Family for the Holiday: A Ebony and Brian Short Story- Part One

The Meeting- December 23rd

Brian

 

“Brian, my mom just sent me a text. Their flight just landed.” Ebony typed a response on her phone, then cursed. “I hate autocorrect. I typed ‘whoo hoo’ and it posted ‘whoop’. That’s what I get for typing too fast.”

I rested my hands on her shoulders and massaged. “Ebony, calm down, you’re tense. Everything is going to be okay.”

“You don’t understand, Brian. I haven’t seen my parents in nearly a year. And after all that’s happened…”

I reached over, pulled my fiancée into my arms, and kissed her forehead. “What’s making you nervous, having them here or them meeting me face-to-face?”

She looked up at me with her gorgeous brown eyes, her eyebrows furrowing. “Both?”

I chuckled. “I’m supposed to be the one who’s nervous.”

“And you’re not?” Ebony stared at me in disbelief.

“No, I’m not.”

‘Delta Flight 4224 has arrived and is now unloading.’

Ebony squealed with excitement at the announcement then covered her mouth.

I smiled. Seeing my fiancée this happy after the events of the past month was more than I could ever ask for. After the turmoil our relationship had gone through, it was a blessing to still be together.

And now I was about to meet her parents for the first time.

I pushed aside the thought of how long it took Ebony to tell them about us. It turned out her fear of their disappointment because I was white had been unfounded. It took them by surprise, but after what I’d done in retaliation of what happened to their daughter, her parents made it clear that race didn’t matter.

Ebony squeezed my arm. “There they are!” She ran to her mother, embracing while rocking back and forth. Beside them, her father stood, his smile wide as he took in the sight, waiting patiently for his turn.

I took my time walking toward the group, giving them a private moment to reconnect.

Ebony’s mother took a step back and held her daughter at arm’s length, appraising her as if making sure she was actually all right. I couldn’t blame her. The events of the past few months and Ebony’s decision to keep it secret were one of the reasons why they made the trip to California for Christmas. They needed to see for themselves that she was indeed okay.

“So, where is this young man?” her father bellowed, looking around the crowded area.

Ebony turned, looking for me. “There he is! Brian, come meet my parents!”

I paused only to avoid a young man dragging a large suitcase, then made my way across the tile floor. “Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, it’s nice to finally meet you in person.” I held out my hand to Ebony’s father. He took a second to look me up and down then accepted the handshake.

“I know it’s crazy to do this because you’ve talked on the phone, but I can’t help it. Baby, these are my parents, Clarence and Anita. Mom, Dad, this is my fiancé, Brian Young.”

Ebony’s parents were nothing like I imagined. Mrs. Campbell was the same height as her daughter, but a little thicker.  Her eyes were sharp as she appraised me in a cautious fashion.

Her father, on the other hand, was a large man and could not be missed. His salt and pepper hair and beard gave him the look of a genteel grandfather, but the booming voice and intimidating height said otherwise.

“So, you’re the young man who’s stolen my daughter’s heart.” His eyes bore into mine, and his grip was tight. Though he smiled, the meaning was clear. ‘I may be grateful for what you’ve done for my daughter, but you hurt her and I will kill you.’ It was obvious Ebony was daddy’s little girl.

My insides turned to jelly.  Message received, loud and clear.

“Yes, sir.” I smiled, keeping my fear hidden. I ignored the pain in my hand from his two-hand grip and turned to her mother. Looking at the women side-by-side was like looking into a mirror of the past and future. “Mrs. Campbell, I have no doubt Ebony will be as beautiful as you are as we grow old together.”

An unreadable expression passed over her face. “Oh, why thank you.”

Inside, I kicked myself. So much for assuming my charm and wit in person would have the same results as it did over the phone.  I had to remember, regardless of our racial differences, I was still a man who could hurt their daughter.  Though she wore my ring, they knew nothing about me.

Moments ago I was cool and calm, but between Mr. Campbell’s handshake and Mrs. Campbell’s appraising stare, I was thrown off my game.

Ebony seemed oblivious.

“How about we get your suitcases from the baggage claim? Brian’s mom has put together a great dinner. I hope you’re hungry.”

“Free food? Now you’re talking,” Mr. Campbell said, his attention turning back to his daughter. He walked toward the luggage claim. I followed, leaving Ebony and her mother to reconnect.

****

“Mr. and Mrs. Campbell, these are my parents, Laura and Winfried,” I said, after my mother let us into the house.

“Please, call me Anita, and this is Clarence,” Ebony’s mother said. She accepted my mother’s hug, while Mr. Campbell shook hands with my father.

“Please have a seat and make yourselves comfortable,” my mother said, slipping into hostess mode. If there was one thing she loved, it was entertaining. While everyone, including Ebony, moved to the living room, I brought in the luggage. Fine by me. I was trying my best to avoid sticking my foot in my mouth again. The ride from the airport to my parents’ home couldn’t have gone fast enough. While her parents were cordial, I couldn’t help but feel as if I were the chauffeur. The conversation flowed around me, full of laughter and questions as the family caught up on what was going on back in North Carolina.

“Brian, baby, are you okay?” Ebony joined me in the foyer, concern etched into those lovely features.

I cleared my throat and walked toward the front door. “Yeah, I’m good. Just getting the rest of the luggage.”

“You’re lying.” She poked my shoulder and followed me outside to the trunk of her car. “My father made you nervous, didn’t he?”

“No.” I popped the trunk and grabbed what had to be her mother’s bag. It weighed a ton.

Beside me, Ebony burst into laughter. “It’s okay to admit it. He’s a bit intimidating in person.”

Intimidating wasn’t the half of it. Mr. Campbell was not a little man. Though we stood at the same height and he had about twenty pounds on me, his booming voice is what did the trick. Though I’d talked to him for a brief period of time on the phone, it was something quite different to be face-to-face with the father of the woman I loved. For once, I could understand exactly why Ebony had been hesitant about telling them about our relationship.

I shrugged. “Maybe just a little.”

Ebony forced me to put the bag I’d pulled out of the trunk on the ground.

Her arms went around my neck. “Do you love me?”

“You know I do.” I leaned down for a kiss, taking my time to savor the connection with my fiancée. The woman I’d willingly sacrifice my life for. The woman I was ready to kill for.

“Then don’t worry about a thing. They’re staying with your parents, and from what I’ve seen, I doubt they will kill each other. It’s like you told me, everything is going to be all right.”

I let out a half-laugh. She used my words against me.

“You’re right. They’ll be here and you’ll be with me.” I kissed her again. “I can’t wait to get you home tonight.”

The sexy smile I loved appeared. “Me, neither.”

I pulled away to grab the suitcase off the ground while Ebony leaned in to grab the smaller carry-on pieces.

We entered the foyer and dropped off the bags at the base of the steps. I had no idea which room my mother wanted them in.

“Oh, there you two are!” My mom walked over, hugged and kissed Ebony. “We thought you got lost outside.”

“No, just getting the bags. Which room do you want them in?” I asked.

“You can put them in your sisters’ old room.”

“Okay.” I grabbed a bag and started up the stairs.

“Oh, by the way, we’ve all been talking, and Ebony, it seems so unfair for your parents to fly across the country for Christmas to see you, only for you to live thirty minutes away. We’ve decided it would be best if both of you stayed here for the week. We’ve got plenty of room in this house. Ebony, you can sleep in one of the spare rooms. Brian, you can have your old room.”

My eyes went wide. “What?” I looked over at Ebony whose eyes were lit up.

“Mrs. Young, are you sure?”

My mother reached over for Ebony’s hand. “How many times do I have to tell you it’s okay to call me Mom?” They both laughed. “Yes, it would be perfect. Not to mention it would save gas and time for us to all get together. Besides, Brian, it will give you a chance to know your future in-laws.” My mother pinched my cheek. “Don’t take too long; dinner will be served in fifteen minutes.” She left to join everyone else in the living room.

“Brian, this is going to be so much fun!” She grabbed the carry-on bag and started up the steps.

I stood at the bottom in shock. Why did I have a feeling this wasn’t going to be as fun as Ebony thought?

####

Come back tomorrow for Part Two!

Follow this link to learn more about The Butterfly Memoirs! 

#####

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 and follow this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

Spend the Holiday with Ebony and Brian!

A Heart Not Easily Broken(Butterfly Memories) by M.J.Kane

Christmas will be here in a few days and many of you are looking forward to spending time with family and friends. So are Ebony and Brian. If you’ve read their story, A Heart Not Easily Broken, you know when the story ends  it is nearly Christmas and Ebony’s parents are coming to town to meet their future son-in-law. Many readers have said they would love to know what happened. So, after a lot of prodding, begging, and down right pleading, Ebony and Brian have decided to let me (us) in on what happens.

Starting tomorrow (December 23rd until December 27th), they have agreed to share the days events when her parents come to town and meet his parents. Stop by daily for the next glimpse into Ebony and Brian’s continued memoirs!

***UPDATE! FREE READ IS NOW AVAILABLE!***

Family for the Holiday: Part 1

What Readers Are Saying…

“The characters of “A Heart Not Easily Broken were are all very intriguing and captivating …showing emotions through the whole novel…from Ebony, Yasmine, Kaitlyn, Brian, Javan to a few others that I have left out keeping you on the edge of your seat and not being able to put this novel down until the end.”-Amazon Review

***

In “A Heart Not Easily Broken” MJ Kane gives us a front row seat in observing the interracial relationship between Ebony and Brian. The story is told from their perspectives, and addresses the challenges, the insecurities and the potential emotional pitfalls that an interracial couple must face as individuals and as a couple. Some of them are common to every couple. Some are unique to interracial couples. Others are uniquely the challenges faced by a white man and black woman who love each other.- Amazon Review

***

I’ve read quite a number of novels in the IR genre over the years. My interest was primarily due to my own relationship, and the desire to see African-American women portrayed as appealing, interesting, sensual, fully-formed characters – women I could recognize and relate to, and with whom I could go on a journey as I read their stories. I wasn’t always able to find novels that embraced all those elements. However, M. J. hit all those notes, and made me care deeply about the characters. I recognized Ebony. I liked her very much. She was real to me. Her struggles were real. Her dreams and goals were real. Her insecurities were real. Her self-assessment was real.- Amazon Review

#####

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

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#CoverRevel: The Library by Carmen DeSousa

cover

When Mark Waters decided to be a detective, he didn’t plan to investigate ghosts.

But as he sifts through evidence of a supposed suicide by train, he learns a murder that took place eighty years ago may directly affect his case.

Six months after the strange occurrences at The Depot, there’s another murder. This time, The Library holds secrets of several murders, and the dead won’t rest until the murderer checks out too.

 Available December 12, 2013!

****Download a FREE COPY of the prequel,  THE DEPOT,  and register for a chance to win a copy of THE LIBRARY!****

Interview with Carmen DeSousa! About the Author: 

A romantic-suspense writer, Carmen writes novels that overflow with romance, mystery, suspense, a hint of paranormal sometimes, and of course–tragedy. After all, what would a great story be without a heartrending event setting the stage? Her sensual and gripping stories have earned bestseller status on three continents because of her ability to make readers love, laugh, cry, gasp, and hope.

 Website     Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads

#####

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

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

#BlackFriday is Nearly Over…Now What? A Good Book!

Tired from all that BLACK FRIDAY shopping? Ready to give your feet and back a break?

Grab those Thanksgiving leftovers, kick back, and get lost in your NEXT FAVORITE SERIES!

Know someone who loves to read? Give them the gift of THE BUTTERFLY MEMOIRS….Reality Romance filled with stories that touch your emotions and move your soul….

***All books are available on eBook and Paperback!***

Check out A HEART NOT EASILY BROKEN

AHNEB FINAL COVER

What secret would you keep to protect the ones you love?

Ebony Campbell has a decision to make. After falling for a man who is nothing like she expected to be with, the idea of being in an Interracial Relationship takes a back seat to the secret she’s forced to keep. Sometimes, the repercussions of bad decisions and ruin everything.

Available on AMAZON, B&N, iTunes, and SMASHWORDS for $3.99! Also available on PAPERBACK!

 Visit the book page for more information about the series. Become a BOOK VOYEUR and and visit the CHARACTER BIOS, sneak a peek into their DIARY POST, and find the hidden DELETED SCENE. And don’t forget to read CHAPTER ONE!!! 

*****

Already read A Heart Not Easily Broken?

Don’t forget about JADED!!!

Haven’t read either book? Trust me, you’ll want to get both so you can find out what happens next!

Autumn landscape

Once burned, twice shy?

Unable to trust another man with her heart, Yasmine Phillips mind is on one thing: taking care of her. An unexpected friendship with a man who understands her pain leads to a fling that should have no strings. But once that line is crossed, both must decide if the secret that comes between them is worth losing it all.

Available on AMAZON, B&N, iTunes, and SMASHWORDS for $3.99! Also available on PAPERBACK!

***JADED can be read as a stand-alone or as part of The Butterfly Memoirs series. Buy your copy of this 5-STAR RATED BESTSELLER today!***

Visit the book page for more information about the series. Become a BOOK VOYEUR and and visit the CHARACTER BIOS, sneak a peek into their DIARY POST. And don’t forget to read the PROLOGUE and CHAPTER ONE!!! 

Keep an eye out for the next book in the series, LONELY HEART, available March 6, 2014!!!

#####

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

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

Related articles

#FeatureFriday- Transcendence by Kurt D. Stradtman

Adobe Photoshop PDF

The book, metaphysical and mysterious, surrounds five main characters in their mid-thirties. Leo and his twin sister Jade was abandoned by their mother weeks after they were born, so they never had a relationship with her. They were raised by their geology professor father, Dr. Gus, who always took Leo and Jade on his excursions because he had this crazy thought that certain geologic formations were wormholes to other planes of existence, however, nobody received his claims with any academic merit. Leo’s longtime partner, Eric, breaks up with him while the both were living in Atlanta, GA. Depressed, Leo decided to visit his twin sister and brother-in-law in Jacksonville, Fl. Little does Leo know that his decision to visit his twin would change his lives forever. While in Jacksonville, Leo meets a strange woman name Mystere (A play off of Mystery), who brings together Leo and five others who are destined to make up a secret coven protecting a sacred text forged in the heavens, called The Book of Transcendence. The coven learns that they must jeopardize their own life in order to protect the book from falling into the hands of “The Dark Ones”. A decision that they don’t know if they are ready to take on. The coven will have to realize that battling and dealing with their own internal demons is the first step before they can even consider protecting the book.

Amazon

Excerpt: 

Portion of Chapter 12:

That night, after leaving Mystére’s house with Jade and Paxton, they were driving toward Leo’s hotel. Strangely, they didn’t really talk about what happened that day… they didn’t talk about anything actually. They just sat in silence. Leo stared out of the window and watched the lights of the city go by. The radio station started getting a little static, and Jade reached forward to change to another preset station. Crystal by Stevie Nicks was playing. Leo leaned back in his seat, in the pitch black car, and closed his eyes taking in the lyrics. Words of the song hit Leo hard, given all they had experienced. He began to weep, thinking of his mother, how much she sacrificed for Jade and himself, and how dearly and deeply she was missed. His entire life felt like a lie. Thinking they were abandoned, but learning the exact opposite was true. He felt hurt, sad, all at the same time. Entirely too many emotions to sort, Leo suddenly had a profound feeling of calmness and love, blanketing his being with a rush of peace, love, incense and flowers. It was as if the pain from the past was being pulled from his body, mind and spirit. This was the first time in his life he felt whole, complete and at total peace and unity. Instead of feeling disconnected, these negative emotions were replaced with a sense of oneness, belonging, and loving unconditionally. Not even the purest ecstasy could compete with these intense waves flowing through him. His mother was alive, and loved Jade and him with all of her being. How she must have suffered with her sacrifice. And to think, he blamed her, without knowing the real truth for his dysfunctional life. If he learned anything that day, it was not to speculate, nor pass judgment upon another.

####

 

Stradtman_Photo_AuthorAbout the Author: 

Kurt D. Stradtman, author of “Am I The Person My Mother Warned Me About?” and “Transcendence”  is a certified Law of Attraction Advanced Practitioner and becoming a board certified Holistic Life Coach. Stradtman’s considered a psychic medium by some, which is not far from the truth. Embracing his ability to deliver messages from departed loved ones and deliver detailed psychic readings for clients, might make Stradtman a legit Psychic Medium. However you want to label it, Stradtman’s number one mission in life is to help others find and maintain their inner peace and unblock their spiritual and emotional pathways.

Facebook     Twitter

#####

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

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

#GuestPost- …From Pen to iPad by Doris H. Dancy

The Change in the Industry

 

I struggle to remember any time in my life when I was not involved with writing. From the time that I could draw, paint, paste, or write, my Mom had me in some kind of activity book.  It was a time when bedtime stories were held in our parents’ hands, and we sat together on our bed hearing the words and sharing the drawings.  Parents were the voices of the characters and the sound of the POW WHAM action. They were the life- blood of the book.  That was a time when we heard pages turn, we saw dog-ear folds at the top, smudges on our favorite book, and small tears turn into rips over time. Scotch tape was the only saving grace for putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.

When we went to a library, the shelves were filled and there was no other source to find where the dreams were, where the adventures might lie, where the voices of the past could still be heard.  We could smell the dust, feel the pages, be lured in by a cover we were told should not be the reason for acceptance or rejection. With pen or pencil in hand, and paper books at our side, we thumbed through this magic kingdom, traveled vicariously with words across the universe, and scribbled down our discoveries.  Looking back now, I can say that this was the age of once upon a time.

So, what of today?  How has the writing industry changed?    The one that I remember is barely recognizable to anyone ten years old or younger. They no longer have to turn a page.  With one finger, they simply swipe a screen and pictures change, actions zoom out in 3-D, colors scream for attention, sounds crash and bang in real time, characters move under the users command and they, unlike me, many times, sit alone, attended only by what they create on the screen.

They know words that were not in my vocabulary…upload, download, worldwide web, hashtag, email, google, wi-fi, tweet and twitter, post, ipad, mp3, and many other words that, when I was a child, would have been cause to roll on the floor in laughter at a parent who would have been simply entertaining with crazy sounds.

Presently, there is little patience to wait for creation…to ponder the written word…to look for just the right expression.  The language is very different.  No need to spell out BEFORE when all you need is a “b” and a “4” to communicate B4.   Why write out a sentence to tell the reader that you laughed out loud when you can just type LOL?  Why bother to say, “I’ll talk to you later” when all you need is “ttyl?” Writing today takes no time at all. “C u @ home” requires only one complete word, and that may alter B4 I finish this topic. Things today are automatic, and change is swift.  Instantaneously, it comes crashing and banging into existence before our eyes.

Today, trees are saved because there is little use for paper to document print.  With the right device, a total book can be at your fingertips with the click of one button.  The download is quick, accurate, and cost effective.  Magazines placed on a virtual newsstand wait for you to snap them on and read about any subject in the world.  If you want an opinion, writing takes no longer than you can log on to twitter where the tweets are short and plentiful.  No need to print encyclopedias and pay hundreds for the fancy bound books…just google whatever you want to know for free.

Yes, the writing industry has changed immensely, but the need for the knowledge it produces is still imperative, the search for it, still alluring, and the desire to devour it, still insatiable.  We have moved from pen to iPad so it’s only the implements that have changed, but that makes all the difference.

book cover

Derek Wellington had his life set.  He was born into wealth, graduated with honors from Harvard Law, and, since high school, knew he would marry the beautiful Morgan LaRue.  …but somewhere along the way, everything he thought he knew about himself, about Morgan, and even about life itself will boggle his mind, and catapult him into a world of betrayal, deception, and confusion. Somewhere in this darkness, he must search for The Light to find his way out of a maze that, if he fails, will destroy his heart and soul forever.

Amazon US     Amazon UK

Praise for Jagged Edges

“Jagged Edges is definitely an easy reader and page turner.”

“From the prologue to the last chapter, Doris grabbed my heart, mind, and soul with her masterful storytelling”

 Excerpt: 

~A Prologue~

~The breaking of dawn is the best keeper of secrets I know; it has a pact with the close of day. At sun’s first peek, the confidence is safe, and one has no evidence at all how altered life might be by eventide~

The library at the university is quiet except for multiple pages turning and a stupid unnecessary clock facing me. I might just waste a star wish to get that annoying thing smashed. I’d do it myself, but I’d get caught, and be a greater disappointment to my parents than Ruff who still can’t sit up, roll over, or even bark like a real dog. I sigh. Deal with the clock, Arianna. You’re twenty-four years old, already have your MBA in Fashion Management and Entrepreneurship and almost ready to start your own Fashion House for goodness sakes. All you have to do is complete this little research, and you’re on your own. You’re not five. Anyway, you have far more important things to think about at 8:15 on this lonely Friday night, like how to meet that gorgeous guy sitting at the table across from you.

 

I sit back in my chair and just stare at him, counting how many times he glances up and quickly looks back at his work. He is doing a very poor job of pretending he hasn’t noticed that I’m staring at him. He’s on his eighth under eyed glance at me when he puts his laptop down, folds his hands, sits back, looks straight at me with a smirk, and holds the stare. I smile what I think is my very best smile. Let the games begin! After a minute and a half of staring, I’m just getting comfortable, and there is no way I’m giving up. He begins packing up his things slowly. Still staring, never glancing down to see what he’s doing, he meticulously places his laptop in his black leather attaché case. I can tell he is purposefully taking his time, and for some strange reason, his deliberate movements, to me, are extremely sensual.               I almost have to break my stare when I think to myself: any man that sexy ought to be locked up and the key thrown away. He leaves his case on the table, returns two books to a nearby shelf all the while looking into my staring eyes, and then he brings his fine self over to me.

 

He pulls out the chair that faces me without saying a word, turns it backwards, and tries to stifle his grin from becoming a full face all teeth showing spectacle. Of course, he’s far too cool for that.

“OK, you’ve been staring at me for the last ten minutes so I thought I would just come over and ask if I have spinach in my teeth or a booger up my nose.” I laugh. He smiles.

“What if I say both?” I grin, cupping my hand under my chin and looking directly into his brown bedroom eyes.

“Well, I’ll know that’s not true,” he taunts matter-of-factly.

“And how would you know that?” I question cynically. This man is about to make my heart jump out of my body.

“Simple.” “Simple?” “Yeah, simple. It’s a trick question.” He rocks back in the chair. “I didn’t have

spinach today.” We both laugh as quietly as we can since we are somewhat aware that we are in a library, and there are a few people still pretending to study on a Friday night.

“Well, to be quite honest with you, umm…Peter? Ah…Paul?” I lift one eyebrow and continue. “…Mary?” He gives me a closed mouth smile, and plays around his mouth with his thumb and index finger.

“Well, definitely not Mary. Derek. Derek Wellington.” For the first time in my life I hear the sexiness in that baritone voice of his that will drive me insane for years to come.

“Well, to be quite honest with you…Derek, Derek Wellington, your hair caught my attention.

“My hair?” I bite my bottom lip to cover my grin, and nod my head yes. “Yes, your hair…and

definitely your eyes too,” I say with mocked seriousness… “and then there’s that mouth,” I giggle.

“Oh, is that good or bad?” he chuckles. “Oh, that’s real good,” I admit with a flirtatious grin. “Good. Good,” he nods in mock approval. “So, you… this beautiful woman sitting here toying with me, you are… Gracie?”

“No, not even close,” I laugh.

I opt here for a more serious tone. My hazel eyes, my windows to the soul, touch his. “My name is Arianna…Arianna Channing.”

“Ah, a beautiful name for a lovely lady.” “Well thank you kind sir.” I bat my eyes playfully. “You are quite welcome, my lady.” And then he does something totally unexpected. He reaches across the table, takes my hand in his, and slowly brings it to his beautiful lips. That is how it all started with Attorney Derek Chase Wellington, III and me.

I would say that we had a whirlwind summer romance. We were inseparable. Both of us were taking a break of sorts before starting full force into our careers. Derek had studied for the Bar, passed it, and in September would join a private law firm in Virginia. I had completed my studies in Fashion Management and Entrepreneurship in New York City, and studied an additional two years in Paris. Coincidentally, I was also moving to Virginia, after the summer, to start my own Channing Fashion House, the first one in the Tidewater area.

Our connection, from its inception, has that magic touch…that something special; however, there is this one thing that tears our bond, interferes with our solidarity, and will forever puzzle me. Throughout this disappointment, I am honest with myself. Common sense and life’s experiences have taught me that it will be impossible to know the essence of the truth surrounding a very deep, but damaged, relationship in Derek’s past, but that is not my issue.

From the inception of our brief courtship and after we marry, Derek and I are always completely honest with each other…we trust each other explicitly, or so I am led to believe. That is what makes my discovery so perplexing… so hurtful and a huge issue for me. The mystifying thing, now that the real truth irradiates, is that my friend, my boyfriend, my fiancée, my lover, my husband never mentions Morgan Shay LaRue to me. Not once, that I can remember, does he ever even call her name.

####

head shot

 About the Author:

Doris H. Dancy is an accomplished and award-winning educator, speaker, writing consultant, playwright, wife, mother and now author. Her life’s focus has been educating our youth in an appreciation of both the written and spoken word. She received her BA Degree in English from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina and began a teaching career in both English and Spanish.  She was graduated from Hampton University with a MA in English Education and eventually became Chairperson of the English Department, English Teacher Specialist, and later Curriculum Leader of English K-12 for Hampton City Public Schools.  Teaching and supervising were both rewarding careers, and each taught her a different level and focus of professionalism and commitment.  As the Curriculum Leader, along with many other responsibilities, she developed and provided staff development for a writing program that guaranteed student achievement.

Website     Facebook     Goodreads     Email     Author Tour Schedule

 

#####

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

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

#Guest Post- Get to Know Carlos Ortiz from Playing for Love by Tia Kelly

Several weeks ago, M.J. Kane was sweet enough to let Yasmine Phillips of Jaded babysit my blog for a day. Yasmine was polite enough to answer a few questions during her visit, so when M.J. invited me here I thought I’d bring someone with me to do the same.

There are a quite few characters in my book, but I immediately thought of Carlos Ortiz (even though he tends to be a man of few words). Here’s a brief interview I did with him and a scene where you can learn more about Carlos since he tends to open up around Paige… and thanks again M.J. Kane and all of her readers for taking time to get to know some of the characters from Playing for Love.

Have a safe week!

Tia

***Tia is giving a way an eBook copy of Playing with Love to one lucky visitor! Meet Carlos, enjoy the blurb, and comment and leave your email to win! *** (Winner will be notified 11/29/13) 

 

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Carlos Ortiz.

What is your role in Playing for Love?

I’m just me. I don’t know what you mean by this question. If you’re asking if I am a hero or bad guy, that would also depend on who you ask as well.

What can you tell us about Playing for Love?

It’s a book. *shrug*

You’re not a fan of revealing much, are you?

Again, that all depends on who you talk to.

 Did you ever think you would end up in a novel?

*shrug* Anything is possible as a ball player these days. I’ve been approached for reality shows, posing without clothes on, and even running for office once… so a novel is par for the course. I just never expected it to reveal what it did. A lot of this book shares secrets that weren’t meant to be uncovered.

What do people usually think of you when they first meet you?

They probably see me as dark and mysterious, possibly even intimidating. It’s easier to let them think what they want than prove otherwise. But around my family I’m just Los or Papi (he reveals with a hint of a smile) and those are the only people whose impression of me matters.

What was your life like growing up?

*shrugs* It was just life, y’know.

Before your story began, what were your hopes for the future?

I’d rather not say.

You really don’t like to reveal much.

I have my moments.

So… perhaps talking about something neutral will help. What is your typical day like?

Year round I get up at five for my workout. The type of workout depends on the day and if it’s the offseason or not. I handle any business I need to take care of and then head to the ballpark. Nothing special.

What’s your greatest accomplishment?

Winning the World Series two years ago. It took a lot for Philadelphia to accept me on the team. The fans finally did that season and we all came together as a team, thanks to Ken Wilkerson bringing us together, and we won. We brought Philly the championship it deserved.

Name three items that you carry at all times and why.

An extra hair band, my cell phone and a picture of my girl.

Tell us about your relationship with me. How was it to work with me on this novel?

You were cool, Tia, but you also loved to get on my nerves. I’ve had a million reporters ask me questions, but none did it like you. Then I got to know you and it was a lot easier to talk to you and share what I usually keep hidden. Not many people know what I told you and if you ever write another book with me in it, none of it better pop up in it either.

Did I portray you accurately?

*shrug* It is what it is.

Was there a scene I cut, but you wish I left it in? Why?

*wink* No comment.

Read more in this excerpt from Playing for Love

Paige leaned forward placing her hand on Carlos’s forearm, but then quickly pulled away. She knew how to manipulate body language to play on a man’s senses, but that was not what Paige had intended to do and she didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.

Carlos stole her from the crowded club below and had taken her to the rooftop deck upstairs. The area was deserted, as no one ventured there this late in the season. The weak minded preferred to only be seen upstairs on the cushioned chaises and lounging behind ivory curtained cabanas while wearing summer whites when sultry, humid nights called for it. Carlos was not follower.

He just preferred being alone.

Quite a bit of time had passed since they ventured up for privacy. Any other man hoping to get her alone would have had to work harder. Carlos was different. He had her open in ways that scared and intrigued her so she followed, trusting without knowing what was ahead. Now they talked about things she would never expect to discuss on a Saturday night at one in the morning. Topics reserved for people that wanted to know each other, discussions that categorized adversaries and friends.

After plugging in one of the steel palm trees hovering nearby that was really a heat lamp in disguise, he pulled off his jacket and wrapped it around her shoulders. Then their conversation resumed.

Paige had laughed and Carlos smiled. And Paige loved his smile, now realizing why he hid it from the field. Emotions made a person predictable.

She didn’t follow baseball, but Paige watched it enough to know who the players were. Her friends teased her, complaining that watching a game was the equivalent of bad sex with a little penis hardened by Viagra. Paige would just smirk at their complaints and preference for Sex in the City marathons.

Paige learned three things by watching the game.

The competition was slim if one wanted to catch the eye of a baseball player. Females were too caught up in being the next Shaunie O’neal project to even notice the regular Joes of sports.

Baseball players had some of the best bodies in pro sports. Basketball players were sometimes too tall and lanky, and didn’t always carry the equipment that matched their endorsed sneaker size – a stupid assumption on the part of most women.

Football players were sometimes just too big and bulky. Paige didn’t find straddling a refrigerator thrilling. She also avoided them because concussion prone occupations scared her.

Soccer players wanted to bend it like Beckham in the bedroom. Tennis, golf and ski pros had egos that stretched longer than their stamina. Paige was just not into bedroom therapy.

But ball players were perfect in many ways. Broad shoulders, ripped abs, firm thighs and a tight ass made for sliding into home had a way of making up for other imperfections. Her friends had no clue.

Paige let her eyes roam the length of the man beside her and smiled. Yeah, Carlos definitely fit the criteria as he filled out washed jeans, a black tailored sport shirt, Italian loafers and that dark, sexy glint in his eye. Paige clinched her thighs together hoping it was not obvious that he was turning her body on just like he was working her mind.

Above all else, in the criteria her friends lived for, baseball’s money was longer. Her girls were missing out, downstairs perusing what equated the clearance racks at Target when in front of her was Saks.

Instead, the circle she kicked it with these days had been partying it up and wasting their time on has been Rockets and Texans that didn’t even have a mass market jersey for sale. Meanwhile, the Astros franchise player snuck her up to the rooftop to talk and they probably didn’t even notice.

And if she wanted to be that girl Carlos Ortiz lost his head and wallet over, she could be her, but that’s not what kept her leaning in and listening to his every word. Carlos was friend material and she didn’t have a lot of them, at least not genuine ones. Paige wanted to bask in it, savoring the moment, making it last as long as their forever would allow.

“Why Houston?” he asked.

She smiled. “I could ask you the same thing.”

Carlos shrugged. He leaned back against a pillow and crossed his legs at the ankles. “I play ball here, so I go where my contract sends me. You on the other hand don’t need an agreement to live here and something tells me Houston is small potatoes for a girl like you.”

It was, which is why she liked it. “Not everyone wants to be a little fish in a big pond.”

“So you’re in Houston to be the big one swimming through the bayou?”

She smiled with him. “I don’t want to be anyone’s anything. I just want to be me. Houston has just enough, but not too much to feel competitive y’know.”

He nodded. “Like in L.A.”

“Plastic people and empty souls.”

“New York?”

“New Yorkers work too hard to prove they don’t need you. Counterproductive if you ask me and the rent is too high.”

“Atlanta.”

“Oh hell no.”

“What’s wrong with Atlanta?” he asked. She saw the hint of a grin, the one she noticed he only showed when he out slicked his opponent after stealing a base.

“Nothing wrong with it, just not my thing.”

“Dallas?”

Paige sighed and tucked her legs beneath her. Her shoes were somewhere on the area rug beneath them. This man let her be casual and free. She liked that.

“Dallas is old money. Boston is their money. Philly is trying to remember where they parked their neo soul. Chi-town was cute for Love Jones, but way too cold for my taste. Miami is,” she paused to shrug. “Miami. Shall I go on? Because for every city you mention, you will not find one that matches where you think I belong.”

“And where do you belong Paige?”

This was where Paige did not expect to go and felt pissed she absently invited him to visit a place she kept off limits.

“What about you, Carlos? Where would you rather be if you had the choice?”

“I only go where I choose to be.”

And that’s when she knew they were kindred.

####

 

Kenneth Wilkerson, baseball’s MVP of breaking hearts isn’t in Craymont looking for complications. With an injury that has him sidelined from the game he loves, and the latest scandal in his wake involving a woman who is very much engaged to someone else, the last thing he needs is to get mixed up with Paige Scott.

Paige Scott, a former party-girl, has a very murky past and even murkier relationship with Kenneth’s best friend Carlos Ortiz. Paige knows Carlos watched her go from it girl to broken and when she finally healed, he made it clear to her that he would not step aside to let another man in just to do it again.

But Kenneth lets nothing stand between him and what he loves.

Love for the game… his family… and her.

Playing for Love 400x600

PLAYING FOR LOVE is the first novel from the Wilkersons in Love series. Tia Kelly invites you to come meet the Wilkersons and get ready to fall in love.

 Kindle     Nook

To find Tia Kelly online:

Website & Blog     Facebook     Twitter

#####

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

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

What I am Most Grateful For and My Chat with The Pink Diamond Lady, Minnie Lahongrais!

As the year winds down (can you believe it????) and Thanksgiving is just a few days away, its time to take stock of the people in your life and achievements made during the course of the year.

I am most thankful for my family who continue to support and encourage me, even when I get on their last nerve!

I am thankful for my health and for the creativity I have been blessed with that allows me to write. I’m also grateful for not wearing a straight jacket because of all the characters (aka Voices) in my head! 🙂

I am thankful to all of my readers who connect with me every day by sending messages, shout out the books, hit the ‘like’, ‘share’, and ‘tweet’ buttons on their pages and continue to ask when the next book is coming out (March 6, 2014! Whoo hoo!!!)

I am also grateful to all of the bloggers, eMagazines, television hosts, and Blog Talk Radio hosts who have invited me to participate in interviews, conferences, and phone chats. Every opportunity has allowed me to share a piece of me as an author, a mother, and wife.

(If you’d like to check out the interviews and guest post from this year, click here!)

My latest radio interview was done with author Minnie Lahongrais on her show, The Pink Diamond Inspirations Show, which is featured on All Media Radio 1 in the UK. And what fun did we have! I met Minnie several years ago via social networking on Twitter, back when I was learning the ropes of the social networking site. As an aspiring writer at the time, I was touched by her frustration from family and friends in regards to a book she published. I commented, offering my support, and since then, our friendship has grown. So when she contacted me saying she would like to interview me for her show, I was more than happy to say yes! So, sit back and listen as two girlfriends chat it up like we’ve been knowing each other for a lifetime, and get to know ME….

download (3)

Pink Diamond Inspirations on All News Radio

The Interview     The Blog Post

#####

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

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

#GuestPost- Christopher Bynum aka The Black, Talks About The Professional!

Professional%20Cover-250[1]This blog spot is right on time because Lucas—aka The Professional—is almost here. That book will hit the streets this month. I still can’t believe how what began as a one-part short story has grown into a novel. It definitely wasn’t my intent. My original idea was to do a piece about a man who was paid for pleasure—a gigolo who knew women well and therefore had a degree of power over them. In that story I wanted to reveal his one weakness, which led to a twist ending. I didn’t think women readers of that online story would like Lucas very much. I thought his profession and his ego would be off-putting. So I was surprised that female readers not only liked Lucas, but wanted to read more about him.

I wrote that first story in 2008. It’s taken me this long to write the book because I wanted to be absolutely certain that the end I had planned for him was what I really wanted to happen. The Professional will cover several decades in Lucas’ career, starting from his inexperienced beginnings and providing background on how he came to be who he is. Speaking of which, here’s where I get into shameless (but with a non-profit motivated reason) promotion:

In my writings I have a habit, which I blame on Stephen King. Back in the day I was reading one of King’s novels—I think it was Pet Semetary—and in that book a character mentioned or reflected on a neighbor’s dog going rabid and killing some people. King was referencing one of his previous novels: Cujo. I thought that was the coolest thing—that in King’s fictional world characters and incidents had overlap in other novels, even though the books weren’t part of a linear series. So I fell into a habit of doing that with my own work. Many of my books take place on or near the Jersey Shore, so some character’s worlds collide.

I mention this as an advisory. In The Professional readers are going to encounter some characters that will be familiar if they’ve read other books and novellas by me. In particular, in The Girl Next Door you’ll meet Lucas’ Aunt Alicia and her next door neighbor Cameron, who are mentioned in The Professional. You’ll also get to meet Lucas as a child in that one.

The%20Girl%20Next%20Door%20Cover%20-%20250[1]ASB-eBook%20Cover-250[1]With%20Benefits%20Cover%20Master-CB-250[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia Bettencourt made her first appearance as a teenager in A Southern Belle: Forbidden. She also has a cameo appearance with Lucas in With Benefits

Elle%20eBook%20Cover%202013%20-%20250[1]

Robyn Hunter first appeared in The Group and then in Elle (Insatiable: Book One) by The Black. The Group is a stand-alone novella and also one of the stories featured in the compilation Love Won’t Let Me Wait.

Readers won’t have to read those works to understand what’s happening in The Professional, but they do provide a point of reference for those characters. Here’s the thing: As I’m working on The Professional I’ve caught myself recapping in that book other character’s histories, but then I think, “Wait, I already wrote this in_____,” and I stop myself because I feel like I’m doing readers who read the other books a disservice by repeating myself. So if you’re curious about the backgrounds of any of the aforementioned characters grab those books—and blame Stephen King!

What’s next:

Next year comes The Hitman Chronicles, more episodes of Nightwalkers, and many surprises.Up next is my last project for this year—the first episode of Nightwalkers. It’ll be my take on vampire mythology, mixing that fiction with Bible history and prophecy, the battle between good and evil and the need for love. The story will have settings from the beginning of mankind through American slavery and up through the present day.

Stay tuned!

Chris Author picAbout the Author:

I’m originally from the Jersey Shore. I served twenty-four years in the Air Force, and then was the Safety Director for a Navy contractor, then a specialist for a Fortune 500 technology company. Those experiences sometimes serve as fodder for the stuff I write. Now I’m fortunate enough to be able to write full-time.

On reflection, I’ve always been a writer, even before I could write. As a kid I was a wanna-be artist, and that was the medium I used to tell the stories born in my imagination. If there was a blank piece of paper anywhere near me I was going to draw on it. I remember being in the first grade and going to a PTA meeting with my mother. My teacher told my mother that my schoolwork was okay, but she said that every assignment I turned in had little pictures I’d drawn running around the border of the pages. I guess that was my six year-old version of cave drawings. Eventually I figured out that writing was a more efficient way of telling stories.

Facebook     Twitter     Blog     Amazon Author Page    Nook Author Page

 

#####

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!

#FreeReadFriday- Jaded (Book Two of The Butterfly Memoirs) – Chapter 3

Welcome back to another #FreeReadFriday!

As the holidays approach, life is going to be  hectic as preparations are made to celebrate  with friends and family. But book lovers know, your’s still going to squeeze in a few minutes to hide out to get your read on! To wet your appetite, I’m sharing another chapter in the The Butterfly Memoirs series.

Jaded is a story of two people who’ve been hurt by love and refuse to give in to temptation. Their attempts to be just friends evolve into a Friends with Benefits relationship.

But what happens after a couple finds their Happily Ever After and REAL LIFE sets in? 

Autumn landscape

Get to know Yasmine and Zachariah….and fall in love again….

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business.

 When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn’t expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah’s life.

  Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iTunes     Smashwords     Paperback

******************

Prologue and Chapter One

Chapter Two

*****************

Chapter 3

 

Despite setting my alarm clock for four-forty-five, I overslept. At least I had taken a shower before going to bed. I selected my clothes the night before, so all that was left to do was make-up.

A horn honked behind me at the light. I finished applying eyeliner, flipped the visor up, and pushed on the gas. I fluffed my hair with one hand, glad my ear-length bob had a loose curl making it easy to style. It was easier to manage than the shoulder length hair I slaved over a few months ago.

The decision to cut my hair was about more than easy maintenance. It was about forgetting my past life and settling into reality.

No more expectations; no more games.

I drove into the Inn’s parking lot and parked, overwhelmed by the hard work of my family. The Phillips’ Family Inn I managed was larger than the original location and nestled in the rolling hills, minutes outside of Los Angeles. The hotel used to be an old Hollywood mansion until the area was re-zoned and the home remodeled to house eight regular rooms and two honeymoon suites. My parents lucked out on the property during a real estate auction.

Like others in the area, the property had beautiful landscaping. I’d recently contracted the yard maintenance to my best friend, Ebony’s fiancé, Brian Young, who owned a lawn care service. Even though he wasn’t always available to accompany his workers when they came, he’d trained them well. Over the last few months, Brian’s music career had taken off. He spent a lot of time in the studio of B&D Records.

After all, I owed them. Helping Ebony plan her dream wedding and hosting it at the Inn still didn’t feel like it was enough. I would do anything to help make their marriage possible.

Two months had passed since discovering my fiancé at the time was a bastard. After what he’d done to her…I still couldn’t fathom how she managed to pretend it never happened.

I couldn’t.

I sat in my car for a moment to gather myself, and ran a hand over my eyes, trying not to smudge my mascara. Now was not the time to think about the past. There were too many things to focus on, such as getting the hotel financial records to my mother. As predicted, she was not happy to hear she would not receive them last night. I covered myself by saying the computer crashed right before I sent them. The little white lie bought me time to get them completed today.

I seriously needed to step up my game. In order for my parents to be willing to fund my business as a fashion consultant, I needed to maintain the family business first. Now was not the time to slip up.

I exited my car and noted the time, six-thirty. I spied a car out of place in the parking lot and assumed it was the technician. I shut my door, walked around to the trunk of my cherry red Honda Accord, and retrieved my laptop bag. When I turned around, he had climbed out of his car, strapped a bag across his chest, and was unloading a large box from the trunk. I hurried up the steps of the Inn to open the door.

His smile was wide as he approached. “Good morning.”

Morning people get on my nerves.

“Sorry I’m late,” I said, trying to keep the irritation, stimulated by his cheery grin, hidden.

He adjusted the weight of the box in his arms. “Not a problem. Where are we going first?”

“My office.”

He followed me through the grand opening of the hotel living room, past the check-in counter, down the narrow hallway, and past the kitchen to a smaller room that served as my office.

The smell of burnt plastic assaulted us when I opened the door. After setting my bags on the floor, I immediately dug the Febreze air freshener from my desk drawer, sprayed, and opened a window.

“When you said your computer burned, I took that as a figurative statement.” His eyebrows furrowed as he looked for somewhere to settle the box. When done, he unhooked the bag strapped across his chest and went under my desk to access the damage. “It’s a good thing you used a surge protector or it could have been a lot worse. What happened?” He sat up from underneath the desk and adjusted the dark square frames on his wide nose.

Large, dark hazel eyes captured me. For a moment, I imagined him watching me as he explored my body.

“Ms. Phillips, did you hear me?”

I rubbed a hand over my face and blinked. “Sorry, still waking up.”

Yeah right. I was awake all right, along with other parts of my body. This man had some of the sexiest bedroom eyes.

His chuckle was deep. “Not a morning person, I remember.”

I walked over to the desk. “I saved a document and opened the accounting software when the screen went blank. I thought there was a power outage. I flipped the power switch on and then, poof,” I demonstrated with my hands. “Sparks flew.”

He smiled and a set of deep dimples appeared on both sides of his goatee. My attention went to his thick lips, imagining what they would feel like against mine.

The warm feeling taking over my body made it impossible to think. I forced my attention to the items on my desk. I hadn’t been this attracted to a man in months. Why now? Why him?

Even though he appeared to have a nice build, despite his geeky appearance, Zachariah Givens was not my type. When I was sure my thoughts were clear, I allowed myself to watch him. He’d disappeared under the desk again and proceeded to disconnect cords, leaving his firm derriere in plain view. I swallowed a groan. His butt looked good in those jeans.

I blinked. Jeans? He wasn’t wearing the geek uniform of black pants. When he emerged from beneath the desk, I realized he wore a polo shirt.

“How come you’re not in uniform?” I blurted.

“What?” He dragged the burned-out equipment from underneath my desk and glanced at his attire. “Oh, it’s my day off.”

My eyes widened. “Wait, you’re here off the clock?”

“I didn’t have anyone to send in at this time of the morning.” He dumped the cords in the trash and turned to retrieve the old computer tower. “Besides, I miss this part of the job. Being store manager keeps me inside all day. Don’t get me wrong, it has its benefits, but I’m good with my hands.” He glanced over at me. “And since you said our customer service over the phone sucks, I had to make it up to you.”

Good with his hands…God. I felt my face redden.

I forced myself to laugh. “Thank you, Mr. Givens.”

The old equipment removed, he walked over to open the new box. “Call me Zachariah, or Zack.” He smiled and those dimples popped again.

“Okay. You can call me Yasmine.” I stared at him a little too long.

He nodded in the direction of the old computer tower. “I’ll be honest…Yasmine, I don’t know if I’ll be able to salvage anything for you. I’ll get the new system up, start loading your programs, and then check it. I want to have you up and running as soon as possible.”

I sighed and glanced at the burnt shell. “I could use a miracle right now, and a cup of coffee. Would you like one?”

“No, I’m not big on caffeine. I’m a morning person by nature.” He chuckled when I rolled my eyes.

“To each his own,” I replied.

***

Several hours later, all of the computers – mine, Brandon’s, and the one at the check-in counter – were up and running and the software was nearly loaded. Mine took the most time since it was the hub for everything in the hotel. He’d even been nice enough to load the hotel business software, free of charge.

I sat on the other side of the office, working furiously on my laptop to compile the data for the business reports and receipts I kept in the filing cabinet- information that had been lost when the computer died. I promised myself to keep a backup on my laptop, USB drive, and any other digital format outside of the main office set up from now on. I did not intend to repeat this scenario.

“Yasmine, a few more minutes and I’ll be done,” Zack said. “Sorry I couldn’t save the hard drive.”

I glanced up from my screen. “No need to apologize. I should have had everything backed up. You live and learn.” I saved my work and checked the time on my laptop. “I can’t believe it’s that late already.” It was nearly eleven; I stood up and stretched. “Would you like something to eat? I don’t know about you, but I missed breakfast. It’ll be my treat. The kitchen is open and Mrs. Davenport will be making lunch.” I studied him for a moment. “I bet you’d like one of her Double Decker Monterey burgers. They are to die for.”

Zack appeared surprised by my offer. “I’d like that.”

I stopped in the doorway. “I’ll come get you when it’s done.”

Twenty minutes later, we sat in a booth in the rear of the dining room, away from the guests.

“This has got to be the best burger I’ve ever eaten. I would drive all the way back for another one.” Zack bit off a large bite. He’d finished half the thing in record time.

I smiled. “I’ll be sure to give your compliments to the chef.”

“I’ll be sure to kiss her.” He drank from his cup and pointed at my salad. “Why aren’t you eating one of these?”

I stabbed at my chicken salad with my fork and glanced at the remains of his burger. “Good question.” I laughed. “I ate one yesterday for lunch. Too many of them will mess with my figure.”

Zack’s eyebrow arched, but he remained silent.

My gaze dropped to my plate. In my past life, flirting was my way of determining if a man would be competent enough to handle my sexual needs. It was second nature.

But this was now.

Besides, trying to seduce Zack would be a waste of time; he didn’t seem interested anyway. Unlike most men I ran across, he didn’t flirt with me at all. Any other man would have taken my comment and told me how fine I was, or some other line, to find a way into my bed.

Not Zack. He was the epitome of the perfect gentleman, never uttering a suggestive comment or taking the obvious stroll over my body with his eyes. I caught him watching me once or twice, but it wasn’t lust in his gorgeous hazel orbs, it was something I had never seen before.

To be honest, it made me nervous not knowing what he was thinking. Yet at the same time, it was refreshing to be in the company of a man who was able to have an intelligent conversation without his panting tongue being in the way.

My cell phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID and excused myself. “Yes, Mrs. Langford, how are you?” I waited a beat for her reply and dug into my purse for pen and paper to write notes. “Perfect, I’ll see you then.”

A smile of satisfaction spread across my face when I hung up.

“Must be good news,” Zack said before popping the last of the burger in his mouth.

“Very. I work with this program called Dress for Success. It helps underprivileged women prepare for job interviews. We take them shopping, show them what to wear, how to apply make-up, and do their hair. Anything we can do to help them succeed.”

Zack wiped his mouth with his napkin. “Really? What made you decide to do that?”

His question startled me. I looked up and found genuine interest in his eyes. Men in my past couldn’t care less what I did when we weren’t together. The only thing that interested them was what I did in the bedroom.

“I’m starting a business of my own outside of managing this hotel,” I said slowly, deciding whether I wanted to share the details.

“What kind of business?”

Apparently I had his full attention.

“As a fashion consultant. I’ve been helping friends and family for years. I’d like to help as many people as I can. Participation in a program like this allows me to give back to the community and help people free of charge. As a bonus, I get to build my portfolio and gain experience working with a variety of clients.”

I held my breath, waiting for a laugh or sarcastic comment sure to come.

“Do you work with more than underprivileged women?”

“What do you mean?”

“Would you work with a cancer survivor?”

My curiosity peaked. “Who are you talking about?”

“My mother.”

####

Available on AMAZON, B&N, iTunes, and SMASHWORDS for $3.99! Also available on PAPERBACK!

***JADED can be read as a stand-alone or as part of The Butterfly Memoirs series. Buy your copy today!***

 Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iTunes     Smashwords     Paperback

Looking for Book 1? Follow this link to learn more about A Heart Not Easily Broken!

#####

Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email