love you. I always have. You are my world! I don’t need things, Felicity, I need you!” His heart ached as it bombarded theinside of his chest. “I’ve done everything in my power to make you happy. I don’t know what else I could have done. And for the record, I’m not the one who’s given up here!” He raised his voice too, finally giving in to the pent up frustration he’d been harbouring.

“James, we want different things, accept it. Move on…please!” She opened the door and he made a grab for her. She swung around and crashed into his arms. Without thinking he took her face in his hands and kissed her with all the passion he could muster. To his amazement she didn’t slap him; she kissed him back. Dropping her suitcase she seemed overwhelmed by desire, anger, passion, lust, whatever the hell it was; she grabbed at his dark, shaggy hair as he ran his hands through hers; desperate to express his love for her; desperate to make her change her mind.

He moved from her mouth to her neck, his kisses urgent. Her head rolled backward and she moaned, grabbing at his T-shirt and pulling it over his head in one swift aggressive move. Before either could realize what they were doing or how they got there, they staggered backward and tumbled, wrapped around each other, onto the bed; their lips locked as their tongues danced and probed each other’s mouths.

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Lisa J. Hobman Author Pic

About the Author: 

Lisa is a happily married Mum of one with two crazy dogs.  She especially enjoys being creative; has worked as a singer and now runs her own little craft business where she makes hanging signs and decorations for the home. Lisa and her family recently relocated from Yorkshire, England to their beloved Scotland; a place of happy holidays and memories for them.

Writing has always been something Lisa has enjoyed, although in the past it has centered on poetry and song lyrics.  The story in her debut novel has been building in her mind for a long while but until the relocation, she never had the time to put it down in black and white; working full time as a High School Science Learning Mentor and studying swallowed up any spare time she had.  Making the move north of the border has given Lisa the opportunity to spread her wings and fulfill her dream.  Writing is now a deep passion and she has enjoyed every minute of working towards being published. Novels two and three are works in progress so watch this space!

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#WriterWednesday- Interview with Tia Kelly!

Welcome to another #WriterWednesday! Today I’d like to introduce you to Tia Kelly!

Welcome, Tia!

What inspired you to write?


My family has a lot of wonderful storytellers and writers in it, which probably explains why the need to write feels like something pulsing through my veins. It goes back several generations and most of the storytellers I heard about seemed to have a fondness for interesting characters and vivid details, which is what I love about writing. I guess my family’s history inspired me.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

I write romance and contemporary fiction. I think I am still evolving as a writer, but that is what I have been writing lately. Once I spend a little more time doing this, I have a feeling my writing style and preference will get more defined as I go. I do love to read romances, which is probably something I chose to write, but writing the “real” stuff (contemporary fiction) is something that chose me.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

C-R-A-Z-Y. I write all the time, but when I am in certain phases, it is my addiction. I prefer it to sleep. I always carry a writing device (notebook, journal, laptop, etc.) everywhere I go, so I tend to write anywhere and everywhere the urge strikes.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I need specific music, good coffee and the right pen handy in case I want to manually jot something down.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

More pantser, but at some point I do start to plot. I don’t always let my characters and ideas run free. They may think they do, but I give them some structure along the way. Once I identify where the characters want to go, that is usually when I loosely outline part of the journey. I don’t get too deep into, as I love to write to see where the road leads me as I travel with the characters when I write about them.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share and example?

My stories are a little bit of everything. I used to fight it, but I realized how much life influences have inspired me. Nothing is a replica of a person, place or thing, but I have finally embraced the idea that some of my work should reflect what I see, hear and know. It’s also therapeutic when I allow that to happen. Plus, I’m an unapologetic people watcher. It puts all that I take in to good use!

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

I am still learning, but the one thing I do know for sure is never give up. That’s a regret no one should ever have on his or her journey. I gave up when I felt like I was not good enough and I regretted the time I didn’t write. So my advice would be to never, ever give up.

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

Self-published.

What are your current projects?

My latest novella is an interracial romance called Yours and my latest novel is The Love Sessions (contemporary fiction). I have a new novel, Playing for Love that will be released at the end of the month. It is the first novel in a four-part romantic series, Wilkersons In Love.

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The Love Sessions is a contemporary novel in the Love Sessions series (featuring the novella prequels: Love’s Rebound, Give Me You and Save Me From You).

After a whirlwind courtship, Eric West and Shelby Bryan elope. When their love loses its shine, the toll it takes on their marriage leads them down a detrimental path. Secrets brought Terrence Baker and Alexis Norwood together and now secrets threaten to tear them apart. Donovan Sinclair adores his wife Mya and lives to make her happy. Until one day, the one marital vow they never imagined experiencing ends it all – death. Keri Waters arrives to the Poconos ready to pick a wedding date with her fiancé, but when she meets Nathan Garrett, she learns how it really feels to have a man love, honor and cherish her.

Eight people discover the hard way that wedding vows are meant to be more than just words while attending a premarital retreat in the Pennsylvania Poconos with therapist Dr. Savannah Harper.

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About the Author:

Tia Kelly may be witty and feisty on the outside, but she is a die hard romantic that is always looking for a happy ending while rooting for the underdog. In addition to her love for writing, reading and traveling, Tia loves to kick back with a glass of wine and a good game on her television screen.

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MJ

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5 Prince Publishing New Release- Indiscretion by Tonya Lampley!

Join me in welcoming Tonya Lampley to the 5 Prince Publishing Family!

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One careless night and a man’s life is changed forever.

Damon Harris wants a better life than the one he’s currently living. He has a penchant for trouble and a trail of mistakes behind him, but inside he can feel a greater call urging him on to the man he knows he can become. He marries the ideal woman in hopes it might settle him down. But change is hard. Stuck in a self-created prison where the only warden is himself, he’ll do just about anything to break free.

A few drinks, a beautiful girl…was it worth it?

Amazon 5 Prince Publishing

Excerpt:

Damon sat in a red-velvet bishop’s chair in one of the back rooms of St. Augustine’s Cathedral in downtown Chicago. The 100 year-old church’s renowned stained glass window, featuring the Messiah in an array of colors, hung high above him and gently filtered the October sunlight. His eyes rested on the tiny dust particles floating in the air, a useless attempt to distract him from his thoughts.

Three rapid taps on the heavy mahogany door broke through the silence and jarred him from contemplation.

“You ready?” a deep voice asked. Damon recognized the voice of Kurt, who would be his brother-in-law in a matter of minutes. A pretty stand-up guy, in Damon’s opinion. Looked nothing like his sisters, and wasn’t all that close to them, but he had stepped in per Carmen’s request, to fill the role of best man when Damon argued with the original one—his life-long friend Craig. Tempers flared when Craig told Damon he was making the biggest mistake of his life. The conversation ended with Craig refusing to be a part of the wedding. They had since made up, but Craig stood by his original protest. Kurt being in the wedding made Carmen happier, anyway, Damon mused.

Someone knocked again.

“I’ll be there in a minute.” Damon responded. He walked over to the full-length mirror to give himself a once over. The black tuxedo that Carmen picked out hugged the contours of his svelte body. The white shirt gleamed against his smooth ebony skin. He noticed his white bow tie was crooked and slowly straightened it. His palms were moist as he ran them down the silk stripe of his pants trying to remove the uncomfortable feeling.

He rubbed his freshly cut hair, checked his nose and the corners of his mouth. In a few moments, he would enter the sanctuary. He brought Carmen’s image to mind. Good. Sweet. Settled. She possessed an aura of comfort—like baked bread or warm milk. The kind of woman that could hopefully bring him the peace he had been searching for.

Kurt pummeled the door this time. “Everyone is waiting. Carmen’s starting to get nervous. You were supposed to be out here a half hour ago.”

Damon looked down at his shoes, patent leather, polished to a spit shine. Was he doing the right thing? He cared deeply for Carmen, but was it love?

What he wanted was to feel normal, to be satisfied with his life. The ghost of his past emerged again, as it often did, and reminded him that he had made a mess of things—two children by two different women, and a short stint in jail. The reminder rode in on a tide of regret.

He heard someone trying to turn the worn iron doorknob, but he had locked it. It wiggled back and forth desperately and he could hear mumbling on the other side. The rhythm of his breath sped up and a wave of warmth rose up from his feet. He thought of Rachel, the mother of his second son, and the words that spewed from her perfect mouth three years ago when she broke up with him—I can’t be with someone who’s content to do nothing with their life. And when she met Evan Kilgore, M.D. at the hospital where she was taken the night she broke her foot playing softball, she banished Damon to the “friend zone.” He accepted his punishment; anything to still be a part of her life. He never thought she would marry him. He never forgave himself for losing her and wasn’t about to make the same bet and lose twice. He had to marry Carmen. If he didn’t, he might lose her too.

“Go get the key.” He heard Kurt say to someone on the other side of the door, along with another knock.

It was time. Damon stood silent in the room. He expanded his chest and forced air deep into his lungs, but it still felt like he was suffocating. His hands registered a slight tremor and as he straightened his tie a second time, he felt a bead of sweat trickle down his temple. He grabbed the teal handkerchief out of his pocket and blotted it. His legs felt heavy, like someone cemented them to the floor. Why did doing the right thing feel so uncertain? He closed his eyes and tried to steady his breathing. In a few minutes, it would be over. He willed his legs to start moving. Kurt, and Carmen’s sister, Cathy, lunged forward into the room as he opened the door.

The church’s pot-bellied groundskeeper walked up behind them carrying a large metal ring, holding several antique keys. He rubbed his shiny dark beard. “Ev-ry-thin’okay?” he asked with his bushy eyebrows raised.

“We got it, sir. Thanks.” Kurt said to the man who looked around the room, then shrugged before walking away. Kurt turned his attention to Damon. “The wedding planner is going nuts! We thought something had happened to you.”

Cathy huffed, “No we didn’t.” She squinted at Damon. “Why don’t you just admit it and save us all a lot of trouble.”

He looked right through Cathy. “I’m good, man. I just needed a minute, that’s all.” Damon brushed past Cathy, dressed in a silly Cinderella-looking, teal, taffeta dress, and lightly grazed her gloved arm. She gritted her teeth as she placed her hand into the center of his back and shoved him forward. He stumbled three un-willful steps at the forceful blow before he managed to get control of his feet. He closed his eyes and drew in a slow deep breath, taking a moment to gather himself—to deny himself the delightful thought of shoving her back—his mother had raised him better than that. He stretched out his arms and adjusted his shirtsleeves, checking his cuff links. Unfortunately, she was part of the deal.

He continued down the hall and opened the double doors to the sanctuary, where 200 guests sat in pews adorned with teal bows, and music from the harp player greeted him. Damon and Carmen argued for two days over the harp player—a total waste of money in his opinion, as was all of it—the courthouse would have suited him just fine. He walked past the harp player strumming like a fool, down the red aisle runner and took his place at the altar in front of the robed Reverend Mallory and the barrage of burning candles.

“Are you ready, Son?” Reverend Mallory was a large man, his voice even louder. The question he asked reverberated through the church and came to rest in Damon’s ears.

Damon gave a nod. Reverend Mallory opened his Bible and the wedding planner raised her bony arm toward the back of the church, cuing her assistant to start the music. Time seemed to suspend as the remaining eight members of the bridal party entered the sanctuary, waltzing to Carmen’s careful selection of Luther Vandross’s Here and Now, and took their places at the front of the church. Damon was avoiding Cathy’s glare when the collective sound of 200 people standing grabbed his attention. When he looked up, Carmen stood in the doorway, engulfed in a sea of white. Tulle cascaded all around her. She made eye contact with Damon almost immediately and smiled. He wasn’t sure what he was feeling, but he knew her well enough to read the look on her face—that grin and the beam in her eye spoke of her happiness. And when he saw how happy she was, despite everything, he was happy for her. Her hand reached out for his and she took her place beside him.

Reverend Mallory loudly cleared his throat, and began the vows. Carmen recited hers first. Damon silenced the voice inside his head that hinted at the fact, he might not be sure of this marriage. But there were so many people. So much money spent. Too much to lose not to get married.

“Damon, do you take Carmen to be your lawful wedded wife? Do you promise to love and cherish her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her for so long as you both shall live?

“I do.” Damon adjusted his tie, secretly loosening it. The promises felt really big. He had a long history of preserving his own self-interests. He wanted that to be behind him now. He accepted the ring from Kurt and placed it on Carmen’s finger.

“Do you together promise, in the presence of your friends and family, that you will at all times, and in all circumstances, conduct yourselves toward one another as husband and wife?”

“We do.” He muttered as he searched his heart for certainty. Carmen’s voice broke through his with full conviction.

Reverend Mallory smiled. “You may now kiss your bride.”

Damon lifted Carmen’s veil and looked into her eyes. He needed her. He needed her in order to become the man he wanted to be. She would settle him into a normal life, where he would go to work at his job as a car salesman, come home and eat dinner with her, and go to the grocery store on the weekend. Normal. He grabbed her around the waist and kissed her as a symbol to everyone, and to himself, that this was his new life.

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About the Author:

authorTonya Lampley’s first novel was titled A Taste of Love and was a National Indie Excellence Book Awards finalist. She lives in Ohio with her husband and is currently working on her next book. For more information about Tonya, please visit her on the web at http://www.TonyaLampley.com.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online! If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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